Dow Jones Industrial Average
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.
"I see deflation flirting with America." Retail sales equals consumer spending equals velocity of money. And unless the money supply is rising, hardly likely in the taper, less spending is deflation by definition. Forget about PMI and all that kind of data, it’s much simpler than that. Central banks can do all kinds of stuff, but they can’t make us spend our money on things we don’t want or need. Let alone make us borrow to do so. And if we don’t, deflation is an inevitable fact. That doesn’t mean prices for some items won’t go up, but that’s not what counts. It’s about how fast we either spend the money we have – if we have any left – or how much we borrow. And if time is money, then borrowed money is borrowed time. So we really shouldn’t.
- Dallas County May Declare State of Disaster From Ebola Virus (BBG)
- Markets on edge after worst turmoil in four years (Reuters)
- Central bankers may have no quick fix as markets swoon, economy weakens (Reuters)
- Risk of Deflation Feeds Global Fears (Hilsenrath)
- U.S. health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever (Reuters)
- Texas Hospital Fights Allegations About Ebola Protocols (BBG)
- Treasuries Gain as Oil Drops Below $80 While Stocks Slide (BBG)
- Greek Bonds Slump on Bailout Concern as Spain Misses Sale Target (BBG)
- White House shifts into crisis mode on Ebola response (Reuters)
- Obama Confronts Slippery Slope as Islamic State Advances (BBG)
If central banks have learned anything since 2008, it's that waiting around for the panic to deepen is not a winning strategy. Put yourself in their shoes. Isn't this what you would do, given the dearth of alternatives and the very real risks of implosion? Anyone in their position with the tools at hand would not have any other real option other than to buy stocks in whatever quantity is needed to reverse the selling and blow the shorts out of the water. If $1 trillion doesn't do the job, make it $3 trillion, or $5 trillion. At this point, it doesn't really matter, does it?
As Monday Looms, Experts Warn Japan's Half-Trillion Dollar Fat-Finger-Trade "Could Absolutely Happen" In The USSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/11/2014 13:46 -0500
Just over a week ago, the Japanese stock market participants were stunned when stock orders amounting to a whopping $617 billion (yes Billion with a B) - more than the size of Sweden’s economy - were canceled for reasons still unknown in what was one of the biggest 'fat finger' trading errors of all time. Since then, US equity markets have suddenly become notably more volatile - and fallen significantly, VIX has seen odd intraday 'spikes', S&P futures saw the very odd 'satan signal', and USDJPY has suffered its worst losses in 3 years. This raises the question of whether US market microstructure is any better than Michael Lewis' Flash Boys' book describes.. (as we head into a bond market holiday, dismal liquidity, and a potential Black Monday), “That could absolutely happen here,” Tabb Group's Larry Tabb warns Bloomberg.
Have the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average seen their highs for the year? At this point in 2014, it’s probably a coin toss. There are several factors in favor of a further rally, to be sure. Corporate profits are still robust, revenue expectations are modest, and long term interest rates remain equity-friendly. On the flip side of the U.S. equity market coin: long term valuations are toppy, plenty of other markets (commodities, bonds) seem to signal an impending global recession, and a host of geopolitical concerns now seem to be hitting a full boil. Also, let’s not forget that the Russell 2000 peaked in, oh, March (1209) and July (1208) and is down 8.8% from that last high. By that measure, equities are already rolling over. It is true that markets climb a wall of worry. Until it falls on them.
While the saying "cash on the sidelines" is patently wrong as all cash represents is a form of risk, asset and liquidity preference (and yes, for every buyer of stock there is a seller: repeat as many times as necessary until it clicks), we are confident the fact that the world's record number of billionaires, 2,325 in 2014 up from 2,170 a year ago, holding a record $7,291 trillion in assets or a little under half of the US GDP, have a record $600 million in cash on average, up from $540 million the year before.
The irony of maintaining a veneer of authenticity over a fundamentally inauthentic market is rich: the more the authorities manipulate the market to maintain high valuations and suppress turbulence, the greater the odds of a collapse of trust as inauthentic markets cannot self-correct or discover the price of assets, capital and risk. Once risk has been effectively hidden by perception management, participants lack the essential information they need to make informed decisions. And so their decisions will be catastrophically mis-informed. This is how declines morph into crashes.