“The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friends”
Like An Old Man Trying To Send Back Soup At A Deli”
By Gary Kaltbaum-December 13,2015
Fox News Business Contributor
We wrote a lot of this report in mid-September but updated it to today. It all remains appropriate as we are now seeing some of the outcomes of one-sided trades brought on by assinine monetary policy. It is self-explanatory.
We usually like to keep our reports short and pithy but felt this a good time to hit you with both bazookas. The following is a fair compilation of our thoughts both past and present.
Starting in early 07, we started to get worried as to why the markets were treating financials so poorly. Throughout the year, we noted that when markets went up, the important financials sat. When the market went down, the important financials led down. And that was the start of us calling the market topping process. Little did we know at the time what the financials had in store for us. We used our normal terminology.
Markets are getting narrower and narrower.
Financials continue to lead down.
Fewer and fewer stocks and fewer and fewer sectors are leading.
This is starting to look like a classic market topping process.
And then this:
Semiconductors topped out. July/Aug 2007
Retail topped out. July/Aug 2007
Financials continue to lead market down. Late 07
Dow and S&P top out Oct 07
Apple tops out first day of 08
And the bear was on. Again, little did we know what the financial companies had done. The markets figured it out early but never in our wildest could we imagine that these geniuses took one asset class and leveraged it up so much…some up to 30x. We know what happened to them next.
But there was a bigger issue during all this:
(July, 2005) “We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.”
(March 28, 2007) “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.”
(May 17, 2007) “All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system. The vast majority of mortgages, including even subprime mortgages, continue to perform well. Past gains in house prices have left most homeowners with significant amounts of home equity, and growth in jobs and incomes should help keep the financial obligations of most households manageable.”
(January 10, 2008) “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
These were not Ben Bernanke’s only quotes. For almost two years, this man said markets were fine, economy was fine, housing was fine, subprime was fine. In other words, the man who had control of the financial system did not have a clue what was sitting right in front of him. The man who enabled it, watched it, oversaw it, had no idea about it, who should have been fired immediately for it…not only kept his job but was looked to to come up with the solution when everything crashed. What was the solution? Take exactly what he did to enable the housing bubble and crash…and hulk it up. Not only did Mr. Bubble go easy, but he embarked on a policy that even the biggest of monetary doves could not fathom. 0% interest rates started. Savers were screwed. There were no more riskless income investments. Savers who were used to getting a few percent on their money markets now got the middle finger. And to where did this interest accrue? Yes…the same people that were a huge part of the cause of the problem, namely the big banks and the lenders. Yes, Mr. Bubble gave a Christmas, Hannukah, Easter, Groundhog and every other holiday gift to these people by taking it away from the saver. But Mr. Bubble said not to worry because the savers would make it up in a better economy.
But Big Ben had more things up his sleeves. Little did we know. This leads us to this other Bernanke quote. Look at the date!:
(November 21, 2002) “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost.”
And away we went. Big Ben started QE1 (Quantitative easing). He did not dare call it money printing. To be clear, we were against it from the start. We did not like anyone interfering with markets the way he was about to embark. After all, they don’t call it Ponzi for nothing. But something happened. There was supposed to be a time limit on the printing. Remember the escape plan? QE1 came to a close. When that occurred, markets dropped over 10% and quickly. But don’t worry. Big Ben just started QE2 to fix things up. But when QE2 ended in 2011, markets dropped about 15% in just over a month. But the mad scientist was not done. He embarked on something called Operation Twist (we still don’t know what the hell that was) and then the mother of all money printing in QE3. It was basically unlimited and almost everlasting. To the tune of over a gargantuan $1 trillion/year, $85 billion/month (hey,it’s just conjured up money), Ben printed away. And just like the first few times, markets loved it. In fact, Big Ben no longer hid the fact he thought higher markets (rigged and manipulated or not) were a good thing. In speeches, he stated by keeping interest rates low, people would have no choice but to enter markets. This would cause markets to go up…making people feel wealthy. People feeling more wealthy would lead to more spending. More spending would lead to more hiring. More hiring would lead to a glorious economy…and all will be well.What could go wrong? Unfortunately, a lot. As we have stated, when all is said and done, at the end of the road, markets that have been rigged and manipulated with massive amounts of conjured up bucks, which enabled speculation and greed beyond recognition, WILL ALWAYS EVENTUALLY REVERT BACK TO THE MEAN! We just don’t know from what point. But in the meantime, it has been our contention that every data point, every asset price, every economic statistic (fake or real), real estate, stocks, bonds, corporates, municipals, art, beany babies…you name it, have been working off of rigged and manipulated interest rates which caused the speculation…which causes more speculation…which causes more greed…which causes more leverage…which causes more debt…which causes ridiculous price and yield on all kinds of bonds, especially the riskiest…which causes 500 square foot shacks in San Francisco to cost $350,000…which causes 200 Biotechs with NO SALES to be able to come public…which causes companies that would come up with an app with no sales to get billions of dollars in market cap in the private equity market…which causes the massive margin (all-time record) ..which causes everyone to feel comfy…which causes everyone to think nothing could ever go wrong…which causes assinine stock buybacks off of debt…which causes too many bad mergers…which causes certain strategists to give out outrageous predictions on the markets…because as we have titled many times…NOTHING IS EVER WRONG UNTIL MARKETS SAY SO! Unfortunately markets are saying so and the usual suspects are denying it, saying everything is A-OK, buy the dip, fundamentals are great, think long term, it is cheap, it is an over-reaction and all that crap.
We would actually give Janet Yellen some credit for the Fed ending QE3 late last year, but she was a party to all of it in the beginning. This end of QE3 led to last October 2014 market break. We saw and wrote about the topping process in the weeks leading to the drop but then the lemmings showed up. In a concerted effort, as QE3 ended, Europe and Japan ramped up their own massive QE and China announced its own easing…stanching the bleeding in markets and turning them back up. But at around the same time…the market’s internals topped leading to the long, drawn out topping process.
This brings us to today.
We are told that it is a lock that the Fed will raise rates this coming week. Haven’t we been told that every month this year? We have told you forever that the Fed would never raise rates unless markets forced them to. To this day, they have not let us down but anything is possible. We would just find it interesting that if they did raise rates now, it would be raising rates into deteriorating markets, crashing commodities, tumbling transports and a whole load of data telling us the economies here and everywhere else are heading the wrong way. We are still not so sure a fed rate hike will occur but keep in mind, if they did, it would be going from 0-1/4% to 1/4%…and we promise you that it will be one and done. Which now leads us into junk bonds as we started telling you over 2 years ago that the biggest bubble was in the bond market…specifically junk. Junk bonds are not crashing. They are normalizing. In other words, REVERTING BACK TO THE MEAN! We have told you that eventually, things would get back to the norms. You just cannot have bonds that should yield 9% yielding 4%. You just cannot have bonds that should yield 5%, yielding 2%. Eventually, something has to give and that’s price. On top of that, you are also seeing another outcome of assinine Fed policy and that is the one-sided trade. When rates are zero, it forces the screwed saver to buy into what should be riskless income investments into very risky income investments…junk bonds. When the masses are forced into that one trade, it becomes over-owned and overpriced until the tide turns. The tide has turned as you are actually seeing funds unable to get out as the one-sided trade on the buy side has now become the one-sided trade on the sell side.
The big money knows the world is massively debt laden. The big money knows economic growth (as good or bad as it is) is based on rigged and manipulated policy. The big money knows valuations are up there. The big money is voting with both hands and not just here but around the globe. Commodities continue to crash, transports are a horror show even with oil prices plunging, the average stock is in a bear market, most sectors are bearish, new lows swamp new highs and that’s just the start as now the major indices are again joining the downside…even in December.
No matter what, we will pay attention to the markets first but we remain worried that people who have always been wrong (the Fed), now have to be “data dependent” before making their moves. Were they not supposed to be the smartest people in the room? There is one heck of a chance that the recent major top, the recent vicious drop, the narrower and narrower rally and now this past week’s ugly is another big topping process with major indices now playing catch-up. With leverage and debt in the system much larger now than in 08 (enabled again by the Fed)…YOU FILL IN THE BLANK! Market report up next!