"Japanese day traders, colloquially and collectively known as 'Mrs Watanabe', are buying the yen as it nears eight-year lows," Nikkei reports. For their part, private equity firms are cashing out at what they figure may be the top for Japanese stocks.
There’s no question that the general level of stock investor sentiment is at historically high levels at this time. However, what has largely been absent, though, despite the elevated sentiment are examples of veritable investor euphoria. We did see traces of it over the past 2 years, especially in early 2013, but nothing consistent. Yesterday, however, we did see a possible example of this type of euphoria from the International Securities Exchange.
Q: How do you make a small fortune on Wall Street?
A: Start with a large fortune.
~ old investing adage
For 6 months, investors have been buying the idea - pitched by any and every status-quo-sustaining talking head, politician, and central banker - that low oil prices are unequivocally good for America. This has manifested itself in retail stocks handily outperforming the S&P. However, as Bloomberg notes, the last few weeks has seen that reverse dramatically as it appears investors, losing faith in the big-takers, have realized that "consumers aren't spending as much of the money saved from lower gasoline prices."
In 2014, all but a few argued that the path of interest rates was certainly higher. Despite a steady decline beginning on January 1st of 2014 and continuing today, everyone still insists strenuously that interest rates simply have to go up. What if all the arguments about growth in the US economy and much anticipated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve hinged upon a decision-making premise that is flawed? What if instead of the standard and variety of factors informing the consensus perspective about the direction of interest rates it is actually interest rates themselves that are sending signals that should inform our perspective about all other things?
Explaining the catalysts that move the "market" overnight has become so farcical it is practically an exercise in futility and absurdism.
"Never, since 1900, have investors been this persistently bullish," warns Wells Fargo's Jim Paulsen. While the 13 previous cautionary signals since 1900 suggesting investor sentiment was too high have not been perfect, they have proved to be fairly good warning signs; and along with "massive overvaluation", and a dramatic "decoupling of markets from economic productivity" this extreme sentiment reading completes the trifecta of flashing red warning signs for US equity markets.
The American economic and financial landscape is vastly different than it was following World War II. The wealth gap between the rich and the poor has shifted sharply to the upper 10% of the population. For that group, the economic picture is considerably brighter than for those in the bottom 80%. For Byron, whose personal net worth is in the billions, this is truly a "Picasso economy," for the majority of everyone else it is more like a "starving artist sale."
Ignoring the considerable risks in the mid 2000s led to the global financial crisis. Irish politicians, bankers and financial experts, like their international counterparts, are slow learners ...
Straight-forward discussion of the international climate.
The future of Europe now depends on something apparently impossible: Greece and Germany must strike a deal.
Market Wrap: Chinese Stocks Crash As Financials Suffer Record Drop; Commodities Resume Decline; US ClosedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/19/2015 08:12 -0400
Following last week's Swiss stock market massacre as a result of a central bank shocker, and last night's crack down by Chinese authorities, it almost appears as if the global powers are doing what they can to orchestrated a smooth, painless (as much as possible) bubble deflation. If so, what Draghi reveals in a few days may truly come as a surprise to all those- pretty much everyone - who anticipate a €500 billion QE announcement on Thursday.
Remaining fully invested in the financial markets without a thorough understanding of your "risk exposure" will likely not have the desirable end result you have been promised. All five of the charts below have linkages to each other, and when one goes, they will all go. So pay attention to the details.
- Global Debt Crisis II – Total Global Debt to GDP Ratio Over 300% - Risk of Bail-Ins in 2015 and Beyond - Currency and Gold Wars - $1 Quadrillion “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Derivatives - Cold War II and New World Order as China and Russia Flex Geopolitical Muscles - Enter The Dragon – Paradigm Shift of China Gold Demand - Forecast 2015: None. Forecast 2020: Gold $2,500/oz and Silver $150/oz
While the current episode of Russian geopolitical and economic turmoil may seem significant, the following chart from Goldman Sachs shows the tempestuous time the nation has had over the past 150 years...