Bubbles

Jim Rogers, Martin Armstrong Predict Strengthening U.S. Dollar To Push Gold Price Down Before Take-Off

Still on the topic of gold tonight, I want to talk about two well-known individuals in the investing community- Jim Rogers and Martin Armstrong- and their thoughts about the yellow metal.

In what might be somewhat of a disappointment to the “goldbugs,” neither is predicting the price of gold will take off from here.

Let’s go back to that Midas Letter interview of Rogers that I blogged about the other day. Rogers, who predicted the commodities rally that began in 1999, was asked if he thought the bottom for gold had been reached, or was he still looking for the price to come down further to around $900. The former partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund replied:

Look guys… I want to remind you that I’m the single worst market timer in the world. I’m the single worst short term trader in the world. So asking me is a waste of all of our time. I don’t think we’ve hit the bottom. I’m still looking for a bottom under 1,000. Who knows if it will get there, but if it does, I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot of gold. In the end, gold’s going to turn into a bubble, and it’s going to go much, much higher. I just don’t know when. But I’m not buying gold yet

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Okay- so long-time Survival And Prosperity readers have heard Rogers say that before. On a number of occasions. But it’s what he said next in the interview I found very interesting. Rogers predicted:

What I do expect to happen, is that as the turmoil spreads, I expect more people will flee toward the U.S. dollar – I own a lot of U.S. dollars – but because of that, people think it’s a safe haven. It is not a safe haven, as you well know, but people think it is. So the dollar will go higher, it will get overpriced, it may turn into a bubble. Gold will go down in a time like that, because often – not always, but often – gold goes down when the dollar goes up. So I will sell my dollars at that point, and put it into something else – perhaps gold. If that scenario works – the dollar gets overpriced, gold gets beaten down because of the panic, then I hope I’m smart enough to buy gold or renminbi or whatever it happens to be at that point

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve heard this scenario before, one where the price of gold falls more due to a strengthening U.S. dollar stemming from a global flight to “perceived” safety. Do any readers follow Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model? While the jury’s still out on him (for me), I do read his blog almost daily. And if my memory serves me correctly, what Jim Rogers just said sounds a lot like what Armstrong has also been saying in recent times. Back on November 20 he blogged:

Gold is being overpowered by the rise in the dollar…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

He added just two weeks ago:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government. It has nothing to do with inflation. So, you start to worry about government survival or who’s going to win a war when gold rises — not before.

Short term, we still have the risk of gold going under $1,000 per ounce. It’s going to flip when everything is right — not before. It will probably max out at $5,000 per ounce or perhaps $6,000 at best. That we will not know until we have the low and the projection angle from that low…

Gold will respond ONLY when the majority sees the crisis unfolding. Just because you may understand it and see the logical outcome does not mean that the bulk of the population will…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Very interesting. Which brings up the question:

Have Americans lost confidence in government?

More tomorrow…

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.)

Sources:

Armstrong, Martin. “Gold, Geopolitics, & the Dollar.” Armstrong Economics Blog. 20 Nov. 2015. (http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/39465). 27 Jan. 2016.

Armstrong, Martin. “Gold- No Time Left For Conspiracy Theory.” Armstrong Economics Blog. 14 Jan. 2016. (http://www.armstrongeconomics.com/archives/40680). 27 Jan. 2016.

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Jeremy Grantham: ‘It May Well Be Necessary To Our Survival That We Become More Realistic’

Continuing yesterday’s discussion on investing, 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 $104 billion in client assets). Here’s what December’s installment (covering the third quarter of 2015) consisted of. From “Give Me Only Good News!”:

I have noticed how hard it is to effectively pass on a warning for the same reason: No one wants to hear this bad news. So a while ago I came up with a list of propositions that are widely accepted by an educated business audience. They are widely accepted but totally wrong. It is my attempt to bring home how extreme is our preference for good news over accurate news. When you have run through this list you may be a little more aware of how dangerous our wishful thinking can be in investing and in the much more important fields of resource (especially food) limitations and the potentially life-threatening risks of climate damage. Wishful thinking and denial of unpleasant facts are simply not survival characteristics…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Grantham discussed those “propositions” and went on to conclude:

This is more or less the best I can do to prove the point. We in the U.S. have a broad and heavy bias away from unpleasant data. We are ready to be manipulated by vested interests in finance, economics, and climate change, whose interests might be better served by our believing optimistic stuff “that just ain’t so.” We are dealing today with important issues, one so important that it may affect the long-term viability of our global society and perhaps our species. It may well be necessary to our survival that we become more realistic, more willing to process the unpleasant, and, above all, less easily manipulated through our need for good news

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While an interesting read, I was a little disappointed that Grantham (who’s individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry) didn’t talk about the following in his latest letter. From an August 9, 2015, post:

However, Grantham has now offered up a potential timeframe for a “major decline” in equities.

Robin Wigglesworth reported on the Financial Times (UK) website Thursday:

A well-known fund manager who foresaw the Japanese crash, the dotcom bubble and the global financial crisis has predicted that markets will be “ripe for a major decline” some time in 2016, potentially triggering government bankruptcies.

Jeremy Grantham , founder and chief investment strategist of GMO, a $118bn investment house based in Boston, expects the stock market to continue to march higher in the coming year, eventually sucking in retail investors and setting up a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016.

The famously bearish and often prescient money manager said this could trigger a “very different” type of crisis, because many governments had become considerably more indebted and much of the liabilities had shifted to the balance sheets of central banks.

Given that central banks were able to create money to recapitalise themselves, this “could be a crisis we could weather”, Mr Grantham said. “If not, then we’re talking the 1930s, where you have a chain-link of government defaults.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from a May 4, 2015, post about his first quarter 2015 letter:

On the Federal Reserve and asset bubbles, Grantham noted:

In the Greenspan/ Bernanke/Yellen Era, the Fed historically did not stop its asset price pushing until fully-fledged bubbles had occurred, as they did in U.S. growth stocks in 2000 and in U.S. housing in 2006. Both of these were in fact stunning three-sigma events, by far the biggest equity bubble and housing bubble in U.S. history. Yellen, like both of her predecessors, has bragged about the Fed’s role in pushing up asset prices in order to get a wealth effect. Thus far, she seems to also share their view on feeling no responsibility to interfere with any asset bubble that may form. For me, recognizing the power of the Fed to move assets (although desperately limited power to boost the economy), it seems logical to assume that absent a major international economic accident, the current Fed is bound and determined to continue stimulating asset prices until we once again have a fully-fledged bubble. And we are not there yet

To remind you, we at GMO still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Two things I’m dying to know from Mr. Grantham right now:

1. Does he still expect “the stock market to continue to march higher in the coming year, eventually sucking in retail investors and setting up a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016”?

2. Does he/GMO “still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250”? The S&P was really marching towards 2,250 for a while before the index went south.

You can read the latest Grantham letter over at the GMO website here (.pdf format).

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.)

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Peter Schiff: U.S. Stocks In Bear Market, Economy In Recession, ‘Going To Be Longer And Deeper Than The Great Recession of 2008-2009’

The last “crash prophet” I’ll be talking about today is Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff. Earlier Monday I watched Graham Ledger interview Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, on the January 21 installment of The Daily Ledger show (One America News Network). From their exchange:

LEDGER: Do we have the indicators right now of a bear market?
SCHIFF: Well, sure, not only are we in a bear market in stocks. I think we’re in a recession, economically. When you played the clip from President Obama’s State of the Union- when he talked about people peddling fiction I thought he was talking about me. But I’m the one who’s selling reality. He’s peddling a bill of goods trying to pretend this recovery is real. But whatever it was- it’s over. And I think the recession that we’re in now is going to be longer and deeper than the Great Recession of 2008- 2009. And of course, all bear markets begin as corrections. But they don’t officially call it a bear market until it’s down 20 percent. The Russell 2000 is down 25 percent, the Dow Transports are down 30 percent, many individual sectors and stocks are down a lot more than 20 percent. And so it sure feels like a bear market even though officially Wall Street hasn’t declared it a bear market. But if the Fed doesn’t come up with a QE 4. Which I think it’s going to do. I think it’s a mistake. They shouldn’t do it. They shouldn’t have done 1, 2, and 3. But the only way to stop an official bear market will be for the Fed to reverse course, reduce rates, and launch another round of QE. That’s it.


“Market Tanking After Fed Pricked Their Own Bubble”
YouTube Video

Schiff went on to talk about how the U.S. auto “bubble” has burst, the U.S. housing market is also a “problem,” and that he predicts “a lot of people are going to lose their jobs in this recession.” Regarding the Federal Reserve and Janet Yellen? They’re going to try and keep this thing afloat until November. From the interview:

Obama’s whole claim to fame is that he inherited a disaster, and now everything is great. The truth is, he inherited a disaster, and now it’s a bigger disaster. But he doesn’t want the voters to know that in November. And I think Janet Yellen is a team player. I think she looks at herself as a member of the Obama administration. She is a very partisan, liberal Democrat. And she doesn’t want this thing to collapse until the election is over. Now, I don’t know if she’s going to succeed. I think she’s going to try though.

Like fellow “crash prophet” Jim Rogers, Schiff believes China is being used as a scapegoat for America’s latest financial woes.

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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Peter Schiff: Fed Will ‘Do More Damage To This Bubble Economy’ If They Raise Interest Rates In December

“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 271,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today…”

-“Economic News Release,” November 6, 2015, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website

Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff savaged the incredibly-hyped October U.S. jobs report released last Friday in a new entry to The Schiff Report YouTube vlog that same day. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, also responded to the popular belief that the Federal Reserve will be raising the federal funds rate next month. From the video:

Everybody now has jumped to the conclusion that a December rate hike is a lock. It is a sure thing, the Fed has no excuse, they’re going to move interest rates, lift-off at last in December. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing in this job report that would say that. There’s nothing here that’s going to require the Fed to raise interest rates if they don’t want to.

Why does Schiff think this? He doesn’t believe it’s part of the U.S. central bank’s game plan. He added:

See, this is what scares the Fed. Let’s assume the Fed actually does raise rates. What do they do if that rate hike, even though it’s really small, what if it prompts a stock market decline? How do they stop it? Cut rates? They’d look like fools if they do that. I mean, if the Fed raises rates and the stock market goes down, people might start believing that there’s no Yellen put. That the put is expired. And that there’s no more safety net. I mean, that could be very scary if the stock traders don’t think they’ve got the Fed to protect them. Because how can Janet Yellen protect them if she’s raising rates? She can only protect them if she can cut rates. So it’s very risky for the Fed to upset the apple cart, right? There’s an expression- “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And as far as the Fed is concerned, extend and pretend is working like a charm. Everybody believes the Fed’s about to raise rates, even though they don’t actually say they’re going to do it. So they never have to really do anything. If they get the benefit of a rate hike psychologically, they get to pretend we’ve got this great economy, but they don’t actually have to raise rates, and prove to everybody that we don’t have a great economy. So there’s a lot at stake here, and I think it’s a lot easier for the Fed to punt again, and to say, “Look, you know, it’s still possible that we’ll raise rates in March” or whenever they want to pretend.

And if Yellen and the Fed does raise rates in December? Schiff warned:

I think if the Federal Reserve actually raises rates, they’re simply accelerating the moment in time when they’ll have to cut them again. I think if the Fed raises rates, they’re going to do more damage to this bubble economy, which means they’re going to have to blow even more air to fill it back up. So if they do raise rates, that means the onset of QE 4 could happen even sooner than if they just continue to pretend to raise rates but not do it.


“Over-Hyped Oct. Jobs Report Does Not Assure Dec. Rate Hike.”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s note: I am 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 presented herein)

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Peter Schiff: ‘Inevitable’ QE 4 Will Lead To U.S. Dollar Crisis

On August 28, 2015, Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff spoke at The Jackson Hole Summit, “the first ever event to discuss monetary and fiscal policy at the same time as the Central Bankers are discussing policy,” according to sponsor American Principles Project. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, warned those in attendance that because the Federal Reserve isn’t allowing market forces to fix imbalances in the financial system, the United States is ultimately heading towards a dollar crisis. From the presentation:

The Fed needs to raise interest rates right now. Not because the economy can take it, but because it can’t. Because, again, it is a bubble that needs to be popped. The sooner we pop it, the better. But of course we’re going to find out that the Fed didn’t save us from the financial crisis. They simply interrupted it. And they kicked the can down the road. And we’ve now caught up to the can. And, the problem is, because we’ve delayed solving the problem- see, the financial crisis was the beginning of the solution. And the Fed interrupted it. The market was trying to fix what the Fed broke. Real estate prices coming down were part of the solution. Banks failing was part of the solution. That recession was part of the solution. And the Fed interrupted it. And instead they gave us an even bigger bubble. And now we’re going to have to deal with that…

All the real economic recovery is being prevented. The Fed has got it all dammed up with its monetary policy. But it’s afraid to release the dam because it’s going to unleash all of these forces, this creative destruction that is so necessary, because we cannot have this genuine economic recovery that would actually lift living standards and create good jobs for the American people. We can’t do that unless we allow this phony economy that’s been resurrected on the foundation of cheap money collapse. But nobody is going to allow that to happen…

And then they’re going to launch QE 4. Which nobody really understands. I think it’s inevitable. I said this from the beginning. I said that when they launched the very first round of quantitative easing that they had walked into, checked into, a monetary roach motel. That there was no way out. Once they went down this line, that we were in for the duration. You live by QE, you die by QE. I said we’d have more QEs than Rocky movies. And I think they had six of those. And of course they got progressively worse. And so I think QE 4 is going to be even worse than the last rounds. And ultimately… ultimately, where we are headed is to a dollar crisis…


“Peter Schiff at Jackson Hole Summit: The Monetary Roach Motel”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am 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 presented herein)

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Peter Schiff: Told You The Fed Was Bluffing On Rate Hikes

I recently highlighted an example of why Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30), is one of Survival And Prosperity’s “crash prophets.”

The following also exemplifies why Peter Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, belongs to that small group of individuals whose investment activities/recommendations I track on a regular basis.

From Schiff’s “Groundhog Day at the Fed,” published on the Euro Pacific Capital website last Friday:

Every dictator knows that a continuous state of emergency is the best means to justify tyrannical policies. The trick is to keep the fictitious emergency from breeding so much paranoia that routine activities come to a halt. Many have discovered that its best to make the threat external, intangible and ultimately, unverifiable. In Orwell’s 1984 the preferred mantra was “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia,” even though everyone knew it wasn’t true. In its rate decision this week the Federal Reserve, adopted a similar approach and conjured up an external threat to maintain a policy that is becoming increasingly absurd.

In blaming its continued inaction on “uncertainties abroad” (an excuse never before invoked by the Fed in the current period of zero interest rates), the Fed was able to maintain the pretense of a strong domestic economy, and its desire to lift rates at the earliest appropriate moment while continuing the economic life support of zero percent rates. Unbelievably, the media swallowed the propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

Over the summer it all seemed so certain. In mid-August the Wall Street Journal conducted a poll revealing that 95% of economists expected a rate hike by the end of 2015, with 82% expecting the first move to come in September. On July 29, Marketwatch reported that changes in Fed language were the “smoking gun” that made a September move a certainty. I was one of the few who publicly predicted that all the tough talk from the Fed was a bluff, and that there would be no hike in 2015. For taking that stance, I was largely ignored and ridiculed. In a July 16 interview on CNBC’s Futures Now (I am no longer invited to be on their television broadcasts), pundit Scott Nations took me to task for making the “outlandish” suggestion that the Fed would not raise in 2015, saying (to paraphrase):

“If price is truth and Fed funds futures are the collective wisdom of everybody in the world, and they are absolutely a lock for the Fed to raise rates by the end of the year, why is everybody else wrong and you are right?”

But now, in mid-September, it has all changed, far fewer economists expect a hike this year. However, despite this dramatic reversal, few have downgraded their forecasts or weakened their belief that the Fed remains committed to tighten policy…eventually. In other words, the Fed has achieved a complete communications victory.

Just like it has in prior statements, the Fed painted a picture of a stable and growing economy that was ready for a hike. In fact, in her press conference, Janet Yellen said that the Fed was “impressed” by the strength of the domestic economy. Although such statements began to resemble the film Groundhog Day, no one seems to tire of it.

A cornucopia of metaphors should have come to mind: The Fed’s bite had failed to live up to its bark; its “open mouth” operations wrote a check that its Open Market Committee was unable to cash; the Fed has become Lucy of the comic strip Peanuts, always promising to hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick, but always taking it away before he kicks it. Instead, the dominant theme of the coverage was that the Fed’s understanding of the global economy was just better than the rest of us. It apparently understood that a 25 basis point increase in rates in the U.S. could ripple through to the world markets and could potentially push China’s tottering stock market into the abyss. That was a risk it believed was not worth taking.

To keep the story line going requires that the steady torrent of negative data be ignored (see manufacturing data in September Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey of Philly Fed]. Similar weakness is evident in business investment, productivity, and consumer confidence numbers. Based on those data sets, conventional Keynesian “wisdom” suggests the Fed should be preparing a fresh round of stimulus, not readying its first economic sedative in nine years.

The big news is the introduction of “international developments” as an ongoing input into the Fed’s rate deliberation process. This addition allows the Fed nearly limitless latitude to perpetually kick the can down the road. After all, it is a great big world, and it will always be possible to find a problem somewhere. A Reuters article issued after the decision describes the new reality (9/18/15, Howard Schneider):

“It is a situation that could leave the Fed stranded in its hunt for a rate liftoff until the entire global economy is growing in sync, and the horizon is clear of risks.”

So there you have it. The Fed is no longer just the central bank of the United States, but the central bank of the entire world. As such it will need to consider any possible negative impacts, anywhere, before it pulls the trigger. This isn’t just moving the goalposts; it is dismantling them completely, putting them in crates, and losing them in a government warehouse…much like the Ark of the Covenant at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie.

The height of yesterday’s absurdity came during Janet Yellen’s press conference when Ann Saphir from Reuters asked her about the possibility that interest rates could stay at zero “forever.” While characterizing that likelihood as “extreme,” Yellen incredibly stated that she could not rule out the possibility. Of course the absurd suggestion that American civilization may never see rates above zero did not even raise eyebrows in the mainstream media. But the statement itself raises some interesting questions about Yellen’s actual thinking. First, how can she really be contemplating at 2015 rate hike, if she cannot even rule out the possibility of rates remaining at zero forever? Second, is she really that naïve and arrogant to believe that currency markets would allow the Fed to hold interest rates at zero indefinitely, without creating a dollar crisis, even if the Fed wanted to hold them there?

As I have maintained continuously, rate hike talk from the Fed is just a bluff to disguise its inability to tighten, as even small increases could be sufficient to prick the biggest bubble it has ever inflated. It is no coincidence that the stunning 170% increase in the Dow Jones, that occurred between March 2009 and the end of 2014, happened while the Fed was stimulating the economy almost continuously with QE, and that the rally came to an abrupt end when the QE stopped.

The recent 10% correction on Wall Street confirms to me just how sensitive the markets remain to the prospect of any rates higher than zero. In reality, that sell-off was a much greater factor than China in keeping the Fed quiet. That steep correction occurred at a time when most forecasters believed that a September hike was in the cards. For years, they had known that a rate hike was coming, but they always thought it would arrive when the economy was healthy. But when the big day became a clear and present danger, and the economy was still less than optimal, markets began to panic. It was only when Fed officials came out with publicly dovish statements that the sell-off ended. Despite this obvious connection, the markets are still blaming China, despite the fact that big sell-offs in China had been occurring for much of 2015 without sparking follow on panics in the U.S.

As a result, it should be clear that ongoing Fed decision-making is not just “data dependent” (and now we are talking about international, not just domestic, data), but also “market dependent,” meaning the Fed won’t raise rates if markets sell off sharply on expectations that it will raise. Given these impossible conditions, perhaps a perpetual zero rates are not so outlandish. But the reality is Central banks can’t really control interest rates across the spectrum, just the short end of the curve…when markets really panic, they won’t be able to stop economically devastating interest rate spikes on the long end.

In the meantime, I can only hope that the foreign exchange and commodity markets are finally getting the picture that the Fed appears impotent. The tremendous rally in the dollar over the past 18 months was predicated on the belief that interest rates would be rising in the U.S. just as they were falling everywhere else. Now that that premise is in tatters, the dollar should be giving back its undeserved gains. Recent moves in the foreign exchange market reveal that this is the case.

When the year began, opinion was divided between those who thought the Fed would move in March, and those who thought it wouldn’t happen until June. When June came and went, September became the odds-on favorite. Now those same experts are once again divided between December and sometime in 2016. When will these “experts” finally connect the real dots and discover that the monetary medicine that the Fed has doused over the economy since 2008 has only created a weak and utterly dependent economy. A rate hike is supposed to be a signal that the economy has a clean bill of health. But as the patient fails to recover, another dose of QE will be just what the doctor orders.

Subscribe to Euro Pacific’s Weekly Digest: Receive all commentaries by Peter Schiff, John Browne, and other Euro Pacific commentators delivered to your inbox every Monday!

Sniff, sniff, sniff. I smell another Peter Schiff Was Right YouTube video in the offing…

(Editor’s notes: Permission to publish article granted by Euro Pacific Capital; I am 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 presented herein)

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

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Robert Shiller On U.S. Stocks: ‘It Looks To Me A Bit Like A Bubble Again’

Robert Shiller, the Yale professor credited with correctly-calling the “dot-com” and housing busts last decade, has been voicing his concerns about U.S. stock prices for some time now. And Sunday, John Authers reported the following over on the Financial Times (UK) website:

A growing number of investors believe that US stocks are overvalued, creating the risk of a significant bear market, according to research by Yale University market scholar Robert Shiller.

The Nobel economics laureate told the Financial Times that his valuation confidence indices, based on investor surveys, showed greater fear that the market was overvalued than at any time since the peak of the dotcom bubble in 2000.

“It looks to me a bit like a bubble again with essentially a tripling of stock prices since 2009 in just six years and at the same time people losing confidence in the valuation of the market,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not going to steal Authers’ thunder here. You can read the insightful piece on Dr. Shiller here on FT.com, or enter “robert shiller financial times” in a search engine if that link doesn’t work, and go from there.

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

(Editor’s note: I am 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 presented herein)

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Monday, September 14th, 2015 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Jeremy Grantham Slashed Stock Holdings In Second Quarter

And this is why Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30, 2015), is one of Survival And Prosperity’s “crash prophets.” From the Nasdaq website on August 18:

Jeremy Grantham, chairman of the board of Boston-based asset management firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, is known for his ability to identify speculative market “bubbles” and using that knowledge to lead clients away from financial disasters.

Like most of the gurus we follow, Grantham bought some stakes, sold some stakes and added to some others in the second quarter. But, by far, most of his activity involved reducing existing stakes – more than 250 of them

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As I’ve mentioned before, Grantham’s individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

This recent action reminded me why that is.

You can read the entire piece on Nasdaq.com here.

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

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Thursday, September 10th, 2015 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Peter Schiff: ‘The Whole U.S. Economy Is One Gigantic Bubble At This Point’

Back to finance and investing matters. In 2012, “crash prophet” Peter Schiff predicted Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve would attempt to inflate another asset bubble to revive the U.S. economy.

The CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital underestimated how successful they would be- in terms of inflating multiple bubbles.

Schiff, who correctly called the housing bust and 2008 economic crisis, was on the phone with Free Talk Live discussing the student loan bubble last Sunday when he told listeners:

I think we have a much bigger bubble. The bubble in student loans is a small part of what’s actually going on. The government has managed to reflate the housing bubble, the stock market bubble, but we have a bond market bubble, a dollar bubble, a consumer loan bubble. The whole U.S. economy is one gigantic bubble at this point. That’s all we’ve got left. And that’s why interest rates have been at zero percent for almost seven years because the Fed is desperately trying to keep the air in these bubbles. It doesn’t want them to deflate. It doesn’t want to pop them. That’s why I don’t believe they’re actually planning on raising interest rates. I think they recognize that they cannot prick this bubble because it will be much worse than the bursting of the housing bubble or the dot-com bubble. But there is no avoiding this. The government has created this disaster and there’s no way around it. They’re just trying whatever they can to delay the inevitable. But because they’ve succeeded in delaying it, they’ve just made it much, much worse. It’s going to be a lot worse. So people really have to protect themselves from this. More so than I think in past crises…

Owning gold is one way to protect yourself. But people should also diversify. They shouldn’t only have gold. But they should definitely have some gold. But they should also invest internationally.


“The US Economy Is One Giant Bubble”
YouTube Video

Schiff later warned:

So there’s a lot, I think, that’s going to happen to really upend the status quo. And I think a lot people are going to go broke in this next crisis. And if you’re not prepared for it, you could suffer that fate. So I think it’s more important now, even than with the dot-com bubble or the housing bubble because this one is going to have much more profound consequences for typical Americans when it bursts. I think we’re going to see a big loss of value of the dollar, not just internationally and not just for tourists going to Europe. But as Americans try to buy things here in America. Things that they used to be able to afford are going to be completely unaffordable for the vast majority of Americans.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am 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 presented herein)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 87

It’s been interesting watching the run-up to the recent carnage on Wall Street.

For some time now, the “crash prophets” who correctly-called the housing market bubble and 2008 economic crisis have been warning the stock market was frothy, if not in bubble territory.

Meanwhile, the Pollyannas who didn’t see either of those events from the last decade convinced themselves that not only had the United States managed to get on solid footing again after the blatant “papering over” of the debacle that reared its ugly head seven years ago, but that U.S equities and their valuations were a fair reflection of an economic “recovery” that was charging “full-steam ahead.”

At the same time, the Pollyannas (with the assistance of the financial mainstream media) ridiculed the “prophets” at any chance they got.

Reminds me a lot of that time period from roughly 2004 to 2008, until the Pollyannas got spanked hard and many of their mouthpieces were put out to pasture.

Make no mistake about it, America’s financial crash is coming.

The powers-that-be can only “kick the can down the road” until the road runs out. And that time is almost here.

Is the recent stock market plunge the event that pushes us over the edge?

I’m not sure it is. That being said, the dive has resulted in some serious financial losses. Steve Goldstein, the D.C. Bureau Chief for the MarketWatch website, wrote this afternoon:

As of March 31, households and nonprofits held $24.1 trillion in stocks. That’s both directly, and through mutual funds, pension funds and the like. That also includes the holdings of U.S.-based hedge funds, though you’d have to think that most hedge funds are held by households.

Using the Dow Jones Total Stock Market index through midmorning trade, that number had dropped to $22.32 trillion.

In other words, a cool $1.8 trillion has been lost between now and the first quarter — and overwhelmingly, those losses occurred in the last few days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$1.8 trillion. Whew. After riding the bull for so long, it looks like the Pollyannas weren’t expecting the beast to pull an abrupt about-face… and gore them.


The White Stripes, Conquest (2007)
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s note: I am 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 presented herein)

Source:

Goldstein, Steve. “Households just saw $1.8 trillion in wealth vanish as stocks fall.” MarketWatch. 24 Aug. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/households-still-hold-22-trillion-in-stocks-even-after-market-rout-2015-08-24). 24 Aug. 2015.

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
"The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street"
(Memorial Day Weekend 2007-2010)

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