In a world which is prodded, directed, managed, and ultimately controlled by central banks and government authoritarians, the narrative is often more important than the reality of life under the thumb.
A case in point comes today - a day after the NASDAQ, S&P 500, Dow Industrial Average each set new all-time highs - in which actual economic data diverged from the preferred narrative of "everything is peachy-keen."
Two important data sets were released prior to the opening of US equity markets, July PPI and July retail sales. Both were disappointing.
PPI came in at -0.4% and retail sales posted a sluggish 0.0% (zero) growth, with the core - ex-autos - down 0.3%. These figures not only suggest deflation, but are actually indicative of a deflationary environment, the sole condition which can awaken central bankers from sound sleep in cold sweats and is, at the same time, a relief for cash-strapped, income-stagnant workers and consumers.
According to the book of central bank policy, should one actually exist, the wants and needs of the average working Jane or Joe is to be disregarded in such an instance, preference given to fat-cat Wall Street types who do no work, produce nothing of value, but rake in billions of dollars in fees, profits, and commissions for their trading activities in the stock market casino.
So it came to be that since stocks had just made all-time highs, a major setback could not and would not be tolerated. The major indices slumped most of the session, but were boosted higher going into the close, with losses trimmed on the Dow and S&P, the NASDAQ actually closing positive, as deemed appropriate by the masters of the the universe.
The rigging of markets is never going to work out long term. Massive mis-allocation of capital has been taking place since the last financial crisis, setting the global economy up for a colossal, catastrophic, cataclysmic collapse. Maybe it won't be as bad as our alliterative case suggests, if only because ordinary people have had time to adjust and prepare, but, for anyone owning stocks at current altitudes, losses are nearly a certainty. That is, unless the entire world remains in a state of suspended animation, normalcy bias, and cognitive dissonance, and the wild-eyed central bankers of the world are allowed to continue their insane policies of negative interest rates, naked purchasing of equities (already a de facto policy of the BOJ and ECB, still a clandestine operation by the US Fed), stimulus, and maybe, if we're really lucky, helicopter money.
The week ended well for the titans of Wall Street. Have a (few, lots of, keg of) beers, enjoy the weekend, and sleep on it.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,576.47, -37.05 (-0.20%)
5,232.89, +4.50 (0.09%)
2,184.05, -1.74 (-0.08%)
10,820.79, -15.26 (-0.14%)
The weekly figures weren't all that impressive, though the NASDAQ recorded its seventh consecutive weekly gain.
For the Week:
Dow: +32.94 (+0.18%)
NASDAQ: +11.77 (+0.23%)
S&P 500: +1.18 (+0.05%)
NYSE Comp.: +37.92 (+0.35%)