Dow Jones Industrial Average
Having added further confusion to the markets by keeping "considerable" and adding "patient", suffered 3 dissents (1 dove, 2 hawks), and explaining that the energy price drop is "transitory", we suspect Fed Chair Janet Yellen will have some 'splainin' to do during today's press conference. Is "patient" longer than "considerable time" and just what (Dow Jones Industrial Average) data is the Fed dependent on now?
Another day, another record for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Main Street’s favorite measure of Wall Street stock performance. How did we get here? The answer sits in a comfortable blend of good returns from a range of industry sectors. Seven of the Dow 30 names have added over 100 points to the total 1,303 point gain for the Average this year: Visa (251 points), UnitedHealth (185), Nike (136), 3M (129), Disney (116), Johnson & Johnson (111) and Home Depot (106). By contrast, there is just one 100 point loser: IBM (negative 137 points). The collapse in energy stocks hasn’t hurt the Dow very much – just 113 points year to date related to declines in ExxonMobil and Chevron. And to satisfy the most common “What if” scenarios we hear: adding Apple on its split day this June would have added an estimated 166 points, and Facebook’s whole-year 2014 performance would have pushed the Average higher by 162 points.
Investors have been lulled into a state of complacency due to a seemingly "unstoppable" rise in the financial markets. Bad news remains good news, and even small drawdowns are quickly reversed sending stocks surging higher. Eventually, the paradox of what happens when a seemingly unstoppable force collides with an immovable will be answered. Historically, such realizations have not been kind to investors. This weekend's reading list takes a look at the reasons why stocks could rise higher, and the potential they won't. The question to be answered is "What will you do when the immovable object is met."
One of the great myths about investing that we’re told by the mainstream investment education is that we should “buy and hold” for the long term. Let's look at the numbers...
December 5th 1996: After rising 210% off the 1987 crash lows, Alan Greenspan speaking at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, asks: "But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?" The next day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumps by 1% to close at 6,381.94; over the next three years, the market nearly doubles...then crashes...then doubles... then crashes... and then triples in the last five years... "rational exuberance"
The ongoing slump in oil prices looks set to take their toll on London’s “super prime” property markets with attendant consequences for the rest of the London property market. Foreign money that had been flooding into the UK from a whole array of international sources and parking in London real estate is drying up.
Because nothing says "spend on Black Friday" like a fractionally positive Dow Jones Industrial Average closing in the green with a last minute surge that gets its from red to just barely green... and completely unrigged.
Following the October swoon, stocks have vaulted to all-time highs. As we discussed previously in "Sentiment Is Off The Charts Bullish," there have only been few occasions where investors have felt so "giddy" about the financial markets. Such periods of exuberance have never ended well for investors as they were deluded by near-term "greed" which blinded them to the building risks. One of the things that we pay attention to is the ratio of the S&P 500 compared to longer duration bonds.
Something is dreadfully wrong in America.
Isn't it amazing what 2000 Dow points will do to a Federal Reserve member's perspective of 'the economy' and 'inflation expectations'. Bullard is back again today:
*BULLARD: INFLATION EXPECTATIONS REBOUNDED SINCE MID-OCTOBER
*BULLARD: FED TO RAISE RATES IN 2015, TIMING DETERMINED BY DATA
So basically calling off QE4 until the next 9.9% correction... Dow-Data-Dependent indeed
“Keep in mind that even terribly hostile market environments do not resolve into uninterrupted declines. Even the 1929 and 1987 crashes began with initial losses of 10-12% that were then punctuated by hard advances that recovered about half of those losses before failing again... The 2007 top began with a plunge as market internals deteriorated materially, increasing day-to-day volatility, and a tendency for large moves to occur in sequence." Investors should interpret recent market strength in its full context: we’ve observed a fast, furious advance to clear an oversold “air-pocket” decline.
Congress gave the Fed a mandate to “promote maximum employment, production, and price stability”; it never explicitly authorized propping up stocks. Yet through a remarkable theoretical stretch called the “wealth effect,” that’s exactly what the Fed is doing.
"...the underlying cause of a crash will be found in the preceding months or years, in the progressively increasing build-up of market cooperativity, or effective interactions between investors, often translating into accelerating ascent of the market price (the bubble). According to this ‘critical’ point of view, the specific manner by which prices collapsed is not the most important problem: a crash occurs because the market has entered an unstable phase and any small disturbance or process may have triggered the instability."
Nobody in the economic intelligentsia is implying that the IMF is staffed by paranoid cranks. They continue to ignore and belittle the Austrian school. This pompous and undeserved behavior will go on until it’s too late. In the process, the ivory tower disciples of Keynes will only further prove their intellectual bankruptcy. The average person never trusted them to begin with. And things certainly won’t change now.