Bubbles

Martin Armstrong Covered By Washington’s Blog

When I last blogged about economist Martin Armstrong, I discussed his November 24 post on the Armstrong Economics Blog in which he talked about the elimination of cash and his belief “the United States will most likely break apart by 2036.” Disturbing stuff.

Like I’ve said before- for me, the jury’s still out on Armstrong. However, Washington’s Blog, which bills itself as “Real-Time, Well-Researched and Actionable News on America and the World,” published an insightful piece on the man and his forecasts back on December 30. From that post:

Martin Armstrong is a controversial market analyst who correctly predicted the 1987 crash, the top of the Japanese market, and many other market events … more or less to the day.

Many market timers think that Armstrong is one of the very best. Armstrong credits a computer program he created (which he calls “Socrates”) for the accuracy of his forecasting.

Armstrong’s background is even more dramatic because he was jailed for 11 years on trumped-up allegations of contempt, fraud and an alleged Ponzi scheme. Armstrong was ultimately released without any charges, and – as the documentary The Forecaster explains – the 11-year imprisonment was a way to try to pressure him to hand over his forecasting program.

Washington’s Blog sent a reporter to Armstrong’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida, to see what all the buzz is about …

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Washington” noted Armstrong’s take on:

-Capital flows (declining)
-Debt (private superior to government)
-Europe (more chaos dead-ahead)
-U.S. stocks (bubble coming, then bust)
-European Union (Britain will survive because of Brexit)
-Cash (being eliminated by goverments for taxation purposes, negative interest rates)
-Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA (negative impact on global economy, yet positive for taxation)
-Politicians (self-interested, greedy bastards)

Read all about it on Washington’s Blog here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Donald Trump Inheriting A ‘Poisoned Chalice’?

I’ve had this suspicion for some time now that whoever won the 2016 U.S. presidential election is very likely inheriting a “poisoned chalice.”

When I launched Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” on Memorial Day weekend 2007, I started warning readers of a coming U.S. financial collapse.

After moving on to Survival And Prosperity in 2010, I came to believe the economy/larger financial system had already entered a long, drawn-out descent before the eventual crash.

That downward trajectory would be punctuated by crises like what reared its ugly head in the autumn of 2008.

Financial types were quick to label the recession at the end of last decade as the “Great Recession.”

This “nattering nabob of negativity” thinks it’s only a matter of time before a “Greater Recession” strikes, fueled by Washington and the Fed “kicking the can down the road” and having too few bullets left when that “road” inevitably runs out.

President-elect Trump is also aware of the possibility of such economic upheaval.

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported on The Washington Post website back on April 2, 2016:

Donald Trump said in an interview that economic conditions are so perilous that the country is headed for a “very massive recession” and that “it’s a terrible time right now” to invest in the stock market, embracing a distinctly gloomy view of the economy that counters mainstream economic forecasts…

Trump has for months contended that the U.S. economy is in trouble because of what he sees as an overvalued stock market, but his view has grown more pessimistic of late and he is now bearish on investing, to the point of warning Americans against doing so.

“I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble. A financial bubble,” Trump said. He made clear that he was not specifying a sector of the economy but the economy at large and asserted that more bullish forecasts were based on skewed employment numbers and an inflated stock market.

“First of all, we’re not at 5 percent unemployment. We’re at a number that’s probably into the twenties if you look at the real number,” Trump said. “That was a number that was devised, statistically devised to make politicians- and, in particular, presidents — look good. And I wouldn’t be getting the kind of massive crowds that I’m getting if the number was a real number.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yet Trump, as President-elect of the United States, chooses to accept the potential “poisoned chalice,” from which he might be forced to drink from during his tenure in the Oval Office as the current economic expansion grows long in the tooth.

Consider the following from Jeffrey Sparshott in The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog this morning:

Donald Trump is poised to inherit one of the longest-lived economic expansions since the World War II era. Barring any sudden shock or sudden acceleration, the president-elect will also take office during the weakest

The economy has been growing for more than seven years, ranking the expansion the fourth-longest since 1949 (when quarterly data became available). If economic expansion continues through Mr. Trump’s first term, it will be the longest.

While gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic of output, is advancing, it’s been at the slowest rate on record for an expansion

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’d like to think Donald Trump and the Republicans could turn this ship around and avert economic disaster.

I, for one, would only be too happy to be proven wrong about my prediction of a “Greater Recession” and eventual collapse.

But I fear the damage may already be done.

So much so that the incoming White House might want to level with the American people about what might be in store for them from an economic standpoint.

Otherwise, the public will have less of a fighting chance of weathering the financial storm should it hit.

Not to mention opponents of a Trump administration will try hard to pin the blame on them for a painful event previous administrations played a big part in creating.

One need only look at Illinois where Republican Governor Bruce Rauner (only 22 months in office) is facing the same baseless charges for decades of mismanagement perpetrated by those across the political aisle.

President-elect Trump has his work cut out for him as the economy is concerned. The billionaire businessman seems to be up for the challenge, and America will know soon enough if he can pull off yet another amazing feat.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Costa, Robert and Woodward, Bob. “In a revealing interview, Trump predicts a ‘massive recession’ but intends to eliminate the national debt in 8 years.” The Washington Post. 2 Apr. 2016. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-turmoil-or-triumph-donald-trump-stands-alone/2016/04/02/8c0619b6-f8d6-11e5-a3ce-f06b5ba21f33_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumppresidency-7pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory). 11 Nov. 2016.

Sparshott, Jeffrey. “The U.S. Economy President Donald Trump Will Inherit, in 11 Charts.” Real Time Economics. 11 Nov. 2016. (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/11/11/the-u-s-economy-president-donald-trump-will-inherit-in-11-charts/). 11 Nov. 2016.

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Peter Schiff: ‘I Would Rather Go Into The Election Long Gold, Short The Dollar As My Main Trades’

Yesterday I spotted economist, financial broker/dealer, and author Peter Schiff on the RT America show Boom Bust. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis in the last decade, talked about how the financial markets might react to either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump winning next week’s U.S. presidential election. He told viewers:

Well, I think the markets will react negatively to a Trump victory because there’s more uncertainty surrounding what a Trump presidency would look like. I mean, you say, “Well, with Clinton it’s the devil you know.” But I think in this case “the devil you know” is pretty bad. I’d rather take a shot at the one that we don’t. But I think the markets will be worried about what it might mean and I think the markets will sell off. I think gold will rally. I think the dollar will sell off. But longer term- and of course traders don’t think about the long term, they’re just trading for what’s happening right now- long term, I think a Clinton presidency is much worse for the U.S. economy and therefore ultimately much worse for the U.S. stock market. But in the short run, we have a bubble. And all people are concerned with now, at least traders, are what is going to happen to keep the air from coming out of that bubble. And nobody really wants to challenge the status quo. They want to continue this cozy relationship between the government, the Fed, and Wall Street. And Hillary Clinton means that they will continue it as long as they can. And a Trump presidency really throws a monkey wrench into that because nobody really knows what it means…

Answering a question about how investors should position themselves, Schiff said:

I would rather go into the election long gold, short the dollar as my main trades. And the stock market doesn’t seem as interesting a trade to me as currencies and metal.,,

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Jeremy Grantham: ‘Still No Signs Of An Equity Bubble About To Break’

Right before the weekend, Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently overseeing $99 billion in client assets), penned an article on the Barron’s website entitled “Jeremy Grantham Warns on Immigration, Brexit.” As part of this piece Grantham, whose individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talked about U.S. stock prices. He wrote:

Despite brutal and widespread asset overpricing, there are still no signs of an equity bubble about to break, indeed cash reserves and other signs of bearishness are weirdly high.

In my opinion, the economy still has some spare capacity to grow moderately for a while. All the great market declines of modern times- 1972, 2000, and 2007- that went down at least 50% were preceded by great optimism as well as high prices. We can have an ordinary bear market of 10% or 20% but a serious decline still seems unlikely in my opinion. Now if we could just have a breakout rally to over 2300 on the S&P 500 and a bit of towel throwing by the bears, things could change. (2300 is our statistical definition of a bubble threshold.) But for now I believe the best bet is still that the U.S. market will hang in or better, at least through the election

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“2300 is our statistical definition of a bubble threshold”

2,300 on the S&P 500 was the same bubble threshold Grantham indicated in his last quarterly investment newsletter contribution. He wrote in May:

2) that we are unlikely, given the beliefs and practices of the U.S. Fed, to end this cycle without a bubble in the U.S. equity market or, perish the thought, in a repeat of the U.S. housing bubble; 3) the threshold for a bubble level for the U.S. market is about 2300 on the S&P 500, about 10% above current levels, and would normally require a substantially more bullish tone on the part of both individual and institutional investors; 4) it continues to seem unlikely to me that this current equity cycle will top out before the election and perhaps it will last considerably longer…

As I type this Monday afternoon, the S&P 500 stands at 2,167.

An interesting article by Grantham, which you can read in its entirety here on the Barron’s website.

By the way, I noticed there’s a comment attached to that piece from “Christopher Hill.” That is not from me.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Jeremy Grantham Made Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently oversees $99 billion in client assets), was recently made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Grantham, whose individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, was awarded the CBE for his philanthropic service.

Regular readers may recall that the last time I blogged about the “crash prophet” (May 12), he warned about U.S. stock prices (“the threshold for a bubble level for the U.S. market is about 2300 on the S&P 500”) and housing prices (“in 12 to 24 months U.S. house prices – much more dangerous than inflated stock prices in my opinion – might beat the U.S. equity market in the race to cause the next financial crisis”).

Survival And Prosperity would like to congratulate Mr. Grantham on his CBE.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

(Editor’s notes: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Robert Shiller On State Of U.S. Housing Market

Yale University Economics Professor Robert Shiller appeared on Bloomberg Television this morning. The Nobel Prize winner, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade, discussed the state of the U.S. housing market. Dr. Shiller told viewers:

People are needing houses. They’re buying them. There are not enough houses out there- the inventory is low. So they push the price up. And it’s a modest price increase. Nothing scary or exciting. This could go on for some time

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Shiller: Not Enough Houses, Low Inventory”
Bloomberg Video

No mention of another “housing bubble” in the works. Whereas fellow “crash prophet” Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co., uttered this warning in his latest investment newsletter:

Thus, unlikely as it may sound, in 12 to 24 months U.S. house prices – much more dangerous than inflated stock prices in my opinion – might beat the U.S. equity market in the race to cause the next financial crisis

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Latest edition of Shiller’s classic…

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Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Housing No Comments

Jeremy Grantham: U.S. House Prices ‘Might Beat The U.S. Equity Market In The Race To Cause The Next Financial Crisis’

Last night I finally got the chance to read the latest quarterly investment letter from “crash prophet” Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently oversees $99 billion in client assets). Grantham divided up May’s installment (covering the first quarter of 2016) into two parts. Part I, “Always Cry Over Spilt Milk,” was a recap of a paper he wrote six months ago. Part II was entitled “Updates,” in which Grantham provided these investing nuggets:

The tone of the market commentators back in January, when I was writing my last quarterly letter, seemed much too pessimistic on global stock markets, particularly the U.S. market, and I said so.

This relative optimism was an unusual position for me and the snapback in these markets has validated, to a modest degree, my thinking at the time. I still believe the following: 1) that we did not then, and do not today, have the necessary conditions to say that today’s world has a bubble in any of the most important asset classes; 2) that we are unlikely, given the beliefs and practices of the U.S. Fed, to end this cycle without a bubble in the U.S. equity market or, perish the thought, in a repeat of the U.S. housing bubble; 3) the threshold for a bubble level for the U.S. market is about 2300 on the S&P 500, about 10% above current levels, and would normally require a substantially more bullish tone on the part of both individual and institutional investors; 4) it continues to seem unlikely to me that this current equity cycle will top out before the election and perhaps it will last considerably longer; and 5) the U.S. housing market, although well below 2006 highs, is nonetheless approaching a one and one-half-sigma level based on its previous history. Given the intensity of the pain we felt so recently, we might expect that such a bubble would be psychologically impossible, but the data in Exhibit 1 speaks for itself. This is a classic echo bubble – i.e., driven partly by the feeling that the substantially higher prices in 2006 (with its three-sigma bubble) somehow justify today’s merely one and one-half-sigma prices. Prices have been rising rapidly recently and at this rate will reach one and three-quarters-sigma this summer. Thus, unlikely as it may sound, in 12 to 24 months U.S. house prices – much more dangerous than inflated stock prices in my opinion – might beat the U.S. equity market in the race to cause the next financial crisis

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Note that bit about “the threshold for a bubble level for the U.S. market is about 2300 on the S&P 500.” 2,300 remains the same threshold from the last time I blogged about Jeremy Grantham on Survival And Prosperity (it had been 2,250 prior to this). As I type this, the S&P 500 is at 2,064.

In addition to U.S. stock and housing prices, Grantham talked about crude oil. From the newsletter:

My belief remains that a multi-year clearing price for oil would be the cost of finding a material amount of new oil. This appears to be about $65 a barrel today, and costs are drifting steadily higher as the cheapest old oil is pumped. My guess is that the price of oil will indeed be as high as $100 a barrel again within five years

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Once again, another insightful installment from the British “crash prophet.”

You can read the entire piece on GMO’s website here (.pdf format)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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