Tag Archives: stocks

The Freak Chart, by the Northman Trader

Long-term stock market charts are perhaps sending a message that US equity markets may in for a lengthy period of consolidation at best, and perhaps a long bear market. From the Northman Trader at northmantrader.com:

I got a freak chart for you that’s stunning, but bear with me here because it requires some background and patience. Most of us are focused on the daily or weekly action and it’s easy to lose sight of big cyclical trends. We don’t think of them as they take a long time to unfold and the daily noise is so much more dominant.

With the advent of permanent central bank intervention sparked by the financial crisis all of us have come accustomed to markets always going up with the occasional correction in between and the timing of corrections have seemingly become shorter and shorter. Big fat bottoms that happen after just a few days of temporary terror. We haven’t seen a true bear market since the financial crisis and even that one lasted barely more than a year as central banks stepped in. The last longer term bear market came after the technology bust in 2000 when markets bottomed in 2002 and 2003 and then proceeded onto the next bull market.

It didn’t always used to be this way. Going back to 1900 there were multiple extended periods of stock markets going nowhere and trading in wide chop ranges:

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Is All Lost? Record Share Buybacks But Stocks Get Crushed, by Wolf Richter

One thing that happens when stocks go into bear markets and the economy heads south is that practices that were overlooked when rising markets were lifting all boats get intense scrutiny. If the current downtrend continues, count on Congressional hearings on share buybacks, especially those funded with debt. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

The vengeance of share buybacks: buyback queen Apple plunges.

In the third quarter, share buybacks by S&P 500 companies totaled $203.8 billion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices today. These are actual buybacks, not hyperventilated announcements of possible future share buybacks:

  • Share buybacks in Q3 jumped 57.7% from a year earlier.
  • This was the third quarter in a row of record share buybacks.
  • For the first three quarters this year, buybacks totaled a mind-bending $583 billion.
  • This $583 billion was up 34% from the same period in 2017.
  • This $583 billion was within a hair of beating the full-year all-time record of $589 billion set in 2007 before it all collapsed.
  • Since Q1 2012 — in less than seven years — all share buybacks combined totaled an even more mind-bending $3.54 trillion.

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Misdiagnosing The Risk Of Margin Debt, by Lance Roberts

Margin debt helps keep stock markets afloat. From Lance Roberts at realinvestmentadvice.com:

This past week, Mark Hulbert wrote an article discussing the recent drop in margin debt. To wit:

“Plunging margin debt may not doom the bull market after all, reports to the contrary notwithstanding.

Margin debt is the total amount investors borrow to purchase stocks, which historically has risen during bull markets and fallen during bear markets. This total fell more than 6% in October, according to a report last week from FINRA. We won’t know the November total until later in December, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls even further.

A number of the bearish advisers I monitor are basing their pessimism at least in part on this plunge in margin. It’s easy to see why: October’s sharp drop brought margin debt below its 12-month moving average. (See accompanying chart.)”

“According to research conducted in the 1970s by Norman Fosback, then the president of the Institute for Econometric Research, there is an 85% probability that a bull market is in progress when margin debt is above its 12-month moving average, in contrast to just a 41% probability when it’s below.

Why, then, do I suggest not becoming overly pessimistic? For several reasons:

1) The margin debt indicator issues many false signals
2) There is insufficient data
3) Margin debt is a strong coincident indicator.”

I disagree with Mark on several points.

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Notice How Quickly Market Psychology Changed? by John Rubino

Two financial market truisms: markets can change on a dime, and they go down quicker than they go up. From John Rubino at dollarcollapse.com:

“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

On the surface, nothing much changed last week. The Fed, as expected, raised short-term interest rates very modestly, the US, Canada and Mexico cut a new NAFTA deal (kind of a pleasant surprise), unemployment fell again, Trump continued to tweet while Democrats and Republicans continued to express their mutual disdain via dirty tricks and contrived insults. Business as usual, in other words, in our dysfunctional new normal.

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The 30-Year Has “Broken Out” – Jeff Gundlach Warns Stocks And Bonds Are Going Lower Together, by Tyler Durden

US interest rates are breaking out to multi-year highs. It’s hard to see how that will be good for the stock market. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Having broken above its multi-decade trendline, 30Y Yields are starting to levitate faster than even the equity markets can handle…

Following this week’s bond-market rout, DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach noted that the 30 Year Treasury yield “has broken above its multi-year base” which “should lead to significantly higher yields for investors.”

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The Problem With Phony Prosperity Is That It’s Phony, by Peter Schiff

Debt-funded prosperity isn’t prosperity. From Peter Schiff at schiffgold.com:

A lot of seemingly positive economic data came out last week, but in his most recent podcast, Peter Schiff said it is just feeding into a delusional economic narrative that ignores the most fundamental storyline – debt. Everybody is talking about a new era of prosperity, but Peter said it’s a phony prosperity and it isn’t going to last.

The May jobs report came out Friday, sending another ripple of optimism through the investment world. According to the Department of Labor, the US economy added 223,000 jobs in May. The unemployment number fell to an 18-year low of just 3.8%. Average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents. Average wage growth came in at 2.7% over the past year. Pundits and prognosticators on the major financial networks were giddy at the news.

But the good economic news wasn’t limited to jobs. Analysts were also excited about the personal income and spending data – particularly spending, which rose 0.6% in April. Meanwhile, income was up 0.3%. Peter put this into some perspective.

Consumers are spending money twice as fast as they’re earning it for the month of April — six-tenths up on spending, three-tenths up on earnings. So, what does this tell you? People are tapping into already a pretty shallow savings pool, or they are running up more credit card debt to buy stuff.”

Of course, everybody likes this. In the short-run, this is great because spending feeds into GDP. It can make everybody feel good about this false narrative about the US economy. Despite all of the fundamental issues facing the economy – namely the massive levels of debt – most of the mainstream is exuberant.

America is a sea of prosperity. Our economy is immune. We’re just going to keep on growing, even though we’ve got a rising cost of living, even though we’ve got increasing interest rates, massive debt on all levels, all these big-picture problems that we’ve got, but everybody assumes there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, you look at CNBC, I was watching them, today after the jobs numbers … and they are so excited – to a man. I mean, they’re just giddy, like little schoolgirls, about the stock market. Everything is perfect. Nothing can go wrong. Keep on buying.”

To continue reading: The Problem With Phony Prosperity Is That It’s Phony

FANGMAN Stocks Are Not a Bubble, Pleads Goldman Sachs, by Wolf Richter

Conventional valuation don’t seem to matter much…when markets are on the way up. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

This time, it’s different, say the strategists. So we’ll take a look.

In the bewildering wilderness of the most hyped Wall Street acronyms, we’re going to stick to FANGMAN – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google’s parent Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, and Nvidia – for the special moment. And the special moment is that the Nasdaq, or more loosely “tech stocks,” closed today at a new high.

But don’t worry. With regards to tech stocks, no matter how high they’ve soared, there is no bubble, based, believe it or not, on fundamentals, Goldman Sachs strategist Peter Oppenheimer and Guillaume Jaisson pleaded in a note, cited by Bloomberg. And the fun is going to continue, the said. And it’s different this time:

“Unlike the technology mania of the 1990s, most of this success can be explained by strong fundamentals, revenues and earnings rather than speculation about the future.”

“Given that valuations in aggregate are not very stretched, we do not expect the dominant size and contribution of returns in stock markets to end any time soon.”

“Leading tech companies today have become very large in terms of market value, but that reflects the significant growth of technology spending and its ability to displace other more traditional capex spending.”

So tech will continue to dominate, they argue, as everyone will have to buy it, including retailers as they try to escape the brick-and-mortar meltdown by shifting to e-commerce. And then there’s the whole huge promise of AI. They add:

“This ‘snow balling’ effect is similar to what was experienced during the industrial revolution where one technology led to another and caused traditional industries to spend more on technology to survive.”

Yes, Y2K comes to mind.

So let’s take a look at the non-bubble in the FANGMAN stocks. Here are their basic data as of Monday evening: Market capitalization, price-earnings ratio (P/E Ratio), annual revenue growth, annual revenues for the last full year reported, and price-to-sales ratio.

Market Cap,
billions
P/E
ratio
Annual revenue growth 2017 Revenue,
billions
Price-to-Sales Ratio
FB $562 32 47.1% $41 13.8
AMZN $797 210 30.8% $178 4.5
NFLX $156 243 32.8% $12 13.3
GOOG $783 48 23.7% $111 7.1
MSFT $774 56 5.5% $90 8.6
AAPL $935 19 6.7% $229 4.1
NVDA $156 44 40.6% $10 16.1
Combined: $4,163 $669.0

To continue reading: FANGMAN Stocks Are Not a Bubble, Pleads Goldman Sachs