Showing posts with label easy money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy money. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Monday's Big Bounce Sets Up For Extended Short-Term Rally, Continued Volatility

After last week's bloodletting, it was no surprise that bargain hunters emerged to open the week's trading, sending the markets through the roof right at the open and holding gains throughout the session.

With a four percent loss booked for the prior week, Monday's 1.5-2.0% gains amount to little more than a technical snap-back rally off some very fresh and very dangerous new lows. Early indications from brisk Black Friday weekend sales were the most likely catalyst for Cyber Monday buying, a reflection of what may be considered a robust economy backed by consumers with full wallets and plenty of room to spare on credit cards.

While the Fed has been tightening over the past two years, banks, credit card operations, and shadow banking entities have been cranking up the credit spigots, loosening lending standards and making more money available via an array of personal loans, small business offerings, refinancing, consolidations and other assorted credit vehicles. There certainly is no shortage of easy money in the consumer and small business space, nor in the higher levels of corporate finance.

Add to the consumer and business conditions wide-open spending by governments at all levels and the US economy appears robust, dynamic and unflinching. Never mind that the Fed is threatening to take away the punch bowl. There are more than enough willing participants and suppliers of easy money, many of them spring the mix with added enticements.

There are crosswinds in the capital markets which lead to wild swings in every manner of asset. The flavor of the day may change, but the underlying theme of easy money has not yet left the room. America is in a period that rivals the roaring twenties, the nifty sixties and even the greed-is-good nineties.

The party goes on until the elixir of fast, easy money is taken away, and that's not happening any time soon. Expect even more volatility through the holidays and into the new year.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42
11/13/18 25,286.49 -100.69 +170.27
11/14/18 25,080.50 -205.99 -35.72
11/15/18 25,289.27 +208.77 +173.05
11/16/18 25,413.22 +123.95 +297.00
11/19/18 25,017.44 -395.78 -98.78
11/20/18 24,465.64 -551.80 -650.58
11/21/18 24,464.69 -0.95 -651.53
11/23/18 24,285.95 -178.74 -830.27
11/26/18 24,640.24 +354.29 -475.98

At the Close, Monday, December 26, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,640.24, +354.29 (+1.46%)
NASDAQ: 7,081.85, +142.87 (+2.06%)
S&P 500: 2,673.45, +40.89 (+1.55%)
NYSE Composite: 12,181.60, +145.36 (+1.21%)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Markets Turn Ugly As Bond Yields Soar in Ground Hog Day Massacre

Even as January's non-farm payroll report painted a rosy employment picture, adding 200,000 jobs for the month, the 10-year note crested over the 2.80% level on Friday, sending stocks into as vicious tailspin in a mid-winter crash.

The nearly 666-point decline on the Dow was the sixth largest one-day point drop in market history, though in percentage terms was the mildest of the top ten, all of which have occurred in the 21st century.

The fact that all of the major point losses happened since 2000 is made obvious by the enormity of the index, still standing at more then 25,000, an epochal figure in market terms. Notably, the Dow Jones Industrial Average first passed the 10,000 mark in 1999, amid the notorious dotcom boom, prior to the dotcom bust, which took a full three-and-a-half years to fully play out.

Friday's drop was the largest since a 634.76-point loss on August 8, 2011 which sent the blue chips down 5.55%, to 10,809.85. Noting the relative percentage puniness of the Ground Hog Day Massacre, it may be wise to expect larger point and percentage losses in the near to mid-range future (three months to one year).

While it may be simplistic to point to the gaudy valuations placed on equities in the current market dynamic, it is nonetheless a significant factor in the current shaky environment and as good a reason to sell out of stocks as any, though the other major catalyst - rising bond yields - provides a more granular perspective.

The long end of the Treasury yield curve was extended on Friday as the 30-year bond smashed through the psychological 3.00% barrier, signaling to long-term investors that the aging bull market in stocks (and bonds) may be coming to a quick conclusion.

Bull and bear markets do not begin nor end in vacuums, which is why this most recent pullback should be regarded as a change of tone in market functioning. Nothing gos on forever, and empirical data suggests that while stocks have enjoyed salad days for years, the general economy and the welfare of millions of Americans has been less than a full meal.

It's easy to look at macro data and conclude that all is well and central banks have the markets and global economies under control, but sometimes one needs to look around and actually see the mountains of debt, stock buybacks, and central bank meddling which have fueled the gigantic recovery and historic stock gains.

Money is undoubtably becoming tighter and the labor market - according to government figures - is straining at full employment, but wages gains have not nearly kept pace with either inflation or taxes for at least the past 15 years. A breaking point is coming, wherein multi-national corporate behemoths are going to have to sacrifice the massive salaries bestowed upon top executives in exchange for pay increases for Mr. and Mrs. America.

With the Federal Reserve ready to hike the federal funds rate another 25 basis points at their upcoming March FOMC rate policy meeting, the world's central bank seeks to create a buffer against an almost certain recession, one which they, by their own reckless actions, will have caused.

If stock declines continue through February, expect the Fed to pause on their quest to raise rates and unload debt at the same time. The outward absurdity of their position is dangerous to the welfare of not only business entities, but individuals and governments as well.

What may have been the most telling circumstance from Friday's demolition of all asset classes, gold and silver also took precipitous drops, action which harkens back to the tumultuous days of the fall of 2008, when precious metals were slammed along with stocks. Notably, it was the metals which recovered first, but under the current conditions of mad money mindlessness, the shiny stuff may be suppressed even further, simply because central banks don't appreciate competition for their various fake currencies by real money.

The era of easy money is ending.

Real assets will endure.

At the Close, Friday, February 2, 2018:
Dow: 25,520.96, -665.75 (-2.54%)
NASDAQ: 7,240.95, -144.92 (-1.96%)
S&P 500: 2,762.13, -59.85 (-2.12%)
NYSE Composite: 13,085.35, -296.62 (-2.22%)

For the Week:
Dow: -1095.75 (-4.12)
NASDAQ: -264.83 (-3.53%)
S&P 500: -110.74 (-3.85%)
NYSE Composite: -551.67 (-4.05%)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Easy Money Fosters a World of Fatties, Free-Spending, and Fallacies

Easy Street.

It's where we all reside these days, as stocks reach new all-time highs on a regular basis, quarterly fund notices are eagerly awaited for the good news, and no calamity, disaster, data, or dictator can hope to stem the flow of money into the pockets of Wall Street brokers and their eager investors.

Easy Money.

That's the ticket to lifestyles of the rich and famous. What's known widely as the "wealth effect," has everybody giddy with the possibilities of bigger homes, faster cars, more lavish lifestyles. Why would anybody claim that these manufactured dreams are not for the best?

Because they're dreams, fallacies, shadow plays on the collective psyche of investors, which these days happens to include anybody with a decent job and a 401k retirement plan. TV ads show healthy retirees working on sports cars, opening wineries, bicycling along the shore of some deserted beach.

It's a facade for the real lives people live. More than a fair share of people are either in poor health, somewhat destitute, unable to decide between paying for medication or food, and the rents or mortgages on those "bigger homes" are increasing at an unsustainable rate.

Everything, from pickle relish to cell phone plans, is massively overpriced and planning on going higher. The very priests and priestesses of high finance = the governors of the Federal Reserve - tell us that they would like to see more inflation. Seriously. Higher prices... for everything.

Walk through any upscale supermarket and witnessed the blank stares of shoppers strolling and trolling the aisles, mesmerized by colorful labels and delicious deals. It's enough to make the whole country obese.

And it is. Nobody in the financial realm will admit it, but easy money is a leading cause of obesity. It's also a leading cause of mass stupidity. It takes no financial discipline nor anything more than basic math skills to suck up the profits from the font of Wall Street. It's intellectually dishonest and mentally disarming. It results in being massively unprepared for the present and especially, the future.

Easy money fuels the general degradation of society because of it's essential falsity. The money is conjured out of thin air - with a dabble of debt added for good measure - to buy minuscule portions of companies at prices one would have sneered at 20 years ago. Most people with investments don't even know which companies they own, how many shares of such or what the price to earnings ratio is of the underlying securities.

Is this rational? People have so much trust in money-changers that they don't even know what they own, or why. That's what's troubling. American investors have entrusted their futures to the same group of people who brought us the dotcom disaster, the sub-prime mortgage bubble and the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09. It's lunacy of a high order.

There's an old adage that goes, "you get what you pay for." Besides being an example of poor grammar (another sign of the times), there is the ring of truth to the expression. What people have paid for their stocks, their perceived riches, their assumed wealth, is small, yet they expect the returns to be great.

After fees, taxes and the great wealth destroyer of inflation, they're not likely to be very pleased when they cash out.

At the close, Thursday, October 5, 2017: (all record closing highs)
Dow: 22,775.39, +113.75 (+0.50%)
NASDAQ: 6,585.36, +50.73 (+0.78%)
S&P 500: 2,552.07, +14.33 (+0.56%)
NYSE Composite: 12,338.93, +34.26 (+0.28%)