When paying a premium for equities, or any asset for that matter, one runs the serious risk of capital impairment. Worse, most professional investment managers falling prey to the bullish sentiment currently surrounding this period of extreme valuations will likely not live up to their overriding fiduciary duty – the preservation of wealth. Following the herd may have its benefits at times, but following the herd over a cliff never ends well. As Seth Klarman warned. “Risk is not inherent in an investment; it is always relative to the price paid”
Even if it is short term oversold, this is actually a quite dangerous market – caveat emptor, as they say.
In the Western world insouciance rules governments as well as peoples, and most likely also everywhere else in the world. It remains to be seen whether Russia and China have any clearer grasp of the reality that confronts them.
If it were not for Social Security, half of retirees would be out in the street bringing back another Great Depression like atmosphere. This is in stark contrast to that 401(k) dreams pushed by Wall Street investment banks of endless Margaritas and walks on nameless sunny beaches. The sad reality is that retirement is no longer what people think.
The second great depression, which for industrial bellwether CAT started in December 2012 and has since resulted in 32 consecutive months of declining global retail sales and over a year longer than the decline observed during the great financial crisis, refuses to go away.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record we'd like to say a bit more about economists' tendency to get their monetary history wrong; in particular, the common myths about the gold standard. If there's one monetary history topic that tends to get handled especially sloppily by monetary economists, not to mention other sorts, this is it. Sure, the gold standard was hardly perfect, and gold bugs themselves sometimes make silly claims about their favorite former monetary standard. But these things don't excuse the errors many economists commit in their eagerness to find fault with that "barbarous relic." The point, in other words, isn't to make a pitch for gold. It's to make a pitch for something - anything - that's better than our present, lousy money.
The rise of populism is not just a U.S. issue. Globalization and deregulation, especially with regard to the open adoption of new technology and work structures, is increasingly being called into question. As we have discussed previously, there is increasing potential that major political and economic changes will emerge from this vote. The emergence of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is a reflection that the populists want a change in the direction of American policy. We will be watching closely to see whether any serious changes result.
With the confused FOMC still stuck on the fence of raising rates (or not), here are ten reasons why they won't.. and a caveat in case we're wrong...
The US and world economies are frauds that are coming unraveled. The Greek bailout is the most recent example of “kick the can down the road” solutions. The US housing bubble was an attempt to cover up/recover from the dot-com bust. Now the US is in a financial bubble engineered to recover from the housing bubble debacle. Soon this bubble will burst. Only the date is unknown.
Until recently, the "socialization" of New York under newish mayor Bill DeBlasio mostly involved snowfall snafus, exploding manhole covers, giant sinkholes in the middle of the city, and boycotting NYPD cops. The rest was mostly still on auto pilot, and as a result, worked. However, slowly but surely, even the mecca of crony capitalism where at least 1% of the population has never had it better, is starting to succumb to the general economic malaise of the second great depression. Case in point, crime in Central Park is up 26% this year, which at a time of record wealth, gentrification and all time high stock prices, should be unheard of. It also confirms that not all is well with the "recovery" propaganda.
As it turns out it is not just in the US that the "smart money" is bailing out as fast as it can: according to Bloomberg, the wealthiest investors in China’s stock market are also scrambling for the exits. To wit: "The number of traders with more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) of shares in their accounts shrank by 28 percent in July, even as those with less than 100,000 yuan rose by 8 percent, according to the nation’s clearing agency. While some of the drop is explained by falling market values, CLSA Ltd. says China’s rich have taken advantage of state buying to cash out after the nation’s record-long bull market peaked in June."
As the U.S. economic expansion ages and clouds gather overseas, policy makers worry about recession. But, as WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath warns, their concern isn’t that a downturn is imminent but whether they will have firepower to fight back when one does arrive. "The world economy is like an ocean liner without lifeboats,” economists at HSBC Bank explained, and as looming threats are a reminder that the slow-growing global economy is just a shock away from peril, with rates already at zero, Douglas Elmendorf, the recently departed director of the CBO, warned, "policy makers are thinking about their backup, backup plans."
"We're going to keep the families together, but they have to go. We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don't have a country."
Alas, by ignoring Keynes in 1925, Churchill triggered a calamity so severe that it not only inspired one man to kill himself beneath the British statesman’s very window but, more insidiously, also provided the impetus for the economics profession’s rejection of the “classical” axioms.
Hundreds of millions of people throughout the Western world are being forced to admit an obvious, yet uncomfortable reality. Democracy is dead. Your vote and your voice doesn’t matter. Not at all. No group of people understand this as intimately as the Greeks. They voted for one thing, got something else, and in the process were unceremoniously reminded of their political irrelevance. The Greeks are now in a position to show the rest of us how it’s done. Communities need to take matters into their own hands and tackle challenges at the grassroots level. Nowhere is this more impactful and necessary than in the monetary realm, and some Greeks are already leading the charge.