Will The Coronavirus Outbreak Cause A Massive Stock Market Crash?

Could it be possible that this coronavirus outbreak will be the trigger that finally bursts the biggest stock market bubble in U.S. history?  As I have discussed previously, stock prices in the United States were the most overvalued that they have ever been during the month of January, and our stock market has never been more perfectly primed for a huge meltdown.  But stock prices are all about what investors believe will happen in the future, and if they remain convinced that the future is bright then perhaps this stock market bubble could persist for a while longer.  Unfortunately for Wall Street, this coronavirus outbreak is starting to create a wave of fear in the financial community.  In fact, concern about the coronavirus pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 600 points on Friday, and that represented the worst day for the Dow since last August

Stocks fell sharply on Friday, wiping out the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s gain for January, as investors grew increasingly worried about the potential economic impact of China’s fast-spreading coronavirus.

The Dow dropped 603.41 points, or 2.1%, to 28,256.03 in the 30-stock average’s worst day since August. The S&P 500 had its worst day since October, falling 1.8% to 3,225.52. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6% to 9,150.94.

Up until now, investors were very confident that the Fed and the Trump administration could keep the party rolling, but now that is changing.  Just consider what Ilya Feygin just told CNBC

“The theme coming into this year was the Fed and Trump are going to bail us out of any problems, but the virus is something neither one can do anything about. That’s a reason to become more fearful.”

A reason “to become more fearful”?

That certainly doesn’t sound good for stocks.

And this coronavirus outbreak has also been pushing down the price of oil

Oil prices have also suffered from the virus outbreak, because China is a big consumer of the commodity.

US oil prices are on track for their worst month since May last year, when the US-China trade war and high inventory levels weighed on prices.

Ultimately, the economic impact of this crisis will be determined by how bad this outbreak eventually becomes, and that is very uncertain at this point.

But without a doubt the coronavirus is already having a substantial impact on the Chinese economy.  The following comes from CNN

The economic impact of the virus is still impossible to determine, but one state media outlet and some economists have said that China’s growth rate could drop two percentage points this quarter because of the outbreak, which has brought large parts of the country to a standstill. A decline on that scale could mean $62 billion in lost growth.

Goldman Sachs is warning that this outbreak will also cause the U.S. economy to slow down this quarter, but the bank is still convinced that next quarter will be better

The fast-spreading coronavirus could slow first quarter growth of the United States economy, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs.

Analysts at the firm forecast a 0.4 percentage point decline on US annualized growth through March. But it’s not all doom and gloom: Goldman Sachs (GS) also predicts that growth will rebound in the second quarter by roughly the same amount.

Of course the analysts over at Goldman Sachs are assuming that this coronavirus outbreak is not going to turn into a horrifying global pandemic.

But what if they are wrong?

During the last two weeks of January the number of confirmed cases got 236 times larger, and if this outbreak continues to grow at an exponential rate it is going to be absolutely catastrophic for the entire global economy.

Quite a few experts are now recognizing this reality, and that includes Tuomas Malinen

Global recession, a European banking crisis and a crash in the U.S. capital markets will produce a global economic collapse which will almost certainly overwhelm any attempts—massive and coordinated as they may be—to turn the tide by over-stretched central banks and over-indebted governments.

This is, why the coronavirus outbreak should be treated for what it is: a potential harbinger of human and economic calamity.

Whether such a scenario materializes in the weeks ahead all depends on how widely this virus spreads.

Personally, I am hoping that this outbreak fizzles out as rapidly as possible.  This virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, and wondering who might have the virus is going to drive a lot of people completely nuts.

Unfortunately, it looks like things are only going to get worse.  According to a study that was just released, we could soon have “independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally”.  The following comes from Natural News

A new, urgent study just published in The Lancet warns that “independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally” may be “inevitable” due to the “substantial exportation” of symptomless carriers of coronavirus. That same study also calculates that 75,815 individuals are infected right now in mainland China, where the official government numbers are currently under 10,000.

Titled, “Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study,” the study is authored by Professor Gabriel M. Leung, MD and Kathy Leung, PhD.

Coming into this year, so many of us felt such a sense of urgency, but I don’t know anyone that thought we would potentially be facing a horrific global pandemic by the end of January.

The worse this outbreak becomes, the more pain the global economy is going to feel.

And there is no way that this stock market bubble is going to survive a severe global economic downturn.

The only way anyone ever makes money in the stock market is if they get out in time.  And unfortunately the ridiculously elevated prices that we have been witnessing may not last too much longer if this outbreak continues to spiral out of control.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Biggest Stock Market “Melt Up” In U.S. History Has Pushed Stock Prices To The More Overvalued Levels Ever

Over the past several months, we have witnessed one of the greatest stock market rallies in American history.  The S&P 500 has gone 70 days in a row without a 1 percent loss, and most weeks we have seen one daily surge after another.  If stock prices were exploding because the underlying U.S. economy was performing extremely well, we would have reason to celebrate.  Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.  In fact, last week I shared 12 signs that the economy is actually slowing down substantially.  Instead, this stock market “melt up” is being largely fueled by reckless intervention by the Federal Reserve.  The Fed’s balance sheet has been ballooning once again, and investors know that stock prices tend to go up significantly when that is happening.  So right now Wall Street is in the midst of a raucous party, and everything will be wonderful as long as stock prices continue to move in the right direction.

Unfortunately, no stock market rally lasts forever, and a day of reckoning is coming.  At this point, stock prices have become so absurd that even the New York Times is saying that we should “worry” about what is ahead.

We also witnessed dramatic stock market “melt ups” prior to the stock market crash of 1929, prior to the bursting of the dotcom bubble, and prior to the financial crisis of 2008.

If you are not familiar with the term “melt up”, here is a pretty good definition from Investopedia

A melt up is a dramatic and unexpected improvement in the investment performance of an asset class, driven partly by a stampede of investors who don’t want to miss out on its rise, rather than by fundamental improvements in the economy. Gains that a melt up creates are considered to be unreliable indications of the direction the market is ultimately headed. Melt ups often precede melt downs.

That definition accurately describes what we are witnessing on Wall Street right now.  There has been so much euphoria, and of course many of the wild-eyed optimists seem to think that it can last indefinitely.

But how much higher can stock prices possibly go?  After all, they are already the most overvalued that they have ever been in all of U.S. history.

A very simple way to judge whether stock prices are overvalued or undervalued is to look at the price-to-sales ratio for the S&P 500 as a whole.  During the best of times, it should be somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5, but thanks to the absurd rally that Wall Street has been enjoying the price-to-sales ratio for the S&P 500 has now been pushed above 2.4.  If you would like to see what this looks like for yourself, just check out this chart from Zero Hedge.

Stock prices should have never, ever gotten to this point without sufficient underlying sales to justify such high valuations.  If the S&P 500 were to fall 50 percent from the current level, that would put us at a point that is relatively “normal” for good economic times.

But of course our financial markets would not be able to handle a 50 percent decline in stock prices because the system is so highly leveraged.  It would be a disaster unlike anything we have seen before, and so the Federal Reserve feels as though there is no other alternative other than to continue to pump up this absolutely absurd bubble.

Another very simple indicator that shows that stocks are now more overvalued than ever before is “the Buffett Indicator”.  As Harry Dent has pointed out, the ratio of total market capitalization to U.S. GDP has never been higher than it is currently.  You can see this for yourself by looking at this chart.  The stock market would have to fall by a third just to get back to the ridiculous level we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  We truly are in unprecedented territory, and every other stock market bubble of this nature in our entire history has ended very, very badly.

If you want to blame someone for getting us into such a precarious position, you should blame the Federal Reserve.  And at this point, even Fed officials are acknowledging what is going on.  For example, just check out what Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan recently said

It was at the very least, a little refreshing to hear Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan openly talked about this in an interview Wednesday. Although he did couch it in terms that implied it was a matter of some concern to him. But, of course, he went on to say, “we’ve done what we need to do up until now.”

“My own view is it’s having some effect on risk assets,” Kaplan said. “It’s a derivative of QE when we buy bills and we inject more liquidity; it affects risk assets. This is why I say growth in the balance sheet is not free. There is a cost to it.”

The Fed is desperately trying to keep control of interest rates, but in the process they are creating ideal conditions for a stock market crash.

As 2019 rolled to an end, even Wolf Richter admitted that “there has never been a better setup” for a major market meltdown…

In my decades of looking at the stock market, there has never been a better setup. Exuberance is pandemic and sky-high. And even after today’s dip, the S&P 500 is up nearly 29% for the year, and the Nasdaq 35%, despite lackluster growth in the global economy, where many of the S&P 500 companies are getting the majority of their revenues.

Mega-weight in the indices, Apple, is a good example: shares soared 84% in the year, though its revenues ticked up only 2%. This is not a growth story. This is an exuberance story where nothing that happens in reality – such as lacking revenue growth – matters, as we’re now told by enthusiastic crowds everywhere.

Meanwhile, the real economy has just continued to deteriorate.

While stock prices were soaring in December, U.S. freight volume was actually plummeting

Shipment volume in the US by truck, rail, air, and barge plunged 7.9% in December 2019 compared to a year earlier, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. It was the 13th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the steepest year-over-year decline since November 2009, during the Financial Crisis

As I have warned so many times, stock prices have become completely divorced from economic reality, and this is setting us up for a major financial crisis.

But for the moment, the party continues to roll on and the wild-eyes optimists are telling us that this is just the beginning of a golden new age of prosperity.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

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