The Dow Made A Miraculous 400 Point Recovery, But Now Renewed Trade Fears Are Sending Markets Plunging Once Again

If your head is spinning from the wild fluctuations that have shaken global financial markets, you are definitely not alone.  On Sunday, President Trump angrily threatened to hit China with enormous new tariffs, and it looked like hopes for a trade deal between the United States and China had collapsed.  Overnight, Chinese stocks had their worst session in three years, and many expected U.S. stocks to experience a similar plunge.  But then on Monday we learned that the Chinese had decided to move forward with trade talks this week anyway, and global financial markets started rebounding in a major way.  In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded more than 400 points

The Dow closed just 66 points lower on Monday, recovering from a plunge of as much as 471 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also erased their sharp losses, ending just 0.5% lower.

The comeback signals investors don’t believe President Donald Trump’s surprise threat to impose higher tariffs on China will spark a painful deepening of the trade war. Optimists are even hoping an historic trade deal will still be reached.

Crisis averted, right?

Well, it certainly looked like smooth sailing was ahead until U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the press that new tariffs will still be imposed on Chinese goods on Friday.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

While a Chinese delegation is still scheduled to visit Washington as planned this week, with talks to take place Thursday and Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters Monday that the Trump administration plans to increase duties on Chinese imports at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, accusing Beijing of backpedaling on commitments it made during negotiations.

U.S. and China had been making substantial progress on a trade deal, but in the past week China has reneged on some of its promises:

“We felt we were on track to get somewhere. Over the course of last week we have seen an erosion of commitments by China,” Lighthizer said, adding that significant issues remain unresolved, including whether tariffs will remain in place.

The result, more than half of the intraday gains have been erased already…

This is a huge gamble by the Trump administration.

As I explained yesterday, the Chinese have been dragging their feet because they really don’t want a trade deal with Trump unless somehow they were able to miraculously get everything that they wanted.  They would very much prefer to negotiate with whoever follows Trump in the White House, and they have been using trade negotiations as a delaying tactic to keep Trump from imposing more tariffs on them.

Of course eventually Trump was going to figure out that he was being played, and so now Trump is going to impose new tariffs anyway, and he is hoping that this will be enough leverage to force the Chinese into an agreement.

But there is also the possibility that the entire process could blow up and the Chinese could walk away from negotiations permanently.

And if the Chinese do walk away, it is going to be a disaster for global financial markets.

To me, it seems quite foolish to try to push China around.  The Chinese are very, very proud people, and they don’t take threats very well at all.  If they feel like they have been disrespected, it is something that they will remember for a very, very long time.

But many in Congress seem to approve of Trump’s approach.  In fact, Democrat Chuck Schumer is encouraging Trump to “hang tough on China”

Hang tough on China, President . Don’t back down. Strength is the only way to win with China.

Schumer absolutely hates Trump and would love to see him removed from office, so why the encouraging words?

To me, this smells like a trap.  Schumer understands that if negotiations fail it will be a huge blow to the U.S. economy, and if the economy tanks that will be a huge plus for Democrats in 2020.

Over in China, they are officially freaking out over the Trump administration’s latest moves.  In fact, an article in the South China Morning Post just compared Trump to Thanos…

The tweets roiled markets in China and Hong Kong, leading one analyst to compare Trump to Thanos – the character from the box office smash Avengers who wiped out half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers.

“He snapped his fingers and rattled the market,” said Sheng Liugang, director of the trade and development research programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, adding that the move would add to pressure on the Chinese economy, which outperformed expectations in the first quarter of the year, largely due to stimulus measures from Beijing.

We’ll see what happens when U.S. and Chinese officials meet this week.

If the Trump administration is able to strong-arm the Chinese into a deal, Trump will be hailed as a master negotiator and global financial markets will rejoice.

But if a deal is not reached and the Chinese walk away, global financial markets will tank and it could push us into the next economic crisis.  According to Warren Buffett, a full-fledged trade war between the United States and China “would be bad for the whole world”…

If we actually have a trade war, it would be bad for the whole world. It could be very bad depending on the extent of it,” Buffett told CNBC.

He added that China and the United States are playing a “dangerous game.”

The stakes are exceedingly high, and the outcome of these negotiations could go either way.

By the end of the week things should be much clearer, and if a deal is not reached we could see events start to spiral out of control pretty rapidly.

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

Trade talks with China collapse: “This has all the makings of a complete disaster that could lead the stock market to crater this week”

Chaos has returned to global financial markets, and it does not appear that there will be an easy fix this time.  For the first four months of 2019, the mainstream media told us over and over again that a great deal of progress was being made on a trade deal with China and that negotiations would soon reach a final conclusion, but now it has become clear that those news reports were fake news.  For a variety of reasons, the Chinese have been slow playing negotiations all along.  Once they got the Trump administration to suspend the implementation of any new tariffs while negotiations were ongoing, the Chinese no longer had any urgency to reach an agreement.  In fact, if the Chinese could have run out the clock all the way to the 2020 election, they surely would have done so.  They would very much prefer to negotiate with someone else, and I think that President Trump has finally figured out that he was being played.  On Sunday, in a very angry two part tweet Trump announced that he is going to slap China with huge new tariffs

For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars….

…of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!

In response to Trump’s angry tweets, the Chinese suggested that they may cancel this week’s negotiations

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had planned to bring a large delegation to Washington on Wednesday to hash out a trade deal — and there’d been talk in recent days that something resembling a deal could result. Instead, two sources briefed on the talks said the Chinese side may back out of this week’s negotiations.

That was pegged to Trump’s new threats, they said, which abandon a six-month truce after Beijing waffled on some previously discussed commitments.

And according to reporter Edward Lawrence, the negotiations have now officially been canceled…

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has cancelled his trip to Washington this week for trade talks following a tweet by President Donald Trump threatening more tariffs because the talks have moved too slowly.

Needless to say, global financial markets did not respond well to this news.  For most of the year, hope that a trade agreement was imminent had lifted stocks, but now that hope appears to be gone.

In Asia, the major Chinese markets were all down more than 5 percent overnight

Asia Pacific stocks tumbled in Monday morning trade following a re-escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions as President Donald Trump declared an impending increase in tariffs rates on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The mainland Chinese markets plunged in morning trade. The Shanghai composite, Shenzhen composite and Shenzhen component all plunged more than 5% each.

And oil prices immediately began falling as well

Oil prices also saw sharp declines in the morning of Asian trading hours, with U.S. crude futures dropping 2.34% to $60.49 per barrel. For its part, international benchmark Brent crude futures also declined 2.09% to $69.37 per barrel.

Unfortunately, this is likely to be far more than just a temporary setback for the markets.  Unless a trade deal can be salvaged somehow, things are likely to get very “interesting” quite rapidly.

According to one top expert quoted by CNBC, this “has all the makings of a complete disaster that could lead the stock market to crater this week and send those external risks to the US economic outlook soaring”…

“Another turn of the screw tighter Sunday from the President’s hard-ball tactics with the China trade talks, and his pair of tweets look like they could unleash a sharp stock market correction,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, in a note. “For weeks now markets have been lulled to sleep on the US trade war with China thinking an agreement was imminent. No more.”

“This has all the makings of a complete disaster that could lead the stock market to crater this week and send those external risks to the US economic outlook soaring,” he added.

Could this be one of the triggers that pushes us over the edge and into the economic abyss?

Even without the collapse of trade talks with China, we were definitely heading toward a recession anyway.  I really like how economist John Williams made this point during a recent interview with Greg Hunter

“We have a recession in place. It’s just a matter of playing out in some of these other funny numbers. The reality is on the downside, where you have mixed pressures right now. People who are really concerned about the economy right now, and that includes President Trump looking at re-election, he’s been arguing that the Fed should lower rates, and I am with him. The Fed created this circumstance. They are pushing for the economy on the upside because they want to continue to keep raising rates. Banks make more money with higher rates, and they are still trying to liquidate the problems they created when they bailed out the banking system back in 2008.”

The first few months of 2019 have been surprisingly quiet, but now events appear to be accelerating in a major way.

So hold on tight, because it appears that a very bumpy ride is ahead.

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

Give This Stock Market Bubble A Round Of Applause – The S&P 500 And The Nasdaq Just Hit Brand New Record Highs

Stocks just closed at a brand new all-time record high, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is coming to theaters, and a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin just won the 768 million dollar Powerball jackpot.  If those are the top headlines today, then everything must be good in ‘Murica at the moment, right?  Of course that is not true at all, but as far as the stock market is concerned we must give credit where credit is due.  Our financial engineers have created the largest stock market bubble in all of U.S. history, and we should all be hoping that it lasts for as long as possible.  Because once this financial bubble is destroyed, the aftermath is going to be truly horrible for the entire country.

Up to this point in the year, the stock market is off to the best start that we have seen since 1987.

Of course we all remember what happened toward the end of 1987.

But for now everything is rainbows and unicorns on Wall Street.  The following comes from Fox Business

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 17%, its best start to a year since 1987, while the Nasdaq has gained 22%, its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains about half a percentage point from its record last October.

Tuesday’s move to a record high for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq index comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.

Last December, stocks were plunging dramatically, and it looked like a brand new financial crisis was potentially beginning.

But stocks pulled out of their nosedive, and most investors are feeling really happy for the moment.

If we could just freeze this moment in time somehow, we would be in pretty good shape.  Unfortunately, time inevitably rolls on, and many believe that there is a lot of pain ahead for investors.

Of course there are other “experts” that believe the best is yet to come.  For instance, Kevin Barry just told CNBC that the stock market turmoil that we witnessed late last year “actually prevented a recession”…

“These market levels are justified,” said Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at Captrust Advisors. “The fourth-quarter sell-off actually prevented a recession because policymakers responded extremely quickly. Both President Xi and President Trump cooled off the rhetoric and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came out and reversed course.”

I have read that paragraph over and over, and I still can’t believe that someone actually had the gall to say such a thing.

According to Barry, the coming recession has been postponed indefinitely and everybody can start partying like its 1999 all over again!

If only life were so simple.

Look, the reality is that even Fox Business is admitting that stock buybacks are one of the major factors driving this latest rally…

However, the rally this year has been despite outflows from equity funds, according to Bank of America data, suggesting some of the gains have been driven by corporate buybacks of stocks.

Our largest corporations are going hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to pump up their own stock prices.  It is a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, and when things start to go bad there is going to be a race to bankruptcy court.

But for the moment the Ponzi scheme continues, and a lot of people are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

For average Americans, it is absolutely imperative to remember that the stock market is not the economy.  Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but the U.S. economy has not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration.  This has been the longest stretch of sub-three percent economic growth in our history by a very wide margin, and now all of the numbers are telling us that economic activity is slowing down once again.

Instead of partying, most people should be using this time to prepare for what is ahead, but we know that is simply not going to happen.

And when the end of this bubble finally comes, it is likely to come very quickly.  As I always stress to my regular readers, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and that is especially true during times of crisis.

In 2008, enormous amounts of money were lost in the blink of an eye.  The following comes from an outstanding article by Bob Henderson entitled “What I Learned From Losing $200 Million”

The day after Lehman fell I lost $20 million, and the day after that $30 million—enough in two days to wipe out all the profits I’d made the previous year. (And that had been a pretty good year.)

But worse was that I felt trapped. My models showed I was destined to lose far more money in the coming weeks, no matter what I did. All roads seemed to lead to an unavoidable abyss. I could practically feel that hot hole breathing under my desk. I actually got dizzy, and lost my ability to think. When my boss stopped by to warn me that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley looked likely to fall next, he seemed almost amused when he told me that I looked green.

I stumbled home early that day, mentally incapacitated for the first time in my career.

Someday we will see similar things happen again, but we should all want that day to be put off for as long as possible.

For the moment, happy times are here again on Wall Street, and we should enjoy them while we still can.

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

We Have Seen This Happen Before The Last 3 Recessions – And Now It Is The Worst It Has Ever Been

Since the last financial crisis, we have witnessed the greatest corporate debt binge in U.S. history.  Corporate debt has more than doubled since then, and it is now sitting at a grand total of more than 9 trillion dollars.  Of course there have been other colossal corporate debt binges throughout our history, and they all ended badly.  In fact, the ratio of corporate debt to U.S. GDP rose above 40 percent prior to each of the last three recessions, but this time around we have found a way to top that.  According to Forbes, the ratio of nonfinancial corporate debt to U.S. GDP is now nearly 50 percent…

Since the last recession, nonfinancial corporate debt has ballooned to more than $9 trillion as of November 2018, which is nearly half of U.S. GDP. As you can see below, each recession going back to the mid-1980s coincided with elevated debt-to-GDP levels—most notably the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the 2000 dot-com bubble and the early ’90s slowdown.

You can see the chart they are talking about right here, and it clearly shows that each of the last three recessions coincided with the bursting of an enormous corporate debt bubble.

This time around the corporate debt bubble is larger than it has ever been before, and risky corporate debt has been growing faster than any other category

Through 2023, as much as $4.88 trillion of this debt is scheduled to mature. And because of higher rates, many companies are increasingly having difficulty making interest payments on their debt, which is growing faster than the U.S. economy, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

On top of that, the very fastest-growing type of debt is riskier BBB-rated bonds—just one step up from “junk.” This is literally the junkiest corporate bond environment we’ve ever seen.

Needless to say, the stage is set for a corporate debt meltdown of epic proportions.

What makes this debt bubble even worse is the way that our big corporations have been spending the money that they are borrowing.

Instead of spending the money to build factories, hire workers and expand their businesses, our big corporations have been spending more money on stock buybacks than anything else.

Every year, publicly traded corporations spend hundreds of billions of dollars buying back their own stocks from shareholders, and much of that is being done with borrowed money.

For example, in recent years General Motors has spent nearly 14 billion dollars on stock buybacks.  And that number certainly sounds quite impressive until you learn that General Electric has spent a whopping 40 billion dollars on stock buybacks.

Sadly, both corporate behemoths are now absolutely drowning in debt as a result of their foolishness.

In the final analysis, borrowing money to fund stock buybacks is little more than an elaborate Ponzi scheme.  In their endless greed, corporate executives are cannibalizing their own companies because it makes some people wealthier in the short-term.

And now this giant corporate debt bubble has reached a bursting point, and there is no way that this story is going to end well.

Meanwhile, another financial bubble of epic proportions is also getting a lot of attention these days.  If you are not familiar with “shadow banking”, here is a pretty good explanation from CNBC

Nonbank lending, an industry that played a central role in the financial crisis, has been expanding rapidly and is still posing risks should credit conditions deteriorate.

Often called “shadow banking” — a term the industry does not embrace — these institutions helped fuel the crisis by providing lending to underqualified borrowers and by financing some of the exotic investment instruments that collapsed when subprime mortgages fell apart.

This kind of lending has absolutely exploded all over the globe since the last recession, and it has now become a 52 trillion dollar bubble

In the years since the crisis, global shadow banks have seen their assets grow to $52 trillion, a 75% jump from the level in 2010, the year after the crisis ended. The asset level is through 2017, according to bond ratings agency DBRS, citing data from the Financial Stability Board.

Who is going to pick up the pieces when a big chunk of those debts start going bad during the next financial crisis?

Never before in human history have we seen so much debt.  Government debt is at all-time record levels all over the world, corporate debt is wildly out of control and consumer debt continues to surge.

A system that requires debt levels to grow at a much faster pace than the overall global economy is growing to maintain itself is a fundamentally flawed system.

But that is what we are facing.  If global debt growth fell to zero, the global economy would instantly plunge into a horrific depression.  The only way to keep the game going is to keep expanding the debt bubble, and the larger it becomes the worse the future crash will be.

Most of us have been in this system for our entire lives, and so most of us don’t even realize that it is possible to have a financial system that is not based on debt.  This is one of the reasons why I get so frustrated with the financially-illiterate politicians who insist that everything will be just fine if we just tweak our current system a little bit.

No, everything is not going to be just fine.  In fact, we have perfectly set the stage for the worst financial meltdown in human history.

At this point nobody has put forth a plan to fundamentally change the system, and there is no way out.

All that is left to do is to keep this current bubble going for as long as humanly possible, and then to duck and cover when disaster finally strikes.

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

Wall Street Red Flag: A Bond Market Indicator That Has Predicted Every Recession In The Last 50 Years Just Got Triggered

If the bond market is correct, the U.S. economy is definitely heading into a recession.  Over the past 50 years, there have been six previous occasions when the yield on three-month Treasury bonds has risen above the yield on ten-year Treasury bonds, and in each of those instances a recession has followed.  Now it has happened again, and this comes at a time when a whole host of other economic indicators are screaming that a recession is coming.  Of course we have seen recession indicators triggered at other times in recent years, and the Federal Reserve was able to intervene and successfully extend this cycle on multiple occasions.  But now that the global economy is clearly the weakest it has been since the last recession, have we finally reached a breaking point?

Many on Wall Street are taking what happened at the end of last week extremely seriously.  According to CNBC, we have not seen a yield curve inversion of this nature in 3,009 trading days…

Short-term government fixed income yields are now ahead of the longer part of the curve, delivering a strong recession indication that hasn’t happened since 2007.

The spread, or yield curve, between the 3-month and 10-year Treasury notes just broke the longest streak ever of being above 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point. The two maturities were last below that level in September 2007, a run of 3,009 trading days, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

3,009 trading days is a very, very long time.

And now we will see how inverted the curve becomes, because as Zero Hedge has aptly pointed out, the more inverted the curve become the “higher the odds of a recession”…

Why is the inversion of the 3 Month-10 Year curve – the first since 2007 – such a momentous occasion? Because not only is said inversion the most accurate recession leading indicator, having correctly “predicted” the last 6 recessions with no false positives, most recently inverting in 1989, in 2000 and in 2006, with recessions prompting starting in 1990, 2001 and 2008….

… it also feeds directly into every Wall Street recession model: the more inverted it is, the higher the odds of a recession.

To get an idea of what the models are currently showing, just check out this chart.  At this moment, the odds of another recession are the highest they have been since the last one.

Many investors were hoping that the bond market would have better news for us on Monday, but instead things got even worse

On Friday, markets were spooked when the yield curve inverted, a reliable recession signal though usually not an immediate one. That means the rate on a lower duration instrument rose above a longer duration security’s yield. In this case, it was the yield on the 3-month bill, at 2.44 percent Monday, moving above the 10-year yield, which sank as low as 2.38 percent, a more than 2-year low.

I know that just about everybody in America is writing about the Mueller Report right now, and I just posted an article about it too, but the outcome of that investigation is not going to change the trajectory of the global economy.  It has been slowing down for quite some time, and that is the primary reason why we have seen an inversion of the yield curve

“Yield curves are responding to what they see, to what I believe is a global economic slowdown,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “You don’t see this kind of move in curves, not just here but everywhere, unless you get one.”

Global central banks are already jumping into action, and I expect a tremendous amount of intervention as global economic conditions continue to deteriorate.

But there is only so much that they can do, and even though they have pulled a few rabbits out of the hat in recent years, at some point they are going to completely lose control.

Already, we are starting to see things happen that are very reminiscent of the last recession.  For example, we are on pace for the worst year for store closings in all of U.S. history, and another major retailer just announced that they will be closing all their stores

LifeWay Christian Resources announced Wednesday that it will be closing all remaining 170 stores this year and focusing on online sales. Carol Pipes, director of corporate communications for LifeWay, posted the announcement on the company’s website, explaining that it was “a strategic shift of resources to a dynamic digital strategy.”

Communities all over America, especially the more economically-depressed ones, are going to start looking really bleak as the number of empty buildings continues to rise.  This is something that I have warned about for a long time, and now it is happening on a massive scale.

As I end this article, I once again want to mention a factor that is going to have an enormous impact on our economy throughout the rest of this year.  The flooding in the middle portion of the nation has destroyed thousands of farms, and the National Weather Service is warning that the flooding that we have seen so far is just “a preview of what we expect throughout the rest of the spring”.  This is already the worst flooding disaster for U.S. farmers in modern American history, and it is going to get much, much worse.

We are going to see another huge surge in farm bankruptcies, thousands of farmers will not be able to plant crops at all this year, food prices are going to rise dramatically, and a lot of families all over America are going to have a real problem making their food budgets stretch far enough.

There are so many factors hammering our economy right now.  If the Federal Reserve is able to pull another rabbit out of the hat this time, it will be nothing short of a major miracle.

We are literally at a critical tipping point, and it is not going to be easy to pull us back from the brink this time.

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

The “Stock Market Crash Of 2018” Is Rapidly Transforming Into “The Financial Crisis Of 2019”

Stock markets are crashing all over the world, we are seeing extremely violent “flash crashes” in the forex marketplace, economic conditions are slowing down all over the globe, and fear is causing many investors to become extremely trigger happy.  The stock market crash of 2018 wiped out approximately 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth, but things were supposed to calm down once we got into 2019.  But clearly that is not happening.  After Apple announced that their sales during the first quarter are going to be much, much lower than previously anticipated, Apple’s stock price started shooting down like a rocket and by the end of the session on Wednesday the company had lost 75 billion dollars in market capitalization.  Meanwhile, “flash crashes” caused some of the most violent swings that we have ever seen in the foreign exchange markets…

It took seven minutes for the yen to surge through levels that have held through almost a decade.

In those wild minutes from about 9:30 a.m. Sydney, the yen jumped almost 8 percent against the Australian dollar to its strongest since 2009, and surged 10 percent versus the Turkish lira. The Japanese currency rose at least 1 percent versus all its Group-of-10 peers, bursting through the 72 per Aussie level that has held through a trade war, a stock rout, Italy’s budget dispute and Federal Reserve rate hikes.

This is the kind of chaos that we only see during a financial crisis.

Investors are also being rattled by the fact that China just experienced its first factory activity contraction in over two years

The People’s Bank of China said on Wednesday evening it had relaxed its conditions on targeted reserve requirement cuts to benefit more small firms.

The move came after China reported its first factory activity contraction in over two years in December. A long-term Chinese slowdown would cause global havoc.

But of course the biggest news of the day was what happened to Apple.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 660 points on Wednesday, and the huge hit that Apple took was the biggest reason for that decline.

Including the 75 billion dollars that was just wiped out, the value of Apple has now fallen by 452 billion dollars since October 3rd…

In only three months, Apple has lost $452 billion in market capitalization, including tens of billions on Thursday as the tech giant’s stock sank further.

Apple shares have fallen by 39.1 percent since Oct. 3, when the stock hit a 52-week high of $233.47 a share. With its market cap down to about $674 billion, those losses are larger than individual value of 496 members of the S&P 500 — including Facebook and J.P. Morgan.

Ironically, the truth is that Apple is actually one of the strongest companies on Wall Street financially.  It is just that the company was priced well beyond perfection, and so any hint of bad news was likely to cause a decline of this magnitude.

The amount of paper wealth that stock market investors have just lost is absolutely staggering.  To put this in the proper perspective, here are some more facts about the money that Apple investors have lost that come from CNBC

At this point U.S. financial markets are hypersensitive to any piece of bad news, and the fact that Apple sales are way down in China is definitely bad news.

One analyst said that this was “Apple’s darkest day in the iPhone era” and he expressed his opinion that “the magnitude of the miss with China demand …was jaw-dropping.”

Of course Apple is far from alone.  Economic activity is slowing down substantially all over the planet, and on Wednesday we learned that U.S. factory activity just declined by the most since the last recession

Beyond Apple, investors were also rattled by the biggest one-month decline in US factory activity since the Great Recession. The closely-watched ISM manufacturing index tumbled to a two-year low, providing further evidence of slowing growth and pain from the US-China trade war.

In addition, both of Bloomberg’s economic surprise indexes have “turned negative for the first time since Trump was elected”.

The hits just keep on coming, and it is becoming quite clear that this is going to be a very tough year.

As this crisis continues to escalate, keep an eye on our big financial institutions.  Italy’s tenth largest bank just imploded, and it is likely that we will see more financial dominoes start to topple as the losses mount.

Over the past decade, there have been other times when Wall Street has been rattled, but those episodes only lasted for a few weeks at the most.

It has now been three months, and this new crisis shows no signs of abating any time soon.

What that means is that we are in a heap of trouble.  Because once this giant financial avalanche fully gets going, it is going to be impossible to stop.

For the moment, I think that this current wave of panic selling is subsiding and that Friday will be better for investors.  Of course the markets are so jittery at this point that a single piece of bad news could instantly send them tumbling once again.  But barring any bad news, hopefully things will be calmer on Friday.

There will be good days and there will be bad days in 2019.

There will be ups and there will be downs.

But it has become exceedingly clear that the downturn that so many have been anticipating has finally arrived, and the financial crisis of 2019 looks like it is going to be a doozy.

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

A Surprise Announcement Has Just Unleashed Another Wave Of Panic On Wall Street

Well, that sure didn’t take long.  Many had been hoping that 2019 would be a calmer year for Wall Street, but so far that has not materialized.  In fact, a surprise announcement by Apple has just sparked another wave of panic selling on Wall Street.  In a letter to shareholders, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that first quarter revenue is going to be way, way below expectations.  That immediately set off “flash crashes” all over the globe as investors reacted to this unexpected news.  According to Cook, the primary reason for the coming “revenue shortfall” is a slowing economy in China

Apple said it sees first-quarter revenue of $84 billion vs. a previous guidance of a range of $89 billion and $93 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $91.3 billion for the period, according to the consensus estimate from FactSet. Apple blamed most of the revenue shortfall for struggling business in China. But the company also said that upgrades by customers in other countries were “not as strong as we thought they would be.”

Once this letter was released, many investors rushed to dump as much Apple stock as they could, and trading in the stock was temporarily halted

After being halted temporarily, Apple shares resumed trading at 4:50 p.m. ET, quickly falling over 8 percent to $145.12. The plunging shares wiped out more than $50 billion in the company’s market value, according to Bloomberg data. Apple, which was trading around $146 in after-hours trading is now down more than 37 percent from its Oct. 3 high and has fallen mightily since becoming the first U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market cap in August.

And many investors generally assume that pretty much any bad news for Apple is bad news for the tech sector as a whole, and so just about every big tech stock was being pummeled in the aftermath of this surprise announcement.  The following numbers come from Business Insider

As I warned just yesterday, it looks like 2019 is going to be a very, very challenging year.

At this point the mood of the nation has turned downright gloomy.  Economic activity is slowing down all around the globe, the current government shutdown looks like it could last for a very long time, the endless investigations in Washington threaten to derail the Trump presidency, our trade war with China is becoming more painful with each passing week, and even many former optimists are openly admitting that the outlook for Wall Street looks very grim.  For example, just check out what venture capitalist Fred Wilson is saying

Like many of his peers in the Valley, legendary New York VC Fred Wilson – the founder of Union Square Ventures – is typically a dewy eyed optimist (just take a look at Union Ventures’ many flailing crypto investments). But in a surprising twist, a list of Wilson’s market calls for 2019 is so gloomy, it reads as if it were ghostwritten by SocGen’s Albert Edwards.

According to Wilson, the S&P 500 will visit 2,000 (a roughly 500 point – 25% – drop from current levels) some time during 2019 as the bottom falls out of the global economy. President Trump will agree to resign after being impeached by the House following the publication of the Mueller report. And the slate of highly anticipated tech IPOs (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb etc.) will fall flat. In other words, 2019 will be a “doozy”, as Wilson describes it.

The new session of Congress begins at noon on Thursday, and Nancy Pelosi will once again be the Speaker of the House.  If something suddenly happened to President Trump and Vice-President Pence, she would become the president of the United States.

I don’t know about you, but just the thought of that chills me to the bone.

Now that the Democrats control the House, they are going to investigate the living daylights out of Trump, and it is likely to be a very, very tough year for him.

Many on the left are entirely convinced that Trump will be out of the White House by the end of 2019.  Perhaps they will be successful in that mission, but instead of fixing things that would just unleash a whole lot more chaos.

As this year rolls along, the bickering and fighting in Washington is going to continue to intensify, but meanwhile very little is going to get done.  With the Democrats in control of the House, the Republicans in control of the Senate, and Trump in control of the White House we have a recipe for gridlock that is pretty much unprecedented in modern American history.

What that means is that if things go really, really bad, we shouldn’t really expect any solutions to come out of Washington.  We desperately need real change, but the voters just keep on sending the same old faces back to D.C. and they just keep on pushing the same old tired policies.

It is funny how I often drift into talking about politics, but the truth is that economics and politics are inseparable.  And it is undeniable that what is going on in D.C. is going to have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy throughout 2019.

As I write this, the numbers coming from Wall Street just keep getting worse and worse.  It looks like it is going to be a really tough day, and without a doubt it looks like it is going to be a really tough year.

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

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