Eventually the prospect of recession that can’t be cured by the central bank printing presses will ignite sheer panic in the casino. Then the monetary fools running them will be reviled to the ends of the earth. But not before the lunatic 100X valuations of the FANGs implode like those of all the high flyers which have gone before. For the third time this century it is time to sell the bubble. Yes, do back up the trucks!
Not only is the specter of recession growing more visible, but it is also attached to a truth that cannot be gainsaid. Namely, having stranded itself at the zero bound for an entire business cycle, the Fed is bereft of dry powder.
"... after four long years without any profits growth, the risk is that MSCI World mean-reverts to its original 2011 PE multiple, which would imply a further 50% decline from here. Even decline back to average would imply a 15% drop."
In March 2014 Wall Street’s ex-items S&P 500 earnings forecast for 2015 was about $133 per share; it ended up 20% lower at $106. Yet here they go again - the consensus for 2016 started out at $137 per share last spring, and is just now beginning to make its way back toward the high $120s. It is a barometer of the abject complacency and intellectual sloth that has descended on the casino owing to two decades of Fed coddling and seven year of free money for the carry trades. In the case of Chipotle, it was always just a burrito. In the case of the US and world economy and financial markets, it’s not even that.
At the end of the day, the current preposterous $325 billion market cap has nothing to do with the business prospects of this firm or the considerable entrepreneurial prowess of its leader and his army of disrupters. It is more in the nature of financial rigor mortis - the final spasm of the robo-traders and the fast money crowd chasing one of the greatest bubbles still standing in the casino.
The S&P 500 closed at 2052 on November 18,2014. That was 405 days ago, and despite the rips and dips in the interim the broad market average has gone nowhere.
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.