Wall Street Seems To Believe That Endless Gridlock And Political Turmoil Will Be Good For America

It is difficult not to admire the relentless optimism on Wall Street.  A divided Congress is going to guarantee two years of gridlock and political turmoil in Washington, but many in the financial community are choosing to interpret the election results as a positive sign.  They remember the “gridlock” during the Obama years, and they are hopeful that the next couple of years will be at least somewhat similar.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 545 points on Wednesday, and that was the largest post-midterm rally that we have seen in 36 years.  Stock prices normally go up the day after midterm elections, but Wednesday’s rally was definitely unusual

Wednesday’s post-midterms rally was larger than the average gain that follows the contests. Goldman Sachs noted the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 0.7 percent from the day before the elections to the day after midterms. Wednesday marked the biggest post-midterms gain for both the Dow and S&P 500 since the day after the 1982 contests, when the indexes surged 4.3 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

To a certain extent, it is likely that investors were greatly relieved that the worst case scenario did not play out.  As I noted on Monday, a blue wave that would have resulted in Democrats taking control of both houses of Congress would have meant big trouble for Wall Street, and many are very thankful that we were able to avoid that outcome

Investors also avoided the most-feared Wall Street outcome, a so-called “blue wave,” or Democratic sweep of both chambers of Congress. That could have put the president’s economic policies under assault and boosted the odds of a Democratic House pushing for Trump’s impeachment.

“Everything played out according to script,” Stephen Innes, head of Asia trading at Oanda, told USA TODAY. “The Trump agenda is not in serious jeopardy.”

But are Tuesday’s results actually good news for Wall Street?

The optimists are pointing to history as evidence that gridlock in Washington is typically good for investors…

Legislative gridlock has historically been good for financial markets. In fact, in years with a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-run House in place, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has posted average gains of 10.8 percent, according to data from Strategas Research Partners.

“A split Congress means that gridlock is more likely, and that’s been fine for markets in the past,” says Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.

Unfortunately, that is not a fair comparison.

The times that we are moving into are not going to be anything like the “gridlock” that we witnessed during the Reagan, Clinton and Obama presidencies.

During the Obama era, Republican leadership got along with the White House fairly well.  And even though there was often some wrangling, Republicans almost always gave Obama most of what he wanted when it came to budget deals and other critical pieces of legislation.

Sadly, the next two years are going to be much different.  It will be the political equivalent of trench warfare, and the carnage is going to be off the charts.

Top Democrats in the House are already threatening to hit the Trump administration with a wave of subpoenas, and Trump is warning that if that happens he will adopt a “war posture”.  Throughout his career, Trump’s philosophy has always been that if somebody hits him he is going to hit them back even harder.

I want you to imagine the most graphic battle scene that you have ever watched on television, because that is what the coming years will be like.  There will be an all-out attempt to take down Trump and everyone around him, and Trump will respond by going after everyone that he perceives to be an enemy.  In the end, a lot of politicians are not going to make it, and our system of governance will be badly damaged.

And the truth is that we aren’t going to have to wait long for things to erupt.  According to the Baltimore Sun, “political war” has already erupted…

Washington plunged into political war on Wednesday in the wake of a split decision by voters in the midterm elections, with President Donald Trump ousting his attorney general and threatening to retaliate against Democrats if they launch investigations into his personal conduct and possible corruption in the administration.

The rapid shift to battle stations signaled the start of what is likely to be two years of unremitting political combat as Trump positions himself for reelection. For the first time, Trump will be forced to navigate divided government as Democrats who won the House pledge to be a check on his power and face pressure from their liberal base to block him at every turn.

The left has been holding back for months so that they would not alienate any potential voters, but now that the midterm elections are over they are free to start causing chaos again.

If you do not believe that we are headed for great political conflict, I would like for you to consider what has already happened within the past 24 hours…

-Major progressive groups such as MoveOn.Org announced that they are organizing “response events” in 900 U.S. cities on Thursday to protest the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

-The White House pulled CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials.

-DC Antifa published the home addresses of Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and other prominent conservatives.

-A mob showed up outside Tucker Carlson’s home and warned him that they “know where you sleep at night” and ordered him to “leave town”.

As I have warned so many times, hatred and anger are growing to unprecedented levels in America.

Many had been hoping that the midterm elections would resolve much of the political tension in this country, but instead it looks like things are going to continue escalating quickly.

And it isn’t going to take very much at all to unleash major civil unrest.  The left already hates Trump more than any other president in American history, and one really bad move could set off an explosion of anger unlike anything we have ever seen before.

My friends, these are dark times, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot darker.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium members-only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

 

Undeniable Evidence That The Real Economy Is Already In Recession Mode

Evidence - Public DomainYou are about to see a chart that is undeniable evidence that we have already entered a major economic slowdown.  In the “real economy”, stuff is bought and sold and shipped around the country by trucks, railroads and planes.  When more stuff is being bought and sold and shipped around the country, the “real economy” is growing, and when less stuff is being bought and sold and shipped around the country, the “real economy” is shrinking.  I know that might sound really basic, but I want everyone to be on the same page as we proceed in this article.  Just because stock prices are artificially high right now does not mean that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  In fact, there was a stock rally at this exact time of the year in 2008 even though the underlying economic fundamentals were rapidly deteriorating.  We all remember what happened later that year, so we should not exactly be rejoicing that precisely the same pattern that we witnessed in 2008 is happening again right in front of our eyes.

During the month of April, the Cass Transportation Index was down 4.9 percent on a year over year basis.  What this means is that a lot less stuff was bought and sold and shipped around the country in April 2016 when compared to April 2015.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Freight shipments by truck and rail in the US fell 4.9% in April from the beaten-down levels of April 2015, according to the Cass Transportation Index, released on Friday. It was the worst April since 2010, which followed the worst March since 2010. In fact, shipment volume over the four months this year was the worst since 2010.

This is no longer statistical “noise” that can easily be brushed off.

Of course this was not just a one month fluke.  The reality is that we have now seen the Cass Shipping Index decline on a year over year basis for 14 consecutive months.  Here is more commentary and a chart from Wolf Richter

The Cass Freight Index is not seasonally adjusted. Hence the strong seasonal patterns in the chart. Note the beaten-down first four months of 2016 (red line):

Cass Freight Index - Wolfstreet

This is undeniable evidence that the “real economy” has been slowing down for more than a year.  In 2007-2008 we saw a similar thing happen, but the Federal Reserve and most of the “experts” boldly assured us that there was not going to be a recession.

Of course then we immediately proceeded to plunge into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Traditionally, railroad activity has been a key indicator of where the U.S. economy is heading next.  Just a few days ago, I wrote about how U.S. rail traffic was down more than 11 percent from a year ago during the month of April, and I included a photo that showed 292 Union Pacific engines sitting in the middle of the Arizona desert doing absolutely nothing.

Well, just yesterday one of my readers sent me a photograph of a news article from North Dakota about how a similar thing is happening up there.  Hundreds of rail workers are being laid off, and engines are just sitting idle on the tracks because there is literally nothing for them to do…

North Dakota Railroad Engines Idle

Intuitively, does it seem like this should be happening in a “healthy” economy?

Of course not.

The reason why this is happening is because businesses have been selling less stuff.  Total business sales have now been declining for almost two years, and they are now close to 15 percent lower than they were in late 2014.

Because sales are way down, unsold inventories are really starting to pile up.  The inventory to sales ratio is now close to the level it was at during the worst moments of the last recession, and many analysts expect it to continue to keep going up.

Why can’t people understand what is happening?  So far this year, job cut announcements are up 24 percent and the number of commercial bankruptcies is shooting through the roof.  Signs that we are in the early chapters of a new economic downturn are all around us, and yet denial is everywhere.

For instance, just consider this excerpt from a CNBC article entitled “This key recession signal is broken“…

Treasury yields are behaving as if they are signaling a recession, but strategists say this time it’s more likely a sign of something else.

The market has been buzzing about the flattening yield curve, or the fact that yields on longer duration Treasurys are getting closer to yields on shorter duration securities.

In the case of 10-year notes and two-year notes, that spread was the flattest Friday than it has been on a closing basis since late 2007. The yield curve had turned negative in 2006 and stayed there for months in 2007 before turning higher ahead of the Great Recession. The spread was at 95 at Friday’s curve but widened Monday to more than 96.

Treasury yields are very, very clearly telling us that a new recession is here, but because the “experts” don’t want to believe it they are telling us that the signal is “broken”.

For many Americans, all that seems to matter is that the stock market has recovered from the horrible crashes last August and earlier this year.  But in the end, I am convinced that those crashes will simply be regarded as “foreshocks” of a much greater crash in our not too distant future.

But if you don’t want to believe me, perhaps you will listen to Goldman Sachs.  They just came out with six reasons why stocks are about to tumble.

Or perhaps you will believe Bank of America.  They just came out with nine reasons why a big stock market decline is on the horizon.

To me, one of the big developments has been the fact that stock buybacks are really starting to dry up.  In fact, announced stock buybacks have declined 38 percent so far this year

After snapping up trillions of dollars of their own stock in a five-year shopping binge that dwarfed every other buyer, U.S. companies from Apple Inc. to IBM Corp. just put on the brakes. Announced repurchases dropped 38 percent to $244 billion in the last four months, the biggest decline since 2009, data compiled by Birinyi Associates and Bloomberg show. “If the only meaningful source of demand in the market is companies buying their own shares back, then what happens if that goes away?” asked Brad McMillan, CIO of Commonwealth “We should be concerned.”

Stock buybacks have been one of the key factors keeping stock prices at artificially inflated levels even though underlying economic conditions have been deteriorating.  Now that stock buybacks are drying up, it is going to be difficult for stocks to stay disconnected from economic reality.

A lot of people have been asking me recently when the next crisis is going to arrive.

I always tell them that it is already here.

Just like in early 2008, economic conditions are rapidly deteriorating, but the stock market has not gotten the memo quite yet.

And just like in 2008, when the financial markets do finally start catching up with reality it will likely happen very quickly.

So don’t take your eyes off of the deteriorating economic fundamentals, because it is inevitable that the financial markets will follow eventually.

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