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David Rosenberg: “These Are Truly Historic And Dangerous Times”

David Rosenberg: “These Are Truly Historic And Dangerous Times”

We are living in dangerous times.

Mostly, everyone I speak to lives in the here and now. They seem more interested in telling people how crazy cheap the stock market is and how crazy expensive the ‎Treasury market is, rather than trying to look at the current environment in a historical perspective. We are living through a period of history that will be written about in textbooks in years and decades to come, and the undertones are none too good.

Instead of telling people there is no recession, these bulls should be discussing why the markets are busy pricing one in. What do these pundits know that the markets don’t know? We have a bond market in which a quarter of the universe trades at a negative yield. The long bond yield has gone negative in Germany. More than half of the world’s bond market is trading below the Fed funds rate. Investment grade yields, on average, are below zero in the euro area.

This is completely abnormal because it reflects an abnormal economic, financial and political backdrop. Those who point to the stock market’s performance with glee, because of its V-shaped recovery, don’t bother telling you that in the past 12 months the total return is marginal in real terms and the best performing sectors are the ones you can only typically rely on in a deflationary recession – real estate, utilities and consumer staples.

One of the problems coming out of the most recent recession is that the global debt load is infinitely larger now than it was at the peak of that prior credit-bubble cycle. The world is awash in debt. Years of monetary intervention among the world’s central banks created artificial asset-price inflation and exacerbated wealth inequalities at the same time. Fiscal policy failed to arrest the increasingly wide income disparity, a global dilemma that has become acute in the United States.

Cheap Money Not Going to Work Anymore – Charles Nenner (#1)

Cheap Money Not Going to Work Anymore – Charles Nenner (#1)

Renowned geopolitical and financial cycle expert Charles Nenner says forget what the mainstream financial channels are saying about more Fed easy money policies pushing the markets higher. Nenner explains, “The clever institutions I work with were selling all the time when the S&P was around 3,000, and the small investor and public were buying, buying and buying. The clever money was so happy then . . . . The small investor buys and all the time they (clever money) get a chance to sell, sell and sell until they are finished selling. Then, suddenly something happens. Then the small investor who holds the cash and he’s in a crisis, and here we go down. I always stress to the small investor, understand how this game works. Day before yesterday, the Dow was down 1,000 (inter-day). I heard one person say maybe you should sell. It’s always buy, buy, buy. They don’t do anybody any favors because there are so many losses. I never hear CNBC say sell, sell, sell. So, it’s a crooked game.”

What does he say to people waiting for the Fed to drive markets back up with easy money? Nenner says, “We are finished with the cheap money. It’s not going to work anymore. That’s what the big investors understand. Even if we have 0% rates, it’s not going to keep this economy going. They cannot keep it going anymore.”

Last time Nenner was on USAWatchdog.com, he said “gold was going up” and “interest rates were going to continue to fall.” He was correct and says those two trends are going to continue. Nenner says, “We are in a new bull market in gold, and the price is headed to at least $2,500 per ounce. . . .

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

$1,400,000,000,000 Gone In Less Than A Week – Stock Market In Turmoil As The Trade War Dramatically Escalates

$1,400,000,000,000 Gone In Less Than A Week – Stock Market In Turmoil As The Trade War Dramatically Escalates

Our trade war with China has begun to spiral out of control, and as a result global financial markets have been thrown into a state of turmoil.  On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 767 points, and that represented the sixth-largest single day stock market decline in all of U.S. history.  To put that into perspective, the biggest single day decline during the financial crisis of 2008 was just 777 points.  So what we witnessed on Monday was definitely very serious.  And the Nasdaq just got absolutely monkey-hammered as well.  On a percentage basis, it was down even more than the Dow was, and it has now fallen for six days in a row.  We have not seen a losing streak that long for the Nasdaq since President Trump was elected, and some analysts are convinced that even more chaos is on the way.

Overall, 1.4 trillion dollars in stock market wealth has been completely wiped out in less than a week

It took just four brutal trading days for a $1.4 trillion wipeout in the S&P 500 stock value. From the Federal Reserve’s disappointing comments on the future of interest rates to President Donald Trump’s surprise tariffs to China’s weaponizing of the yuan, the record-long bull market took a big hit in a relatively short time.

European stocks have been getting clobbered as well.  In fact, they just experienced their largest two day decline in three years.

After Trump imposed another wave of tariffs on China at the end of last week, we knew that the Chinese would retaliate.  But we expected that the retaliation would be at least somewhat proportional.

Instead, they decided to bring down the hammer.

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

Expect Buybacks to Sustain Markets

Expect Buybacks to Sustain Markets

Expect Buybacks to Sustain Markets

With uncertainty swirling around the financial markets right now, many are warning about a financial storm brewing and how to navigate through it.

Let’s consider the storm elements in the world right now. The ongoing trade war is obviously a major concern, which is nowhere near being resolved. Growth is slowing in many parts of the world and central banks are preparing to begin cutting rates again.

Geopolitical tensions are also rising again, especially in the Persian Gulf. Late last week, Iranian forces seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important chokepoints. Britain has demanded the ship’s release.

On the U.S. domestic front, we are facing government dysfunctional, trade war uncertainty and a looming debt ceiling deadline. A deal will likely be reached, but that is not a guarantee. If a deal isn’t reached, the federal government would run out of money to pay its bills.

That’s why you should consider the tactics of Warren Buffett along with the strategy used by some of the most skilled sailors.

Buffett, one of the most successful investors in history, has made billions by knowing how to steer through storms. One of my favorite Buffettisms has to do with keeping your eye on the horizon, a steady-as-she-goes approach to investing. It also happens to relate to sailing.

As he famously said, “I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.”

What that means is that you should carefully consider what’s ahead and choose your course accordingly. Buffett doesn’t strive to be a hero if the risk of failing, or crashing against the rocks (in sailing lingo), is too great.

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

Blain’s Morning Porridge – July 29th 2019

 Blain’s Morning Porridge  – July 29th 2019

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”  

The UK is a curious place.  Boris Johnson’s feel-good drive and the numerous plots being arrayed against him, received rather less attention over the weekend than the Minister for the 18th Century’s rather ponderous style guide.  Jacob Rees-Mogg, Esquire, has banned a host of words, outlawed clichés, demands double spaces after full-stops, insisted on imperial measures (Kilometers, Kilos and grams are banned), and has made the incorrect use of apostrophes a capital offence.  Readers will know my grasp of punctuation, spelling and grammar is nebulous at best – so if I disappear suddenly you can assume the Extreme Grammar-Nazi wing of the Conservative Party has got me!

Back in the real world, this week is largely about tomorrow.  Worry not about what’s going on in Hong Kong, the Gulf, or even how bad European economic data might be.  The only real question is what will the US Federal Reserve do?  It’s not a question of will they ease rates, but by how much- 20% change they may go for 50 bp!  

Perhaps the question should be – why ease rates at all? 

It may be the depths of a thin summer, but a 25 bp cut will be enough to please the market.  The economy won’t change because of a quarter point reduction in ridiculously low rates, but stocks will rally and the market will be properly ecstatic!  Donald Trump will tweet to his followers about what a great job he’s doing and how its confirmed by the strength of the stock market.  That is a sh*t reason for cutting rates.  It worries me the Fed is prepared to pander to Trump and the stock market. 

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

$1.6 Trillion Fund Spots A New, Ticking Time Bomb In The Market

$1.6 Trillion Fund Spots A New, Ticking Time Bomb In The Market

First it was the shocking junk bond fiasco at Third Avenue which led to a premature end for the asset manager, then the three largest UK property funds suddenly froze over $12 billion in assets in the aftermath of the Brexit vote; two years later the Swiss multi-billion fund manager GAM blocked redemptions, followed by iconic UK investor Neil Woodford also suddenly gating investors despite representations of solid returns and liquid assets, and most recently the ill-named, Nataxis-owned H20 Asset Management decided to freeze redemptions.

By this point, a pattern had emerged, one which Bank of England Governor Mark Carney described best when he said last month that investment funds that promise to allow customers to withdraw their money on a daily basis are “built on a lie.” 

And now, the chief investment officer of Europe’s biggest independent asset manager agrees with him, because while for much of 2019 the biggest risk bogeymen were corporate credit, leveraged loans, and trillions in negative yielding debt, gradually consensus is emerging that investment funds may be the basis for the next liquidity crisis.

“There is no point denying we are faced with a looming liquidity mismatch problem,” said Pascal Blanque, who oversees more than 1.4 trillion euros ($1.6 trillion) as the CIO of Amundi SA, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gilbert who in a Bloomberg View piece writes that Blanque told him that the prospect of melting liquidity is one of “various things keeping me awake at night.”

Continuing the discussion of illiquid institutions, Blanque said that market making, where firms generate prices at which they are willing to either buy or sell financial products, is effectively “a public good” (or “public bad”, if it is being done by HFTs who disappear at the first sign of volatility, and them having to take on real positional risk).

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

The Rise of Insanity

The Rise of Insanity

Everybody is trampling all over themselves to raise bullish targets. $SPX 3,300, $SPX 3,350, $SPX 3500, do I hear Dow 31,500? Yes I am. The big driver of course the Fed and central banks cutting rates again to save the global economy.

And amid all the hype and excitement you see headlines like this:

Bullish U.S. Stock Buyers Are Positioning for a Giant Windfall

  • Equity options strategy could deliver a 13-fold return…
  • …If the S&P 500 gains another 11% by the end of this year

The free money excitement is great.

But I have a question:

I also have an answer and it’s an unpleasant one. Because by bailing out markets and economies at every sign of trouble over the past 10 years central banks have given politicians license to do nothing. And nothing is what you get as political discourse fragments and majority solutions are impossible to come by.

But not only are majority solution impossible to get nobody even wants to even talk about them. Why? Because they involve pain. Voters don’t want to hear pain. Hence all you hear is free money. Tax cuts in 2016. Now we hear free college, health care and debt forgiveness for 2020 and who knows maybe more tax cuts.

Nobody wants to campaign on pain. I get it. But does anyone really think solving the structural problems that are behind slowing growth after 10 years of monetary stimulus are easily solvable?

Heck, they may not be solvable at all, hence it’s easier to create a political climate of hate, division, distraction and outrage.

Everybody talks about the outrage of the day, it’s a hyped up atmosphere by design. Because the architects of the conversation know the truth, and that is: As long as people are distracted by outrage, fear, anger and emotion they will not think about how the system is actually utterly screwed.

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

Blain’s Morning Porridge – July 11 2019 – Man on the Moon Day!

Blain’s Morning Porridge – July 11 2019 – Man on the Moon Day! 


“The Sky is not the limit – there are footprints on the Moon.” 

So many choices for this morning’s quote. The classic Armstrong “One Step” was too obvious. I did think about “To infinity and beyond”. But the one I chose is perhaps the best. Points if you can name who said it. Only four of the 12 men who walked on the Moon are still with us. It was a long time ago, but last night my wife, son and I were out to dinner in the West End. As we walked back past the Lego Store inn Leicester Square – look what was in the window! I’m going back to buy it later today!  

It took me back 50 years – July 11 1969. I was in the back garden in Fox Covert, Edinburgh, staring excited at the moon, asking Dad where the spaceship was. He tried to explain how far away it was and since it was only the size of a car, I’d not be able to see it. It was a terribly exciting day – the BBC showed the film of HG Well’s First Men on the Moon. Then came the iconic music; Also Sprach Zarathustra, which defined the whole Apollo era. Patrick Moore and James Burke explained what was going on. James Burke is still making sense today! We waited and waited and then the words. At some point I must have fallen asleep because I woke up in bed with my Action man lying on the floor in his (Gemini) spacesuit. 

It would be a terrible pity if we don’t go back to the Moon. Does it make commercial sense for us to go further?

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

Lagarde, the ECB and the next crisis

Lagarde, the ECB and the next crisis

The appointment of Christine Lagarde as president of the ECB has been greeted with euphoria by financial markets. That reaction in itself should be a warning signal. When risky assets soar in the middle of a huge bubble due to a central bank appointment, the supervising entity should be concerned.Lagarde is a lawyer, not an economist, and a great professional, but the market probably interprets correctly is that the European Central Bank will become even more dovish. Lagarde, for example, is a strong advocate of negative rates.

Lagarde and Vice President De Guindos have warned of the need to carry out measures to avoid a possible financial crisis, proposing different mechanisms to mitigate the shocks created by excess risk. Both are right, but that search for mechanisms to work as shock buffers runs the risk of being sterile when it is the monetary policy that encourages excess. When the central bank solves a financial crisis by absorbing the excess risk that the market once took it does not reduce it, it only disguises it. 

Supervisors ignore the effect of risk accumulation because they perceive it as necessary collateral damage to the recovery. Risk accumulates precisely because it is encouraged.

Draghi said that monetary policy is not the correct instrument to deal with financial imbalances and macroprudential tools should be used. However, it is the monetary policy which is causing those imbalances when an extraordinary, conditional and limited measure becomes an eternal and unconditional one.

When monetary policy disguises and encourages risk, macroprudential measures are simply ineffective. There is no macroprudential measure that mitigates the risk created by negative rates and almost three trillion of asset purchases.

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

Challenging the Notion that the Fed will Support Markets to Prevent a Crisis

Challenging the Notion that the Fed will Support Markets to Prevent a Crisis

A pervasive belief throughout both the mainstream and independent media is that when faced with the threat of an economic downturn, central banks will act unconditionally to lower interest rates and inject fresh stimulus into markets by way of quantitative easing. One theory is that they will do this to stave off a collapse of the economy amidst rising trade ‘protectionism‘. But is the idea of central banks enacting policy to avert economic disaster one that stands up to scrutiny?

To gain a broader understanding of how banks behave before and after a financial crisis is triggered, the historical actions of the Federal Reserve are a good place to start.

The Great Depression

In a 2013 article written by Gary Richardson of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Richardson candidly explains how in 1928 and 1929 – leading into an impending stock market crash – the Fed were raising interest rates. According to Richardson, they did this ‘in an attempt to limit speculation in securities markets‘.

Conditions at the time included an influx of borrowed money being poured into the stock market, which contributed heavily to the soaring price of shares. A month before the crash that eventually manifested into a depression, the Dow Jones stood at a record high of 381 points.

Today, the Dow Jones is approaching an all time high of 27,000, and since it’s post crisis low of 6,469 has increased by 317%. A combination of ultra accommodative monetary policy and corporate stock buybacks has been responsible for much of this rise.

There were two significant ramifications from the Fed’s decisions to raise rates prior to the Great Depression. The first was that economic activity in the U.S. began to slow and, to quote Richardson, ‘because the international gold standard linked interest rates and monetary policies among participating nations, the Fed’s actions triggered recessions in nations around the globe.’

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

For Those Who Don’t Understand Inflation

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND INFLATION

This article is a wake-up call for those who do not understand the true purpose of monetary inflation, and do not realise they are the suckers being robbed by monetary policy. With the world facing a deepening recession, monetary inflation will accelerate again. It is time for everyone to recognise the consequences.

Introduction

All this year I have been warning in a series of Goldmoney Insight articles that the turn of the credit cycle and the rise of American protectionism was the same combination that led to the Wall Street crash in 1929-32 and the depression that both accompanied and followed it. Those who follow statistics are now seeing the depressing evidence that history is rhyming, though they have yet to connect the dots. Understandably, their own experience is more relevant to them than the empirical evidence in history books.

They would benefit hugely from a study of the destructive power of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act combining with the end of the 1920s credit expansion. The devastating synergy between the two is what crippled the American and global economy. And as we slide into a renewed economic torpor, contemporary experience tells us the Fed and all the other central banks will coordinate their efforts to restore economic growth, cutting interest rates while accelerating the expansion of money and credit. The current generation of investors argues that this policy has always worked in the past (at least in the past they have experienced) so the valuation-basis for financial assets and property should stabilise and improve.

This brief summary of current thinking in financial markets ignores the fact that a catastrophic tariff-cum-credit-cycle mixture is baking in the economic cake. Crashing government bond yields, reflecting a flight to relative safety, are only the start of it.

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

Distortion

Distortion

This week we entered the Sell Zone as I called it last weekend. Overnight today $ES hit nearly 3004 and is currently 23 handles lower on the news that the latest NFP report beat while unemployment ticked slightly higher. Whether the sell is now in full swing or more highs are still to come is an open question, after all it’s like arguing with drunks at the bar, you never know what they’ll do next and how far they take the binge. But note what we’re witnessing here is historic but not unprecedented.

The most deceitful time in a cycle is the end of a cycle. Unemployment is low & stock markets keep making new highs despite underlying signals showing reasons for concern which are largely ignored by investors, namely bond yields sinking, yield curves inverting, growth slowing, participation waning, internals weakening. And when that happens new highs may prove to be a great selling opportunity.

I submit we may be seeing all these things now, but perhaps even in a more deceiving manner than ever before.

Why? Because of central banks are desperately trying to extend the business cycle and are thereby distorting markets.

Let’s take note of some facts:

Stock indexes are not making new highs because of revenue and earnings growth. Quite the opposite, earnings growth is negative. The global growth picture is regressive. PMIs have overtly dropped into contraction territory, even in the US key indicators are showing negative growth, durable goods, construction spending, you name it and even employment growth is slowing which is typically what happens at the end of a cycle.

These data trends are reflective of the warning signs coming from the bond market. The German 10 year is -0.4%, The US 10 year has dropped to 1.95%, a full 40% collapse since the November highs (not a single economist had predicted that, they were all above 2.5%-3.5%) and we have inverted yield curves with $13 trillion in global negative yielding debt floating about.

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

Blain’s Morning Porridge – 4th July 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge – 4th July 2019


“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” 

In the headlines this morning: https://morningporridge.com/stuff-im-watching

Subscribe to podcast via: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/blains-financial-porridge/id1469567347 

Happy birthday America! This morning’s intro-quote is over 170 years old – and I could only use it on a day when all good Americans will be on holiday. Extra points to anyone who can name the author sans Google.

Interesting markets y’day. European bonds were off to the races, perceiving new ECB head Christine Legarde as a QE lower-for-longer dove who will continue to ease, ease and ease like Draghi. Bunds at -0.40%! Even Italian 2-year notes dipped below zero percent as the EU dropped threats to take action against the deficit. Some day we shall shake our heads in disbelief at that price… 

In the States, the Dow hit a new high, and Trump tweeted it as a personal triumph. He is not so stupid as to mistake the stock market as a proxy for economic health – but he is making idiots of the American people by telling them it is. To keep up the illusion, he’s nominated new names to the Fed likely to toe his dovish line. Much comment on the private networks y’day about Trump’s latest nominations to the board – Judy Shelton being a particularly intriguing choice as Fed critic and gold standard advocate. For the Fed to lose credibility doesn’t just need Powell to surrender – packing the board will be just as effective. 

The bottom line is financial assets remain absolutely distorted by QE asset inflation. While its been great news for the market, the real economy remains deflated. That’s what Jerome Powell and Christine Lagarde should be thinking about as they play with the monetary policy toolbox. 

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

U.S. Stock Market Hits a New Record High, but What’s Really Going On?

U.S. Stock Market Hits a New Record High, but What’s Really Going On?

As Americans head off to Independence Day celebrations, they’ll be greeted with a plethora of headlines about record highs in the U.S. stock market. What I find most interesting about the latest bout of exuberance is the fact that priced in gold, stocks remain far below last fall’s peak.

From my perspective, a real equity bull market is one where the stock market, in this case the S&P500, consistently hits new highs relative to what’s historically been the world’s politically-neutral monetary asset, gold; and the U.S. stock market did exactly that from August 2011 until September 2018. Though equities in nominal terms bottomed in March 2009, we didn’t really get the all clear in my view until equities started rallying versus gold in late summer 2011.

U.S. stocks continued to hit new highs via this ratio until the most recent high in September 2018. This represented a seven year equity bull market of historic proportions, but since last fall the ratio has consistently lagged nominal highs in stocks as you can see in the chart below.

What I find so interesting about the above chart is that both of 2019’s new record highs in the U.S. equity market came at considerably lower levels in the SPY/GLD ratio compared to last fall’s high. In fact, today’s SPY/GLD ratio is not just 14% below where the ratio was during last September’s stock market high, it’s also 3% below the prior equity market high in May.

So what does all of this mean? It’s too early to tell for sure, but what the chart tells me is there’s a high probability the economic cycle ended and started to turn down last September, and 2019’s nominal highs in equities (May and July) are sending false signals about what’s really going on. Combine this with the fact that gold recently broke out of a multi-year downtrend and the argument becomes stronger.

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

Rabobank: “There Are Lots Of Comparisons One Can Make To The 1930s At The Moment, None Flattering”

Rabobank: “There Are Lots Of Comparisons One Can Make To The 1930s At The Moment, None Flattering”

Yesterday’s 1 July handover day celebrations in Hong Kong did not go as smoothly at all. After rain had forced the flag-raising ceremony indoors for the first time, early clashes between police and protestors were a harbinger of what was to follow. While hundreds of thousands peacefully marched, thousands of very young protesters literally tore their way through to occupy and graffiti the Legislative Council (LegCo): they blacked out the Hong Kong symbol above Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s chair; briefly lay the British colonial flag on her desk; insisted Lam resign and the Extradition Bill be scrapped, not paused; and left a banner demanding full democracy.

This raises the stakes in all manner of ways. Lam is refusing to move on any front; the silent majority might be sympathetic to the goal but are far from happy with the recent disorder; Beijing is no doubt furious; pro-China protests and groups are already emerging on the streets too, suggesting clashes may occur at some point; and journalists who spoke with the teenagers in LegCo report many profess to be desperate enough to die for their cause. In short, the situation is far from good – for Hong Kong, for markets,…and perhaps for the HKD if one looks further out(?) Don’t forget that the US will be watching closely what happens in terms of HK’s autonomy and its legal recognition of the territory.

At the same time, Iran announced, and the IEAE confirmed, it had exceeded the 300kg uranium-enriching limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal. While Tehran can still step back from this, they are demanding Europe act on circumventing US sanctions on it forthwith to do so. That action will almost certainly trigger a sharp US reaction.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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