December 15: Daily Contrarian Reads

Banks in Drag: The Massive Russell 2000 Bubble Exposed

Over the last five years, the R2K’s aggregate annual net income has shrunk from $33.6 billion to $9.7 billion, a 73% decline. That compares with nominal GDP growth of +18% and a 1% decline in S&P 500 earnings growth over the same period. Of the nine industries and the catch-all category that comprise the R2K, only four have experienced income growth over the last five years. Even more interesting is that 83% of the R2K’s earnings growth over the last five years is from one sector, financials.  Exclude financial companies from the index, aggregate earnings have been negative in each of the last two years.

The Crony Capitalist’s Recipe for Building a Fortune

Financing was cheap and easy. Almost unlimited. The action in the casino was hot. And if you got the feds to rig the game in your favor, you were almost guaranteed to make money. That was what Wilbur Ross must have been thinking when he began buying steel companies in the early 2000s. The industry had been rolled and flattened by America’s fake money system. Foreign steelmakers already had cheap labor. The fake money system gave them the two things they lacked: huge demand coming from credit-rich U.S. consumers and a huge supply of capital, from the same source. That – along with the pensions, union contracts, and regulations – brought U.S. steelmakers to their knees. Wilbur Ross, now in line to be Donald Trump’s key man at the Department of Commerce, bought some of America’s greatest steel companies at bargain prices….Then, almost as if he knew what was coming down the pike, the feds slapped a 30% tariff on imported steel just weeks later. Bingo! He made his fortune three years later when he sold to a foreign operator, ArcelorMittal, for $4.5 billion.

Bravo, Donald! Why The Neocons Hate Secy of State-Designate Rex Tillerson

While the Democrats morph into a neoconservative party of paranoiacs whose main issue is hating on Russia, and the John McCain-Lindsey Graham duo arises to make its last stand in a Trumpified GOP, Rex Tillerson is the perfect target of their ire. Seeking to delegitimize the President-elect as a Russian-controlled Manchurian candidate, the CIA-Clinton-Saudi axis of “resistance” is on the warpath, and Tillerson’s alleged ties to Vladimir Putin are taking center stage in what is bound to turn into a knock-down drag-out fight on the Senate floor.

Chaos In The Bond Markets—-$1.7 Trillion Went Up In Smoke During November

This has been the continuation of weeks of bond drama that has been called variously, “rout,” “carnage,” “meltdown” and the like…. And it’s a global thing. Fewer and fewer sovereign bonds around the globe trade at a negative yield. Some analysts have already pronounced the end of the NIRP era, with both the ECB and the BOJ backing off ever so slightly from their scorched-earth monetary policies.In the process of rising yields among government bonds, and falling bond prices, $1.7 trillion of the bond bubble’s gains went up in smoke in November alone, according to Bloomberg.

No Sign of Consumer Acceleration Even With November Retail Sales Bump

What happened last year was as full-blown recession, only one that didn’t actually lead to recovery as any true business cycle would have. Instead, the economy as it related to consumer spending went from very bad to just plain bad. That would be a continuation of the same economic trend as has plagued the US and the world since 2011. That much is very plain when you compare the data from 2016 in retail sales to other similarly weak periods, starting with the 2012 slowdown itself.

Yellen Is A Lame Duck And Trump Is Going To Cook Her Goose….Won’t Be Pheasant!

If Janet Yellen had any class, she wouldn’t just be announcing an interest rate hike this week — she would also be offering her resignation…..And boy has the Fed screwed things up — both before and since the financial crisis that started in 2007. It’s clear that Trump doesn’t like Yellen. And she hasn’t said anything nice about the incoming president or his policies either. So the two aren’t likely to get along.

Mind The Slump In Tax Collections—-State Revenue Trends Indicate Recession Imminent

A decline in state tax revenue has historically been a reliable leading indicator of impending recessions.  As such, investors/gamblers in the current equity market bubble should probably take note of the new report just published by the National Association of State Budget Officers indicating that state revenues are just starting to decline as funding needs related to massively underfunded pensions, rising education costs, etc. continue to skyrocket.

The Federal Reserve and the Destruction of the American Dream

“I would lay more blame on your friend, the Fed. Remember that public pensions were funded in 2000 and prior to that, earning a seven-to-eight percent return on assets was no sweat. For the last 15 years though, we’ve had nothing but volatility and low interest on fixed income, the place where conservative investors are supposed to go to deal with retirement investment. This has clobbered long-term investors of all shapes and the feedback to the economy is not fully being taken into account (in my opinion).  If you are approaching retirement (read: baby boomers) and know you don’t have enough money in your 401k, you are not likely to run out and buy stuff.”

No Evidence Of Russian Hacking….None!

There is absolutely NO WAY that a professional hacker who leaves no concrete trace with Hillary’s emails, would be sloppy enough to leave such a trace at the DNC. Furthermore, Julian Assange  came out and stated publicly it was a leak and not a hack but declined to say who was the leak. Backing up Assange, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, confirmed he has met the person who gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks and said publicly it was not the Russians. That was reported by BizPac Review, which is a contributor to Google News. Additionally, there is just no hard evidence whatsoever. This is clearly a false flag report by the Obama Administration supported by the highly partisan Washington Post, which has lost all credibility during this election. Yes, Trump was correct, 77% of all press reporting during the election was negative against him according to a Harvard study.

Imperial Washington’s Latest Threat To Liberty—–A Ministry of Truth

Last week I told you about a chilling provision in the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act mandating that the president take active measures against media outlets that are disseminating “Russian state-sponsored propaganda.” …..But, as you know, literally days before Congress passed this measure, the Washington Post published an article citing anonymous “experts” claiming that hundreds of major independent websites like Drudge Report, Zero Hedge, Counterpunch, and the Ron Paul Institute, were actually agents of the Russian government. So, yes, we are now concerned that this hysteria could result in a real government crackdown….But things just got a whole lot worse. Embedded deep in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 (NDAA)…..(is a measure that) essentially establishes a US government-funded “Ministry of Truth” to ferret out and silence any independent media voices not toeing the US government line.