For gold to hit a new all time high adjusted for inflation, it would have to clear at least $2,193 per ounce. If you go by 1970 dollars (when gold started its last bull market) it’d have to hit $4,666 per ounce.
Despite much hope that the current breakout of the markets is the beginning of a new secular "bull" market - the economic and fundamental variables suggest otherwise. Valuations and sentiment are at very elevated levels which is the opposite of what has been seen previously. Interest rates, inflation, wages and savings rates are all at historically low levels which are normally seen at the end of secular bull market periods. Lastly, the consumer, the main driver of the economy, will not be able to again become a significantly larger chunk of the economy than they are today as the fundamental capacity to releverage to similar extremes is no longer available.
In his 712-page tour de force, The Great Deformation, David Stockman dissects America’s descent into the present era of “bubble finance.” it’s hard to refute Stockman’s perspective on the Fed’s role in the housing bubble. But that won’t stop some from trying, and especially the many academic economists beholden to the Fed. Research papers have stealthily danced around the Fed’s culpability for our crappy economy, as we discussed here. More importantly, if Stockman is right about bubble finance, there’s more mayhem to come. Consider that denying failure and persisting with the same strategy are two sides of the same coin. Just as investors avoid the pain of admitting mistakes by holding onto losing positions, Fed officials who claim to have done little wrong are also more committed than ever to propping up asset markets with cheap money. For those concerned about another policy failure, a key question is: “As of today, where do we stand with respect to bubbles and bubble finance?”
If you’ve ever sought advice from a financial advisor, you probably asked the question: “How much of my portfolio should I hold in stocks?” Somewhere in the answer, you were probably offered long-term return estimates. These estimates probably placed stock returns at approximately inflation plus 5 or 6%. But what if standard estimates are too optimistic, as they were in the 1990s when advisors typically predicted double-digit long-term returns? Shouldn’t this change your investment allocations? We’ll argue that the usual estimates are overoptimistic, and that investment allocations should be based on more realistic expectations. Worse still, the discrepancy has reached enormous proportions.
It would seems Reuben Kressel nailed it. The retail investor perfectly top-ticked his 500-share sell order on 12/27 and since Twitter shares have tumbled 25% - with plenty of volatility in between. As the world waits breathlessly for the firm's first earnings call later this month, it seems 'taking profits' is the new norm as firm after firm shifts their buy-buy-buy reccomendations to 'hold' or 'sell'.
Moments ago shots were fired when a (French) bank broke the unspoken Omerta code among sellside bankers: it downgraded another bank in a time when the S&P is just shy its all time highs (downgrading banks when the market is tumbling is usually a-ok). The note came from SocGen's Andrew Lim, whse thesis is rather simple: "Valuation too expensive in light of regulatory and revenue challenges."
That's the conundrum investors must face if they want in to this market now.
The past can offer clues to the future but it doesn’t give us a blueprint. The bigger message is that today’s valuations don’t bode well for long-term returns, where long-term means beyond the next market peak. Prices could surely bubble upwards from here, but bubbles are invariably followed by severe bear markets. More importantly, we shouldn’t be fooled by traditional valuation measures. P/Es, in particular, have several flaws. We’ve shown in past articles that we get completely different results when we adjust earnings to account for mean reversion. Either way, our conclusions are a far cry from the “nothing to see here” that we keep hearing from the Fed.
Sales of gold coins are booming even as the precious metal's price is falling (and it's not just central banks). Despite gold futures 28% drop in 2013 (its worst since 1981), the WSJ reports that demand for gold coins shot up 63% to 241.6 metric tons in the first three quarters of 2013.
- Heavy snowstorm hammers northeastern U.S. (Reuters)
- Coins Remain a Bright Spot for Gold (WSJ)
- Gross’s Mistake on Fed Taper Echoes Across Pimco Funds (BBG)
- China December services PMI falls to four-month low (Reuters)
- General Mills Starts Making Some Cheerios Without GMOs (WSJ)
- U.S. considers flammability risk of Bakken crude after accidents (Reuters)
- China Mobile’s Costly iPhone Deal with Apple (WSJ)
- Hezbollah Upgrades Missile Threat to Israel (WSJ)
- UK House Prices Cap Best Year Since 2006 as Mortgages Surge (BBG)
- China tells police to be loyal to party amid graft crackdown (Reuters)
While US stocks are taking off, there are other, potentially much larger opportunities outside of it.
The ubiquitous sell-side strategist, opining from his ivory tower of market-proven recency-bias based invincibility, appears to have coalesced on the 'group-thunk' case that we have entered into a new "secular" bull market as last seen in the early 1980's. However, while the thesis is interesting, it is based on some flawed assumptions interest rates, valuations and time frames. Of course, with virtual entirety of Wall Street being extremely bullish on the markets and economy going into 2014, along with bullish sentiment at extremely high levels, it certainly brings to mind Bob Farrell's Rule #9 which states: "When all experts agree - something else is bound to happen." Hold on to your hats friends - 2014 could well turn out to be an interesting year for all the wrong reasons.
To put this into perspective, this means investors put more money into stocks this year than they did in 2000: at the very peak of the TECH BUBBLE!
For the 3rd day in a row, traders in credit and equity markets bid for protection. VIX rose 1 vol to 13.5% (diverging notably from stocks) and High-yield and investment-grade credit protection is back at 1-week wides (again diverging notably from stocks). USD weakened back to pre-FOMC levels (-0.4% on the day) led by EUR liquidity needs by the look of it, was ignored by the commodity markets which saw silver and gold tank (gold < $1200) and WTI crude back under $100. Treasuries rallied modestly (yields -3bps) as stocks wriggled sideways on super-low volumes (with NASDAQ underperforming and Dow outperforming to break the new record-high 16,500 level). Homebuilders outperformed even after the dismal home sales data with Energy worst on the day.
For the second time in its brief life as a publicly-traded stock, the latest exhibit in 2013's FOMO meme has hit a bear market. Twitter has dropped 20% from its all-time high and must - must - be a bargain here?