"Even if economic conditions continue improving, equity prices are bound to fall sharply at some point, inflicting painful losses on investors. This is what happened in 1987, roughly five years into the last structural bull market. Boom-bust cycles are inevitable because improving economic conditions encourage speculative excesses, which are then blown away as greed gives way to fear."
They say be careful what you wish for. And, as is often the case, "they" are right.
Looking for answers to both financial safety as well as financial freedom in the same light or viewpoint where it seems one only needs to “think like a billionaire” or “tweak” or “slightly modify” perceptions on how one approaches these financial markets today – will hurt more than it will help. The Wall Street everyone believes they are dealing with today is just in name and memory. What made sense just 6 years ago not only doesn’t but rather if you try to apply any sense that resembles “common sense” you might as well be asking the Cheshire cat for a more straight answer. "How exactly are you handling the stresses and strains having to basically push sound fundamental theories or market underpinnings aside and now trade and position money at risk based solely on what some Central Bank will do next?" This is the avenue I wish Tony had driven or sought.
"We are living in an aberrational world. It’s all driven by an orgy of money printing...it sure feels to me that we’re nearing the day that it spins out of control. By the end of this year or by the start of next year, without QE, the market is going down."
"To maintain your sanity, you need to turn off the hype machines of some of the financial media like CNBC."
The monetary tectonic plates are shifting, and predicting the next global financial earthquake is relatively easy.
- They go all in: China’s PBOC Cuts Interest Rates for First Time Since 2012 (BBG)
- And all in-er: ECB's Draghi throws door to quantitative easing wide open as recovery wanes (Reuters)
- Global Markets Rally: ECB Head Says Central Bank Is Ready to Expand Stimulus Program After China Cuts Rates (WSJ)
- Obama unveils U.S. immigration reform, setting up fight with Republicans (Reuters)
- U.S. increasing non-lethal military aid to Ukraine (Reuters)
- Russia warns U.S. against arms to Ukraine as Biden due in Kiev (Reuters)
- Ukraine slashed gold holdings in October, Russia added more - IMF (Reuters)
- Abe Dissolves Japan’s Lower House of Parliament (WSJ)
For America’s 44 million senior citizens, plus tens of millions of others who are on the threshold of retirement, last month marked a watershed moment that is worth celebrating. At the end of October, the Federal Reserve announced the first step in returning to a more normal monetary policy. After nearly six years of near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing, the Fed is ending its bond-buying program and has signaled a plan to eventually begin raising the federal-funds rate, raising interest rates to more normal levels by 2017. U.S. households lost billions in interest income during the Fed’s near-zero interest rate experiment.
In the second of three interviews (part 1 here), Hugh Hendry tells MoneyWeek's Merryn Somerset Webb why central banks will go even further than anyone expects to keep the global economy afloat. Hendry notes, "there’s so much debt that if you reprice debt, the economy slows down. We saw that I think in 2012, after the taper tantrum and ten-year bond use went over 3%. What happened next? The economy slowed down. If anything I would be a buyer of U.S. Treasuries."
The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.
"QE is a necessary condition for recovery in Europe, but is not sufficient in itself. The question is where does this bridge take us? The eurozone can survive a couple more years of miserable growth, but it can’t go on forever like this before people lose hope. There is political risk almost everywhere."
Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the same error is being repeated by the Bank of Japan. The starting point of their analysis is the contrarian fact that Japan needs a strong yen. Japanese exports are hardly sensitive to their prices; Japan has a large proportion of "necessary" imports (commodities) whose price rises when the yen weakens. Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the Bank of Japan has just increased the size of its quantitative easing program, which will lead to a steeper depreciation of the yen. The only benefit will be a temporary rise in the Nikkei, an automatic result of the conversion of Japanese companies' results into yen. Nothing more...
Economists, Military Strategists and Others Warned Us … Long Ago
“If [They're] Right, Everything The Fed Has Been Doing To Try To Stimulate The Economy Isn’t Just Useless — It’s Backward”
“In a Ponzi game you exhaust the lenders eventually, and of course Japanese taxpayers may revolt. But otherwise there are always new taxpayers, so this is a feasible Ponzi game, though I'm not saying it's good.”
Despite the promise of increased transparency, if you felt that deciphering Fed policy (other than uber-dovish, lower-for-longer, willing-to-wait, BTFD) became more and more confusing as the last few years progressed, you would not be alone. In fact, the complexity of the Fed's statements (not just the wordcount which we have noted numerous times) has surged from "Secondary School" reading level throughout Greenspan's era to "Post-Grad" comprehension at the peak of Bernanke's reign. Yellen, so far, has reverted modestly. As The Economist notes, this increased baffle-em-with-bullshit "Fedspeak" complexity is very reminiscent of the George Orwell's 1984-esque "oldspeak" or "doublespeak" used to keep a quiescent public bemused.