Global stocks plummeted yesterday and again today, on investor concern that U.S. and Chinese inflation data are signalling a global slowdown in economic activity. U.S. retail sales fell in September and producer prices declined for the first time in a year.
Is the stock market about to crash? Hopefully not, and there definitely have been quite a few "false alarms" over the past few years. But without a doubt we have been living through one of the greatest financial bubbles in U.S. history, and the markets are absolutely primed for a full-blown crash. That doesn't mean that one will happen now, but we are starting to see some ominous things happen in the financial world that we have not seen happen in a very long time.
Central banks have reached a fork in the road.
If central banks have learned anything since 2008, it's that waiting around for the panic to deepen is not a winning strategy. Put yourself in their shoes. Isn't this what you would do, given the dearth of alternatives and the very real risks of implosion? Anyone in their position with the tools at hand would not have any other real option other than to buy stocks in whatever quantity is needed to reverse the selling and blow the shorts out of the water. If $1 trillion doesn't do the job, make it $3 trillion, or $5 trillion. At this point, it doesn't really matter, does it?
"Present conditions create an urgency to examine all risk exposures. Once overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes are joined by deterioration in market internals and trend-uniformity, one finds a narrow set comprising less than 5% of history that contains little but abrupt air-pockets, free-falls, and crashes."
Regarding the two violent selloffs this week: there is no mystery. Recall that Deutsche Bank warned late in the summer this would happen for one simple reason: there are just three more weeks of POMO left after which the Fed's balance sheet flatlines, and with it, the S&P500. The only question is whether those who "sell ahead of everyone else", manage to take the S&P far below "unchanged", as prior QE ends have done, proving once again that it is all about the flow not the stock, and as a result the Fed will once again have to resort to even more QE.
On Tuesday, the Dow fell 272 points. No big deal, of course - we rebounded the most in 3 years yesterday. But what if it continued? Just six years ago it fell 51%. It could easily do so again – back down to, say, 8,000. There would be nothing unusual about it. 50% corrections are normal. You know what would happen, don’t you? Ever since the "Black Monday" stock market crash in 1987 it has been standard procedure for the Fed to react quickly. But what if Yellen & Co. got out the party favors... set up the booze on the counter... laid out some dishes with pretzels and olives... and nobody came? What if the stock market stayed down for 30 years, as it has in Japan?
If you like your 'disappointing' government-sponsored wage growth data, you can keep it... but if you are an ambitious talking-head economist looking to boost confidence in the economy in the hopes of a career in the administration, then ADP has just the 'tool' for you. Behold, the "ADP Workforce Vitality Index" - which measures the total real wages paid to the US private sector workforce, implying that the BLS is not measuring wage growth correctly as it is actually notably higher. In Q3, the ADP data grew 0.77% which they argue "is a good sign that may lead to increased consumer spending and a boost for the economy," and implicitly means The Fed should be hiking rates sooner as ADP warns "real wages are accelerating." Zandi the optimistic hawk?
In recent months, this prognostication has been gaining traction that a second, more severe crash - one that reflected the level of debt - is inevitable. There are two primary camps amongst economists with regard to the economic direction that a crash will generate: inflationists and deflationists. The argument goes back and forth, yet there seems to be the misconception that one must be either an inflationist or deflationist. This is not at all the case.
If anyone's bucket list includes hearing, and seeing, the unholy trinity of Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner whose actions have pretty much doomed America, today is your lucky day, because as part of the lawsuit brought on by former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg, the three legendary statists will field questions from prominent, and very flamboyant, lawyer David Boies. As has been reported previously, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg is challenging the terms of the 2008 bailout for the company he built into a global financial-services powerhouse before being pushed out in 2005. He is not challenging the bailout which prevented AIG from liquidating as a result of selling billions of default protection on worthless companies, and which avoided the all out, and much needed, purge of trillions in bad debt and just as worthless equity.
Those of you who thought volatility was high this past week just wait until the Fed waits to the “Whites of the eyes of inflation” before raising rates.
"The Ingredients Of A Market Crash": John Hussman Explains "Why Take The Concerns Of A Permabear Seriously"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2014 20:39 -0400
"I should be clear that market peaks often go through several months of top formation, so the near-term remains uncertain. Still, it has become urgent for investors to carefully examine all risk exposures. When extreme valuations on historically reliable measures, lopsided bullishness, and compressed risk premiums are joined by deteriorating market internals, widening credit spreads, and a breakdown in trend uniformity, it’s advisable to make certain that the long position you have is the long position you want over the remainder of the market cycle. As conditions stand, we currently observe the ingredients of a market crash." - John Hussman
The €64K question is whether the hand off from the Fed to the ECB and BOJ will be smooth enough to avoid a stock market crash between now and the end of 2016. Everything else is semantics