The 30 Year U.S. Treasury bond yield hit 2.35% yesterday. Long term interest rates are not controlled by Yellen. They reflect the economic prospects of the country. When they are rising it means the economy is doing well. When they are plummeting to all time lows, the economy is either in recession or headed into recession. Take your pick. No amount of government data manipulation, feel good propaganda spewed by the captured mainstream media, or Ivy League educated Wall Street economist doublespeak, can change the fact this economy is in the dumper and headed much lower. The Greater Depression is resuming its downward march toward inevitable war.
The Long/Short Strategy for the New Reality
1. Go long companies that cater to the 1%.
2. Short companies that cater to the middle class.
3. Go long companies that cater to the poor.
Today's chart of the day comes courtesy of Reuters Jamie McGeever, and it shows that based on a BofA analysis, US stocks have never in history been more expensive relative to the rest of the world, surpassing both the dot com bubble and the housing bubble.
With the number of college graduates working minimum wage jobs nearly 71% higher than it was a decade ago, and the average graduate leaving college with $29,400 in debt (crushing their hopes of leveraging up to buy that American Dream-creating house), President Obama has unleashed a double whammy of ideas in the last few days. Reducing mortgage insurance and cutting down-payment restrictions for FHA loans (i.e. providing huge leverage to segments of society to repeat the mistakes of the last housing bubble); and now, as The LA Times reports, President Obama says he is rolling out a plan to make two years of community college free, or nearly so, to every student across the country. Because it's "fair"?
Another quarter down, which means we can once again assess where the forward P/E multiple of the S&P stands relative to the previous two market bubble peaks.
Think Texas and Pennsylvania have a problem with plunging oil prices, don't look North. West Canada Select (Heavy) crude oil prices have collapsed to below $35 per barrel (the lowest since Feb 2009). This is a 60% plunge in the last 6 months and has left the industry stunned. While US rig counts have fallen for the last few weeks as the lagged response to falling prices finally catches up to reality, the Canadian oil rig count has never been lower for the first week of January. Will the Canadian housing bubble be next?
'... assuming equity prices rise by 10% this year, for their bond allocation to stay at 37% (same as of Q3 2014), US pension funds and insurance companies would have to buy $550bn of bonds in 2015."
In Canada, there seems to be a cult belief that housing simply will not correct. They are full on drinking the good old tasting real estate Kool-Aid. Canada has enjoyed many years of the global commodities boom and now finds itself contending with a market full of debt and inflated housing values. Short of oil rising back up to $80 a barrel or higher, Canada is likely going to face some short-term pain. The housing market is due for a correction.
If the tech mania was based on magic, and the housing mania was based on a supposed fact that was historically untrue, today’s mania is a mania of manias, interlinked and resting on premises that are patently illogical, contradicted by both the historical record and current experience. Those premises are: central planning works, government debt promotes prosperity, and economic growth stems from central banks buying that debt with money they create from thin air. On these premises rest manias in governments, their debts, and central banking.
"Every brick we can make has already been sold up to three months in advance – the UK brickmakers can’t supply demand at the moment," exclaims the CEO of one of Britain's largest brickmakers. With The UK's housing bubble spreading from London, The Telegraph reports that stocks of bricks have reached the lowest levels on record as homebuilders rush to take advantage of the surging demand for British property (which has seen realtors and economists worry is getting out of hand).
Should I buy a house in 2015? No one can answer that question for anyone else, but it seems prudent to ask the question in the context of an Echo Bubble in valuations that appears to be deflating and household income that is potentially at risk of declining further in a global recession that eventually impacts the U.S. economy.
Most of the “recovery” of the last five years has been fueled by cheap borrowed Dollars. Now that the US Dollar has broken out of a multi-year range, you’re going to see more and more “risk assets” (read: projects or investments fueled by borrowed Dollars) blow up.
Despite the widely held belief that 2015 will be the year in which a patient Fed finally begins to normalize rate policy, we believe the Fed has no possibility of withdrawing the stimulus to which it has addicted us. QE4 was always much more probable than anyone in government or on Wall Street cares to admit. A recession and a financial panic caused by sub $60 oil will significantly quicken the timetable by which the Fed cranks up the presses. When it does, oil could once again increase in price, along with all the other things we need on a daily basis. That should finally dispel any remaining illusions that the Fed could successfully land the metaphorical plane. More QE may minimize the damage in the short-term, but we believe it will keep us trapped in our current cocoon of endless stimulus, where we will slowly suffocate to death.
Banks and other financial entities have literally bet an amount equal to over SIX TIMES GLOBAL GDP on interest rates.