Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The End? Stocks Slammed Again; Economic Prospects for 2016 Appear Grim

What should have happened in 2008-09 may be beginning to happen now, in 2016. Investors should take losses, companies should go broke, and government apologists should have a "come to Jesus" moment and admit that they've been lying about the recovery for years.

There is and there has been no recovery. GDP has been stuck between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half percent since the financial crisis (and that's if you believe government accounting). 2015 will be fortunate to register at two percent growth.

Meanwhile, wages are stagnant and falling, 95 million able-bodied Americans are not officially counted as part of the workforce. The middle class has been hollowed out by Wall Street greed, government over-taxation, and unrealistic government salaries and pensions that suck the life out of local and state budgets.

The jobs that made America great have long gone, shipped overseas to China and elsewhere, and now we are exacerbating our pitiful condition by allowing in more immigrants - legal and illegal - taking away the few jobs left for natural-born citizens.

Baby boomers are retiring, replaced by their dumbed-down progeny. Our national debt of nearly $19 trillion - and growing - is a universal disgrace. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve, in cahoots with the shiftless Treasury Department, debases our currency by print a full 40% of government expenditures.

The federal government wants to grab our guns, the states want to charge us rent - in the form of property taxes - on the property we own, and neither of them can balance their books. The American public is at a breaking point, through with political correctness, suspicious of a government that spies upon us, regulates us, lies to us and sends our kids to die in useless wars which are never won. The controlled mainstream media propagandizes and cajoles anyone who doesn't align properly with the official corporate-government-military line.

Truly, in the short history of our Republic, we are on the cusp of complete breakdown in finance, education, morals, and decency.

And, while the blame can be placed on the people itself, because we voted for the spineless, unaccountable elected officials who have led us to this point, it should fall on the shoulders of those doing the governing, the legislating, the ones who are routinely bribed to pass legislation that favors corporations over people, banks over homeowners, and diminishment of our rights and liberties over common sense.

Our current government is the most corrupt to ever inhabit the halls of congress and the White House, our state houses and our government mansions. Is it any wonder that only half of the people who can vote, do vote?

Wall Street insiders hold all the cards, and they're gradually folding them. The Dow Industrials, S&P 500 and NASDAQ were all lower by massive amounts again today, for the second time in three this year. If this is a portent of what's ahead for the rest of the year, the ride may not be bumpy at all, merely a slide into the mediocrity created by greed, failed, moronic policies of the Federal Reserve, all with the implicit consent of the government, a government that is not worth the support of the people.

The slow collapse of stocks that has been on display the first week of this year has already been gaining steam since prior to last summer. Stocks peaked in late May and are 6-8% lower (depending on which index you choose) from their inflated high points. The Dow is down nearly 500 points in just three days this year and more than 850 points since the Fed decided, in their insipid, desperate desire, to raise interest rates mid-December.

Manufacturing, as measured by the ISM, has shown contraction for two consecutive months. US Services PMI dropped to 54.3 - the lowest since January 2015. ISM Services fell to 55.3, the lowest level since March 2014.

US factory orders for November fell 4.2% year-over-year, the 13th consecutive monthly drop. We are on the verge of a recession, in the middle of a depression. The emperor has no clothes and this time, with federal funds rates straining to hold between 0.25 and 0.50%, there is no place to hide.

If this isn't the end, it's getting pretty close. According to the most widely-accepted charting methods, stocks will enter a correction phase within a month, if not sooner. Corporate profits are falling, as companies cannot concoct any more accounting tricks to show even meager profits. Quarterly results are due out over the next three to four weeks and prospects for corporate earnings are poor. For retailers, energy stocks and consumer goods producers, the results - stemming from missing expectations for the holiday season and an oversupply of crude oil and distillates - might be devastating.

Stores are being shuttered in malls across the country and with them, marginal jobs which will not come back. The only bright spots are that inflation is nil, gasoline is cheap, and the winter, thus far, has been mild, at least in the heavily-populated Northeast.

Somehow, America will survive. However, the America of 2016 is a far cry from what the country was just 30 years ago, and a dim representation of what our Founding Fathers conceived.

S&P 500: 1,990.26, -26.45 (1.31%)
Dow: 16,906.51, -252.15 (1.47%)
NASDAQ: 4,835.76, -55.67 (1.14%)

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