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The Dow Falls 1,032 Points! Has The Financial Crisis Of 2018 Officially Arrived?

We haven’t seen this kind of a bloodbath on Wall Street since the great financial crisis of 2008.  Prior to this week, the largest single day decline for the Dow Jones industrial average that we had ever seen was 777 points.  That record was absolutely shattered on Monday when the Dow fell 1,175 points, and on Thursday the Dow dropped another 1,032 points.  This was the third decline greater than 500 points within the last five trading days, and the Dow is poised to post its worst week since the dark days of October 2008.  So is this just a “correction”, or has the financial crisis of 2018 officially arrived?

At this point, many of the experts are pointing to the bond market as the primary reason why stock prices are crashing.  The following comes from CNBC

There’s a not-so-quiet rebellion going on in the bond market, and it threatens to take 10-year yields above 3 percent much faster than expected just a few weeks ago.

As a result, the bumpy ride for stocks could continue for a while.

And without a doubt, analysts such as Jeff Gundlach clearly warned that there would be big trouble for stocks as bond yields rose…

Gundlach had correctly predicted that if the 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield went above 2.63 percent, U.S. stock investors would be spooked.

“Clearly, the market gets shaky when the 10-year hits 2.85 percent,” Gundlach said. “Just look at this week, and today. Makes one consider what could be coming if 10s push over 3 and 30s (30-year Treasury bond) over 3.22 percent.”

The 10-year yield is currently trading around 2.83 percent. Gundlach said it is “hard to love bonds at even a 3 percent” yield. “Rising interest rates are a problem and the U.S. is in debt and there is massive bond supply,” Gundlach said.

Moving forward, it will be important to keep a close eye on bond yields.  Every time they start going back up, we are likely to see stock prices go down

“We’re in a vicious cycle here. If the yields go up, you have to sell stocks. If you sell stocks, and they crash, yields come back down,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR.

The bond market’s struggle to price in higher interest rates has been kneecapped each time the stock market reacts and sells off. Strategists expect the two markets to ultimately find an equilibrium but not without more sharp swings.

This is one of the reasons why the budget deal going through Congress right now is such a bad idea.  Hundreds of billions of dollars of additional spending on top of what we are already doing is going to push up bond yields, and that is just going to make the pressure on Wall Street even worse.

Of course the folks over at the Federal Reserve could intervene, but they don’t seem inclined to do that at this point.  Late last year the Fed finally removed artificial life support from the financial system, and at first everything seemed to be going well.  But now a new crisis is brewing, and we shall see if the Fed still remains determined to keep raising rates.  The following comes from Peter Schiff

The Fed were dragging their feet in raising rates while Obama was president.  They talked about raising rates but at the end of the day, they barely moved them up. The pace of hikes has increased since Trump was elected, but part of the reason for that…I mean, the media is not talking down the economy; if anything they’re overhyping the economy.  Everybody’s talking about how strong the economy is, how everything is great. Everybody is taking credit for this great economy. The Fed wants to take credit for it, Trump wants to take credit for it, so if everybody wants to talk about how great the economy is, the Fed doesn’t have any excuse if it doesn’t raise rates…in order to keep up the pretense that the economy is as strong as everybody thinks, the Fed is in this box where it has to raise rates.

But they [the Fed] can’t tell the truth that it’s really a bubble, and if we raise rates, we’re gonna prick it, so they’re kinda in this bind.  And they are still telegraphing that they’re gonna raise rates three or four times this year.  And that is the problem.

It has been my contention for a very long time that the greatest financial bubble in human history would not be able to continue without artificial support from the Fed and other global central banks.

Once the Fed finally ended their artificial support for the markets late last year, I anticipated that there would be trouble, but stock prices continued to rise through the holiday season.

But now reality is setting in, and investors are rushing like mad for the exits.  I really like how Brandon Smith described the current state of affairs in his recent article…

After I predicted the election of Donald Trump, I also predicted that central banks would begin pulling the plug on life support for equities markets. This did in fact take place with the Fed’s continued program of interest rate increases and the reduction of their balance sheet, which effectively strangles the flow of cheap credit to banking and corporate institutions that fueled stock buybacks for years. Without this constant and ever expansionary easy fiat, there is nothing left to act as a crutch for stocks except perhaps blind faith. And blind faith in the economy always ends up being smacked down by the ugly realities of mathematics.

Without artificial support, gravity will try to pull stock valuations back to their long-term averages.  That would mean a decline for the Dow of at least 10,000 more points, but major financial institutions are so highly leveraged and Wall Street has become such a giant casino that our system literally cannot handle that sort of a decline.

The only way that the game can continue is for the Fed and other global central banks to intervene and prop up the absurd financial bubble that they originally created.

Absent that, this crisis is likely to go from bad to worse, and we may soon find ourselves facing a financial panic unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Just A Coincidence?: The Dow Goes From Being 567 Points Down To 567 Points Up At The Closing Bell

Seriously?  We were expecting that Tuesday would be an unusual day on Wall Street, and that was definitely the case.  At the low point, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 567 points, but at the closing bell it was up 567 points.  That is a swing of more than 1000 points, but what is more surprising is the exact symmetry of those numbers.  Is this just some sort of bizarre coincidence?

At the opening bell, stock prices collapsed and many were concerned that we were heading for another really bad day for investors.  According to CNBC, the Dow was down 567 points at the lowest point…

The Dow Jones industrial average opened with a big whoosh lower, then rallied all the way back. As of 3:41 p.m. ET, the Dow is 600 points higher and trading at a new session high. At its session low it was down by 567 points.

But then momentum shifted and the Dow soared.  By the end of the Day, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 567 points.  The following comes from CNN

The Dow plunged 567 points at the open on Tuesday and briefly sank into correction territory — a drop of 10% from its record high. But those losses quickly vanished, and the index ended the day up 567.

It was the Dow’s biggest point gain since August 2015 and the fourth-largest in history. The percentage gain of 2.3% is the biggest since January 2016.

It is not unusual to see market swings of this magnitude during times of high volatility.  Even during times of panic, at some point the sellers get exhausted and investors looking for buying opportunities come surging in.  On Tuesday, this shift in momentum came almost immediately after the opening

“I thought we were going to see the bottom within five minutes of when we opened. I think that’s basically what we’re seeing,” said Ed Keon, portfolio manager at QMA, the quantitative and dynamic asset allocation business of PGIM. “At these levels, stocks represent pretty good value and we’re adding to equity exposure.” Keon said it’s too early to call a bottom but he expects that the worse is over.

But just because the Dow was up more than 500 points today does not mean that the crisis is over.

It is important to remember that there are wild swings both ways during any market crisis.  For example, 9 of the 20 best days in stock market history were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008.  So if a new financial crisis is indeed brewing, we would certainly expect to see days when the Dow rises dramatically.

Markets tend to do well when things are calm, and they tend to go down when things get choppy.  So the fact that there was such volatility on Wall Street today is not a good sign.

Hopefully things will settle down, because the markets will not be able to handle too much more shaking.  There is so much leverage on Wall Street today, and as Carl Icahn recently told CNBC, one of these days all of this leverage is “going to blow up the market”…

Billionaire Carl Icahn told CNBC on Tuesday there are too many exotic, leveraged products for investors to trade, and one day these securities are going to blow up the market.

The market is a “casino on steroids” with all these exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes, he said.

These funds, especially the leveraged ones, are the “fault lines” that will eventually lead to an earthquake on Wall Street, he said. “These are just the beginnings of a rumbling.”

Wednesday will be a key day.  If the markets are nice and calm, that will be a really good sign.

But if we see tremendous movement in one direction or the other, that could indicate that more shaking is on the way.

In any event, the absurdly inflated stock prices of today are simply not sustainable.  Stock valuations always return to their long-term averages eventually, and that will be true in this case as well.

What goes up must come down, and we have certainly witnessed this with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies lately.  As far as stocks are concerned, the best that we can hope for in the long-term is a soft landing, but history tells us that is usually not how giant financial bubbles come to an end.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

-1,175 Points! We Just Witnessed The Largest One Day Stock Market Crash Ever

The mainstream media seems so surprised that the stock market is crashing, but the truth is that it isn’t a surprise at all.  In fact, this crash is way, way overdue.  If the Dow Jones industrial average fell another 10,000 points, stock prices would still be overvalued.  I have been warning and warning and warning that this would happen, because stock valuations always return to their long-term averages eventually.  On Monday, the Dow was down a staggering 1,175 points, which was the largest single day decline that we have ever seen by a very wide margin.  In fact, it shattered the old record by nearly 400 points.

Shortly after 3 PM, all hell broke loose on Wall Street.  The Dow dropped by more than 800 points in just 10 minutes.  At one point on Monday, the Dow was down nearly 1,600 points, but a brief rally cut those losses roughly in half.  However, the rally did not last long and stock prices collapsed hard as the market closed.  At this moment, the Dow is already down more than 2,200 points from the peak of the market, and we are not too far from officially entering “correction” territory.

Once stocks start falling, it can trigger a massive rush for the exits, and that is what happened on Monday.  In particular, investors started to panic once the Dow broke through the 50-day moving average

“As soon as we broke the 50-day moving average … we saw volatility spike,” said Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial. “It’s just been downhill from there.”

Other waves of selling were triggered once the 25,000 and 24,000 barriers on the Dow were breached.  In order to protect against losing too much money, many investors have stop losses set at psychologically-important levels.  The following comes from MarketWatch

Amplifying the slump was computer-programmed trade set to dump shares at certain levels. According to traders, the Dow DJIA, -4.60% was set to trigger trades once it fell below 25,000 and 24,000, for example, and 2,700 for the S&P 500.

Markets almost always go down faster than they go up, and once panic begins to spread on Wall Street it doesn’t take much to create a massive stampede.

In the end, this next financial crisis will be far worse than it should have been.  The Federal Reserve and other global central banks have endlessly manipulated the financial markets, and they created the biggest financial bubble in human history.

When an irrational financial bubble is growing, it can seem like things are wonderful.  But all such bubbles eventually burst, and the bursting of the bubble often does far more damage than the good that was accomplished by the manipulation of the markets.

So was there anything specific that caused the panic on Wall Street on Monday?

Yes, interest rates are rising, but as Bloomberg has noted, there wasn’t really anything noteworthy in the news that triggered the selling…

While Friday’s market rout came amid U.S. wage data on Friday that pointed to quickening inflation, which would lead to higher rates and, in turn, rising borrowing costs for companies, the selling Monday came amid few major data points.

“I think sentiment was a little too optimistic,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “What was driving the market up in January? It wasn’t the fundamentals, as good as they were, it was excessive confidence.”

Ultimately, time simply runs out on all irrational financial bubbles.  It is interesting to note that the Tulip price index began to crash on this exact date in 1637, and we may look back and point to February 5th as the key moment when the “financial crisis of 2018” started.

Once again, let us hope for some type of a bounce tomorrow.  Often stock prices do rebound quite a bit after an enormous decline, and many are hoping that stock prices will soar on Tuesday.

But so far the news after the market closed in New York has all been bad.  For example, CNBC is reporting that XIV has fallen more than 80 percent after hours…

An exchange-traded security which is supposed to be a bet on calm markets was collapsing after hours.

The VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term exchange-traded note (XIV) is down more than 80 percent in extended trading Monday. The security, issued by Credit Suisse, is supposed to give the opposite return of the Cboe Volatility index (VIX), the market’s widely followed turbulence gauge.

And as I write this article, it looks like markets all over Asia are going to be way down at the opening.

If stock prices keep collapsing, it could actually cause a major financial crisis.  So many financial institutions are deeply leveraged today, and many of them simply would not be able to handle a stock market decline of 30, 40 or 50 percent.

In particular, if things start to really unravel it will be important to pay special attention for any mention of “derivatives” in the financial news.  Once those dominoes start falling, we will see financial pain on a scale unlike anything that we have ever seen before in U.S. history.

Also, let us not forget that trouble signs continue to emerge for the “real economy”.  Just today, we learned that another major retail chain has filed for bankruptcy

Bon-Ton Stores, the corporate parent of several department store chains, tumbled into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the company seeks a fresh lease on life.

Bon-Ton, whose brands include Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman and Younkers, had been on a fast track toward bankruptcy court after it recently announced plans to close 47 of its 260 stores.

I cannot stress enough that what happened on Monday is not a surprise.  The only surprise is that it took this long to happen.

Stock valuations need to fall another 40 or 50 percent just to get back to their long-term averages, and whether that happens very rapidly or takes an extended period of time, the truth is that stock valuations will return to those long-term averages.

Unfortunately for us, the central banks have created a bubble of such enormity that it could potentially collapse the entire global financial system when it finally fully bursts.

Let us hope for calmer markets on Tuesday, but let us also be mindful that at some point we are going to pay an exceedingly great price for years and years of horribly foolish decisions.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

-666 Points: We Just Witnessed The 6th Largest Single Day Stock Market Decline In U.S. History

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 666 points (665.75 points to be precise), and many are pointing out that this was the 6th largest single day crash that we have ever seen.  This decline happened on the 33rd day of the year, and it was the worst day for the stock market by far since President Trump entered the White House.  I have been repeatedly warning that we are way overdue for a stock market crash, and many are concerned that we may be on the precipice of another great financial crisis.  We shall see what happens on Monday, because that will set the tone for the rest of the week.  If we see another huge decline early Monday morning, that could easily set off full-blown panic selling on Wall Street.

Rising interest rates appear to have been the trigger for the enormous market drop on Friday.  The following comes from the New York Post

“We all know that many bull markets have ended by the Federal Reserve as they raise the rates to the point of slowing the economy down perhaps too much,” Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told The Post.

“It’s come on quickly and it caught the market off guard,” Krosby said.

The Dow sell-off brought it below the 26,000 plateau — to 25,520.96 — the biggest points drop since Dec. 1, 2008.

It is quite rare for the market to drop this much in a single day.  The largest single daily decline was a 777 point drop in 2008, and overall the Dow has fallen by more than 600 points less than 10 times throughout history

The index posted a loss of nearly 666 points, its sixth-worst decline ever on a points basis.

The last time the index posted a drop of more than 600 points was June 24, 2016, the day after the Brexit vote.

The eight other times the Dow closed more than 600 points lower all took place in the last 18 years. Half occurred during the financial crisis in 2008.

My readers have heard me explain over and over that markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up.

Once a market landslide begins, the movement can be absolutely breathtaking.  But none of this should come as any sort of a surprise, because even the Washington Post admits that “speculation of a market pullback” has been seemingly everywhere in recent days…

The airwaves and online chatter have been flooded in recent weeks with speculation of a market pullback like the one that thundered in on Friday.

“It looks like the beginning of a market correction,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust, the wealth and investment advisory arm of M&T Bank. “It’s not something that is very surprising, given the low volatility that we saw in 2017.”

Right now we are in the terminal phase of a historic “double bubble” in both stocks and bonds.  Many times we will see one or the other get clobbered on a particular day, but Friday was a “bloodbath” for all asset classes…

Yesterday’s US equity market collapse and simultaneous bond market bloodbath was the biggest combined loss since December 2015, but perhaps more ominously, the week’s combined loss in bonds and stocks was the worst since Feb 2009.

So what will next week bring?

Hopefully things will settle down and we will see the markets start to bounce back.  After a huge decline, that is often what happens.

But it would be foolish to ignore the fear that appears to be growing on Wall Street.  At this point, even Bloomberg is openly wondering if this “is the start of something big?”…

Looking at the week’s drumbeat, you can’t help but wonder, is this the start of something big? Warnings about valuations have been pouring forth from bears for so long that barely anyone listens anymore. With the S&P 500 up almost 50 percent in less than two years, some see the end of the blissfully easy money that equities have spewed out for 13 straight months.

“It’s the turning point of volatility,” said Jeffrey Schulze, chief investment strategist at Clearbridge Investments, which manages $137 billion. “We were all very fortunate to go through a year like 2017. But there’s a number of different dynamics this year that will make volatility more part of the equation than it has been in quite some time.”

If the stock market does crash in 2018, it will not be a surprise.

The only surprise will be that it took this long to happen.

As I have stated over and over again, stock prices would need to fall by at least 40 or 50 percent just to get valuations back to their long-term averages, and stock prices always return to their long-term averages eventually.

Hopefully our day of reckoning has not arrived and this financial bubble can continue for a little while longer.

But if financial markets do begin to crash horribly this year, nobody will be able to say that they were not warned well ahead of time.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Panic Grips U.S. Financial Markets As The Dow Falls 362 Points – Worst Drop In More Than A Year

It isn’t going to be a surprise when U.S. stock prices fall 50, 60 or 70 percent from where they are today.  The only real surprise is that it took this long for it to happen.  Even after falling 362 points on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average is still ridiculously high.  In fact, the only two times in our entire history when stocks have been this overvalued were right before the stock market crash of 1929 and right before the dotcom bubble burst.  Not even before the financial crisis of 2008 were stock valuations as absurd as they are right now.

At one point on Tuesday, the Dow had declined by more than 400 points, and we have not seen this sort of panic in the stock market in a very long time.  In fact, we have to go all the way back to June 24, 2016 to find the last time that the Dow fell by at least this much.  The Dow has dropped by triple digits on back to back days for the first time since last April, and a lot of analysts are wondering what is coming next.

Of course most in the financial community have been waiting for some sort of a decline, because even mainstream analysts are openly admitting that what we have been witnessing is “not sustainable”

“We’ve had a unilateral move higher [in stocks] to start things off and people are realizing this is not sustainable,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. “You’re also seeing some cracks in the global story with interest rates rising.”

But where will things go from here?

Some believe that this is just a bump in the road and that the markets still have room to grow.  But others are warning that this “is not the time to take on more risk”

Howard Marks warned investors about investing more funds in the stock market at its current level.

“We are living in a low return world, characterized by significant uncertainty,” Marks said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” Tuesday. “This is not the time to take on more risk. Things have been going awful well for almost 10 years. That’s not the time to turn up the wick.”

And then there are the bears such as John Hussman that are warning that we are on the precipice of one of the worst stock market crashes in American history…

I expect the S&P 500 to lose approximately two-thirds of its value over the completion of this cycle. My impression is that future generations will look back on this moment and say “… and this is where they completely lost their minds.”

I agree with John Hussman’s assessment.  Stock prices would need to decline by at least 50 percent from current levels in order for stock valuations to get back to their long-term averages.

And even though it may take a while, stock prices always return to their long-term averages.

Nothing about the long-term outlook has changed.  I have been warning about a devastating stock market crash for a very long time, and I will continue to warn my readers about one.  Because whether it happens next week, next month or next year, the reality of the matter is that all throughout our history stocks have always crashed after stock valuations have soared to these kinds of irrational levels.

On a personal note, I want to apologize for not writing very much this month.  I just returned from a very long campaign trip, and our hard work on the campaign trail has prevented me from getting much work done.

The good news is that the campaign is going incredibly well.  We are far ahead of where we thought we would be at this point, and with less than four months to go the race is incredibly close.

On Sunday, the very first debate was held in Coeur d’Alene, and all of the candidates were there.  To say that the fireworks were flying would be a major understatement.  If you have not seen the debate yet, you can watch it on YouTube right here.

The overwhelming consensus was that we were the hands down winner of this six-way debate. Here are some of the comments that were made by people that were watching the debate online as it was happening…

-“Michael was leaps and bounds set apart from the herd of politicians on that panel”

-“Michael has been more knowledgeable, pro-active and touched more people with his conservative message than everyone else up there combined”

-“Michael outshines them all! It is not about the money! it is about the power of people and the deplorables are WIDE AWAKE these days and we want the the right leaders in Congress to support our President!!!!”

-“Michael Snyder was the hands down Winner!! Great Job!!”

-“Michael Snyder was full of fervor and he spoke from the spirit! He is not an established candidate, he’s a true statesman!”

There were dozens more like that, but I think that you get the point.  It was exceedingly difficult to get all of the candidates to agree to come to this event, because there were some that were afraid that this sort of thing might happen, and now it will be even harder to get all of them to come out for similar events in the future.

The bad news is that a couple of my opponents are better funded than we are, and we need to close that gap.  Thanks to a tremendous surge in interest in our campaign, we desperately need to print up more campaign materials.  If you would like to help us print up more signs, more brochures and more mailers, you can contribute online right here

https://www.michaelsnyderforcongress.com/contribute.html

May 15th is right around the corner, and if we all pull together we can win this race.  We need more people praying, more people volunteering, and more people donating.  This is our opportunity to take our government back, and if you believe in our positive conservative message, I truly hope that you will join our team.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

2017 Has Been The Best Year For The Stock Market EVER

We have never seen a better year for stocks in all of U.S. history.  Just five days after Donald Trump entered the White House, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the 20,000 mark for the first time ever.  On Monday, the Dow closed at 24,792.20, and there doesn’t seem to be any end to the rally in sight.  Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 5,000 points so far in 2017, and that absolutely shatters all of the old records.  Previously, the most that the Dow had risen in a single year was 3,472 points in 2013.

Yes, I know that it may seem odd for a website that continually chronicles our ongoing “economic collapse” to be talking about a boom in stock market prices.  But of course there has not been a corresponding economic boom to match the rise in stock prices.  This artificial stock market bubble has been created by unprecedented central bank intervention, and every previous stock market bubble in our history has ended with a horrible crash.

But for the moment, it is certainly appropriate to be in awe of what has transpired in the financial markets in 2017.  Never before have we seen the Dow close at a record high 70 times in a single year, and we still have almost two weeks to go.

Stocks have risen every single month in 2017, and that is the very first time that has ever happened as well.  No matter how much bad news has come out, stock prices have just kept climbing and climbing and climbing.

Since Donald Trump’s surprise election victory last November, the Dow is up a whopping 34 percent.

34 percent!

Wall Street has never seen better times than this.  Overall, U.S. stockholders have seen more than 5 trillion dollars in paper gains since Trump was elected, and this has created a real estate boom in some of the wealthier areas of the nation.

Of course markets go down a lot faster than they go up, and that 5 trillion dollars in paper gains could be wiped out very rapidly in the event of a major disaster, but for the moment investors are absolutely thrilled with what has been happening.

Of course there are red flags all over the place, but not too many people are even paying attention at this point. Right now the S&P 500 is the most overbought that it has been since 1958, and earlier today a CNBC article declared that U.S. stocks are “very, very overbought”, but this will probably just encourage people to buy even more.

These days, if stocks are up that is a signal to buy, and if stocks are down that is a signal to buy.

Of course we witnessed similar euphoria just before the dotcom bubble burst and just before the financial crisis of 2008, but most Americans have extremely short memories.

For most of us, those crashes might as well be ancient history.

But just like in each of those cases, market euphoria tends to hit a peak before things completely fall apart.  Bill Stone, the chief investment strategist for PNC Asset Management Group, recently made this point very succinctly

“It is going to get to a point where it can’t get any better anymore,” he said. “In the market it’s always brightest before it gets dark.”

Others are being even more blunt.  For example, trends forecaster Gerald Celente is convinced that “equity markets around the world are going to crash” in 2018…

“Yes.  Everyone knows that the markets are overvalued.  The Schiller PE ratios rival those of the pre-1929 stock market crash and the Dot-Com bubble…The Black Swan Event: When war breaks out in the Middle East, the equity markets around the world are going to crash.  The Black Swan that is going to create ‘Market Shock’ is going to be an outbreak of war in the Middle East.  And when that happens, you are going to see gold and silver skyrocket.  That’s our forecast for one of the top 10 trends of 2018.”

Personally, I never believed that the stock market bubble could ever be inflated to such absurd proportions, and so I am just in awe at what is taking place on Wall Street.

Since the last financial crisis our national debt has doubled, corporate debt has doubled, U.S. consumers are now 13 trillion dollars in debt, our economic infrastructure continues to be gutted, more than 40 million Americans are living in poverty and our financial institutions are being more reckless than at any other point in our entire history.

But for the moment, it is working.  We have been on the greatest debt binge in world history since the end of the last recession, and most people seem to believe that the debt-fueled standard of living that we are currently enjoying is somehow going to be sustainable.

Nothing about our long-term economic outlook has fundamentally changed.  Just because the authorities were able to extend this bubble for a little while longer does not mean that we are going to get to escape the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

We just keep on mortgaging the future, but the funny thing about the future is that eventually it shows up.

And when our day of reckoning finally does arrive, the pain that it is going to cause is going to be absolutely off the charts.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Dow Peaked At 14,000 Before The Last Stock Market Crash, And Now Dow 24,000 Is Here

The absurdity that we are witnessing in the financial markets is absolutely breathtaking.  Just recently, a good friend reminded me that the Dow peaked at just above 14,000 before the last stock market crash, and stock prices were definitely over-inflated at that time.  Subsequently the Dow crashed below 7,000 before rebounding, and now thanks to this week’s rally we on the threshold of Dow 24,000.  When you look at a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you would be tempted to think that we must be in the greatest economic boom in American history, but the truth is that our economy has only grown by an average of just 1.33 percent over the last 10 years.  Every crazy stock market bubble throughout our history has always ended badly, and this one will be no exception.

And even though the Dow showed a nice gain on Wednesday, the Nasdaq got absolutely hammered.  In fact, almost every major tech stock was down big.  The following comes from CNN

Meanwhile, big tech stocks — which have propelled the market higher all year — were tanking. The Nasdaq fell more than 1%, led by big drops in Google (GOOGL, Tech30) owner Alphabet, Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Netflix (NFLX, Tech30).

Momentum darlings Nvidia (NVDA, Tech30) and PayPal (PYPL, Tech30) and red hot gaming stocks Electronic Arts (EA, Tech30) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI, Tech30) plunged too. They have been some of the market’s top stocks throughout most of 2017.

Many believe that the markets are about to turn down in a major way.  What goes up must eventually come down, and at this point even Goldman Sachs is warning that a bear market is coming

“It has seldom been the case that equities, bonds and credit have been similarly expensive at the same time, only in the Roaring ’20s and the Golden ’50s,” Goldman Sachs International strategists including Christian Mueller-Glissman wrote in a note this week. “All good things must come to an end” and “there will be a bear market, eventually” they said.

As central banks cut back their quantitative easing, pushing up the premiums investors demand to hold longer-dated bonds, returns are “likely to be lower across assets” over the medium term, the analysts said. A second, less likely, scenario would involve “fast pain.” Stock and bond valuations would both get hit, with the mix depending on whether the trigger involved a negative growth shock, or a growth shock alongside an inflation pick-up.

Nobody believes that this crazy stock market party can go on forever.

These days, the real debate seems to be between those that are convinced that the markets will crash violently and those that believe that a “soft landing” can be achieved.

I would definitely be in favor of a “soft landing”, but those that have followed my work for an extended period of time know that I do not think that this will happen.  And with each passing day, more prominent voices in the financial world are coming to the same conclusion.  Here is one recent example

Vanguard’s chief economist Joe Davis said investors need to be prepared for a significant downturn in the stock market, which is now at a 70 percent chance of crashing.  That chance is significantly higher than it has been over the past 60 years.

The economist added, It’s unreasonable to expect rates of returns, which exceeded our own bullish forecast from 2010, to continue.”

A stock market crash has followed every major stock bubble in our history, and right at this moment we are in the terminal phase of one of the greatest stock market bubbles ever.  There are so many indicators that are screaming that we are in danger, and one of the favorite ones that I like to point to is margin debt.  The following commentary and chart were recently published by Wolf Richter

This chart shows margin debt (red line, left scale) and the S&P 500 (blue line, right scale), both adjusted for inflation to tune out the effects of the dwindling value of the dollar over the decades (chart by Advisor Perspectives):

Stock market leverage is the big accelerator on the way up. Leverage supplies liquidity that has been freshly created by the lender. This isn’t money moving from one asset to another. This is money that is being created to be plowed into stocks. And when stocks sink, leverage becomes the big accelerator on the way down.

Markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, and I have a feeling that when this market crashes it is going to happen very, very rapidly.

The only reason stock prices ever got this high in the first place was due to unprecedented intervention by global central banks.  They created trillions of dollars out of thin air and plowed those funds directly into the financial markets, and of course that was going to inflate asset prices.

But now global central banks are putting on the brakes simultaneously, and this has got to be one of the greatest sell signals that we have ever witnessed in modern financial history.

Even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says that she is concerned about causing “a boom-bust condition in the economy”, and yet she insists that the Fed is going to continue to gradually raise rates anyway

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is concerned with growth get out of hand and thus is committed to continuing to raise rates in a gradual manner.

“We don’t want to cause a boom-bust condition in the economy,” Yellen told Congress in her semiannual testimony Wednesday.

While Yellen did not specifically commit to a December rate hike, her comments indicated that her views have not changed with her desire for the central bank to continue normalizing policy after years of historically high accommodation.

I never thought that this stock market bubble would get this large.  We are way, way overdue for a financial correction, but right now we are in a party that never seems to end.

But end it will, and when that happens the pain that will be experienced on Wall Street will be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Is It Just A Coincidence That The Dow Has Hit 20,000 At The Same Time The National Debt Is Reaching $20 Trillion?

Dow Fueled By DebtThe Dow Jones Industrial Average provides us with some pretty strong evidence that our “stock market boom” has been fueled by debt.  On Wednesday, the Dow crossed the 20,000 mark for the first time ever, and this comes at a time when the U.S. national debt is right on the verge of hitting 20 trillion dollars.  Is this just a coincidence?  As you will see, there has been a very close correlation between the national debt and the Dow Jones Industrial Average for a very long time.

For example, when Ronald Reagan took office in 1991, the U.S. national debt had just hit 994 billion dollars and the Dow was sitting at 951.  And as you can see from this chart by Matterhorn.gold via David Stockman, roughly that same ratio has held true throughout subsequent presidential administrations…

Dow Fueled By Debt

During the Clinton years the Dow raced out ahead of the national debt, but an “adjustment” during the Bush years brought things back into line.

The cold hard truth is that we have been living way above our means for decades.  Our “prosperity” has been fueled by the greatest debt binge in the history of the world, and we are greatly fooling ourselves if we think otherwise.

We would never have gotten to 20,000 on the Dow if Barack Obama and Congress had not gotten us into an extra 9.3 trillion dollars of debt over the past eight years.

Unfortunately, most people do not understand this, and the mainstream media is treating “Dow 20,000” as if it is some sort of great historical achievement

The average began tracking the most powerful corporate stocks in 1896, and has served as a broad measure of the market’s health through 22 presidents, 22 recessions, a Great Depression, at least two crashes and innumerable rallies, corrections, bull and bear markets. The blue chip reading finally cracked the 20,000 benchmark for the first time early Wednesday.

During the current bull market, the second longest in history, the Dow has more than tripled since March 2009.

Since Donald Trump’s surprise election victory, the Dow has now climbed by approximately 2150 points.

And it took just 64 calendar days for the Dow to go from 19,000 to 20,000.  That is an astounding pace, and financial markets around the rest of the planet are doing very well right now too.  In fact, global stocks rose to a 19 month high on Wednesday.

So where do we go from here?

Well, if Donald Trump wants to see Dow 30,000 during his presidency, then history tells us that he needs to take us to 30 trillion dollars in debt.

Of course that would be absolute insanity even if it was somehow possible.  Each additional dollar of debt destroys the future of our country just a little bit more, and at some point this colossal bubble is going to burst.

But you can’t tell most of the “financial experts” these things.  Most of them simply believe that the “market always goes higher over time”

The “market always goes higher over time,” Todd Morgan, chairman of Bel Air Investment Advisors. “The lesson here is that through wars, recessions, elections, impeachments, financial crises, and on and on, investing for the long term in high-quality stocks is the key to building wealth. … We are telling our clients that you can’t time the market. Think long term. Stay the course. We expect the market to see Dow 30,000 in my lifetime, and for my grandchildren to see Dow 50,000 in their lifetime.”

My hope is that the market will continue to go up.  But nobody can deny that valuations are already at absurdly high levels, and the only way that this party can keep going is to continue to fuel it with more and more debt.

But for the moment, there is a tremendous amount of optimism out there, and most experts expect the Dow to continue to set new highs.  In fact, CNBC says that whenever the Dow crosses a new threshold like this it usually means good things for investors…

CNBC looked at market data from the past 30 years and zeroed in on the times when the Dow has crossed levels like 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 … all the way up to the 19,000 level it hit in November. At those times, investors can typically expect traders to push it up even higher, according to data from Kensho. Not only does the Dow go up, but it outperforms the S&P 500 index along the way.

But as USA Today has explained, not all Americans are benefiting from this stock market rally…

The breakthrough came just four trading days into Trump’s presidency, a whirlwind in which the billionaire has reaffirmed his commitment to strengthen the U.S. economy and create more jobs and higher wages for workers. Still, nearly half of Americans have not benefited from the so-called “Trump Rally,” which has generated more than $2.2 trillion in paper gains for the Wilshire 5000 Total Stock Index since Election Day. The reason: only 52% of Americans polled by Gallup last April said they “have money invested in stocks” — the lowest stock ownership rate in the 19 years Gallup has tracked the data and down sharply from 65% in 2007 before the financial crisis.

Hopefully the good times will continue to roll for as long as possible.

But there is no possible way that they can keep going indefinitely.

For decades, our debt has been growing much faster than our GDP has.  By definition, this is an unsustainable situation.  At some point we will have accumulated so much debt that our financial system will no longer be able to hold up under the strain.

Many were convinced that we would reach that point before the U.S. national debt hit 20 trillion dollars, and yet here we are.

So how much higher can we go before the bubble bursts?

That is a very good question, and I don’t know if anyone has the right answer.

But for President Trump, this is going to present him with quite a dilemma.

Either he can keep the debt party going for as long as possible, or he can try to get us to take some tough financial medicine right now.

If an attempt is made to deal with our debt problems now, we will experience severe economic pain almost immediately.

But if the can keeps being kicked down the road, our long-term prognosis is just going to keep getting worse and worse.

And if we try to delay the inevitable indefinitely, at some point the laws of economics are going to make our hard choices for us.

So let us celebrate “Dow 20,000”, but let us also understand that it is far more likely that we will see “Dow 10,000” again before we ever see “Dow 30,000”.

2015 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since 2008

New Year's Eve - Public DomainIt’s official – 2015 was a horrible year for stocks.  On the last day of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 178 points, and overall it was the worst year for the Dow since 2008.  But of course the Dow was far from alone.  The S&P 500, the Russell 2000 and Dow Transports also all had their worst years since 2008.  Isn’t it funny how these things seem to happen every seven years?  But compared to other investments, stocks had a relatively “good” year.  In 2015, junk bonds, oil and industrial commodities all crashed hard – just like they all did just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008.  According to CNN, almost 70 percent of all investors lost money in 2015, and things are unfolding in textbook fashion for much more financial chaos in 2016.

Globally, over the past 12 months we have seen financial shaking unlike anything that we have experienced since the last great financial crisis.  During the month of August markets all over the world started to go haywire, and at one point approximately 11 trillion dollars of financial wealth had been wiped out globally according to author Jonathan Cahn.

Since that time, U.S. stocks rebounded quite a bit, but they still ended red for the year.  Other global markets were not nearly as fortunate.  Some major indexes finished 2015 down 20 percent or more, and European stocks just had their second worst December ever.

I honestly don’t understand the “nothing is happening” crowd.  The numbers clearly tell us that a global financial crisis began in 2015, and it threatens to accelerate greatly as we head into 2016.

Actually, there are a whole lot of people out there that would be truly thankful if “nothing” had happened over the past 12 months.  For example, there are five very unfortunate corporate CEOs that collectively lost 20 billion dollars in 2015…

Five CEOs of companies in the Russell 1000 index, including Nicholas Woodman of camera maker GoPro (GPRO), Sheldon Adelson of casino operator Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and even the famed investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), lost more money on their companies’ shares than any other CEOs this year, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

These five CEOs were handed a whopping collective $20 billion loss on their company stock in 2015. Each and every one of these CEOs lost $1 billion or more – based on the average number of shares they’ve owned this year.

The biggest loser of the group was Warren Buffett.

He lost an astounding 7.8 billion dollars in 2015.

Do you think that he believes that “nothing happened” this past year?

And if “nothing happened”, then why are hedge funds “dropping like flies” right now?  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Two days, ago we noted that hedge funds are now dropping like flies in a year in which generating alpha has become virtually impossible for the majority of the vastly overpaid 2 and 20 “smart money” out there (and where levered beta is no longer the “sure thing” it used to be when the Fed was pumping trillions into stocks) when we reported that Seneca Capital, the $500 million multi-strat hedge fund belonging to Doug Hirsh (of Sohn Investment Conference fame), is shutting down.

And just within the last 24 hours, another very prominent hedge fund has collapsed.  SAB Capital, which once managed more than a billion dollars, is shutting down after huge losses this year.  Here is more from Zero Hedge

It turns out that despite our intention, the question was not rhetorical because just a few hours later Bloomberg answered when it reported that the latest hedge fund shutdown casualty was another iconic, long-term investor: Scott Bommer’s SAB Capital, which as of a year ago managed $1.1 billion, and which after 17 years of managing money and after dropping roughly 11% in the first eight month of 2015, has decided to return all outside client money, and converting the hedge fund into a family office (after all one has to preserve one’s offshore tax benefits).

Overall, 674 hedge funds shut down during the first nine months of this year, and the final number for 2015 will actually be far higher because the rate of closings has accelerated as we have approached the end of this calendar year.  When the final numbers come in, I would not be surprised to hear that 1,000 hedge funds had closed up shop in 2015.

Meanwhile, underlying economic conditions continue to deteriorate.

Corporate profits are steadily falling, the bond distress ratio just hit the highest level that we have seen since September 2009, and corporate debt defaults have risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

And this week we got a couple of new numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is slowing down much faster than anticipated.

The first big surprise was the Dallas Fed’s general business activity index

The Dallas Fed’s general business activity index plunged to -20.1 in December from -4.9 in November. This was much worse than the -7.0 expected by economists.

Any reading below 0 signals contraction, and this index has been below 0 all year.

The next big surprise was the Chicago purchasing manager index

The Chicago purchasing manager index unexpectedly plunged to 42.9 in December, its lowest reading since July 2009.

Any reading below 50 signals a contraction in business activity.

This was down from 48.7 in November and much worse than the 50.0 expected by economists.

When the final numbers for the fourth quarter are in a few months from now, I believe that they will show that the U.S. economy officially entered recession territory at this time.

And the truth is that deep recessions have already started for some of the other biggest economies on the planet.  For example, I recently wrote about the deep troubles that Canada is now experiencing, and things have already gotten so bad in Brazil that Goldman Sachs is referring to that crisis as “an outright depression“.

Many people seem to assume that since I have a website called “The Economic Collapse Blog” that I must want everything to fall apart.  But that is not true at all.  I love my country, I enjoy my life, and I would be perfectly content to spend 2016 peacefully passing the time here in the mountains with my wonderful wife.  The longer things can stay somewhat “normal”, the better it is for all of us.

Unfortunately, for decades we have been making incredibly foolish decisions as a society, and the consequences of those decisions are now catching up with us in a major way.

Jonathan Cahn likes to say that “a great shaking is coming”, and I very much agree with him.

In fact, I think that it is going to be here a lot sooner than most people think.

So buckle up, because I believe that 2016 is going to be quite a wild ride.

The Stock Markets Of The 10 Largest Global Economies Are All Crashing

Globe InterconnectednessYou would think that the simultaneous crashing of all of the largest stock markets around the world would be very big news.  But so far the mainstream media in the United States is treating it like it isn’t really a big deal.  Over the last sixty days, we have witnessed the most significant global stock market decline since the fall of 2008, and yet most people still seem to think that this is just a temporary “bump in the road” and that the bull market will soon resume.  Hopefully they are right.  When the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 777 points on September 29th, 2008 everyone freaked out and rightly so.  But a stock market crash doesn’t have to be limited to a single day.  Since the peak of the market earlier this year, the Dow is down almost three times as much as that 777 point crash back in 2008.  Over the last sixty days, we have seen the 8th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history on a point basis and the 10th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history on a point basis.  You would think that this would be enough to wake people up, but most Americans still don’t seem very alarmed.  And of course what has happened to U.S. stocks so far is quite mild compared to what has been going on in the rest of the world.

Right now, stock market wealth is being wiped out all over the planet, and none of the largest global economies have been exempt from this.  The following is a summary of what we have seen in recent days…

#1 The United States – The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 2000 points since the peak of the market.  Last month we saw stocks decline by more than 500 points on consecutive trading days for the first time ever, and there has not been this much turmoil in U.S. markets since the fall of 2008.

#2 China – The Shanghai Composite Index has plummeted nearly 40 percent since hitting a peak earlier this year.  The Chinese economy is steadily slowing down, and we just learned that China’s manufacturing index has hit a 78 month low.

#3 Japan – The Nikkei has experienced extremely violent moves recently, and it is now down more than 3000 points from the peak that was hit earlier in 2015.  The Japanese economy and the Japanese financial system are both basket cases at this point, and it isn’t going to take much to push Japan into a full-blown financial collapse.

#4 Germany – Almost one-fourth of the value of German stocks has already been wiped out, and this crash threatens to get much worse.  The Volkswagen emissions scandal is making headlines all over the globe, and don’t forget to watch for massive trouble at Germany’s biggest bank.

#5 The United Kingdom – British stocks are down about 16 percent from the peak of the market, and the UK economy is definitely on shaky ground.

#6 France – French stocks have declined nearly 18 percent, and it has become exceedingly apparent that France is on the exact same path that Greece has already gone down.

#7 Brazil – Brazil is the epicenter of the South American financial crisis of 2015.  Stocks in Brazil have plunged more than 12,000 points since the peak, and the nation has already officially entered a new recession.

#8 Italy – Watch Italy.  Italian stocks are already down 15 percent, and look for the Italian economy to make very big headlines in the months ahead.

#9 India – Stocks in India have now dropped close to 4000 points, and analysts are deeply concerned about this major exporting nation as global trade continues to contract.

#10 Russia – Even though the price of oil has crashed, Russia is actually doing better than almost everyone else on this list.  Russian stocks have fallen by about 10 percent so far, and if the price of oil stays this low the Russian financial system will continue to suffer.

What we are witnessing now is the continuation of a cycle of financial downturns that has happened every seven years.  The following is a summary of how this cycle has played out over the past 50 years

  • It started in 1966 with a 20 percent stock market crash.
  • Seven years later, the market lost another 45 percent (1973-74).
  • Seven years later was the beginning of the “hard recession” (1980).
  • Seven years later was the Black Monday crash of 1987.
  • Seven years later was the bond market crash of 1994.
  • Seven years later was 9/11 and the 2001 tech bubble collapse.
  • Seven years later was the 2008 global financial collapse.
  • 2015: What’s next?

A lot of people were expecting something “big” to happen on September 14th and were disappointed when nothing happened.

But the truth is that it has never been about looking at any one particular day.  Over the past sixty days we have seen absolutely extraordinary things happen all over the planet, and yet some people are not even paying attention because they did not meet their preconceived notions of how events should play out.

And this is just the beginning.  We haven’t even gotten to the great derivatives crisis that is coming yet.  All of these things are going to take time to fully unfold.

A lot of people that write about “economic collapse” talk about it like it will be some type of “event” that will happen on a day or a week and then we will recover.

Well, that is not what it is going to be like.

You need to be ready to endure a very, very long crisis.  The suffering that is coming to this nation is beyond what most of us could even imagine.

Even now we are seeing early signs of it.  For instance, the mayor of Los Angeles says that the growth of homelessness in his city has gotten so bad that it is now “an emergency”

On Tuesday, Los Angeles officials announced the city’s homelessness problem has become an emergency, and proposed allotting $100 million to help shelter the city’s massive and growing indigent population.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti also issued a directive on Monday evening for the city to free up $13 million to help house the estimated 26,000 people who are living on the city’s streets.

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the number of encampments and people living in vehicles has increased by 85% over the last two years alone.

And in recent years we have seen poverty absolutely explode all over the nation.  The “bread lines” of the Great Depression have been replaced with EBT cards, and there is a possibility that a government shutdown in October could “suspend or delay food stamp payments”

A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid.

The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that it will stop providing benefits at the beginning of October if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open.

“If Congress does not act to avert a lapse in appropriations, then USDA will not have the funding necessary for SNAP benefits in October and will be forced to stop providing benefits within the first several days of October,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for USDA. “Once that occurs, families won’t be able to use these benefits at grocery stores to buy the food their families need.”

In the U.S. alone, there are tens of millions of people that could not survive without the help of the federal government, and more people are falling out of the middle class every single day.

Our economy is already falling apart all around us, and now another great financial crisis has begun.

When will the “nothing is happening” crowd finally wake up?

Hopefully it will be before they are sitting out on the street begging for spare change to feed their family.

Finca Bayano

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