If everything is going to be “just fine”, why are so many big names in the financial community warning about an imminent meltdown? I don’t think that I have seen so many simultaneous warnings about a market crash since just before the great financial crisis of 2008. And at this point, you would have to be quite blind not to see that stocks are absurdly overvalued and that a correction is going to happen at some point. And when stocks do start crashing, lots of fingers are going to start pointing at President Trump, but it won’t be his fault. The Federal Reserve and other central banks are primarily responsible for creating this bubble, and they should definitely get the blame for what is about to happen to global financial markets.
This morning, luxury handbag retailer Michael Kors Holdings, which had had stellar sales through 2014, revealed in its Q4 earnings report that it would close up to 125 retail stores and take a $125 million charge, to save $60 million this fiscal year. Sales plunged 11.3% year-over-year in Q4, and the company lost $27 million, or 17 cents a share. It doused investors with a gloomy outlook for its fiscal year 2018, with revenues expected to drop over 5% to $4.25 billion, and with same-store sales plunging “in the high-single digit range.”
President Donald Trump’s politically incorrect behavior at the gathering of NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday could, in its own circuitous way, spotlight an existential threat to the alliance. Yes, that threat is Russia, but not in the customary sense in which Westerners have been taught to fear the Russian bear. It is a Russia too clever to rise to the bait – a Russia patient enough to wait for the Brussels bureaucrats and generals to fall of their own weight, pushed by financial exigencies in many NATO countries. At that point it will become possible to see through the West’s alarmist propaganda. It will also become more difficult to stoke artificial fears that Russia, for reasons known only to NATO war planners and neoconservative pundits, will attack NATO. As long as Russian hardliners do not push President Vladimir Putin aside, Moscow will continue to reject its assigned role as bête noire.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari was the latest Fed official to claim in an essay – thus following in the time-honored footsteps of former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke – that “spotting bubbles is hard,” that the Fed cannot see them, and that if it could see them, it shouldn’t do anything to stop them because it had only “limited policy tools,” and because “the costs of making policy mistakes can be very high.” But it’s OK to use these “limited policy tools” to inflate the greatest bubbles the world has ever seen and then preside over the damage they cause to the real economy before they even implode…..So here are some visual aids I put together for Kashkari and other Fed governors. It will help them “spot” the beautiful housing bubbles in the US – because bubbles really aren’t hard to recognize before they burst, if you want to recognize them.
After the Watergate era had ended and Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the Senate’s Church Committee had attempted to grasp the full extent of lawless government surveillance in America during the LBJ and Nixon years, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA declared that it provided the sole source for federal surveillance in America for intelligence purposes…….and because the FISC bought these arguments, the entire group could be spied upon. The FISC unleashed the NSA to spy on tens of millions of Americans. That was still not enough for the nation’s spies. So beginning in 2005, then-President George W. Bush permitted the NSA to interpret President Ronald Reagan’s executive order 12333 so as to allow all spying on everyone in the U.S., all the time…..
No, oil demand did fall by that much and would fall much further before it was all over. Economic demand not only cratered, it has yet to recovery almost nine years later, leaving oil investors as well as economic commentary stuck in a conundrum that really isn’t one. Just like the Fed has more recently created a puzzle out of the very low unemployment rate and the lack of wage growth, explanations for oil’s lack of follow-through into full reflation always contain the same color of 2008-type mistakes. It is almost certainly recency bias where now the word “recency” doesn’t really apply. People just can’t (or won’t) believe at these times the world could be stuck in such a bad place.
Forty years ago, Baby Boomer were entering their prime earning years. Opportunity in the land of America was expanding at a rapid clip. The level of education was rising among those entering the workforce vis-à-vis their older counterparts at the same time women were growing the overall workforce (just under half of women worked then; today it’s 70 percent). In the simplest terms, the size of the pie was growing. Today, roughly 10,000 Boomers exit the workforce every day, which should present an opportunity in and of itself for Millennials to backfill the depleting workforce. Census data tell a different story. In 2016, median personal income for workers aged 24 to 34 was $35,000. In modern dollar terms, that same age cohort was earning $37,000 in 1975. It’s difficult to square lower earnings with the educational makeup of the labor force. In 1975, 23 percent of young workers had earned a bachelor’s degree. Forty years on, 37 percent have achieved the same. Shouldn’t that improvement have lifted per capita earnings?
With McCarthyism 2.0 continues to run amok in the US, spread like a virulent plague by unnamed, unknown, even fabricated sources, over in France one day after his first meeting with French president Emanuel Macron, the man who supposedly colluded with and was Trump’s pre-election puppet master (but had to wait until after the election to set up back-channels with Jared Kushner) Vladimir Putin sat down for an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro in which the Russian president expressed the belief that Moscow and Western capitals “all want security, peace, safety and cooperation.”Therefore, we should not build up tensions or invent fictional threats from Russia, some hybrid warfare etc.,” the Russian leader told his French hosts. “What is the major security problem today? Terrorism. There are bombings in Europe, in Paris, in Russia, in Belgium. There is a war in the Middle East. This is the main concern. But no, let us keep speculating on the threat from Russia…… “You made these things up yourselves and now scare yourselves with them….
It took Paul Singer’s Elliott Management less than 24 hours to raise $5 billion earlier this month, however it is safe to say he won’t be using any of that cash to buy stocks at current prices, or even BTFD. Instead, as he writes in his Q1 letter to investors, the legendary hedge fund manager thinks “that it is a good time to build a significant amount of dry powder,” The reason for that is if, or rather when, Trump’s pro-growth agenda fails to be implemented, “all hell will break loose” and that a recession looms as the artificial crutches propping up risk assets are pulled out: Given groupthink and the determination of policy makers to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent the next market ‘crash,’ we think that the low-volatility levitation magic act of stocks and bonds will exist until the disenchanting moment when it does not. And then all hell will break loose….
Washington, DC, may be the only place in the world where people openly flaunt their pseudo-intellectuality by banding together, declaring themselves “think tanks,” and raising money from external interests, including foreign governments, to compile reports that advance policies inimical to the real-life concerns of the American people. As a former member of the House of Representatives, I remember 16 years of congressional hearings where pedigreed experts came to advocate wars in testimony based on circular, rococo thinking devoid of depth, reality, and truth. I remember other hearings where the Pentagon was unable to reconcile over $1 trillion in accounts, lost track of $12 billion in cash sent to Iraq, and rigged a missile-defense test so that an interceptor could easily home in on a target. War is first and foremost a profitable racket.