December 5, 1996: “Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions?"
Speculators often prosper through ignorance; it is a cliché that in a roaring bull market knowledge is superfluous and experience a handicap. But the typical experience of the speculator is one of temporary profit and ultimate loss.
Alan Greenspan is confused – again. The man who admitted to the world a decade ago he didn’t know much if anything about interest rates is now trying to change that reputation by suggesting yet again interest rates are set to rise.
Alan Greenspan is shamelessly trying to get ahead of what he seems to be calling the mob, the crazies who at some point will start digging into what he actually did at the Fed rather than simply accepting the myths that he still manages to live by.
Remember when “bad news is good news” first leapt into common parlance? At first it was used as a way to describe the reaction function of Fed policy-makers. It was taken as a cute turn of phrase in encapsulating the state the of the world. Over time, as Bloomberg's Richard Breslow explains, it’s morphed into an ugly and cynical way of justifying mindless investing behavior.
UBS' Paul Winter believes we are witnessing the end of the credit cycle - earnings growth rates are flat, and the stock market impact has been increasing. Importantly, from a risk perspective, Winter warns that Systemic Risk is rising, and Economic Policy Uncertainty has hit all-time highs, warning that the key risk today lies in low-volatility stocks and the broad market's equity risk premia - "either earnings need to pick up dramatically, or alternately, equities would need to correct by around 20% to bring the equation back into equilibrium."
As another week comes to a close, we continue to wrestle with a market that remains detached from underlying economic data and clings to recent levels of over overbought, overextended and low reward/risk outcomes. Of course, in the final stages of a bull market, this is what has historically been the case.
One of the defining traits of the past few years’ “recovery” has been the torrent of money flowing from big banks to favored clients, and from there into trophy properties like high-end real estate, superyachts, and fine art. This might be the first financial bubble to completely bypass the 99%. And now it’s ending...
"Everyday we read headlines on what the central banks are doing. But their policies don’t have any effect. They are just like treading water. All the central banks are doing is substituting one form of debt with another form of debt... I think it means the business of central banks is like pornography: It’s not the real thing."