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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…

Surf’s Up!

Surf’s Up!

The wave of change is finally here. Are you prepared to ride it?

Nothing seems right anymore.

In whichever direction we choose to look, things are unraveling at a quickening pace.

Welcome to the Fourth Turning; and with it, a profound loss of trust in institutions and government.

Such lack of social cohesion is a hallmark of a Fourth Turning. Sadly, it’s happening at a time when society desperately needs to pull together, set aside our differences, and make some really big decisions.

Dirty Hands Everywhere

For my own part, my loss of trust in what is termed the ‘mainstream media’ (MSM) is nearly complete.  Its sins of omission and commission have piled up too high to forgive – the bank of trust I once had in it has lost every penny and is now in deep overdraft.

In my opinion its gravest sin is the willful and deliberate fracturing of society into many disparate warring camps. The MSM has a lot to answer for in that regard.

Similarly guilty is our political system.  The core power players are unable to hold each other accountable, revealing that we don’t have two parties after all, but rather a uniparty organized around power and money.

The rules are increasingly re-written to benefit a smaller and smaller group of elites at the expense of everyone else — and that’s now becoming increasingly crystal clear to the 99.9% who are getting screwed. The corrosive effects of that are going to take decades to resolve.

As a result, the social fabric is rending apart.  Stress is epidemic with more people than ever reporting being unhappy, unfulfilled, isolated and alone.  Suicide is the second leading cause of death.  It’s worse than just depression, it’s something far more insidious — it’s demoralization. There’s no hope left any more for too many of us.

A Dying Ecosphere

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

What Will Stocks Do When “Consensual Hallucination” Ends?

What Will Stocks Do When “Consensual Hallucination” Ends?

The phenomenon works – until it doesn’t. What’s astonishing is how long it works.

This is the transcript from my podcast last SundayTHE WOLF STREET REPORT:

There is a phenomenon in stock markets, in bond markets, in housing markets, in cryptocurrency markets, and in other markets where people attempt to get rich. It’s when everyone is pulling in the same direction, energetically hyping everything, willfully swallowing any propaganda or outright falsehood, and not just nibbling on it, but swallowing it hook, line, and sinker, and strenuously avoiding exposure to any fundamental reality. For only one reason: to make more money.

People do it because it works. Trading algos are written to replicate it, because it works.

It works on the simple principle: If everyone believes stocks will go up, no matter what the current price or the current situation, or current fundamental data, then stocks will go up. They will go up because there is a lot of buying pressure because everyone believes that everyone believes that prices will go up, and so they bid up prices and chase stocks higher.

I call this phenomenon “consensual hallucination” – “consensual” because everyone eagerly smokes the same stuff in order to be able to get the same hallucinations everyone else is having, and to be part of the movement, because they believe that this movement will make them rich, and if enough people have this consensual hallucination, and if algos are programmed to trade with it, then it works wonderfully.

Until it doesn’t. The moment it doesn’t is when this hallucination begins to fade. And what happens then?

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

THE WOLF STREET REPORT: What Will Stocks Do When “Consensual Hallucination” Ends

THE WOLF STREET REPORT: What Will Stocks Do When “Consensual Hallucination” Ends

What’s astonishing is how long it lasts (9 minutes).

28 Signs Of Economic Doom As The Pivotal Month Of September Begins

28 Signs Of Economic Doom As The Pivotal Month Of September Begins

Since the end of the last recession, the outlook for the U.S. economy has never been as dire as it is right now.  Everywhere you look, economic red flags are popping up, and the mainstream media is suddenly full of stories about “the coming recession”.  After several years of relative economic stability, things appear to be changing dramatically for the U.S. economy and the global economy as a whole.  Over and over again, we are seeing things happen that we have not witnessed since the last recession, and many analysts expect our troubles to accelerate as we head into the final months of 2019.

We should certainly hope that things will soon turn around, but at this point that does not appear likely.  The following are 28 signs of economic doom as the pivotal month of September begins…

#1 The U.S. and China just slapped painful new tariffs on one another, thus escalating the trade war to an entirely new level.

#2 JPMorgan Chase is projecting that the trade war will cost “the average U.S. household” $1,000 per year.

#3 Yield curve inversions have preceded every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and the fact that it has happened again is one of the big reasons why Wall Street is freaking out so much lately.

#4 We just witnessed the largest decline in U.S. consumer sentiment in 7 years.

#5 Mortgage defaults are rising at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis.

#6 Sales of luxury homes valued at $1.5 million or higher were down five percentduring the second quarter of 2019.

#7 The U.S. manufacturing sector has contracted for the very first time since September 2009.

#8 The Cass Freight Index has been falling for a number of months.  According to CNBC, it fell “5.9% in July, following a 5.3% decline in June and a 6% drop in May.”

 …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…

Stocks Crater – 3.5 Trillion Dollars In Global Market Cap Wiped Out – China Considers “Dumping U.S. Treasuries”

Stocks Crater – 3.5 Trillion Dollars In Global Market Cap Wiped Out – China Considers “Dumping U.S. Treasuries”

Wall Street responded to our escalating trade war with China by throwing a bit of a temper tantrum.  On Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 617 points, and that was the worst day for the Dow since January 3rd.  But things were even worse for the Nasdaq.  It had its worst day since December 4th, and overall the Nasdaq is now down 6.3 percent in just the last six trading sessions.  Of course it isn’t just in the United States that stocks are declining.  Since last Monday, a total of approximately $3.5 trillion in market cap has been wiped out on global stock markets.  And since it doesn’t look like we are going to get any sort of a trade deal any time soon, this could potentially be just the beginning of our problems.

China fired a shot that was heard around the world on Monday when they announced that they would be dramatically raising tariffs on U.S. goods

China will raise tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods in retaliation for the U.S. decision to hike duties on Chinese goods, the Chinese Finance Ministry said Monday.

Beijing will increase tariffs on more than 5,000 products to as high as 25%. Duties on some other goods will increase to 20%. Those rates will rise from either 10% or 5% previously.

According to CNBC, these new tariffs are going to be particularly damaging for U.S. farmers…

The duties in large part target U.S. farmers, who largely supported Trump in 2016 but suffered from previous shots in the Trump administration’s trade war with China. The thousands of products include peanuts, sugar, wheat, chicken and turkey.

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

We Have Seen This Happen Before The Last 3 Recessions – And Now It Is The Worst It Has Ever Been

We Have Seen This Happen Before The Last 3 Recessions – And Now It Is The Worst It Has Ever Been

Since the last financial crisis, we have witnessed the greatest corporate debt binge in U.S. history.  Corporate debt has more than doubled since then, and it is now sitting at a grand total of more than 9 trillion dollars.  Of course there have been other colossal corporate debt binges throughout our history, and they all ended badly.  In fact, the ratio of corporate debt to U.S. GDP rose above 40 percent prior to each of the last three recessions, but this time around we have found a way to top that.  According to Forbes, the ratio of nonfinancial corporate debt to U.S. GDP is now nearly 50 percent…

Since the last recession, nonfinancial corporate debt has ballooned to more than $9 trillion as of November 2018, which is nearly half of U.S. GDP. As you can see below, each recession going back to the mid-1980s coincided with elevated debt-to-GDP levels—most notably the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the 2000 dot-com bubble and the early ’90s slowdown.

You can see the chart they are talking about right here, and it clearly shows that each of the last three recessions coincided with the bursting of an enormous corporate debt bubble.

This time around the corporate debt bubble is larger than it has ever been before, and risky corporate debt has been growing faster than any other category

Through 2023, as much as $4.88 trillion of this debt is scheduled to mature. And because of higher rates, many companies are increasingly having difficulty making interest payments on their debt, which is growing faster than the U.S. economy, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

On top of that, the very fastest-growing type of debt is riskier BBB-rated bonds—just one step up from “junk.” This is literally the junkiest corporate bond environment we’ve ever seen.

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

Trump Cares About Two Things – Empire and the Stock Market

Trump Cares About Two Things – Empire and the Stock Market

Though not surprising, it’s nevertheless extraordinary to watch Donald Trump publicly and shamelessly morph into a George W. Bush era neocon when it comes to foreign policy, and a CNBC stock market cheerleader when it comes to the economy. Just like Barack Obama before him, Trump talked a good populist game on two issues of monumental importance (foreign policy and the rigged economy), but once elected immediately turned around and prioritized the core interests of oligarchy.

Trump doesn’t even give lip service to big picture populist topics anymore unless they’re somehow related to the culture war, which works out perfectly for the entrenched oligarchy since the culture war primarily serves as a useful distraction to keep the rabble squabbling while apex societal predators loot whatever’s left of this hollowed out neo-feudal economy.

The pivot toward status quo consensus when it comes to two of the most existential issues facing the nation should be deeply concerning to everyone, but particularly to those who thought Donald Trump would be different. When it comes to militarism and empire, Trump’s hypocrisy and bait and switch is one for the record books. Just as it became clear Obama was a fraud once he hired Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner (we later found out his cabinet was apparently chosen by Citibank), Trump placing neocons Mike Pompeo and John Bolton into key positions was a clear sign you could take “Make America Great Again” and flush it down the toilet. This administration is now laser focused on maintaining and even expanding imperial reach.

Like Obama before him, Trump’s abandonment of every important thing he ran on was noticeable early on. Recall that while campaigning, Trump accurately called out the Saudis for their key role in the 9/11 attacks:

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

Preppers save for a rainy day: Why financial planning is crucial for surviving an economic downturn

Preppers save for a rainy day: Why financial planning is crucial for surviving an economic downturn

Image: Preppers save for a rainy day: Why financial planning is crucial for surviving an economic downturn

(Natural News) As a prepper, one of the first things that you need to learn is the importance of financial preparedness. Don’t wait until an economic collapse before you start settling your debts or saving money. (h/t to TimGamble.com)

The basics of financial preparedness

Personal, business, or government debt is bad. It will stress you out, and it makes you more vulnerable to economic downturns.

To become financially prepared, you must first eliminate consumer debt. This includes credit cards, car loans, payday loans, personal loan, and installment plans.

To clear your debts, you may need to make sacrifices, such as:

  • Putting off major purchases.
  • Avoiding impulse purchases (e.g. luxury items, etc).
  • Bringing your own lunch to school or work.
  • Having a major yard sale to raise some money.
  • Starting a second job.

Making these sacrifices may seem hard, but keep in mind that in the end, the benefits will be more than worth it. (Related: 7 obvious warning signs we are heading for an economic meltdown.)

Second, you need to have emergency savings. Start by holding yard sales or getting a second job. Put the money somewhere safe, such as an insured certificate of deposit(CD). A CD is a type of federally insured savings account with a fixed interest rate and fixed date of withdrawal or maturity date. CDs don’t usually have monthly fees and they are different from traditional savings accounts in several ways. Savings accounts let you deposit and withdraw funds rather freely.

However, with a CD you agree to leave your money in the bank for a set amount of time (know as the “term length”). If you do access the money in a CD, you will need to pay a penalty. Term lengths can range from several days to a decade. The standard range of options for CDs is between three months and five years.

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

DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

Image: DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

(Natural News) After U.S. markets peaked in September nearly two years after Donald Trump’s victory came with the promise (and delivery) of pro-growth policies, investors got a scare in December when several factors combined with interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to drive down indexes.

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 all finished the year lower than they were in September. Worse, there are predictions that 2019 could hit markets harder. 

Bank of America just polled 234 panelists who manage more than $645 billion in investments where they think global growth is heading over the next 12 months, and 60 percent said it will be negative. 

On top of this potential nightmare scenario is the fact that governments around the world comprising the largest economies have nearly all become debtor nations that are one economic calamity away from global collapse.

As noted by Robert Gore at The Burning Platform blog, France’s Yellow Vest protesters may have inadvertently hit upon a way to bring about the collapse of the fiat money and debt system that is sustaining the very governments which increasingly suppress the people they are supposed to serve.

Gore notes that in recent days the French protesters — whom, you recall, took to the streets in response to a massive gasoline tax pushed by President Emmanuel Macron to fund France’s contributions to combat “global warming” agreed to at the Paris Accords in 2015 — have advocated a run on the country’s banks. Such a run, if it occurs, could actually start a chain reaction that would spread to other ostensibly wealthy countries including the United States.

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

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