The market is standing at the proverbial “crossroads” of bull and bear. From a “fundamental” perspective there is not much good news. The past week we saw numerous companies beating extremely beaten down estimates. However, while JPM and C got a boost to their stock price, the actual earnings, revenue and profits trends were clearly negative. But that is the new normal. We live in an environment where Central Banking has taken control of financial markets by leaving investors “no option” for a return on cash. Therefore, the “hope” remains that asset prices can remain detached from underlying fundamentals long enough for them to catch up.
The Fed cannot claim the economy is strong while maintaining "emergency" policies for seven years straight. We're heading for stagflation.
With everyone from ivory tower academics to sin-street hookers proclaiming the need for and benefits of a "war on cash" to save the world from criminals and tax-evaders (oh yeah and to stop NIRP-driven savers from hording cash and crushing central planners' dreams), it is perhaps shocking that Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele warned at an event this week that the attempt to abolish and criminalize cash is out of line with freedom. He said that citizens should continue to decide how and in what form they want to use their money.
Has there ever been a more ill-timed example of the curse of the Barron's cover than this?
On Sunday Toyota was one of many Japanese companies to announce that it will suspend most car production across Japan as a result of critical supply chain disruption caused by the recent destructive earthquake and numerous aftershocks. The earthquakes reflected the vulnerability of Japanese companies to supply chain disruptions caused by natural disasters, and also highlighted the "just in time" philosophy pioneered by Toyota and followed by many others.
$13,903,107,629,266. Can the nation afford this much debt? This much we have learned about debt after 40 years of writing and study: It is better not to incur it. Once it is incurred, it is better to pay it off. America, we have a problem.
"I think this is where the academics are kind of clashing with the practitioners. I think on paper negative rates make a lot of sense if you're running academic models, but in reality they make no sense... If they told you and I that they're going to tax your deposits by a hundred basis points, well it's better to put it in a safe or under your mattress. And that's why you see a resurgence in gold. The more they move to negative rates, the more gold is gonna take off because there's no carrying cost."
The Eccles Building and its Washington/Wall Street acolytes have become a House of Keynesian Denial because the assumption that capitalism is an 80 pound recessionary weakling without the constant ministrations of the state is dead wrong.
The middle class in America forgot all about the importance of savings and frugality and instead bought into the lie that one’s future would be “taken care of” if only it threw its money into the stock market.
"At one extreme, if the market perceives the policy as a failure, credit risk and demand/supply imbalances are likely to dominate, putting even further downward pressure on yields. At the other extreme, if the policy is perceived as a loss of monetary discipline, inflation expectations would spike, leading to an aggressive re-pricing of yields higher."
So what do you do? Play the short-term chase the market game or the longer-term wealth devastation game. The choice is yours to make, the consequences will be for all to share. “I will tell you my secret: I never buy at the bottom and I always sell too soon.” – Baron Nathan Rothschild
"We expect corporations will purchase $450 billion of US equities in 2016 and will remain the largest source of US equity demand."
Any honest person working with such models know their gross limitations and how awful their track-records are. Still, these are the tools guiding the world’s central planners when they micromanage economies, be it fiscal or monetary expansion. They are obviously completely clueless, but still act with an extravagant level of hubris simply because they believe the scripture and their models.
"Banking is the least understood, and possibly most lethal, of all the myriad issues at stake in this election."
Those that were hoping for an “economic renaissance” in the United States got some more bad news this week. It turns out that the U.S. economy is in significantly worse shape than the experts were projecting. Retail sales unexpectedly declined in March, total business sales have fallen again, and the inventory to sales ratio has hit the highest level since the last financial crisis. When you add these three classic recession signals to the 19 troubling numbers about the U.S. economy that we wrote about last week, it paints a very disturbing picture.