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Email: Stockmarketdoc@comcast.net

December 5, 2018

0This ‘prophet of doom’ predicts stock market will plunge more than 50%


Published: July 30, 2018 5:37 p.m. ET









































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Schiff: "The Next Crisis Is Not Going To Look At All Like 2008"

by Tyler Durden

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:05

154

SHARES

Peter Schiff is an economist who served as an advisor to Ron Paul in 2008 and even made a run for Senate on his own at one point. He’s well-known in the "Austrian" as well as the libertarian economic community, but is perhaps best known for his belief that our next coming crisis is going to be "an order of magnitude larger than the crisis in 2008", only this one, the Federal Reserve is not going to be able to print their way out of, Schiff predicts in his most recent interview.

"What the Fed is worried about is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. What they don't realize is the next crisis is not going to look like the 2008 crisis," Schiff said.

He makes the why the dollar going up in 2008 helped the Fed bail everyone out, and why it's going to be impossible for the Fed to do the same thing when the dollar collapses during the next recession. Schiff also explains that a loss of confidence in the dollar as the world's reserve currency could see interest rates move much higher, resulting in the U.S. defaulting on its debt.


Despite getting the 2008 housing crisis right, Schiff's appearances in the mainstream financial media have declined precipitously due to his bearish outlook. As an alternative, he has created a substantial voice for himself on his YouTube channel, which boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

On Saturday, August 4, Peter Schiff appeared on the Quoth the Raven podcast to talk about a multitude of topics, including:

  1. Why the mainstream media doesn’t have him on anymore, despite predicting the 2008 financial crisis production dead-on

  2. Why the government should have let more banks fail in 2008

  3. Why he believes that a socialist will be elected in 2020 and why a libertarian may actually have a chance in 2024

  4. Why he believes the price of gold will be appreciating drastically in the years to come

  5. Why people are going to want to own commodities and emerging markets and get out of dollar denominated assets in the United States

  6. Why the Fed "stress tests" are rigged

  7. Why macroeconomic data shouldn't be relied upon

  8. How inflation will hit when newly printed money finally exits the capital markets

On the podcast, Schiff also notes how wrong the media and economists were in 2008, an accusation he himself has been the target of in recent years:

"It's a total double standard because it shows you their way of thinking. If you look at all of these experts that were completely wrong now that we're 10 years from the financial crisis...by 2007, the bubble had burst...even after it was so completely obvious. I was predicting it. They didn't figure it out until everything imploded..."

"I was going on television in mid 2008 saying 'we're in recession' and they were saying 'you're crazy, there's no recession in sight...'"

You can listen to the full podcast here:



<div class="player-unavailable"><h1 class="message">An error occurred.</h1><div class="submessage"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axyylJoZiBU" target="_blank">Try watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>


In the podcast, Schiff also talks how Keynesian and Austrian economic theory differ, how inflation has an effect on the middle class, the politics of Trump's economic policy, and the recent volatility in tech stocks and tons more.

Peter's YouTube channel can be found here, meanwhile for those looking for some of the best alternative podcasts around, check out QTR's work at the following link.Schiff: "The Next Crisis Is Not Going To Look At All Like 2008"


by Tyler Durden

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:05

154

SHARES

Peter Schiff is an economist who served as an advisor to Ron Paul in 2008 and even made a run for Senate on his own at one point. He’s well-known in the "Austrian" as well as the libertarian economic community, but is perhaps best known for his belief that our next coming crisis is going to be "an order of magnitude larger than the crisis in 2008", only this one, the Federal Reserve is not going to be able to print their way out of, Schiff predicts in his most recent interview.

"What the Fed is worried about is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. What they don't realize is the next crisis is not going to look like the 2008 crisis," Schiff said.

He makes the why the dollar going up in 2008 helped the Fed bail everyone out, and why it's going to be impossible for the Fed to do the same thing when the dollar collapses during the next recession. Schiff also explains that a loss of confidence in the dollar as the world's reserve currency could see interest rates move much higher, resulting in the U.S. defaulting on its debt.


Despite getting the 2008 housing crisis right, Schiff's appearances in the mainstream financial media have declined precipitously due to his bearish outlook. As an alternative, he has created a substantial voice for himself on his YouTube channel, which boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

On Saturday, August 4, Peter Schiff appeared on the Quoth the Raven podcast to talk about a multitude of topics, including:

  1. Why the mainstream media doesn’t have him on anymore, despite predicting the 2008 financial crisis production dead-on

  2. Why the government should have let more banks fail in 2008

  3. Why he believes that a socialist will be elected in 2020 and why a libertarian may actually have a chance in 2024

  4. Why he believes the price of gold will be appreciating drastically in the years to come

  5. Why people are going to want to own commodities and emerging markets and get out of dollar denominated assets in the United States

  6. Why the Fed "stress tests" are rigged

  7. Why macroeconomic data shouldn't be relied upon

  8. How inflation will hit when newly printed money finally exits the capital markets

On the podcast, Schiff also notes how wrong the media and economists were in 2008, an accusation he himself has been the target of in recent years:

"It's a total double standard because it shows you their way of thinking. If you look at all of these experts that were completely wrong now that we're 10 years from the financial crisis...by 2007, the bubble had burst...even after it was so completely obvious. I was predicting it. They didn't figure it out until everything imploded..."

"I was going on television in mid 2008 saying 'we're in recession' and they were saying 'you're crazy, there's no recession in sight...'"

You can listen to the full podcast here:



<div class="player-unavailable"><h1 class="message">An error occurred.</h1><div class="submessage"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axyylJoZiBU" target="_blank">Try watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>


In the podcast, Schiff also talks how Keynesian and Austrian economic theory differ, how inflation has an effect on the middle class, the politics of Trump's economic policy, and the recent volatility in tech stocks and tons more.

Peter's YouTube channel can be found here, meanwhile for those looking for some of the best alternative podcasts around, check out QTR's work at the following link.Schiff: "The Next Crisis Is Not Going To Look At All Like 2008"


by Tyler Durden

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:05

154

SHARES

Peter Schiff is an economist who served as an advisor to Ron Paul in 2008 and even made a run for Senate on his own at one point. He’s well-known in the "Austrian" as well as the libertarian economic community, but is perhaps best known for his belief that our next coming crisis is going to be "an order of magnitude larger than the crisis in 2008", only this one, the Federal Reserve is not going to be able to print their way out of, Schiff predicts in his most recent interview.

"What the Fed is worried about is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. What they don't realize is the next crisis is not going to look like the 2008 crisis," Schiff said.

He makes the why the dollar going up in 2008 helped the Fed bail everyone out, and why it's going to be impossible for the Fed to do the same thing when the dollar collapses during the next recession. Schiff also explains that a loss of confidence in the dollar as the world's reserve currency could see interest rates move much higher, resulting in the U.S. defaulting on its debt.


Despite getting the 2008 housing crisis right, Schiff's appearances in the mainstream financial media have declined precipitously due to his bearish outlook. As an alternative, he has created a substantial voice for himself on his YouTube channel, which boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

On Saturday, August 4, Peter Schiff appeared on the Quoth the Raven podcast to talk about a multitude of topics, including:

  1. Why the mainstream media doesn’t have him on anymore, despite predicting the 2008 financial crisis production dead-on

  2. Why the government should have let more banks fail in 2008

  3. Why he believes that a socialist will be elected in 2020 and why a libertarian may actually have a chance in 2024

  4. Why he believes the price of gold will be appreciating drastically in the years to come

  5. Why people are going to want to own commodities and emerging markets and get out of dollar denominated assets in the United States

  6. Why the Fed "stress tests" are rigged

  7. Why macroeconomic data shouldn't be relied upon

  8. How inflation will hit when newly printed money finally exits the capital markets

On the podcast, Schiff also notes how wrong the media and economists were in 2008, an accusation he himself has been the target of in recent years:

"It's a total double standard because it shows you their way of thinking. If you look at all of these experts that were completely wrong now that we're 10 years from the financial crisis...by 2007, the bubble had burst...even after it was so completely obvious. I was predicting it. They didn't figure it out until everything imploded..."

"I was going on television in mid 2008 saying 'we're in recession' and they were saying 'you're crazy, there's no recession in sight...'"

You can listen to the full podcast here:



<div class="player-unavailable"><h1 class="message">An error occurred.</h1><div class="submessage"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axyylJoZiBU" target="_blank">Try watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>


In the podcast, Schiff also talks how Keynesian and Austrian economic theory differ, how inflation has an effect on the middle class, the politics of Trump's economic policy, and the recent volatility in tech stocks and tons more.

Peter's YouTube channel can be found here, meanwhile for those looking for some of the best alternative podcasts around, check out QTR's work at the following link.Schiff: "The Next Crisis Is Not Going To Look At All Like 2008"


by Tyler Durden

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:05

154

SHARES

Peter Schiff is an economist who served as an advisor to Ron Paul in 2008 and even made a run for Senate on his own at one point. He’s well-known in the "Austrian" as well as the libertarian economic community, but is perhaps best known for his belief that our next coming crisis is going to be "an order of magnitude larger than the crisis in 2008", only this one, the Federal Reserve is not going to be able to print their way out of, Schiff predicts in his most recent interview.

"What the Fed is worried about is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. What they don't realize is the next crisis is not going to look like the 2008 crisis," Schiff said.

He makes the why the dollar going up in 2008 helped the Fed bail everyone out, and why it's going to be impossible for the Fed to do the same thing when the dollar collapses during the next recession. Schiff also explains that a loss of confidence in the dollar as the world's reserve currency could see interest rates move much higher, resulting in the U.S. defaulting on its debt.


Despite getting the 2008 housing crisis right, Schiff's appearances in the mainstream financial media have declined precipitously due to his bearish outlook. As an alternative, he has created a substantial voice for himself on his YouTube channel, which boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

On Saturday, August 4, Peter Schiff appeared on the Quoth the Raven podcast to talk about a multitude of topics, including:

  1. Why the mainstream media doesn’t have him on anymore, despite predicting the 2008 financial crisis production dead-on

  2. Why the government should have let more banks fail in 2008

  3. Why he believes that a socialist will be elected in 2020 and why a libertarian may actually have a chance in 2024

  4. Why he believes the price of gold will be appreciating drastically in the years to come

  5. Why people are going to want to own commodities and emerging markets and get out of dollar denominated assets in the United States

  6. Why the Fed "stress tests" are rigged

  7. Why macroeconomic data shouldn't be relied upon

  8. How inflation will hit when newly printed money finally exits the capital markets

On the podcast, Schiff also notes how wrong the media and economists were in 2008, an accusation he himself has been the target of in recent years:

"It's a total double standard because it shows you their way of thinking. If you look at all of these experts that were completely wrong now that we're 10 years from the financial crisis...by 2007, the bubble had burst...even after it was so completely obvious. I was predicting it. They didn't figure it out until everything imploded..."

"I was going on television in mid 2008 saying 'we're in recession' and they were saying 'you're crazy, there's no recession in sight...'"

You can listen to the full podcast here:



<div class="player-unavailable"><h1 class="message">An error occurred.</h1><div class="submessage"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axyylJoZiBU" target="_blank">Try watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>


In the podcast, Schiff also talks how Keynesian and Austrian economic theory differ, how inflation has an effect on the middle class, the politics of Trump's economic policy, and the recent volatility in tech stocks and tons more.

Peter's YouTube channel can be found here, meanwhile for those looking for some of the best alternative podcasts around, check out QTR's work at the following link.Schiff: "The Next Crisis Is Not Going To Look At All Like 2008"


by Tyler Durden

Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:05

154

SHARES

Peter Schiff is an economist who served as an advisor to Ron Paul in 2008 and even made a run for Senate on his own at one point. He’s well-known in the "Austrian" as well as the libertarian economic community, but is perhaps best known for his belief that our next coming crisis is going to be "an order of magnitude larger than the crisis in 2008", only this one, the Federal Reserve is not going to be able to print their way out of, Schiff predicts in his most recent interview.

"What the Fed is worried about is a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. What they don't realize is the next crisis is not going to look like the 2008 crisis," Schiff said.

He makes the why the dollar going up in 2008 helped the Fed bail everyone out, and why it's going to be impossible for the Fed to do the same thing when the dollar collapses during the next recession. Schiff also explains that a loss of confidence in the dollar as the world's reserve currency could see interest rates move much higher, resulting in the U.S. defaulting on its debt.


Despite getting the 2008 housing crisis right, Schiff's appearances in the mainstream financial media have declined precipitously due to his bearish outlook. As an alternative, he has created a substantial voice for himself on his YouTube channel, which boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

On Saturday, August 4, Peter Schiff appeared on the Quoth the Raven podcast to talk about a multitude of topics, including:

  1. Why the mainstream media doesn’t have him on anymore, despite predicting the 2008 financial crisis production dead-on

  2. Why the government should have let more banks fail in 2008

  3. Why he believes that a socialist will be elected in 2020 and why a libertarian may actually have a chance in 2024

  4. Why he believes the price of gold will be appreciating drastically in the years to come

  5. Why people are going to want to own commodities and emerging markets and get out of dollar denominated assets in the United States

  6. Why the Fed "stress tests" are rigged

  7. Why macroeconomic data shouldn't be relied upon

  8. How inflation will hit when newly printed money finally exits the capital markets

On the podcast, Schiff also notes how wrong the media and economists were in 2008, an accusation he himself has been the target of in recent years:

"It's a total double standard because it shows you their way of thinking. If you look at all of these experts that were completely wrong now that we're 10 years from the financial crisis...by 2007, the bubble had burst...even after it was so completely obvious. I was predicting it. They didn't figure it out until everything imploded..."

"I was going on television in mid 2008 saying 'we're in recession' and they were saying 'you're crazy, there's no recession in sight...'"

You can listen to the full podcast here:



<div class="player-unavailable"><h1 class="message">An error occurred.</h1><div class="submessage"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axyylJoZiBU" target="_blank">Try watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>


In the podcast, Schiff also talks how Keynesian and Austrian economic theory differ, how inflation has an effect on the middle class, the politics of Trump's economic policy, and the recent volatility in tech stocks and tons more.

Peter's YouTube channel can be found here, meanwhile for those looking for some of the best alternative podcasts around, check out QTR's work at the following link.

 


JPMorgan Spots A Rare And "Even Worse Omen" For The Market


When it comes to timing the next recession - or the next Fed policy mistake - there are few signals that pundits rely more on than the shape of the yield curve, which, as we have covered extensively in the past year, has bear flattened dramatically since 2015 as the Fed has hiked rates, with the 2s10s now just a tiny 20bps away from inverting at which point the countdownto both a recession and a bear market begins.


However, at a time of unprecedented central bank meddling and manipulation in all rates (and equity) markets, many believe that the longer-dated curve is no longer indicative of anything but noise, especially since the long-end is directly being bought by central banks (or sold by Chinese reserve managers depending on how much Trump's trade war escalates) thus distorting any "signal" value it may have. In its place, a more accurate "signal" has emerged in the short-end of the curve, as manifested by the Overnight Index Swap, or OIS, futures market.

It was here that back in April JPMorgan observed something very notable: the forward curve for the 1-month US OIS rate, a proxy for the Fed policy rate, had inverted after the two-year forward point for the first time this cycle. This implied some expectation was priced in of a reduction in the Fed policy rate after Q1 2020; that or the market starting to actually price in - and not just contemplating - the next Fed policy error, i.e., hiking right into the next recession.

This is a big deal: as JPM's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote, an inversion at the front end of the US curve is a significant market development, not least because it occurs rather rarely, and has happened only three times over the past two decades: in 2005, 2000 and 1998 - all periods in time preceding major market busts.

While redundant, JPM explained that "such inversion is also generally perceived as a bad omen for risky markets" and highlighted that the two potential explanations are either markets pricing in a Fed policy mistake, or pricing in end-of-cycle dynamics.

Fast forward to today, when 8 months later, Panigirtzoglou writes in his latest Flows and Liquidity commentary that since then, not only has this inversion worsened, but it has shifted forward, and since the middle of November, the forward curve is inverted between the 1-year and the 2-year forward points.


This shift forward in Fed policy reversal expectations is in line with historical experience. As JPM wrote back in April, the 3y-2y forward rate spread had historically led the 2y-1y one, and this has now occurred since mid-November.

What does this mean in practical terms? Simple: the latest curve inversion implies that markets are now pricing in a peak in the Fed policy rate in end-2019 rather than during 2020 previously. JPMorgan shows this in Figure 2, which depicts the forward curve of the 1-month dollar OIS curve currently vs. its snapshot at the beginning of October before the equity market correction.


Not only has the market-implied path of policy rate expectations shifted downward in the aftermath of the equity market correction, but the whole curve has shifted forward. And this week’s comments by the Fed Chairman appear to have reinforced these policy reversal expectations with the 2y-1y forward rate spread inverting further to below -3 basis points.

Of course, as we discussed extensively in April, such pronounced shifts forward in Fed policy rate reversal expectations has also traditionally been associated with end-phases of the US monetary policy cycle. In the 2000 monetary policy cycle, the 3y-2y forward rate spread of the 1-month OIS rate turned negative in February 2000. And as JPMorgan adds, the 2y-1y forward rate spread turned negative four months later in June 2000. The Fed delivered the last hike in May 2000.


In other words, from a timing point of view, the last hike of the Fed at the time almost coincided with the inversion of the 2y-1y rate forward spread. Incidentally that also marked the bursting of the dot com bubble, as the US equity market had started declining at roughly the same time in June 2000. The subsequent equity market correction induced the Fed to start cutting rates in 2001.

Fast forward to the next rate hike cycle, when in the 2006 monetary policy cycle, the 3y-2y rate forward spread of the 1-month OIS rate turned negative rather early in August 2005. The 2y-1y forward spread turned negative ten months after in June 2006. Similar to the 2000 cycle, the last hike of the Fed at the time in June 2006 coincided with the inversion of the 2y-1y forward rate spread. There was one material diference to the 2000 cycle: the equity market had started declining much later in October 2007 when the Fed started cutting rates.

Rather concerningly, here JPM notes that although it is still early to draw conclusions, the lags from the 3y-2y inversion to the 2y-1y inversion and the September peak in the US equity market appear more consistent with the 2000 rather than the 2006 cycle.

Now as readers may recall, when the 3y-2y forward spread inversion first emerged last April, JPM argued that an inversion at the front end of the US curve "was a bad omen for risky markets."

So, perhaps not unexpectedly, the ensuing 2y-1y inversion and shift forward in Fed policy rate reversal expectations is, according to JPMorgan, "worsening this bad omen."

Why? Because in even more bad news for the BTFD crew, the lesson from the previous US monetary policy cycles is that a sustained recovery in equity and risky markets has tended to occur only after the inversion disappears and the front end of the US curve, in particular the 2y-1y forward rate spread, resteepens.

Negative implications for the stock market aside, as we briefly mentioned above JPM previously argued back in April that this yield curve inversion could be consistent with two potential fundamental explanations: markets have been either pricing in a Fed policy mistake or end-of-cycle dynamics. As Panigirtzoglou explains, while it is difficult to distinguish between the two - especially as a Fed policy mistake be definition naturally shorten the cycle - there should be some distinction in terms of investor flow patterns.

  1. 1Pricing in a Fed policy mistake should induce investors to focus on earlier growth weakness and should, therefore, be accompanied by weak equity fund flows, weak cyclical sector flows, greater flows in long-dated bond funds vs. short-dated ones on potentially earlier reversal of US monetary policy, and weak flows in interest rate-sensitive sectors such as housing.

  2. 2Pricing in end-of-cycle dynamics should be accompanied by overheating and inflation concerns, i.e. greater flows into inflation-protected vs nominal bond funds, greater flows in short-dated vs. long-dated bond funds on later reversal of monetary policy and greater flows into cyclical sectors and equity funds, in general, as the best equity and cyclical sector returns are typically seen at the end of the cycle.

How to distinguish between the two hypotheses? JPM has an idea:

There should be less distinction in terms of credit flows as credit should respond to higher uncertainty and volatility and underperform under both Fed policy mistake and end-of-cycle dynamics. So the weakness seen in credit flows this year, especially in HY bond funds, is in our opinion less useful in helping to distinguish between the two hypotheses.

So which pattern do this year’s flows fit? Back in April, when the 3y-2y first inverted, JPM had argued that there was more flow support for the Fed policy mistake hypothesis. Updating that flow analysis with more recent data reinforces that conclusion. This is shown in the five flow metrics below:

1) The trajectory of equity fund flows has been rather weak and erratic since last February with no signs of change in the most recent months.


2) Flows into cyclical vs. defensive equity sectors. Since the yield curve inversion first emerged last April, inflows into US sector ETFs have favored more defensive sectors such as Staples, Healthcare and traditional Telecoms, while outflows have focused on cyclical sectors such as Financials, Industrials and Consumer Discretionary.

3) Relative flows in inflation protected vs. nominal bond funds. The chart below splits overall US government bond ETF flows into nominal and inflation-linked bonds. Nominal bond funds have had steady inflows since the start of the year, while flows into inflation-linked government bond ETFs have been negative since July.


4) Relative flows in short-dated vs. long-dated bond funds. The duration impulse of flows into US bond ETFs has decreased this year, with inflows going mostly into shorter-term and floating-rate rather than longer-term bond ETFs. And if anything, this trend has intensified in the most recent months.

5) Interest rate-sensitive sector funds such as REITS have seen significant outflows in the US relative to a flattish pattern globally.

In other words, according to JPM, flow metrics 1, 2, 3 and 5 look more consistent with the Fed policy mistake hypothesis, while the flow metric 4 looks more consistent with the end-of-cycle hypothesis.

JPM's's conclusion, incidentally, is the same as what it said back in April, namely that "while we recognize it is difficult to distinguish between the two hypotheses, there still appears to be more flow support for the Fed policy mistake hypothesis"

In other words, between the market's ongoing preoccupation with the US-China trade war, and traders suddenly pricing in either a policy mistake as the Fed continues to hike into an economic slowdown and eventually recession, or the end of the hiking cycle, it would explain the violent market selloff of the past two months, and the associated spike in volatility, as forward-looking investors and traders simply look to cash in their chips as suddenly the market is signalling that the trading environment observed just before the tech and credit bubbles burst, is once again imminent.


These Countries Are Quickly And Quietly Dumping The Dollar


Over the past few months, there has been a steady uptick in the number of countries dumping significant portions of their dollar holdings. This is causing many people to worry whether or not the US economy is in for a massive shock sooner, later, or somewhere in between.

While American corporate media outlets either ignore the developments entirely or claim that there is nothing to worry about, the reality is that the dumping of the dollar is a process that is clearly underway. More than that, it appears it is a process that is at least partially coordinated by a number of countries that have been targets of American sanctions and financial bullying in the “post 9/11 world.”


Thus, while corporate media outlets ignore the vanishing dollar dominance and reassure their hapless audience that everything is fine, alt media outlets are predicting a second Weimar Republic, this time in North America.

But what is really going on with the recent dollar dumping? Who is actually dumping the dollar and what kind of effects could we really expect to see in America if the dollar is truly abandoned?

Who Is Dumping The Dollar?

Since the dollar currently enjoys its status as the world’s reserve currency, it is constantly being bought and sold by nations across the entire planet. This arrangement is essentially what is keeping the dollar strong even after the United States embraced neo-liberal Free Trade policies that saw the greatest economic system the world has ever known turned into a shell of its former self. This arrangement allows the United States to sell its “debt” to the rest of the world, which other countries are willing to buy because of the stability of the American governmental system and the fact that America is still an economic powerhouse.

But as the US stretches its military and financial forces thin in the course of expanding its empire across the world, the collapse of that empire looms and, with it, increasingly jittery feet from countries desiring to make prudent financial decisions. For countries tired of being victims of the empire, those who desire a “multipolar” world, and those seeking to expand their own empires, however, the smell of blood is wafting through the air.

China, the emerging and competing empire, has already started the process of dumping the American dollar in a careful and coordinated fashion. This is particularly concerning since China holds so much of America’s debt and so many US dollars. If China dumped all of its holdings at once, America would likely enter a new financial crisis. Fortunately for Americans, however, such an immediate move would also throw China into a crisis which is most likely the main thing holding China back.

But make no mistake. China is moving forward with the plan of relieving itself of the dollar. After all, the country recently inked a deal to trade oil in yuan instead of the dollar.

“Mainland it is laying the ground for the Belt and Road Initiative, and China is even sweetening the pot by offering swap facilities to local countries to promote the use of the yuan,”  Stephen Innes, Head of FX Trading for OANDA in Asia Pacific told RT.

Indeed, it appears that developing country-to-country trading mechanisms are emerging as well which will eventually subvert the US dollar as the world reserve currency. Interestingly enough, the development of such a system is a result of aggressive Americans sanctions and financial bullying over the past few decades.

The United States maintains sanctions on all of its target nations such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and others. But the US also threatens its “allies” with sanctions if they dare act rationally on the world stage or refuse to follow American dictates. As a result, America is sanctioning itself into isolation and creating a world where it has taken its ball and gone home so many times that the rest of the kids realize it’s possible and even easier to just play the game without the American bully on the field.

India is also slowly moving away from the dollar. Recently, it announced that it would be paying for the Russian S-400 system (important in its own right) and settling the payment in rubles, not dollars.

But it’s not just the development of country-to-country financial/trading mechanisms. Other countries have been slowly dumping the dollar outright. In fact, China has done that also. Take a look at a recent report from RT detailing how China just dumped the largest amount of Treasuries in 8 months. The article states,

In September, China’s share of US Treasuries holdings had the highest decline since January as ongoing trade tensions with Washington forced the world’s biggest economy to take measures to stabilize its national currency.

Still the biggest foreign holder of the US foreign debt, China slashed it’s share by nearly $14 billion, with the country’s holdings falling to $1.15 trillion from nearly $1.17 trillion in August, according to the latest data from the Treasury Department. The fall marks the fourth straight month of declines. China is followed by Japan, whose share of US Treasuries fell to $1.03 trillion, the lowest since October 2011.

Washington has accelerated the Treasury issuance to avoid potential growth in the federal deficit due to the massive tax cut pushed by President Donald Trump, as well the federal spending deal approved by the government in February.

Chinese purchases of US state debt have been decreasing over recent months. The latest drop comes on top of the escalating trade conflict between Beijing and Washington over trade imbalance, market access, and alleged stealing of US technology secrets by Chinese corporations. So far, the US has imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of US goods and stopped buying American crude.

China has been steadily dumping US dollar holdings over the past several months and Japan has followed suit. As RT reported last month,

China and Japan – the two main holders of the US Treasury securities – have trimmed their ownership of notes and bonds in August, according to the latest figures from the US Treasury Department, released on Tuesday.

China’s holdings of US sovereign debt dropped to $1.165 trillion in August, from $1.171 trillion in July, marking the third consecutive month of declines as the world’s second-largest economy bolsters its national currency amid trade tensions with the US. China remains the biggest foreign holder of US Treasuries, followed by long-time US ally Japan.

Tokyo cut its holdings of US securities to $1.029 trillion in August, the lowest since October 2011. In July, Japan’s holdings were at $1.035 trillion. According to the latest figures from the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japanese investors opted to buy British debt in August, selling US and German bonds. Japan reportedly liquidated a net $5.6 billion worth of debt.

Liquidating US Treasuries, one of the world’s most actively-traded financial assets, has recently become a trend among major holders. Russia dumped 84 percent of its holdings this year, with its remaining holdings as of June totaling just $14.9 billion. With relations between Moscow and Washington at their lowest point in decades, the Central Bank of Russia explained the decision was based on financial, economic and geopolitical risks.

Turkey is also backing away from the dollar, having dropped out of the “top-30 list of holders of American debt.” This probably has more to do with Turkey finally coming to the realization that the US was engaging in “hamburger diplomacy” and has no real allegiance to Turkey accept as a vassal state. The failed military coup in the country and the US arming of Kurdish forces in Syria have done nothing but push Turkey toward Russia.

India remains in the top 30 holder list but it has cut its holdings for five straight months.

As would be expected, Russia has been consistently moving forward not only to dump the dollar in a responsible manner but also to make its financial system more distinctly Russian and less dependent upon the whims of the Anglo financier arrangement. Again, RT writes,

One of Russia’s largest banks, VTB is seeking to decrease the share of US dollar transactions at home as locals are choosing the Russian ruble over the greenback.

“There is one interesting thing I wanted to highlight. Since the beginning of this year, people seem to be less interested in making dollar deposits or taking out dollar loans, compared to ruble-denominated deposits and loans. We believe this to be an important step towards the de-dollarization of the Russian finance sector,” said VTB head Andrey Kostin at a Kremlin meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

According to Kostin, VTB experts have drafted a package of proposals designed to further promote the ruble in international settlements. “I think that we need to create our own financial tools. This would serve as an additional safeguard for the Russian financial sector against external shocks, and would give a new impetus to its development,” Kostin added. The financial tools Kostin mentioned are floating Eurobonds, shares and other derivatives that are now used only in the West.

Russia has been seeking the ways of decreasing the dependence on the US currency after Washington and its allies imposed sanctions against Moscow in 2014. In May, President Putin said Russia can no longer trust the US dollar-dominated financial system since America is imposing unilateral sanctions and violates World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Putin added that the dollar monopoly is unsafe and dangerous for the global economy.

It is important to remember that Russia has also dumped $47bn worth of Treasury bonds, dumping nearly half of its holdings at once.

What Happens If The Dollar Loses Its Status?

So why is this concerning? What would happen if the dollar loses its status as the world’s reserve currency?

The truth is, no one fully knows exactly what such a situation would look like and it would depend on a number of factors such as how quickly the dollar is abandoned by the world, the action taken by the US government in response, and the economic situation of the country once the dollar is unseated.

Despite mainstream claims, we’ve never really been in this specific situation before. Other countries have seen their currency used as the de facto world reserve but, when their time was up, there were also many other factors at play and the world financial system was less intertwined than it is today.

Still, although we may not know the specifics, we do have a general idea of what would happen.

First, Americans are going to lose the convenience of being able to use their currency just about anywhere in the world, both on a business and individual level. That’s not such a big deal on the individual level though it may cause a few hiccups for mid-sized businesses.

Second, interest rates will most assuredly go up. This is going to make it harder for businesses and individuals to pay back any loans they may have received to start or maintain their businesses, buy a home or car, and it will stifle economic growth and it is going to make more people hesitate to request those loans knowing that interest rates will be so high.

Third, and perhaps the most dangerous, is the potential for widespread inflation and devaluing of the currency. Loss of world reserve status will undoubtedly lower the value of the dollar. The question, however, is whether that devaluation would occur slowly over a period of years or even decades or whether it would take place within months, weeks, or days. Obviously, the former would be preferable if the dollar does have to be unseated because it would at least allow time for Americans to brace themselves and to prepare and innovate for the coming devaluation that would gradually get worse. In some cases, American exports might even be helpful for some American exports (though not helpful in terms of wages – competing via lower living standards is a race to abject poverty). But at least a slow burn would allow for Americans “in the know” to stock up on food, attempt to pay off their debts, arm themselves, and make prudent financial decisions in anticipation.

A quick and sudden loss of reserve currency status, however, would bring about an immense crisis that virtually no one is prepared for. As Webster Griffin Tarpley wrote in his article “The Second Wave Of The Depression – Hyperinflation Likely,” published in 2009,

The next wave is likely to involve a worldwide dollar panic. Using ballpark figures, we can say that there are about $4 to $5 trillion sloshing around the world in the form of hot money, US Treasury securities, Euro dollars, and various forms of zeno-dollars. Japan has about a trillion, China almost $2 trillion, and so forth. It is naturally very unwise for a developing country like China to hold so many dollars rather than using them to purchase needed infrastructure and capital goods, and the Chinese leaders are now very uncomfortable with their own foolish decision, which was of course taken under heavy US pressure. But the point is that this $4.5 trillion overhang is by its very nature exceedingly unstable. Every country that holds large sums of dollars or US treasury bonds is nervously eyeing every other such country to see if they show signs of bolting for the exit. Up to now, so far as we know, no large holder of dollars has attempted to reduce its exposure to the battered greenback by dumping these dollars on the international market. If anyone did so, would cause a true universal financial panic which would create chaos and mayhem not just in the United States and Great Britain, but in the vast areas of the rest of the world as well. This is concretely how hyperinflation could now very well arise: if one or more US creditor nations attempts to abruptly lighten up on dollars, the value of the US currency could undergo a catastrophic collapse, and that would spell runaway hyperinflation on the US domestic front.

The numbers are a decade old but the concept is still there.

That being said, given that the United States has used its status as a method of financing itself into maintained prosperity, the loss of that status would remove that privilege. Instead, the United States would be forced to either knuckle under to the dictates of the financiers that will have the country on its knees or do what it should have done all along – nationalize the Federal Reserve and begin issuing credit stimulus and imposing across-the-board tariffs on imports.

Conclusion

It would be nice to hope for the best and prepare for the worst but, as things appear today, we might want to start preparing much more than hoping. The US economic system, partially as a result of becoming an empire with all its requisite destabilizations and wars, mostly a result of Free Trade, and partially a result of private central banking among a host of other factors, has been sacrificed on the altar of globalism. Aggressive behavior on the financial, political, and military fronts has thus created a world seething with anger and hatred at the United States, who is now willing and able to begin weakening the dollar dominance in hopes for the creation of a new “multipolar” world out of the ashes of the old “American” one.

There are no signs that anyone in the American government is either prepared to defend against the dollar collapse or to prevent it. In fact, all signs point to the possibility that such a collapse is desired by the Anglo-financier community.

In other words, the best time to prepare is today.


How a looming S&P 500 death cross could chase away the stock market’s Santa rally


Published: Nov 29, 2018 1:34 p.m. ET


Stocks tend to fall in the week and month following a death cross

AFP/Getty Images



By

SUE

CHANG

MARKETS REPORTER


Barely 16 points stand between the S&P 500 and the death cross and when that dreaded threshold is breached, investors may have to kiss the Santa rally goodbye this year.

Analysts at Bespoke said that the large cap index, absent a dramatic rally, is likely to see its 50-day moving average fall below the 200-day moving average which will form a death cross. The pattern , when confirmed, is often viewed by strategists as an early warning signal of a bear market, though when it comes to the S&P 500, it hasn’t proven quite so ominous.

“The measure is supposed to capture accelerating downside momentum that typically kicks off long trends lower in price,” said the analysts in a report. “Barring a very large rally from the S&P 500 in a very short time, we’re likely to see an S&P 500 death cross in the next couple of weeks.”

Stocks are trading lower Thursday as trade-related worries weighed on the market but major benchmarks are higher for the week, thanks in part to comments on interest rates from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell which were viewed as dovish. Stocks soared after Powell’s speech on Wednesday, which some investors viewed as a signal the Fed will be less aggressive than previously expected in raising interest rates next year.

Read: Did Fed’s Powell ‘light the fuse’ for a year-end stock-market rally?

Also see: Has Fed’s Powell just led stock investors into a dangerous ‘bear trap’?


The S&P 500’s SPX, +0.09%  50-day moving average is currently at 2,778.42 while the 200-day is at 2,761.73, according to FactSet.



Historically, death crosses are not a common occurrence for the S&P 500 and they have happened only 12 times since 1928. And belying the reputation for doom and gloom, for of those occurrences have occurred during the current bull market.

“The fact that we haven’t seen a bear market following four separate instances of a death cross since 2010 is a good example of why ‘death’ might be a slight exaggeration,” the analysts said.

Still, they do tend to wreak havoc in the short term. The S&P 500 generally drops in the week and the month after the cross has formed, as shown in the table below:



Timing wise, that would include December, when the so-called Santa rally typically occurs, raising the odds that investors should not bet too heavily on the big bounce in stocks that is often witnessed at the end of the year.

“We also note the S&P 500 averaged declines more than 80% of the time in the month after death crosses,” the analysts said.

To be sure, the U.S. economy is still expanding at a healthy pace and corporations are enjoying double-digit growth in profitability. But there are just as many reasons to be cautious.

Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors, said the fate of the market will depend on two things—a truce on the trade war and a dovish Fed in 2019.

Has Fed’s Powell just led stock investors into a dangerous ‘bear trap’?


Published: Nov 29, 2018 7:20 a.m. ET


Critical information for the U.S. trading day


AFP/Getty Images

We’re caught in a trap…


By

BARBARA

KOLLMEYER

MARKETS REPORTER


Fed Chairman Jerome Powell readied the sleigh for a Santa rally in the markets with his dovish comments Wednesday. But a trade deal out of Friday’s dinner meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping is needed to keep up the momentum.

Unfortunately, some investors don’t see an agreement on the menu at that Buenos Aires meeting.

“We remain unconvinced that one bilateral meeting between the two leaders will result in a grand bargain that puts the U.S.-China relationship back on track,” said Nomura in a note to clients.

On to our call of the day, from Northman Trader’s Sven Henrich, who tells MarketWatch that investors need to sit up and pay attention right now as “markets are in a critical phase.”

And the Fed chief has been a big part of that. The trader says he expected some dovish talk out of Powell, but not until December’s Fed meeting. In any case, those comments triggered a rally and the first phase of a bear trap for stocks, which occurs when investors who sell near the bottom of a cycle get caught out as the market reverses. The opposite holds true for a bull trap.

Read: Did Fed’s Powell ‘light the fuse’ for a year-end stock rally?


Bears expected the S&P 500 to break below 2,600 last week, but instead the market headed up on Monday, Henrich noted. Powell did his part to help the rally, and if Trump gets a deal with China, that would complete that bear trap, pushing gains possibly into the first quarter of next year, he said,


Northman Trading

Bear trap?

Henrich points out that hedge funds and lots investors who are underwater would very much like to see a year-end rally to help them recoup losses and exit the market at higher prices. But that could come at a price, turning the bear trap into an even bigger bull trap into next year, he says.

You can read more about his bear-trap warning that popped up last week, here.

Reading past the market optimism about Powell’s dovishness, the Fed may have also signaled something for investors to worry about, says Henrich.

“What does it say when a 10% market decline to flat on the year is enough to halt the Fed when rates are only at 2.25%? Clearly not bullish as the market would have us believe,” tweeted Michael Lebowitz, co-founder of 720 global.


The market

Dow YMZ8, -0.20% S&P 500 ESZ8, -0.33%  and Nasdaq NQZ8, -0.57%  futures are softer as the focus turns back to Trump/Xi. That’s after Wednesday’s actionthat drove an across-the-board rally for the S&P SPX, +2.30% Dow DJIA, +2.50% and Nasdaq COMP, +2.95%

Gold US:GCU8 is steady, the dollar DXY, -0.09% is higher.

Check out the Market Snapshot column for the latest action.

Europe SXXP, +0.14%  is largely in the green, while it was a mixed day in Asia, where China stocks SHCOMP, -1.32%  slipped over 1%.

The chart

Is oil building up for another round of big losses? Our chart of the day shows West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLF9, +1.03%  dipping below $50 early Thursday. Providing that chart in this tweet, Robeco portfolio manager Jeroen Blokland notes it’s the first time in more than a year that oil has dropped below that key level:


Oil is picking up where it left off Wednesday, with losses stemming from worries that OPEC may not deliver a production cut next month, and data that showed rising U.S. inventories.


Bearish On Fake Fixes


This systemic vulnerability is largely invisible, and so the inevitable contagion will surprise most observers and participants.

The conventional definition of a Bear is someone who expects stocks to decline. For those of us who are bearish on fake fixes, that definition doesn't apply: we aren't making guesses about future market gyrations (rip-your-face-off rallies, dizziness-inducing drops, boring melt-ups, etc.), we're focused on the impossibility of reforming or fixing a broken economic system.

Many observers confuse creative destruction with profoundly structural problems. The technocrat perspective views the creative disruption of existing business models by the digital-driven 4th Industrial Revolution as the core cause of rising income inequality, under-employment, the decline of low-skilled jobs, etc.--many of the problems that plague the current economy.

I get it: those disruptive consequences are real. But they aren't structural: the state-cartel system is structural, because cartels can buy political protection from competition and disruptive technologies. Just look at all the cartels that have eliminated competition: higher education, defense contractors, Big Pharma--the list is long.

The fake-fixes to the structural dominance of cartels and entrenched elites come in two flavors: political reforms that add complexity (oversight, compliance, etc.) but never threaten the insiders' skims and scams, and monetary policies such as low interest rates and unlimited liquidity that enrich the already-wealthy by funneling whatever gains are being reaped to rentiers rather than to labor.

I explain how this neofeudal economy is the inevitable result of our system in my new book Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic.

Our political system, dependent on campaign contributions and lobbying, is easily influenced to protect and enhance the private gains of corporations and financiers. Combine this with the gains reaped by those with access to cheap credit and you have a financial nobility ruling a class of debt-serfs.

Cartels and quasi-monopolies eliminate competition by buying start-ups and political protection, raising barriers to entry around their rentier skim. This kills innovation and productivity, which are corralled to serve existing cartels.

American Corporations Are Winning Their War On Capitalism

The wealthy own productive assets, the poor own debt. Debt accrues interest which flows to those who own the debt--student loans, auto loans, mortgages, etc.


Wages have stagnated for the bottom 80% for decades for a variety of reasons, but quantitative easing and zero real interest rates haven't fixed this structural problem--rather, they've exacerbated wealth and income inequality:


Meanwhile, the highly profitable credit machine is no longer boosting growth:rising interest saps the economy of savings and perverse incentives to borrow vast sums to buy back stocks and other unproductive uses benefit the few at the expense of the economy as a whole.


Beneath the bullish narrative of eternal growth and ever-rising profits, the financial system's buffers have been thinned. As I explain in my book, the global financial system is now hyper-coherent, meaning that instability in one corner of the system quickly spreads to the entire system.


This systemic vulnerability is largely invisible, and so the inevitable contagion will surprise most observers and participants.

A funny thing happens in a fast-spreading financial contagion: markets go bidless, meaning there's no buyers at any price. The entire global financial system rests on this one assumption: markets will always be liquid, but liquidity vanishes in contagions.

The fake-fix of the past decade is for central banks to buy impaired assets to create an artificial market. That works if you throw trillions of dollars, yuan, yen and euros into the artificial market, but that process destroys organic markets.

Fake fixes don't fix what's actually broken. They're duct tape holding together a broken system.


Doug Kass' 15 Surprises For 2019

White House Politics:

(When asked what he wanted to give thanks for during a press gaggle Thanksgiving Thursday, Trump responded), “for having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country. I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it… And I mean, you see, but so much stronger people can’t even believe it. When I see foreign leaders they say we cannot believe the difference in strength between the United States now and the United States two years ago.” – President Trump (Comments on Thanksgiving

Policy:

“You only think I guessed wrong! … You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – the most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” – Vizzini,The Princess Bride

The Economy:

“The missing step in the standard Keynesian theory (is) the explicit consideration of capitalist finance within a cyclical and speculative context… finance sets the pace for the economy. As recovery approaches full employment… soothsayers will proclaim that the business cycle has been banished (and) debts can be taken on. But in truth neither the boom nor the debt deflation… and certainly not a recovery can go on forever. Each state nurtures forces that lead to its own destruction.” – Hyman Minsky

The Markets:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Seneca the Elder

Contrary to the expectations of many (including myself), the uncertainties following the surprising Trump presidential election victory, which produced a number of possible outcomes (some of them adverse), was enthusiastically embraced by investors in 2017 and in the first month of this year. A market on steroids was not a conclusion or forecast by any mainstream Wall Street forecaster that year. There was no sell side strategist who expected equities would rise anywhere near the 20%+ gains in the major indices recorded in 2017, nor do I know any who predicted that the S&P Index would make more than 70 individual highs a year ago.

As I expected, that enthusiasm continued in and through most of the month of January, 2018. But, after a year of historically low volatility and ever-rising stock prices, the bullish consensus became troubled as the complexion of the market changed throughout most of 2018 .

As I noted in last year’s commentary, I thought that the biggest surprise in 2018 would be that extrapolation of the market uptrend didn’t work after many years of working, and that we will witness the emergence of multiple non-consensus developments, including:

  1. A dramatic drop in the price of bitcoin (to under $2,000)

  2. A devastating decline in many bitcoin collateral plays

  3. A much higher oil price

  4. A slowing (not expanding) rate of economic domestic growth as the tax bill “trickles up,” not down

  5. A mean reversion higher in volatility

  6. The bursting of the global short volatility bubble which serves up a 20% drop in equities (aided by both weaker earnings results and lower valuations).

  7. And, of course, I anticipated that there would be an abundance of surprises in the fertile political arena with the incalculable Orange Swan at the helm in Washington, D.C., and in his role as the “Supreme Tweeter.”

“Expect the unexpected and, whenever possible, be the unexpected.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

As we enter 2019, the scent of “Group Stink” is still thick despite a heady list of multiplying uncertainties. Nevertheless, while the Bull Market in Complacency has been pierced in October, 2018, most market forecasts remain optimistic.

Warren Buffett once observed that a bull market “is like sex. It feels best just before it ends.'” While some of us in the ursine crowd debate whether the investment orgasm has already passed, in the extreme it finally may be Minsky’s Moment and year after nine years of recovery and prosperity following The Great Recession.

This year I have decided to publish my “Surprise List” a bit earlier than usual.

As you all know, my Surprises are what I term to be Probable Improbables – events that have a greater possibility of occurring than are seen by the consensus. I try to make you think apart from that diabolically dangerous “Group Stink” and, particularly as it relates to politics (but with other subjects as well), I feel that I should offend you at least once, or I am not doing my job. But, any offense is meant in the spirit of the great Romantic poet William Blake who taught us that “Opposition is true friendship.”

My Surprises are shorter in length than in previous years. (I want to quickly get to the important points of the Surprise List – available on one or two pages – rather than deliver a more flowery prose and bunch of stories that I have commonly done in the past).

We will start the new investment year about one month from now with a completely different “feeling” of previous years – as I mentioned previously, the complexion of Mr. Market seems to have changed:

  1. Investors (retail and institutional), previously comfortable being among the herd of optimism, are beginning to panic.

  2. The dominant investors of the decade – Exchange Traded Funds and Quantitative Strategies and Products (e.g. risk parity) – are selling into weakness (just as they bought into strength) – serving to overwhelm active investors.

  3. Hedge funds are completing another unfavorable year in which their investment performance is poor. Against a backdrop of a high fee structure (at a time in which passive management fees are “moving to zero” ) – redemptions are growing and even some of the most competent managers are hanging up their spikes and closing down.

  4. Public companies, in some measure to increase the value of their stock options) who have gone on a massive buying streak of their own securities (propping up stocks and nominal EPS at the expense of building their businesses and improving productivity) may begin to get second thoughts as stocks founder and interest rates have risen.

  5. The two “shiny objects” crypto currency and FANG – revered and hyped by the many – is likely having a more profound impact on the herd’s newly found negative sentiment than many realize.

  6. Global economic growth prospects continue to grow more ambiguous – with the schmeissing of the price of crude oil another warning and conspicuous signpost of a broadening slowdown.

  7. The Federal Reserve has made a profoundly important change from easing to restraint.

“In ambiguous situations, it’s a good bet that the crowd will generally stick together — and be wrong.” – Doug Sherman and William Hendricks

The core themes and roadmap for 2019 is that a standard run-of-the-mill Bear Market may run into something bigger in a year enveloped in unprecedented political turmoil (and electorate disgust and anger), an escalating trade (and cold) war with China and continuing global economic disappointments — dragging down a mature, an extended and fully exploited economic growth and market cycle.

Not surprisingly, my Surprise is that a slightly down year of performance for the S&P Index in 2018 may turn out to be something worse in 2019.

But the biggest and most provocative surprise is the decline and fall of President Trump in 2019 – in which an anti-imperial rebalancing is successfully mounted by a more assertive Congress, bringing the country back into constitutional equilibrium.

Without further fuss, here are my outside of consensus 15 Surprises for 2019:

1) A U.S. Recession in 2019 Followed by Stagflation:

We learn, in 2019, the extent to which economic activity was pulled forward by the protracted period of historically low interest rates – as capital spending, retail sales, housing and autos founder further.

With U.S. Real GDP growth dropping to +1% to +2% in the first half of 2019, inflation remaining stubbornly high (especially of a wage-kind as the labor market remains tight) and with cost pressures unable to be passed on, the threat of recession intensifies.

By the third quarter of 2019 U.S. Real GDP turns negative. Tax collections collapse as government spending continues to rise. The budget deficit forecasts are lifted to over $2 trillion.

The U.S. falls into a recession in the last half of 2019 – followed by a lengthy period of stagnating economic growth and higher inflation (stagflation).

A dysfunctional, non-unified and discombobulated Europe also falls into a recession in 2019 – with significant ramifications for U.S. multinationals that populate the S&P Index.

U.S./Chinese trade tensions push the global economy down the hill as the year progresses and GDP growth in China comes in below +5.0%. The IMF reduces it’s global economic growth forecast three times next year.

S&P per share earnings fall by over -10% in 2019.

2) The Federal Reserve Pauses and Then Cuts as Currencies and Interest Rates Swing Wildly: 

It’s a wild year for fixed income and currency volatility.

The Fed cuts rates in 3Q2019 and by year-end announces that QE4 will commence in January, 2020.

The 2018 tantrum in Italian bonds is just a precursor for hissy fits throughout the European bond market as the ECB is no longer expanding its balance sheet and tries to get out of NIRP.

The BoJ throws in the towel on their drive for higher inflation. The Japanese bond market sees sharp selloff.

During 2019 the yield on the ten year U.S. note falls to 2.25% before ending the year at over 3.50% as the selloff in European and Japanese bonds and the announcement of QE4 drive our yields higher. Gold falls to $1050 before ending the year at over $1700.

3) Stocks Sink:

Though the third year of a Presidential cycle is usually bullish – it’s different this time.

Trump confusing brains with a bull market can’t fathom the emerging Bear Market. At first he blames it on Steve Mnuchin, his Secretary of Treasury (who leaves the Administration in the middle of the year). Then he blames a lower stock market on the mid-term election which turned the House. Then he blames the market correction on the Chinese.

The S&P Index hits a yearly low of 2200 in the first half of the year as the market worries about slowing economic and profit growth and a burgeoning deficit/monetization. The announcement of QE4 results in a year end rally in December, 2019. In a continued regime of volatility (and in a market dominated by ETFs and machines/algos), daily swings of 1%-3% become more commonplace. Investor sentiment slumps as redemptions from exchange traded funds grow to record levels. The absence of correlation between ETFs and the underlying component investments causes regulatory concerns throughout the year.

Congress holds hearings on the changing market structure and the weak foundation those changes delivered during the year.

Short sellers provide the best returns in the hedge fund space as the S&P Index records a second consecutive yearly loss (which is much deeper than in 2018).

As the Fed cuts interest rates the US dollar falls and emerging markets outperform the US in 2019.

I, like many, are concerned about corporate credit (See Surprise #8) and though credit is not unscathed, it is equities that bear the brunt of the Bear since they are below credit in the company capitalization structure.

Bottom line, after a steep drop in the first six months of the year, the markets rise off of the lows late in the year in response to this shifting political scene (the decline of Trump) and a reversal to a more expansive Fed policy – ending the year with a -10% loss.

4) Despite the Appearance of the Bear, FANG Stocks Surprisingly Prosper (Both Absolutely and Relatively) as Investors Seek Growth (at any cost) In a Slowing Economy – Facebook’s Shares Rebound Dramatically:

While there is a growing consensus that FANG will lead a Bear Market lower – that is not the case as growth, in a general sense, is dear and cherished by market participants next year. Among FANG, Facebook‘s shares have a reversal of fortune (and is the best performing FANG stock) as the company announces aggressive management changes and moves to remedy the misinformation trap.

As more previously unrevealed information reduces her valuation, Sheryl Sandburg’s special status as a female leader (in a seascape of men at Facebook and in industry) is questioned. In the first half of 2019, Sandberg becomes a sacrificial lamb and is sacked – and is forced to lean out after leaning in.

At the suggestion of Warren Buffett (who has accumulated a sizable stake in the company), former Board Member Donald Graham is named as the new, independent and Non-Executive Board Chairman of Facebook.

This unexpected move encourages FB investors to believe that the company is quickly moving to fix its multiple data and privacy issues.

Fewer (than feared) Facebook members opt out and growth in usage resumes in the back half of 2019.

FB’s stock popularity (and market capitalization) increases as it becomes a more dominant holding in “value investors” portfolios – the shares trade above $200/share late in the year.

5) “Peak Trump” – the President Bows Out in His Pursuit of a Second Term:

The President’s dismissal of the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi is seen as delivering tacit support to Saudi Arabia’s MBS – it is a pivotal turning point in Trump’s popularity and ultimate reputational decline in 2019. “Pay enough and you can get away with murder” becomes the mantra of the Progressive Left. Trump acceptance by his Republican party peers quickly diminishes as they are further worried about his motivation to side against the findings of his own intelligence department. After Trump’s personal dealings with authoritarian and autocratic countries are revealed in the Mueller probe (along with possible emoluments violations), Trump’s popularity fades further as Lindsay Graham and other prominent Republicans repeal their support and denounce the President.

An anti-imperial rebalancing is mounted, in which a more assertive Congress brings the country back into constitutional equilibrium.

Though the public and political leaders (even on the right) increasingly reject the President, there are no impeachment efforts by the Democrats. Instead (and surprisingly), House Speaker Pelosi (recognizing that constructive steps are the recipe for a Democratic 2020 Presidential win) exacts discretion and stops the Democrats from moving on an impeachment in the House. Democratic leadership turns to reforms and a torrent of new legislation in the areas of improving the environment and climate control (and the halt of growth in fossil fuel by the development of alternative energy programs), the opioid crisis, education, crime, voting rights, healthcare and prescription drug prices, immigration, etc.- showing the electorate that their Party can demonstrate the framework for a positive agenda, a vision and a social contract (and can rule instead of obstruct).

But, most importantly… With real GDP turning negative in 2019’s second half, Democrats attempt to replace Republicans’ supply-side economics with a smarter theory of growth. Recognizing just as inflation and other ills opened the door for criticism of Keynesian economics in the 1970s, so have inequality and disinvestment done the same for critiques of supply side today. In 2019, the Democrats turn the table on the supply-siders and give a voice through thoughtful proposed legislation (making the affirmative case for the Democratic theory of growth geared to raising wages and putting more money in the hands in working- and middle-class people’s pocket and investing in their needs). Americans enthusiastically embrace this alternative (of how the economy works and grows and spreads prosperity) and reject and defeat the long standing Republican economic narrative – seeing it as a better way to spur on the economy (than giving rich people more tax cuts). Asking the question “has it worked for you?” and given the fairy tale of added revenue from growth (and the widening hole in the deficit), rampant inequality, the fear of being bankrupted by medical catastrophe and massive student debt obligations Democrats provide a practical alternative to cutting taxes for the rich and decreasing regulation which has failed to unleash as much innovation and economic activity that was promised by the Administration. The legislation, which puts more money in middle class pockets, defends and supports the notion that the public sector can make better decisions than the private sector. Referred to as the “middle – in economic bill,” is cosponsored by a leading, conservative and respected Republican member of Congress and begins to gain bipartisan support in Congress, driving a stake through the supply-side’s heart.

Despite his loss of popularity (which plummets to 25%) and the push back from the Republican establishment, Trump declares he is still planning to run for President. Nevertheless, a challenge from Senator Mitt Romney (who’s motto is “Make Republicans Great Again”) gains steam as McConnell, Graham, Kennedy Et al. throw their support for the Senator.

As Trump’s problems multiply, Romney becomes the heavy favorite to defeat Trump in the Republican primary.

Recognizing a sure election defeat, by year-end the President announces that his medical team has disclosed a health issue and he is advised not to run for office. Reluctantly, Trump agrees and bows out of the 2020 Presidential race late in the year.

The Trump mantra of “Make America Great Again” is replaced by “Make Economic Uncertainty and Market Volatility Great Again.”#MAGA/#MUVGA

6) The Year of the Woman:

With a Trump withdrawal from 2020 the election is wide open.

The arc of history influences the Democratic Presidential nomination march and the leading candidates that emerge for 2020 are mostly women. The potential contenders include progressive firebrands like Elizabeth Warren, Stacey Abrams, Kristen Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, and moderates like Senator Amy Klobuchar and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo.

Michael Bloomberg, Howard Schultz and Joe Biden bowout from the race by year end 2019 By year-end, Klobucher, Harris and Warren surface as the three leading Democratic Presidential candidates.

It appears that an all women Democratic ticket (President/Vice President) is increasingly likely.

Nationally, several high profile sexual harassment suits are disclosed. Allegations against a number of well known television, other entertainment and political icons/leaders serve to reinforce the candidacy of the above women who aspire to gain the Democratic Presidential nomination. After Congressional hearings, non partisan and strict harassment legislation are introduced forcing several well known male politicians to resign from office.

7) A New (But Old) Shiny Object Appears As A Stock Market Winner in 2019:

Bitcoin trades close to $3,000 in December, 2018 and spends most of 2019 under $5,000 (as numerous trading irregularities, thefts and more frauds are exposed).

England’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes the lead, in instituting a comprehensive regulatory response to regulating the crypto currency markets. The U.S. follows by imposing broad-based crypto currency regulation in 2019.

A leading business network (who’s bitcoin “bug” has become the new cover of magazine contrary indicator!) faces a class action suit for their seeming encouragement in buying into the asset class in their too frequent broadcasts during 2018. Several crypto currency guests who were prominent on the network’s coverage are indicted for fraud. In an agreement with regulatory authorities, the biz network’s programming is reconstituted.

Marijuana stocks, after a weak final few months in 2018 (are down by over 50% from their highs), explode back to the upside reflecting a quickened pace of alternative health applications. (MJ) is the single best performing exchange traded fund and (TLRY) makes another move to $300/share.

8) Private Equity, High Yield Debt and Leveraged Loan Problems (Which Have Doubled in Size Over the Last Ten Years) Emerge as the Resurgence of Leveraged Finance Comes to An End:

Private equity, in particular, the biggest winner in the decade long cycle since The Great Decession of 2007-09, suffers – and so do the endowments at several prestigious universities. Covenant- lite financings in junk and leveraged loans – often in opaque and complex structures – topple under the weight of loan defaults. (HYG) (last sale: $83.17) trades $75-$80 as redemptions spike.

Publicly-held private equity shops (KKR) and Blackstone (BX) are among the largest percentages losers in 2019, High yield bonds fulfill their characterization as “junk,” and are among the worst performing asset classes. The spread between junk bonds and Treasuries more than doubles – widening dramatically during the summer months.

9) The China/U.S.Rift Intensifies as Trump’s Anger Shifts Towards That Region: 

The trade war with China goes into full effect with 25% tariffs. Walmart (WMT) is adversely impacted and its shares fall by -20% from the recent highs. The Chinese retaliate against major American brands like Apple (AAPL) . (“Peak Apple” actually happens and its shares fall below $125/share).

Peter Navarro resigns.

A major cyber-attack against the U.S. financial system, who’s source is initially not diagnosed, is ultimately reportedly to have been delivered by China. The U.S. enters a cold war with China that resembles the emergence of the cold war with Russia in 1948 – it becomes clear it will be lengthy, nasty and unfriendly to the trajectory of worldwide economic growth.

10) Bank Stocks Are Surprising Winners in 2019:

Despite some pressure in net interest margins (and income), sluggish loan demand and a pickup in loan losses – bank stocks (and EPS) are surprisingly resilient and manage to have a positive return next year as better relative EPS growth is supported by aggressive buybacks and (starting) low valuations. Investors look forward to a recovery in economic growth in 2020-21 and bank stocks (flat for most of the year) have a vigorous move in the last few months of the year and are one of the few sectors to advance in 2019.

Oil stocks, depressed from the late 2018 crude oil price fall also recovery mightily in the later months of 2019 as the price of oil advances coincident with dovish turn in monetary policy.

11) Tesla’s Problems Shift From Production to Demand to Financial:

Tesla (TSLA) loses its tax subsidy in the U.S. and in the Netherlands (a large market for them).

European competition grows.

Europe doesn’t allow the Tesla Model 3 due to safety reasons. The Chinese won’t let an American company have video data over millions of miles of roads and bans Tesla. Lenders balk and access to the public debt market evaporates. The company’s financial position deteriorates and its credit default swaps widen dramatically.

An accounting “issue” surfaces – and it morphs into an accounting fraud. Elon Musk, who has leveraged his TSLA equity holdings, faces margin calls and is forced to sell Tesla shares.

After being rushed to the hospital after an overdose, Musk leaves his CEO post to enter drug rehab.

12) Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) Announces the Largest Takeover in History – The Transformational Acquisition of 3M for $150 billion.

13) Amazon (AMZN) Makes a Bid for Square (SQ) but Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) Eventually Acquires Both Square SQ and Twitter (TWTR)

14) With its Share Price Consistently Trading Under Its Book Value During the First Few Months of 2019, Goldman Sachs’ (GS) Partners Take the Brokerage Private in a Leveraged Buyout at $238/share.

15) Brexit Happens: The world continues and the pound is the best global currency.

Here Are 5-“Also Eligible” Surprises:

  1. AE1) Ford (F) defaults on its loans. Steve Rattner again becomes the “car czar.”

  2. AE2) A major and unexpected global event judged to be impacted by climate issues causes a massive amount of health problems and deaths. Demand for a reversal of Trump policy on climate change comes from his within his own Party and represents another fissure between the White House and the legislative branch.

  3. AE3) Warren Buffett announces his successor. The name, however, is no surprise.

  4. AE4) Angela Merkel doesn’t make it thru the year and Germany has a new leader.

  5. AE5) As is typical with maturing economic cycles, two large accounting frauds of S&P Index constituents are uncovered late in the year. A previously “sainted” and revered CEO does a prep walk.








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