A couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal, reporting on a conference at the Boston Fed, indicates that some people at the Fed may recognize that the central bank has boxed itself in more than a tad.
The first is on the question of whether the Fed is in a liquidity trap. A lot of people, based on the experience of Japan, argued that resolving and restructuring bad loans was a necessary to avoid a protracted economic malaise after a severe financial crisis. But the Fed has consistently clung to the myth that the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 was a liquidity, not a solvency crisis. So rather than throw its weight behind real financial reform and cleaning up bank balance sheets (which would require admitting the obvious, that its policies prior to the crisis were badly flawed), it instead has treated liquidity as the solution to any and every problem.
Some commentators were concerned when the Fed lowered policy rates below 2%, but there we so many other experiments implemented during the acute phases that this particular shift has been pretty much overlooked. But overly low rates leaves the Fed nowhere to go if demand continues to be slack, as it is now.
Note that the remarks by Chicago Fed president John Evans still hew to conventional forms: the Fed needs to create inflation expectations, and needs to be prepared to overshoot.
This seems to ignore some pretty basic considerations. First, the US is suffering from a great deal of unemployment and excess productive capacity. The idea that inflation fears are going to lead to a resumption of spending (ie anticipatory spending because the value of money will fall in the future) isn’t terribly convincing. Labor didn’t have much bargaining power before the crisis, and it has much less now. Some might content the Fed is already doing a more than adequate job of feeding commodities inflation (although record wheat prices are driven by largely by fundamentals).
I’m not in the habit of promoting films, but if the above documentary, an investigation of the root causes of the 2008 global financial meltdown, is anything like the director’s documentary on the Iraqi war, "No End in Sight", not only are we in for a relentless presentation of propaganda busting facts and an endless calling out of financial shills from Wall Street firms, but we will also be presented with a very sober reminder that our current administration, like the Dubya, Clinton, and Bush Sr. administrations that preceded it, has failed to address or fix in any substantive manner any of the root problems that created our first financial meltdown. Thus, get ready your popcorn ready for a front row seat to financial meltdown, part deuce, coming to your in-home theater in 2011.
On a short-term tactical basis, Goldman Sachs clearly has little to fear. It has relatively deep pockets and will fight the securities “Fab” allegations tooth and nail; resolving that case, through all the appeals stages, will take many years. Friday’s announcement had a significant negative impact on the market perception of Goldman’s franchise value – partly because what they are accused of doing to unsuspecting customers is so disgusting. But, as a Bank of America analyst (Guy Mozkowski) points out this morning, the dollar amount of this specific allegation is small relative to Goldman’s overall business and – frankly – Goldman’s market position is so strong that most customers feel a lack of plausible alternatives.
The main action, obviously, is in the potential widening of the investigation (good articles in the WSJ today, but behind their paywall). This is likely to include more Goldman deals as well as other major banks, most of which are generally presumed to have engaged in at least roughly parallel activities – although the precise degree of nondisclosure for adverse material information presumably varied. Two congressmen have reasonably already drawn the link to the AIG bailout (how much of that was made necessary by fundamentally fraudulent transactions?), Gordon Brown is piling on (a regulatory sheep trying to squeeze into wolf’s clothing for election day on May 6), and the German government would dearly love to blame the governance problems in its own banks (e.g., IKB) on someone else.
But as the White House surveys the battlefield this morning and considers how best to press home the advantage, one major fact dominates. Any pursuit of Goldman and others through our legal system increases uncertainty and could even cause a political…
So we get the prize for extreme income inequality. The failure of our government – many people, over many years - to prevent the disaster is bad enough. Now the non-effort to correct the factors leading up to the financial meltdown supports the view that there are few people in government who have any desire to do so. Because, it’s simple, people do what they want to do. – Ilene
Evidence that the US is a failed state is piling up faster than I can record it.
One conclusive hallmark of a failed state is that the crooks are inside the government, using government to protect and to advance their private interests.
Another conclusive hallmark is rising income inequality as the insiders manipulate economic policy for their enrichment at the expense of everyone else.
Income inequality in the US is now the most extreme of all countries. The 2008 OECD report, “Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries,” concludes that the US is the country with the highest inequality and poverty rate across the OECD and that since 2000 nowhere has there been such a stark rise in income inequality as in the US. The OECD finds that in the US the distribution of wealth is even more unequal than the distribution of income.
On October 21, 2009, Business Week highlighted a new report from the United Nations Development Program concluded that the US ranked third among states with the worst income inequality. As number one and number two, Hong Kong and Singapore, are both essentially city states, not countries, the US actually has the shame of being the country with the most inequality in the distribution of income.
The stark increase in US income inequality in the 21st century coincides with the offshoring of US jobs, which enriched executives with “performance bonuses” while impoverishing the middle class, and with the rapid rise of unregulated OTC derivatives, which enriched Wall Street and the financial sector at the expense of everyone else.
Millions of Americans have lost their homes and half of their retirement savings while being loaded up with government debt to bail out the banksters who created the derivative crisis.
Frontline’s October 21 broadcast, “The Warning,” documents how Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Deputy Treasury Secretary…
The conventional wisdom is that the current financial meltdown resulted from the failure of "capitalism" (As if crony/State capitalism was ever anything but a simulacrum of free market enterprise.)
But perhaps the current slow-moving collapse is merely the final failure of the Grand Experiment: that central banks can manipulate the economy to some steady-state "growth" without end.
It is an irony, to be sure, that the emergence of central banks in the early years of the 20th century was in reaction to short-lived but scary financial seizures like the 1907 Panic. The irony is that such panics were sharp but also short-lived. Now that the central banks have spent decades manipulating the economies of the world with mad "behind the scenes" pulling of monetary and fiscal levers, downturns are not getting shorter but longer, and not getting shallower but deeper.
I think the following charts make a good case that the Grand Experiment was ontologically doomed to fail. I would argue that policy is not a feedback loop like the market; you cannot eliminate feedback from the real world and substitute manipulation in its stead. This is akin to enforcing the "policy" that relieving the patients’ symptoms is equivalent to restoring their health.
Relieving symptoms is not equivalent to being healthy, as these charts suggest.
It is not coincidence that the deep recessions of 1974-75 and 1981-83 were followed by a rise in debt. Look at the first chart and then the second one. Note the ramp-up of debt after the Federal Reserve realized that its usual levers of monetary "loosening" were ineffectual.
Their "solution" was to create credit--lots of it. the credit machine started gaining speed and finally achieved lift-off when Greenspan countered the modest 2001 recession with a full-blown explosion of low-interest-rate credit expansion.
Predictably, this explosion of debt triggered an asset bubble in a variety of asset classes, most notably real estate. The results are visible here:
Easy margin requirements and free-flowing credit helped boost the dot-com boom in the late 90s, which resulted in a rise in equity. As that bubble burst, the Fed turned the spigots wide open and…
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 email@example.com 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.
Short-term, USD due for a breather and euro for a rally
Investment Implications of a USD Breakout
Should the USD break out from its 2005 to present bearish trend, we should see some significant developments in inter-market relationships. For starters, the relative performance of U.S. stocks to the MSCI World Stock Index Excluding the U.S. shows a strong correlation to the USD Index. Should t...
Two academic studies of the health dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have produced different conclusions.
One, conducted by Yale University, said people living near fracking sites report increased health problems. The other, by Penn State University, says fracking water stays underground, far below the groundwater supplies that people use for drinking, and poses no threat.
Both studies were conducted in Pennsylvania, part of the Marcellus Shale formation in the sprawling Appalachian Basin in the eastern United States. It holds enormous reserves of gas and has been a focus of fracking activity and protests.
In the Yale study, former Yale medical professor Dr. Peter Rabinowitz reported in the...
If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Bill Gates all got together in a room with the task of building the most accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.
Well, I hate to break it to you… they never got around to building it, but my colleagues at Market Tamer did.
Although the stock market displayed weakness last week as I suggested it would, bulls aren’t going down easily. In fact, they’re going down swinging, absorbing most of the blows delivered by hesitant bears. Despite holding up admirably when weakness was both expected and warranted, and although I still see higher highs ahead, I am still not convinced that we have seen the ultimate lows for this pullback. A number of signs point to more weakness ahead.
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-r...
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In a report published Monday, Compass Point analyst Michael Tarkan reiterated a Buy rating and $21.00 price target on Navient Corp (NASDAQ: NAVI).
In the report, Compass Point noted, “We reiterate our Buy rating on NAVI shares after analyzing updated credit data within the company's private student loan trusts, which indicate continued YOY improvement in delinquency and default rates. The data captures statistics for trusts originated from 2002 through 2014 for the three months ended August 31, 2014, providing a good leading indicator for 3Q14 credit trends. The ongoing improvement should give management flexibility to continue to lower provision expenses to drive earnings higher.”
The CBOE Vix Index is in positive territory on Friday morning as shares in the S&P 500 Index move slightly lower. Currently the VIX is up roughly 2.75% on the session at 13.16 as of 11:35 am ET. Earlier in the session big prints in October expiry call options caught our attention as one large options market participants appears to have purchased roughly 106,000 of the Oct 22.0 strike calls for a premium of around $0.45 each. The VIX has not topped 22.0 since the end of 2012, but it would not take such a dramatic move in the spot index in order to lift premium on the contracts. The far out-of-the-money calls would likely increase in value in the event that S&P500 Index stocks slip in the near term. The VIX traded up to a 52-week high of 21.48 back in February. Next week’s release of the FOMC meeting minutes f...
Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.
Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."
The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...
Author Helen Davis Chaitman is a nationally recognized litigator with a diverse trial practice in the areas of lender liability, bankruptcy, bank fraud, RICO, professional malpractice, trusts and estates, and white collar defense. In 1995, Ms. Chaitman was named one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal for a jury verdict she obtained in an accountants' malpractice case. Ms. Chaitman is the author of The Law of Lender Liability (Warren, Gorham & Lamont 1990)... Since early 2009, Ms. Chaitman has been an outspoken advocate for investors in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (more here).
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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