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1937

1937

We’ve talked about the year 2000 comparison (Party like it’s 1999). In 2020 markets went onto a similar structural tear just having rammed relentlessly higher. In 2000 markets famously topped in March following the Fed’s Y2K inspired liquidity injections in 1999 as markets had vastly disconnected from fundamental reality. Now that the truth is out we also know that markets are now vastly disconnected from fundamentals.

And the 2000 comparisons still hold water on a number of measures, price to sales, price to ebitda, market cap to GDP and of course relative weightings in favor of the few as the rally continues to narrow.

The top 2 stocks now have gone complete vertical especially as it relates to their weighting in the S&P:

This chart from Carter Worth on Fast Money last night and even he pointed out how in the lead up to the 2000 top there was some back and forth, but not here, just completely uninterrupted vertical.

One of the 2 stocks being Microsoft, a stock that now has nearly doubled since 2019 with a market cap expansion of over $700 billion for a total market cap of over $1.4 trillion. Historic.

And add the top 4 and their market caps you get this same vertical picture:

Everything screams reversion and correction, but nothing. The market just keeps going up and they keep buying the big cap tech stocks. Risk free. Or so it seems.

And given the large weightings of these few stocks $NDX just keeps ramping up vertically as well, also far outside the monthly Bollinger band:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The FOMC Decision: The Boxed in Fed

What’s a Keynesian monetary quack to do when the economy and markets fail to remain “on message” within a few weeks of grandiose declarations that this time, printing truckloads of money has somehow “worked”, in defiance of centuries of experience, and in blatant violation of sound theory?

In the weeks since the largely meaningless December rate hike, numerous armchair central planners, many of whom seem to be pining for even more monetary insanity than the actual planners, have begun to berate the Fed for inadvertently summoning that great bugaboo of modern-day money cranks, the “ghost of 1937”.

Bugaboo of monetary cranks
The bugaboo of Keynesian money cranks – the ghost of 1937.

As the story goes, the fact that the FDR administration’s run-away deficit declined a bit, combined with a small hike in reserve requirements by the Fed “caused” the “depression-within-the-depression” of 1937-1938, which saw the stock market plunging by more than 50% and unemployment soaring back to levels close to the peaks seen in 1932-33.

This is of course balderdash. If anything, it demonstrates that the data of economic history are by themselves useless in determining cause and effect in economics. It is fairly easy to find historical periods in which deficit spending declined a great deal more than in 1937 and a much tighter monetary policy was implemented, to no ill effect whatsoever. If one believes the widely accepted account of the reasons for the 1937 bust, how does one explain these seeming “aberrations”?

1-USDJIND1937crThe DJIA in 1937 (eventually, an even lower low was made in 1938, see also next chart) – click to enlarge.

As we often stress, economics is a social science and therefore simply does not work like physics or other natural sciences. Only economic theory can explain economic laws – while economic history can only be properly interpreted with the aid of sound theory.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why This Feels Like a Depression for Most People

Why This Feels Like a Depression for Most People

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”  John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Everyone has seen the pictures of the unemployed waiting in soup lines during the Great Depression. When you try to tell a propaganda believing, willfully ignorant, mainstream media watching, math challenged consumer we are in the midst of a Greater Depression, they act as if you’ve lost your mind. They will immediately bluster about the 5.1% unemployment rate, record corporate profits, and stock market near all-time highs. The cognitive dissonance of these people is only exceeded by their inability to understand basic mathematical concepts.

The reason you don’t see huge lines of people waiting in soup lines during this Greater Depression is because the government has figured out how to disguise suffering through modern technology. During the height of the Great Depression in 1933, there were 12.8 million Americans unemployed. These were the men pictured in the soup lines. Today, there are 46 million Americans in an electronic soup kitchen line, as their food is distributed through EBT cards (with that angel of mercy JP Morgan reaping billions in profits by processing the transactions).

These 46 million people represent 14% of the U.S. population. There are 23 million households on food stamps in a nation of 123 million households. Therefore, 19% of all households in the U.S. are so poor, they require food assistance to survive. In 1933 there were approximately 126 million Americans living in 30 million households. The government didn’t keep official unemployment records until 1940, but the Department of Labor estimated 12.8 million people were unemployed during the worst year of the Great Depression or 24.9% of the labor force. By 1937 it had fallen to 14.3% or approximately 8 million people.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ghost of ’37

The Ghost of ’37

With the Fed supposedly steeling itself at last to remove a little of its emergency ‘accommodation’, it has suddenly become fashionable to warn of the awful parallels with 1937, as the highly-respected Ray Dalio of Bridgewater has notably done.

That year, the story goes, the nation’s ascent from the depths of the Great Depression was aborted because the Fed ‘tightened’ and the government ‘cut spending’: a sharp recession was the immediate and highly avoidable result. Therefore, we are told, we must not act today.

We strongly refute the analogy: Fed actions were marginal and largely technical in nature while the real fiscal story was the rise in taxes, not any slashing of regular outlays

Far more instrumental in the slump was the nature of those taxes – being steep, ideologically motivated increases in levies on wealth, profits, and capital.

Also to blame were the government’s tolerance of labour militancy and its concerted campaign against ‘tax avoiders’, ‘economic royalists’ and the ‘top sixty families’ – all of which frightened and discouraged the entrepreneurial classes. This fear intensified greatly when the Supreme Court was neutered as means of seeking relief from the state’s attacks.

It is in such displays of pitchfork populism by financially and intellectually bankrupt governments that we – in the age of Piketty, of the organized deprecation of the ‘1%’ and of the abuse of the ‘Fair Share of Tax’ slogan – need to draw the most pertinent comparisons

The real Ghost of ’37 takes the form of such mean-spirited and, counter-productive politics: the spectre should not be conjured up to excuse the central bank from further delaying its overdue embarkation on the long road back to normality and policy minimalism.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

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