This Could Crash 95% This Year

There are two types of stock bubbles – normal stock bubbles of five years or so and shorter-term, more extreme bubbles – and we’re currently in the midst of both kinds.

Both are characterized by irrational behavior…

A complete break from any fundamentals.

On Thursday, I’ll talk more on Thursday about how this is the case with the stock bubble. But today, let’s compare the cryptocurrency bubble to five other quick-and-nasty bubbles that have wiped out investors in the past. I’m talking, of course, about the tulip bubble, the South Sea and Mississippi bubbles, the internet bubble, and the recent China bubble. All of them have something in common, and that’s really bad news for those latecomers to this Bitcoin bubble.

Listen to my latest video for the details…

The thing with this crypto bubble – and all the bubbles, stock and short-term alike, that have come before it – is that it ultimately results in a shakeout. It destroys all the flotsam and jetsam lurking in the market in question. And it presents once-in-a-lifetime wealth-building opportunities.

Take Amazon for example. During the dot.com boom it went to $ 113 per share. Then the crash brought it tumbling down to just $ 5.50 a share – down 95%. It survived though, and today one share goes for more than $ 1,300. That’s a 240 times gain!

The same kinds of opportunities will present themselves once this crypto bubble has burst. We believe one cryptocurrency in particular is in a good place to survive the shakeout ahead. Think of it as the Amazon of the cryptocurrency world. We recently shared details of this little gem with Boom & Bust subscribers in four new special reports. If you haven’t seen them yet, you can find them here.

Harry
Follow Me on Twitter @harrydentjr

The post This Could Crash 95% This Year appeared first on Economy and Markets.

Harry Dent – Economy and Markets ()




Some Are Calling This ‘The Bitcoin Crash’, But Others Believe It Is Just A Bump In The Road On The Way To $40,000

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other major cryptocurrencies have been on a wild ride this year, and over the past 10 days the volatility that we have witnessed in the marketplace has been absolutely breathtaking.  On December 17th, Bitcoin shot above $ 19,800 for a brief moment before it started plummeting dramatically.  At one point the price of Bitcoin dipped below $ 11,000, which represented close to a 45 percent decline from the record high that it had hit just five days earlier.  And Bitcoin was far from alone – virtually every other major cryptocurrency was also down between 25 and 50 percent during that five day period.  But now almost all of them are bouncing back, and at this moment the price of Bitcoin is $ 14,219.99.

So where do things go from here?

There are many that believe that in the short-term the price of Bitcoin will fall back toward the actual cost of production.  It has been estimated that the cost to produce a new Bitcoin is currently between three and four thousand dollars, and with the price of Bitcoin so high there is a tremendous incentive for Bitcoin miners to produce as many as possible right now.

But there are others that are convinced that Bitcoin could eventually go to zero

Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette and his team sent a research note to clients a few days ago suggesting that the real value of bitcoin might be … $ 0.

That’s zero dollars. (Bitcoin stood at around $ 14,400 at the time of writing.)

To back up his assessment, Faucette made the following arguments…

• Can Bitcoin be valued like a currency? No. There is no interest rate associated with Bitcoin.

• Like digital gold? Maybe. Does not have any intrinsic use like gold has in electronics or jewelry. But investors appear to be ascribing some value to it.

• Is it a payment network? Yes but it is tough to scale and does not charge a transaction fee.

Faucette also pointed out that the number of online retailers that accept Bitcoin is actually falling.  Five of the top 500 e-commerce merchants accepted Bitcoin during the first quarter of 2016, but now only three still do.

In order for Bitcoin to have a sustainable long-term future, it must become a real currency that is widely used, but many would argue that it is already being surpassed by better and newer options.  In fact, one top cryptocurrency expert recent stated that the old Bitcoin network “is as good as unusable”

Emil Oldenburg, the co-founder of Bitcoin.com – one of the world’s largest sites devoted to the cryptocurrency – recently called the cryptocurrency the “most risky investment you can make,” after he switched to bitcoin cash, which he considers to be the future.

“The old bitcoin network is as good as unusable,” said in an interview with Swedish tech site Breakit.

That certainly doesn’t sound promising, but so far that hasn’t stopped the price of Bitcoin from heading into the stratosphere.  So far in 2017 the price of Bitcoin has risen more than 1,400%, and that number is extremely impressive no matter how you look at it.

Of course virtually all of that “digital wealth” could disappear in just a matter of days during a major crash.  The CEO of Patriarch Equity, Eric Schiffer, believers that Bitcoin investments are eventually heading for “a thermonuclear death”

“I think bitcoin is a ‘tower of death,’” Schiffer says. “It is going to result in the imminent death of your investment – a thermonuclear death.

“Right now we are looking at a financial bubble that is bigger than the tulip craze and I believe that we are headed for a bitcoin crash that will supersede any financial worries of the 21st century,” he added. “People are going to be shocked when they try to liquify their bitcoins.”

Schiffer might be right.

After all, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t have any intrinsic value.  Essentially, they are nothing more than digital creations that only have value because people think they have value.

But those that got in back at the beginning and have cashed out now have made enormous amounts of money, and nobody can deny that.

With every form of “investing”, they are winners and there are losers.  Unfortunately, those that chose to jump in at the height of the madness could end up losing very big.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Betting on cryptos is a peculiar form of online gambling on a global scale that requires a consensus among participants that they only buy, and that you cannot ever cash out, and now that some folks are trying to cash out, the bets for everyone else are souring. The same dynamics that pushed prices up have reversed and are causing them to crash.

But what if the naysayers are wrong?

What if this current “Bitcoin crash” is just a bump in the road on the way to $ 40,000?

Years ago, the price of Bitcoin crashed 75 percent at one point.  What would have happened if the early investors had all bailed out then instead of holding on until now?

Those that sold Bitcoin at $ 12,000 might end up really kicking themselves if the price of Bitcoin does hit $ 40,000 by the end of next year, and that is exactly what some top experts are projecting

Billionaire investors and highly respected analysts including hedge fund investor Mike Novogratz, prominent financial analyst Max Keiser, and Fundstrat’s Tom Lee stated that the price of bitcoin will likely surpass the $ 40,000 margin by the end of 2018, and achieve a $ 1 trillion market cap.

And let us not forget that big names such as John McAfee and James Altucher are predicting that the price of Bitcoin will eventually reach one million dollars.

To me, this is absolutely fascinating.  On the one side, you have financial experts that believe that Bitcoin is going to zero, and on the other side you have financial experts that are projecting that someday a single Bitcoin will be worth one million dollars.

I don’t know which side will ultimately prevail, but it will be a lot of fun to watch how everything plays out.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Economic Collapse




The Dow Peaked At 14,000 Before The Last Stock Market Crash, And Now Dow 24,000 Is Here

The absurdity that we are witnessing in the financial markets is absolutely breathtaking.  Just recently, a good friend reminded me that the Dow peaked at just above 14,000 before the last stock market crash, and stock prices were definitely over-inflated at that time.  Subsequently the Dow crashed below 7,000 before rebounding, and now thanks to this week’s rally we on the threshold of Dow 24,000.  When you look at a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you would be tempted to think that we must be in the greatest economic boom in American history, but the truth is that our economy has only grown by an average of just 1.33 percent over the last 10 years.  Every crazy stock market bubble throughout our history has always ended badly, and this one will be no exception.

And even though the Dow showed a nice gain on Wednesday, the Nasdaq got absolutely hammered.  In fact, almost every major tech stock was down big.  The following comes from CNN

Meanwhile, big tech stocks — which have propelled the market higher all year — were tanking. The Nasdaq fell more than 1%, led by big drops in Google (GOOGL, Tech30) owner Alphabet, Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Netflix (NFLX, Tech30).

Momentum darlings Nvidia (NVDA, Tech30) and PayPal (PYPL, Tech30) and red hot gaming stocks Electronic Arts (EA, Tech30) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI, Tech30) plunged too. They have been some of the market’s top stocks throughout most of 2017.

Many believe that the markets are about to turn down in a major way.  What goes up must eventually come down, and at this point even Goldman Sachs is warning that a bear market is coming

“It has seldom been the case that equities, bonds and credit have been similarly expensive at the same time, only in the Roaring ’20s and the Golden ’50s,” Goldman Sachs International strategists including Christian Mueller-Glissman wrote in a note this week. “All good things must come to an end” and “there will be a bear market, eventually” they said.

As central banks cut back their quantitative easing, pushing up the premiums investors demand to hold longer-dated bonds, returns are “likely to be lower across assets” over the medium term, the analysts said. A second, less likely, scenario would involve “fast pain.” Stock and bond valuations would both get hit, with the mix depending on whether the trigger involved a negative growth shock, or a growth shock alongside an inflation pick-up.

Nobody believes that this crazy stock market party can go on forever.

These days, the real debate seems to be between those that are convinced that the markets will crash violently and those that believe that a “soft landing” can be achieved.

I would definitely be in favor of a “soft landing”, but those that have followed my work for an extended period of time know that I do not think that this will happen.  And with each passing day, more prominent voices in the financial world are coming to the same conclusion.  Here is one recent example

Vanguard’s chief economist Joe Davis said investors need to be prepared for a significant downturn in the stock market, which is now at a 70 percent chance of crashing.  That chance is significantly higher than it has been over the past 60 years.

The economist added, It’s unreasonable to expect rates of returns, which exceeded our own bullish forecast from 2010, to continue.”

A stock market crash has followed every major stock bubble in our history, and right at this moment we are in the terminal phase of one of the greatest stock market bubbles ever.  There are so many indicators that are screaming that we are in danger, and one of the favorite ones that I like to point to is margin debt.  The following commentary and chart were recently published by Wolf Richter

This chart shows margin debt (red line, left scale) and the S&P 500 (blue line, right scale), both adjusted for inflation to tune out the effects of the dwindling value of the dollar over the decades (chart by Advisor Perspectives):

Stock market leverage is the big accelerator on the way up. Leverage supplies liquidity that has been freshly created by the lender. This isn’t money moving from one asset to another. This is money that is being created to be plowed into stocks. And when stocks sink, leverage becomes the big accelerator on the way down.

Markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, and I have a feeling that when this market crashes it is going to happen very, very rapidly.

The only reason stock prices ever got this high in the first place was due to unprecedented intervention by global central banks.  They created trillions of dollars out of thin air and plowed those funds directly into the financial markets, and of course that was going to inflate asset prices.

But now global central banks are putting on the brakes simultaneously, and this has got to be one of the greatest sell signals that we have ever witnessed in modern financial history.

Even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says that she is concerned about causing “a boom-bust condition in the economy”, and yet she insists that the Fed is going to continue to gradually raise rates anyway

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is concerned with growth get out of hand and thus is committed to continuing to raise rates in a gradual manner.

“We don’t want to cause a boom-bust condition in the economy,” Yellen told Congress in her semiannual testimony Wednesday.

While Yellen did not specifically commit to a December rate hike, her comments indicated that her views have not changed with her desire for the central bank to continue normalizing policy after years of historically high accommodation.

I never thought that this stock market bubble would get this large.  We are way, way overdue for a financial correction, but right now we are in a party that never seems to end.

But end it will, and when that happens the pain that will be experienced on Wall Street will be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Economic Collapse




Global Silver Demand Still Double Pre-2008 Market Crash Level (Despite Decline)

While physical silver investment demand experienced a pronounced decline this year, the volume is still much larger than the level prior to the 2008 U.S. Housing and Banking Crash. Investors frustrated by a silver market plagued with lousy sentiment and weak demand, may not realize that silver bar and coin demand is projected to be double what it was in 2007.

Thus, long-term precious metals investors continue to acquire silver on price dips while others may be selling out and placing their bets into the bubble stock market or cryptocurrencies. It’s not the larger precious metals investor who is worried about the short-term price, rather its the smaller investor.

Regardless, according to the Silver Institute’s 2017 Interim Report, global silver bar and coin demand are projected to fall to 130 million oz (Moz) in 2017 compared to 206 Moz last year. Even though physical silver investment demand will drop by 37% this year, it will still be more than double the 62 Moz in 2007:

Global Silver Bar & Coin Demand (2007-2017f)

Furthermore, silver bar and coin demand in 2012 was only 29 Moz higher than the estimate for this year, but the price was nearly double at $ 30 an ounce. As we can see, precious metals investors continued to purchase record amounts of silver bar and coins in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with the hope that prices would eventually start to head higher. However, the majority of the market’s funds since 2012 flowed into STOCKS, BONDS, and REAL ESTATE.

Then after the election of President Trump to the Whitehouse, along with falling precious metals sentiment, investors pulled back on gold and silver investment purchases. From what I have heard through the grapevine, precious metals dealer sales this year are down about 40% across the board. And of course, the massive price increase in Bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies starting in March of this year funneled money away from the metals.

With the new rush of investors into the Bitcoin market mania, several alternative media analysts have given up on precious metals and are now touting cryptocurrencies as the best place to be. In fact, some have stated that gold is no longer useful as a monetary instrument because cryptos will take over this role. Unfortunately, these analysts, just like our mainstream media counterparts, have simply forgotten about the terrible ENERGY PREDICAMENT we are facing. It’s almost as if the lure of $ 100,000 Bitcoin has totally destroyed their ability to understand that fundamentals still matter…. especially the Falling EROI – Energy Returned On Investment.

Yes, it’s nice to have been one of the fortunate individuals who purchased Bitcoin back when it was $ 100 (or even less). But, as I stated, the world is still facing a severe energy predicament that Bitcoin or the cryptos can’t solve. When I listen to interviews where analysts say we are moving into a new high-tech world, I wonder where on earth they think we are going to get the energy to run all this stuff. Even though I enjoy watching Sci-Fi movies, it’s totally unrealistic to build spaceships that can be a mile long. The very day after the spaceship is built, all its components and parts start to break down. The more complex the parts, the faster they breakdown.

People need to realize that technology won’t solve our energy predicament, it only makes it worse. Thus, the more complex the technology, the more energy it consumes. So, when someone thinks that, “technology will solve our problems,” then they must also believe in the ENERGY TOOTH FAIRY… a term coined by Louis Arnoux.

I bring up these points because precious metals will still be one the best stores of value in the future as global oil production peaks and declines. We also must remember, the world runs on liquid fuels, not electricity. Even though we see more electric vehicles on the road, they can’t be manufactured without the burning of COAL, NATURAL GAS or OIL. Hence, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and electric cars are nothing more than fossil fuel derivatives.

Okay, getting back to silver. The GFMS Team at Thomson Reuters, who provide the data for Silver Institute, forecast that global silver production will decline to 870 Moz in 2017:

World Silver Mine Production (2007-2017f)

As we can see in the chart, world silver mine supply peaked in 2015 at 894 Moz and will decrease by 24 Moz in 2017. However, I believe actual global silver production will be less when all the data comes in. Regardless, once the U.S. and worldwide markets finally crack, world silver production will fall even faster. This will be due to the drop in demand for base metals where 58% of global silver production originates (35% byproduct of zinc-lead production and 23% byproduct of copper production).

One segment of the silver market that experienced an uptick was industrial silver fabrication. Global industrial silver fabrication is projected to increase by 19 Moz this year to a total of 581 Moz. However, this increase is still far below the record high of 661 Moz set in 2011:

Global Silver Industrial Fabrication (2007-2017f)

The majority of the rise in world silver fabrication was due to higher usage in solar PV manufacture and electronics. Even though the global demand for silver by the solar industry will continue to increase over the next few years, it won’t be the driving force in determining the silver price in the future. Instead, the collapse in the value of STOCKS, BONDS, and REAL ESTATE, due to the disintegrating oil industry, will be the factor that forces investors to protect their wealth in gold and silver.

Precious Metals News & Analysis – Gold News, Silver News




Bank Of America Analyst: A ‘Flash Crash’ In Early 2018 ‘Seems Quite Likely’

Is the stock market bubble about to burst?  I know that I have been touching on this theme over and over and over again in recent weeks, but I can’t help it.  Red flags are popping up all over the place, and the last time so many respected experts were warning about an imminent stock market crash was just before the last major financial crisis.  Of course nobody can guarantee that global central banks won’t find a way to prolong this bubble just a little bit longer, but at this point they are all removing the artificial support from the markets in coordinated fashion.  Without that artificial support, it is inevitable that financial markets will experience a correction, and the only real question is what the exact timing will be.

For example, Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett originally thought that the coming correction would come a bit sooner, but now he is warning of a “flash crash” during the first half of 2018

Having predicted back in July that the “most dangerous moment for markets will come in 3 or 4 months“, i.e., now, BofA’s Michael Hartnett was – in retrospect – wrong (unless of course the S&P plunges in the next few days). However, having stuck to his underlying logic – which was as sound then as it is now – Hartnett has not given up on his “bad cop” forecast (not to be mistaken with the S&P target to be unveiled shortly by BofA’s equity team and which will probably be around 2,800), and in a note released overnight, the Chief Investment Strategist not only once again dares to time his market peak forecast, which he now thinks will take place in the first half of 2018, but goes so far as to predict that there will be a flash crash “a la 1987/1994/1998” in just a few months.

That certainly sounds quite ominous.

Just so that there is no confusion, let me give you his exact quote

“A flash crash (à la ’87/’94/’98) in H1 2018 seems quite likely, in our view, as the major sedative of volatility, the central banks, start to withdraw liquidity.”

Hartnett is making the same point that I have made repeatedly in recent weeks.  As the central banks withdraw the artificial support that has been propping up the markets ever since the last financial crisis, we will see if the markets can really maintain these absolutely ridiculous price levels on their own.

And we are not just talking about stock prices either.  In fact, Bill Blain believes that the coming crash will actually originate in the bond market

The 2008 crisis, which was about consumer debt, was triggered by mortgages. We still have consumer debt crisis problems ahead, warns Blain, adding the next financial crisis is likely to be in corporate debt.

“More immediately, the realization a crisis is coming feels very similar to June 2007 when the first mortgage-backed funds in the US started to wobble.” He said it explains why “we’re seeing the highly levered sector of the junk bond markets struggle, and companies correlated to struggling highly levered consumers (such as health and telecoms) also in trouble.”

Stock markets don’t matter, according to the strategist. “The truth is in bond markets. And that’s where I’m looking for the dam to break. The great crash of 2018 is going to start in the deeper, darker depths of the credit market,” he said.

Asset prices of all classes have been pushed to absolutely absurd levels by the central banks.

If it wasn’t for central bank manipulation, stock prices would have never gotten this high, and the bond market would have never been pushed to such irrational extremes.

And it isn’t just the Federal Reserve that has been intervening directly in U.S. markets.

For example, did you know that the Swiss National Bank is now the eighth largest public holder of U.S. stocks in the entire world?

According to John Mauldin, the Swiss central bank has poured 17 billion dollars into our stock market so far this year, and overall they now own approximately 80 billion dollars worth of our stocks…

The SNB owns about $ 80 billion in US stocks today (June, 2017) and a guesstimated $ 20 billion or so in European stocks (this guess comes from my friend Grant Williams, so I will go with it).

They have bought roughly $ 17 billion worth of US stocks so far this year. And they have no formula; they are just trying to manage their currency.

Think about this for a moment: They have about $ 10,000 in US stocks on their books for every man, woman, and child in Switzerland, not to mention who knows how much in other assorted assets, all in the effort to keep a lid on what is still one of the most expensive currencies in the world.

Switzerland is now the eighth-largest public holder of US stocks. And apparently they are concentrating on the largest of the large-cap stocks. The own 19 million shares of Apple (as of March 31).

They have made these purchases with money that they have literally created out of thin air.

If that sounds like “cheating” to you, that is because that is exactly what it is.

How in the world can stock prices possibly fall when global central banks are creating colossal mountains of money out of thin air and are using that money to buy stocks?

The central banks created this ridiculous stock market bubble, and they can also burst the bubble by pulling back on the level of artificial support, and that is precisely what we see happening right now.

So don’t buy into the hype.  All that really matters is what the central banks choose to do, and if they wanted to continue to pump enormous amounts of money into the financial markets they could continue to pump up this absurd financial bubble that we are currently witnessing.

But at the moment they appear to be pulling back, and that makes a very “interesting” 2018 for the financial markets much more likely.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Economic Collapse




The Fed’s Everything Bubble And The Inevitable Asset Crash

Do not mistake outcomes for control – remember, there is no such thing as control – there are only probabilities. – Christopher Cole, Artemis Capital

Central Banks globally have created a massive fiat currency fueled asset bubble.  Stock markets are the largest of these bubbles – a bubble  made worse by the Fed’s attempt to harness the “power” of HFT-driven algo trading.  At least for now, the Fed can “control” the stock market by pushing the buttons that unleash hedge fund black box momentum-chasing and retail ETF  buy orders whenever the market is about to head south quickly.

However, the ability to push the stock market higher without a statistically meaningful correction is a statistical “tail-event” in and of itself. The probability that the Fed can continue to control the market like this becomes infinitesimally small. The market becomes like a like a coiled spring. The laws of probability tell us this “spring” is pointing down.

The Fed announced in no uncertain terms that it was going to begin “normalizing” – whatever “normalize” means – its balance sheet beginning in October.  Going back to 1955, the furthest back in time for which the data is readily accessible, the Fed Funds rate has averaged around 6%.  But for the last 9 years, the Fed Funds rate has averaged near-zero.  Back in May 2013 Ben Bernanke threatened the markets with his “taper” speech.  More than four years later the Fed Funds rate is by far closer to near-zero than it is to the 62-year Fed Funds rate average.  Can you imagine what would happen to the stock market if the Fed actually “normalized” its monetary policy by yanking the Fed Funds rate up to its 62-year average of 6%?

In September the Fed announced that it would begin reducing its balance sheet by $ 10 billion per month starting in October. Before the Fed began printing money unfettered in 2008, its balance sheet was approximately $ 900 billion.  If we define “normalize” as reducing the Fed’s balance back down to $ 900 billion, it would take 30 years at $ 10 billion per month. But wait, the Fed’s balance sheet is going the wrong way.  It has increased in October by $ 10 billion (at least thru the week ending October 18th).  So much for normalizing.

The Fed is stuck. It has created its own financial Frankenstein. Neither can it continue hiking interest rates nor can it  “normalize” its balance sheet without causing systemically adverse consequences.  The laws of probability and randomness – both of which are closely intertwined – tell us that, at some point, the Fed will lose control of the system regardless of whether or not it decides to keep rates low and maintain the size, more or less, of its balance sheet.

Jason Burack invited me onto his Wall Street For Mainstreet podcast to discuss the Fed’s “Everything Bubble,” why the Fed can’t “normalize” its balance sheet and the unavoidable adverse consequences coming at the system:

 MINING STOCK JOURNAL                           –                SHORT SELLER’S JOURNAL

Investment Research Dynamics




The Dow Closes At A Record High For The 9th Straight Time But Experts Warn That A Stock Market Crash Could Be Imminent

The bigger they come, the harder they fall.  On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high for the ninth straight session.  It has been a remarkable run, but many experts are pointing out that big trouble is brewing under the surface.  As you will see below, 79 components of the S&P 500 have already dropped more than 20 percent below their 52-week highs, and it is mostly just a handful of high flying tech stocks that are still propping up the market at this point.  Over the past several weeks, I have been documenting so many of the prominent voices that are loudly warning about an imminent stock market crash, and in this article you will hear some more of these warnings.  There is no way that stock prices can keep going up like this, and when the inevitable correction does arrive it is going to be exceedingly painful for millions of investors.

When the market is about to turn in a major way, one of the key things to watch is market breadth, and according to Brad Lamensdorf market breadth has now turned “exceedingly negative”

Market breadth, a measure of how many stocks are rising versus the number that are dropping, has turned “exceedingly negative,” according to Brad Lamensdorf, a portfolio manager at Ranger Alternative Management. Lamensdorf writes the Lamensdorf Market Timing Report newsletter and runs the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF HDGE, -0.70% an exchange-traded fund that “shorts” stocks, or bets that they will fall.

“As the indexes continue to produce a series of higher highs, subsurface conditions are painting an entirely different picture,” Lamensdorf wrote in the latest edition of the newsletter.

When Lamensdorf uses the phrase “exceedingly negative”, he is not exaggerating at all.  As I mentioned above, 79 components of the S&P 500 are already in a bear market

According to an analysis of FactSet data, 79 components of the S&P 500 are trading at least 20% below their 52-week high; a bear market is typically defined as a 20% drop from a peak.

Another key measure that I like to keep my eye on is Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio.  At this point, it is roughly at the same level as it was just before the stock market crash of 1929, and the only time it has been higher was during the peak of the dotcom bubble.

This is why so many investors are making extremely large bets that a major correction is imminent.  History tells us that stocks are likely to only go down from here.  And when stocks do start falling, the price action could become quite violent.  In fact, Barry James is comparing this current market to the Yellowstone supervolcano

Warning: A correction in the market is “inevitable” and there are three key factors that could spark chaos on Wall Street, according to James Advantage Fund president Barry James.

The investor likened the market to Yellowstone National Park’s famous supervolcano, which many believe is close to eruption.

Of course not everyone agrees with James.  Michael Wilson of Morgan Stanley insists that everything is just fine and that “there continues to be a level of skepticism that seems out of whack with what is actually happening”.

In the end, we will see how the coming months play out.

Over the past several years, there have been two primary trends that have been relentlessly driving up stock prices.  One of these trends has been an unprecedented level of stock buybacks.  And so far this year, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of stock buybacks have already been announced

Through May, some $ 390 billion in buybacks have been announced this year, $ 13 billion more than at this time in 2016, according to figures compiled by Jeffrey Yale Rubin at Birinyi Associates, a stock market research firm.

June 28 was the biggest single buyback announcement day in history. That was when 26 banks disclosed buybacks worth $ 92.8 billion, largely a response to having just passed the stress tests administered by the Federal Reserve Board. That figure blew past the previous record of $ 56.4 billion announced on July 20, 2006.

Secondly, central banks have been pumping trillions upon trillions of dollars into the global financial system, and this has perhaps been the biggest reason for the surge in stock prices.  But now central banks are starting to pull back, and that could mean big trouble very soon.  The following comes from Matt King

With asset prices displaying a high degree of correlation with central bank liquidity additions in recent years, that feedback loop makes the economy, upon which both corporate profitability and bank net interest margins depend, more reliant on central banks holding markets together than almost ever before. That delicate balance may well be sustained for the time being. But with central banks beginning to move, however gingerly, towards an exit, is it really worth chasing the last few bp of spread from here?

Throughout our history we have seen financial bubbles come and go, but we never seen to learn from our mistakes.  Right now, Warren Buffett is sitting on nearly 100 billion dollars in cash in anticipation of being able to buy up financial assets for a song after a crash happens, but meanwhile multitudes of ordinary Americans continue to pour vast quantities of money into stocks even at such absurd valuations.

Despite all of the warnings, many will be caught unprepared when the music stops playing.  Just like all of the other financial manias in our history, this one will come to a bitter end too.  The following comes from the New York Times

In the late 1960s the mania was for the “nifty 50” American companies like Disney and McDonald’s, which had been the “go-go” stocks of that decade. In the late 1970s it was for natural resources, from gold to oil. In the late 1980s it was stocks in Japan, and in the late 1990s it was the dot-com boom. Last decade, investors flocked to mortgage-backed securities and big emerging markets from Brazil to Russia. In every case, many partygoers were still in the market when the crash came.

In life, timing is everything, and those that got out of the market in time are going to end up being very happy that they did so.

But those that stay in too long are going to see their “paper wealth” disappear in a blinding flash, and there won’t be any way to get it back once it is gone.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Economic Collapse




A Mystery Investor Has Made A 262 Million Dollar Bet That The Stock Market Will Crash By October

One mystery trader has made an extremely large bet that the stock market is going to crash by October, and if he is right he could potentially make up to 262 million dollars on the deal.  Fortunes were made and lost during the great financial crisis of 2008, and the same thing will happen again the next time we see a major stock market crash.  But will that stock market crash take place before 2017 is over?  Without a doubt, we are in the midst of one of the largest stock market bubbles in U.S. history, and many prominent investors are loudly warning of an imminent stock market collapse.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that this stock market bubble is going to end very badly just like all of the other stock market bubbles throughout history have, but if you could know the precise timing that it will end you could set yourself up financially for the rest of your life.

I want to be very clear about the fact that I do not know what will or will not happen by the end of October.  But one mystery investor is extremely convinced that market volatility is going to increase over the next few months, and if he is correct he will make an astounding amount of money.  According to Business Insider, the following is how the trade was set up…

  • To fund it, the investor sold 262,000 VIX puts expiring in October, with a strike price of 12.
  • The trader then used those proceeds to buy a VIX 1×2 call spread, which involves buying 262,000 October contracts with a strike price of 15 and selling 524,000 October contracts with a strike price of 25.
  • For reference, bullish call spreads are used when a moderate rise in the underlying asset is expected. Traders buy call options at a specific strike price while selling the same number of calls of the same asset and expiration date at a higher strike.
  • In a perfect scenario, where the VIX hits but doesn’t exceed 25 before October expiration, the trader would see a whopping $ 262 million payout.

I will be watching to see what happens.  If this mystery investor is correct, it will essentially be like winning the lottery.

But just because he has made this wager does not mean that he has some special knowledge about what is going to happen.

For example, just look at what Ruffer LLP has been doing.  They are a $ 20 billion investment fund based in London, and they have been betting tens of millions of dollars on a stock market crash which has failed to materialize so far.  But even though they have lost so much money already, they continue to make extremely large bearish bets

As of earlier this week, Ruffer had spent $ 119 million this year betting on a stock market shock, $ 89 million of which had expired worthless, according to data compiled by Macro Risk Advisors. The investor has gradually amassed holdings of about 1 million VIX calls through three occasions so far in 2017, and each time a significant portion expired at a loss.

Blame a subdued VIX for the futility. The fear gauge was locked in a range of 10 to 14 for the first three months of 2017, and while it has since climbed to as high as 15.96, it has been stuck well below 14 since a single-day plunge of 26% nine days ago. Earlier this week, the index closed at its lowest level since February 2007.

But that doesn’t mean Ruffer is giving up. Already loaded up on May contracts, the firm has continued to buy cheap VIX calls expiring later in the year — wagers costing about 50 cents.

I can understand why Ruffer has been making these bets.  In a rational world, stocks would have already crashed long ago.

The only way that stock prices have been able to continue to rise is because of unprecedented intervention by global central banks.  They have been pumping trillions of dollars into the financial markets, and this has essentially completely destroyed normal market forces.  The following comes from David Stockman

The Fed and its crew of traveling central banks around the world have gutted honest price discovery entirely. They have turned global financial markets into outright gambling dens of unchecked speculation.

Central bank policies of massive quantitative easing (QE) and zero interest rates (ZIRP) have been sugar-coated in rhetoric about “stimulus”, “accommodation” and guiding economies toward optimal levels of inflation and full-employment.

The truth of the matter is far different. The combined $ 15 trillion of central bank balance sheet expansion since 2007 amounts to monetary fraud of epic proportions.

In the “bizarro world” that we are living in today, many companies are trading at prices that are more than 100 times earnings, and some companies are actually trading at prices that are more than 200 times earnings.

Stock prices have become completely and totally disconnected from economic reality.  As I discussed the other day, U.S. GDP has only risen at an average yearly rate of just 1.33 percent over the past 10 years, but meanwhile stock prices have been soaring into the stratosphere.

Nobody in their right mind can claim that makes any sense at all.  Just like in 2000, and just like in 2008, this absolutely ridiculous stock market bubble will have a horribly tragic ending as well.

Once again, I don’t know what the exact timing will be.  Stocks could start crashing tomorrow, but then the Swiss National Bank could swoop in and buy 4 million shares of Apple just like they did during the months of January, February and March earlier this year.

The biggest players in this ongoing charade are the global central banks.  If they decide to keep pumping trillions of dollars into global financial markets, they may be able to keep the bubble going for a little while longer.

But if at any point they decide to withdraw their artificial assistance, those that have placed huge bets against the market are going to make absolutely enormous piles of cash.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Economic Collapse




Yellen’s Delusional Statement Guarantees a Crash Is Around the Corner

Janet Yellen Said What!?

She just had to do it!

Human behavior and its accompanying delusion is just so predictable! Earlier this week, she straight up said that “she does not believe there will be another financial crisis in her (our) lifetime…”

WHAT?!

She believes this to be true because of the banking reforms since 2008.

But that’s just ridiculous. All they have done with free and cheap money is recapitalize the banks at the expense of savers and shifted all the risk to the private sectors.

Free money has doubled leveraged loans and corporate debt, and created massive artificial financial engineering.

Consumer and total debt is at record levels. Subprime auto loans have exploded, and student loans continue to grow.

Stocks have exploded to valuation levels that are nearly as high as 1929, and actually higher than even the early 2000 historical extremes, when you adjust for much lower economic and earnings growth. (I explained this in the May issue of Boom & Bust.)

That artificial wealth can be liquidated in the blink of an eye, and it will be with the first crash in this bubble. Stocks could drop 40% or so in the first two or three months, just like they did in late 1929 and early 2000!

Global debt has grown more than $ 60 trillion since the last bubble peak.

Every measure of debt and bubble-behavior says that there is the highest chance of a financial crisis and crash!

Yet Janet Yellen thinks we won’t see another financial crisis in our lifetime!

Do you know what she essentially just did?

She essentially just guaranteed that we’ll see a crash. And I don’t say this because of Murphy’s Law or any kind of idiotic superstition. I base this prediction on history…

Every statement of this nature has been issued near the top of a bubble, and every time it’s proved to be the final sign that the bubble is very close to bursting.

There was Irving Fisher’s statement in October 1929: “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

There was John Maynard Keynes comment in March 1929: “We will not have any more crashes in our time.”

Ben Bernanke told us in 2007 that “the subprime crisis was contained,” just before it roared its ugly head. The Director of Research at the Fed still “painted a benign picture” in his forecast in December 2007 just as the crash and recession was beginning.

This is the human propensity to want nirvana. Economists always think they can end the business cycle – as if that would be a good thing. It wouldn’t be. Instead it would be the end of innovation and growth, as Japan has already proven in the past 27 years.

Humans naturally have more confidence in a boom or bubble the longer they last, when the truth is that such trends only insure that there will be another recession or crash.

Right now, the VIX (measure of volatility) for the stock market is the lowest and most complacent it’s been in recent history. It’s closed below 10 more times than I can remember.

Everything points to the greatest crash of our lifetime… and this statement by our Fed Chair seals that fate.

Get your Conestoga wagons ready… or, even better, listen to this presentation from Adam about how to profit from volatility in booms and busts.

Harry
Follow me on Twitter @harrydentjr

The post Yellen’s Delusional Statement Guarantees a Crash Is Around the Corner appeared first on Economy and Markets.

Harry Dent – Economy and Markets ()




Legendary Investor Jim Rogers Warns That The Worst Stock Market Crash In Your Lifetime Is Coming ‘This Year Or Next’

If Jim Rogers is right, the worst stock market crash that any of us has ever seen is right around the corner.  For the past 15 years, Rogers has been a frequent guest analyst on CNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, and he is immensely respected for the depth of knowledge and experience that he brings to the table.  So the fact that he is warning that we are about to see the worst stock market crash in any of our lifetimes is making a lot of waves in the financial community.  And of course Rogers is far from alone.  Previously, I have written about several other prominent experts that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent, and I have also discussed how a number of big investors are quietly positioning themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the markets crash.  Could it be possible that all of these incredibly sharp minds could be wrong?  Yes, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

I was actually quite stunned when I first learned what Jim Rogers had told Henry Blodget of Business Insider during a recent interview.  Rogers has built up a tremendous amount of credibility, but now he is putting that credibility on the line by warning that a great stock market crash will happen by the end of next year.  Here is the key portion of the interview

Blodget: Well, yeah, TV ratings do seem to go up during crashes, but then they completely disappear when everyone is obliterated, so no one is hoping for that. So when is this going to happen?

Rogers: Later this year or next.

Blodget: Later this year or next?

Rogers: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Write it down.

There is no backing out of a statement like that.

If Rogers is wrong, he will never hear the end of it.

Subsequently, Blodget and Rogers also discussed how severe the coming crisis would be…

Blodget: And how big a crash could we be looking at?

Rogers: It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.

Blodget: I’ve had some pretty big ones in my lifetime.

Rogers: It’s going to be the biggest in my lifetime, and I’m older than you. No, it’s going to be serious stuff.

So that means that Rogers is convinced that the coming crisis is going to be even worse than what we went through in 2008.

Of course this is something that I have been warning about for quite a while, but for Jim Rogers to make a statement like this is a really, really big deal.

Later in the interview, Rogers shared more details about what he believes the coming crisis will look like…

You’re going to see governments fail. You’re going to see countries fail, this time around. Iceland failed last time. Other countries fail. You’re going to see more of that.

You’re going to see parties disappear. You’re going to see institutions that have been around for a long time — Lehman Brothers had been around over 150 years. Gone. Not even a memory for most people. You’re going to see a lot more of that next around, whether it’s museums or hospitals or universities or financial firms.

That definitely sounds like an “economic collapse” to me.  Of course the truth is that the U.S. economy is already in the midst of a slow-motion economic collapse that stretches back for decades, but this coming crisis that Rogers is talking about is going to great accelerate matters.

Let us hope that it is put off for as long as possible, but at some point we are simply going to run out of time.

And when markets do start falling, they can move very, very rapidly.  Just look at what happened on Friday.  Technology sector stocks were down 2.7 percent, and the FAANG stocks were some of the biggest movers

Facebook fell $ 5.11, or 3.3%, to $ 149.60.

Apple fell $ 6.01, or 3.9%, to $ 148.90.

Amazon fell $ 31.96, or 3.2%, to $ 978.31 now demoted from the elect group for 4-digit stocks back to the large group of 3-digit stocks.

Netflix plunged $ 7.85, or 4.7%, to $ 158.20.

Alphabet – the G in FAANG – fell $ 33.58, or 3.4%, to $ 952.23, moving further away from everyone’s dream of closing at $ 1,000.

If we are indeed moving toward a new crisis, one of the things that we will want to watch for is an inverting of the yield curve.

We saw this happen in 2000 and in 2006, and on both occasions it foreshadowed that a huge stock market crash was coming in the not too distant future.

Unfortunately, CNBC says that a new inversion of the yield curve could happen “by the end of this year”…

The bounce in Treasury yields witnessed after the election of Donald Trump is now decaying in the D.C. swamp. If the Federal Reserve continues to ignore this slow growth and deflationary signal from the bond market and continues along its current rate hiking path, the yield curve will invert by the end of this year and an equity market plunge and a recession is sure to follow.

An inverted yield curve, which has correctly predicted the last seven recessions going back to the late 1960’s, occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than longer-term rates. Why is an inverted yield curve so crucial in determining the direction of markets and the economy? Because when bank assets (longer-duration loans) generate less income than bank liabilities (short-term deposits), the incentive to make new loans dries up along with the money supply. And when asset bubbles are starved of that monetary fuel they burst. The severity of the recession depends on the intensity of the asset bubbles in existence prior to the inversion.

Another key indicator is the growth of commercial and industrial loans. According to Zero Hedge, this indicator has correctly foreshadowed every single recession since 1960…

While many “conventional” indicators of US economic vibrancy and strength have lost their informational and predictive value over the past decade (GDP fluctuates erratically especially in Q1, employment is the lowest this century yet real wage growth is non-existent, inflation remains under the Fed’s target despite its $ 4.5 trillion balance sheet and so on), one indicator has remained a stubbornly fail-safe marker of economic contraction: since the 1960, every time Commercial & Industrial loan balances have declined (or simply stopped growing), whether due to tighter loan supply or declining demand, a recession was already either in progress or would start soon.

So considering the fact that this indicator has been so accurate, it is extremely alarming that we could see our “first negative loan growth” since the last financial crisis “in roughly 4 to 6 weeks”

After growing at a 7% Y/Y pace at the start of the year, which declined to 3% at the end of March and 2.6% at the end of April, the latest bank loan update from the Fed showed that the annual rate of increase in C&A loans is now down to just 1.6%, – the lowest since 2011 – after slowing to 2.3% and 1.8% in the previous two weeks.

Should the current rate of loan growth deceleration persist – and there is nothing to suggest otherwise – the US will post its first negative loan growth, or rather loan contraction since the financial crisis, in roughly 4 to 6 weeks.

And when you throw in all of the other signs that the U.S. economy is slowing down, a very clear picture begins to emerge.

It has been said that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  As a society, we certainly didn’t learn much from the horrible financial disaster of 2008, and now so many of the exact same patterns are repeating once again.

An unprecedented financial crisis is most definitely heading our way, and the only thing left to be answered is how soon it will get here.

The Economic Collapse