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Black Swans, Dead Cats, Live Bats, and Goodbye to All That

Black Swans, Dead Cats, Live Bats, and Goodbye to All That


Had enough excitement yet? At least the stock markets are following an established script: the bubble pops, the elevator drops, for a while it stops… and then investments sink to the deepest sub-basement, where they linger for a long, long time. Hello, next great depression…. We know how that story goes, even if it hurts.

This corona virus is something else. It engulfs whole populations in a fog of confounding narratives. Is it no worse than a bad common cold, except for old folks already half-gone with chronic illness? Or does it really slam people even in the midst of life? Well, Wuhan hospital director Liu Zhiming, 51, went down two weeks ago, and gastroenterologist Xia Sisi, 29, and Dr. Peng Yinhua, also 29, and some prominent Iranian politicians, and lots of very sick healthcare workers from Korea to Italy. Whatever corona virus is, I’m not persuaded that it’s a hoax.

One monster banging around in that fog is the narrative that China started this thing simply to get rid of Mr. Trump. There’s a real baby-and-bathwater proposition. Would China, in effect, blow up its export economy for that, i.e. commit suicide? Because a lot of those prior arrangements will probably not come back — the manufacturing supply lines for this-and-that, the fabulous cornucopia of plastic goodies extruded from all those smoking factories and flushed out to the world, the whole glorious let’s-get-rich extravaganza that Deng Xiaoping kicked off forty years ago. It’s looking like the global economy is on the rocks, perhaps for good, as we knew it. Is China as plumb crazy as, for instance, America’s political Left?

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Is the 9-Year Long Dead Cat Bounce Finally Ending?

Is the 9-Year Long Dead Cat Bounce Finally Ending?

Ignoring or downplaying these fundamental forces has greatly increased the fragility of the status quo.

The term dead cat bounce is market lingo for a “recovery” after markets decline due to fundamental reversals. Markets tend to bounce back after sharp declines as participants (human and digital) who have been trained to “buy the dips” once again buy the decline, and the financial media rushes to reassure everyone that nothing has actually changed, everything is still peachy-keen wonderfulness.

I submit that the past 9 years of market “recovery” is nothing but an oversized dead cat bounce that is finally ending. Here is a chart that depicts the final blow-off top phase of the over-extended dead cat bounce:

Why are the past 9 years nothing but an extended dead cat bounce? Nothing that’s fundamentally broken has been fixed, and none of the dynamics that are undermining the status quo have been addressed.

The past 9 years have been one long dead cat bounce of extend and pretend, i.e. do more of what’s failed because to even admit the status quo is being undermined by fundamental forces would panic those gorging at the trough of the status quo’s lopsided rewards.

This 9-year dead cat bounce was pure speculation driven by cheap central bank credit and liquidity. Demographics, environmental degradation, the decline of middle class security, the erosion of paid work, the bankruptcy of public and private pension plans, the global debt bubble, soaring wealth and income inequality, the corruption of democracy into a pay-to-play bidding war, the destruction of price discovery via market manipulation by those who have turned markets into signaling devices that all is well, the laughable distortion of statistics to mask the real world decline in our purchasing power (inflation is near-zero–really really really), the perverse incentives to leverage up bets in financial instruments that have no connection to the real-world economy–none of these have been addressed in the market melt-up.

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The Worse Things Get For You, The Better They Get For Wall Street

The Worse Things Get For You, The Better They Get For Wall Street

On October 2 the BLS reported absolutely atrocious employment data, with virtually no job growth other than the phantom jobs added by the fantastically wrong Birth/Death adjustment for all those new businesses springing up around the country. The MSM couldn’t even spin it in a positive manner, as the previous two months of lies were adjusted significantly downward. What a shocker. At the beginning of that day the Dow stood at 16,250 and had been in a downward trend for a couple months as the global economy has been clearly weakening. The immediate rational reaction to the horrible news was a 250 point plunge down to the 16,000 level. But by the end of the day the market had finished up over 200 points, as this terrible news was immediately interpreted as good news for the market, because the Federal Reserve will never ever increase interest rates again.

Over the next three weeks, the economic data has continued to deteriorate, corporate earnings have been crashing, and both Europe and China are experiencing continuing and deepening economic declines. The big swinging dicks on Wall Street have programmed their HFT computers to buy, buy, buy. The worse the data, the bigger the gains. The market has soared by 1,600 points since the low on October 2. A 10% surge based upon lousy economic info, as the economy is either in recession or headed into recession, is irrational, ridiculous, and warped, just like our financial system. This is what happens when crony capitalism takes root like a foul weed and is bankrolled by a central bank that cares only for Wall Street, while throwing Main Street under the bus.

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