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22 Signs That The Global Economic Turmoil We Have Seen So Far In 2016 Is Just The Beginning

Skyline Globe Clock Gears - Public DomainAs bad as the month of January was for the global economy, the truth is that the rest of 2016 promises to be much worse.  Layoffs are increasing at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last recession, major retailers are shutting down hundreds of locations, corporate profit margins are plunging, global trade is slowing down dramatically, and several major European banks are in the process of completely imploding.  I am about to share some numbers with you that are truly eye-popping.  Each one by itself would be reason for concern, but when you put all of the pieces together it creates a picture that is hard to deny.  The global economy is in crisis, and this is going to have very serious implications for the financial markets moving forward.  U.S. stocks just had their worst January in seven years, and if I am right much worse is still yet to come this year.  The following are 22 signs that the global economic turmoil that we have seen so far in 2016 is just the beginning…

1. The number of job cuts in the United States skyrocketed 218 percent during the month of January according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

2. The Baltic Dry Index just hit yet another brand new all-time record low.  As I write this article, it is sitting at 303.

3. U.S. factory orders have now dropped for 14 months in a row.

4. In the U.S., the Restaurant Performance Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008.

5. In January, orders for class 8 trucks (the big trucks that you see shipping stuff around the country on our highways) declined a whopping 48 percent from a year ago.

6. Rail traffic is also slowing down substantially.  In Colorado, there are hundreds of train engines that are just sitting on the tracks with nothing to do.

7. Corporate profit margins peaked during the third quarter of 2014 and have been declining steadily since then.  This usually happens when we are heading into a recession.

8. A series of extremely disappointing corporate quarterly reports is sending stock after stock plummeting.  Here is a summary from Zero Hedge of a few examples that we have just witnessed…

  • SHARES OF LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT FALL 5 PCT IN EXTENDED TRADE AFTER QUARTERLY RESULTS – RTRS
  • TABLEAU SOFTWARE SHARES TUMBLE 40 PCT IN AFTER HOURS TRADING – RTRS
  • YRC WORLDWIDE SHARES DOWN 16.4 PCT AFTER THE BALL FOLLOWING RESULTS – RTRS
  • SPLUNK INC SHARES DOWN 7.6 PCT IN AFTER HOURS TRADING – RTRS
  • LINKEDIN SHARES EXTEND DECLINE, DOWN 24 PCT AFTER RESULTS, GUIDANCE – RTRS
  • HANESBRANDS SHARES FURTHER ADD TO LOSSES IN EXTENDED TRADE, LAST DOWN 14.9 PCT – RTRS
  • OUTERWALL SHARES FALL 11 PCT IN EXTENDED TRADING AFTER QUARTERLY RESULTS – RTRS
  • GENWORTH SHARES DOWN 16.5 PCT AFTER THE BELL FOLLOWING RESULTS, RESTRUCTURING PLAN

9. Junk bonds continue to crash on Wall Street.  On Monday, JNK was down to 32.60 and HYG was down to 77.99.

10. On Thursday, a major British news source publicly named five large European banks that are considered to be in very serious danger…

Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Santander, Barclays and RBS are among the stocks that are falling sharply sending shockwaves through the financial world, according to former hedge fund manager and ex Goldman Sachs employee Raoul Pal.

11. Deutsche Bank is the biggest bank in Germany and it has more exposure to derivatives than any other bank in the world.  Unfortunately, Deutsche Bank credit default swaps are now telling us that there is deep turmoil at the bank and that a complete implosion may be imminent.

12. Last week, we learned that Deutsche Bank had lost a staggering 6.8 billion euros in 2015.  If you will recall, I warned about massive problems at Deutsche Bank all the way back in September.  The most important bank in Germany is exceedingly troubled, and it could end up being for the EU what Lehman Brothers was for the United States.

13. Credit Suisse just announced that it will be eliminating 4,000 jobs.

14. Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it is going to be eliminating 10,000 jobs.

15. Caterpillar has announced that it will be closing 5 plants and getting rid of 670 workers.

16. Yahoo has announced that it is going to be getting rid of 15 percent of its total workforce.

17. Johnson & Johnson has announced that it is slashing its workforce by 3,000 jobs.

18. Sprint just laid off 8 percent of its workforce and GoPro is letting go 7 percent of its workers.

19. All over America, retail stores are shutting down at a staggering pace.  The following list comes from one of my previous articles

-Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

-J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

-Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.

-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.

20. According to the New York Times, the Chinese economy is facing a mountain of bad loans that “could exceed $5 trillion“.

21. Japan has implemented a negative interest rate program in a desperate attempt to try to get banks to make more loans.

22. The global economy desperately needs the price of oil to go back up, but Morgan Stanley says that we will not see $80 oil again until 2018.

It is not difficult to see where the numbers are trending.

Last week, I told my wife that I thought that Marco Rubio was going to do better than expected in Iowa.

How did I come to that conclusion?

It was simply based on how his poll numbers were trending.

And when you look at where global economic numbers are trending, they tell us that 2016 is going to be a year that is going to get progressively worse as it goes along.

So many of the exact same things that we saw happen in 2008 are happening again right now, and you would have to be blind not to see it.

Hopefully I am wrong about what is coming in our immediate future, because millions upon millions of Americans are not prepared for what is ahead, and most of them are going to get absolutely blindsided by the coming crisis.

Bear Market: The Average U.S. Stock Is Already Down More Than 20 Percent

Angry BearThe 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.

This Is What A Financial Crisis Looks Like

Financial Crisis 2015 - Public DomainJust within the past few days, three major high yield funds have completely imploded, and panic is spreading rapidly on Wall Street.  Funds run by Third Avenue Management and Stone Lion Capital Partners have suspended payments to investors, and a fund run by Lucidus Capital Partners has liquidated its entire portfolio.  We are witnessing a race for the exits unlike anything that we have seen since the great financial crash of 2008, and many of those that choose to hesitate are going to end up getting totally wiped out.  In case you are wondering, this is what a financial crisis looks like.  In 2008, other global stock markets started to tumble, then junk bonds began to crash, and finally U.S. stocks followed.  The exact same pattern is playing out again, and the carnage that we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

Since the end of 2009, a high yield bond ETF that I watch very closely known as JNK has been trading in a range between 36 and 42.  I have been waiting all this time for it to dip below 35, because I knew that would be a sign that the next major financial crisis was imminent.

In September, it closed as low as 35.33 at one point, but that was not the signal that I was looking for.  Finally, early last week JNK broke below 35 for the very first time since the last financial crisis, and since then it has just kept on falling.  As I write this, JNK has plummeted all the way to 33.42, and Bloomberg is reporting that many bond managers “are predicting more carnage for high-yield investors”…

Top bond managers are predicting more carnage for high-yield investors amid a market rout that forced at least three credit funds in the past week to wind down.

Lucidus Capital Partners, a high-yield fund founded in 2009 by former employees of Bruce Kovner’s Caxton Associates, said Monday it has liquidated its entire portfolio and plans to return the $900 million it has under management to investors next month. Funds run by Third Avenue Management and Stone Lion Capital Partners have stopped returning cash to investors, after clients sought to pull too much money.

When it says that those firms “have stopped returning cash to investors”, what that means is that many of those investors will be lucky to get pennies on the dollar when it is all said and done.

Like I said, now that the crisis has started, the ones that are going to lose the most are those that hesitate.

And just check out some of the very big names that are “warning of more high-yield trouble ahead”

Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, predicts 10 percent to 15 percent of junk bond funds may face high withdrawals as more investors worry about getting their money back. He joins money managers Jeffrey GundlachCarl Icahn, Bill Gross and Wilbur Ross in warning of more high-yield trouble ahead.

In this type of environment, the Federal Reserve would have to be completely insane to raise interest rates.

Unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what is going to happen.

If the Fed raises rates, that is going to make corporate debt defaults even more likely and will almost certainly drive high-yield bonds down even further…

Higher rates could make corporate bond defaults more likely and investors are already bailing out of the sector, pulling $3.8 billion out of high-yield funds in the week ended December 9, the biggest move in 15 weeks. The effective yield on U.S. junk bonds is now 17 percent, the highest level in five years, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data.

A whole host of prominent names are warning that the Fed is about to make a tragic mistake.  One of them is James Rickards

“The Fed should have raised interest rates in 2010 and 2011 and if they did that they would actually be in a position to cut them today,” said James Rickards, a central bank critic and chief global strategist at West Shore Funds. “The Fed is on the brink of committing a historic blunder that may rank with the mistakes it made in 1927 and 1929. By raising into weakness, they will likely cause a recession.”

In 2015, we have already seen stocks crash all over the globe.  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 some of them were down by as much as 30 or 40 percent.  At this point, conditions are absolutely perfect for a frightening collapse of U.S. markets, and the Federal Reserve is about to pour gasoline on to the fire.

Anyone that says that “nothing is happening” is either completely misinformed or is totally crazy.

I like how James Howard Kunstler summarized what we are currently facing…

Equities barfed nearly four percent just last week, credit is crumbling (nobody wants to lend), junk bonds are tanking (as defaults loom), currencies all around the world are crashing, hedge funds can’t give investors their money back, “liquidity” is AWOL (no buyers for janky securities), commodities are in freefall, oil is going so deep into the sub-basement of value that the industry may never recover, international trade is evaporating, the president is doing everything possible in Syria to start World War Three, and the monster called globalism is lying in its coffin with a stake pointed over its heart.

The financial markets held together far longer than many people thought that they would, but now they are finally coming apart at the seams.

Moving forward, the “winners” are going to be the people that pull their money out the fastest.  This is especially true for high risk funds like the three that just imploded.  If you hesitate, you could end up losing everything.

And as this rush for the exits accelerates, sellers are going to greatly outnumber buyers, and this is going to push prices down at a very rapid pace.  We are going to hear a lot about a “lack of liquidity” in the days ahead, but the truth is that what we will really be looking at is a good old-fashioned panic.

27 Major Global Stocks Markets That Have Already Crashed By Double Digit Percentages In 2015

Earth Globe - Public DomainAnyone that tries to tell you that a global financial crisis is not happening is not being honest with you.  Right now, there are 27 major global stock markets that have declined by double digit percentages from their peaks earlier this year.  And this is truly a global phenomenon – we have seen stock market crashes in Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East.  But because U.S. stocks are only down less than a thousand points from the peak earlier this year, most Americans seem to think that everything is just fine.

The truth, of course, is that everything is not fine.  We are witnessing a pattern similar to what we saw back in 2008.  Back then, Chinese stocks and other major stock markets started crashing first, and then U.S. stocks followed later.

And it appears that we may have entered the next leg down for markets in the western world this week.  The Dow was down another 252 points on Thursday, and all of the major stock indexes in the U.S. are now negative for the year except for the NASDAQ.  Unless there is a major turnaround in the coming weeks, the six year winning streak for U.S. stocks is likely over.

But when you step back and look at what has been happening globally, a much more ominous picture emerges.  I spent much of the afternoon looking at stock market charts for the largest economies all over the globe.  What I discovered was financial carnage that was much worse than I anticipated.

It turns out that there are 27 major global stock markets that have fallen by more than 10 percent from peaks that were set earlier this year.  If you want to verify this information for yourself, just go to Trading Economics.  As you can see, many of these stock market declines have been quite impressive…

1. China: down more than 30 percent

2. Saudi Arabia: down 26 percent

3. Germany: down about 13 percent

4. United Kingdom: down close to 12 percent

5. Spain: down 15 percent

6. Brazil: down more than 22 percent (13,000 points overall)

7. Kuwait: down 14 percent

8. Turkey: down 16 percent

9. India: down close to 12 percent

10. Chile: down 11 percent

11. Columbia: down about 30 percent

12. Peru: down more than 40 percent

13. Bulgaria: down more than 20 percent

14. Greece: down more than 30 percent

15. Poland: down about 19 percent

16. Malaysia: down 10 percent

17. Egypt: down 32 percent

18. Indonesia: down 18 percent

19. Canada: down 12 percent

20. Ukraine: down 45 percent

21. Morocco: down 13 percent

22. Ghana: down 17 percent

23. Kenya: down 27 percent

24. Australia: down 13 percent

25. Nigeria: down more than 30 percent

26. Taiwan: down 15 percent

27. Thailand: down 20 percent

We have not seen numbers like these since 2008, and trillions of dollars of stock market wealth has been wiped out globally.  So the “nothing is happening” crowd is simply dead wrong.  Stocks are already crashing all over the planet.  Just because the big U.S. stock market crash has not happened quite yet does not mean that a major global financial crisis is not happening.

But do you know what is crashing here in this country?

Junk bonds.

At this point, yields on the riskiest junk bonds have risen to levels that we have not seen since the last financial crisis.  As I have discussed repeatedly, yields on junk bonds spiked dramatically just before the stock market crash of 2008, and now it is happening again…

Yield On CCC Bonds - Chart from Federal Reserve

This is precisely the kind of behavior that we would expect to see if a major U.S. stock market crash was imminent.  Personally, I watch the junk bond market very, very closely because it is such a key leading indicator.  And according to Jeffrey Snider, it appears that “something” is starting to cause junk bonds to sell off at an alarming pace…

There isn’t much as far as confirmation, but it increasingly appears as if “something” just hit the triple hooks (CCC) in the junk bond bubble. At least as far as one view of it, Bank of America ML’s CCC implied yield, there was a huge selloff that brought the yield to a new cycle high (low in price) above even the 2011 crisis peak.

But just like in 2008, a lot of people will not heed the warnings because they don’t have the patience to watch long-term trends play out.

We live in a society where we expect constant instant gratification.  We have instant coffee, video on demand and 48 hour news cycles.  If something does not happen immediately, most of us quickly lose patience.

On my other website, I include a lot more stories about things that are trending in the news.  For example, earlier today I wrote about the horrible shootings in San Bernardino, California and I explained why I believe that Islamic terror is now more of a threat to the American people than ever before.

But on this website I like to take a broader view of things.  For months, I have been warning that conditions were perfect for another major global financial crisis, and since that time events have been unfolding in textbook fashion.

And as you can see from the numbers above, we have already entered a new global financial crisis.  If you tried to tell someone in China, Brazil or Saudi Arabia that a financial crisis was not happening, they would just laugh at you.  We need to start learning that the world doesn’t revolve around the United States.

Of course the U.S. is heading for tremendous difficulties as well.  This is something that I covered yesterday.  All of the fundamental economic numbers are absolutely screaming “recession”, and yet most of the “experts” are still forecasting good things for the coming year.

Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  None of the problems that caused the crisis the last time around have been fixed, and most of our “leaders” seem blind to what is happening at this moment even though the exact same patterns that played out in 2008 are playing out once again right in front of our eyes.

If you have been waiting for the next global financial crisis, you can stop, because it is already here.

As we move toward the end of 2015, let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.

Expert That Correctly Predicted Market Moves In July, August And September Says Stocks Will Crash In November

Dollars Folded - Public DomainWhen someone is right over and over and over, eventually people start paying attention.  Personally, I have learned to tune out the “forecasts” of most “economic experts” out there.  As an attorney, I was trained to be skeptical, and I have found that most forecasts about what the financial markets are going to do are not worth the paper they are printed on.  However, once in a while something comes along that really gets my attention.  Over the past few days, I have seen a number of references to the remarkable forecasts of Bo Polny of Gold 2020 Forecast.  In recent months he has correctly predicted that U.S. stocks would begin to drop in July, that there would be a huge plunge in August and that that the month of September would be rather uneventful.  Now he is saying that he expects “November to be a complete meltdown on the U.S. and world markets”.  Just because he has been right in the past does not guarantee that he will be correct this time around, but lots of people (like me) are starting to pay attention.

So how does Polny come to his conclusions?  Well, he uses something that most of us hated when we were in school – mathematics.  The following comes from the Daily Sheeple

Cyclical analyst Bo Polny of Gold 2020 Forecast utilizes advanced mathematical formulas and years of cyclical analysis to make forecasts about global stock markets. In late July he noted that U.S. stock markets had hit a top and that investors should prepare for a rapid down-move in the Dow Jones and other indexes. As we now know, that prediction has come to pass.

But while many on Wall Street panicked, Polny noted that the crash was not yet imminent and that the month of September would be relatively calm, with no major moves up or down forecast to occur. Once again, his analysis proved accurate.

I want to stress that I do not know if he will be right this time around.  When trying to forecast the future of the markets, there are thousands of moving pieces, and many of them cannot be accounted for easily.  But without a doubt the markets are perfectly primed for a major crash, so it would not surprise me in the least if he did turn out to be correct.

And as I mentioned above, Polny does have a solid track record of accuracy

*****

Bo’s model appears to have an impressive track record of accurate predictions, including the following:

  • Price of gold reaching $1900 in 2011
  • China’s stock market peak in April 2015
  • Hong Kong market peak on April 29 2015
  • U.S. stock market drop beginning in July 2015
  • Sharp drop in the stop market in August 2015
  • U.S. stock market uneventful in September 2015

*****

If Polny is right again this time, next month will be the most significant month for global financial markets since the crash of 2008.  Here is more from Z3News

*****

In an interview with Future Money Trends on October 17 2015, he made the following comments:

“Now we are expecting the next leg down on the U.S. and world markets on the dollar. What we are forecasting now is the lows of August are all going to break. They could break in the month of October yet, but we believe they will break no problem into November. We expect November to be a complete meltdown on the U.S. and world markets.”

He also posted the following statements on his website:

“If you thought the crash of August 2015 was bad; November 2015 is expected to usher in the START of the US Stock, Dollar, and Treasuries Market MELTDOWN!!!

“The end of this year ushers in the start of an Economic Meltdown that is to last years! The U.S. Dollar, Treasuries, and Stock Market bomb is set to blow in November 2015!”

*****

Polny is projecting that stocks could ultimately fall by as much as 70 percent by the time it is all said and done.  You can watch a full interview where he discusses these things right here.

Meanwhile, early signs of the kind of trouble that Polny is warning about continue to pop up.

On Wednesday, the stock price of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world absolutely crashed after a report came out claiming that it was in danger of suffering the same fate as Enron

Hedge fund darling Valeant Pharmaceuticals is getting hammered after short-selling-firm Citron Research published a report comparing it to Enron.

The Canadian drug company’s stock was last down about 25% at around $110. It had fallen as low as $88.50.

The stock has been popular among hedge funds.

It ranked No. 10 on Goldman Sachs’ stocks that “matter most” to hedge funds list for the second quarter. According to Goldman, 32 funds had the stock as one of their top-10 stock holdings.

And this week we learned that construction machinery giant Caterpillar has now reported global sales declines for 34 consecutive months.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Most cats bounce at least once when they die, but not this one: after CAT posted its first annual drop in retail sales in December of 2012, it has failed to see a rise in retail sales even once.

In fact, since then Caterpillar has seen 34 consecutive months of declining global sales, and 11 consecutive months of double digit declines!

Those that assume that everything is going to be “just fine” now that we have gotten past September are going to be dead wrong.

Whether it happens in November or not, the kind of chaotic financial collapse that Bo Polny is warning about will happen.

And of course factors that he is unable to account for such as war, terror attacks and major natural disasters could greatly accelerate things.

Once again, I don’t know if everything that Bo Polny is saying is going to turn out to be 100% accurate or not.  I am just reporting what he is saying.  But it is true that what he is forecasting fits very well with what I have been warning my readers about for months and months.

A day of reckoning is most definitely coming for global financial markets.

Will it happen in November?

Stay tuned…

September 2015 Sure Started Off With Quite A Bang, Eh?

Bang Explosion - Public DomainAfter enduring their worst August in 17 years, U.S. stocks are off to their worst start to a September in 13 years.  Just yesterday, I declared that we would be entering the “danger zone” this month, and it didn’t take long for the action to begin.  Historically, this month is the worst month of the year for stocks, and most of the biggest stock market crashes throughout our history have come in the fall.  On Tuesday, the Dow plunged another 469 points, and it is now down more than 10 percent from the peak of the market back in May.  That means that we have officially entered “correction” territory.  Asian stocks also crashed hard on Tuesday, so did European stocks, and the price of oil plummeted about 8 percent.  For a long time, there have been a lot of people out there that have been warning that a financial crisis would happen in the second half of 2015, and they are being proven right.  It is actually happening.

Of course there will be plenty of ups and downs still to come.  I cannot emphasize enough that we should fully expect waves of panic selling and waves of panic buying.  This always happens during any market crash.

For instance, just consider what happened when the tech bubble crashed.  The following analysis comes from Graham Summers

In a six month period, investors moved stocks down 19%, up 8%, then down 27%, then up 21%, then down 22%, then up 34%, then down 17%, then up 16%, then down 28%, then up 16%, and finally down 17%. Only at that point did stocks break their trendline for the bubble (the blue line) and it became obvious that the bubble had burst.

My point with all of this is that even when the bubble was both very specific AND obvious, the collapse was neither quick nor clean. There were several large 20%+ crashes, but overall, it was a roller coaster with jarring rallies that gradually wore its way down.

It was a full-blown market collapse, and yet there were moments when the market absolutely skyrocketed.

The same thing happened in 2008.  In fact, the best two days in stock market history were right in the middle of the last financial crisis.

So don’t be fooled by what happens on any one particular day.  Huge up days and huge down days are both red flags.

If the market is going to recover any time soon, what we need are nice quiet days without much volatility.  Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen any time soon because a tremendous amount of damage has already been done and some massive imbalances have already developed.  I like how Richard Smith put it recently…

Serious damage has been done to the financial markets in the past two weeks – very serious. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

No one should be kidding themselves that what’s happened in the past two weeks is just a little late summer blip – building up some energy to rally into the fall and winter. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen but it isn’t the odds play.

Everywhere I look, technical damage has been done – and it’s like nothing we’ve seen since 2008.

Yes, the mainstream media is telling everyone that they shouldn’t panic and that everything will be just fine, but those that study the charts for a living know what is really happening.  For months, I have been telling you over and over that things were setting up in textbook fashion for another financial crisis, and other experts have been seeing the exact same things that I have been seeing.  For example, just consider what Louise Yamada told CNBC

Looking at a chart of the S&P 500, Louise Yamada noted that momentum has been declining for four months, which by her work, is a “classic” sell signal.

“This is suggesting to me that we are looking at a bear market,” said Yamada said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” Yamada noted that the last two times the market saw a similar shift in momentum were in January 2008 and June 2000.

Right now, a lot of people are very confused about what to do.  Those that told them to buy stocks in the first place are telling them to buy even more stocks.  And of course the mainstream media is telling them that everything is going to be just wonderful after this “correction” runs its course.  But at the same time a lot of people have a gut feeling that things are about to get really bad.

Personally, I think that what John Hussman shared in his recent newsletter contains a lot of wisdom…

“If you’re taking more equity risk than you can actually tolerate if the market goes south, setting your portfolio right isn’t a market call – it’s just sound financial planning. It’s only fun to be reckless if you also turn out to be lucky. Market conditions are now more hostile than at any time since the 2007 peak. If you want to be speculating, and you can tolerate the outcome, then you’re not taking too much equity risk in the first place. But it’s one or the other. Can you tolerate a 40-55% market loss over the next 18 months or so? If not, take this opportunity to set things right. That’s not the worst-case scenario under present conditions; it’s actually the run-of-the-mill historical expectation.”

I also want to point out that we are now less than two weeks away from the end of the Shemitah year.

If you are still not familiar with the concept of the Shemitah year, please see my previous article entitled “The Shemitah: The Biblical Pattern Which Indicates That A Financial Collapse May Be Coming In 2015“.

Even though the stock market crashed in September 2001 at the end of a Shemitah year, and in September 2008 at the end of another Shemitah year, and it is crashing again in September 2015, somehow there are still people out there that do not think that this is real.

Well, I am here to tell you that this is very real.  But if you won’t listen to me, perhaps you will consider the findings of Israeli mathematician Thomas Pound.  The following comes from an outstanding piece that was just published by WND

After a friend told him about the seven-year Sabbatical cycle to the stock market, Pound again set out to see if the theory held up under statistical scrutiny.

Applying the same ANOVA test to the Shemitah cycle, Pound’s research revealed that the sabbatical years were the only group of years in which the market cycle averages consistent significant losses since 1871.

He also found that, in Shemitah years, the difference in loss was greater than that noted in professor Shiller’s decennial cycle.

“Statistically, it appears that the calendar years in which the Sabbatical year ends are worse than the other six years, and that difference is significant based on the data I have,” Pound told Breaking Israel News.

Look, I know that this may not fit with how you currently view the world.

The truth is that a whole bunch of weird stuff is about to happen that may not fit with how you currently view the world.

But if you honestly want to discover the truth, then you have got to go wherever the evidence ultimately leads you.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

The Dow Has Already Fallen Nearly 900 Points From The Peak Of The Market

Financial Crisis Stocks - Public DomainIn an eerie repeat of what we witnessed in 2008, U.S. stocks are steadily sliding throughout the summer as we head toward the month of September.  From August 1st, 2008 to September 1st, 2008 the Dow fell by nearly 700 points.  And of course we all remember what happened the following month.  Right now, we are watching a similar thing happen.  The Dow has plummeted nearly 700 points since July 16th, and it is down nearly 900 points from the peak of the market back in May.  At this point the Dow has now fallen for six days in a row and eleven of the last thirteen.  Of course most of the talking heads on television are still insisting that everything is going to be just fine and that a repeat of 2008 is not possible.  So what do you think?  Should we trust them?

Personally, I find that I put a lot more faith in cold, hard numbers than in what the talking heads on television have to say.  And at this moment, the cold, hard numbers are telling us that another financial crisis in imminent.

This is one of the reasons why I am such a fan of Zero Hedge.  Nobody stays on top of the hard financial numbers like Zero Hedge does.  And according to Zero Hedge, market internals are absolutely screaming that a U.S. stock market crash is right around the corner

In early 2007, market internals began to weaken dramatically. Talking heads and asset gatherers said fears were overblown, risk was contained, Fed has it under control, stay the course. Six months later, the equity markets began to collapse and then accelerated lower. Today, in an eery case of deja vu all over again, it has been six months now since US equity market internals began to decouple from the manipulated index levels that manufacture wealth and happiness across America… what would you do?

Here is the chart that immediately followed that paragraph.  As you can see, we are repeating the exact same pattern that we witnessed back during the last financial crisis…

Internals - Zero Hedge chart

Meanwhile, the second largest stock market in the world is already crashing.  The Chinese have spent approximately 1.3 trillion dollars propping up stocks in China, but they just continue to fall.  They were down again on Wednesday night, and nobody is quite sure when the carnage is going to end.

And remember, Chinese stocks started to crash before U.S. stocks did in 2008 as well.

Another eerie similarity to 2008 is the behavior of oil.  In the summer of 2008, the price of oil crashed hard, and then a stock crash followed a couple of months later.

Well, guess what?

The price of oil is crashing hard once again.  The following comes from CNBC

Oil set multi-month lows on Thursday as investors and traders sought clues about the market’s next bottom after a large drop in U.S. crude inventories failed to boost prices.

A bigger-than-expected build in U.S. gasoline stockpiles last week proved more important to investors than crude storage numbers that came in three times below forecast on Wednesday.

U.S. crude was down 50 cents at $44.65 a barrel at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), after touching a 4½ month bottom at $44.20.

Why can’t more people see the signs?

They are so obvious.

We are also getting indications that the real economy is starting to be affected by all of this chaos.  The mainstream media has been very quiet about this, but the number of job cuts just hit a four year high

Challenger, Gray & Christmas has released its monthly job cuts for July, and it is ugly. The 105,696 job cuts was the highest number since 2011. To put this in perspective, the July job cuts total is a whopping 136% higher than the 44,842 job cuts reported in June, as well as 125% higher than the in same report a year ago.

The July report showed that the last time more than 100,000 job cuts were announced was back in September 2011, when there were some 115,730 layoffs.

Another bad trend is that July’s surge now brings the year-to-date job cuts up to a total of 393,368. That is 34% higher than the run rate for the same period in 2014.

If alarm bells are going off in your head right now, that is good, because they should be.

A 34 percent increase in job cuts is not a good thing.

Of course it would probably help if the Obama administration was not bringing in far more immigrant workers than the limits that have been officially set by Congress.  Just check out these numbers

In written responses to the Senate Judiciary Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee Republicans obtained by Breitbart News, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reveal that the Obama administration has been approving work authorizations for immigrants beyond admission limits and for some categories of immigrants that Congress never intended to work in the U.S.

Beyond those limits each year, these new and renewed work permit approvals amounted to about 1.23 million in fiscal year 2009, 1.08 million in FY 2010, 970,277 in FY 2011, 1.24 million in FY 2012, 1.68 million in FY 2013 and 1.24 million in FY 2014.

Also, this is the first time that imports and exports have both been declining on a year over year basis since the last recession.  Just check out this chart and this chart.

When imports and exports are both falling, that means that economic activity is slowing down.  And we are seeing a similar thing happen all over the planet.  At this point, global trade has fallen by a total of about 2 percent over the past six months.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Just like in the summer of 2008, global economic activity is diminishing and things in the financial world are lining up in textbook fashion for a major crisis.

But for those that are not convinced by now, there is not that much more that I can do.  I could keep throwing out numbers and charts and graphs, but if people refuse to see the truth they simply will not see it.

Less than a month from now, we will officially be in the danger zone.

September is coming, and I truly hope that you are already prepared for it.

8 Financial Experts That Are Warning That A Great Financial Crisis Is Imminent

Earth Clock Pocketwatch - Public DomainWill there be a financial collapse in the United States before the end of 2015?  An increasing number of respected financial experts are now warning that we are right on the verge of another great economic crisis.  Of course that doesn’t mean that it will happen.  Experts have been wrong before.  But without a doubt, red flags are popping up all over the place and things are lining up in textbook fashion for a new financial crisis.  As I write this article, U.S. stocks have declined four days in a row, the Dow is down more than 750 points from the peak of the market in May, and one out of every five U.S. stocks is already in a bear market.  I fully expect the next several months to be extremely chaotic, and I am far from alone.  The following are 8 financial experts that are warning that a great financial crisis is imminent…

#1 During one recent interview, Doug Casey stated that we are heading for “a catastrophe of historic proportions”

“With these stupid governments printing trillions and trillions of new currency units,” says investor Doug Casey, “it’s building up to a catastrophe of historic proportions.”

Doug Casey, a wildly successful investor who’s the head of the outfit Casey Research, is predicting doom and gloom for the global economy.

“I wouldn’t keep significant capital in banks,” he told Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch. “Most of the banks in the world are bankrupt.”

#2 Bill Fleckenstein is warning that U.S. markets could be headed for calamity in the coming months

Noted short seller Bill Fleckenstein, who correctly predicted the financial crisis in 2007, says he is one step closer to opening up a short-focused fund for the first time since 2009. In the meantime, Fleckenstein says the entire market could be heading for calamity in the coming months.

The market is uniquely crash-prone,” Fleckenstein told CNBC’s “Fast Money” this week. “I think the market is very brittle because of high-frequency trading, ETFs, a lot of momentum investors. I don’t think there’s going to be any painless back door.”

#3 Richard Russell believes that the bear market that is coming “will tear apart the current economic system”

From my standpoint, this is the strangest period that I have gone through since the 1940s. The Industrials are declining faster than the Transports. If this continues, at some point the Industrials will touch the Transports. When that happens, I believe a bear market will be signaled, as both Industrials and Transports accelerate on the downside.

I expect a brief period of higher prices which will draw in the amateurish retail public. This brief breather will be followed by an historic bear market that will tear apart the current economic system.

#4 Larry Edelson is “100% confident” that a global financial crisis will be triggered “within the next few months”…

On October 7, 2015, the first economic supercycle since 1929 will trigger a global financial crisis of epic proportions. It will bring Europe, Japan and the United States to their knees, sending nearly one billion human beings on a roller-coaster ride through hell for the next five years. A ride like no generation has ever seen. I am 100% confident it will hit within the next few months.”

#5 John Hussman is warning that market conditions such as we are observing right now have only happened at a few key moments throughout our history

In any event, this is no time to be on autopilot. Look at the data, and you’ll realize that our present concerns are not hyperbole or exaggeration. We simply have not observed the market conditions we observe today except in a handful of instances in market history, and they have typically ended quite badly (see When You Look Back on This Moment in History and All Their Eggs in Janet’s Basket for a more extended discussion of current conditions). In my view, this is one of the most important moments in a generation to examine all of your risk exposures, the extent to which you believe historical evidence is informative, your tolerance for loss, your comfort or discomfort with missing out on potential rallies even in a wickedly overvalued market, and your true investment horizon.

#6 During a recent appearance on CNBC, Marc Faber suggested that U.S. stocks could soon plummet by up to 40 percent

The U.S. stock market could “easily” drop 20 percent to 40 percent, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber said Wednesday—citing a host of factors including the growing list of companies trading below their 200-day moving average.

In recent days, “there were [also] more declining than advancing stocks, and the list of 12-month new lows was very high on Friday,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“It shows you a lot of stocks are already declining.”

#7 In a previous article, I noted that Henry Blodget of Business Insider is suggesting that U.S. stocks could soon drop by up to 50 percent

As regular readers know, for the past ~21 months I have been worrying out loud about US stock prices. Specifically, I have suggested that a decline of 30% to 50% would not be a surprise.

I haven’t predicted a crash. But I have said clearly that I think stocks will deliver returns that are way below average for the next seven to 10 years. And I certainly won’t be surprised to see stocks crash. So don’t say no one warned you!

#8 Egon von Greyerz is even more bearish.  He recently told King World News that we are heading for “the most historic wealth destruction ever”…

Eric, there are now more problem areas in the world, rather than stable situations. No major nation in the West can repay its debts. The same is true for Japan and most of the emerging markets. Europe is a failed experiment for socialism and deficit spending. China is a massive bubble, in terms of its stock markets, property markets and shadow banking system. Japan is also a basket case and the U.S. is the most indebted country in the world and has lived above its means for over 50 years.

So we will see twin $200 trillion debt and $1.5 quadrillion derivatives implosions. That will lead to the most historic wealth destruction ever in global stock, with bond and property markets declining at least 75 – 95 percent. World trade will also contract dramatically and we will see massive hardship across the globe.

So are they right?

We’ll know soon.

And of course they are not the only ones with a bad feeling about what is ahead.  A recent WSJ/NBC News survey found that 65 percent of all Americans believe that the country is currently on the wrong track.

Also, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index just plunged to the lowest level that we have seen so far in 2015

Americans confidence in the US economy dropped sharply in July to its lowest level in 2015, according to a new US Economic Confidence Index rating released by Gallup on Tuesday.

“Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index declined to an average of —12 in July from —8 in June. This is the lowest monthly average since last October, and is a noticeable departure from the +3 average in January,” the polling company said.

Gallup said that “unsettled economic” conditions, including tumult in Chinese markets and uncertainty in Europe over a Greek debt deal, as well as US stock market volatility are factors driving lower confidence in the US economy.

These “bad feelings” are also reflected in the hard economic data.  U.S. consumer spending has declined for three months in a row, and U.S. factory orders have fallen for eight months in a row.

The numbers are screaming that we are heading for another major recession.

But could it be possible that this is just another false alarm?

Could it be possible that the blind optimists are right and that everything will work out okay somehow?

Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

Crashing: Apple, Twitter, Oil, Commodities, Greek Stocks, Chinese Stocks

Crash - Public DomainThe month of August sure has started off with a bang.  Tech stocks are crashing, oil is crashing, industrial commodities are crashing, Greek stocks crashed the moment that the Greek stock market reopened for trading, and Chinese stocks continue to crash.  At this point we have not seen a broad crash of U.S. stocks yet, but it is important to note that the Dow is already down more than 700 points from the peak in May.  If it continues to slide like it has in recent days, it won’t be too long before we will officially reach “correction” territory.  Just a few days ago, I described August as a “pivotal month“, and so far that is indeed turning out to be the case.

A full-blown financial crisis has not erupted yet, but we are well on the way.  In this article, I want to look at a few of the “crashes” that are already happening…

Apple

This is more of a “correction” than a “crash”, but it is very noteworthy because it is happening to one of the most important U.S. stocks of all.  The price of Apple stock has already broken through the 200 day moving average, and at this point it is down nearly 11 percent from the peak

Shares of Apple are down 10.9% from their highest point in a year — which places the stock squarely in what’s considered to be a correction. The unofficial definition of a correction is a 10% or greater drop from a recent high. Shares of Apple hit a 52-week (and all-time) high on $134.54 on April 28.

Twitter

If you want to see a real crash, just look at what is happening to Twitter.  The stock was down close to 6 percent on Monday, and overall it has fallen 58 percent since early last year.  The price of Twitter stock has never been lower than it is right now, and many investors are very apprehensive about what comes next…

Twitter shares hit a record low on Monday, closing down nearly 6% to $29.27.

That is 58% below their peak in January 2014.

Shares have fallen to their lowest point since the company went public in November 2014 weighed down by negative comments on growth from company executives that rattled investors. Its previous low was $30.50 in May 2014 as concerns over slowing user growth began to take a toll.

Of course there are tech companies that are in far worse shape than Twitter.  For example, just consider what is happening to Yelp.  Shares of Yelp recently plummeted 25 percent in a single day, and they are down about 70 percent over the past year.

Greece

The Greek government was quite eager to reopen their stock market this week.

Perhaps they should have waited longer.

On Monday, we witnessed the greatest stock bloodbath in Greek history.  The following comes from Reuters

Greece’s stock market closed with heavy losses on Monday after a five-week shutdown brought on by fears that the country was about to be dumped from the euro zone.

Bank shares plummeted 30 percent before loss limits kicked in to stop investors selling any more. The main Athens stock index .ATG ended down 16.2 percent, recovering slightly after plunging nearly 23 percent at the open.

It was the worst daily performance since at least 1985 when modern records began, including a 15 percent fall when Wall Street crashed in 1987.

Puerto Rico

Things also continue to unravel for “America’s Greece”.  On Monday, a U.S. commonwealth territory defaulted on debt for the first time ever

Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank announced Monday that it was only able to make a partial payment on its Public Finance Corporation (PFC) debt service due over the weekend.

In response to the non-payment of the full service, Moody’s said it viewed the situation as a default.

“Due to the lack of appropriated funds for this fiscal year the entirety of the PFC payment was not made today (the first business day after the Saturday deadline),” GDB President Melba Acosta-Febo said in a statement. This was a decision that reflects the serious concerns about the Commonwealth’s liquidity in combination with the balance of obligations to our creditors and the equally important obligations to the people of Puerto Rico to ensure the essential services they deserve are maintained.”

China

As I noted the other day, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 13.4 percent during the month of July.  It was the worst month for stocks in China since October 2009.

On Monday, Chinese stocks were down another 1.11 percent.  Since closing at 5,166.35 on June 12th, the Shanghai Composite Index has fallen precipitously.  As I write this, it is sitting at just 3622.86.

Oil

In the months prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the price of oil crashed hard.

Now it is happening again.

In July, the price of oil plunged 21 percent.  That was the worst monthly decline that we have seen since October 2008.

And on Monday, the oil crash continued.  The following comes from Business Insider

On Monday in New York, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell more than 4% and slipped below $45 per barrel, a level it hasn’t touched since March.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark that joined WTI in a bear market last week, dropped more than 4%, below $50 per barrel for the first time since January.

Commodities

In recent weeks, I have been writing over and over about industrial commodities.  This is yet another striking similarity to the last financial crisis.  In 2008, they started crashing before stocks did, and now it is happening again

We see the Bloomberg Commodities index now at a 13-year low. Copper is down 28 percent for the year, tin is down 30 percent, and nickel is down 44 percent.

This is a giant red flag that indicates that we are plunging into a deflationary cycle.  When global economic activity slows down, so does demand for industrial commodities.  I don’t understand why more people can’t see this.

I have been warning that a deflationary downturn was coming for a very long time, and so have others.  For instance, just consider the following excerpt from a recent article by Nicole Foss

Our consistent theme here at the Automatic Earth since its inception has been that we are facing a very powerful deflationary depression, following on from the bursting of an epic financial bubble. What we have witnessed in our three decades of expansion and inflation is nothing short of a monetary supernova, and that period has been the just culmination of a much larger upward trend going back many decades at least. We have lived through a credit hyper-expansion for the record books, with an unprecedented generation of excess claims to underlying real wealth. In doing so we have created the largest financial departure from reality in human history.

Bubbles are not new – humanity has experienced them periodically going all the way back to antiquity – but the novel aspect of this one, apart from its scale, is its occurrence at a point when we have reached or are reaching so many limits on a global scale. The retrenchment we are about to experience as this bubble bursts is also set to be unprecedented, given that the scale of a bust is predictably proportionate to the scale of the excesses during the boom that precedes it. We have built an incredibly complex economic system, but despite its robust appearance it is over-extended, brittle and fragile after decades of fueling its continued expansion by feeding on its own substance.

Things continue to line up in textbook fashion for a major financial crisis during the fall and winter.

I hope that you are prepared for what comes next.

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