If Jim Rogers is right, the worst stock market crash that any of us has ever seen is right around the corner. For the past 15 years, Rogers has been a frequent guest analyst on CNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, and he is immensely respected for the depth of knowledge and experience that he brings to the table. So the fact that he is warning that we are about to see the worst stock market crash in any of our lifetimes is making a lot of waves in the financial community. And of course Rogers is far from alone. Previously, I have written about several other prominent experts that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent, and I have also discussed how a number of big investors are quietly positioning themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the markets crash. Could it be possible that all of these incredibly sharp minds could be wrong? Yes, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
I was actually quite stunned when I first learned what Jim Rogers had told Henry Blodget of Business Insider during a recent interview. Rogers has built up a tremendous amount of credibility, but now he is putting that credibility on the line by warning that a great stock market crash will happen by the end of next year. Here is the key portion of the interview …
Blodget: Well, yeah, TV ratings do seem to go up during crashes, but then they completely disappear when everyone is obliterated, so no one is hoping for that. So when is this going to happen?
Rogers: Later this year or next.
Blodget: Later this year or next?
Rogers: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Write it down.
There is no backing out of a statement like that.
If Rogers is wrong, he will never hear the end of it.
Subsequently, Blodget and Rogers also discussed how severe the coming crisis would be…
Blodget: And how big a crash could we be looking at?
Rogers: It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.
Blodget: I’ve had some pretty big ones in my lifetime.
Rogers: It’s going to be the biggest in my lifetime, and I’m older than you. No, it’s going to be serious stuff.
So that means that Rogers is convinced that the coming crisis is going to be even worse than what we went through in 2008.
Of course this is something that I have been warning about for quite a while, but for Jim Rogers to make a statement like this is a really, really big deal.
Later in the interview, Rogers shared more details about what he believes the coming crisis will look like…
You’re going to see governments fail. You’re going to see countries fail, this time around. Iceland failed last time. Other countries fail. You’re going to see more of that.
You’re going to see parties disappear. You’re going to see institutions that have been around for a long time — Lehman Brothers had been around over 150 years. Gone. Not even a memory for most people. You’re going to see a lot more of that next around, whether it’s museums or hospitals or universities or financial firms.
That definitely sounds like an “economic collapse” to me. Of course the truth is that the U.S. economy is already in the midst of a slow-motion economic collapse that stretches back for decades, but this coming crisis that Rogers is talking about is going to great accelerate matters.
Let us hope that it is put off for as long as possible, but at some point we are simply going to run out of time.
And when markets do start falling, they can move very, very rapidly. Just look at what happened on Friday. Technology sector stocks were down 2.7 percent, and the FAANG stocks were some of the biggest movers…
Facebook fell $5.11, or 3.3%, to $149.60.
Apple fell $6.01, or 3.9%, to $148.90.
Amazon fell $31.96, or 3.2%, to $978.31 now demoted from the elect group for 4-digit stocks back to the large group of 3-digit stocks.
Netflix plunged $7.85, or 4.7%, to $158.20.
Alphabet – the G in FAANG – fell $33.58, or 3.4%, to $952.23, moving further away from everyone’s dream of closing at $1,000.
If we are indeed moving toward a new crisis, one of the things that we will want to watch for is an inverting of the yield curve.
We saw this happen in 2000 and in 2006, and on both occasions it foreshadowed that a huge stock market crash was coming in the not too distant future.
Unfortunately, CNBC says that a new inversion of the yield curve could happen “by the end of this year”…
The bounce in Treasury yields witnessed after the election of Donald Trump is now decaying in the D.C. swamp. If the Federal Reserve continues to ignore this slow growth and deflationary signal from the bond market and continues along its current rate hiking path, the yield curve will invert by the end of this year and an equity market plunge and a recession is sure to follow.
An inverted yield curve, which has correctly predicted the last seven recessions going back to the late 1960’s, occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than longer-term rates. Why is an inverted yield curve so crucial in determining the direction of markets and the economy? Because when bank assets (longer-duration loans) generate less income than bank liabilities (short-term deposits), the incentive to make new loans dries up along with the money supply. And when asset bubbles are starved of that monetary fuel they burst. The severity of the recession depends on the intensity of the asset bubbles in existence prior to the inversion.
Another key indicator is the growth of commercial and industrial loans. According to Zero Hedge, this indicator has correctly foreshadowed every single recession since 1960…
While many “conventional” indicators of US economic vibrancy and strength have lost their informational and predictive value over the past decade (GDP fluctuates erratically especially in Q1, employment is the lowest this century yet real wage growth is non-existent, inflation remains under the Fed’s target despite its $4.5 trillion balance sheet and so on), one indicator has remained a stubbornly fail-safe marker of economic contraction: since the 1960, every time Commercial & Industrial loan balances have declined (or simply stopped growing), whether due to tighter loan supply or declining demand, a recession was already either in progress or would start soon.
So considering the fact that this indicator has been so accurate, it is extremely alarming that we could see our “first negative loan growth” since the last financial crisis “in roughly 4 to 6 weeks”…
After growing at a 7% Y/Y pace at the start of the year, which declined to 3% at the end of March and 2.6% at the end of April, the latest bank loan update from the Fed showed that the annual rate of increase in C&A loans is now down to just 1.6%, – the lowest since 2011 – after slowing to 2.3% and 1.8% in the previous two weeks.
Should the current rate of loan growth deceleration persist – and there is nothing to suggest otherwise – the US will post its first negative loan growth, or rather loan contraction since the financial crisis, in roughly 4 to 6 weeks.
And when you throw in all of the other signs that the U.S. economy is slowing down, a very clear picture begins to emerge.
It has been said that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. As a society, we certainly didn’t learn much from the horrible financial disaster of 2008, and now so many of the exact same patterns are repeating once again.
An unprecedented financial crisis is most definitely heading our way, and the only thing left to be answered is how soon it will get here.
I keep hearing from people that think that the stock market is going to crash by the end of the year. Hopefully that will not happen, but the ridiculous stock prices that we are seeing right now certainly cannot last forever. On Sunday, I was chatting with a friend that had just been to a financial conference. He was quite surprised that one of the things being taught to the attendees of this conference was how to position themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the stock market crashes dramatically in the near future. Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up, and so when the inevitable market crash does take place those that have made large bets against the market will make huge fortunes. It happened in 2008, and it will happen again. But it was unsettling to my friend Robert that there were so many people that were gleefully looking forward to this.
Of course some of the biggest names in the investing world are also anticipating a major downturn very soon. I have previously written about how Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is sitting on a pile of 86 billion dollars in cash right now. Nobody ever knows exactly what Buffett is thinking, but it isn’t too hard to figure out that he plans to use those billions to buy up stocks for a song after a big market crash happens.
I have also previously written about many other big names throughout the financial world that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent. The last time I saw so many prominent investors sounding the alarm was just before the market crash of 2008, but most people didn’t listen that time around either.
And of course those that believe that a market crash is coming are doing a lot more than just talking about it. According to Zero Hedge, there are now more short positions betting against the Russell 2000 than we have seen at any time in the last six years…
The Russell 2000 Index posted a 2.2% decline in May, its worst month since October, and it appears a large swath of investors is now betting it has further to fall.
As Bloomberg notes, hedge funds and other major speculators have a combined net short position of 73,030 contracts in the small-cap index’s futures, according to the latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Russell 2000 sentiment has sharply declined since January, when future contract positioning reached record bullishness. It’s now the most short since May 2011.
The last time investors were this short the Russell 2000, it fell by almost 30 percent.
Can we expect something similar this time?
We will just have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, there has also been a surge in the number of investors betting that we will soon see increased market volatility…
As Bloomberg notes, with the VIX down more than 30% this year through the end of last week, investors have been using options to bet on volatility.
As the chart above shows, the volume of contracts wagering on a resurgence of market turmoil has reached its highest level since last February relative to those calling for a drop in price movements.
Because markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, most of those that bet on increased volatility are typically doing so because they believe that a stock market crash is coming very soon.
And it is also interesting to note that hedge funds are jumping into gold at a rate that we have not seen since 2007…
Hedge funds are jumping back into gold.
Money managers boosted their long positions in U.S. futures by the most in almost a decade in the week ended May 23, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.
Gold is a safe haven asset, and it is a very good place to be during a major financial crisis. So if hedge funds are anticipating that we are on the verge of a major market downturn, it would make sense for them to be piling into gold.
All of the moves that I have discussed above will end up looking quite foolish if stocks just keep going up and up and up.
But if the market crashes, those that have positioned themselves ahead of time will end up making a killing.
Today the stock market bears absolutely no resemblance to economic reality, but at some point that will change. And with each passing day we just continue to get more bad economic news.
Yesterday, I showed that according to official U.S. government figures there are 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now. Today, we got more confirmation that the U.S. economy is slowing down. We learned that new vehicle sales fell on a year-over-year basis for the fifth month in a row in May, and we learned that factory orders and new orders for durable goods both declined last month. And for a lot more numbers just like those, please see this article.
The U.S. economy is not “healthy” and it hasn’t been for a very long time. Because we have shipped so many jobs overseas, manufacturing’s share of U.S. employment has fallen to an all-time record low. The middle class is shrinking, and somewhere around two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck. We have been able to maintain our national standard of living by going on the greatest debt binge of all time, but every additional dollar of debt that we take on makes our long-term outlook even worse.
Just because he is living in the White House does not mean that Donald Trump can automatically turn things around. Without the help of Congress, he cannot cut taxes, repeal Obamacare, eliminate unnecessary federal agencies or implement many of the other items on his economic agenda.
And the truth is that because of the way that our system is structured, the Federal Reserve actually has much, much more power over the economy than Donald Trump does. When the financial markets crash and we officially enter the next recession, most of the blame will be placed on Trump, but it won’t be his fault. Instead, it will be primarily the Federal Reserve’s fault, and we need to educate the American people about this ahead of time.
What goes up must come down, and this irrational stock bubble has been living on borrowed time for quite a while now.
It isn’t going to take much to push things over the edge, and there are all sorts of candidates for what the next “trigger event” will be.
Will the financial bubble that has been rapidly growing ever since Donald Trump won the election suddenly be popped once he takes office? Could it be possible that we are being set up for a horrible financial crash that he will ultimately be blamed for? Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on the incredible euphoria that we have seen since Donald Trump’s surprise victory on November 8th. The U.S. dollar has been surging, companies are announcing that they are bringing jobs back to the U.S., and we are witnessing perhaps the greatest post-election stock market rally in Wall Street history. In fact, the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 all set new all-time record highs again on Thursday. What we are seeing is absolutely unprecedented, and many believe that the good times will continue to roll as we head into 2017.
What has been most surprising to me is how well the stocks of the big Wall Street banks have been doing. It is no secret that those banks poured a tremendous amount of money into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and Donald Trump had some tough things to say about them leading up to election day.
So you wouldn’t think that it would be particularly good news for those banks that Trump won the election. However, we seem to be living in “Bizarro World” at the moment, and in so many ways things are happening exactly the opposite of what we would expect. Since Trump’s victory, all of the big banking stocks have been skyrocketing…
Financial stocks in particular have been on fire. Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are up about 20% since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton — and that makes them laggards!
Morgan Stanley (MS) has gained more than 25%. So has troubled Wells Fargo (WFC), despite the lingering fallout from its fake account scandal. Bank of America (BAC) is up more than 30%.
And so is Goldman Sachs (GS) — the former employer of both Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin and Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon.
But are these stock prices justified by the fundamentals?
Of course not, but during times of euphoria the fundamentals never seem to matter much. Stocks were incredibly overvalued before the election, and now they are ridiculously overvalued.
Earlier today, a CNBC article pointed out that the cyclically-adjusted price to earnings ratio has only been higher than it is today at three points in our history…
“The cyclically adjusted P/E (CAPE), a valuation measure created by economist Robert Shiller now stands over 27 and has been exceeded only in the 1929 mania, the 2000 tech mania and the 2007 housing and stock bubble,” Alan Newman wrote in his Stock Market Crosscurrents letter at the end of November.
Newman said even if the market’s earnings increase by 10 percent under Trump’s policies “we’re still dealing with the same picture, overvaluation on a very grand scale.”
And of course a historic stock market crash immediately followed each of those three bubbles.
So are we being set up for a huge crash in early 2017?
There are some out there that believe that this is purposely being orchestrated. For example, Mike Adams of Natural News believes that the markets “will be deliberately and destructively imploded under President Trump”…
Right now, the U.S. stock market is surging, with the Dow leaping toward 20,000, a number rooted in fiscal insanity and delusional expectations. There are no fundamentals that support a 20,000 Dow, but fundamentals have long since ceased to matter in a financial world hyperventilating on debt fumes while hallucinating about utopian economic models that will soon prove to generate fools instead of real wealth.
Today I’m going on the record with a prediction that I’ll offer with near absolute certainty: The rigged markets that now seem to defy gravity will be deliberately and destructively imploded under President Trump for all the obvious reasons. There will be financial chaos like we’ve never seen before: Investors leaping off tall buildings, banks declaring extended “holidays” that freeze transactions, and California pensioners slitting their wrists after they discover their promised pension funds were just vaporized by incompetent bureaucrats.
On the other hand, there are others that believe that Trump is just walking into a very bad situation and that a crash would be inevitable no matter who was president.
History tells us that there is no possible way that stock prices can stay at this irrational level indefinitely. But for now a wave of optimism is sweeping the nation, and many of those that are caught up in it will get seriously angry with you if you try to inject a dose of reality into the conversation.
But like I said yesterday, let’s hope that the optimists are correct. A survey that was just taken of 600 business executives found that 62 percent of them were optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next 12 months.
Incredibly, that number was sitting at just 38 percent the previous quarter.
For the moment, business leaders seem to be quite thrilled that we have a business executive in the White House.
Hopefully Donald Trump’s business experience will translate well to his new position. And it is certainly my hope that he is as successful as possible.
But even during the campaign Trump talked about how stocks were in a giant bubble, and the euphoria that we have seen since his election victory has just made that bubble even larger.
Throughout U.S. history, every giant financial bubble has always ended very badly, and this time around will not be any exception.
Trump may get the blame for it when it bursts, but the truth is that the conditions for the coming crisis have been building for a very, very long time.
On Tuesday junk bonds continued to crash, the price of oil briefly dipped below 28 dollars a barrel, Deutsche Bank was forced to deny that it is on the verge of collapse, but the biggest news was what happened in Japan. The Nikkei was down a staggering 918 points, but that stock crash made very few headlines in the western world. If the Dow had crashed 918 points today, that would have been the largest single day point crash in all of U.S. history. So what just happened in Japan is a really big deal. The Nikkei is now down 23.1 percent from the peak of the market, and that places it solidly in bear market territory. Overall, a total of 16.5 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out since the middle of 2015. As I stated yesterday, this is what a global financial crisis looks like.
Just as we saw during the last financial crisis, the big banks are playing a starring role, and this is definitely true in Japan. Right now, Japanese banking stocks are absolutely imploding, and this is what drove much of the panic last night. The following numbers come from Wolf Richter…
- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group plunged 8.7%, down 47% from June 2015.
- Mizuho Financial Group plunged 6.2%, down 38% since June 2015.
- Sumitomo Mitsui plunged 6.2%, down 26% since May 2015
- Nomura plunged a juicy 9.1%, down 42% since June 2015
A lot of analysts have been very focused on the downturn in China in recent months, but I think that it is much more important to watch Japan right now.
I have become fully convinced that the Japanese financial system is going to play a central role in the initial stages of this new global financial meltdown, and so I encourage everyone to keep a close eye on the Nikkei every single night.
Meanwhile, the stock price of German banking giant Deutsche Bank crashed to a record low on Tuesday. If you will recall, Deutsche Bank reported a loss of 7.6 billion dollars in 2015, and I wrote quite a bit about their ongoing problems yesterday.
Things have gotten so bad that now Deutsche Bank has been forced to come out and publicly deny that they are in trouble…
Deutsche Bank co-CEO John Cryan moved to quell fears about the bank’s stability Tuesday with a surprise memo saying its balance sheet “remains absolutely rock-solid.”
The comments come as investors grow increasingly nervous about the health of European banks, which have taken a hit on the fall in energy prices and which face rising concerns over their cash levels.
Of course Lehman Brothers issued the same kind of denials just before they collapsed in 2008. Cryan’s comments did little to calm the markets, and even Jim Cramer saw right through them…
“You know, Deutsche Bank puts out a note saying, ‘listen, don’t worry, all good.’ Reminds me of JPMorgan saying if you have to say that you’re creditworthy then it’s already too late.”
Another thing that Lehman Brothers did just before they collapsed in 2008 was to lay off workers. We have seen a number of major banks do this lately, including Deutsche Bank…
Cryan, 55, has been seeking to boost capital buffers and profitability by cutting costs and eliminating thousands of jobs as volatile markets undermine revenue and outstanding regulatory probes raise the specter of fresh capital measures to help cover continued legal charges. The cost of protecting Deutsche Bank’s debt against default has more than doubled this year, while the shares have dropped about 42 percent.
The following chart comes from Zero Hedge. Nobody on the Internet does a better job with charts than Zero Hedge does. I would recommend visiting them right after you visit The Economic Collapse Blog each day (wink wink). This chart shows that Deutsche Bank stock has already fallen lower than it was during any point during the last financial crisis…
Deutsche Bank is the biggest and most important bank in the biggest and most important economy in the EU, and it has exposure to derivatives that is approximately 20 times Germany’s GDP.
If that doesn’t alarm you, I don’t know what will.
The biggest financial bubble in the history of the world has entered a terminal phase, and the parallels to the last financial crisis have become so apparent that just about anyone can see them at this point. Just consider some of the ominous warnings that we have seen recently…
Billionaire Carl Icahn, for example, recently raised a red flag on a national broadcast when he declared, “The public is walking into a trap again as they did in 2007.”
And the prophetic economist Andrew Smithers warns, “U.S. stocks are now about 80% overvalued.”
Smithers backs up his prediction using a ratio which proves that the only time in history stocks were this risky was 1929 and 1999. And we all know what happened next. Stocks fell by 89% and 50%, respectively.
Even the Royal Bank of Scotland says the markets are flashing stress alerts akin to the 2008 crisis. They told their clients to “Sell Everything” because “in a crowded hall, the exit doors are small.”
And let’s not forget that famous billionaire retail magnate Hugo Salinas Price has warned that the global economy “is going into a depression“.
The chaos that we have seen this week is simply a logical progression of the crisis that began during the second half of last year. If you were to create a checklist of all the things that you would expect to see during the initial stages of a new financial crisis, all of the boxes would be checked.
In the days ahead, keep your eyes on Germany and Japan.
Yes, the Italian banking system is completely collapsing right now, but I believe that what is happening in Germany is going to be the key to the meltdown of Europe, and I am convinced that Deutsche Bank is going to be the star of the show.
Meanwhile, don’t underestimate what is taking place in Japan.
The Japanese still have the third largest economy on the entire planet, and their financial system is essentially a Ponzi scheme built on top of a house of cards that has a rapidly aging population as the foundation.
As Japan falls, that will be a signal that financial Armageddon is now upon us.
And after last night, it appears that moment is a lot closer than a lot of us may have thought.
As stocks continue to crash, you can blame the Federal Reserve, because the Fed is more responsible for creating the current financial bubble that we are living in than anyone else. When the Federal Reserve pushed interest rates all the way to the floor and injected lots of hot money into the financial markets during their quantitative easing programs, this pushed stock prices to wildly artificial levels. The only way that it would have been possible to keep stock prices at those wildly artificial levels would have been to keep interest rates ultra-low and to keep recklessly creating lots of new money. But now the Federal Reserve has ended quantitative easing and has embarked on a program of very slowly raising interest rates. This is going to have very severe consequences for the markets, but Janet Yellen doesn’t seem to care.
There is a reason why the financial world hangs on every single word that is issued by the Fed. That is because the massively inflated stock prices that we see today were a creation of the Fed and are completely dependent on the Fed for their continued existence.
Right now, stock prices are still 30 to 40 percent above what the economic fundamentals say that they should be based on historical averages. And if we are now plunging into a very deep recession as I contend, stock prices should probably fall by a total of more than 50 percent from where they are now.
The only way that stock prices could have ever gotten this disconnected from economic reality is with the help of the Federal Reserve. And since the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the entire planet, the actions of the Fed over the past few years have created stock market bubbles all over the globe.
But the only way to keep the party going is to keep the hot money flowing. Unfortunately for investors, Janet Yellen and her friends at the Fed have chosen to go the other direction. Not only has quantitative easing ended, but the Fed has also decided to slowly raise interest rates. The Fed left rates unchanged on Wednesday, but we were told that we are probably still on schedule for another rate hike in March.
So how did the markets respond to the Fed?
Well, after attempting to go green for much of the day, the Dow started plunging very rapidly and ended up down 222 points.
The markets understand the reality of what they are now facing. They know that stock prices are artificially high and that if the Fed keeps tightening that it is inevitable that they will fall back to earth.
In a true free market system, stock prices would be far, far lower than they are right now. Everyone knows this – including Jim Cramer. Just check out what he told CNBC viewers earlier today…
Jim Cramer was tempted to resurface his “they know nothing” rant after hearing the Fed speak on Wednesday. He was hoping that a few boxes on his market bottom checklist might be checked off, but it seems that the bear market has not yet run its course.
“The Fed’s wishy-washy statement on interest rates today left stocks sinking back into oblivion after a nice rally yesterday,” the “Mad Money” host said.
Without artificial help from the Fed, stocks will most definitely continue to sink into oblivion.
That is because these current stock prices are not based on anything real.
And so as this new financial crisis continues to unfold, the magnitude of the crash is going to be much worse than it otherwise would have been.
It has often been said that the higher you go the farther you have to fall. Because the Federal Reserve has pumped up stock prices to ridiculously high levels, that just means that the pain on the way down is going to be that much worse.
It is also important to remember that stocks tend to fall much more rapidly than they rise. And when we see a giant crash in the financial markets, that creates a tremendous amount of fear and panic. The last time there was great fear and panic for an extended period of time was during the crisis of 2008 and 2009, and this created a tremendous credit crunch.
During a credit crunch, financial institutions because very hesitant to lend to one another or to anyone else. And since our economy is extremely dependent on the flow of credit, economic activity slows down dramatically.
As this current financial crisis escalates, you are going to notice certain things begin to happen. If you own a business or you work at a business, you may start to notice that fewer people are coming in, and those people that do come in are going have less money to spend.
As economic activity slows, employers will be forced to lay off workers, and many businesses will shut down completely. And since 63 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, many will suddenly find themselves unable to meet their monthly expenses. Foreclosures will skyrocket, and large numbers of people will go from living a comfortable middle class lifestyle to being essentially out on the street very, very rapidly.
At this point, many experts believe that the economic outlook for the coming months is quite grim. For example, just consider what Marc Faber is saying…
It won’t come as a surprise to market watchers that “Dr. Doom” Marc Faber isn’t getting any more cheerful.
But the noted bear at least found a sense of humor on Wednesday into which he could channel his bleakness.
The publisher of the “Gloom, Boom & Doom Report” told attendees at the annual “Inside ETFs” conference that the medium-term economic outlook has become “so depressing” that he may as well fill a newly installed pool with beer instead of water.
If the Federal Reserve had left interest rates at more reasonable levels and had never done any quantitative easing, we would have been forced to address our fundamental economic problems more honestly and stock prices would be far, far lower today.
But now that the Fed has created this giant artificial financial bubble, the coming crash is going to be much worse than it otherwise would have been. And the tremendous amount of panic that this crash will cause will paralyze much of the economy and will ultimately lead to a far deeper economic downturn than we witnessed last time around.
Once the Fed started wildly injecting money into the system, they had no other choice but to keep on doing it.
By removing the artificial support that they had been giving to the financial markets, they are making a huge mistake, and they are setting the stage for an economic tragedy that will affect the lives of every man, woman and child in America.
Did you see what just happened in China? For the second time in four days, a massive stock market crash has caused an emergency shutdown of the markets in China. On both Monday and Thursday, trading was suspended for 15 minutes when the CSI 300 fell 5 percent, and on both days the total decline very rapidly escalated to 7 percent once trading was reopened. Once a 7 percent drop happens, trading is automatically suspended for the rest of the day. I guess that is one way to keep the stock market from crashing – you just don’t let anyone trade. And of course the panic in China is causing other markets to go haywire as well. As I write this, the Nikkei is down 324 points and Hong Kong is down 572 points.
The amazing thing is that trading was only open in China for about 15 total minutes tonight. Here is how CNBC described what just happened…
China’s stocks were suspended from all trade on Thursday after the CSI300 tumbled more than 7 percent in early trade, triggering the market’s circuit breaker for a second time this week.
That drop-kicked stock markets across Asia, which were already wallowing after a weaker open amid concerns over China’s economic slowdown and its depreciating currency as well as falling oil prices.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite tumbled 7.32 percent by at the time of the halt, while the Shenzhen Composite plummeted 8.34 percent. The CSI300, the benchmark index against which China’s new circuit breakers are set, plunged 7.21 percent. If that index rises or falls 5 percent, the market halts all trade for 15 minutes. If it moves 7 percent, trading will be suspended for the rest of the day. In total Thursday, China shares only traded around 15 minutes.
How will European and U.S. markets respond to the chaos in Asia when they open?
That is a very good question. I think that everybody will be watching.
Already, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 500 points for the year. The financial crisis that began in the second half of 2015 is now accelerating as we enter 2016, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.
One key to watch is what happens with the S&P 500.
2000 is kind of like a giant line in the sand on the S&P 500. On Wednesday we saw the market hover around that psychologically-important number, and there is a whole lot of resistance right there. If we break solidly through 2000 and start plunging toward 1900, that is going to break things wide open.
The primary reason for the stock market crash in China on Thursday was another stunning devaluation of the yuan. This explanation from Zero Hedge is very helpful…
Following the collapse of offshore Yuan to 5 year lows and decompression to record spreads to onshore Yuan, The PBOC has stepped in and dramatically devalued the Yuan fix by 0.5% to 6.5646. This is the biggest devaluation since the August collapse. Offshore Yuan has erased what modest bounce gains it achieved intraday and is heading significantly lower once again. Dow futures are down 100 points on the news.
PBOC fixes Yuan at its weakest since March 2011… with the biggest devaluation since August
A massive devaluation of the yuan was also one of the primary reasons for the market turmoil that we saw back in August. The Chinese are playing games with their currency, and this is causing havoc in the global marketplace.
Meanwhile, we have received some other very troubling news about the global economy over the past few days…
-The price of oil continues to collapse. As I write this, the price of U.S. oil is down to $33.26 a barrel. Those that follow my writing regularly already know that this is a really bad sign for the global economy.
-The Baltic Dry Index just hit another brand new all-time record low. Global trade is absolutely imploding, and this is having a devastating impact on China and other major exporting nations.
-U.S. manufacturing is contracting at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession. This is precisely what we would expect to see during the early stages of a new crisis.
-U.S. manufacturing imports are also contracting at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession. It appears that “the almighty U.S. consumer” is not going to save the global economy after all.
In 2015, trillions of dollars of stock market wealth was wiped out globally. Now this new global financial crisis is picking up speed, and many of the “experts” seem absolutely stunned by what is happening.
But most of my readers are not surprised. That is because I have been breaking down the signs that have been warning us of this new crisis in excruciating detail for months. The financial carnage that we have witnessed around the globe this week is simply a logical progression of what has already been happening.
To be honest, though, even I have been stunned by what has happened in China this week. I can’t say that I expected an emergency shutdown of the Chinese markets two times within the first four trading days of the year.
Panic and fear are beginning to grip the global marketplace, and once that starts to happen events become very difficult to predict.
Let us hope that things settle down soon, but I wouldn’t count on it.
As I have said before, 2016 is the year when everything changes, and we are going to see things take place over the next 12 months that are going to shock the world.
Now that a major global recession has begun, you would expect major retailers like Wal-Mart to run into trouble as consumer spending dries up, and that is precisely what is happening. On Wednesday, shares of Wal-Mart experienced their largest single day decline in 27 years after an extremely disappointing earnings projection was released. The stock was down about 10 percent, which represented the biggest plunge since January 1988. Over 21 billion dollars in shareholder wealth was wiped out on Wednesday, and this was just the continuation of a very bad year for Wal-Mart stockholders. Overall, shares had already declined by 22 percent so far in 2015 before we even got to Wednesday. Here is more on this stunning turn of events from Bloomberg…
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. suffered its worst stock decline in more than 27 years after predicting a drop in annual profit, underscoring the giant retailer’s struggles to reignite growth.
Earnings will decrease 6 percent to 12 percent in fiscal 2017, which ends in January of that year, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said at its investor day on Wednesday. Analysts had estimated a gain of 4 percent on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
If it was just Wal-Mart that was having trouble, that would be bad enough. But the truth is that signs that the U.S. economy has entered another major downturn are popping up all around us. Just consider the following list of economic indicators that Graham Summers recently put out…
The Fed has now kept interest rates at zero for 81 months.
This is the longest period in the history of the Fed’s existence, lasting longer than even the 1938-1942 period of ZIRP.
And the US economy is moving back into recession. Consider that…
1) Industrial production fell five months straight in the first half of 2015. This has never happened outside of a recession.
2) Merchant Wholesalers’ Sales are in recession territory.
3) The Empire Manufacturing Survey is in recession territory.
4) All four of the Fed’s September Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) readings (Philadelphia, New York, Richmond, and Kansas City) came in at readings of sub-zero. This usually happens when you are already 4-5 months into a recession. (H/T Bill Hester)
Another huge red flag is the fact that month after month fewer products are being shipped around the country compared to last year.
If less stuff is being shipped around by truck, rail and air, is it a sign that the economy is getting better or is it a sign that the economy is getting worse?
The answer, of course, is self-evident. With that in mind, please read the following excerpt which comes from a recent article by Wolf Richter…
It has been crummy all year: With the exception of January and February, the shipping volume has been lower year-over-year every month!
The index is broad. It tracks data from shippers, no matter what carrier they choose, whether truck, rail, or air, and includes carriers like FedEx and UPS.
Evidence keeps piling up in the most unpleasant manner that something isn’t quite right in the real economy. The world is now in an inexplicable slowdown – “inexplicable” for central bankers who’ve cut interest rates to zero or below zero years ago, and who’re still dousing some economies with QE even as governments are running up big deficits. And yet, despite seven years of this huge monetary and fiscal stimulus, the global economy is deteriorating.
Okay, so is there anyone out there that still believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape?
The Obama administration will probably not admit it for a very long time, but the truth is that the numbers very clearly tell us that we are in a recession.
Anybody out there, whether an “expert” or just someone you happen to know, that tells you that everything is just fine is either completely ignorant or they are purposely lying to you.
And just like in 2008, state and local governments are starting to get into tremendous financial trouble as the real economy sputters. For example, the governor of Illinois has told reporters that “we are out of money now” and that pension fund payments will be delayed as a result…
Illinois will delay payments to its pension fund as a prolonged budget impasse causes a cash shortage, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said.
The spending standoff between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders has extended into its fourth month with no signs of ending. Munger said her office will postpone a $560 million retirement-fund payment next month, and may make the December contribution late.
“This decision is choosing the least of a number of bad options,” Munger told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday. “For all intents and purposes, we are out of money now.”
When these sorts of things started happening in 2008, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Bush administration went into full-blown denial mode. They kept telling all of us not to worry and that everything would be okay, and that just made things worse in the end.
The same thing is happening now. The Obama administration and the mainstream media keep talking about an “economic recovery” even in the face of numbers such as I have discussed in this article.
Perhaps things are going well for you personally at the moment, and that is great. But now is not the time to buy lots of new toys. Nor is it the time to accumulate more debt.
Instead, now is a time to position yourself for a period of difficulty that could stretch on for years.
The next recession is here, and it is going to grow progressively worse.
The wise will take heed and make preparations, but the foolish will just keep on doing what they have been doing until it is far too late.
In an eerie repeat of what we witnessed in 2008, U.S. stocks are steadily sliding throughout the summer as we head toward the month of September. From August 1st, 2008 to September 1st, 2008 the Dow fell by nearly 700 points. And of course we all remember what happened the following month. Right now, we are watching a similar thing happen. The Dow has plummeted nearly 700 points since July 16th, and it is down nearly 900 points from the peak of the market back in May. At this point the Dow has now fallen for six days in a row and eleven of the last thirteen. Of course most of the talking heads on television are still insisting that everything is going to be just fine and that a repeat of 2008 is not possible. So what do you think? Should we trust them?
Personally, I find that I put a lot more faith in cold, hard numbers than in what the talking heads on television have to say. And at this moment, the cold, hard numbers are telling us that another financial crisis in imminent.
This is one of the reasons why I am such a fan of Zero Hedge. Nobody stays on top of the hard financial numbers like Zero Hedge does. And according to Zero Hedge, market internals are absolutely screaming that a U.S. stock market crash is right around the corner…
In early 2007, market internals began to weaken dramatically. Talking heads and asset gatherers said fears were overblown, risk was contained, Fed has it under control, stay the course. Six months later, the equity markets began to collapse and then accelerated lower. Today, in an eery case of deja vu all over again, it has been six months now since US equity market internals began to decouple from the manipulated index levels that manufacture wealth and happiness across America… what would you do?
Here is the chart that immediately followed that paragraph. As you can see, we are repeating the exact same pattern that we witnessed back during the last financial crisis…
Meanwhile, the second largest stock market in the world is already crashing. The Chinese have spent approximately 1.3 trillion dollars propping up stocks in China, but they just continue to fall. They were down again on Wednesday night, and nobody is quite sure when the carnage is going to end.
And remember, Chinese stocks started to crash before U.S. stocks did in 2008 as well.
Another eerie similarity to 2008 is the behavior of oil. In the summer of 2008, the price of oil crashed hard, and then a stock crash followed a couple of months later.
Well, guess what?
The price of oil is crashing hard once again. The following comes from CNBC…
Oil set multi-month lows on Thursday as investors and traders sought clues about the market’s next bottom after a large drop in U.S. crude inventories failed to boost prices.
A bigger-than-expected build in U.S. gasoline stockpiles last week proved more important to investors than crude storage numbers that came in three times below forecast on Wednesday.
U.S. crude was down 50 cents at $44.65 a barrel at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), after touching a 4½ month bottom at $44.20.
Why can’t more people see the signs?
They are so obvious.
We are also getting indications that the real economy is starting to be affected by all of this chaos. The mainstream media has been very quiet about this, but the number of job cuts just hit a four year high…
Challenger, Gray & Christmas has released its monthly job cuts for July, and it is ugly. The 105,696 job cuts was the highest number since 2011. To put this in perspective, the July job cuts total is a whopping 136% higher than the 44,842 job cuts reported in June, as well as 125% higher than the in same report a year ago.
The July report showed that the last time more than 100,000 job cuts were announced was back in September 2011, when there were some 115,730 layoffs.
Another bad trend is that July’s surge now brings the year-to-date job cuts up to a total of 393,368. That is 34% higher than the run rate for the same period in 2014.
If alarm bells are going off in your head right now, that is good, because they should be.
A 34 percent increase in job cuts is not a good thing.
Of course it would probably help if the Obama administration was not bringing in far more immigrant workers than the limits that have been officially set by Congress. Just check out these numbers…
In written responses to the Senate Judiciary Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee Republicans obtained by Breitbart News, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reveal that the Obama administration has been approving work authorizations for immigrants beyond admission limits and for some categories of immigrants that Congress never intended to work in the U.S.
Beyond those limits each year, these new and renewed work permit approvals amounted to about 1.23 million in fiscal year 2009, 1.08 million in FY 2010, 970,277 in FY 2011, 1.24 million in FY 2012, 1.68 million in FY 2013 and 1.24 million in FY 2014.
Also, this is the first time that imports and exports have both been declining on a year over year basis since the last recession. Just check out this chart and this chart.
When imports and exports are both falling, that means that economic activity is slowing down. And we are seeing a similar thing happen all over the planet. At this point, global trade has fallen by a total of about 2 percent over the past six months.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Just like in the summer of 2008, global economic activity is diminishing and things in the financial world are lining up in textbook fashion for a major crisis.
But for those that are not convinced by now, there is not that much more that I can do. I could keep throwing out numbers and charts and graphs, but if people refuse to see the truth they simply will not see it.
Less than a month from now, we will officially be in the danger zone.
September is coming, and I truly hope that you are already prepared for it.
Was last week a preview of things to come? There are quite a few people out there that believe that the stock market would begin to decline in July, and that appears to be precisely what is happening. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 530 points. It was the biggest one week decline that we have seen so far in 2015, and some are suggesting that this could only be just the beginning. By just about any measurement that you might want to use, the stock market is overvalued. But we have been in this bubble for so long that many people have come to believe that this is “the new normal”. In fact, earlier today someone that I know dropped me a line and suggested that our financial overlords may be able to use the tools at their disposal to get this current bubble to persist indefinitely. Unfortunately, the truth is that no financial bubble ever lasts forever, and right now some very alarming things are starting to happen behind the scenes. Over the past couple of weeks, the smart money has been dumping stocks like crazy, and the lack of liquidity in the bond markets is beginning to become acute. Could it be possible that another great financial crisis is just around the corner?
Last week took a lot of investors by surprise. The following is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage…
-Russell 2000 -3.1% – worst week since Oct 2014 (Bullard)
-Dow -2.8% – worst week since Dec 2014
-S&P -2.1% – worst week since Jan 2015
-Trannies -2.8% – worst week since Mar 2015
-Nasdaq -2.2% – worst week since Mar 2015
The talking heads on television were not quite sure what to make of this sudden downturn. On CNBC, analysts mainly blamed the usual suspects…
“I think the market’s very much concerned about the commodity (decline),” said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody’s. “The contraction in China manufacturing activity is gaining momentum and the credit market has yet to signal that rates are not about to go higher.”
He also noted a surprising decline in new home sales and continued lack of revenue growth in earnings. Nearly all the commodities are in a bear market and gold and crude settled at lows Friday.
“You’ve got some major growth concerns and that is what’s weighing on investors minds,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market strategist at The Lindsey Group.
And without a doubt, there are some new numbers that are deeply troubling for Wall Street. For example, it is being projected that S&P 500 companies will collectively report a 2.2 percent decline in earnings for the second quarter of 2015. If this comes to pass, it will be the first drop that we have seen since the third quarter of 2012.
The biggest reason for this decline in earnings is the implosion of U.S. energy companies due to the crash in oil prices. The following comes from CNBC…
Thanks to a collapse in the price of oil, the energy sector is slated to report a monster 54 percent drop in earnings and 28 percent swoon in revenue, compared to the second quarter in the year prior.
Hmm – unlike what so many others were saying initially, it turns out that the oil crash is bad for the U.S. economy after all.
But just like at this time of the year in 2008, most people fully expect that everything is going to be just fine. So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed the last time around are playing out once again, and yet most of the “experts” refuse to see what is happening right in front of their eyes.
When things crash this time, it won’t just be stocks that collapse. As I have been writing about so frequently, we are also headed for an implosion of the bond markets as well. The following comes from Dr. David Eifrig…
In the U.S. Treasury securities market, financial-services giant JPMorgan Chase estimates that five years ago, you could move about $280 million worth of Treasury securities before your trades moved the market’s price. Now, that’s down to $80 million… a decline of more than 70%.
When a panic sets in, reduced liquidity can cause big swings in market prices.
There is that word “liquidity” again. This is something that I have repeatedly been taking about. Just check out this article from a little over a month ago. A bond is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, and if the market runs out of buyers that can cause seismic shifts in price very rapidly. Here is more from Eifrig…
In a run-of-the-mill bear market, you just have a downward trend… When enough investors are selling bonds, it drives down prices. Falling prices lead more investors to start selling. We see that all the time.
A liquidity crisis goes even further. It’s like a classic run on a bank… Without sufficient liquidity, the sellers don’t just see lower prices… they see no prices. Since no one wants to buy bonds at this particular time, the price for them effectively becomes zero.
There has been a lot of speculation about what will happen in the second half of 2015.
We only have a little over five months to go in the year, so it won’t be too long before we see who was right and who was wrong.
Our perceptions of the future are very much shaped by our worldviews. All the time, I get “Obamabots” that come to my website and leave comments on my articles telling me how Barack Obama has “turned the economy around” and has set the stage for a new era of prosperity in America.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they choose to believe that things are in great shape because that is what they want to believe. Just check out the results from one recent survey…
While 55 percent of Democrats reported feeling positive about the economy, for example, just 25 percent of Republicans felt the same from March 25 to May 27.
When asked if they thought the economy would improve over the next 12 months, 53 percent of Democrats said yes. Only 23 percent of the Republicans in the survey agreed.
The same perception gap extends to the far future, with 41 percent of Democrats believing that the next generation will be better off than their parents, and just 24 percent of Republicans saying the same.
To me, those numbers are quite striking.
Many Democrats very much want to believe that things are getting better because Barack Obama is in the White House.
Many Republicans very much want to believe that things are totally falling apart because Barack Obama is in the White House.
So who is right and who is wrong?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…