About That "Bull Market Til 2016" Meme: Before You BTFATH, Check Out This Chart

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

If credit expansion leads the stock market, the market is in trouble.

Before you buy the dip "because this Bull market will run until 2016," please ponder this chart from our Chartist Friend From Pittsburgh of total credit and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Unsurprisingly, the stock market advances when credit is expanding and declines when credit growth slows.

Why is this unsurprising? Because ours is a debt-dependent consumer economy: everything from local government building projects to the purchase of vehicles to going to college requires borrowing money (i.e. credit expansion).


Source: The Dome Top Bears Have Been Given Their Stock Market Sell Signal

Here is Chartist Friend From Pittsburgh's commentary:

Total Credit Market Debt (TCMD) growth is not confirming the new DJIA high at all.

The trend of TCMD growth clearly reversed lower in 2007 by making a new all time low. The uptrend of the DJIA appears to be up since it's recently made new all-time highs.

The point is - there's a serious disconnect/divergence/non-confirmation going on here and in the end credit growth is the more important of the two and determines the trend because people can't make a move nowadays without taking out a loan (house, car, student, government spending, etc.).

I would add these points:

1. Notice that credit growth is rolling over, and that its recent peak was significantly lower than the 2007 peak. In other words, despite rescuing the Too Big To Fail Banks (TBTF) to the tune of $16 trillion and the creation of $3.2 trillion that it pumped into the financial system to goose housing and stocks, the Federal Reserve's unprecedented campaign to reflate leverage and credit only managed a weak bounce from 2007 highs in credit growth.

This is known as diminishing returns: Our Era’s Definitive Dynamic: Diminishing Returns (November 11, 2013)

The Fatal Disease of the Status Quo: Diminishing Returns (May 1, 2013)

2. In a debt-dependent consumer economy beset with declining real income for the bottom 90%, the only way to expand credit is to blow asset bubbles that boost phantom assets long enough to leverage new debt:

Why Our Consumer-Debt Dependent Economy Is Doomed December 10, 2013

Why We're Stuck with a Bubble Economy December 9, 2013

See those two little blips up in the real wages of the bottom 90%, circa 1999 and 2007? Those modest boosts in income were the result of monumental credit/asset bubbles. Once those bubbles popped, real income for 100% of households plummeted, and the bottom 90% saw its real income (i.e. the purchasing power of earnings) decline by 7%.

You can't leverage more debt off declining income unless you loan money at near-zero rates of interest. That explains the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP), which has the sole purpose of enabling more leverage and debt even as real income stagnates.

And just to remind us how those bubbles ended:


Buy the dip "because this Bull market will run until 2016?" Based on what? Does liquidity from the Fed ultimately drive the market, or does credit expansion drive the market? We will find out in 2014.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
pods's picture

First chart makes total sense. Bank reserves used to go to fund credit creation.  Now it just gets plopped in the stock market.

Not going to end well for Main Street.


CounterPartyVice's picture

I just don't watch financial charts unless they with some sort of softcore pron, .... ho wait!

Newsboy's picture




Fidel Sarcastro's picture


I like pron too...wasn't than a movie - or was that Tron?

Headbanger's picture

But it's DIFFERENT this time!

C'mon!  Where's all the cheerleader mooks here to sing along??


Cause it's differnet this time

And not like before

Everything's fine!

So don't be a bore!

See, Yellen's on time

And she'll just print us MOAR!



Moar scotch!  

Live from Zero Hedge...    IT'S FRIDAY AFTERNOON!!

Shall I continue torturing you with moar of my Vogon poetry??

It won't hurt much..  Trust me


Oldwood's picture

Just another new "normal"

EscapingProgress's picture

In the new normal you have to account for central bank balance sheets. More specifically, you have to take into consideration who is receiving this newly conjured currency courtesy of Don Bernanke and at who's expense?

I don't believe that total credit market data accurately reflects what pushes the stock market higher in this new normal. What has been pushing the stock market higher is massive wealth transference from the savings of those who do not work within the upper eschelons of high finance to those who do. This massive amount of wealth that is being stolen through inflation (see: Cantillon Effect) is being invested in the stock and bond markets, pushing stocks up and keeping bond yields suppressed. As long as this wealth transference through inflation is incrementally ramped up the general trend in stock prices will continue upwards until there is a change in the psychology of the Ponzi participants.

Oldwood is correct, this is just another new normal.

Pig Circus's picture

That's my chart!!

No, You didn't chart that!!

Ljoot's picture

No moar chicks Pittsburgh???

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Oh look!

Honeywell just announced at $5B stock buyback!

That's real progress.

LawsofPhysics's picture


Folks have been saying this about Japan for 30 fucking years.

Eventually, you will be correct.

Unfortunately, no one will recognize it until well after the blood is flowing in earnest.

Hedge accordingly.

nightshiftsucks's picture

What's the unemloyment rate in Japan ?

LawsofPhysics's picture

More importantly, how many are actually employed versus retired.  Someone has to pay for all the benefits those old folks are receiving.  100% employmant with 110% of their income going to taxes - "winning?", I think not.

You really believe any employment numbers published today?  Good luck with that.

I look at liabilities and how they are funded, nothing else matters.

donsluck's picture

Well, I am paying for my retirement with savings, including forced SS savings. You seem to think that there is no such thing.

GeezerGeek's picture

Breaking news...your "forced SS savings" are actually paying for my retirement, not yours. Or at least part of mine. Someone else's grandchildren will be paying for yours, assuming SS is still around after us Boomers get through sucking the system dry. 

Sorry if I burst your delusions.

nightshiftsucks's picture

I don't believe any Govt's numbers but the bottom line is I believe their unemployment rate is a lot lower than ours and that during those 30 years even if Japan was stagnant,the world economy and their exports were growing.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Fair enough, but I for one would not live there.   It is also important to point out that their population has been declining.

Death is wonderful for solving employment issues, but I wouldn't publical support that approach, would you?

dontgoforit's picture

I would find it no great surprise if one day someone close to the inside 'came out' with a whistle and said, "OMG, the real U.S. debt is 300 trillion - they've been printing truckloads of money and it got out of hand, ya' know, and they just kept sending it out there, to banks and whatnot, and well, no one really knew and it just kinda' got outta hand, and OMG..."  turd soup anyone?

nightshiftsucks's picture

The only reason I made a comment is because everyone refers to Japan not going under,we are different. Japan wasn't doing good while pretty much everyone else was,now it seems everyone is doing bad.This won't go on for 30 years.

Al Huxley's picture

They're going to get a little mini adrenalin rush thanks to the Social Media bubble that's kicking up right now.  So there'll be some temporary retail TWTR millionaires, but I think for most of them it will end the way it did for Newton.  But maybe TWTR gets to 100 before it reverts back to 10, just to fuck over as many mom-and-pop speculators as possible.

max2205's picture

The Guberment is in control....let it ride

Zionist Jew's picture

Main Street can eat cake...

The US is done, we just need to finish picking the carcass.

Eretz Yisrael is the future and Jerusalem will be the world capital.

whatsinaname's picture

In the interim I believe there will be no taper announced. In fact gut feeling tells me they will hike QE amounts !! Party on seems to be the mantra.

Zero guest's picture


Bank reserves by definition remain at the Fed earning 0.25% (curently).

Artificially low interest rates, caused by QE, are what is driving the stock market.

Gene Baugh

Jumbotron's picture

All charts like this are complete bullshit.

Because the Fed is backstopping anything and everything.  And even if they taper there is the explicit knowledge they will come to the rescue again....because after all they already have set the precedent of the ages....then it is QEternity until the currency collapse.

Weimar USA !!!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No worries. It just needs moar QE.

<Yellen.....get in there and ramp those machines up to light speed.>

agent default's picture

No none of that anymore the Fed will end QE. 

And promptly replace it with something like "Dynamic Liquidity Injection" or something like that.  They will just go in and buy stocks ETFs, bonds, options, you name it, the Fed will buy it. 

Go long kitchen sinks because the Fed will buy that too.

TeamDepends's picture

"Dynamic Liquidity Injection".  Hell yeah!  Crank it up to 11 Yellen, let's rock!

perelmanfan's picture

Needs a name more in keeping with modern sensibilities. I suggest "Super Comfy Chocolate Relaxation Wealth Perfection Win-Win Upside Adjustment." Or SCCRWPWWUA.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture



If you read that fast, it looks like ScrewYouUpTheAss.

SheepDog-One's picture

It's so crazy to see that as recently as 1987 the DOW 'crashed' from around 3,000, and here we are only a couple decades later saying we've got valuation 6X of that and the only place to go is up from here. We've gone well past full-retard, and the consequences will be brutal.

BullyBearish's picture

Either they double QE (CPI says Good To Go!) or roll over we will...

...out of space's picture

no taper next week, deflation still win

agent default's picture

And the cherry on top of that: gold to $500.

101 years and counting's picture

Apparently, Mr Hugh-Smith has not realized "this time is different".  Because CNBC says so.  And they would never lie to the unsuspecting public!!!

bnbdnb's picture

The $3T hole is filled by reserves.

SheepDog-One's picture

What's really scary is seeing how close 'The Onion Panel' discussions about 'the money hole' are to what we see on CNBS and the rest.

XAU XAG's picture

Once all the bail ins are set in law around the west............they will tapper


Europe law comming soon not sure if that is what they will wait fore

from memory already sighned up





nightshiftsucks's picture

Go ahead and do the bail in,that will kill the economy even more.No one will put anymore money in the banks and they will cut back on spending because they just lost a big chunk of change.

novictim's picture

Money must be fed back into the consumer side of the economy.  And I don't hear of people suddenly getting raises in my neighborhood...so what would you do to redistribute wealth back to the consumer/workers?

Did you think this transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich could go on forever?

donsluck's picture

Don't you know, banks no longer need depositors.

moneybots's picture

GREENSPAN says it isn't a bubble, so it is a bubble.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Given that they agreed on new Gov spending limits (or permission to spend more), the MOmentum is toward the Bull___ to continue.  Regardless of the storm clouds on the horizon.

Re-balance accordingly, but be quick to run for shelter if the storm clouds are no longer on the horizon but seem overhead.  IOW, "Make hay while... you can", rather than let the grass go to seed completely. 

My own guess is to take some yer end profits (if in the market), and wait for the Q1 correction before thinking about a Q2 re-entry.  Then move some to safety in Sep/Oct time frame.  Rinse, repeat the cyclical process, with eyes on the sky.

It comes down to a personal call, depending on YOUR situation and goals. 

nightshiftsucks's picture

Why bother,either they destroy the dollar or we go into an instant depression.

pragmatic hobo's picture

you know only thing/people doing BTFAH are the machines and unfortunate shorts being driven to cover ... and that's the real danger here. Once the supply of shorts run dry and machines don't have anyone to BTFAH ... there will be gaping hole in the market ...