At this week’s close, the FANG stocks were valued at just under $1.2 trillion, meaning they have gained $450 billion of market cap or 60% during the last 11 months - even as their combined earnings for the September LTM period were up by only 13%. In a word, the gamblers are piling on to the last train out of the station. And that means look out below!
The current stock market melt-up hardly qualifies as limp. Even the robo-machines and hyper-ventilating day traders apparently recognize that their job is to tag the May 2015 highs and then get out of the way. So when and as they complete their pointless mission, the question recurs as to why the posse of fools in the Eccles Building can’t see that they are inflating one hellacious financial bubble; and that when it blows it will deconstruct their entire 7-year project of make-pretend recovery.
If you don’t think financial markets have been utterly destroyed by central bank intrusion then how can you explain Friday’s 460 Dow point reversal higher after the post-NFP low? It was pure machine rage triggered by another implied “lower for longer” Fed policy signal. In short, we are now in an exceedingly dangerous phase of the central bank end game. They continue to pour gasoline on the first of financial speculation, yet smugly insist all is clear.
Call it the rigor mortis of the robo-machines. About 430 days ago the S&P 500 crossed the 1973 mark for the first time - the same point where it settled today. In between there has been endless reflexive thrashing in the trading range highlighted below. As is evident, the stock averages have not “climbed” the proverbial wall of worry; they have jerked and twitched to a series of short-lived new highs, which have now been abandoned. Surely most thinking investors have left the casino by now. So what remains is chart driven trading programs, racing madly up, then down, then back up again - rinsing and repeating with ever more furious intensity.
The robo machines pushed their snouts through 2100 on the S&P index again yesterday. This was the 13th time since, well, February 13th that this line has been re-penetrated from below. But don’t call it an omen of bad luck; its more like monetary rigor mortis. The bull market is dead, but the robo-machines and talking heads of bubble vision just don’t know it yet.
We show the answer on the chart below: it shows the current price of the S&P energy sector juxtaposed with where the sector would be if one applied a 13.6x multiple to every EPS data point in its history. Not surprisingly, it reveals an energy sector trading at 262.3, about 50% below the current price. It means that the current energy sector price of 506, which is 93% higher to the implied price, has a long way to drop if and when multiple mean-reversion finally sets in.
This charmed circle includes Google, Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Saleforce.com, Netflix, Pandora, Tesla, LinkedIn, ServiceNow, Splunk, Workday, Ylep, Priceline, QLIK Technologies and Yandex. Taken altogether, their market cap clocked in at $1.3 trillion on Friday. That compares to just $21 billion of LTM net income for the entire index combined. The talking heads, of course, would urge not to be troubled. After all, what’s a 61X trailing PE among today’s leading tech growth companies?
"...with each passing session the casino is getting more dangerous, but the lemmings have no clue and the narrative gets ever more specious."
If any evidence was needed that the market is dying at the zero bound, it came in this week’s violent 15-minute rip when the algos read the Fed’s release to mean there will be no rate hike in June. It put you in mind of monetary rigor mortis - the last spasm of something that’s already dead but doesn’t know it. The Great Financial Bubble dying at the zero bound has been inflating with just three interruptions - 1987, 2000 and 2008-09 - for the last 33 years. As a result, the market value of stocks, bonds and other debts have simply become decoupled from national income.
We heard from several central banks in the last few days, and what they had to say was just one more reminder that we are in a Hill Street Blues financial world. So, hey, let’s be careful out there - and then some!
Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.
Hedge Fund Legend Julian Robertson Warns Of A "Complete Explosion" Unless Fed Contains "Boiling, Bubble" MarketSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/06/2015 22:28 -0500
According to hedge fund legend Julian Robertson, the Fed must act and hike rates soon because “the economy warrants it and I think [the Fed is] not crazy enough just to let this thing boil over into complete explosion. I am looking at a bubble that is almost sure to pop at some time and I don't know when it's going to happen, but I know it's going to happen. The bigger this bubble gets, the bigger the burst." What happens then: "I don't think it's at all ridiculous to think of a selloff like we saw in 2008."
So what has transpired is another day and another play in the casino. This ketchup and mac merger could not be more emblematic of how the Fed’s destruction of honest financial markets has fatally deformed American capitalism. Warren and Jorge are understandably singing Janet’s praise. Everyone else should be getting out the torches and pitchforks.
Does it really take purportedly intelligent people six years to see that the macros are not responding? Better still, isn’t it time for the Fed to explain the exact channel by which its interest rate pegging and forward guidance is supposed to be transmitted to the main street economy? After all, if these channels are blocked or ineffective - then its flood of liquidity never leaves the canyons of Wall Street. In that event, the central bank actually functions as a financial doomsday machine, inflating the next financial bubble until it bursts. Then, apparently, its job is to rinse and repeat.
Janet Yellen noted that everything was awesome and that stocks were now slightly "on the high side" of their historical range. It appears no one showed her the Russell 2000 which has a valuation multiple of just about 90x LTM earnings (as reported by the 2000 companies which comprise the index, and which were certified as accurate by 4,000 CEOs and CFOs on penalty of jail time). The mystery of how the Fed remains so stubbornly bubble blind - just like it did during the dotcom and housing bubbles - is thus revealed. The self-evident reason is that the purported geniuses who comprise our monetary politburo drink the Wall Street Cool-Aid about forward ex-items EPS. The Fed is driving a two-ton bubble machine, but has no clue that it has become a financial death trap.