stock market bubbles

Peter Schiff: Invest Overseas, Buy Commodities To Avoid Either U.S. Stock, Dollar Plummet

Turning to “crash prophet” Peter Schiff this afternoon, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital was recently interviewed by Scott Gamm of TheStreet. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, echoed colleague Jim Rogers in warning about a future bear market in U.S. stocks. From the exchange:

THESTREET: Peter, it’s been an incredible record run here. And the levels we’re seeing now even with this slight pullback were record highs not too long ago. So, what do you say?
SCHIFF: Well, the bubble keeps getting bigger. Donald Trump called it himself as a candidate. He said it was a big, fat, ugly bubble. He was right then. He’s wrong now because now he denies it’s a bubble because he’s now the President and so it’s his bubble. And so he’d rather it be a bull market. But the valuations here really are extreme. The complacency is also extreme. I mean, investors are willing to pay very high prices and have very little worry (chuckle) that the stock market is going to go down. And people have very short memories. I’ve mean, we’ve had two major 50 percent declines in the stock market this century, since 2000. So we’ve had the market cut in half twice and it can easily happen again, yet nobody seems concerned. And I think one of the reasons is because the last two times the market went down the Fed was able to bail out investors to bet on one bubble by inflating a bigger one. So a lot of investors may have been conditioned to believe that even if the market implodes, if they hold on, they’ll get their money back. But the third time might not be the charm. It’s possible that the Fed can’t blow a bubble big enough to bail out investors this time…
THESTREET: So do you think that tide kind of turns in the next year?
SCHIFF: Hey, I don’t know. There’s no way to know. I mean, I think Donald Trump has nominated somebody who will try and do his best to keep the air in the bubble- cut rates, QE 4. But at some point, the market forces will overwhelm the Fed. The market will go down. And if it doesn’t go down the dollar will collapse instead. But either way, you’re going to see the real value of U.S. stocks come way down, whether it happens nominally or not. And I have a feeling that if the Fed prints enough money to prevent the market from going down dramatically, then the real losses will be even bigger because of the implosion of the U.S. dollar.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

When asked about advice for investors as to where to put their money right now if they’re worried about U.S. stocks, the author of The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – How to Save Yourself and Your Country told viewers:

People who are in the U.S. market are overlooking much better returns from much better valuation levels that are happening overseas. So I think people should take advantage of the overpriced U.S. stock market, the overpriced U.S. dollar, and sell, and move money abroad. Get into the international markets- developed and emerging. Get into the commodities space. Look at oil hitting a new two-year high again today. This is going on in commodities across the board. We are coming off of major bear markets. We’re in the infancy of new bull markets. And I think the dollar is about to get killed. This is the first year in many years now that the dollar is down. But I think it’s the first of many. I think the dollar could fall for the next 5 to 10 years in a major, major bear market taking the dollar to all-time record lows. And this will enable enormous profits for people who are invested outside the U.S. in the right currencies, the right assets, the right companies. That’s what I think we’re doing with our clients at Euro Pacific Capital and that’s certainly what I’m doing with my own money.


“Peter Schiff Slams Bitcoin, Federal Reserve and Antitrust Regulators”
YouTube Video

By 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. Christopher E. Hill, 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 presented on the site.)

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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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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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Jeremy Grantham: Stock Market ‘Ripe For Major Decline’ In 2016

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 the last “crash prophet” I’ll be talking about this weekend. Regular readers of this blog know Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, has warned for a year now that he believes bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2,250 (Friday it closed at 2,078).

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)

A disturbing piece by Wigglesworth, which you can read in its entirety on FT.com here.

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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