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Falling Rocks in the Promised Land

Yes, traumatic market events (falling rocks) occur, even though markets are “managed,” statistics are manipulated, and politicians pretend to care about something besides their next election. From John P. Hussman, Ph.D.Fair Value and Bubbles: 2017 Edition “Unfortunately, investors seem to have concluded that central bank easing is omnipotent, despite the fact that the Fed eased persistently and aggressively, to no effect, through the entire course of 2000-2002 and 2007-2009 market collapses.” From Bill Gross: Bill Gross Says Market Risk is Highest Since Pre-2008 Crisis “Central bank policies for low-and-negative-interest rates are artificially driving up asset prices while creating little growth […]

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Falling Interest Rates Have Postponed “Peak Oil”

Falling interest rates have huge power. My background is as an actuary, so I am very much aware of the great power of interest rates. But a lot of people are not aware of this power, including, I suspect, some of the people making today’s decisions to raise interest rates. Similar people want to sell securities now being held by the Federal Reserve and by other central banks. This would further ramp up interest rates. With high interest rates, practically nothing that is bought using credit is affordable. This is frightening. Another group of people who don’t understand the power […]

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What really causes falling productivity growth — an energy-based explanation

What really causes falling productivity growth? The answer seems to be very much energy-related. Human labor by itself does not cause productivity growth. It is human labor, leveraged by various tools, that leads to productivity growth. These tools are made using energy, and they often use energy to operate. A decrease in energy consumption by the business sector can be expected to lead to falling productivity growth. In this post, I will explain why such a pattern can be expected, and show that, in fact, such a pattern is happening in the United States. Preview of Figure 4. Total quantity […]

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London Bridge is Falling Down

I just got back from a seminar in London. I spoke there late last year for Graham Rowan, who heads the Elite Investor Club. This time, my promoters in Australia, Greg Owen and Steve and Corinna Essa, decided to team up with Graham to promote a two-day “Secure the Future” seminar in London. I was more than happy to do that. I love London, even though it’s always cloudy and drizzly. But it was also a great opportunity to promote my new book, The Sale of a Lifetime (out now!), because it touches on many of the same themes I […]

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Wal-Mart’s Worst Stock Crash In 27 Years Is Another Sign That The Economy Is Rapidly Falling Apart

Now that a major global recession has begun, you would expect major retailers like Wal-Mart to run into trouble as consumer spending dries up, and that is precisely what is happening.  On Wednesday, shares of Wal-Mart experienced their largest single day decline in 27 years after an extremely disappointing earnings projection was released.  The stock was down about 10 percent, which represented the biggest plunge since January 1988.  Over 21 billion dollars in shareholder wealth was wiped out on Wednesday, and this was just the continuation of a very bad year for Wal-Mart stockholders.  Overall, shares had already declined by […]

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Stocks Began Falling Right At This Time Of The Year Just Prior To The Last Financial Crisis

Have you heard of the saying “sell in May and go away”?  Traditionally, the period from May through October has been a time of weakness for stocks.  In fact, on average stocks hit their lowest point of the year on October 27th.  And most people don’t remember this, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually began plunging right at this time of the year just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  Most people do remember the huge stock crash that happened in the fall of that year, but the market actually started to slide in May.  Throughout the first […]

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Falling energy and food prices push UK towards deflation

Falling energy and food prices push UK towards deflation Andrew Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, suggested last week that interest rates could be cut to zero in the coming months to head off the threat of deflation, saying that the monetary policy committee should worry that inflation had “dropped like a … Read more on The Guardian   China data heighten fears of deflation Chinese consumer price inflation rebounded in February thanks largely to the effects of the lunar new year festival but worries remain that the world’s factory floor is headed for outright deflation. Consumer prices rose 1.4 per […]

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How increased inefficiency explains falling oil prices

Since about 2001, several sectors of the economy have become increasingly inefficient, in the sense that it takes more resources to produce a given output, such as 1000 barrels of oil. I believe that this growing inefficiency explains both slowing world economic growth and the sharp recent drop in prices of many commodities, including oil. The mechanism at work is what I would call the crowding out effect. As more resources are required for the increasingly inefficient sectors of the economy, fewer resources are available to the rest of the economy. As a result, wages stagnate or decline. Central banks […]

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