In case the world needed any additional proof that the latest housing bubble (not our words, Fitch's) was on its last legs, it came earlier today from Credit Suisse' Dan Oppenheim who in his monthly survey of real estate agents observed that October was "another weak month" for traffic, with "pricing power fading as sluggish demand persists." This naturally focuses on the increasingly smaller component of buyers who buy for the sake of owning and living in a home instead of flipping it to another greater fool (preferably from China or Russia, just looking to park their stolen cash abroad). Quantifying the ongoing deflation of the bubble, Oppenheim notes that the "weakness was again broad-based, and particularly acute in Seattle, Orlando, Baltimore and Sacramento.... Our buyer traffic index fell to 28 in October from 36 in September, indicating weaker levels below agents’ expectations (any reading below 50). This is the lowest level since September 2011."
- Fed Anxiety Rises as QE Raises Risk of Loss With Political Cost (BBG)
- Iran Nuclear Deal Expected as Early as Friday (WSJ)
- Israel rejects mooted interim Iran nuclear deal, Kerry heads to talks (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Banker Backed $200 Million Madoff Loan in 2008 (BBG)
- Unleashing the food nazis - FDA Says Trans Fats Aren't Safe in Food (WSJ)
- Draghi Aggression Shows Pledges Backed by Rate Surprise (BBG)
- S&P Cuts France's Credit Rating by One Notch to Double-A (WSJ)
- S&P criticises France’s high tax rates for stifling growth (FT)
- Payroll Gains in U.S. Probably Cooled Amid Government Shutdown (BBG)
Readers should consider carefully the fundamental difference between a “real economy” and a “financial economy.” In a real economy, the debt and equity markets as a percentage of GDP are small and are principally designed to channel savings into investments. In a financial economy or “monetary-driven economy,” the capital market is far larger than GDP and channels savings not only into investments, but also continuously into colossal speculative bubbles. It would seem to me that Karl Marx might prove to have been right in his contention that crises become more and more destructive as the capitalistic system matures (and as the “financial economy” referred to earlier grows like a cancer) and that the ultimate breakdown will occur in a final crisis that will be so disastrous as to set fire to the framework of our capitalistic society.
Shouldn't Internet companies actually "make a profit" at some point before being considered worth billions of dollars? A lot of investors laugh when they look back at the foolishness of the "Dotcom bubble" of the late 1990s, but the tech bubble that is inflating right in front of our eyes today is actually far worse.
Are we all wealthier because the Dow is at ~ 15,000? Should Katee Sackhoff be the next Fed Chairman?
As Mike "Hidden Secrets Of Money" Maloney has said many times before, the economic crisis of 2008 was only a speed bump on the way to the main event. He believes that before the end of this decade there will be an economic crisis so historic that it will eclipse the crash of 29 and the subsequent great depression. He also believes it is both unavoidable and inevitable, because it is merely the free market releasing the stored up energy from decades of economic manipulation. As Maolney notes, "the best investment that you will ever make in your lifetime is your own financial education," and the following provides a succinct reminder of the top reasons to buy gold and silver...
As the S&P 500 continues to push to one new high after the next, the bullish arguments of valuation have quietly given way to "it's all about the Fed." The biggest angst that weighs on professional, and retail investors alike, are not deteriorating economic strength, weak revenue growth or concerns over the next political drama - but rather when will the Fed pull its support from the financial markets. For the Federal Reserve, they are now caught in the same "liquidity trap" that has been the history of Japan for the last three decades. Should we have an expectation that the same monetary policies employed by Japan will have a different outcome in the U.S? More importantly, this is no longer a domestic question - but rather a global one since every major central bank is now engaged in a coordinated infusion of liquidity. Will the Federal Reserve "taper" in December or March - it's possible. However, the revulsion by the markets, combined with the deterioration of economic growth, will likely lead to a quick reversal of any such a decision.
The financial markets continue higher, and the excesses of the status quo continue expanding with little ill effect (so far). Why is it so difficult to predict the timing of crisis/collapse? The question is equally valid for both bears and bulls; how could all the boosters of housing be so wrong in 2008 when they asserted that "housing is not a bubble"? Here are ten possible factors in why it's so difficult to predict crisis/reset.
- Investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis (WSJ)
- Kerry hails disgruntled Saudi Arabia as important U.S. ally (Reuters)
- SAC Capital prepares for a second life (FT)
- BlackBerry's Fate Goes Down to the Wire (WSJ)
- Dutch Gamble on U.S. Housing Debt After Patience Wins (BBG)
- U.S. Wants Broad Divestitures From AMR, US Airways (WSJ)
- Tensions with allies rise, but U.S. sees improved China ties (Reuters)
- China berates foreign media for Tiananmen attack doubts (Reuters)
- China manufacturers squeezed as costs rise (FT)
- European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth (NYT)
- Zurich Probe Finds No ‘Undue Pressure’ Put on Late CFO (BBG)
Real estate guru Mark Hanson updates his housing view following this week's dismal housing industry data:
Sept. Pending Sales... the largest MoM drop since Sept 2001... not 2011... yes, 2001.
Don't let them tell you 'this is normal for Sept'. The 'oh-crap' moment is now in the can. Going forward, "Existing Sales" volume will disappoint on a YoY basis for several quarters. There is no way around it...
What is the prudent response when hefty profits beg to be booked and assets purchased with leverage/debt start declining? Sell, sell, sell. A financial sell-off doesn't even need a real crisis to spread like wildfire; it simply needs nosebleed asset valuations, excessive leverage/credit and risk priced at "the bull market is guaranteed to last essentially forever" levels. Prudence alone will ignite the conflagration.
- US Blasts Germany's Economic Policies (WSJ)
- Citigroup, JPMorgan Said to Put Currency Dealers on Leave (BBG)
- Watchdog: Syria Destroys Chemical-Arms Equipment (WSJ)
- Kynikos Alumni Start Hedge Fund Betting on Declining Stocks (BBG)
- China state media calls for stern action after Tiananmen attack (RTRS)
- IMF warns of financial shock risk to Africa (FT)
- Insurers Oppose Obamacare Extension as Danger to Profits (BBG)
- BoJ content to ignore Fed tapering and go its own way (FT)
- U.S. attorney wants DOJ to take civil action against BofA (RTRS)
- NSA Fallout Hits AT&T's Ambitions In Europe (WSJ)
"The recent trading environment has felt something like walking into a place and having a sense that something is wrong and dangerous but not knowing exactly what will happen or when. “QE Infinity” has so distorted the prices of stocks and bonds that nobody can possibly determine what the investing landscape would look like, or what the condition of the economy and financial system would be, in the absence of Fed bond-buying."
-Paul Singer, Elliott Management
It's painfully obvious that real estate valuations are once again at asset-bubble extremes. Defenders of current real estate valuations can draw upon an array of justifications, but they boil down to the same one used to justify valuations in every asset bubble: this time it's different.
There's a Monetary Firestorm Coming