The 1960s visibly changed society in a few short years, and less visibly, the economy. Two books published in 1970, at the end of the tumultuous 1960s, attempted to weave a coherent narrative of what everyone was experiencing: Future Shock and The Greening of America. If Future Shock and Present Shock have any predictive value, then we must conclude the speeding up of change is eroding our ability to make sense of present-day trends, as the velocity of change is outrunning our ability to construct coherent narratives.
Greek end hogame is at hand. US economy is gaining momentum--consumption, capex, and housing. Several equity markets are at cross-roads.
What the stock bubble shows is the unthinkable degree of difficulty in trying to actually manage letting air out of any bubble in an orderly fashion. It may already be too late, as growth declines still further month by month, but stock prices go even more insane, drawing in more and more “retail” accounts and regular Chinese. In other words, the reform idea may have been impossible from the start; that the PBOC went ahead anyway, and still continues despite all that has happened, more than suggests that they now recognize the most dangerous existence is asset bubbles, far and away more important than even “necessary” growth.
The idea of an imminent US recession may seem moot as all the self-proclaimed experts and talking heads still acts as we are well into a recovery and patiently waiting for the forthcoming escape velocity which will take care of all ills plaguing today’s over-indebted society. Never do they stop to think about why things looks as dismal as they do. The sheer scale of the backwardness shown in such gross economic illiteracy suggest to us there is ulterior motives behind so-called Keynesian economic theories. Comparing GDP with cumulative goods sold and inventory accumulation since 2000 should tell you everything you need to know. The US economy is now on the verge of a new recession.
The Greek case offers quite a relevant view into the world of 21st century monetary alchemy, because that is what it really amounts to. What is left, however, is the worst of all cases; no recovery, no lending and now just more financial imbalance piled onto the same negative pressures and imbalances that never really went away. What is amazing is how short the attention of “investors” may be, and how they allow themselves to think monetary complexity passes for proficiency or even expertise despite all and continued observation otherwise.
Since the beginning of this year the markets have primarily treaded water. The primary support for the bulls has been continued acknowledgement by the Fed on an inability to remove accommodative policy by raising interest rates. (Which should make you question what happens the first time they do.) The bears have been feasting on weak economic data and deteriorating fundamentals.
As so often, Mr. Tsipras makes a number of fair points. However, it seems to us that everybody is skirting the main issues. Greece cannot become a “socialist Utopia”, unless its citizens are happy with being condemned to a hand-to-mouth existence for a long, long time indeed. Whether or not Greece defaults, the one thing the government will be unable to fund is the very socialism that is its basic ideology.
The current interval, in which CAT retail sales have dropped for an unprecedented 30 months in a row (!) at an average monthly pace of -10% suggests that, when stripping away all the endless veneer and propaganda, there is nothing short of a Second Great Depression just below the surface.
Ronald Reagan is surely rolling in his grave. He is credited for much that he didn’t actually accomplish on the economic front, but his most singular real victory - decisive repudiation of the Keynesian macro-economic policy model that had produced stagflationary havoc for more than a decade - overshadows all his fiscal failures and the urban legend that he actually tamed Big Government. Needless to say, however, that 35-years ago repudiation has now been itself completely repudiated by the keynesian apparatchiks who presently rule the Eccles Building. This week Janet Yellen was at it again, displaying outright contempt for the Gipper’s crowning achievement.
It’s not difficult to see that the foundation is crumbling...
The evolution of corporate earnings in their broadest form can provide a useful indication of the subsequent performance of the US stock markets. This makes intuitive sense. Growing earnings are generally a reflection of good economic conditions which should be bullish for equities. The opposite also applies of course. But it is at key turning points that this indicator becomes particularly insightful, in our opinion even more than the actual level of the price-earnings ratio.
The recent peak in profits, combined with substantially elevated P/E ratios, is likely suggesting that forward return expectations should be revised sharply lower.
The Troika - whose intention from the very beginning was to cripple Greek banks so badly and terminally that Tsipras and Varoufakis are forced to accept any terms hoisted on them as we predicted in January - has succeeded. The only question is how long until the Syriza government admits defeat.
Bring on those rate hikes and the economic "recovery."