Is the economy “nowhere near recession?” Maybe. Maybe not. But the charts above look extremely similar to where we were at this point in late 2007 and early 2008. Could this time be “different?” Sure. But historically speaking, it never has been.
There’s really one supreme element of this story that you must keep in view at all times: a society (i.e. an economy + a polity = a political economy) based on debt that will never be paid back is certain to crack up. Its institutions will stop functioning. Its business activities will seize up. Its leaders will be demoralized. Its denizens will act up and act out. Its wealth will evaporate. Given where we are in human history - the moment of techno-industrial over-reach - this crackup will not be easy to recover from. Things have gone too far in too many ways. The coming crackup will re-set the terms of civilized life to levels largely pre-techno-industrial. How far backward remains to be seen.
It didn't take long for the momentum-chasing fundamental strategists to readjust their immediate stock price targets on the heels of the i) failure of the Santa Rally and ii) the worst start to the year in Chinese stock market history. Case in point, moments ago JPM's equity strategy team released its first note for the year in which it says that "we take the view that equities are unlikely to perform well on a 12-24 month horizon" adding that "the regime of buying the dips might be over and selling any rallies might be the new one."
With the market now back to oversold conditions and redemptions complete, it is now or never for the traditional “Santa Rally.” Statistically speaking, the odds are high that the market will muster a rally over the next couple of weeks. While the short-term trends are indeed still bullishly-biased, the longer-term analysis (monthly) reveals a more dangerous picture emerging.
"In a worst case scenario, the real economy effects of the oil sector and the earnings slowdown hit the frothy commercial real estate and REIT sector, which in turn begin the widening of the contagion begun by energy high yield. Combine this with the sudden stop to lower quality energy credits I believe is inevitable and you likely have stall speed – or even recession. And that’s where subprime auto ABS, student loan securitization and US munis come into the picture for the US domestic economy. Those markets get hit in recession."
Did algos finally figure out precisely what we said first thing this morning, namely that the market completely ignored what was a hawkish hike, and that as a result, what Yellen has done, now that the kneejerk reaction is over, is policy error, pure and simple?
The mainstream media is increasingly suggesting that we have once again entered into a 'Goldilocks Economy.' The problem is that in the rush to come up with a 'bullish thesis' as to why stocks should continue to elevate in the future, they have forgotten the last time the U.S. entered into such a state of 'economic bliss.' You might remember this: "The Fed's official forecast, an average of forecasts by Fed governors and the Fed's district banks, essentially portrays a 'Goldilocks' economy that is neither too hot, with inflation, nor too cold, with rising unemployment." - WSJ Feb 15, 2007. Of course, it was just 10-months later that the U.S. entered into a recession followed by the worst financial crisis since the 'Great Depression.'
The problem of suggesting that we have once again evolved into a "Goldilocks economy" is that such an environment of slower growth is not conducive to supporting corporate profit growth at a level to justify high valuations. Such a backdrop becomes particularly problematic when the Federal Reserve begins to raise interest rates which removes one of the fundamental underpinnings of an overvalued market which was low interest rates. Ultimately, higher interest rates, particulalry in an economy with a deteriorating economic backdrop, becomes the pin that "pops the bubble." It is true that the bears didn't eat Goldilocks at the end of the story...but then again, there never was a sequel either.
The Fed was out in force yesterday peddling some pretty heavy-duty malarkey about the up-coming rate liftoff at the December meeting..."If we begin to raise interest rates, that’s a good thing." That’s not a bad thing." Goldman is putting out the final mullet call for this Bubble Cycle because it knows that this bull is dying; that insiders still have massive amounts of stock winnings to unload; and that the clock is fast running out. The expiring clock is evident in the S&P 500’s one-year round trip to nowhere. Despite the fact that the Fed has ponied-up a stick save at every single meeting this year, the market’s 27 separate efforts to rally have all failed for the simple reason that the jig is up.
The current stock market melt-up hardly qualifies as limp. Even the robo-machines and hyper-ventilating day traders apparently recognize that their job is to tag the May 2015 highs and then get out of the way. So when and as they complete their pointless mission, the question recurs as to why the posse of fools in the Eccles Building can’t see that they are inflating one hellacious financial bubble; and that when it blows it will deconstruct their entire 7-year project of make-pretend recovery.
You have to hand it to Washington. When it comes to foreign policy blunders, the US certainly isn’t afraid to double and triple down. With the West and its regional allies in full panic mode as the effort to bring about regime change in Syria continues to crumble under pressure from Russian airstrikes and Iranian ground forces, the US and Saudi Arabia have agreed to step up their support for the various proxy armies battling to oust Bashar al-Assad.
From the bowels of Australia’s iron ore mines to the top of Dubai’s pointless 100 story office towers, the entire warp and woof of the global economy has been distorted and bloated by the central bank money printing spree of the last two decades, led by the red credit machines of Beijing. Everywhere economies have succumbed to over-building, over-consumption, over-financialization and endless dangerous, unstable speculation. Stated differently, China’s red capitalism is the new black swan. There is nothing rational, stable or sustainable about it.
Chinese Officials Say "Unnecessary To Be Anxious" About Economy As Margin Debt Rises Most Since June Bubble PeakSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/19/2015 21:20 -0400
UPDATE: He's back - GEITHNER: YUAN CAN BE SIGNIFICANT RESERVE CURRENCY IN LONG TERM
As everyone opined on China's 'goldilocks' GDP data all day long, perhaps the biggest news this evening was US Treasury's softer stance towards China's currency 'manipulation', as we noted earlier, saying Yuan is merely "below appropriate medium-term valuation," and sure enough offshore Yuan has strengthened since the report. China's 'official' mouthpiece Xinhua told the people it is "unnecessary to be anxious about China's economic growth." And finally, for the 8th straight day, Chinese margin debt rose today to its highest in over a month. This is the longest stretch of releveraging in 4 months - since the peak of the bubble. "Will they never learn?"
Now What: How Should One Trade In A World Where "Most Indicators Have Lost Their Informational Value"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/13/2015 13:37 -0400
A market which trades day to day on historic "whiplashes", record short squeezes, broken trendlines, and of course, $13 trillion in excess liquidity, got you shaking your head (and burning old Finance 101 textbooks)? Don't despair: here is Macquarie with a guide of how to trade in world where "most leading indicators have lost their informational value."