Tag Archives: central bank policies

Should Trump “Unleash” Wall Street? by Bill Bonner

Wall Street is a perfect case study in how an industry deteriorates in a mixed economy. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:
LOVINGSTON, VIRGINIA – Stocks show little movement. Investors are waiting for something to happen.

And wondering…

Corporate earnings have been going down for nearly three years. They are now about 10% below the level set in the late summer of 2014.

Unleashing Wall Street

Why should stocks be so expensive?

Oh, yes… because the Trump Team is going to light a fire under Wall Street.

But they must be wondering about that, too.

Raising up stock prices – as we’ve seen over the last eight years – is not the same as restoring economic growth and family incomes.

And as each day passes, the list of odds against either seems to be getting longer and longer. As the petty fights, silly squabbles, and tweet storms increase, the less ammunition the administration has available to fight a real battle with Congress or the Deep State.

Still…

“Goldman Stock Hits Record on Bets Trump Will Unleash Wall Street,” reads a Bloomberg headline.

Goldman Sachs is a pillar of the Establishment, with its man, Steve Mnuchin, heading the Department of the Treasury. So a win for Goldman is not necessarily a win for us.

“Unleashing” suggests a win-win deal, as in allowing the financial industry to get on with its business. But there are different kinds of “unleashings.”

Some things – like Dobermans – are kept on a leash for a good reason. Unleashing the mob… or a war… might not be a good idea, either.

Untying Wall Street from bureaucratic rules is at least heading in the right direction. But it will only benefit the Main Street economy if Wall Street is doing business honestly, facilitating win-win deals by matching real capital up with worthy projects.

Deep State Industry

That, of course, is what it is NOT doing. It is a Deep State industry aided and abetted by the Fed’s fake money.

To continue reading: Should Trump “Unleash” Wall Street?

 

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Markets Smell a Rat as Central Banks Dither, by Wolf Richter

There are a lot of good reasons not to allocate much money to bonds as an asset class right now. For one, as Wolf Richter points out, central banks are probably not going to be as strong a bid for them as they have been. From Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Markets are suspecting that central banks are in the process of exiting this fabulous multi-year party quietly, and that on the way out they won’t refill the booze and dope, leaving the besotted revelers to their own devices. That thought isn’t sitting very well with these revelers.

In markets where central banks have pushed government bond prices into the stratosphere and yields, even 10-year yields, below zero, there has been a sea change.

The 10-year yield of the Japanese Government Bond (JGB) jumped 2.5 basis points to 0.115% on Thursday, the highest since January 2016, after an auction for ¥2.4 trillion of 10-year JGBs flopped, as investors were losing interest in this paper at this yield, and as the Bank of Japan, rather than gobbling up every JGB in sight to help the auction along, sat on its hands and let it happen.

And on Friday morning, the 10-year yield jumped another 3 basis points to 0.145%!

In September last year, the BOJ started the now apparently troubled experiment of trying to control not just short-term interest rates but also the entire yield curve. It targeted a 10-year yield of about 0% (it was negative at the time). Analysts believed that this would mean a range between -0.1% and +0.1%, and that if the yield rose to +0.1%, the BOJ would throw its weight around and buy.

But the fact that the BOJ allowed the yield to go above that imaginary line signaled to the markets that it no longer has the intention of capping the yield at +0.1%, that in fact the BOJ has stepped back.

To continue reading; Markets Smell a Rat as Central Banks Dither

 

Federal Reserve Initiates End Game As Trump Heads To White House, by Brandon Smith

The Fed and the global bankers are withdrawing liquidity from the financial system just as Donald Trump ascends to the presidency. He and his “movement” will get the blame. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

For years, alternative economic analysts have been warning that the “miraculous” rise in U.S. stock markets has been the symptom of wider central bank intervention and that this will result in dire future consequences. We have heard endless lies and rationalizations as to why this could not be so, and why the U.S. “recovery” is real. At the beginning of 2016, the former head of the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve crushed all the skeptics and vindicated our position in an interview with CNBC where he stated:

“What the Fed did — and I was part of that group — is we front-loaded a tremendous market rally, starting in 2009.It’s sort of what I call the “reverse Whimpy factor” — give me two hamburgers today for one tomorrow. I’m not surprised that almost every index you can look at … was down significantly.” [Referring to the results in the stock market after the Fed raised rates in December.]

Fisher continued his warning (though his predictions in my view are wildly conservative or deliberately muted):

“…I was warning my colleagues, “Don’t go wobbly if we have a 10-20 percent correction at some point. … Everybody you talk to … has been warning that these markets are heavily priced.”

Here is the issue — stocks are a mostly meaningless factor when considering the economic health of a nation. Equities are a casino based on nothing but the luck of the draw when it comes to news headlines, central banker statements and algorithmic computers. Today, as Fischer openly admitted, stocks are a purely manipulated indicator representing nothing but the amount of stimulus central banks are willing to pour into them through various channels.

Even with the incredible monetary support pooled together by international financiers, returns on equities investments continue to remain mostly flat. It would seem that the propping up of indexes like the Dow has been only for the sake of keeping up appearances. For many people, revenue is barely being generated.

To continue reading: Federal Reserve Initiates End Game As Trump Heads To White House

Bill Gross Reveals The “Global Establishment’s Overall Plan” In Eight Simple Steps

Bond maven Bill Gross outlines how governments and central banks intend to extricate themselves from the debt crisis, and it isn’t pretty. From Gross at zerohedge.com:

Continuing his anti-establishment bent, in his latest letter “Red is the new black”, Bill Gross first exposes the “current global establishment’s (including Trump’s) overall plan” consisting of 8 simple steps to “solve the global debt crisis” (yes, the sarcasm is oozing), at which point he goes on to say that “it pays to not fight the tiger until it becomes obvious that another plan will by necessity replace it” and adds “that time is not now, but growing populism and the increasing ineffectiveness of monetary policy suggest an eventual transition.”

His monthly words of caution: “Red” (in some cases) may be the new “Green” when applied to future investment returns. Be careful – stay out of jail.”

The full Bill Gross’ latest monthly letter courtesy of Janus

Red is the New Green

I’ve got nothing against national anthems, and I wouldn’t kneel even if I was Colin Kaepernick. I just think as a country, “America the Beautiful” might have been a better choice for ours and that in some cases, some words of “The Star Spangled Banner” don’t ring true. A few countries’ anthems are, in fact, quite pleasing to my ear. “O Canada” has a beautiful melody and words to match, although you’d probably have to be watching hockey to hear it. Our “Star Spangled Banner”? For me – not so much. I can sort of see the “rockets’ red glare”, but it’s hard to sing and quite long – especially if you’re waiting for the kickoff. But like I said, I have nothing against it, except maybe the last stanza. Not the “Home of the Brave” part. Having spent two years in Vietnam, ferrying Navy SEALs up the Mekong Delta, I witnessed a lot of bravery. Not me. I was duckin’ quicker than Bill Murray’s gopher in Caddyshack. The SEALs though. Yeah – tough guys – very brave.

To continue reading: Bill Gross Reveals The “Global Establishment’s Overall Plan” In Eight Simple Steps

 

OK, I get it: Companies Clamor for Cheap Labor, Fed Delivers, by Wolf Richter

Let’s see, the federal government and its central bank have never been more involved in various ways with the economy than during this still-young century, and real incomes are lower now than they were at the beginning of the century. Coincidence? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

In turn, households get the feel-good illusion.

Despite all the frothy excitement about the stock market’s new highs, and the drooling today over the new highs reached by Housing Bubble 2, exceeding the prior crazy highs of Housing Bubble 1 even according to the Case-Shiller Index, and despite eight years of super-low interest rates, and a million other things that are hyped constantly, median household incomes, the crux of the real economy, is still a dreary affair.

Sentier Research released its median household income measure for October today. Adjusted for inflation, it edged up 0.6% from a year ago to $57,929. But it’s down 1.3% from January 2008, and it’s down 1.5% from its peak in 2002.

It has fallen 0.5% since January. That’s not a propitious trend. The report put it this way: “Median annual household income in 2016 has not been able to maintain the momentum that it achieved during 2015.”

This chart by Doug Short at Advisor Perspectives shows the stagnating inflation-adjusted debacle (blue line) and the nominal income (red line):

The Census Bureau publishes household income data annually in mid-September for the previous year (the 2015 annual data was published in September 2016). Sentier Research uses Census data and publishes monthly updates, adjusted for inflation via the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

And inflation is now rising. The Fed is turning victory laps. Inflation is in part responsible for the decline in real median household income since January. Inflation matters. The report:

We continue to monitor the course of inflation, as this has a significant effect on the trend in real median annual household income.

To continue reading: OK, I get it: Companies Clamor for Cheap Labor, Fed Delivers

“What If Market Consensus Is Wrong” – A Hedge Fund Ponders The Alternative, by Francesco Filia

Interest rates may be rising not because economies are improving, but because central banks are pulling back from quantitative easing. If that’s the case, it could spell bad news for stocks. From Francesco Filia at Fasanara Capital, via zerohedge.com:

A week ago we posed a simple qustion:”is the market wrong” in bidding up risk assets in a time of rapidly tightening financial conditions. With the S&P likely set to rise above 2,200 today, a new all time high, the market at least for now, remains “right.” However, more doubt has emerged.

In a note from our friends at Fasanara Capital, CIO Francesco Filia repeats the question we posed last week, contemplating what may be a “delusion” emerging on the boundary between reflation/growth and a QE bubble unwind. As Filia puts it, “what if consensus is wrong: what if rates are rising due to the end of Quantitative Easing and not because of reflation/escape velocity on growth?” He continues:

Rates then rise without growth, perhaps even without much inflation. Indeed, rates started rising back in August, on momentous shifts in policy by BoJ (forced by capacity constraints and collateral damage). Such scenario is not good for equities, contrary to what currently believed by markets.”

Indeed, such a scenario would be the worst possible one: with potential stagflation on the horizon, the last thing markets can afford is a withdrawal in central bank support just as US deficit funding needs are set to spike, something we have been cautioning for the past two weeks.

In any event, if the market is wrong about this most fundamental signal, what else is it wrong about? Here are the key highlights of Fasanara’s thought:

Delusions: Rates Rising on Reflation/Growth or QE Bubble Unwind?

What if consensus is wrong: what if rates are rising due to the end of Quantitative Easing and not because of reflation/escape velocity on growth? Rates then rise without growth, perhaps even without much inflation. Indeed, rates started rising back in August, on momentous shifts in policy by BoJ (forced by capacity constraints and collateral damage). Such scenario is not good for equities, contrary to what currently believed by markets.

With Trump rising to power against all the odds of bookies, pollsters, a militant press, a reflexive army of pundits and an all-guns-out establishment, it is all too clear who are the big losers of these elections. After the supposed shocks of Brexit and Amerexit, you may imagine less and less market participants to pay attention next to pollsters, bookies and analysts in informing investment decisions at the next check point.

But there is a bigger loser, and that is the Efficient Market Hypothesis itself, a cornerstone of modern financial theory, which states that all relevant information are embedded in prices, making them fair prices. Going into the event a win by Trump was widely perceived to be an outright disaster. Coming off the event, after an initial shock, equity markets staged one of the most impressive rebounds in history. Clearly, this is not an example of rationale investment behaviour. From Armageddon to Paradise on Earth in just few hours. The market had known full well what the aftermath of a Trump win looked like, had been given plenty time to strategize on that, and yet it all seemed really new news. Ex-post, narratives of cash on the sidelines, retail coming in, fiscal expansion /reflation reality sinking in, are all handy but unconvincing scapegoats.

To continue reading: “What If Market Consensus Is Wrong” – A Hedge Fund Ponders The Alternative

 

Why President Trump Will Fumigate the Fed, by Tommy Behnke

It’s not a gold standard, but Trump appointing some so-called “hawks” on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors would at least be a step in the right direction. From Tommy Behnke at mises.org:

Starting in January, President-elect Donald Trump will have a unique opportunity to pack the Federal Reserve with hard money officials.

There are currently two open Board of Governors seats, which will most likely not be filled before the end of President Obama’s tenure. Additionally, both Chair Janet Yellen and Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer’s terms will be up by 2018. Crunch the numbers and you will see that Trump has the opportunity to replace a majority of the Board of Governors and a third of the FOMC with monetary policy hawks during his presidency.

Call me crazy, but assuming that the Republican-controlled House and Senate stands behind him, I believe that Trump just may shock the financial world by shifting this country’s monetary policy in a more hawkish direction.

Yes, this is a guy that cheered on the Fed’s easy-money policies in the years before the Great Recession. And yes, Trump did say in May that he is still a “low interest rate person” who will appoint another dove to head the Federal Reserve. Why in the world, then, am I arguing that the Trump administration might possibly install more hawkish members to the central bank?

Repeated Anti-Fed Campaign Rhetoric

For one, Trump’s occasional dovish comments do not match the passion and enthusiasm of his repeated hawkish campaign trail rhetoric. For the past year, the president-elect has been railing against the “false economy” that the Fed has created, as well as the political influence that runs rampant throughout the central bank.

Perhaps Trump’s most scathing attack on the institution came last October, when he insinuated that Fed actions are crippling the middle class without creating any type of benefit to the economy at large.

“[Chairwoman Yellen] is keeping the economy going, barely,” he said. “You know who gets hurt the most [by her easy money policies]? The people that went through 40 years of their life and saved a hundred dollars every week [in the bank].” He then paused and shook his head for added effect before adding: “They worked all their lives to save and now what happens is they’re being forced into an inflated stock market and at some point they’ll get wiped out.”

These anti-Fed talking points were recycled often on the campaign trail. In September, Trump attacked the Fed for putting us in a “big, fat, ugly bubble” and for keeping rates artificially low for political purposes, points that he again repeated in the first presidential debate. The business mogul has also promised to audit the Fed within the first 100 days of his administration and even included a criticism of the central bank in a recent online video ad.

To continue reading: Why President Trump Will Fumigate the Fed