Whether, or not, a Greek exit from the Eurozone or a potential debt default is "the thing" that sparks the next major correction in the markets is unknown. Historically, such a widely "known" event is generally already factored into the markets and has much less of an impact when that event eventually comes to fruition. As Art Cashin suggested this morning: "I think China may be more important than Greece. Stick with the drill – stay wary, alert and very, very nimble."
"The Fed is allowing the [market] tail to wag the [monetary policy] dog... The Fed's credibility itself is at stake... they have backed themselves into a very tight corner... the tightest ever... The hope today is that the current era of easy monetary policy will have no deep economic ramifications. Such thinking, though, may prove to be naive... All retirees’ security is thus at risk when the massive overvaluation in fixed income and equity markets eventually rights itself."
The entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt. Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system. Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.
*FISCHER SAYS RATE LIFTOFF LIKELY WARRANTED BEFORE END-2015
With the world now convinmced that Janet Yellen is as dovish as she has ever been on rate hikes, today comes the first post-FOMC speech. None other than Vice-chair Stanley Fischer is due to address The Economic Club of New York on the topic of "Monetary-policy lessons and the way ahead." As Art Cashin warned this morning, Fischer "seems to feel that the Fed must raise rates this year. He is also the only Fed official to concede that any rate hike will be different than any seen before."
On this day in 1955, the police were called to the five story, Fifth Avenue, mansion of Serge Rubenstein. There they found the corpse of the controversial 46 year-old "Financier." He had been strangled with a curtain cord. Rubenstein embodied in one man everything that would later be called "the sins of the eighties." He was greedy. He was flashy. He was a raider. His operations were shrouded in mystery and covered by dummy companies. And he used the press to exaggerate his wealth, so that he could bump up his credit with gullible bankers. He had been the guest of presidents and potentates. And through it all most folks thought he was a real slime ball. In covering his murder, Time magazine felt he had so many enemies that, with only a little tongue in cheek, Time congratulated the New York City police on having "....narrowed the list of suspects down to 10,000." It never got narrower.
Don't listen to or become entrapped by financial advisors offering some great skill, in knowing the guide path for various asset prices, and therefore can guide you in when to buy and sell certain securities. It's their only job to simply sell as much insane fantasy as possible, to anyone willing to buy. And it's those same advisors -frenzied by their battalion of technology resources- who are likely uneducated on the lessons contained in the straightforward story about the Grinch, to provide a better light for anyone in their winter voyage ahead.
Hot on the heels of his Xmas Poem, 50-year NYSE veteran Art Cashin, UBS Director of Floor Operations, has unveiled his New Year's Poem summarizing the year behind and looking at the year ahead. From ISIS to The Ice Bucket Challenge and from Joan Rivers' death to Kim Jung Un's life, Cashin covers it all...
From no greater laureate than UBS' NYSE Floor director Art Cashin... the year behind us (and the one ahead) in rhythmic narrative.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
On this day in 1876, a group of influential, yet irate, Americans met in Indianapolis. Their primary purpose was to send a message to Washington on how to get the economy moving again.... So this group decided that what was needed was re-inflation (put more money in everyone's hands, you see). The method they proposed was to issue more and more money. Cynics called them "The Greenback Party". And on this day, the Greenbacks challenged Washington by running an independent for President of the United States. His name was Peter Cooper. He lost but several associate whackos were elected to Congress.
BMO Capital Markets economist Sal Guatieri notes that the BMO Economics team has lowered its U.S. fourth quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate to 2.5% from 2.8% due to weaker housing starts and a view that November’s activity could get chilled by polar vortex 2. While October was relatively warm, November has been anything but. However, he does not expect the sort of massive hit that GDP suffered in the first quarter of 2014 due to cold weather.
It "all depends on Draghi," warned UBS' Art Cashin early this morning... and Draghi disappointed. Historically October 2nd, Cashin notes, usually sees a rebound but payrolls may complicate that pattern (and rumors that ISIS is consolidating west of Baghdad). Stick with the drill, he advises – "stay wary, alert and very, very nimble," as the 120-day moving average (1945 on Cash S&P) is critical...
The U.S. economy has had six full years to bounce back since the financial collapse of 2008, and it simply has not happened. Median household income has declined substantially since then, total household wealth for middle class families is way down, the percentage of the population that is employed is still about where it was at the end of the last recession, and the number of Americans that are dependent on the government has absolutely exploded. Even those that claim that the economy is "recovering" admit that we are not even close to where we used to be economically. Many hope that someday we will eventually get back to that level, but the truth is that this is about as good as things are ever going to get for the middle class.
Having cautioned investors this morning of the historical tendency for market reversals on September 22nd after hitting all-time highs, UBS' Art Cashin's warning has been echoed by BofAML's Macneil Curry who notes risk assets are set to correct as negative seasonals dominate the S&P500 this week. This is bullish for Treasuries, Curry adds. "Crazy? Maybe, but forewarned is forearmed," as Cashin concludes.
Q. What are traders talking about at the present time here at the New York Stock Exchange?
Cashin: We are concerned about two questions. First, how will the Fed do in keeping money reasonably easy without causing inflation? Second, where do we stand with the current geopolitical challenges? For now, these challenges seem to be short term concerns. But should we begin to see a financial contagion and pressure building on banks in Europe, perhaps out of the Ukraine situation, things could theoretically turn into what I call a «Lehman moment». That is when markets come under pressure but seem to be under control, and then things change suddenly.