Importantly, while the "bias" of the market is to the upside, primarily due to the psychological momentum that "stocks are the only game in town," the mounting risks are clearly evident. From economic to earnings-related weakness, the "bullish underpinnings" are slowly being chipped away.
Will they, won't they, should they or shouldn't they? Those are the questions being hotly contested by the mainstream media on a daily basis. Of course, the reality is the Federal Reserve faces the huge obstacle of weak global growth and deflationary pressures which could very well keep them on hold well into 2016. The potential loss of credibility in the Fed by the markets could be the bigger issue to be concerned with. For now, we wait.
"After many years of ultra-accommodative polices, it is clear that ongoing interventions have failed to boost actual economic growth and only exacerbated the destruction of the middle class. It is clear that employment growth has only been a function of population growth, as witnessed by the ongoing decline in the labor-force participation rates and the surging levels of individuals that have fallen out of the work-force. While we will continue to operate to foster maximum employment and price stability, the reality is that the economy overall remains far to weak to sustain higher interest rates or any tightening of monetary policy."
“It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.”
“October is a particularly dangerous month to speculate in stocks. Followed by July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.” – Mark Twain
As long as politicians and media keep talking about disinflation and central bank inflation targets, and all they talk actually about is consumer prices, we will all fail to acknowledge what’s happening right before our very eyes. That is, the system is imploding. Deflating. Deleveraging. And before that is done, there can and will be no recovery. Indeed, this current trend has a very long way to go down. So far down that you will have a very hard time recognizing the world, and its economic system, on the other side of the process. But then again, you have a hard time recognizing the world for what it is on this side as well.
"Since Washington doesn't understand what went wrong in 2007 and 2008, so the Fed, the White House and Congress are recreating the very same conditions for another financial bubble. If it pops, we could replay the same devastating effects as occurred during the first bubble in 1999 and 2000.”
Some things you CAN see coming, in life and certainly in finance. Quite a few things, actually. Once you understand we’re on a long term downward path, also both in life and in finance, and you’re not exclusively looking at short term gains, it all sort of falls into place. Of course, the entire global economy has been hanging together with strands of duct tape for decades now, but hey, it looks good as long as you don’t take a peek behind the facade, right?
"If only it was that easy to print our way out of a global crisis."
$13 trillion in market losses in just one quarter would be very hard to make up for even in very favorable circumstances. We have no such circumstances. We’ve built our very lives on squeezing China et al for 27 years, and issuing more debt as if there’s no tomorrow - sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy -, and now we’ve belatedly realized that there’s a time limit on that model. But hey, by all means, it’s your money, and it’s your life, so do keep on betting on that recovery, and the return to ‘normal’, whatever that once was. Put it all on red. Go crazy! You do risk becoming a lonely crowd though. Meanwhile, those of us down here with our feet planted in the real earth have just this one question: “How bad can this get, and how fast?”.
With the Federal Reserve still hinting at raising interest rates, but trapped by weak economic growth, will the next big move by the Fed be another form of monetary accommodation instead? Or, are the underlying dynamics of the economy and market really strong enough to shake off the recent weakness and continue its bullish ascent?
The current surge in dis-inflationary pressures is not just due to the recent fall in oil prices, but rather a global epidemic of slowing economic growth. While Janet Yellen addressed this "disinflationary" wave during her post-meeting press conference, the Fed still maintains the illusion of confidence that economic growth will return shortly. Unfortunately, this has been the Fed's "Unicorn" since 2011 as annual hopes of economic recovery have failed to materialize. However, it is these ongoing views of optimism that have collided with economic realities.
The current surge in deflationary pressures is not just due to the recent fall in oil prices, but rather a global epidemic of slowing economic growth. While Janet Yellen addressed this "disinflationary" wave during her post-meeting press conference, the Fed still maintains the illusion of confidence that economic growth will return shortly. Unfortunately, this has been the Fed's "Unicorn" since 2011 as annual hopes of economic recovery have failed to materialize.
"The combined levels of bullish optimism, lack of concern about a possible market correction (don't worry the Fed has the markets back), and rising levels of leverage in markets provide the 'ingredients' for a more severe market correction. However, it is important to understand that these ingredients by themselves are inert. It is because they are inert that they are quickly dismissed under the guise that 'this time is different.' Like a thermite reaction, when these relatively inert ingredients are ignited by a catalyst, they will burn extremely hot. Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly what that catalyst will be or when it will occur. The problem for individuals is that they are trapped by the combustion an unable to extract themselves in time."
The ongoing deterioration in fundamentals, economics and technicals suggest that risk currently outweighs the potential reward for now. With respect to the technical front, the ongoing deterioration in relative strength, momentum, and breadth, combined with a compression of price action, have only been witnessed at more important market peaks in the past. "Bull markets" do not die on their own. Their death is generally dictated by the onset of an unexpected catalyst that creates enough "panic selling" to spark a liquidation cycle. Does the current situation in China rise to such a level? Maybe. It is an issue we began discussing this past June, and there may be a danger in dismissing the issue too quickly.