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.
"It wan't raining when Noah built the ark."
"Mr. Varoufakis, who kept reminding everyone that he is a professor of game theory, believed that the European leaders would prefer to make concessions now rather than manage the disruption of a Greek default. He must not be familiar with the Tyler Durden school of negotiation: the first rule of using game theory is you do not talk about using game theory. What’s more obvious is that Syriza didn’t understand what the game is."
This weekend's reading list is a smattering of articles to enjoy between your favorite beverage, grilled meat and really fattening desert. Just remember to go back to the gym on Monday...
As we await the final capitulation by the ECB, EU and IMF to provide Greece another bailout (or not), we have assembled a list of reading for you that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Greece.
"You're cruisin' for a bruisin'." - Kenickie, Quote From "Grease"
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 Americans continue to gain weight, heart attacks and emergency room visits should increase, doughnut consumption will rise, gyms will close, and healthy food stores will be stuck with inventory they cannot sell. But on Wall Street, greed is good. So if someone is going to have a heart attack, there's nothing wrong with making a few bucks from it right?
"It's starting to get ugly..."