I am in the midst of preparing a forecast for the next five to ten years for the United States economy, and by extension the world because of the intertwining effects of the dollar reserve currency and US consumption in the global economy. And of course the US position as the world’s sole superpower.
Before I do that, I thought it might be useful to see a recap of my last five year forecast, to set the playing field as it were, as a sort of an introduction. The next forecast will be similar in format and style, but may be a little more complex, because the US, and the world, are at a critical crossroads in history.
The greatest struggle in writing this sort of thing is to keep it brief, to prevent it expanding into a lengthy treatise that examines too many particulars, too many possibilities. Forecasters often succumb to the temptation to throw out many specific predictions and possibilities, in the hopes of ‘hits’ that will be remembered, with misses forgotten, without giving sufficient weight to the probabilities. In addition, clarity and consciences are always the challenge in writing non-fiction regarding complex subjects.
Please keep in mind that this forecast was published on my old website at the beginning of 2005, when optimism was running high, the maestro was still on his throne, black swans still an uncommon topic, and the US was in a fresh bull market in stocks with a growing housing bubble that very few would admit, and many would vehemently deny. This forecast is being written in darker hours, when some of the horsemen have already been unleashed.
I have edited out extraneous contemporary detail, and most of the charts which are dated, except for one. I edited out some grammatical errors and awkward phrasing. The timeframe has been ‘compartmentalized’ to five years, from a more open-ended original, because at the time I wrote in 2005 I did not imagine I would still be at this blogging effort five years later. I have also renumbered the footnotes and eliminated several for the sake of simplicity and relevance.
In case you missed it, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was on Capitol Hill this morning making his case in regards to the Bank of America – Merrill Lynch deal. The Chairman stated in unequivocal terms that he did not pressure anyone. Rather, he stated that he cautioned Ken Lewis about the prudence of invoking a MAC clause and doubted whether Lewis could be successful in extracting himself from the deal (I agree that the MAC clause was not going to help BofA).
Whether Bernanke is justified in his defense is irrelevant at this juncture. What is relevant, however, is that the Bank of America – Merrill Lynch deal has become a central episode for political recriminations and posturing. As I said two weeks ago:
My take here is that the Bank of America case has become very political – and that means the blame game is going to be played. Someone — Bernanke, Lewis, Thain or Paulson — is going to take the fall. The knives are out.
Indeed, the knives are out and it is looking increasingly likely that Bernanke will be the scapegoat. Below is a Bloomberg News video with Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. If you listen to what Towns is saying, it does not look very good for Ben Bernanke.
Here’s a conspiracy theory for you. As I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, I ill keep this one pretty simple. Here’s the chain of events.
Back in late September when the world was falling apart, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and Hank Paulson were all desperate to keep things from unravelling. As a result, they were pleased that Ken Lewis and Bank of America were willing to pony up massive $44 billion to take over Merrill Lynch. They might even have encouraged the deal (i.e. we will smooth the way. There will be no FTC hurdles. We will soft peddle investigation into Countrywide mortgage fraud, etc)
The problem, of course, was that Merrill Lynch was a bottomless pit of…
By Gavekal Capital Blog. Originally published at ValueWalk.
Our Commodity Diffusion Index Is At Its Lowest Level Since 2/2009 by Eric Bush, Gavekal Capital
One of the way we like to track commodity prices is by using a a diffusion index. A diffusion index is a simple way of tallying how many commodities are higher over the past year and how many are lower over the past year. If a commodity is higher than it receives a +1, if it is lower than it receives a -1. In the index below, we are tracking 20 different commodities. This means that the highest level for the index is +20 and the lowest level is -20. It currently stands at -16 so 18 commodities are lower over the past year aga...
While over the past several months many have been focused - finally - on the bursting of China's 3 bubbles (credit, housing and investment), in the context of its 4th burst bubble, the stock market which the politburo is desperately trying to patch up every single day, a far scarier picture has emerged within the entire Emerging Market space, where Brazil has rapidly become a "ground zero" case study for what has moved beyond mere recession and is an accelerated collapse into economic depression, as we ...
This chart looks at the Thompson/Reuters Commodity Index on a monthly basis for the past 50 years
The index took off in the early 1970’s and rallied over 200% in a little over a decade at (1). Then it created a potential double top. What followed at (2)? An unwinding of the rally that lasted nearly 20-years, taking it to the bottom of its rising channel.
In the early 2000’s, the index took off again, gaining over 250% in a decades time at (3) and the rallied looks to have ended in 2011, as it was hitting the top of this long-term rising channel.
Since hitting the top of the channel the index has been pretty soft,...
"I believe that anyone who has a job and works full time, they should be able to pay the things that sustain life: food, shelter and clothing. I can't even do that."
That rather depressing quote is from 61-year old Rebecca Cornick. She’s a grandmother and a 9-year Wendy’s veteran who spoke to CBS News. Rebecca makes $9 an hour and her plight is representative of fast food workers across the country who are campaigning for higher pay.
The fast food worker pay debate is part of a larger discussion as "states and cities across the country [wres...
As oil prices tanked, hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased bullish bets on Treasury securities to the most in two years, even as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates.
MagneGas Corporation (NASDAQ: MNGA) this week completed metal cutting demonstrations with over 40 representatives from the Fossil Fuel division of a major northeast Utility. The Company believes the demonstrations were successful as they have received multiple requests for fuel as a result of those meetings.
The Utility is one of the ten largest in the United States with over $35 billion in assets and large volume use of acetylene. Multiple company officials and representatives from the Fossil Fuel Division of the Utility were in attendance. This particular division is the largest user of acetylene and propane at the Company. The test used MagneGas® to cut 2 inch steel plates and resulted in very little pre-heat time with clean cuts. Officials have indicated an int...
Tech indices finished strong after they overcame the opening half hour of selling. The Fed statement was greeted favorably, although market breadth is not looking pretty. The Nasdaq still has a distance to travel to make back all of its losses, but has done well to hold up against Semiconductor weakness.
The Semiconductor Index is struggling to make inroads against past losses as the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 push respectable gains. I find it hard to see how this scenario can continue, ...
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.
Corporate earnings reports have been mixed at best, interspersed with the occasional spectacular report -- primarily from mega-caps like Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), or Amazon (AMZN). Some of the bul...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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