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Sick Of It All

Sick Of It All

Every week, usually once or twice, I sit down to put onto paper my thoughts about the market. And every week, my disgust not only for the rigged system that encompasses our equity markets, but also for the sound of my own whining, grows exponentially.

When I sit down to perfunctorily prattle on about how nothing makes sense and how I constantly see things the polar opposite of 99% of everybody else in the world of finance every week, I usually wonder two things.

First, I wonder whether or not today will finally be the day that I capitulate, get bullish on the stock market, and start bowing religiously to a statue of Stephanie Kelton.

“I should know, I’ve followed a few!” – Arthur

After all, the incessant price moves higher in Bitcoin are part of what triggered me to eventually reassess my thought process on the cryptocurrency. And even though I got bullish for reasons other than price, why couldn’t the same happen with equities?

Second, I try to conceptualize exactly how fast the universe can, and will, make a total ass out of me by crashing markets 50% in 15 minutes in the days, hours, minutes, or probably even seconds after I’d have such a shift in sentiment.

Which is why, like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I will continue to forge forward, exasperated, regardless of the inconvenient fact that I have no arms or legs left. But don’t let anybody ever tell you that my spirit was easy to break.

“The Black Knight always triumphs!”

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

Wealth Gap And The Road To Serfdom

Wealth Gap And The Road To Serfdom

One of the most interesting conundrums is the surging wealth gap in America. Despite two of the largest bull markets in history since 1980, most Americans struggle with making ends meet and are unprepared for retirement. Such a reality starkly differs from the belief that rising asset prices benefit the masses.

For example, in a recent St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank analysis, total household wealth was $139.1 trillion, covering 131 million families. Of that total wealth, 74% was owned by just 13.2 million families, or roughly 10% of the population.

Wealth Distribution

Notably, this measure of wealth includes the equity of the family’s home. While home equity is essential, it is not readily spendable without taking on debt to extract the value. Therefore, Americans’ “liquid wealth” is far more unequally distributed. However, such is hard to fathom given the endless parade of media and social media influencers extolling the virtues of “building wealth through investing.”

Interestingly, that survey came after the Government injected nearly $5 trillion into the economy, a massive surge in deficit spending, and the Fed’s $120 billion monthly injections doubled asset prices from the March 2020 lows. Unsurprisingly, in February, Fidelity published its latest analysis showing the number of retirement accounts with balances of more than $1 million surged toward a record. To wit:

The number of seven-figure 401(k) accounts at Fidelity Investments jumped 20% in 2023’s final quarter to 422,000, marking a sharp recovery from the previous quarter’s 7.7% drop.

Gains in the stock market helped swell retirement balances last year as the S&P 500 advanced 24% following 2022’s 19% decline. The impressive run was powered in large part by the so-called “Magnificent 7” stocks that now make up roughly 30% of the market-cap weighted S&P 500 Index. The only time when the ranks of 401(k) millionaires at Fidelity was higher was in 2021’s fourth quarter, when there were 442,000 such accounts. Elsewhere, the number of seven-figure IRAs is at a record 391,600 accounts.” – Bloomberg

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

As China Stocks Crash, Beijing Proposes Multi-Trillion Market Rescue Package

As China Stocks Crash, Beijing Proposes Multi-Trillion Market Rescue Package

Earlier today, we lamented the latest implosion in Chinese markets, which we discussed in “China Stocks Crash Through ‘Snowball Derivatives’ Trigger Levels Overnight“, in which we pointed out the unprecedented failure of the centrally-planned market to halt its collapse be it through short selling bans, or even the latest impotent intervention by the “National Team”, China’s Plunge Protection Team, which today failed to spark even a modest rebound in the relentless selling which had triggered key liquidation levels.

We then summarized just how badly Beijing had boxed itself, noting that “after short selling ban did nothing, China PPT stepped in… and couldn’t do jack. Beijing trapped.” We concluded that “either they watch liquidation cascade as snowball derivatives are knocked in sparking rout and leading to social unrest, or they stop talking and finally do something.”

Well, just a few hours later we were proven correct again, because shortly after China reopened on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that according to “people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified” – i.e., government sources eager to do a market test, China is considering a package of measures to stabilize the plummeting stock market, after earlier attempts to restore investor confidence fell short and prompted Premier Li Qiang to call for “forceful” steps.

Specifically, Beijing is reportedly seeking to “mobilize” about 2 trillion yuan ($278 billion), mainly from the offshore accounts of Chinese state-owned enterprises, as part of a stabilization fund to buy shares onshore through the Hong Kong exchange link; it has also earmarked at least 300 billion yuan of local funds to invest in onshore shares through China Securities Finance Corp. or Central Huijin Investment Ltd.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

War Cycle Heats Up & Markets Tank in 2023 – Charles Nenner

War Cycle Heats Up & Markets Tank in 2023 – Charles Nenner

TERRIFYING Report That Sent All Markets Crashing! (Stocks, Bonds, Crypto & Gold )

TERRIFYING Report That Sent All Markets Crashing! (Stocks, Bonds, Crypto & Gold )

“Prepare For An Epic Finale” – Jeremy Grantham Warns Stock Market ‘Super Bubble’ Has Yet To Burst

“Prepare For An Epic Finale” – Jeremy Grantham Warns Stock Market ‘Super Bubble’ Has Yet To Burst

Having infamously spotted and profited from bubbles in Japan in the late 1980s, tech stocks at the turn of the century and in US housing before the 2008 financial crisis, GMO’s co-founder Jeremy Grantham laid out in his latest note to investors why the “super bubble” that he previously warned about hasn’t popped yet (despite this year’s somewhat chaotic market behavior).

“You had a typical bear market rally the other day and people were saying, ‘Oh, it’s a new bull market,” Grantham said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“That is nonsense.”

Specifically, the 83-year-old investors says that the surge in US equities from mid-June to mid-August fits the pattern of bear market rallies common after an initial sharp decline — and before the economy truly begins to deteriorate; and sees more trouble ahead because of a “dangerous mix” of overvalued stocks, bonds and housing, combined with a commodity shock and hawkishness from the Fed.

“My bet is that we’re going to have a fairly tough time of it economically and financially before this is washed through the system,’’ Grantham said. 

“What I don’t know is: Does that get out of hand like it did in the ‘30s, is it pretty well contained as it was in 2000 or is it somewhere in the middle?”

In his note today, Grantham warns that we are entering the superbubble’s final act

Executive Summary

Only a few market events in an investor’s career really matter, and among the most important of all are superbubbles. These superbubbles are events unlike any others: while there are only a few in history for investors to study, they have clear features in common.

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

The Biggest Crash In History Is Coming? Kiyosaki Says So.

The Biggest Crash In History Is Coming? Kiyosaki Says So.

Robert Kiyosaki recently tweeted, “The best time to prepare for a crash is before the crash. The biggest crash in world history is coming. The good news is the best time to get rich is during a crash. The bad news is the next crash will be a long one.”

Is Kiyosaki just being hyperbolic, or should investors prepare for the worst?

Importantly, I received Kiyosaki’s comment in an email that I could find out more by just clicking on the link to get a “free” report.

I can save you time, and future spam emails, by telling you that Kiyosaki will be correct.

Eventually.

However, the problem, as always, is “timing.”

As discussed previously, going to cash too early can be as detrimental to your financial outcome as the crash itself.

Over the past decade, I have met with numerous individuals who “went to cash” in 2008 before the crash. They felt confident in their actions at the time. However, that “confidence” gave way to “confirmation bias” after the market bottomed in 2009. They remained convinced the “bear market” was not yet over, and sought out confirming information.

As a consequence, they remained in cash. The cost of “sitting out” on a market advance is evident.

As the market turned from “bearish” to “bullish,” many individuals remained in cash worrying they had missed the opportunity to get in. Even when there were decent pullbacks, the “fear of being wrong” outweighed the necessity of getting capital invested.

Biggest Crash, The Biggest Crash In History Is Coming? Kiyosaki Says So.

The email I received noted:

“If such a disaster could be in the making, your assets are at risk and this requires your immediate attention! And if you believe that now isn’t the time to protect yourself and your family, when will it be?”

Let’s start with that last sentence.

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

The Great Crash of 2022 – What happens next? Go read the Book!

The Great Crash of 2022 – What happens next? Go read the Book!

Yesterday’s market meltdown was heralded as a “capitulation trade”, but who knows? What we do know is there an awful lot to worry about, and the conditions for the BIG ONE have been building for decades. Time to re-read The Great Crash, 1929.

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger….”

This Morning – Yesterday’s market meltdown was heralded as a “capitulation trade”, but who knows? What we do know is there an awful lot to worry about, and the conditions for the BIG ONE have been building for decades. Time to re-read The Great Crash, 1929.

There is nothing like a 6.30 am swim against the tide on cold, grey morning in muddy near-freezing water to remind you of why we spend so much money on mattresses and warm snuggly duvets. Of course, a swim should have been a wonderful moment to contemplate what the papers are calling the “Capitulation Trade” – as stocks posted their worst day in a couple of years and bonds tumbled…. But… Keeping up my momentum against the building down-tide was my primary concern.

Does that mean I missed the opportunity to liquidate my entire account before the end of everything – which might be later this afternoon? Oh dear…

On Wednesday, the market welcomed Jay Powell’s 50 bp hike with a relief rally. Yesterday it puked and reversed all its recent gains. What changed? Who knows, but was yesterday really the beginning of the big and negative something we’ve all been waiting for?

Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? Who can tell? If I knew I wouldn’t be swimming in dirty cold rivers to stay fit, nor would I be writing about it each morning!

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

The Problem With Ponzis…

The Problem With Ponzis…

Over the past few years, I’ve been highly critical of the Ponzi Sector. This is a whole grouping of companies that has no ability or desire to ever become profitable. Instead, these businesses have focused on rapid revenue growth because the stock market has rewarded them for this growth—especially if there are no profits. In reality, stock promotion is the core business of the Ponzi Sector—it allows the companies to raise capital and fund unprofitable growth, while insiders dump stock at insane valuations. Now, as the Ponzi Sector equities go into free-fall, a problem has emerged.

Let’s look at Peloton [PTON], the overpriced clothes rack with a built-in iPad. We just witnessed the best possible 6-quarter environment that the company will ever experience. The whole world was locked down, gyms were closed, and work was cancelled. People literally sat at home, bored out of their wits, armed with massive government stimulus checks, fixated on buying products. Despite every possible tailwind, Peloton lost $189 million in the year ended June 2021. As the stimmies wore off, losses exploded to $376 million in the most recent quarter. If this business cannot make money in this perfect environment, what is the operating environment where it earns money?

Investors will say that the goal at Peloton is to lose money on the hardware and make it back on the subscription product. Sure, I can see how investors may fixate on the growing subscription business, but this is a fad fitness business, churn will be high and accelerating now that gyms have re-opened. The expected monthly annuity will underperform, and marketing will always be necessary to bring in more customers.

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

Mayhem Beneath the Surface of the Stock Market

Mayhem Beneath the Surface of the Stock Market

But on the surface, stocks still look hunky-dory. 

It’s amazing how individual stocks, at the tippy-top of the biggest stock market bubble in modern times, are getting taken out the back one by one to be crushed, but without denting the overall indices all that much.

The stock market bubble was driven by $4.5 trillion in QE in the US alone, along with many more trillions by other central banks, and it was driven by interest rate repression, even has inflation has been surging to multi-decade highs, not just in the US but globally, and not just in goods, but now also in services, particularly housing, such as rents.

After a decade of QE being relatively benign on the inflation front, giving central bankers a false sense of confidence, it has finally broken the dam, and inflation is now surging everywhere, and it’s spreading across the economy.

Central banks are now no longer denying it, and some have raised rates, and others have ended QE.

Even the Fed, which engineered this money-printing orgy and is very slow in ending it, is now ending it, and it will be raising rates, and everything is moving faster than expected, and suddenly the orgy is over.

Each stock that crashes has its own story for the crash. What they have in common is that they were all ridiculously overvalued, and investors knew it, and they kept hanging on till the last moment to ride them up all the way, but they were sitting all bunched up near the exits, and when the signal came, they all rushed out together, causing those shares to collapse. But even at those much lower valuations, those stocks are still ridiculously overvalued.

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

Gold vs. the stock market

More than 3,000 years ago in the early 12th century BC, Greco-Roman legend tells us of a mythical pair of monsters located in the Strait of Messina in southern Italy.

The monsters were named Scylla and Charybdis. And both Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid describe the terror of sailors who came into contact with them.

Scylla was on one side of the Strait, and Charybdis on the other. But because the Strait is so narrow, it was impossible for sailors to avoid both of the monsters, essentially forcing the captain to choose between the lesser of two evils.

In Homer’s narrative, for example, Odysseus is advised that the whirlpools of Charybis could sink his entire ship, while Scylla might only kill a handful of his sailors.

So Odysseus chooses to sail past Scylla: “Better by far to lose six men and keep your ship than lose your entire crew.”

The story is a myth. But the idea of having to choose between two terrible options is very real.

It appears that the Federal Reserve has landed itself in this position.

In its efforts to boost the economy during the pandemic, the Fed slashed interest rates so much that the average 30-year mortgage rate for homebuyers reached an all-time low of 2.65% earlier this year.

Similarly, AAA-rated corporate bond yields reached record low 2.14% last summer.

The US government 10-year Treasury Note dropped to a record low 0.52%.

And the 28-day US government Treasury Bill rate actually turned negative for a brief period– something that has never happened before.

The effects of such cheap rates are obvious.

With corporate borrowing rates so low, the stock market has boomed. With consumers able to borrow money so cheaply, home prices have surged to an all-time high.

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

 

The Fed’s Couldn’t Even Stomach a 10% Drop in Stocks… It’s Officially in the Bubble Business

The Fed’s Couldn’t Even Stomach a 10% Drop in Stocks… It’s Officially in the Bubble Business

The Fed will soon be buying stocks.

Earlier this week, the Fed announced that it will begin buying corporate bonds from individual companies. Before this announcement, the Fed was already involved in the:

  • The Treasury markets (US sovereign debt)
  • The municipal bond markets (debt issued by states and cities)
  • The corporate bond markets by index (debt issued by corporations)
  • The commercial paper markets (short-term corporate debt market)
  • And the asset-backed security markets (everything from student loans to certificates of deposit and more).

With the introduction of individual corporate bonds, the Fed is now one step closer to buying stocks outright.

Indeed, the Fed has made ZERO references to stopping its monetary madness. Just yesterday Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized to Congress that the Fed is “years away from halting its assets monetization scheme.” 

Again, the Fed is explicitly telling us that it plans on buying assets (Treasuries, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, etc.) for years to come.

The next step will be for the Fed to buy stocks.

It won’t be the first central bank to do so…

The central bank of Switzerland, called the Swiss National Bank has been buying stocks for years. Yes. It literally prints money and buys stocks in the U.S. stock markets.

Then there’s Japan’s central bank, called the Bank of Japan. It also prints money and buys stocks outright. As of March 2019, it owned 80% of Japan’s ETFs.

Yes, 80%.

The BoJ is also a top-10 shareholder in over 50% of the companies that trade on the Japanese stock market.

If you think this can’t happen in the US, think again. The Fed told us in 2019 that it would be forced to engage in EXTREME monetary policies during the next downturn.

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

If Stocks Don’t Hold Here We Could See Another Crash of Sorts

If Stocks Don’t Hold Here We Could See Another Crash of Sorts


Stocks have fallen hard over the weekend again. The media is pinning this drop on the potential for another COVID-19 pandemic, but the facts don’t support that theory.

At times like these, it’s essential to ignore narratives, and focus on price. With that in mind, the S&P 500 remains in an uptrend, barely (blue lines in the chart below). Stocks need to hold here for the bull market case to remain intact. 

If stocks break down from here, there are two items in play. One is support at 2,940 (lower green line in the chart below). The other is the gap established by the open on May 18th (blue rectangle in the chart below).

When we plot the S&P 500 against the VIX (inverted), it looks like there’s more downside to go here.

However, both breadth and credit suggest the downside is limited here.

My point with all of this is that today the market is literally a crap shoot. The easy money from the rally has been made, and the next trend is not clear yet. So now is NOT the time to be putting a load of capital to work.

However, if stocks don’t hold here, we could potentially see a crash down to 2,700.

That is a high reward type move. And one we need to consider.

The UN Is Now Admitting That This Coronavirus Pandemic Could Spark Famines Of “Biblical Proportions”

The UN Is Now Admitting That This Coronavirus Pandemic Could Spark Famines Of “Biblical Proportions”

What the head of the UN’s World Food Program just said should be making front page headlines all over the globe.  Because if what he is claiming is true, we are about to see global food shortages on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented in modern history.  Even before COVID-19 arrived, armies of locusts the size of major cities were voraciously eating crops all across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, and UN officials were loudly warning about what that would mean for global food production.  And now the coronavirus shutdowns that have been implemented all over the planet have brought global trade to a standstill, they are making it more difficult to maintain normal food production operations, and they have forced countless workers to stay home and not earn a living.  All of this adds up to a recipe for a complete and utter nightmare in the months ahead.

David Beasley is the head of the UN’s World Food Program, and on Tuesday he warned that we could actually see famines of “biblical proportions” by the end of this calendar year.  The following comes from ABC News

The coronavirus pandemic could soon double hunger, causing famines of “biblical proportions” around the world by the end of the year, the head of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

Beasley warned that analysis from the World Food Programme, the U.N.’s food-assistance branch, shows that because of the coronavirus, “an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people.”

He described what we are facing as “a hunger pandemic”, and he insisted that urgent action must be taken in order to avoid a nightmare scenario.

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

VIDEO: The Fed’s Evil Juggernaut

VIDEO: The Fed’s Evil Juggernaut

Don’t let it crush your future

Juggernaut: (n) massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path

The US Federal Reserve is once again force-feeding liquidity into the system. At its fastest rate ever.

The result? Record high stock prices whose valuations defy all logic.

What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we just enjoy the party and be grateful for our rising 401ks?

What’s wrong is that the Fed’s actions are dooming us. Their poisonous cocktail of endless cheap money and rock-bottom interest rates is hastening a terminal breakdown of the economy, while deliberately enriching a tiny cadre of elites to the ruin of everyone else.

Though most remain blind to this, Fed policy (and the similar ones pursued by the other major world central banks) is directly responsible for, or a major contributor to, many of the biggest challenges society is facing.

Tens of millions of Boomers who can’t afford to retire. Tens of millions of Millennials who can’t afford to purchase a home. History’s largest wealth gap between the 1% and everyone else. Relentless increases in the cost of living while real wages remain stagnant. Depletion and degradation of our key natural resources by zombie companies run without profits. We can thank the Fed for all of these ills, plus many more.

All we’re offered in return is the fake reassurance that “everything is awesome” because stocks are higher today than they were yesterday. As if that really makes a difference when the top 1% owns 50% of all stocks and the top 10% owns over 90%.

And when today’s epicly distorted markets reach their breaking point — which may be imminent given the truly manic action recently — not only will the resulting damage be commensurately epic, but it will injure the 99% FAR more than the 1% who benefitted from it.

Mass layoffs. Bankruptcies. Destroyed retirement portfolios and pensions. State and city budget crises. Higher taxes. More fees. Cancelled social services. Hollowed-out communities.

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

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Olduvai II: Exodus
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