Is Apple going to produce more electric vehicles ten years from now than BMW?
Once again, the expected outcome of the most recent wave of deterioration in market internals will likely depend on one’s view of the current market regime. Are we in an environment that can continue to largely dismiss these breadth warnings, ala the late 1990?s? Or are stocks fated to eventually succumb to the weakening internal foundation as in the post-2000 period?
“The correction didn’t really solve a whole lot. You have all the same underlying market fissures in place, yet they will have lasted another six months... the odds are very high that the top was in May. I still think we’re looking at a cyclical bear market.”
Global policymakers have gone to incredible measures to stabilize market, financial and economic backdrops. Yet reflationary measures will continue to only further destabilize. When policy-induced “risk on” is overpowering global securities markets, fragilities remain well concealed. Fragilities, however, swiftly manifest with the reappearance of “risk off.” Rather quickly securities markets demonstrate their proclivity for illiquidity and so-called “flash crashes.” So after an unsettled week in global markets, the critical issue is whether “risk on” is giving way to “risk off” dynamics.
Is the post-September rally already over... or is it just getting started? The answer likely depends on what market climate we’re in now.
"We fear we have been bullish over the course of the past several weeks… indeed rather aggressively so… and did not pay sufficient heed to the warning signs of lesser volume. We are not wise enough to say that a bear market is now upon us, and indeed we are wise enough NOT to say that but discretion is the far better part of valor and the safety of the sidelines after several weeks of real bullishness on our part is to be sought."
- Dennis Gartman
It is important to note that the current weakness of gold is primarily in dollar and sterling terms. For investors in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the EU gold is once again acting as a hedge.
Breaking a critical trendline (particularly one that has been in place for several decades) is one thing. Breaking it and then failing to reclaim it during the following bounce is indicative of BEAR MARKET.
As Strategas notes "any way we look at it, market breadth remains narrow," but, as Dana Lyon's details, everyone's favorite high-beta squeeze index - Nasdaq - is perhaps the most troubling. Since the initial spike off the September lows, rally participation among all stocks has been lackluster; the Nasdaq provides us with more evidence of this... In fact, over the past month, the cumulative number of daily advancing stocks minus declining stocks on the Nasdaq is actually negative.
- Global Stocks Slip Lower (WSJ)
- Dollar sits pretty, bond yields rise as Fed bets firm (Reuters)
- Takeover Loans Have Few Takers on Wall Street (WSJ)
- Chinese Buyers Seek Dollar Assets as Promise of Yuan Gains Fades (BBG)
- Banking Giants Learn Cost of Preventing Another Lehman Moment (BBG)
- Eurozone Finance Ministers Won’t Release $2.15 billion Loan to Greece (WSJ)
The cries for going totally crazy are growing louder... the lunatics are running the asylum. One shouldn’t underestimate what they are capable of. The only consolation is that the day will come when the monetary cranks will be discredited again (for the umpteenth time). Thereafter it will presumably take a few decades before these ideas will rear their head again (like an especially sturdy weed, the idea that inflationism can promote prosperity seems nigh ineradicable in the long term – it always rises from the ashes again). The bad news is that many of us will probably still be around when the bill for these idiocies will be presented.
"After many years of ultra-accommodative polices, it is clear that ongoing interventions have failed to boost actual economic growth and only exacerbated the destruction of the middle class. It is clear that employment growth has only been a function of population growth, as witnessed by the ongoing decline in the labor-force participation rates and the surging levels of individuals that have fallen out of the work-force. While we will continue to operate to foster maximum employment and price stability, the reality is that the economy overall remains far to weak to sustain higher interest rates or any tightening of monetary policy."
"Absent the central banks, we would be in the later stages of a credit cycle," warns Principal Global Investors's David Blake as 2015 has now seen the most corporate debt downgrades since 2009 and the upgrade-downgrade ratio crashes to financial crisis lows. A lot of people are recognising we are closer to the end of the credit cycle than the beginning, and while stocks have bounced back dramatically as Dana Lyons' details, junk bonds have not; a combination normally associated with more extensive bear markets and recessions. As BofAML analysts warned "the slow moving train wreck seems to be accelerating."
This time is always different just before a bone-crushing decline.
While there are certainly reasons to be "hopeful" that stocks will continue to rise into the future, "hope" has rarely been a fruitful investment strategy longer term. Therefore, let's analyze each of the optimist's arguments from both perspectives to eliminate "confirmation bias."