One thing that you have to appreciate about Donald Trump is that unlike most politicians, he actually says what is on his mind. On Tuesday, Trump told Fox Business that he had already gotten out of the stock market, and that he foresees “very scary scenarios” ahead for investors. And of course things have already started to get a bit ominous for those holding stocks over the last week and a half. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now closed down for seven days in a row, and that is the longest losing streak that we have seen since the panic of last August. Over the past 12 months we have seen virtually every other major global stock market experience at least one major crash. Could the U.S. markets be next?
What Trump told Fox Business earlier today was actually right on the money. Our financial markets have been artificially inflated by the Federal Reserve, and all artificial bubbles of this nature eventually burst. The following comes from a Bloomberg article that was posted on Tuesday entitled “Trump Urges Exit From Market Boosted by ‘Artificially Low’ Rates“…
Donald Trump on Tuesday said interest rates set by the Federal Reserve are inflating the stock market and recommended 401(k)-holders to get out of equities, just like he did.
“I did invest and I got out, and it was actually very good timing,” the Republican presidential nominee said in a phone interview with Fox Business. “But I’ve never been a big investor in the stock market.”
“Interest rates are artificially low,” Trump said. “The only reason the stock market is where it is is because you get free money.”
Trump’s comments come at a time when we are getting a whole host of bad news about the U.S. economy. We just learned that U.S. GDP grew at a meager 1.2 percent annual rate during the second quarter, the rate of homeownership in the United States just hit an all-time record low, and corporate earnings have now been falling for five quarters in a row.
But perhaps most alarming of all is what is happening to the price of oil. As I discussed yesterday, the price of oil has plunged well over 20 percent since June 8th, and it was down again on Tuesday.
As I write this article, the price of U.S. oil is sitting at just $39.66. The psychologically-important 40 dollar barrier has been broken, but the price of oil doesn’t even have to go down another penny to do immense damage to the U.S. economy. If it just stays at this price, we are going to bleed more energy industry jobs, more energy companies are going to default on their debts, and more financial institutions that are exposed to the energy industry are going to get into serious trouble.
All the ingredients are there for a major financial crisis, and perhaps that explains why so many investors are flocking to precious metals such as gold and silver right now.
The price of gold has gone up for six trading days in a row, and silver is approaching 21 dollars an ounce.
Meanwhile, things continue to unravel on the other side of the planet. In Europe, let’s just say that the recent bank stress tests did not go as well as many were hoping…
If the goal of the EBA Stress Tests was to reassure investors and regain confidence that ‘all is well’ in Europe’s increasingly fragile and systemically interconnected banking system, then it has utterly failed. The broadest European bank stock index is now down 7% from the post-stress-test spike highs, Italian banks are at record lows and being halted (despite Renzi’s promises), Commerzbank is struggling with capital raise chatter, and Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are tumbling after being booted from the Stoxx 50.
It is funny – every time I write a major article about Deutsche Bank, their stock goes to a new record low.
And it has just happened again. Less than a week ago, I posted this article, and on Tuesday Deutsche Bank plummeted to a brand new record low as renewed fears about the health of the bank spooked investors.
Problems at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are now becoming so obvious that even mainstream analysts are admitting that they are “causing some anxiety”…
“Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse … are dropping to where they were after the Brexit vote,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird. “That’s causing some anxiety.”
Deutsche and Credit Suisse’s U.S.-listed shares closed down 3.75 percent and 4.67 percent, respectively.
In Europe nobody is waiting for financial stocks to crash, because they are already crashing.
A “too big to fail” crisis is rapidly unfolding across the entire continent, but most Americans are totally oblivious to what is going on over there. Instead, our major news outlets are feeding us an endless barrage of negative headlines about Donald Trump and a steady stream of positive headlines about Hillary Clinton.
I wonder who they want to win the election?
Of course I am being sarcastic. The days when the mainstream media at least pretended to be “independent” are long gone.
But as far as the stock market is concerned, I am quite confident that Donald Trump will be vindicated.
And if you don’t want to believe Donald Trump, I would encourage you to consider what Jeffrey Gundlach, the chief executive of DoubleLine Capital, has been saying. He has been right about the markets in recent years over and over again, and just a few days ago he publicly stated that “stocks should be down massively” and that now is the time to “sell everything“.
Unfortunately, very few people are likely to change course at this stage. Most of those that could see the warning signs have already gotten out of the market, and those that prefer to have blind faith in the system are not likely to listen to warnings from men like Trump and Gundlach.
So now it is just a waiting game.
We shall see if Trump and Gundlach are right, and those that end up on the correct side of the equation are probably going to make a boatload of money during the months ahead.
The Dow and the S&P 500 both closed at all-time record highs on Tuesday, and that is very good news. You might think that is an odd statement coming from the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, but the truth is that I am not at all eager to see the financial system crash and burn. We all saw what took place when it happened in 2008 – millions of people lost their jobs, millions of people lost their homes, and economic suffering was off the charts. So no, I don’t want to see that happen again any time soon. All of our lives will be a lot more comfortable if the financial markets are stable and stocks continue to go up. If the Dow and the S&P 500 can keep on soaring, that will suit me just fine. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to be what happens.
Of course I never imagined we would be talking about new record highs for the stock market in mid-July 2016. We have seen some crazy ups and downs for the financial markets over the last 12 months, and the downs were pretty severe. Last August, we witnessed the greatest financial shaking since the historic financial crisis of 2008, and that was followed by an even worse shaking in January and February. Then in June everyone was concerned that the surprising result of the Brexit vote would cause global markets to tank, and that did happen briefly, but since then we have seen an unprecedented rally.
So what is causing this sudden surge?
We’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s review some of the numbers from Tuesday. The following comes from USA Today…
All three major indexes gained 0.7% apiece, as the Dow jumped 121 points to a new all-time closing high and the S&P 500 built upon its record close notched Monday. The blue chips now stand at 18,347.67, about 35 points above the previous record set May 19, 2015.
The new mark for the S&P 500 is 2,152.14, a 15-point improvement on its Monday close.
Overall, we have seen stocks shoot up more than eight percent over the last two weeks. Normally, a rise of 10 percent for an entire year is considered to be quite healthy…
Interior Minister Theresa May is set to become the U.K.’s prime minister on Wednesday. Stock markets across the globe have risen sharply, after a steep sell-off, following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.
“In the past two weeks, post Brexit, the S&P 500 has vaulted over 8 percent,” said Adam Sarhan, CEO at Sarhan Capital. “Typically, a 10 percent move for the entire year is considered normal.”
What makes all of this even stranger is the fact that investors have been pulling money out of stocks as if it was 2008 all over again. In fact, Zero Hedge tells us that on balance investors have been taking money out of equity funds for 17 weeks in a row.
So why are stocks still going up?
If your guess is “central bank intervention”, you are right on the nose.
Across the Pacific, the Bank of Japan has been voraciously gobbling up assets, and the architect of “Abenomics” just won a major electoral victory which has fueled a huge market rally over there…
Meanwhile, in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered new stimulus after his coalition won an election in Japan’s upper chamber by a landslide. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose nearly 2.5 percent overnight, while the yen erased all of its post-Brexit gains against the dollar.
“In the short term, I think it’s going to help, but in the long term, we’ll see,” said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. “I feel like a lot of people are getting themselves into situations that they can’t get out of.”
In Europe, the ECB has feverishly been pumping money into the financial system, and the result of the Brexit vote seems to have lit a renewed fire under the central bankers in Europe. Collectively, intervention by the Japanese and the Europeans has created “a surge in net global central bank asset purchases to their highest since 2013”…
Fast forward six months when Matt King reports that “many clients have been asking for an update of our usual central bank liquidity metrics.”
What the update reveals is “a surge in net global central bank asset purchases to their highest since 2013.”
And just like that the mystery of who has been buying stocks as everyone else has been selling has been revealed.
So now you know the rest of the story.
The economic fundamentals have not changed. China is still slowing down. Japan is still mired in a multi-year economic crisis. Much of Europe is still dealing with a full-blown banking crisis. Much of South America is still experiencing a full-blown depression.
Here in the United States, just about every indicator that you can think of says that the economy is slowing down. If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “15 Facts About The Imploding U.S. Economy That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want You To See“.
The artificially-induced rally that we are witnessing right now can be compared to a “last gasp” of a dying patient.
But my hope is that this “last gasp” can last for as long as possible. Because as much as I warn people about it, I am not actually eager to see what comes next.
The economic and financial suffering that are coming are inevitable, but they are not going to be pleasant for any of us. So let us all hope that we still have a little bit more time before the party is over and it is time to turn out the lights.
We are about three weeks into 2016, and we are witnessing things that we have never seen before. There were two emergency market shutdowns in China within the first four trading days of this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has never lost this many points within the first three weeks, and just yesterday we learned that global stocks had officially entered bear market territory. Overall, more than 15 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out since last June. And of course the markets are simply playing catch up with global economic reality. The Baltic Dry Index just hit another new all-time record low today, Wal-Mart has announced that they are shutting down 269 stores, and initial jobless claims in the U.S. just surged to their highest level in six months. So if things are this bad already, what will the rest of 2016 bring?
The Dow was up just a little bit on Thursday thankfully, but even with that gain we are still in unprecedented territory. According to CNBC, we have never seen a tougher start to the year for the Dow than we have in 2016…
The Dow Jones industrial average, which was created in 1896, has never begun a year with 12 worse trading days. Through Wednesday’s close, the Dow has fallen 9.5 percent. Even including the 1.3 percent gains as of noon Thursday, the Dow is still down nearly 8 percent in 2016.
But even with the carnage that we have seen so far, stocks are still wildly overpriced compared to historical averages. In order for stocks to no longer be in a “bubble”, they will still need to decline by about another one-third. The following comes from MarketWatch…
Data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, meanwhile, say U.S. nonfinancial corporate stocks are now valued at about 90% of the replacement cost of company assets, a metric known as “Tobin’s Q.” But the historic average, going back a century, is in the region of 60% of replacement costs. By this measure, stocks could fall by another third, taking the Dow all the way down toward 10,000. (On Wednesday it closed at 15,767.) Similar calculations could be reached by comparing share prices to average per-share earnings, a measure known as the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio, commonly known as CAPE, after Yale finance professor Robert Shiller, who made it famous.
Of course the mainstream media doesn’t seem to understand any of this. They seem to be under the impression that the bubble should have lasted forever, and this latest meltdown has taken them totally by surprise.
Ultimately, what is happening should not be a surprise to any of us. The financial markets always catch up with economic reality eventually, and right now evidence continues to mount that economic activity is significantly slowing down. Here is some analysis from Brandon Smith…
Trucking freight in the U.S. is in steep decline, with freight companies pointing to a “glut in inventories” and a fall in demand as the culprit.
Morgan Stanley’s freight transportation update indicates a collapse in freight demand worse than that seen during 2009.
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global freight rates and thus a measure of global demand for shipping of raw materials, has collapsed to even more dismal historic lows. Hucksters in the mainstream continue to push the lie that the fall in the BDI is due to an “overabundance of new ships.” However, the CEO of A.P. Moeller-Maersk, the world’s largest shipping line, put that nonsense to rest when he admitted in November that “global growth is slowing down” and “[t]rade is currently significantly weaker than it normally would be under the growth forecasts we see.”
In addition, another very troubling sign is the fact that initial jobless claims are starting to surge once again…
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits in mid-January reached seven-month highs, perhaps a sign that the rate of layoffs in the U.S. has risen slightly from record lows.
Initial jobless claims climbed a seasonally adjusted 10,000 to 293,000 in the seven days stretching from Jan. 10 to Jan 16, the government said Thursday. That’s the highest level since last July.
Since the last recession, the primary engine for the creation of good jobs in this country has been the energy industry.
Unfortunately, the “oil boomtowns” are now going bust, and workers are being laid off in droves. As I mentioned the other day, 42 North American oil companies have filed for bankruptcy and 130,000 good paying energy jobs have been lost in this country since the start of 2015. And as long as the price of oil stays in this neighborhood, the worse things are going to get.
A lot of people out there still seem to think that this is just going to be a temporary downturn. Many are convinced that we will just go through another tough recession and then we will come out okay on the other side. What they don’t realize is that a number of long-term trends are now reaching a crescendo.
For decades, we have been living wildly beyond our means. The federal government, state and local governments, corporations and consumers have all been going into debt far faster than our economy has been growing. Of course this was never going to be sustainable in the long run, but we had been doing it for so long that many of us had come to believe that our exceedingly reckless debt-fueled prosperity was somehow “normal”.
Unfortunately, the truth is that you can’t consume far more than you produce forever. Eventually reality catches up with you. This is a point that Simon Black made extremely well in one of his recent articles…
Economics isn’t complicated. The Universal Law of Prosperity is very simple: produce more than you consume.
Governments, corporations, and individuals all have to abide by it. Those who do will thrive. Those who don’t will fail, sooner or later.
When the entire financial system ignores this fundamental rule, it puts us all at risk.
And if you can understand that, you can take simple, sensible steps to prevent the consequences.
Sadly, the time for avoiding the consequences of our actions is now past.
We are now starting to pay the price for decades of incredibly bone-headed decisions, and anyone that is looking to Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve or anyone else in Washington D.C. to be our savior is going to be bitterly disappointed.
And as bad as things have been so far, just wait until you see what happens next.
2016 is the year when everything changes.
The stock market is in far worse shape than we are being told. As you will see in this article, the average U.S. stock is already down more than 20 percent from the peak of the market. But of course the major indexes are not down nearly that much. As the week begins, the S&P 500 is down 9.8 percent from its 2015 peak, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 10.7 percent from its 2015 peak, and the Nasdaq is down 11.0 percent from its 2015 peak. So if you only look at those indexes, you would think that we are only about halfway to bear market territory. Unfortunately, a few high flying stocks such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google have been masking a much deeper decline for the rest of the market. When the market closed on Friday, 229 of the stocks on the S&P 500 were down at least 20 percent from their 52 week highs, and when you look at indexes that are even broader things are even worse.
For example, let’s take a look at the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index. According to the Bespoke Investment Group, the average stock on that index is down a staggering 26.9 percent from the peak of the market…
Indeed, the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index – a broad basket of large, mid and small company stocks – shows that the average stock’s distance from its 52-week high is 26.9%, according to stats compiled by Bespoke Investment Group through Friday’s close.
“That’s bear market territory!” says Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, the firm that provided USA TODAY with the gloomy price data.
So if the average stock has fallen 26.9 percent, what kind of market are we in?
To me, that is definitely bear market territory.
The rapid decline of the markets last week got the attention of the entire world, but of course this current financial crisis did not begin last week. These stocks have been falling since the middle part of last year. And what Bespoke Investment Group discovered is that small cap stocks have been hurt the most by this current downturn…
Here’s a statistical damage assessment, provided by Bespoke Investment Group, of the pain being felt by the average U.S. stock in the S&P 1500 index:
* Large-company stocks in the S&P 500 index are down 22.6%, on average, from peaks hit in the past 12 months.
* Mid-sized stocks in the S&P 400 index are sporting an average decline of 26.5% since hitting 52-week highs.
* Small stocks in the S&P 600 index are the farthest distance away from their recent peaks. The average small-cap name is 30.7% below its high in the past year.
After looking at those numbers, is there anyone out there that still wants to try to claim that “nothing is happening”?
Over the past six months or so, the sector that has been hit the hardest has been energy. According to CNN, the average energy stock has now fallen 52 percent…
And then there’s energy. The dramatic decline in crude oil prices rocked the energy space. The average energy stock is now down a whopping 52% from its 52-week high, according to Bespoke. The only thing worse than that is small-cap energy, which is down 61%.
If you go up to an energy executive and try to tell him that “nothing is happening”, you might just get punched in the face.
And it is very important to keep in mind that stocks still have a tremendous distance to fall. They are still massively overvalued by historical standards, and this is something that I have covered repeatedly on my website in recent months.
So how far could they ultimately fall?
Well, Dr. John Hussman is convinced that we could eventually see total losses in the 40 to 55 percent range…
I remain convinced that the U.S. financial markets, particularly equities and low-grade debt, are in a late-stage top formation of the third speculative bubble in 15 years.
On the basis of the valuation measures most strongly correlated with subsequent market returns (and that havefully retained that correlation even across recent market cycles), current extremes imply 40-55% market losses over the completion of the current market cycle, with zero nominal and negative real total returns for the S&P 500 on a 10-to-12-year horizon.
These are not worst-case scenarios, but run-of-the-mill expectations.
If the market does fall about 40 percent, that will just bring us into the range of what is considered to be historically “normal”. If some sort of major disaster or emergency were to strike, that could potentially push the market down much, much farther.
And with each passing day, we get even more numbers which seem to indicate that we are entering a very, very deep global recession.
For instance, global trade numbers are absolutely collapsing. This is a point that Raoul Pal hammered home during an interview with CNBC just the other day…
Looking at International Monetary Fund data, “the year-over-year change in global exports is at the second lowest level since 1958,” Raoul Pal, Publisher of the Global Macro Investor told CNBC’s”Fast Money”this week.
Basically, it means economies around the world are shipping their goods at near historically low levels. “Something massive is going on in the global economy and people are missing it,” Pal added.
The steep decline in 2015 exports is second only to 2009, when the global recession led to a 37 percent drop in export growth.
We have never seen global exports collapse this much outside of a recession.
Clearly we are witnessing a tremendous shift, and it boggles my mind that more people cannot see it.
As for this current wave of financial turmoil, it is hard to say how long it will last. As I write this article, markets all over the Middle East are imploding, stocks in Asia are going crazy, currencies are crashing, and carry trades are being unwound at a staggering pace. But at some point we should expect the level of panic to subside a bit.
If things do temporarily calm down, don’t let that fool you. Global financial markets have not been this fragile since 2008. Any sort of a trigger event is going to cause stocks all over the world to slide even more.
And let us not minimize the damage that has already been done one bit. As you just read, the average stock on the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index is already down 26.9 percent. The financial crisis that erupted during the second half of 2015 has already resulted in trillions of dollars of wealth being wiped out.
When people ask me when the “next financial crisis” is coming, I have a very simple answer for them.
The next financial crisis is not coming.
The next financial crisis is already here.
An angry bear has been released after nearly seven years in hibernation, and the entire world is going to be absolutely shocked by what happens next.
We have never had a year start the way that 2016 has started. In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have both posted their worst four-day starts to a year ever. Canadian stocks are now down 21 percent since September, and it has been an absolute bloodbath in Europe over the past four days. Of course the primary catalyst for all of this is what has been going on in China. There has been an emergency suspension of trading in China two times within the past four days, and nobody is quite certain what is going to happen next. Eventually this wave of panic selling will settle down, but that won’t mean that this crisis will be over. In fact, what is coming is going to be much worse than what we have already seen.
On Thursday I was doing a show with some friends, and we were amazed that stocks just seemed to keep falling and falling and falling. The Dow closed down 392 points, and the NASDAQ got absolutely slammed. At this point, the Dow and the NASDAQ are both officially in “correction territory”, and some of the talking heads on television are warning that this could be the beginning of a “bear market”. But of course some of the other “experts” are insisting that this is just a temporary bump in the road.
But what everyone can agree on is that we have never seen a start to a year like this one. The following comes from CNN…
The global market freakout of 2016 just got worse.
The latest scare came on Thursday as China’s stock market crashed 7% overnight and crude oil plummeted to the lowest level in more than 12 years.
The Dow dropped 392 points on Thursday. The S&P 500 fell 2.4%, while the Nasdaq tumbled 3%.
The wave of selling has knocked the Dow down 911 points, or more than 5% so far this year. That’s the worst four-day percentage loss to start a year on record, according to FactSet stats that go back to 1897.
When CNN starts sounding like The Economic Collapse Blog, you know that things are really bad. I particularly like their use of the phrase “global market freakout”. I might have to borrow that one.
Even some of the biggest and most trusted stocks are plummeting. For instance, Apple dropped to $96.45 on Thursday. It is now down a total of 28 percent since hitting a record high of more than 134 dollars a share back in April.
So that means that if someone put all of their retirement money into Apple stock last April (which may have seemed like a really good idea at that time), by now more than one-fourth of that money is gone.
For months, I have been warning that the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008 were happening again. To me, the parallels between 2008 and 2015/2016 were just uncanny. And now other very prominent names are making similar comparisons. According to the Washington Post, George Soros says that the way this new crisis is unfolding “reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008″…
Influential investor George Soros said that China had a “major adjustment problem” on its hands. “I would say it amounts to a crisis,” he told an economic forum in Sri Lanka, according to Bloomberg News. “When I look at the financial markets, there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008.”
Don’t get me wrong – I am certainly not a supporter of George Soros. My point is that we are starting to hear a lot of really ominous talk from a lot of different directions. All over the world, people are starting to understand that the next great financial crisis is already here.
As I write this tonight, I just feel quite a bit of sadness. A lot of hard working people are going to lose a lot of money this year, and that includes people that I know personally. I wish that my voice had been clearer and louder. I wish that I could have done more to get people to understand what was coming. I wish that my warnings could have made more of a difference.
I just think about how I would feel if everything that I had worked for all my life was suddenly wiped out. And that is what is going to end up happening to some of these people. When you lose everything, it can be absolutely debilitating.
You only make money in the markets if you get out in time. And unfortunately, most of the general population will be like deer in the headlights and won’t know which way to move.
There will be up days for the markets in our near future. But don’t be fooled by them. It is important to remember that some of the greatest up days in U.S. stock market history were right in the middle of the stock market crash of 2008. So don’t let a rally fool you into thinking that the crisis is over.
The financial crisis that began in the second half of 2015 is now accelerating, and everything that we have witnessed over the past few days is just a natural extension of what has already been happening.
Personally, I am just really looking forward to this weekend when I will hopefully get caught up on some rest. Plus, my Washington Redskins will be hosting a playoff game on Sunday, and if they find a way to win that game that will put me in a particularly positive mood.
It is good to enjoy these simple pleasures while we still can. Unprecedented chaos is coming this year, and we are all going to need strength and courage for what is ahead.
The first trading day of 2016 was full of chaos and panic. It started in Asia where the Nikkei was down 582 points, Hong Kong was down 587 points, and Chinese markets experienced an emergency shutdown after the CSI 300 tumbled 7 percent. When European markets opened, the nightmare continued. The DAX was down 459 points, and European stocks overall had their worst start to a year ever. In the U.S., it looked like we were on course for a truly historic day as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 467 points at one stage, but some very mysterious late day buying activity helped trim the loss to just 276 points at the close of the market. The sudden market turmoil caught many by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. The truth is that a whole host of leading indicators have been telling us that this is exactly what should be happening. The global financial crisis that began in 2015 is now accelerating, and my regular readers already know precisely what is coming next.
The financial turmoil of the last 24 hours is making headlines all over the globe. It began last night in China. Very bad manufacturing data and another troubling devaluation of the yuan sent Chinese stocks tumbling to a degree that we have not seen since last August. In fact, the carnage would have probably been far, far worse if not for a new “circuit breaker” that China recently implemented. Once the CSI 300 was down 7 percent, trading was completely shut down for the rest of the day. The following comes from USA Today…
Under a new market “circuit breaker” rule in China established last year, which is designed to slow down markets and halt panic in the event of moves of 5% or more, the CSI 300, a large-company stock index in mainland China was halted for 15 minutes in mid-afternoon trading after diving more than 5%. But when shares headed lower once again just minutes after the initial trading halt, and losses for the day swelled to more than 7%, the new circuit breaker rules kicked in, prompting a shutdown of mainland China’s stock market for the day, according to Bloomberg.
After the first 15 minute halt, panic set in as Chinese traders rushed to get out of their trades before the 7 percent circuit breaker kicked in. This resulted in an absolutely chaotic seven minutes as investors made a mad dash for the exits…
The sell orders piled up fast on Monday at Shenwan Hongyuan Group, China’s fifth-biggest brokerage by market value.
China’s CSI 300 Index had just tumbled 5 percent, triggering a 15-minute trading halt, and stock investors were scrambling to exit before getting locked in by a full-day suspension set to take effect at 7 percent. When the first halt was lifted, the market reaction was swift: it took just seven minutes for losses to reach the limit as volumes surged to their highs of the day.
“Investors rushed to the door during the level-one stage of the circuit breaker as they fretted the market would go down further,” said William Wong, the head of sales trading at Shenwan Hongyuan in Hong Kong.
The financial carnage continued once the European markets opened. Markets were red all across the continent, and things were particularly bad in Germany. The DAX was down 459 points, and it is rapidly approaching the psychologically-important 10,000 barrier. Overall, it was the worst start to a year that the European markets have ever experienced.
When U.S. markets opened, unexpectedly bad U.S. manufacturing data seemed to add fuel to the fire. Monday morning we learned that our manufacturing sector is contracting at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last recession…
America’s manufacturing sector shrank for the second straight month in December. The industry’s key index — ISM — hit 48.2% in December, the lowest mark since June 2009. Anything below 50% is a contraction and a month ago it hit 48.6%.
The index has fallen for six straight months.
“The trend is certainly heading in a direction that would ring alarm bells,” says Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo.
This is yet another sign that tells us that the U.S. economy has already entered the next recession.
And what happens to the markets during a recession?
They go down.
In addition to the bad data that we got from the U.S. and China, there was another number that was also extremely troubling.
South Korean exports have traditionally been considered a key leading indicator for the entire global economy, and on Monday we learned that they were down a whopping 13.8 percent in December from a year earlier…
One of the more reliable indicators of the global economy continues to confirm fears of a worldwide slowdown.
South Korean exports — also referred to as the world’s economic canary in the coal mine — fell 13.8% in December from a year earlier.
This was a deterioration from the 4.8% decline in November, and it was much worse than the 11.7% decline expected by economists.
The “nothing is happening” crowd may not be willing to admit it yet, but the truth is that a major global economic slowdown is already happening.
And what happened to global markets today is perfectly consistent with the longer term patterns that have been emerging over the past six months or so.
In the weeks and months to come, things are going to get even worse. There will always be days when the markets are up, but don’t let those days fool you into thinking that the crisis is over. In the western world we are so accustomed to 48 hour news cycles, and many of us seem to be incapable of focusing on trends that develop over longer periods of time.
If I was going to put together a scenario for a global financial crisis for a textbook, what we have seen over the past six months or so would be perfect. Things are playing out exactly how they should be, and that means big trouble for the rest of 2016.
But that doesn’t mean that we have to live in fear. In fact, I just wrote an entire article entitled “2016: A Year For Living With No Fear“. It is when times are at their worst that our character is put to the test. Some will respond to what happens in 2016 with courage and strength, and others will respond with fear and panic.
As things start falling apart all around us this year, how will you respond?
If the stock market crash of last Thursday and Friday had all happened on one day, it would have been the 7th largest single day decline in U.S. history. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 367 points after finishing down 253 points on Thursday. The overall decline of 620 points between the two days would have been the 7th largest single day stock market crash ever experienced in the United States if it had happened within just one trading day. If you will remember, this is precisely what I warned would happen if the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. But when news of the rate hike first came out on Wednesday, stocks initially jumped. This didn’t make any sense at all, and personally I was absolutely stunned that the markets had behaved so irrationally. But then we saw that on Thursday and Friday the markets did exactly what we thought they would do. The chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, David Rosenberg, is calling the brief rally on Wednesday “a head-fake of enormous proportions“, and analysts all over Wall Street are bracing for what could be another very challenging week ahead.
When the Federal Reserve decided to lift interest rates, they made a colossal error. You don’t raise interest rates when a global financial crisis has already started. That is absolutely suicidal. It is the kind of thing that you would do if you were trying to bring down the global financial system on purpose.
Surely the “experts” at the Federal Reserve can see what is happening. Junk bonds have already crashed, just like they did in 2008. The price of oil has crashed, just like it did in 2008. Commodity prices have crashed, just like they did in 2008. And more than half of all major global stock market indexes are already down at least 10 percent for the year so far.
You don’t raise interest rates in that kind of an environment.
You would have to be utterly insane to do so.
The Federal Reserve has thrown fuel onto a global financial inferno that is already raging, and things could spiral out of control very rapidly.
As far as this upcoming week is concerned, we have now entered “liquidation season”. Investors are going to be pulling their money out of poorly performing hedge funds before the end of the calendar year, and as CNBC has pointed out, more hedge funds have already failed in 2015 than at any point since the last financial crisis…
Liquidation season occurs when clients of poorly performing hedge funds ask for their money back. It tends to occur at the end of a quarter or year. In response, hedge funds must sell stocks in the open market to raise the money that needs to be returned to investors.
That means if a hedge fund performed poorly this year; it is probably flooded with liquidation requests right now. In fact, there have been more failed hedge funds this year than any time since 2008.
The dominoes are starting to fall. We have already seen funds run by Third Avenue Management, Stone Lion Capital Partners and Lucidus Capital Partners collapse. Amazingly, there are some people out there that are still attempting to claim that “nothing is happening” even in the midst of all of this chaos.
As they say, “denial” is not just a river in Egypt.
And this crisis is going to get even worse as we head into 2016. Egon von Greyerz, the founder of Matterhorn Asset Management, is convinced that we will soon see “one disaster after another”…
Greyerz predicts, “I think we will have one disaster after another, first in the junk bond market, then in emerging markets and, after that, the subprime markets. Subprime car loans and student loans I see as another massive problem area. It is going to be one thing after another that will unravel. Since 2008, when the world almost went under, we have printed or increased credit by 50% or by $70 trillion, and the world economy is still struggling to survive. I think the real change in confidence will come down when markets come down. . . . I think things will come down very quickly.”
And I think that he is right on target. The global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, and when one financial institution fails, it inevitably affects dozens of others. And the failures that we have already seen are already spreading a wave of fear and panic that may be difficult to stop. The following comes from Business Insider, and I think that it is a pretty good explanation of what we could see next…
- Funds such as Third Avenue and Lucidus close, liquidating their portfolios.
- Investors, spooked by the closures and the risk that they might not be able to get their money out of these funds, make a rush for the exits while they still can.
- That creates even more selling pressure.
- Funds sell the assets that are easiest to sell as they look to reduce risk, which pushes the selling pressure from the risky parts of the market to the higher-quality part of the market.
- Things evolve from there.
If you have been waiting for the next financial crisis to arrive, you can stop, because it is already unfolding right in front of our eyes.
The only question is how bad it is going to become.
In the final analysis, I find myself agreeing quite a bit with Charles Hugh Smith, the author of “A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All“. He believes that the ridiculous monetary policies of the Federal Reserve have played a primary role in setting the stage for this new crisis, and that now this giant financial “Death Star” that they have created “is about to blow up”…
By slashing rates to zero, the Fed ruthlessly eliminating safe returns for savers, pension funds, insurers and the millions of people with 401K retirement nesteggs. In effect, the Fed-Farce has pushed everyone into risk assets–and then played another Dark Side mind-trick by masking the true dangers of these risky assets.
As oil-sector debt blows up, as junk bonds blow up, and emerging markets blow up, we are finally starting to see the real costs of going over to the Dark Side of endless credit expansion and throwing the gasoline of near-zero interest rates on the speculative fires of financialization.
The Fed’s hubris has led it to the Dark Side, and now its Death Star of impaired debt, phantom collateral, speculative frenzy and bogus mind-tricks is about to blow up.
Personally, instead of saying that it “is about to blow up”, I would have said that it is already blowing up.
We have already seen trillions upon trillions of dollars of wealth wiped out around the world.
Energy companies are failing, giant hedge funds are going under, and the 7th largest economy on the entire planet has already plunged into “an outright depression“.
Everyone that warned of financial disaster in the second half of 2015 has been proven right, but this is just the beginning. Now that the Federal Reserve has thrown gasoline onto the fire, our problems are only going to accelerate as we head into 2016.
So for the upcoming year, let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.
Are we about to witness widespread panic in the global financial marketplace? This week is shaping up to be an absolutely critical week for global stocks. Coming into December, more than half of the 93 largest stock market indexes in the world were down more than 10 percent year to date, and last week stocks really started to slide all over the world. Here in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 600 points over the past week or so, and at this point it is down more than 1000 points from the peak of the market. That brings us to this week, during which the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the very first time since the last financial crisis. If that happens, that could potentially be enough to accelerate this “slide” into a full-blown crash.
And just look at what is already happening. Trading for stocks in the Middle East has opened for the week, and we are already witnessing tremendous carnage…
Following Friday’s further freefall in crude oil prices, The Middle East is opening down notably. Abu Dhabi, Saudi, and Kuwait are lower; Israel is weak and UAE and Qatar are tumbling, but Dubai is worst for now. Dubai is down for the 6th day in a row (dropping over 3% – the most in a month) extending the opening losses to 2-year lows. The 11% drop in the last 6 days is the largest since the post-China-devaluation global stock collapse. Leading the losses are financial and property firms.
Things in Asia look very troubling as well. As I write this, the Japanese market has just opened, and the Nikkei is already down 508 points.
In recent days I have been explaining to my readers how everything is lining up in textbook fashion for another major market crash. In particular, the implosion of junk bonds is a major red flag. Late last week, Third Avenue Management shocked Wall Street by freezing withdrawals from a 788 million dollar credit mutual fund. The following comes from Bloomberg…
A day after a prominent Wall Street firm shocked investors by freezing withdrawals from a credit mutual fund, things only got nastier in the junk-bond market. Prices on the high-risk securities sank to levels not seen in six years and, to add to the growing sense of alarm, billionaire investor Carl Icahn said the selloff is only starting.
“The meltdown in High Yield is just beginning,” Icahn, who’s been betting against the high-yield market, wrote on his verified Twitter account Friday.
Icahn’s comments come as junk-bond investors, already stung by the worst losses since 2008, are the most nervous they’ve been in three years after Third Avenue Management took the rare step of freezing withdrawals from a $788 million credit mutual fund.
What Third Avenue Management just did was absolutely huge. Now investors that have money in any similar funds are going to be racing to get it out. We could be on the verge of a run on bond funds that is absolutely unprecedented. This is so obvious that even CNBC’s Jim Cramer is sounding the alarm…
Friday was a day where Cramer’s ears were burning with concern because of the troubles discovered with a high yield bond fund run by Third Avenue Management. It decided to bar investors from getting their money out of its Focused Credit Fund, because it could not meet demands to get cash back to them in an orderly way.
This was significant because when it tries to sell the bonds needed to satisfy these orders for redemptions, it could destroy the high yield bond market because there are no buyers anywhere near the amount that they want to sell.
“I cannot emphasize enough just how disconcerting this move is,” Cramer said.
I know that for the ordinary person on the street, all of this sounds very complicated.
But it basically comes down to this – anyone that has a lot of money invested in these bond funds is in danger of getting totally wiped out.
In a situation like this, it is those that are “first out the door” that come out as the winners. I like how Wolf Richter explained what we are currently facing…
It works like this: When an “open-end” bond fund starts losing money, investors begin to sell it. Fund managers first use all available cash to pay investors. When the cash is gone, they sell the most liquid securities that haven’t lost much money yet, such as Treasuries. When they’re gone, they sell the most liquid corporate paper. As they go down the line, they sell bonds that have already lost a lot of value. By now the smart money is betting against the fund, having figured out what’s happening. They’re shorting the very bonds these folks are trying to sell.
The longer this goes on, the more money investors lose and the more spooked they get. It turns into a run. And people who still have that fund in their retirement account are getting cleaned out.
Bond funds can be treacherous – especially if they hold dubious paper, which is never dubious until it suddenly is. And when they get in trouble, you want to be among the first out the door.
I would anticipate that we will see more junk bond carnage this week – especially if the Fed raises rates.
And as I have discussed previously, a stock crash almost always follows a junk bond crash. If the Fed does raise rates this week and stocks do start falling significantly, one key day to watch will be Friday. JPM’s head quant Marko Kolanovic has warned that “the largest option expiry in many years” will happen on that day…
This important event falls at a peculiar time—less than 48 hours before the largest option expiry in many years. There are $1.1 trillion of S&P 500 options expiring on Friday morning. $670Bn of these are puts, of which $215Bn are struck relatively close below the market level, between 1900 and 2050. Clients are net long these puts and will likely hold onto them through the event and until expiry. At the time of the Fed announcement, these put options will essentially look like a massive stop loss order under the market.
A perfect storm for stocks is brewing, and this week could potentially be one of the most chaotic that we have seen in a very long time.
But of course the Federal Reserve could decide to surprise us all by not raising rates, and that would change things substantially.
So what do you think will happen this week?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
The worst stock market crashes in U.S. history have come during the month of October. There is just something about this time of the year that seems to be conducive to financial panic. For example, on October 28th, 1929 the biggest stock market crash in U.S. history up until that time helped usher in the Great Depression of the 1930s. And the largest percentage crash in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average by a very wide margin happened on October 19th, 1987. Overall, 9 of the 16 largest single day percentage crashes that we have ever seen happened during the month of October. Of course that does not mean that something will happen this October, but after what we just witnessed in September we should all be on alert.
Clearly, there is a tremendous amount of momentum toward the downside right now. As you can see from the chart below, all of the gains for the Dow since the end of the 2013 calendar year have already been wiped out…
And as I wrote about just the other day, last quarter we witnessed the loss of 11 trillion dollars in “paper wealth” on stock markets all over the planet. The following comes from Justin Spittler…
The S&P 500 fell 8%… and so did the Dow and the NASDAQ. It was the worst quarter for U.S. stocks since 2011.
Stocks around the world dropped too. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks 85% of global stocks, also had its worst quarter since 2011. The STOXX Europe 600 Index, which tracks 600 of Europe’s largest companies, fell 10%. It was the worst quarter for European stocks since 2011 as well.
China’s Shanghai Composite fell 28% last quarter, its largest quarterly decline in seven years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 19%. It was the worst quarterly decline for emerging market stocks in four years.
In total, last quarter’s selloff erased nearly $11 trillion in value from stocks around the world.
Sadly, the mainstream media is assuring everyone that things are going to be just fine, and a lot of people on the Internet seem to have the attitude that “nothing is happening“. Just like in 1929, a brief period of stabilization after the initial fall has lulled many into a false sense of security. The following comes from Zero Hedge…
Just as in 1929, the market was performing fantastic and the continuous wealth increase seemed to be unstoppable. A short 10% correction was seen as ‘healthy’ and soon a new uptrend was starting (the green line). This is exactly the same scenario we saw in the past few weeks. Market commenters said the 10% drop in the Dow Jones was a ‘healthy correction’ and we’re on our way to the next uptrend and Christmas rally.
Most people seem to assume that since I run a website called “The Economic Collapse Blog” that I must be rooting for a stock market collapse and an economic implosion, but that is not true at all. The longer that the financial markets can hold together, the longer all of our lives can stay quiet, peaceful and “normal”. Once the chaos begins, all of our lives will change dramatically. No matter how much any of us have prepared, what is coming is going to deeply affect all of us at least to a certain degree.
It would be far better for me, my extended family and my friends if I am wrong about an imminent financial collapse. Most of the people that I personally know are not even close to ready for what is coming. And during the coming credit crunch it is inevitable that people that I personally know will lose jobs and suffer business setbacks.
Sadly, the truth is that life in America is never going to be any better than it is right now. At some point, this stock market bubble will fully implode. At some point, our debt-fueled prosperity will disappear. At some point, the extraordinary recklessness of the big banks will catch up with them in a major way.
As we witnessed in 2008, our financial system is not designed to handle a severe bear market. We should have learned some very hard lessons from the last time around, but we didn’t. Instead, our financial system is even more vulnerable to a crisis today than it was back then. A huge turn down by the financial markets will rip many of our top financial companies to shreds. So a bear market would be extremely bad news, but unfortunately many prominent analysts seem to believe that this is precisely what we are now facing…
Jim Cramer, the ex-hedge fund manager and host of CNBC’s show “Mad Money,” has been vocal recently on air, saying repeatedly that he doesn’t like the market now, and last week said “we have a first-class bear market going.” Similarly, Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management, has been sending out notes to clients and this newspaper for weeks, saying the poor price action of the stock market and many hard-hit sectors, such as energy and the recently clobbered biotech sector, has all the earmarks of a bear market. Over the weekend, Kaltbaum said: “We remain in a worldwide bear market for stocks.”
On the way up, all of the extreme risk-taking didn’t seem to matter much because everyone was making a lot of money.
But on the way down, all of the extreme risk-taking is just going to accelerate the collapse.
Personally, I do not know exactly what will happen over the next few weeks, but without a doubt I have a very bad feeling about the rest of this year.
What about you?
What do you think will happen?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 588 points. It was the 8th worst single day stock market crash in U.S. history, and it was the first time that the Dow has ever fallen by more than 500 points on two consecutive days. But the amazing thing is that the Dow actually performed better than almost every other major global stock market on Monday. In the U.S., the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both did worse than the Dow. In Europe, almost every major index performed significantly worse than the Dow. Over in Asia, Japanese stocks were down 895 points, and Chinese stocks experienced the biggest decline of all (a whopping 8.46 percent). On June 25th, I was not kidding around when I issued a “red alert” for the last six months of 2015. I had never issued a formal alert for any other period of time, and I specifically stated that “a major financial collapse is imminent“. But you know what? As the weeks and months roll along, things will eventually be even worse than what any of the experts (including myself) have been projecting. The global financial system is now unraveling, and you better pack a lunch because this is going to be one very long horror show.
Our world has not seen a day quite like Monday in a very, very long time. Let’s start our discussion where the carnage began…
For weeks, the Chinese government has been taking unprecedented steps to try to stop Chinese stocks from crashing, but nothing has worked. As most Americans slept on Sunday night, the markets in China absolutely imploded…
As Europe and North America slept on Sunday night, Chinese markets went through the floor — the Shanghai Composite index of stocks fell by 8.49%, the biggest single-day collapse since 2007.
It wasn’t alone. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 5.17%, and Japan’s Nikkei fell 4.61%. Stocks in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand also tumbled.
Things would have been even worse in China if trading had not been stopped in most stocks. Trading was suspended for an astounding 2,200 stocks once they hit their 10 percent decline limits.
Overall, the Shanghai Composite Index is now down close to 40 percent from the peak of the market, and the truth is that Chinese stocks are still massively overvalued when compared to the rest of the world.
That means that they could very easily fall a lot farther.
The selling momentum in Asia carried over into Europe once the European markets opened. On a percentage basis, all of the major indexes on the continent declined even more than the Dow did…
In Europe, the bloodbath from Friday continued unabated. The German Dax plunged 4.7%, the French CAC 40 5.4%, UK’s FTSE 100 dropped 4.7%. Euro Stoxx 600, which covers the largest European companies, was down 5.3%.
But wait… Europe is where the omnipotent ECB and other central banks have imposed negative deposit rates. The ECB is engaged in a massive ‘whatever it takes” QE program to inflate stock markets. But it’s not working. Omnipotence stops functioning once people stop believing in it.
Even before U.S. markets opened on Monday morning, the New York Stock Exchange was already warning that trading would be halted if things got too far out hand, and it almost happened…
The thousands of companies listed by the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market will pause for 15 minutes if the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunges 7 percent before 3:25 p.m. New York time. The benchmark got close earlier, falling as much as 5.3 percent.
There were other circuit breakers in place for later in the day if too much panic selling ensued, but fortunately none of those were triggered either. Here is more from Bloomberg…
Another circuit breaker kicks in if the S&P 500 extends its losses to 13 percent before 3:25 p.m. If the plunge reaches 20 percent at any point during today’s session, the entire stock market will shut for the rest of the day.
When the U.S. markets did open, the Dow plunged 1,089 points during the opening minutes of trading. If the Dow would have stayed at that level, it would have been the worst single day stock market crash in U.S. history by a wide margin.
Instead, by the end of the day it only turned out to be the 8th worst day ever.
And in case you are wondering, yes, investors are losing a staggering amount of money. According to MarketWatch, the total amount of money lost is now starting to approach 2 trillion dollars…
As of March 31, households and nonprofits held $24.1 trillion in stocks. That’s both directly, and through mutual funds, pension funds and the like. That also includes the holdings of U.S.-based hedge funds, though you’d have to think that most hedge funds are held by households.
Using the Dow Jones Total Stock Market index DWCF, -4.21% through midmorning trade, that number had dropped to $22.32 trillion.
In other words, a cool $1.8 trillion has been lost between now and the first quarter — and overwhelmingly, those losses occurred in the last few days.
Unfortunately, U.S. stock prices are still nowhere near where they should be. If they were to actually reflect economic reality, they would have to fall a lot, lot lower.
For example, there is usually a very strong correlation between commodity prices and the S&P 500, but in recent times we have seen a very large divergence take place. Just check out the chart in this article. At this point the S&P 500 would have to fall another 30 to 40 percent or commodities would have to rise 30 or 40 percent in order to close the gap. I think that the following bit of commentary sums up where we are quite nicely…
“Markets are afraid of further economic weakness in China, further pain in global commodity markets and uncertain about Fed and PBoC policy — what they will do and what the impact will be,” Societe Generale’s Kit Juckes wrote on Monday. “The divergence between global commodity prices and equities is not a new theme but the danger now is that they begin to re-correlate – as they did when the dotcom bubble burst in 2000 and what had previously been an emerging market crisis became a US recession.”
And commodities were absolutely hammered once again on Monday.
For instance, the price of U.S. oil actually fell below 38 dollars a barrel at one point.
What we are watching unfold is incredible.
Of course the mainstream media is bringing on lots of clueless experts that are talking about what a wonderful “buying opportunity” this is. Even though those of us that saw this coming have been giving a detailed play by play account of the unfolding crisis for months, the talking heads on television still seem as oblivious as ever.
What is happening right now just doesn’t seem to make any sense to the “experts” that most people listen to. I love this headline from an article that Business Insider posted on Monday: “None of the theories for the Black Monday market crash add up“. Yes, if you are willingly blind to the long-term economic and financial trends which are destroying us, I guess these market crashes wouldn’t make sense.
And if stocks go up tomorrow (which they probably should), all of those same “experts” will be proclaiming that the “correction” is over and that everything is now fine.
But don’t be fooled by that. Just because stocks go up on any particular day does not mean that everything is fine. We are in the midst of a financial meltdown that is truly global in scope. This is going to take time to fully play out, and there will be good days and there will be bad days. The three largest single day increases for the Dow were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. So one very good day for stocks is not going to change the long-term analysis one bit.
It isn’t complicated. Those that follow my writing regularly know that I have repeatedly explained how things were setting up in textbook fashion for another global financial crisis, and now one is unfolding right in front of our eyes.
At this point, everyone should be able to very clearly see what is happening, and yet most are still blind.
Why is that?