Get in Crash Positions, by Charles Hugh Smith

The classic signs of a market top are currently all there. From Charles Hugh Smith at

When the market goes bidless, it’s too late to preserve capital, never mind all those life-changing gains.

Everyone with some gray in their ponytails knows the stock market has ticked every box for a bubble top, so everybody get in crash positions:

Let’s run through the requirements for a bubble top:

1. Retail investors (i.e. dumb money) are all in and buying the dip with absolute confidence. As the gray-ponytail traders know, there are many moving parts to the retail dumb money going all in:

— The pain of the last bubble bursting has finally faded and been replaced by greed as retail punters watch everyone else mint fortunes by buying the dip and gambling with abandon at the casino’s trendy tables: crypto, NFTs, Mega-Tech, EVs, uranium, etc.

— Prudence and caution (i.e. holding cash in low-risk accounts) are thrown to the wind as the more money you put into the bet, the bigger the rewards.

— Punters realize the key to the really big gains is maxing out margin and leverage, preferably by foregoing owning the underlying equity in favor of options and futures contracts.

— Confidence in the Federal Reserve’s god-like powers and determination to never let stocks decline more than a few percentage points over a few hours or days is off the charts.

— Confidence that this is a new era and so old rules no longer apply is in the stratosphere. Retail punters believe that cryptos, NFTs and blockchain are can’t-lose bets as these are A) unstoppable and B) revolutionizing finance and the economy. As for stocks, retail traders have discovered the power of the herd: if the herd all buys call options by the thousands, this forces market makers to buy the underlying stocks, pushing the price higher in a self-reinforcing feedback loop that is guaranteed to succeed.

— Retail investors view all these bets as extremely low risk and so there’s no financial sense in hedging bets or limiting margin debt, leverage or risk, because risk has been abolished by the Fed Put.

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