The market is prone to temporary fits of shared enthusiasm – for emerging-market debt, for Internet stocks, for residential mortgage-backed securities, for Greek government debt. Traders need not wait to see when or whether the profits materialize. IBGYBG, they say – I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone. There are numerous routes to bezzle and febezzle... traders borrowed money from the future. And then the future came, as it always does, turning the bezzle into a bummer.
Our freedom and prosperity ends when we adopt the counterparty theft of central bank’s monopoly money.
That’s what yesterday’s Bullard Rip was all about - it amounted to the bell at the top. In time it will become evident that the market is unable to break-out of the bubble finance channel it has established between 2075 and 2125 over the past year. When December comes around and the Fed has to explain the growing signs of global and domestic recession, the robo-machines will have grown themselves an altogether new set of programs. Namely, an algorithm that says any day the Eccles Building is open for business is a good day to sell.
Not to be outdone by his partner Charlie Munger (who offended many with his comments that "gold is a great thing to sew onto your garments if you're a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939,"), Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett - having already taken on Europe, comparing Greece to a "dog peeing on the carpet" of Europe, suggesting Germany stop "rewarding behavior you want to get rid of" - takes aim at the military. Speaking on Bloomberg TV, the octagenerian oracle of offense just unfriended every American veteran...
"August Sucks," concludes MIT Quant guru Andrew Lo, reflecting on the systematic-trading strategy effects on markets, and it's not going to get better any time soon. As he explains to Bloomberg, "algorithmic trading is speeding up the reaction times of these participants, so that’s the choppiness of the market. Everybody can move to the left side of the boat and the right side of the boat now within minutes as opposed to hours or days." As we have noted many time, Lo explains how "crowded trades have got to the point of alpha becoming beta," warning that volatility-targeting strategies (such as Risk-Parity) are not only "exaggerating the moves," but he cautions omniously reminiscent of the August 2007 quant crash, "I think they are creating volatility of volatility."
Billionaires like Warren Buffett make fun of Gold, while ignoring the fact it has outperformed stocks ever since it was de-pegged from major currencies in 1967. This is part of a larger War on Cash implemented by the Central Banks.
We can look at official statistics to get a sense of inflation, but these numbers are totally meaningless. When I was a kid, my father earned enough money to support his family with a single salary. We had a house, a car, an occasional vacation, and we never missed a meal. All on one income. But those days are long gone. Now it’s almost obligatory to live in a dual-income household just to make ends meet. The official statistics never paint this picture.
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 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 downturn in China is “our” downturn. All the recent happy talk, due to unsuitable extrapolation and nothing more, has melted away yet again. In short, the same trend dating back almost four years now is quite expectedly unaltered by whatever any central bank does or does not do. “Stimulus” is just noise against all that, at best; at worst it actively contributes to the instability of the decline.
What happens when we roll back into the next official recession, unemployment soars, and consumers really stop spending? What is revealed when you look under the hood of this economic recovery is that it is a complete and utter fraud. The recovery is nothing but smoke and mirrors, buoyed by subprime auto debt, really subprime student loan debt, corporate stock buybacks, and Fed financed bubbles in stocks, real estate, and bonds. The four retailers listed below are nothing but zombies, kept alive by the Fed’s ZIRP and QE, as they stumble towards their ultimate deaths. The coming recession will be the knife through their skulls, putting them out of their misery.
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.
"I’ve just slogged through all ninety-two pages of Donald Trump’s financial disclosure submission to the Federal Election Commission, and I can’t make heads or tails of it. I cannot tell how much Trump is worth, if anything. His empire, if he has one, is as mysterious as his haircut, and as impervious as his skyscraper in Chicago - a gigantic phallic mirror named after himself."
Simply put, Gold stymies "welfare statists," but back in 1966 no lesser credit-nation-creator than Alan Greenspan still belived in free markets and sound money. You can obstruct price discovery and you can disguise and distort the real value of things. But Mr. Market will get even someday. He always does.
More and more insiders are warning of a potential systemic event.