2015 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since 2008

It’s official – 2015 was a horrible year for stocks.  On the last day of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 178 points, and overall it was the worst year for the Dow since 2008.  But of course the Dow was far from alone.  The S&P 500, the Russell 2000 and Dow Transports also all had their worst years since 2008.  Isn’t it funny how these things seem to happen every seven years?  But compared to other investments, stocks had a relatively “good” year.  In 2015, junk bonds, oil and industrial commodities all crashed hard – […]

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Missouri Ravaged By Historic Flooding As Disaster After Disaster Continues To Hit America

Why does this keep happening to America?  Since the month of September, the United States has been absolutely pummeled by a devastating series of disasters, and this most recent one may be the worst of all.  Right now, communities all along the Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas rivers are dealing with “historic” flooding.  In Missouri, it is being said that nobody “that is living has ever seen anything like this“, and it is being projected that rivers could reach levels not seen since “the Great Flood” of 1993.  Portions of Interstate 44 have been totally shut down, and thousands of people […]

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The Deadly Truth About the Great Boom and This “Recovery”

A Yahoo Finance headline this morning reads: “Unhappy New Year: The U.S. Economy Is Stalling Out.” We recently learned that existing home sales in November crashed 10.5% from the month before. Guess when the last time was when we saw these levels? The housing crisis of the mid- to late-2000s! I also recently shared a chart showing a cataclysmic 82% drop in the ratio of new home sales to the U.S. population. To put it simply, we won’t need more real estate for decades to come, with baby boomers increasingly dying to offset rising millennial home purchases. I and a […]

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Here I stand: I can do no other

I wasn’t going to write another post about the WASPI campaign, but things have become so unpleasant and confused that I have no choice. This post is my final and definitive statement on where I stand on the women’s state pension debate. My view of the women’s state pension age problem I described the women’s state pension age problem in some detail in a previous post, so I shall only outline it here, along with my view on each part of this complex problem. Recent changes to women’s state pension age are these: The 1995 Pensions Act raised women’s state […]

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Financial Armageddon Approaches: U.S. Banks Have 247 Trillion Dollars Of Exposure To Derivatives

Did you know that there are 5 “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have exposure to derivatives contracts that is in excess of 30 trillion dollars?  Overall, the biggest U.S. banks collectively have more than 247 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives contracts.  That is an amount of money that is more than 13 times the size of the U.S. national debt, and it is a ticking time bomb that could set off financial Armageddon at any moment.  Globally, the notional value of all outstanding derivatives contracts is a staggering 552.9 trillion dollars according to […]

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Health Care Premiums Shooting Through the Roof? Here’s Why

Last week I wrote about my recent IRS audit (which went well). What I did not dwell on was one of the topics they wanted to cover – my health insurance premiums. The tax year in question was 2013. I dutifully obtained copies of my insurance premium payments and presented them to the agent. For half the year I paid $ 654 per month, then my premium increased to $ 748. That’s a 14.5% jump in one year. It annoyed me at the time, but nothing like the anger I felt when I saw those numbers during my audit. In […]

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2016: You Don’t Want to Buy and Hold This Market!

This year has been called “the year nothing worked.” Stocks, bonds, commodities… emerging markets… real estate investment trusts… pipelines… cash… nothing generated much in the way of returns in 2015. Many active traders, of course, had a good year, and investors that stuck with a handful of high-octane momentum stocks actually did really well. But in looking at asset classes in general, 2015 was a blasé year for investors. Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are pockets of value out there. As I’ve written recently in Boom & Bust, many closed-end bond […]

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January 1, 2016: The New Bank Bail-In System Goes Into Effect In Europe

If you have a bank account anywhere in Europe, you need to read this article.  On January 1st, 2016, a new bail-in system will go into effect for all European banks.  This new system is based on the Cyprus bank bail-ins that we witnessed a few years ago.  If you will remember, money was grabbed from anyone that had more than 100,000 euros in their bank accounts in order to bail out the banks.  Now the exact same principles that were used in Cyprus are going to apply to all of Europe.  And with the entire global financial system teetering […]

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China’s Unprecedented Real Estate Bubble Is a Ticking Time Bomb

We woke up this morning to find oil prices weighing on the market… again… with China suffering the biggest losses. Oil prices have already kept stocks at bay in the best time of the year. Funny how this “Santa Claus” rally that I predicted wouldn’t happen this year, didn’t. The last time was in 2007 and 2008 – the last years the stock market crashed. I’ve been looking at how low oil prices will be the first trigger in the next crisis. Although it helps consumers a bit, low prices kill the $ 1 trillion QE-driven fracking industry that’s been […]

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Gold & Silver or Meth & Madness

“Meth” or Methamphetamine is a common recreational drug used, according to Wikipedia, to induce feelings of euphoria, increase sexual desire, and stimulate weight loss, among others. QE or Quantitative Easing, injecting liquidity, bond monetization, and “printing money” are common Keynesian economic prescriptions used to inflate economies, enable deficit spending and boost financial profits, among others.  Some call it monetary madness. There are many disturbing similarities and it is clear that excessive use of both Meth and QE are destructive. Your brain on drugs, your economy on QE: In low doses Meth can elevate mood and increase alertness and energy.  The […]

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