There’s no question that the world economy has been shaky at best since the crash of 2008. Yet, politicians, central banks, et al., have, since then, regularly announced that “things are picking up.” One year, we hear an announcement of “green shoots.” The next year, we hear an announcement of “shovel-ready jobs.” And yet, year after year, we witness the continued economic slump. Few dare call it a depression, but, if a depression can be defined as “a period of time in which most people’s standard of living drops significantly,” a depression it is.
Assuming that after being wrong for 7 years about everything, economists are actually right about the market still having some discounting abilities left, what then is the market telegraphing? The answer, according to the Bank of America: the biggest surge in recessionary odds since 2011, which over the past few days have nearly hit a 50% probability of an economic slowdown.
One of the most curiously persistent surrealisms of Washington, DC is the reflexive deference given the Federal Reserve System. The Washington elite tends to accord more infallibility to the Fed than do Catholics the Pope.
Don’t look now, but undergrad economics is rearing its ugly again at Wal-Mart as the retailer cuts workers’ hours in a desperate attempt to offset more than a billion in wage hikes.
The fundamentals for the US dollar are terrible, but people keep dumping money into it like trained monkeys simply because nothing else in financial markets makes any sense. This perception of 'safety' is based on a complete myth - every credible fundamental suggests that the dollar is dangerously overvalued; but if not the US dollar, then which currency is the safe haven? The euro is garbage, the Chinese are fighting a depression, Japan is a disaster. And that’s precisely the point. When every option in the financial system is grounded in absurdity, the only solution is to start looking for safety outside of it.
You know what they say: when it rains it pours, especially when you’re the poster child for an epic emerging market unwind and you’re suffering through the worst inflation-growth outcome in over a decade while trying to combat dual deficits and ward off political and social upheaval.
With every passing week that money markets rates remain pinned to the zero bound by the Fed, the magnitude of the financial catastrophe hurtling toward main street America intensifies. When the next financial bubble crashes it can only be hoped that this time the people will grab their torches and pitchforks. Stanley Fischer ought to be among the first tarred and feathered for the calamity that he has so arrogantly helped enable.
While the US has had a surge in violence over the past several years, its defining feature was the generally chaotic and uncoordinated nature of each such - usually lethal - act. That changed over the weekend when the FBI announced three US citizens - Brian Cannon, 37, Terry Peace, 47, and Cory Williamson, 29, - were sentenced to 12 years in prison for "conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies. The defendants planned to attack critical infrastructure while motivating militia groups in other states to rise up and join them in removing government officials who they believed had exceeded their Constitutional power."
"A cloudy fiscal policy along with unattractive economic data and oil prices continuing to decline fueled negative sentiment about the market which exaggerated fears among investors."
"In the almost 20 years I have spent following politics closer than close, I've never seen anything like the total reversal in how Trump is perceived by Republican voters. It is, quite literally, unprecedented."
On the face of it, the crash and massive rebound makes little sense, with many oil market analysts undoubtedly left shaking their heads. But there is a logic to what unfolded, just not the logic of the physical market for crude.
Attempts to explain exactly what happened last Monday when prices for a whole host of ETFs and mutual funds diverged markedly from fair value abound and while there's no way to know for sure exactly what went wrong, FactSet has drawn some tentative conclusions after conducting a bit of "voodoo, tea-leaf reading."
The tremors rattling markets are not exactly what they seem to be. A meme prevails that these movements represent a kind of financial peristalsis - regular wavelike workings of eternal progress toward an epic more of everything, especially profits! You can forget the supposedly “normal” cycles of the techno-industrial arrangement, which means, in particular, the business cycle of the standard economics textbooks. Those cycle are dying. They’re dying because there really are Limits to Growth and we are now solidly in grips of those limits.
Following Milt Pappas' September 1972 'no hitter', The Dow dropped over 40%. Carlos Zambrano's 'no hitter' in 2008 came right before the Lehman bankruptcy weekend and was followed a 6000-point-plus collapse in The Dow. So, when we saw Jake Arrieta's 'no hitter' this weekend, we can only imagine what doom it implies for US stocks.