Has the next Lehman Brothers moment arrived? Late Thursday night we learned that the British people had voted to leave the European Union, and this could be the “trigger event” that unleashes great financial panic all over the planet. Of course stocks have already been crashing all over the globe over the past year, but up until now we had not seen the kind of stark fear that the crash of 2008 created following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The British people are certainly to be congratulated for choosing to leave the tyrannical EU, and if I could have voted I would have voted to “leave” as well. But just as I warned 10 days ago, choosing to leave will “throw the entire continent into a state of economic and financial chaos”. And “Black Friday” was just the beginning – the pain from this event is going to continue to be felt for months to come.
The shocking outcome of the Brexit vote caught financial markets completely off guard, and the carnage that we witnessed on Friday was absolutely staggering…
-The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 610 points, and this represented the 9th largest one day stock market crash in the history of the Dow.
-The Nasdaq was hit even harder than the Dow. It declined 4.12 percent which was the biggest one day decline since 2011.
-Overall, Black Friday erased approximately 800 billion dollars of stock market wealth in the United States.
-Thursday was the worst day ever for the British pound, and investors were stunned to see it collapse to a 31 year low.
-Friday was the worst day ever for European banking stocks.
-Friday was the worst day for Italian stocks since 1997.
-Friday was the worst day for Spanish stocks since 1987.
-Japan experienced tremendous chaos as well. The Nikkei fell an astounding 1286 points, and this was the biggest drop that we have seen in more than 16 years.
-Banking stocks all over the planet got absolutely pummeled on Black Friday. The following comes from USA Today…
Stocks of some British-based banks suffered double-digit losses in heavy U.S. trading. Barclays (BCS) shares plunged 20.48% to close at $8.89. HSBC (HSBC) shares closed down 9.04% at $30.68. And shares of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) plummeted 27.5% to a $5.43 close.
Top U.S. banks also suffered from the Brexit fallout, although not as badly as their British counterparts.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) closed down 6.95% at $59.60. Bank of America (BAC) shares fell 7.41% to a $13 close. Citigroup (C) shares dropped 9.36% to close at $40.30. And Wells Fargo (WFC) closed 4.59% lower at $45.71.
-Friday was the best day for gold since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
-George Soros made a killing on Black Friday because he had already positioned his company to greatly benefit from the Brexit vote ahead of time.
But please don’t think that “Black Friday” was just a one day thing. As I warned before, the Brexit vote “could be the trigger that changes everything“. And if you don’t believe me on this, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. This is what he told CNBC on Friday…
“This is the worst period, I recall since I’ve been in public service,” Greenspan said on “Squawk on the Street.”
“There’s nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect that will not go away.”
I completely agree with Greenspan on this point. This “corrosive effect” on global markets is not going to go away any time soon. Sure there will be days when the markets are green just like there were after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but overall the trend will be down.
Now that the United Kingdom has decided to leave the EU, financial markets have been gripped by fear and uncertainty, and there is a great deal of concern that this Brexit “could harm the economies of everyone involved”…
Important British trading partners — including India and China — indicated they were worried that an exit would create regulatory and political volatility that could harm the economies of everyone involved.
The U.K.’s Treasury itself reported that its analysis showed the nation “would be permanently poorer” if it left the EU and adopted any of a number of likely alternatives. “Productivity and GDP per person would be lower in all these alternative scenarios, as the costs would substantially outweigh any potential benefit of leaving the EU,” a summary of the report said.
This threat even extends to the United States. CNN just published an article that lists four ways the U.S. could be significantly affected by all of this…
1. Fears that the EU may be falling apart
2. Volatile markets slow down the engine of U.S. growth
3. Brexit triggers a strong dollar, which hurts U.S. trade
4. Brexit forces the Fed to rewrite its rate hike playbook
Fortunately we are now heading into the weekend, and that might have a calming effect on the markets.
Or it might just cause financial tension to build up to an extremely high level which will subsequently be released on Monday morning.
We shall see.
RCB’s Charlie McElligott is warning that Black Friday was just the beginning and that “today is the appetizer for Monday”.
And UBS derivatives strategist Rebecca Cheong says that we could see more than a hundred billion dollars of selling over the next two to three trading days…
Strategies designed to mitigate risk will actually add to downward pressure in the S&P 500 over the next week as computerized selling ramps up to keep pace with falling prices. It reminds Cheong of the rapid stock selling that roiled markets in August, when the S&P 500 fell 11 percent to a 10-month low while facing similar behavior from algorithmic traders.
“The bigger the down move today, the more they have to sell, which would basically create a vicious cycle,” Cheong, head of Americas equity derivatives strategy at UBS, said in a phone interview. “We’ll see front-loaded selling in the range of $100 billion to $150 billion over the next two to three days. It could be very similar to August in terms of model-based selling.”
Personally, I am hoping for calm when the markets open on Monday. But without a doubt, something has now shifted as a result of this Brexit vote, and things have suddenly become a whole lot more serious.
So what do you believe we will see happen next week?
Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Corporate revenues in the United States have been falling for quite some time, but now some of the biggest companies in the entire nation are reporting extremely disappointing results. On Tuesday, Apple shocked the financial world by reporting that revenue for the first quarter had fallen 7.4 billion dollars compared to the same quarter last year. That is an astounding plunge, and it represents the very first year-over-year quarterly sales decline that Apple has experienced since 2003. Analysts were anticipating some sort of drop, but nothing like this. And of course last week we learned that Google and Microsoft also missed revenue and earnings projections for the first quarter of 2016. The economic crisis that began during the second half of 2015 is really starting to take hold, and even our largest tech companies are now feeling the pain.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to Apple. No matter what else has been going on with the U.S. economy, Apple has always been unshakeable. Even during the last recession we never saw a year-over-year decline like this…
Apple today announced financial results for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2016. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $50.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $10.5 billion, or $1.90 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $58 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. As expected, the year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue was the first for Apple since 2003.
I think that this announcement by Apple is waking a lot of people up. The global economic slowdown is real, and we can see this in iPhone sales. During the first quarter, Apple sold 16 percent fewer iPhones than it did during the same quarter in 2015. This is the very first year-over-year quarterly sales decline for the iPhone ever. Here are some of the specific sales figures from the Apple announcement…
Apple sold 51.1 million iPhones during the quarter, down from 61.2 million a year earlier, while Mac sales were 4.03 million units, down from from 4.56 million units in the year-ago quarter. iPad sales were also down once again, falling to 10.25 million from 12.6 million.
Once these numbers hit the wires, shares of Apple immediately began to plummet during after-hours trading. In fact, USA Today is reporting that Apple has already lost 43 billion dollars in market value since the annoucement…
Shares of Apple are getting hit roughly 8% in after-hours trading, tumbling to $96.67. They closed in regular trading at $104.35, or down 0.7%, putting them down 0.9% for the year. The downward move in after-hours trading means the company shed $43 billion in market value based on after-hours trading.
Meanwhile, shares of Twitter are crashing in after-hours trading after the social media giant also announced very disappointing results. The stock has now dripped below 16 dollars a share, and the company continues to lose tremendous amounts of money…
For all its other travails, Twitter is unprofitable. It narrowed its loss but still recorded a loss of $79.7 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a loss of $162.4 million, or 25 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
Of course it isn’t just the tech giants that are troubled these days.
On Tuesday we learned that same-store sales for Chipotle declined by a whopping 29.7 percent during the first quarter, and appliance manufacturer Whirlpool has seen sales fall all over the planet…
Whirlpool, the world’s biggest appliance manufacturer, has become the poster child for the deep challenges facing multinational companies these days.
– Latin American sales plunged 22%.
– Revenue fell 8% in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
– Asia sales dipped 2%.
When is it finally going to sink in for most people? The global economy is slowing down significantly, and the next global economic crisis is already here.
Of course the oil companies are feeling more pain than anyone else. According to CNN, the crash in the price of oil has cost the 40 largest publicly-traded U.S. oil producers 67 billion dollars…
American oil companies are drowning in a sea of red ink.
The crash in crude oil prices caused a stunning $67 billion in combined losses by 40 publicly-traded U.S. oil producers last year, according Energy Information Administration research. And the bleeding is expected to continue at least early this year for many.
The losses surpassed $1 billion each from struggling oil companies like EOG Resources (EOG), Devon Energy (DVN) and Linn Energy (LINE) as well as SandRidge Energy (SD), the shale oil driller that recently admitted it’s exploring a bankruptcy filing.
That is an astounding amount of money.
These days we throw around terms like “millions” and “billions” so much that they almost lose their meaning.
But this is real money that we are talking about here.
In recent days, Barack Obama has been running around boasting that he saved the world economy from another Great Depression. But that isn’t true at all. Instead, our “leaders” have simply set the stage for a larger and more painful crisis. I like the way that Doug Casey recently put it…
You’ve got to remember that all of these governments and central banks all around the world have driven interest rates not just to zero, but to negative levels in some cases… and they are simultaneously printing up trillions of currency units. And even while they are desperately doing that the economy is falling apart in lots of different ways.
…They’ve created a super-bubble in bonds, a bubble in stocks, and meanwhile commodities have collapsed and are below production costs in many cases.
…The economy is going to be very, very bad… It’s the next stage of what I call the Greater Depression.
Whether you want to call it a “Great Depression”, a “Greater Depression” or “The Greatest Depression”, the truth is that we are heading into a period of time that will be unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before.
The greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet is starting to implode, and this time the central bankers and the politicians are not going to be able to put the pieces back together again.
But just like in 2008, the vast majority of the population will not recognize the warning signs until it is way too late.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Do you believe that economic trouble is coming in 2013? If so, you have a lot of company. According to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 65 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty” while only 33 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic prosperity”. Gallup has been asking this question for a lot of years, and the percentage of Americans that are anticipating economic difficulty in the year ahead has not been this high since the early 1980s. And without a doubt, there are a whole lot of reasons to be deeply concerned about the economy as we head into the new year. But it isn’t just 2013 that Americans are pessimistic about. According to the new Gallup poll, 50 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are behind us, and only 47 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are ahead of us. Those are very sobering numbers. Half the country believes that it is only downhill from here for the United States. Unfortunately, they are exactly right. Things are rapidly going to get worse for our economy and for our nation as a whole. We are going to start reaping the consequences of decades of very foolish decisions, and the pain is going to be immense.
Gallup asked some other very interesting questions as well. The following are some of the other results from the poll…
-68 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of rising crime rates.
-57 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year in which American power will decline in the world.
-82 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year in which taxes in the United States will rise.
So why are so many people so pessimistic as we enter 2013?
That is a good question. I think that a lot of people are starting to wake up and are realizing the gigantic problems that are staring the U.S. right in the face.
Even our friends over in Europe can see what is happening to us. We are like a former athletic champion that is now clearly on the wrong side of “middle age” and is exhibiting obvious signs of decline. We still like to think of ourselves as “the champ”, but the truth is that we are fat, lazy, broken down and bankrupt. The following is a brief excerpt from an article that appeared in a major UK news source the other day…
The rest of the world — dangerously reliant on a buoyant U.S. — should note one thing above all: the fundamentals of America’s economy are, frankly, terrible, and its international dominance is not nearly as assured as it once was.
Its economic culture has started to change since President Obama entered the White House four years ago this month.
America more closely resembles Europe in living beyond its means and in the President’s determination to build a massive welfare state.
The mainstream media and most of our politicians endlessly proclaim that things are about to turn around and that a “recovery” is on the way, but that is not even close to the truth.
Fortunately, a few of our politicians realize what is really happening and are willing to talk about it. Unfortunately, not enough people are listening to them.
For example, Ron Paul has a really good grasp on how destructive the U.S. national debt is and how we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren should have had. The following is what he posted on his Facebook page the other day about the “fiscal cliff deal” that just got pushed through Congress…
We Are Already Over the Fiscal Cliff
2 January 2013
Despite claims that the Administration and Congress saved America from the fiscal cliff with an early morning vote today, the fact is that government spending has already pushed Americans over the cliff. Only serious reductions in federal spending will stop the cliff dive from ending in a crash landing, yet the events of this past month show that most elected officials remain committed to expanding the welfare-warfare state.
While there was much hand-wringing over the “draconian” cuts that would be imposed by sequestration, in fact sequestration does not cut spending at all. Under the sequestration plan, government spending will increase by 1.6 trillion over the next eight years. Congress calls this a cut because without sequestration spending will increase by 1.7 trillion over the same time frame. Either way it is an increase in spending.
Yet even these minuscule cuts in the “projected rate of spending” were too much for Washington politicians to bear. The last minute “deal” was the worst of both worlds: higher taxes on nearly all Americans now and a promise to revisit these modest reductions in spending growth two months down the road. We were here before, when in 2011 Republicans demanded these automatic modest decreases in government growth down the road in exchange for a massive increase in the debt ceiling. As the time drew closer, both parties clamored to avoid even these modest moves.
Make no mistake: the spending addiction is a bipartisan problem. It is generally believed that one party refuses to accept any reductions in military spending while the other party refuses to accept any serious reductions in domestic welfare programs. In fact, both parties support increases in both military and domestic welfare spending. The two parties may disagree on some details of what kind of military or domestic welfare spending they favor, but they do agree that they both need to increase. This is what is called “bipartisanship” in Washington.
While the media played up the drama of the down-to-the-wire negotiations, there was never any real chance that a deal would not be worked out. It was just drama. That is how Washington operates. As it happened, a small handful of Congressional and Administration leaders gathered in the dark of the night behind closed doors to hammer out a deal that would be shoved down the throats of Members whose constituents had been told repeatedly that the world would end if this miniscule decrease in the rate of government spending was allowed to go through.
While many on both sides express satisfaction that this deal only increases taxes on the “rich,” most Americans will see more of their paycheck going to Washington because of the deal. The Tax Policy Center has estimated that 77 percent of Americans would see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut.
The arguments against the automatic “cuts” in military spending were particularly dishonest. Hawks on both sides warned of doom and gloom if, as the plan called for, the defense budget would have returned to 2007 levels of spending! Does anybody really believe that our defense spending was woefully inadequate just five years ago? And since 2007 we have been told that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next eight years military spending would increase 20 percent without the sequester and would increase 18 percent with the sequester. And this is what is called a dangerous reduction in defense spending?
Ironically, some of the members who are most vocal against tax increases and in favor of cuts to domestic spending are the biggest opponents of cutting a penny from the Pentagon budget. Over and over we were told of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be lost should military spending be returned to 2007 levels. Is it really healthy to think of our defense budget as a jobs program? Many of these allegedly free-market members sound more Keynesian than Paul Krugman when they praise the economic “stimulus” created by militarism.
As Chris Preble of the Cato Institute wrote recently, “It’s easy to focus exclusively on the companies and individuals hurt by the cuts and forget that the taxed wealth that funded them is being employed elsewhere.”
While Congress ultimately bears responsibility for deficit spending, we must never forget that the Federal Reserve is the chief enabler of deficit spending. Without a central bank eager to monetize the debt, Congress would be unable to fund the welfare-warfare state without imposing unacceptable levels of taxation on the American people. Of course, the Federal Reserve’s policies do impose an “inflation” tax on the American people; however, since this tax is hidden Congress does not fear the same public backlash it would experience if it directly raised income taxes.
I have little hope that a majority of Congress and the President will change their ways and support real spending reductions unless forced to by an economic crisis or by a change in people’s attitudes toward government. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans are awakening to the dangers posed by the growth of the welfare-warfare state. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow and force the politicians to reverse course before government spending, taxing, and inflation destroys our economy entirely.
It was good that Ron Paul placed blame on both political parties and on the Federal Reserve for our debt problems.
The Federal Reserve is not often talked about much when it comes to assigning blame for the debt, but it truly is one of the primary reasons why our debt is so enormous today. The Federal Reserve system was designed to be a perpetual government debt machine, and it has accomplished that task very well.
When the Federal Reserve was first created, the total U.S. national debt was less than 3 billion dollars.
That is about as much as we add to the U.S. national debt every single day at this point.
And since Ben Bernanke took the reigns at the Fed, our debt problems have greatly accelerated.
The U.S. national debt has more than doubled from a little over $8 trillion to more than $16.4 trillion since Ben Bernanke became chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2006.
But disaster has not struck yet, so most Americans think that everything must be okay.
Well, if you want to ignore all of the evidence of our impending economic demise, go ahead and do that. Go on lots of expensive vacations, run up your credit cards, buy a new boat and party like its 1999. Enjoy every minute of our debt-fueled prosperity while you still can. You only live once, right?
But if you are wise, you will try to understand what is coming and you will make preparations so that you and your family will be able to withstand the storm that is coming. Here are some basic steps that I suggest…
-Use this time of relative prosperity to work hard and make money while you still can. You want to store up your finances during the good times to help you get through the lean times.
-Get out of debt. You don’t want massive amounts of debt weighing you down when things get really hard.
-Get more independent of the world system. Start a side business in the evenings and the weekends. Learn how to grow your own food. Get your house off of the grid if possible. Anything you can do to become more independent and more self-sufficient is good.
-Store food and other essential supplies. Right now we take for granted that the supermarkets and the big box stores will always be packed with mountains of quality goods at affordable prices. That may not always be the case. You want to be prepared for whatever may happen.
For even more tips, please see my previous article entitled “How To Prepare For The Difficult Years Ahead“.
All bubbles eventually burst.
Our national debt bubble will eventually burst.
The derivatives bubble will eventually burst.
The consumer debt bubble will eventually burst.
When those bubbles burst, will you be ready?
I hope and pray that you will.