July 10: Daily Contrarian Reads

Hang On—The Bond Route Has Started

Today, we may be approaching a second Minsky moment. After the 2008 debt crisis, central bankers reacted with unconventional tools. If the problem was excess debt, the remedy applied was to lower interest rates and buy large quantities of it. Quantitative easing helped to avoid an even deeper recession, but it didn’t solve the root causes of the crisis. Global debt levels are up 276 percent in the last decade to $217 trillion, or 327 percent of GDP, according to the Institute of International Finance.

Mainstream Media—-Decamped In PropagandaVille

As much as the U.S. mainstream media wants people to believe that it is the Guardian of Truth, it is actually lost in a wilderness of propaganda and falsehoods, a dangerous land of delusion that is putting the future of humankind at risk as tension escalate with nuclear-armed Russia.This media problem has grown over recent decades as lucrative careerism has replaced responsible professionalism. Pack journalism has always been a threat to quality reporting but now it has evolved into a self-sustaining media lifestyle in which the old motto, “there’s safety in numbers,” is borne out by the fact that being horrendously wrong, such as on Iraq’s WMD, leads to almost no accountability because so many important colleagues were wrong as well.

As The S&P 500 Becomes One Giant ETF, BofA Has Four Major Warnings

Fast forward to today, when the torch of worries about ETFs was picked up by none other than Bank of America’s Savita Subramanian, who published a research report titled “The ETF-ization of the S&P 500”, in which she warns that higher single-stock volatility, valuation distortions and liquidity concerns could grow due to the surge in popularity of ETFs, which now account for more than a third of U.S. ownership of the S&P 500.

Oil And Retail Send A Warning

There are two important areas of the market that have historically been good leading indicators of the strength, or weakness, of the markets and the economy. Oil and retail.Currently, both areas are sending warning signs that should not be readily dismissed. First, with respect to oil, the bounce in oil following the crash in prices that began in 2014 resulted not only in the bulk of the decline in earnings initially but also the recovery in earnings with the bounce. However, that bounce has now faded but forward earnings expectations have likely not been revised lower. Per FactSet, the energy sector is expected currently to post a 396% gain in earnings on a year-over-year basis. Given the recent fall in oil prices, there is a huge risk of disappointment.

Four Obvious Signs The Economy Is Stalling

Despite a surge in optimism after the election, nominal GDP growth in 2016 was just 2.95%. This makes 2016 the second-worst year on record since 1959. And with key economic indicators flashing warnings signs, it looks like the US economy is heading toward big trouble rather than revival. Here are four signs that paint the picture best.

Speculators Ignoring Reality: Mesas, Valleys, Plateaus, and Cliffs

In recent decades, we’ve seen the same kind of mesa formations in the equity market; points where historically extreme valuation bubbles temporarily draw S&P 500 10-year returns well above levels that would have been projected on the basis of valuations a decade earlier, with vertical plunges taking returns back to earth as valuations are restored. Modest patterns like that are normal, but at the 2000 valuation extreme, and again today, they have been taken to levels that history will remember as monuments to speculative recklessness.

The Age Of Detesting Trump And The Media’s POTUS Kill Campaign

The centre-left media went to sleep after the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986-87, dozed through the Clinton years, and were half-asleep and nodding when they approved Cheney and Bush’s war in Iraq and Obama and Clinton’s war in Libya. For obscure reasons, they have been quite certain that Western dismantling of yet another Arab country, Syria, is the surest path to a sane policy in the Middle East. All the mainstream outlets, with CNN and the Times at their head, have now re-emerged as anti-government centres of news, opinion, and news perceptibly mingled with opinion. But they are new to the work of ‘resistance’ and it shows.

Suicide by Stupidity

America wakes up to astonishing bullshit from its so-called Newspaper of Record in this lead front-page propaganda dump du jour. Granted, American education has succeeded in destroying the critical faculties of at least three generations so that the public drowns in a soup of unreality every day. In the news business now, as in the national life generally, anything goes and nothing matters…..One has to wonder, though, about the editors who serve up this baloney. Are they mere servelings of the Rand Corporation, Raytheon, and other parties with an interest in the war business, or can they possibly believe their own extrusions of fabricated agit-prop?

RussiaGate—-The Stink Without A Secret

After six solid months of co-ordinated allegation from the mainstream media allied to the leadership of state security institutions, not one single scrap of solid evidence for Trump/Russia election hacking has emerged……Truth disappeared so long ago in this witch-hunt that it is no longer even possible to define what the accusation is. Belief in “Russian hacking” of the US election has been elevated to a generic accusation of undefined wrongdoing, a vague malaise we are told is floating poisonously in the ether, but we are not allowed to analyse. What did the Russians actually do?

Amish Farmer Who Sold Herbal Health Products going To Prison For 6 Years

An Amish man was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for obstructing a federal agency and for making and selling herbal health products that were not adequately labeled as required by federal law…..Mack, a former Arizona sheriff and political activist, said he and others will ask President Donald Trump to issue a pardon to Girod. Mack said he has used Girod’s chickweed salve with no ill effects.