Housing

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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Signs Of The Time, Part 100

A milestone has been reached with the “Signs Of The Time” series of posts.

I wasn’t sure what material I’d use for post number 100, when manna from Heaven suddenly appeared in the form of a headline on the home page of my Internet service provider:

Why people won’t say the economy is booming

By most measures, the economy is doing great. So, why are people reluctant to admit it?

Obama: ‘We went through a really scary time’

In the accompanying piece, Sam Ro, managing editor at Yahoo! Finance, wrote Sunday:

By most measures, the economy is doing great. The US labor market is creating around 200,000 jobs a month, which has brought the unemployment rate tumbling to 5%. Meanwhile, home prices are up and stock prices (GSPC) are near all-time highs.

So, why are there so many people so reluctant to acknowledge how good things are today?

One word: trauma.

“Some people are still recovering from the trauma of what happened in 2007-2008,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Nicole Sinclair. “You know, we went through a really scary time.”

Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just when you thought you’ve heard everything, right?

It gets better. Ro continued:

Consider the joy that comes from jumping on a trampoline or the thrill one gets from speeding downhill on a bicycle. For many folks, the unexpected and painful reality of a nasty spill and a couple of fractured bones will forever take away the bliss that once came from those activities. The trampoline and bicycle will continue to offer the same experience, but the trauma can be so intense that it can force many to keep their feet on the ground.

Losing your job, getting evicted from your home, and watching the value of your retirement savings crash can be deeply distressing. And so even when you get a new job, move into a new home, and recoup all of your investment losses, that new persistent feeling of uncertainty that followed the traumatic will discount everything you have…

Any readers ever see that iconic sports film The Natural, starring Robert Redford? Is it just me, or does all this kind of remind you of that part in the movie where the club hires a shrink to talk to the players when everything is going wrong?


“Losing is a disease”
YouTube Video

No, not that bit where the ballplayer gets hit in the (g)nards. But that “losing is a disease” speech.

And just like Roy Hobbs rolled his eyes and walked out of the locker room, I wouldn’t blame any of you for moving on from this post after reading that stuff about “trauma.”

“Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality”

I suspect the “present reality” is crystal-clear for a growing number of Americans- trauma not needed.

And in more than a few instances, their economic “reality” definitely does not match what’s being peddled by Washington and its allies in the mainstream media these days.

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

Source:

Ro, Sam. “Obama uttered a single word that explains so much about America today.” Yahoo! News. 17 Apr. 2016. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/obama-us-economy-americans-recovering-from-trauma-175254482.html). 18 Apr. 2016.

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IMF Issues Downward Revision To Global Growth Forecast

From the International Monetary Fund website Tuesday:

Global growth continues, but at a sluggish pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to risks, says the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The WEO forecasts global growth at 3.2 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2017, a downward revision of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, compared with the January 2016 Update (see table).

In a recent speech, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that the recovery remains too slow, too fragile, with the risk that persistent low growth can have damaging effects on the social and political fabric of many countries…

“The recovery remains too slow, too fragile”

Funny. That’s not what I’m hearing out of Washington and the mainstream media these days.

The IMF added:

In the United States, expected growth this year is flat at 2.4 percent, with a modest uptick in 2017. Domestic demand will be supported by improving government finances and a stronger housing market that help offset the drag on net exports coming from a strong dollar and weaker manufacturing…

You can read more about the IMF’s latest global growth forecast here on their website.

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

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The People Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis

“Vice President Dick Cheney says that his boss, President George W. Bush, has no need to apologize to the American people for not doing more to head off the financial calamity, saying no one saw the crisis coming.

During an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office, Cheney defended the administration’s performance on an economy that is growing weaker daily and which recently collapsed in spectacular fashion. Cheney said that ‘nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out.’

-Associated Press, January 8, 2009

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s Monday, and since I’m not adding anything new from the “crash prophets”- Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff- I thought I’d take Survival And Prosperity readers for a stroll down memory lane.

I recently stumbled across a page on the Investor Home website entitled “Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis?” Gary Karz wrote:

In the years since the Global Financial Crisis exploded on the scene, there have been a number of articles and initiatives documenting the individuals that publicly predicted the crisis and arguably deserve credit for having sounded the alarm. This page summarizes those efforts and links to those sources (and I expect to update it over time as more information and research becomes available). While plenty of foreign leaders and professional doomsayers have long predicted the collapse of the US economy, to the extent possible it should be useful to differentiate them from those that legitimately warned about a financial crisis or critical elements of it based on some logical analysis that appears to have merit after the fact. I believe a large percentage of investors and home buyers were exposed to at least some credible warnings about a housing bubble, but clearly many people chose to ignore those warnings or dismiss the predictions of a coming housing crash and/or crisis as unlikely to come true. Separately, I was interested in hearing what these individuals prescribe…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Personally, I’m interested “in hearing what these individuals prescribe” in 2016, as these people managed to correctly-call last decade’s housing bust, the global economic crisis that reared its ugly head in the fall of 2008, and the “Great Recession.”

Not so much their peers who completely missed the signs of the financial storm yet whose forecasts are still touted and relied upon, with some among this group even trusted with getting America out of this ongoing mess.

A solid effort by Karz, which you can view on his website here.

Now I’m just waiting for him to publish the list entitled “Who Incorrectly Called The Global Financial Crisis,” so I know exactly who not to listen to concerning such matters.

“I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record…”

Actually, this “nattering nabob of negativity” already has a pretty good idea of who those people are. And anything they say I take with a grain of salt…

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

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Jeremy Grantham: ‘U.S. Market Will Rally Once Again To Become A Fully-Fledged Bubble Before It Breaks’

Last week, I blogged about 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). While it was an interesting read, I noted that I was a little disappointed that Grantham, whose individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, didn’t talk about two themes he’d brought up in recent newsletters. I wrote:

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.

Last night, I saw that Grantham penned a piece on the Barron’s website that answered those questions (for the most part). From the article:

Looking to 2016, we can agree that uncertainties are above average. But I think the global economy and the U.S. in particular will do better than the bears believe it will because they appear to underestimate the slow-burning but huge positive of much-reduced resource prices in the U.S. and the availability of capacity both in labor and machinery. So even though I believe our trend line growth capability is only 1.5%, our spare capacity and lower input prices make 2.5% quite attainable for this year. And growth at this level would make a major market break unlikely. As discussed elsewhere, this situation feels at worst like an ordinary bear market lasting a few months and not like a major collapse. That, I think, will come later after the final ingredients of a major bubble fall into place

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Concerning the U.S. stock market, Grantham wrote:

The U.S. equity market, although not in bubble territory, is very overpriced (+50% to 60%) and the outlook for fixed income is dismal… I still believe that, with the help of the Fed and its allies, the U.S. market will rally once again to become a fully-fledged bubble before it breaks. That is, after all, the logical outcome of a Fed policy that stimulates and overestimates some more until, finally, some strut in the complicated economic structure snaps. Good luck in 2016…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In the section entitled “U.S. equity bubble update,” he added:

On the evaluation front, the market is not quite expensive enough to deserve the bubble title. We at GMO have defined a bubble as a 2-standard-deviation event (2-sigma). We believe that all great investment bubbles reached that level and market events that fell short of 2-sigma did not feel like the real thing. (In our view, 2008 was preceded by an unprecedented U.S. housing bubble – a 3-sigma event.)

Today a 2-sigma U.S. equity market would be at or around 2300 on the S&P, requiring a rally of over 20%; even from the previous record daily high it would have required an 8% rally…

On the more touchy-feely level of psychological and technical measures, the U.S. market came closer to bubble status but, still, I think, no cigar

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So to answer my two questions from last week:

1. Grantham believes U.S. stocks will rally once again to become a bubble (no mention of “a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016” though).

2. He also believes bubble-territory for the S&P 500 is no longer 2,250, but a tad higher “at or around 2,300.”

As highlighted at the bottom of the “Crash Prophets” page, Jeremy Grantham has an impressive track record with his financial forecasts:

• In 1982, said the U.S. stock market was ripe for a “major rally.” That year was the beginning of the longest bull run ever.
• In 1989, called the top of the Japanese bubble economy
• In 1991, predicted the resurgence of U.S. large cap stocks
• In 2000, correctly called the rallies in U.S. small cap and value stocks
• In January 2000, warned of an impending crash in technology stocks, which took place two months later
• Saw the 2008 global financial crisis coming. In April 2007, said we are now seeing the first worldwide bubble in history covering all asset classes.

As such, it’s difficult to dismiss this latest one.

Check out Grantham’s piece on Barron’s website here if you have time. I only scratched the surface, and it’s an insightful read.

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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Confidence In U.S. Government Plummeting?

Last night in a discussion about gold, I brought up Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model, and something he said about the yellow metal two weeks ago. From his January 14 blog post:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government.

Survival And Prosperity readers are probably familiar with the myriad of poll/survey results showing Main Street has been fed up with the nation’s policymakers for some time now. But this morning, I’m going to examine if that confidence may be eroding more significantly than in recent times. I do this because:

1. I just came across some disturbing survey results in my research this week which suggests confidence in the U.S. government may be plummeting

2. If this confidence is almost to the point of being “shot,” then perhaps gold is getting closer to another sustained run-up in price

Aimee Picchi reported on the CBS News website Tuesday under the headline “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever”:

A handful of industries are those “love to hate” types of businesses, such as cable-television companies and Internet service providers.

The federal government has joined the ranks of the bottom-of-the-barrel industries, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Americans’ satisfaction level in dealing with federal agencies –everything from Treasury to Homeland Security — has fallen for a third consecutive year, reaching an eight-year low.

The declines represent some backsliding for the U.S. government, given that satisfaction saw some improvement in 2011 and 2012, which may have been the result of spending in the wake of the recession. While the comparison with private enterprise isn’t apples to apples given the nature of government services, the findings have some implications for bureaucrats.

“Satisfaction is linked to broader goals in the political system that it wants to maximize, like confidence and trust,” said Forrest Morgeson, director of research at the ACSI. “It’s much more difficult to govern if the entire population dislikes you.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Picchi noted more than 2,000 people took part in that survey.

It’s not just confidence in government that may be in real trouble these days. Yale economist Robert Shiller, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade, was interviewed last week in Davos, Switzerland, by Tom Keene of the Bloomberg TV show Bloomberg Surveillance. From their exchange:

KEENE: What is the state of our confidence now in our economics and business system?
SHILLER: It’s kind of obvious that it’s weakening.
KEENE: It’s fragile.
SHILLER: It’s fragile, and things that ought to be good news like lower oil prices are disruptive in the short run. But people are over-focused on them in valuing long-term assets like corporate stocks. So I think that the markets are driven by these perceived important facts. I think China is not as important to the U.S. economy as it appears to be. And one thing that news media people have to do- I assume you do this- is resist some of this over-hyping…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Yale’s Shiller: Markets Over-focused on China, Oil”
Bloomberg Video

Interesting comment about China. I pointed out earlier this week that Shiller’s fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff think the Chinese are being made scapegoats by the U.S. for Wall Street’s dismal performance this year.

And how about Dr. Shiller getting in a shot at the news media for their “over-hyping”? Serves them right considering the grief they gave the now Nobel Prize winner for having the “audacity” to point out the U.S. housing bubble last decade.

But getting back to the task at hand. Confidence in both government and the economy appears to have taken a hit lately. And a resurgent gold bull market looks promising if Martin Armstrong is correct in his assertions.

Stay tuned…

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.)

Source:

Picchi, Aimee. “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever.” CBS News. 26 Jan. 2016. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-hate-the-u-s-government-more-than-ever/). 28 Jan. 2016.

Robert Shiller’s recently-revised (January 2015) third edition of Irrational Exuberance

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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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Chicago’s Property Tax Hike To Hammer Small Business, Renters?

Looks like my girlfriend and I may have dodged yet another bullet moving out of our Chicago rental when we did (no pun intended). Hal Dardick and Bob Secter reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday morning:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has framed his record $588 million property tax hike plan around the notion that it will include breaks for those of modest means, but hundreds of thousands of renters who fit that description are still likely to pay more because they can’t benefit from the mayor’s safeguards.

The mayor has vowed to make sure “that the burden is borne by those who can best afford it,” evoking images of thriving downtown businesses and fancy high-rise condominiums. But also in the crosshairs of the tax hike would be mom-and-pop businesses and a large number of apartment dwellers whose landlords typically build property tax expense into the rent

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not going to steal Dardick’s and Secter’s thunder, so head on over to the Tribune website here to read the entire article (registration required).

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

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Thursday, October 8th, 2015 Business, Debt Crisis, Government, Housing, Taxes No Comments

Robert Shiller: Stocks Look ‘Pretty Frothy,’ Home Prices ‘Getting High By Historical Standards’

Last investment-related piece for the day. Yahoo! Finance Editor-In-Chief Andy Serwer recently interviewed Yale economist Robert Shiller in a “Market Pulse” segment. Serwer brought up the stock market and housing in his chat with the Nobel Prize winner, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade. These days, Dr. Shiller once again has concerns about both. From their discussion published September 25 on the Yahoo! Finance website:

SHILLER: I think there’s a little bit of over-exuberance in the stock market at the present time.
SERWER: Right. Even with this recent correction?
SHILLER: The correction that we had in August brought the market down 10 percent. But it’s halfway back up again. So it’s still looking pretty frothy

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Shiller added later:

The market is highly-priced by traditional- well, this isn’t a traditional measure this is a measure that I and my colleague John Campbell developed. On top of that, I have survey data showing that people think the market is overpriced. The percent who think that is quite high now. So, I think this creates a little bit of fear that there could be a correction. When we saw the correction in August of this year there was I think some anxiety thrown into people’s hearts when they also feel that the market almost tripled between 2009 and 2014- it’s really pretty high. And I think there could be a further correction. I certainly am not forecasting that because nobody really knows what the stock market will do. But I think we’re in some danger of that. My instinct would be not to take any extreme moves, not to pull out completely. But also not to be heavily exposed to the market. I think it’s worrisome at this point. Worrisome but not horrible. I think you keep something in the market. But not too much.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On housing, there was this exchange:

SERWER: We’re seeing the housing market heating up again. Do you think that this is a sustainable recovery?
SHILLER: Well, home prices have been going up. But they’re still not in real terms close to the previous peak in most cities… Is this sustainable? I’m starting to worry a little bit. It’s getting high by historical standards. And it’s another cause for concern. But it’s not like the stock market yet in terms of valuation.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Shiller: Stocks and housing are overvalued—here’s what to do about it”
Yahoo! Finance 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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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 Crash Prophets, Housing, Investing, Stocks No Comments
Survival And Prosperity
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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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