March 7: Daily Contrarian Reads

Hiding In Plain Sight—-The Signs of 1987 Again

From an intermarket perspective – and in the wake of the major breakdown in Treasuries that manifested last summer akin to 87′, we would argue that the move in equities is likely much more mature than the echo of the record January 1987 sounding that some have recently pointed to for more bullish intermediate bearings. Their reasonings being, that although the markets may be near-term extended, like in January 1987, they still gained another 30 percent over the following 8 months. The old market adage applied – overbought can still become more overbought. That said, what the data mining ignores here is similar to the benevolent rotation out of bonds and into equities that supported the reflationary blowoff that began after Treasuries broke down in the Spring of 1987, stocks have been under this same strong reflationary momentum since last summer.

Partying Like It’s 1999: Equity Valuations At Historic Levels

A simple comparison of P/E or other valuation metrics from one period to another is not necessarily reasonable as discussed in Great Expectations. That approach is too one-dimensional. This article elaborates on that concept and is used to compare current equity market valuations and those of 1999 to their respective fundamental factors. The approach highlights that, even though current valuation measures are not as extreme as in 1999, today’s economic underpinnings are not as robust as they were then. Such perspective allows for a unique quantification, a comparison of valuations and economic activity, to show that today’s P/E ratio might be more overvalued than those observed in 1999.

The Leading Source Of “Terrorist Plots” In The US—–The FBI!

Of 126 Islamic State-related cases prosecuted by federal authorities across the country since 2014, nearly two-thirds involved undercover agents or informants, according to the Center on National Security at the Fordham University School of Law in New York. The FBI has stepped up its use of sting operations, which were once seen as a tactic of last resort……The most sensational plots invoking the name of the Islamic State or al-Qaida here were largely the invention of FBI agents carrying out elaborate sting operations on individuals identified through social media as being potentially dangerous. In fact, in terrorism investigations in Wichita, at Fort Riley and last week in Kansas City, the alleged terrorists reportedly were unknowingly following the directions of undercover FBI agents who supplied fake bombs and came up with key elements of the plans.

Non-Financial Credit Growing At Record $2.4 Trillion Rate—Yellen Didn’t Even Mention in Friday Speech

While Q4 data will be out soon, it appears that 2016 posted the largest Credit growth since 2007. Through the first three quarters of 2016, non-financial Credit expanded at an annualized pace of just under $2.4 TN, not far off 2007’s record $2.503 TN…… Yellen presented a reasonably comprehensive analysis of Fed thinking, yet her Friday speech does not include the either the word “Credit” or “money.” Regrettably, it’s the same flawed theoretical framework that has gotten the Fed – along with the rest of us – in repeated trouble for the past three decades.

Spooked By Runaway Debt—–Red Suzerains Of Beijing Cut Growth Target To Lowest In Decades

The key announcement was that, as reported previously by Reuters, China has cut its growth target this year to “around 6.5% or higher if possible in practice” as the world’s second-largest economy continues to push through painful reforms to address a rapid build-up in debt, while erecting a “firewall” against financial risks. The new GDP target, the lowest in decades, was “realistic and would help steer and steady expectations”, said Li. Last year China set a target of 6.5%-7% last year, ultimately achieving 6.7% growth, supported by a record surge in bank loans, a speculative housing boom and billions in government investment.

Space X—-Another Elon Musk Con Job And Parasite On Taxpayers

It had to be a joke, right? SpaceX — the same company that’s repeatedly missed deadlines to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and keeps blowing up rockets carrying expensive payloads — has the temerity to pretend they can send two humans to the moon by next year? When will everyone realize that Elon Musk’s space company is just trolling us all? They like to talk a big game. (Does “We’re going to colonize Mars by 2024!” sound familiar?) The reality, however, paints a very different picture….So not only did SpaceX gladly lap up $2.6 billion in federal funds to develop technology to send people to the ISS, which they’ve yet to actually deliver on, but they’ve also turned around and are using that technology to start a space race with NASA.

Why Mario Draghi Is A Madman—And Must Be Removed From Office

It is rather obvious that Mario Draghi is in denial, and digging his feet in for maintaining the status quo at the expense of keeping German and European Union inflation under control. Mario Draghi needs to step down in my opinion because his current stubbornness is creating massive bubbles in European and Global Assets. He is the most reckless of the Central Bankers right now from a policy perspective, and that is saying a lot given what Japan is doing with Monetary Policy. How can the ECB`s only mandate be keeping a lid on Inflation, and he does the Opposite to fight this from a Monetary Policy Perspective? Somebody in Europe needs to step in and take away Mario Draghi`s dogmatic, dictatorial power and replace him with someone who performs in respect to the ECB`s own Inflation Mandate!

Infrastructure Boondoggles: Florida’s SunRail Collects Less Revenue Than It Tickets Cost

SunRail began construction in 2012 and became open to the public in 2014. Unfortunately the train’s performance has been as predictable as the ending to an episode of Phineas and Ferb……After the train’s first year, the SunRail was $27 million in the red, taking in just $7.2 million….To make matters worse, a recent study has found that the cost of SunRail to issue and collect tickets is greater than the revenue from ticket sales. As the Orlando Sentinel notes:In the last half of last year, ticket revenue was $914,572, while ticket costs were $932,690. Since SunRail began in 2014, ticket revenue of about $5.4 million was $147,872 less than ticket expenses.

CO2 Heat Trap Theory Debunked—-Some Inconvenient Science

We have been lied to: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an alleged ‘well-mixed gas’ also alleged to reside in sufficient quantities high in the atmosphere to cause global warming (via the so-called greenhouse gas effect). But as President Trump looks to help dismantle the hoax there is much inconvenient science at hand to help his administration discredit this ‘theory’ beloved by climate alarmists….You see, so much of what we have been told about the greenhouse gas mechanism is false. James Moodey wrote an excellent debunk of CO2 pseudo-science….

The Afghan Fiasco—-Losing a War One Bad Metaphor at a Time

America’s war in Afghanistan is now in its 16th year, the longest foreign war in our history. The phrase “no end in sight” barely covers the situation. Prospects of victory—if victory is defined as eliminating that country as a haven for Islamist terrorists while creating a representative government in Kabul—are arguably more tenuous today than at any point since the U.S. military invaded in 2001….. As it turns out, our 12th commanding general there isn’t the first to resort to biology and a “petri dish” to explain a war that just won’t end. In 2010, during the Afghan surge, General Stanley McChrystal referred to the community of Nawa in southern Afghanistan as his “number one petri dish.” As the Washington Post reported at the time, McChrystal “had hoped the antibodies generated there [during its pacification] could be harnessed and replicated [elsewhere in Afghanistan]. But that hasn’t yet happened.”