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.

12 Signs That The Economy Is Seriously Slowing Down As 2020 Begins

Lost in all of the headlines about Iran and impeachment is the fact that the U.S. economic slowdown which began during the latter stages of last year appears to be accelerating.  The final numbers which will tell us if we are officially in a recession at this moment won’t be released until months from now, but for millions upon millions of Americans it definitely feels like one has already started.  Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but at this point the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality.  And as you will see later in this article, stock prices are now the most overvalued that they have ever been in all of American history.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about what is happening in the real economy.

The following are 12 signs that the economy is seriously slowing down as 2020 begins…

#1 The U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index has been in contraction for 5 months in a row, and it is now at the lowest level we have seen since June 2009.

#2 Last month, manufacturing employment fell at the fastest pace we have seen since August 2009.

#3 Last month, new manufacturing orders fell at the fastest pace we have seen since April 2009.

#4 Chicago PMI has been contracting for 4 months in a row.

#5 European manufacturing PMI declined again in December.

#6 Borden Dairy, one of the largest dairy companies in the entire world, declared bankruptcy just a few days ago.

#7 Earlier this month, the Baltic Dry Index had its worst day in 6 years.

#8 Overall, the decline in the Baltic Dry Index this month is the largest that we have seen since 2008.

#9 The auto recession just continues to get even worse.  Thanks to the substantial slowdown we witnessed during the second half of 2019, the total number of cars and trucks sold in the United States during all of 2019 was actually below the level that we witnessed back in 2000 when our population was significantly smaller.

#10 Used heavy duty truck prices have fallen “as much as 50%“.

#11 Macy’s just announced that they will be closing 28 stores.

#12 To start the year, AT&T is laying off thousands of workers, and according to Robert Reich those being laid off “will have to train their foreign replacements“.

Of course many of the “experts” continue to assure us that everything will be just fine.

In fact, one panel of “experts” recently came to the conclusion that there is “almost no chance of a recession this year”.

That would be absolutely wonderful news if it was true.

Sadly, the numbers that I just shared with you tell a completely different story.  They tell the story of an economy that is most definitely heading for a recession.

And according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the government was using honest numbers they would show that we are actually in a recession right now.

But what about the stock market?

Shouldn’t the fact that stock prices have been soaring be seen as an optimistic sign?

Well, there have been a few other stock bubbles of this nature throughout our history, and all of them have ended very badly.

In 1929, stock prices were at an all-time record high and it seemed like the economic good times would never end.

But then the stock market crashed and we plummeted into the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In 2000, the dotcom bubble pushed stock prices to absolutely absurd heights, but then stock prices quickly collapsed when the bubble burst and the U.S. economy fell into a very painful recession.

During the years leading up to 2008, stock prices once again rose to dizzying levels and it seemed like the party would last indefinitely.

But then the financial crisis struck, and the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 was the most excruciating economic downturn our nation has experienced since the 1930s.

Unfortunately, we are even more primed for a stock market crash now than we were in any of the previous examples that I just shared.

So how do I know this?

Well, for one thing P/E ratios have become ridiculously inflated.  The following comes from Marketwatch

Indeed stocks are overvalued according to the popular measure of price-to-earnings (P/E) — which compares the price of one share of stock to one year of per-share earnings relative to recent history. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.29% is trading at 18.6 times forward earnings, according to FactSet data, above the average ratio of 16.7 during the past five years and 14.9 over the past ten.

In addition, price-to-sales ratios for the S&P 500 are now at the highest level in all of U.S. history

The above chart, from Ned Davis Research, shows that price relative to sales for the S&P 500 is at a record high, “well in excess of what they were in 2000 or 2007 at those peaks,” wrote Ned Davis in a Wednesday note to clients.

Other measures, like the median price to earnings ratio — which exclude the skewed effects of very profitable and very unprofitable companies — shows the S&P 500 overvalued by nearly 30% versus the typical valuation level seen since 1964.

In other words, in the entire history of the United States stock prices have never been more overvalued than they are at this moment.

And every other time we have seen stock price ratios get this high, an absolutely horrifying stock market crash has followed.

The optimists are insisting that things will somehow turn out differently this time.

They assure us that everything is under control and that very bright days are ahead.

You can believe them if you want, but every indicator is pointing in the opposite direction.

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 Cold, Hard Facts Which Prove That The Past Decade Was Actually Quite Awful For The U.S. Economy

If this is what “the good times” look like, how nightmarish are “the bad times” going to be?  In America today, more than 500,000 of us are homeless, about 40 million of us are living in poverty, 50 percent of all workers make less than $33,000 a year, and 70 percent of us have cried about money.  But at least the economy has been “growing”, right?  Well, in this article I would like to address that.  Even if you believe that the highly manipulated economic growth numbers that the government puts out are legitimate, they still show that we are in one of the worst economic stretches in all of U.S. history.

From 1930 to 1933, the U.S. economy experienced four years in a row during which GDP growth each year was under 3 percent.

Up until this current stretch, that was the longest streak in our entire history.

Of course we have absolutely shattered that old record, and now that 2019 is over we can add one more year to our growing total.  At this point, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last year in which the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

That means that the U.S. economy has not actually had a “good year” since the middle of the Bush administration.

14 years in a row of economic growth below 3 percent is not anything to cheer about.  In fact, it is downright abysmal.

But the good news is that stock prices have been steadily rising over the past decade.  Just check out the numbers that David Wessel recently shared with PBS

So, look, the stock market had a terrific decade. The S&P 500 rose nine out of 10 years. The S&P 500 is up nearly 30 percent this year, just this year alone. And half the stock market wealth in America is held by the top 1 percent of people.

The Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumped that money into the financial markets, and of course that was going to be good for stock prices.  And pushing interest rates to the floor also helped inflate the massive bubble that we now see on Wall Street.  The following bit of analysis comes from CNBC

The Fed has kept borrowing rates low throughout the decade, gradually raising them from the end of 2015 through 2018, only to cut quickly again in 2019 to try to fend off any uncertainty in the economy. The central bank’s balance sheet sits at roughly $4 trillion, quadruple its size in 2008.

Needless to say, there is going to be a great price to pay in the long-term for such manipulation, but as long as stock prices keep rising most people don’t seem to care.

Unfortunately, these high stock prices do not represent any sort of permanent wealth.  They are simply a snapshot of what people are willing to pay at this moment in time, and a major disaster could come along which could cut those prices in half by next month.

Economic optimists also like to point to the employment numbers as evidence that the economy is doing well, but those numbers are so manipulated that they are essentially meaningless at this point.

In fact, most of the people that are transitioning from not having a job to having a job each month did not even count as “unemployed” the month previously

This year, the portion of people who got jobs each month who wouldn’t even have been counted among the unemployed the month before reached 75 percent. That’s by far the highest it’s been in the last three decades. The percentage of working-age Americans who have jobs only returned to its pre-Great Recession peak in the last few months. (It still has a ways to go before it returns to its previous peak, just before the 2001 recession.)

Today, more than 100 million working age Americans do not have a job, and John Williams has calculated that if honest numbers were being used that the real unemployment rate would be above 20 percent.

The truth is that we still have an employment crisis in this country, and anyone that suggests otherwise is not being straight with you.

Meanwhile, productivity growth has been absolutely terrible over the past decade, an increasing share of the economy has become concentrated in corporate hands, and small business creation has continued to collapse.  The following comes from an excellent article by Annie Lowrey

In many ways, the American economy became more sclerotic. Corporate concentration increased, with more industry sectors dominated by a small handful of firms. All the stories about the furious innovation coming from Silicon Valley and other tech-dominated regions aside, the start-up economy continued its long, slow collapse. The number of IPOs has fallen, and there are now half as many publicly listed businesses as there were in the late 1990s. Our cultural obsession with start-ups peaked at a time when companies under a year old were half as common as they were 40 years ago.

At the same time, the cost of living for average American families has been skyrocketing but our paychecks have not.  As a result, more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class with each passing month.  Here is more from Lowrey

Millions of young families who tried to save for a home were unable to purchase one, sapped by the toxic combination of high rents and a lack of stock. Throw in sky-high child-care prices, spiraling out-of-pocket health-care fees, and heavy educational-debt loads, and the 2010s crushed a whole generation as it entered its prime earning years. The Millennials are on track to be the first generation in contemporary history to end up poorer than their parents—unless Gen X beats them to it.

The only thing that has saved our economy from plunging into a horrific depression has been the greatest debt binge in all of human history.

Over the last ten years we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt, state and local government debt has soared to record highs all over the nation, corporate debt has risen more than 50 percent, student loan debt has more than doubled and the total amount of U.S. household debt is now nearing 14 trillion dollars.

By stealing from the future, we have been able to stabilize the present, but the long-term cost will be more than we can bear.

It is only a matter of time before our mistakes catch up with us, and the clock is ticking.

So please don’t try to tell me that the U.S. economy is in good shape.

The last decade was one of the worst stretches for economic growth in our history, and a day of reckoning awaits us during the decade that is directly ahead.

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.

Hope For A U.S.-China Trade Deal Is Completely Dead, And Wall Street Is Starting To Panic

The reality of what we are now facing is starting to sink in for Wall Street investors, and they are starting to panic.  Hope that the U.S. and China would be able to agree to a trade deal had fueled a tremendous stock market rally over the last couple of months, but of course it just turned out to be a cruel mirage.  There isn’t going to be a trade deal prior to the 2020 presidential election, and at this point even President Trump is telling us not to expect one before November 2020.  Just check out what he told the press on Tuesday

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right,” Trump told reporters earlier on Tuesday.

When asked if he had a deal deadline, he added: “I have no deadline, no … In some ways, I think it is better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth.”

President Trump is attempting to spin things to make it sound like it is his decision to hold off on a trade deal, and that may be a politically savvy thing to do.

But the truth is that the Chinese never wanted to do a comprehensive trade deal with Trump.  They have been stringing him along all this time, because they wanted to delay Trump’s tariffs for as long as possible.  But their original intention was to wait until a Democrat was in the White House to cut a deal.

Of course at this point the Chinese have soured on the Democrats as well.  The Chinese government views the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong the way that we view ISIS and al-Qaeda, and from the very beginning they have accused the United States of starting those protests.  And now that President Trump has signed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” after it was overwhelmingly passed by both the House and the Senate, the Chinese are beyond angry.  At this point our relationship with China has been completely destroyed, and from now on we are going to have a deeply adversarial relationship with them no matter who is in the White House.

President Trump has threatened to go ahead with more tariffs on China on December 15th, and since there is zero chance of a trade deal by then, that is exactly what we should expect.

And if that happens, Wharton Business School Professor of Finance Jeremy Siegel is warning that chaos could be unleashed on Wall Street

If Trump doesn’t reach a trade deal with China and “the tariffs get put on on Dec. 15 … I don’t know if I want to be around equities then,” Siegel said on CNBC’s Closing Bell on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Siegel is precisely correct.  In fact, stock prices have already fallen for three days in a row, and the downturn really started to accelerate on Tuesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 280.23 points, or 1% to 27,502.81. The 30-stock average was led lower by trade-vulnerable Apple, Caterpillar and Boeing. The S&P 500 slid 0.7% to 3,093.20 amid losses in chip stocks like Nvidia, Micron and Advanced Micro Devices. The Nasdaq Composite lost about 0.6% to end the day at 8,520.64.

At its lows of the day, the Dow was down 457.91 points, or 1.7%. The S&P 500 dropped as much as 1.7% while the Nasdaq traded lower by as much as 1.6%.

Hopefully things will settle down for the rest of this week, but if December 15th comes and the tariffs are fully implemented, many analysts are warning that there could be panic.  Here is one example

And while the US may (or may not) end up victorious in such a showdown, it will give Wall Street strategists – who have all flipped a U-turn and reversed from extremely optimistic to suddenly pessimistic – copious opportunities to impress their clients with superlatives such as this one from Manulife managing director Sue Trinh, who said that “if tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 are implemented it would be a huge shock to the market consensus,” adding that “Trump would be the Grinch that stole Christmas” if the December 15 tariffs go through.

Even though there isn’t going to be any sort of an agreement with China, it would be helpful for the U.S. economy if Trump decided to delay the December 15th tariffs.

I don’t think that is going to happen though.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is also looking at raising tariffs on goods from France, Brazil and Argentina

Heightened trade fears come a day after Trump threatened new tariffs on several more countries. On Monday, the president said he would raise tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina. He also proposed slapping tariffs on France’s exports.

As I recently discussed, global trade has now fallen for four months in a row, and it certainly appears that things could get even worse in the months ahead.

And that means that it is more likely than ever that the U.S. economy as a whole will plunge into a deep recession.  In fact, Legg Mason is warning their clients that “the probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 50%”

Legg Mason, a diversified global asset management firm, said the probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 50%.

According to the variables the firm looks at to determine the health of the economy, recession risk is rising, said Jeff Schulze, the investment strategist for ClearBridge Investments, at Legg Mason’s market outlook for 2020 last Monday in New York.

Of course in the long-term what we are facing is going to be far worse than just another recession.

The “bubble to end all bubbles” is starting to look exceedingly vulnerable, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into a new financial crisis.

Investing is all about hope.  People put their money into stocks and bonds because they anticipate a positive future in which the value of their investments goes up.

If you take that hope away, the entire foundation crumbles.  And now that the relationship between the United States and China has been destroyed, the future is looking a whole lot more bleak for investors than it was just a few weeks ago.

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.

What In The World Is The Federal Reserve Thinking???

You don’t use up all of your ammunition before the battle even begins.  The U.S. economy has not even officially entered recession territory yet, although many experts are definitely anticipating one in 2020.  When that recession arrives, the Federal Reserve is going to want as much ammunition to fight it as possible.  So I was horrified to learn that the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that interest rates are being slashed once again.  We have now had three interest rate cuts in 2019 as the Federal Reserve desperately attempts to revive the stalling U.S. economy.  But what are they going to do during the next recession when they have already pushed interest rates all the way to the floor and they can’t push them any lower?  In addition, in recent days the Federal Reserve has decided to absolutely flood the financial system with new money in a desperate attempt to stabilize the repo market.  In essence, the Federal Reserve has launched a massive new round of quantitative easing even before a major crisis has erupted on Wall Street.  I can understand trying to be proactive, but in reality quantitative easing is an extreme emergency measure that should only be used in the most desperate of situations.  If the Fed is creating this much new money now, what are they going to do once things really get bad?  Are we destined to become the next Venezuela?

For a long time, the Federal Reserve has insisted that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  If that is true, there is no way in the world that the Fed should be cutting interest rates.  But that is exactly what happened on Wednesday

In a vote widely anticipated by financial markets, the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee lowered its benchmark funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The rate sets what banks charge each other for overnight lending but is also tied to most forms of revolving consumer debt.

It was the third cut this year as part of what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has characterized as a “midcycle adjustment” in a maturing economic expansion.

With rates now so close to zero, there isn’t going to be much that the Fed can do in that regard once the next recession strikes.

According to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this latest rate cut was done for “insurance” purposes

Powell said lowering the rate again was ‘insurance’, or protection needed because ‘weakness in global growth and trade developments have weighed on the economy and posed ongoing risks’.

If the U.S. economy doesn’t plunge into a deep recession next year, Powell and the other bureaucrats at the Fed will probably be applauded for these moves.

But if we do experience a significant economic downturn, they will be caught with their pants down.

Yes, the U.S. economy is definitely slowing down, but this week we learned that it still grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent last quarter.

1.9 percent is not good at all, and if honest numbers were being used it would show that our economy is actually contracting.  But at least things are relatively stable for the moment, and as long as things are relatively stable the Federal Reserve should not be resorting to emergency measures.

Of course Wall Street was absolutely thrilled that the Fed cut rates again, and news of the rate cut pushed the S&P 500 to yet another all-time record high

Stocks advanced Wednesday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the third time this year, propelling the Standard & Poor’s 500 to a fresh record.

The S&P 500 index added 9.88 points, or 0.3%, to close at 3046.77. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 115.27 points, or 0.4%, to end at 27,186.69. The Nasdaq added 27.12 points, or 0.3%, at 8,303.98.

And without a doubt, this rate cut is good for consumers.  Rates on mortgages, auto loans and credit cards will go down, and that will save average Americans a lot of money

These Fed interest rate cuts are starting to add up, lowering costs for many Americans who use credit cards or take out loans while squeezing savers.

The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate Wednesday by a quarter percentage point for the third time in the past three months. The move is likely to further trim borrowing costs on credit cards, home equity lines, adjustable-rate mortgages and auto loans.

But this is yet another example of the short-term thinking that is plaguing our society.

When the next recession arrives, the Fed will be able to cut rates a handful of times, and then that will be the end of it.

The Fed should have also held off on buying more bonds until we really needed it as well.  Even though a new financial crisis has not even started yet, the Fed has been creating money like crazy and their balance sheet has ballooned “by about $100 billion over the past month”

The Fed has been buying bonds again, but officials insist it is an effort to stabilize the funds rate within the target range rather than a resurrection of QE. Still, the central bank balance sheet has expanded by about $100 billion over the past month and is back above the $4 trillion mark, $3.6 trillion of which is in Treasurys and mortage-backed securities.

So if the Fed is being this crazy now, what are they going to do when a real financial crisis erupts?

Perhaps they should just get it over with and create trillions of dollars right now and turn us into the Weimar Republic already.

Because that is where all of this craziness is eventually going to take us.  Our dollar is eventually going to be absolutely worthless and we will become the next Venezuela.

I have always been highly critical of the Federal Reserve, but at least in other eras those running the Fed were at least mildly competent.

But now it appears that incompetence is running wild over at the Federal Reserve, and we will all pay a great price for their mistakes in the not too distant future.

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 can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included 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.

If Donald Trump Is Impeached, You Should Expect The Mother Of All Stock Market Crashes To Happen

News that an impeachment inquiry is being initiated instantly sent stock prices tumbling on Tuesday, but that small jolt is nothing compared to what we will experience if Donald Trump is actually impeached.  Over the past couple of years we have seen a tremendous boom in stock prices, and one of the big reasons for that boom is the fact that the folks on Wall Street know that Trump is always going to be looking out for their best interests.  Trump understands that his chances of winning again in 2020 will be greatly enhanced if stock prices are rising and most Americans believe that we have a “booming economy”, and so he wants to do everything in his power to try to make those things happen.  That means that Trump’s short-term interests are perfectly aligned with Wall Street’s short-term interests, but things will shift dramatically if someone like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders ends up in the White House.  Wall Street knows that they have a friend in Donald Trump, and losing that friend would potentially be absolutely devastating.

Needless to say, a lot of investors were unnerved on Tuesday when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that a formal impeachment inquiry is being initiated.  The following is an excerpt from Pelosi’s official remarks…

For the past several months, we have been investigating in our Committees and litigating in the courts, so the House can gather ‘all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.’

And this week, the President has admitted to asking the President of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically. The action of – the actions of the Trump Presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the President’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.

Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I am directing our six Committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.

The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law.

In the aftermath of that announcement, liberal celebrities all across America erupted in celebration.

But can Nancy Pelosi unilaterally declare the commencement of a formal impeachment inquiry without any sort of a vote?  According to Representative Doug Collins, she actually does not have that power…

In reaction to the Speaker’s announcement, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) tweeted, “Speaker Pelosi’s decree changes absolutely nothing. As I have been telling Chairman Nadler for weeks, merely claiming the House is conducting an impeachment inquiry doesn’t make it so. Until the full House votes to authorize an inquiry, nobody is conducting a formal inquiry.”

In any event, the Democrats are going to push ahead with their investigations, and they seem determined to dig up anything that they possibly can.

In response to Pelosi’s announcement, the White House issued a statement which accused congressional Democrats of being “in dereliction of their Constitutional duty”

‘In a far departure from all of the work and results of this President, House Democrats have destroyed any chances of legislative progress for the people of this country by continuing to focus all their energy on partisan political attacks. Their attacks on the President and his agenda are not only partisan and pathetic, they are in dereliction of their Constitutional duty,’ said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in a statement.

We shall see how everything plays out over the next few months, but at this point it seems fairly certain that we will see an impeachment vote on the floor of the House, and it also seems fairly certain that the vote will be split largely along party lines.

Because in this day and age the truth really doesn’t matter.  Even if there isn’t any evidence against Trump at all, most Democrats will vote to impeach because that is what they are expected to do.  And even if Trump is 100 percent guilty most Republicans will vote against impeachment because they would be afraid of being voted out of office by angry voters back home.

So in the end it will probably come down to what the Senate decides to do, and right now the Republicans are holding 53 seats.

Unfortunately for Trump, some of those 53 seats are held by very “moderate” Republicans that are not fans of Trump at all.

Sadly, the fate of the Trump presidency is likely to end up in the hands of a small group of deeply corrupt politicians that I wouldn’t trust to properly mop the floors in my local Dairy Queen.

With that in mind, I think that Trump fans definitely have reason for some pessimism.

Democrats are licking their chops at the prospect of impeaching Trump and then getting either Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren into the White House following the next election.

Joe Biden would try to get along with Wall Street, but a Warren administration would be an absolute disaster for investors and right now she is surging in the polls.

Elizabeth Warren originally made a name for herself by attacking Wall Street.  Virtually all of her economic proposals would be bad news for the top 1 percent, and the fact that she is doing so well right now is just one of the factors that are currently unsettling the markets

For one, this time around it appears Democrats in the House have momentum toward beginning impeachment proceedings. Second, a formerly robust economic backdrop has given way to jitters about global growth and fears that the U.S. economy is nearing the end of a lengthy expansion. Less confident investors could be more jittery in the face of political headlines than was previously the case.

Also, impeachment proceedings could take center stage in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, potentially damaging Trump’s re-election bid. Fears of a less business-friendly Democratic administration — amplified by the recent strength of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has moved ahead of Biden in some polls — could also be part of the mix, analysts said.

Of course the short-term health of Wall Street is not what we should really be concerned about.

At this moment, the entire global economy is plunging into a substantial downturn, and whoever wins in 2020 is going to have to face that reality.

And beyond that, we are facing long-term crisis after long-term crisis that none of our politicians really want to deal with, and in the end we are going to pay a great price for our short-term thinking.

But for the foreseeable future, the mainstream media is going to be obsessed with the political drama being played out in Washington.

And I know that most Republicans don’t want to hear this, but there is a very real chance that Donald Trump could be impeached by the House.

Then it will all come down to the Senate, and Trump’s fate will be in the hands of moderate Republicans such as Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

Goldman Sachs Has Just Issued An Ominous Warning About Stock Market Chaos In October

Are we about to see U.S. financial markets go crazy?  That is what Goldman Sachs seems to think, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that great financial chaos has been unleashed during the month of October.  When the stock market crashed in October 1929, it started the worst economic depression that we have ever witnessed.  In October 1987, the largest single day percentage decline in U.S. stock market history rocked the entire planet.  And the nightmarish events of October 2008 set the stage for a “Great Recession” that we still haven’t fully recovered from.  So could it be possible that something similar may happen in October 2019?  According to CNBC, Goldman Sachs is warning that the stock market could soon “go crazy again”…

For investors taking a breather from the chaos in August, buckle up as the market is about to go crazy again, Goldman Sachs warned.

Wall Street is now inches away from reclaiming its record highs, but a rockier ride could be around the corner as stock volatility has been 25% higher in October on average since 1928, according to Goldman. Big price swings have been seen in each major stock benchmark and sector in October over the past 30 years, with technology and health care being the most volatile groups, Goldman said.

Goldman derivatives strategist John Marshall is the man behind this new warning, and he believes that there are some fundamental reasons why the month of October is often so volatile…

“We believe high October volatility is more than just a coincidence,” John Marshall, equity derivatives strategist at Goldman, said in a note Friday. “We believe it is a critical period for many investors and companies that manage performance to calendar year-end.”

And even though October hasn’t arrived yet, we are already starting to see some things that we haven’t witnessed since the last financial crisis.

For example, the Federal Reserve had not intervened in the repo market since 2008, but this week the liquidity crunch was so bad that the Fed felt forced to conduct emergency overnight repurchase agreement operations on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

And then on Friday the Fed announced that it will continue to conduct emergency interventions “on a daily basis for the next three weeks”

The New York Federal Reserve Bank said Friday it will inject billions into the US financial plumbing on a daily basis for the next three weeks in an effort to prevent a spike in short-term interest rates.

The Fed will offer up to $75 billion a day in repurchase agreements — exchanging secure assets for cash for very short periods — through October 10, it said in a statement.

In addition, it will offer three 14-day “repo” operations of at least $30 billion each.

In essence, the “plumbing” of our financial system has gotten all jammed up, and calling out Roto-Rooter is simply not going to get the job done.

Of course Fed officials are trying to assure us that this is no big deal and that they have everything under control.

But if all this is no big deal, why haven’t they had to conduct such emergency interventions for the last 11 years?

And this comes at a time when the deterioration of the U.S. economy appears to be accelerating.  In fact, on Friday St. Louis Fed President James Bullard publicly admitted that the U.S. manufacturing industry appears to already be in a recession

The US manufacturing sector “already appears in recession” and overall economic growth is expected to slow “in the near horizon,” St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank president James Bullard said on Friday, explaining why he dissented at a recent Fed meeting and wanted a deeper, half-percentage-point rate cut.

That is a stunning admission, because normally Fed officials try very hard to maintain the narrative that everything is wonderful because they are doing such a great job of manipulating the economy.

The American people as a whole are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the economy as well, and Gallup just released some very alarming numbers

Americans’ confidence in the economy has become less rosy this month as Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index fell to +17 from August’s +24 reading, marking the lowest level since the government shutdown ended in January.

At the same time, the public is evenly divided over the likelihood of a recession in the next year. The current expectation of a recession is nine points higher than it was in October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession began but slightly below a February 2001 reading, one month before that eight-month-long recession.

Every economic indicator that we have is telling us that big trouble is heading our way, but most Americans are partying instead of preparing.

U.S. financial markets have never been more primed for a crash than they are at this moment, and so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last recession are happening again right now.

Over the past few months, my wife and I have felt a sense of urgency unlike anything that we have ever felt before.  You may have noticed a difference in our tone and in the types of stories that we have been sharing.  Everything that we have been doing has been leading up to this.  The time of “the perfect storm” is here, and most Americans won’t understand what is happening.

The storm clouds are looming and disaster could strike at any time.  This is one of the most critical times in the history of our nation, and most Americans are completely unprepared for what is going to happen next.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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