Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
The Beatings Will Continue Until the Economy Improves - 6th Jul 20
The Corona Economic Depression Is Here - 6th Jul 20
Stock Market Short-term Peaking - 6th Jul 20
Gold’s Major Reversal to Create the “Handle” - 5th July 20
Gold Market Manipulation And The Federal Reserve - 5th July 20
Overclockers UK Custom Build PC Review - 1. Ordering / Stock Issues - 5th July 20
How to Bond With Your Budgie / Parakeet With Morning Song and Dance - 5th July 20
Silver Price Trend Forecast Summer 2020 - 3rd Jul 20
Silver Market Is at a Critical Juncture - 3rd Jul 20
Gold Stocks Breakout Not Confirmed Yet - 3rd Jul 20
Coronavirus Strikes Back. But Force Is Strong With Gold - 3rd Jul 20
Stock Market Russell 2000 Gaps Present Real Targets - 3rd Jul 20
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Big Pharma Stock for Machine Learning Life Extension Investing - 2nd Jul 20
All Eyes on Markets to Get a Refreshed Outlook - 2nd Jul 20
The Darkening Clouds on the Stock Market S&P 500 Horizon - 2nd Jul 20
US Fourth Turning Reaches Boiling Point as America Bends its Knee - 2nd Jul 20
After 2nd Quarter Economic Carnage, the Quest for Philippine Recovery - 2nd Jul 20
Gold Completes Another Washout Rotation – Here We Go - 2nd Jul 20
Roosevelt 2.0 and ‘here, hold my beer' - 2nd Jul 20
U.S. Dollar: When Almost Everyone Is Bearish... - 1st Jul 20
Politicians Prepare New Money Drops as US Dollar Weakens - 1st Jul 20
Gold Stocks Still Undervalued - 1st Jul 20
High Premiums in Physical Gold Market: Scam or Supply Crisis? - 1st Jul 20
US Stock Markets Enter Parabolic Price Move - 1st Jul 20
In The Year 2025 If Fiat Currency Can Survive - 30th Jun 20
Gold Likes the IMF Predicting a Deeper Recession - 30th Jun 20
Silver Is Still Cheap For Now - 30th Jun 20
More Stock Market Selling Ahead - 30th Jun 20
Trending Ecommerce Sites in 2020 - 30th Jun 20
Stock Market S&P 500 Approaching the Precipice - 29th Jun 20
APPLE Tech Stock for Investing to Profit from the Machine Learning Mega trend - 29th Jun 20
Student / Gamer Custom System Build June 2020 Proving Impossible - Overclockers UK - 29th Jun 20
US Dollar with Ney and Gann Angles - 29th Jun 20
Europe's Banking Sector: When (and Why) the Rout Really Began - 29th Jun 20
Will People Accept Rampant Inflation? Hell, No! - 29th Jun 20
Gold & Silver Begin The Move To New All-Time Highs - 29th Jun 20
US Stock Market Enters Parabolic Price Move – Be Prepared - 29th Jun 20
Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid - 28th Jun 20
Stock Market S&P 500 Approaching a Defining Moment - 28th Jun 20
U.S. Long Bond: Let's Review the "Upward Point of Exhaustion" - 27th Jun 20
Gold, Copper and Silver are Must-own Metals - 27th Jun 20
Why People Have Always Held Gold - 27th Jun 20
Crude Oil Price Meets Key Resistance - 27th Jun 20
INTEL x86 Chip Giant Stock Targets Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing for 2020's Growth - 25th Jun 20
Gold’s Long-term Turning Point is Here - 25th Jun 20
Hainan’s ASEAN Future and Dark Clouds Over Hong Kong - 25th Jun 20
Silver Price Trend Analysis - 24th Jun 20
A Stealth Stocks Double Dip or Bear Market Has Started - 24th Jun 20
Trillion-dollar US infrastructure plan will draw in plenty of metal - 24th Jun 20
WARNING: The U.S. Banking System ISN’T as Strong as Advertised - 24th Jun 20
All That Glitters When the World Jitters is Probably Gold - 24th Jun 20
Making Sense of Crude Oil Price Narrow Trading Range - 23rd Jun 20
Elon Musk Mocks Nikola Motors as “Dumb.” Is He Right? - 23rd Jun 20
MICROSOFT Transforming from PC Software to Cloud Services AI, Deep Learning Giant - 23rd Jun 20
Stock Market Decline Resumes - 22nd Jun 20
Excellent Silver Seasonal Buying Opportunity Lies Directly Ahead - 22nd Jun 20
Where is the US Dollar trend headed ? - 22nd Jun 20
Most Shoppers have Stopped Following Supermarket Arrows, is Coughing the New Racism? - 22nd Jun 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

AI Stocks 2020-2035 15 Year Trend Forecast

France's 9-11, A Measured View of a Difficult Week and the Markets

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2015 Jan 12, 2015 - 06:49 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Stock-Markets

Michael E. Lewitt France's 9-11 should remind investors that the world sits atop a precarious geopolitical perch. Madmen with guns have the ability to wreak enormous damage on the fabric of society, which in turn places the stability of markets at risk.

Last week's tragic events in Paris are likely to impose significantly greater security costs on Western societies while leading them to question the open borders that feed immigration and trade, two keys to the future economic growth that will be necessary to dig out of the deepening debt hole they have dug themselves.


Depending on the response, jihadists could win a bigger victory than they imagine if Western governments surrender to their worst fears…

What the Fed Hasn't Learned About Keynes

Markets ran in a parallel universe while events unfolded in France during the week. That universe was one in which central bankers continued to act as the puppeteers and stock market investors jigged and jagged as former tenured economics professors yanked the strings. If the first full trading week of the year was any indication of things to come, investors are in for a wild ride in 2015. The January 7 release of the minutes of the December FOMC meeting led to a bout of frenzied buying that ended four straight days of selling going back to December 30.

While there was little of note in the minutes, markets took the absence of any warnings of imminent rate increases as permission to pile back into stocks despite further oil price declines and more bad economic news from Europe, China and Japan.

Then, on January 8, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who would probably never raise interest rates again if he had his way, declared that an interest rate hike would be "catastrophic" – he actually used that word, "catastrophic" – because "official" inflation was running at only about 1.5% rather than at the Fed's 2% target.

One has to wonder what qualifies an individual to become a Fed governor. Perhaps it is a belief in the ability of a group of academics to micromanage the most complex economy that has ever existed in the history of mankind. Or perhaps it is the ability to ignore the fact that the Fed has rarely if ever accurately forecasted the path of the economy or any of its key components such as GDP growth or inflation.

Certainly it must include the ability to forget that only a decade ago the Fed led the economy down precisely the same path it is leading it down today when it left interest rates too low for too long, allowing a housing bubble to form that nearly destroyed the global economy. Whatever Mr. Evans' credentials and those of his colleagues, their performance demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are uniquely unqualified for the task at hand, are far behind the curve, have no clue what is happening in the real world in terms of the market bubbles that have formed, and are leading us straight to another crisis.

We don't need cowards with guns who call themselves jihadists to destroy us. Central bankers are doing the job on their own. As John Maynard Keynes wrote, "there is no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction and does it in a manner which not man in a million is able to diagnose."

He learned that, by the way, from a terrorist – Lenin. If the jihadists really want to destroy the West, they should stop reading the Quran and start studying The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Stock market investors haven't figured out what's going on yet, however, so they are only too happy to follow Mrs. Yellen & Co. over the cliff while Wall Street strategists who are paid to lie are urging them to pile in for what they think is going to be another year of gains. If the market is to go up, it will do so in the face of a global economic slowdown, plunging commodity prices, a highly deflationary dollar rally, and increasing geopolitical risks. Unless you are a trader who is in a position to get out of your positions quickly or someone who has hedged your positions against a sharp correction or a bear market, you are playing with fire.

By the Numbers

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 96 points or 0.5% to close at 17,737.37 while the S&P 500 dropped 13 points or 0.65% to end the week at 2,044.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index, which seems hell-bent on breaking its Internet Bubble era record in the Social Media era, shed 23 points to 4704.47. The most sustainable market moves came in bonds where the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury dropped below 2% to close at 1.975%. The yield curve is continuing to flatten, a sure sign that the U.S. economy is likely to struggle in the year ahead.

The government may be churning out strong GDP numbers, but those numbers are statistical manipulations that belie underlying weakness in demand, a growing inequality gap, trumped-up corporate earnings, and the ever-increasing weight of public and private sector debt that is suffocating growth.

As low as bond yields are in the U.S., they are virtually microscopic in the rest of the world. Most of Europe's short-term yields (2-5 years) have moved into negative territory while Germany's 10-year yields closed the week at 0.49%. Spanish and Italian yields finished at 1.71% and 1.87%, respectively. In Japan, where the sun is the only thing that is rising, 10-year yields are down to 0.26%. A 1.975% U.S. 10-year yield looks rich in comparison and will continue to draw buyers until it is driven much lower.

Even a BRIC nation like Brazil, which has serious problems, has a 10-year yield of only 4.17%. This is the outcome of Ben Bernanke's and now Janet Yellen's unprecedented experiment in monetary policy to drive down interest rates to the point where the only thing investors can do with their money is lose it by investing it in risk assets.

That leaves the S&P 500 with a total capitalization-to-GDP ratio of almost 2.0x the mean (1.27 versus a mean of 0.65) and a Shiller/CAPE P/E ratio of 27x versus a mean of 16.6x against the backdrop of a flattening yield curve and a Fed likely to start raising short interest rates by the middle of the year (and if it doesn't, what does that say about the state of the economy?).

The Fed is in a straitjacket of its own creation. The December jobs report showed that the economy keeps creating 250,000 jobs a month and that the unemployment rate is now down to 5.6% (just 0.3% away from the Fed's 2015 year-end target of 5.3%) while U6, the all-in rate, fell to 11.2%. Of course, these numbers were flattered by a further drop in the labor participation rate to 62.7%, the lowest since 1977, but Fed policy can do nothing about that.

Obviously the numbers have not yet seen an impact from job losses in the oil and gas sector, but they will come soon enough. Originally the Fed had set 6.5% as the target at which it would start considering raising rates, but who are we to quibble? One disappointing statistic was a 0.2% drop in average hourly earnings as income inequality continues to widen.

Central Banks Can't Pilot a Smooth Landing

The refusal of the Fed to begin normalizing interest rates suggests either that it truly believes it can micromanage the economy to a smooth landing (which experience dictates it cannot) or it is terrified (as Charles Evans suggested) about the effects of higher rates on the economy.

With respect to the latter point, the economy can likely sustain 100-200 basis points of higher rates without much negative effect. Markets, however, are another matter. If stock markets are going to skyrocket every time the Fed hints at a delay in raising rates, as it did in mid-December and again last week, one has to wonder how hard it will sell off when the fateful day finally arrives and the Fed announces its first 25 basis point hike in the Fed funds rate. Despite all the brave talk by the Happy Faces on CNBC that such a move would indicate economic recovery and confidence in the future on the part of the Fed, stock market investors could well interpret the news as a sign that the party is over.

With stocks trading at levels only seen before prior market crashes, this may be what Mr. Evans was really trying to say when he said that an interest rate increase would be "catastrophic." But it is time for the Fed to stop protecting the stock market from itself and let free markets reign.

There may, after all, be some smart jihadist out there who understand what Keynes (and Lenin) were saying and are enjoying watching us destroy ourselves. Maybe their attacks only accentuate the real war that we are waging on ourselves.

Source : http://moneymorning.com/2015/01/11/a-measured-view-of-a-difficult-week-and-the-markets/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2014 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules