Rate of Change
Amid the collapse in commodities, crashing Chinese stocks, the weakest US wage growth in US history, and a data-dependent Fed; Goldman Sachs fears the new normal is 'shorter-and-faster' business cycles with no persistence primed by monetary policies. Most wprryingly, they conclude, will short business cycles beget shorter business cycles?
Below-the-surface breakdowns strengthen BCA Research's conviction that investors should stay defensive. Technically, the S&P 500 looks weak. Breadth has thinned considerably this year. Less than 50% of S&P 500 industry groups are trading above their 40-week moving average and/or have a positive 52-week rate of change.
Venezuela’s hyperinflation is reaching its final stages. It is probably already far too late for the government to stop the complete collapse of its currency. The bolivar is in the process of transforming from a medium of exchange to tinder for wood-stoves. Venezuelans who had the presence of mind to convert their savings into gold or foreign currency in good time are likely to survive the conflagration intact. Governments never seem to learn. They all believe they can somehow overrule economic laws by diktat. This is not only true of Venezuela’s government, but of practically every government in today’s world. Central planning of money has been adopted everywhere. Venezuela merely shows us what the end game for every fiat money system looks like.
We suggest ECB President Mario Draghi has his work cut out for him today. As the entirely political catalyst for Greece's crescendo-like bailout capitulation, he will - we hope - be questioned long and hard on his actions over the last 2 weeks (and going forward) with regard the increasingly 3rd world nation. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes, Draghi needs to help calm a still tense situation. The only way he can do this is with as much tranquility as he can muster, make sure everyone knows he is still prepared to do whatever it takes. It appears the markets (FX and equities for sure) are anticipating uber-dovishness and as we noted in the preview, he will likely crow of the lack of contagion from Greece, how well his tools have worked, and how Q€ is working... we wonder if the Greek reporters will be blocked from the press conference?
There is an argument to be made that this could indeed be a "new market" given the continued interventions by global Central Banks in a direct effort to support asset prices. However, despite the coordinated efforts of Central Banks globally to keep asset prices inflated to support consumer confidence, there is plenty of historic evidence that suggest such attempts to manipulate markets are only temporary in nature.
Today’s style of heavy-handed monetary central planning destroys capitalist prosperity. Real capitalism cannot thrive unless inventive and enterprenurial genius is rewarded with outsized fortunes. Warren Buffett’s $73 billion net worth, and numerous like and similar financial gambling fortunes that have arisen since 1987, are not due to genius; they are owing to adept surfing on the $50 trillion bubble that has been generated by the central bank Keynesianism of Alan Greenspan and his successors.
Explosive moves ahead...
By now it should be clear, without the flow of Federal Reserve funny money, the wedge between the reality of collapsing macro- and micro-fundamentals and ever-expanding valuation hope-based stock prices is bound to close... and that is why the following 2 charts must be terrifying for Janet (and every asset-gathering commission-taking talking head out there.. oh and Steve Liesman).
"The elderly dependency ratio is in the early stages of a relentless rise that doesn't hit an interim peak until around 2036, over two decades from now." The "structural shift" in the dynamics that drove the economy and financial markets in the 80's and 90's will not likely exist again for quite some time. Of course, if this was not the case, would we still be needing massive Central Bank interventions to support global economies and markets? Meh? What could possibly go wrong? [sarcasm alert]
The market is currently engaged in the longest bull run in history without a 10% correction. The decline in momentum, the weakness in economic underpinnings and lack of Central Bank interventions (not to mention the threat of an increase in overnight lending rates) certainly provide the necessary ingredients for a sharper than expected correction this summer.
While The Fed and its apologists (except for Jim Bullard) remain firmly attached to the idea that it is the 'stock' (or absolute level) of Fed Assets that represents the amount of policy-easement and not the 'flow' (rate of change), we have explained numerous times that this is complete rubbish. With the Federal Reserve balance sheet hitting 6-month lows this week, we thought the following 4 pictures would paint more than a thousand words on why The Fed will need to restart the flow soon... or the game is up.
Something serious is brewing under the hood...
While it is entirely likely that "economic bulls" will get a bounce in Q2 and Q3 due to pent-up demand from the previous two-quarters, the strength and sustainability of that bounce will be critically important. After all, in just a few short months, the cold breath of winter will once again be upon us.
The science of economics has taken a decidedly wrong turn sometime in the 1930s. In the field of monetary science specifically, sober analysis has given way to broad-based support of central economic planning, with both policy makers and their advisors seemingly trying to trump each other with ever more lunatic proposals.
The fairy dust peddlers who moonlight as Wall Street economists were out in force yesterday after March retail sales came in with a positive m/m change for the first time since November. This purportedly confirms that we’re back on track for a big rebound in Q2. In any event, what happens next is not too hard to figure. Unless you are a Wall Street economist.