The financial world today is now an island on its own – separated from the real economy, as can be seen by the paradox of record high valuation in the stock market coinciding with record low inflation, employment , productivity and no hope. There is asset inflation, but deflation in the real economy. When the world has been this long at the zero-bound, the misallocation, the inability to reform, and a toolbox without new tools creates a mandate for change. "I expect stocks to trade sideways for the balance of 2015 and have now sold all my fixed income, increased my gold exposure, and I’m looking to buy mining companies and overall to increase my exposure to commodities beyond the normal allocation."
“Ignorance is not bliss – it is oblivion. Determined ignorance is the hastiest kind of oblivion.” As investors, we have all been warned. Not by the future, but by the past.
In downgrading the city, Moody’s said it expected “Chicago's credit challenges will continue, both in the near term and in the long term [as] unfunded liabilities of the Municipal, Laborer, Police, and Fire pension plans grow and exert increasing pressure on the city's operating budget.” That looks to have been an accurate assessment, because as Bloomberg reports, Chicago’s budget gap is set to triple by 2017.
No matter what investors SAY they will do, they will almost always succumb to the emotional investment mistakes caused by being human.
Traders looking to get an early start on the holiday weekend will have to wait a bit longer today, as Janet Yellen is set to speak to a sold-out audience at the Providence, Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Luncheon today.... *YELLEN SAYS RATE RISE AT SOME POINT THIS YEAR IS APPROPRIATE
For the past three years, the biggest argument supporters of Obamacare would trot out every single time when faced with opposition to the mandatory tax, would be that despite widespread predictions of soaring prices, US medical care service costs had remained low and even, on occasion, declined. All that changed moments ago when core US inflation finally spiked the most since 2013 driven by a 0.7% monthly surge in medical care service costs: the highest since 2007!
Chinese Stock Bubble Frenzy Returns; US Futures Flat Ahead Of Today's Pre-Holiday Zero Volume Melt UpSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/22/2015 06:51 -0400
The highlight of the overnight newsflow may have been the BOJ's preannounced statement that it is keeping its QE unchanged (which comes as no surprise after a few weeks ago the BOJ adimitted it would be unable to keep inflation "stable" at the 2% in the required timeframe), but the highlight of overnight markets was certainly China, where the Banzai Buyers have reemerged, leading to another whopping +2.8% session for the Shanghai Composite which has now risen to a fresh 7 years high.
There’s something quite contradictory about telling governments to tighten their belts while promising to buy any and every piece of paper their treasury departments care to issue. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that a €1.1 trillion QE program simply cannot peacefully coexist with a strict, currency bloc-wide austerity policy. This glaring contraction was on full display at the ECB’s April 14-15 policy meeting, minutes show.
Since QE programs have not been effective at creating organic economic growth, the only effective monetary policy tool of the Fed to stave off the effects of a recessionary drag, lowering interest rates, is not available. This is why, despite weak economic growth, little inflation and a large amount of labor slack in the economy, the Fed has consistently hinted that they will likely raise the overnight lending rates in June. Therefore, since the Fed is "data dependent," a boost to GDP, via the recalculation of the numbers, would be vastly supportive in justifying that increase. However, is economic growth really stronger than currently reported? We can look at some alternative measures of the economy to answer that question.
"The Fed has dragged out the normalization of interest rates way beyond what is prudent... At some point... the market is going to say ‘on my god, we’re so far behind the curve’ and force an adjustment that is going to be wrenching... when this “wrenching” adjustment kicks in, it would turn into a market disruption at a level “seven or eight” on a scale of 10, with 10 being the worst."
The big news overnight was neither the Chinese manufacturing PMI miss nor the just as unpleasant (and important) German manufacturing and service PMI misses, but that speculation about a rate hike continues to grow louder despite the abysmal economic data lately, with the latest vote of support of a 25 bps rate increase coming from Goldman which overnight updated its "Fed staff model" and found surprisingly little slack in the economy suggesting that the recent push to blame reality for not complying with economist models (and hence the need for double seasonal adjustments) is gaining steam, and as we first suggested earlier this week, it may just happen that the Fed completely ignores recent data, and pushes on to tighten conditions, if only to rerun the great Trichet experiment of the summer of 2011 when the smallest of rate hikes resulted in a double dip recession.
The uncertainty surrounding the inevitability, if not the exact timing, of multiple and possibly overlapping volatility drivers is itself a source of volatility. For the average person, these signs can be scary. Taking steps to avoid the circus as much as possible, such as extracting money from the markets, securing personal assets, and waiting out the swings, can be a source of emotional comfort and future financial stability.
No lesser establishment economist than Martin Feldstein - Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research - has some warning words of wisdom for The Fed today: "...the Fed’s unconventional monetary policies have also created dangerous risks to the financial sector and the economy as a whole." When even The Ivory Tower is losing faith, you know The Fed is in trouble...
The Fed stimulates absolutely nothing but the media’s descriptions of it and the various economists and their models that depend solely on them being successful in doing so. If recessions are emotional and irrational pessimism as the monetary textbooks believe, then QE and ZIRP are just right sort of “happy pills” to push emotions back to the “right” direction. Is it any wonder the economy is in danger of sinking toward catastrophic failure?
As the economic calendar slowly picks up following the NFP lull, we are looking at a busy week both globally and in the US, where an army of Fed speakers culminates with a Yellen speech on Friday at 1pm in Rhode Island.