Main Street didn’t buy "the stock market is rising, so you must be richer" either, for the simple reason that Main Street’s wallet is now much thinner. Even as the S&P 500 has soared 80% from its March 2009 lows, 70% of Americans don’t believe the recession is over.
That must really hurt the apparatchiks in the Ministry of Propaganda and the Fed. Here they go to all this trouble to orchestrate a bogus stock market rally and Mainstream Media propaganda campaign hyping "the recovery," and Main Street America refused to buy it. How irksome.
It seems Main Street’s grasp on reality is firmer than that of either the Fed or its partner, Wall Street.
Let’s consider income.
The stock market rally off the March 2009 lows was by some measures the sharpest such advance in the past 100 years. Yet as stocks went on a tear,household income actually declined. According to the Census Bureau, the median household income fell 0.7% to $49,777 in 2009, down 4.2% since pre-recession 2007.
The Federal Reserve’s stated policy objective is to boost the stock market to trigger a "wealth effect" which will then lead consumers to open their wallets.
As noted here before, the Fed failed to notice that only the top 10% of households hold enough stocks to see much benefit from a rising market. Household income actually fell, despite the huge run-up in stocks.
In other words, a rising stock market did not increase household incomes. The Fed is gambling on an effect with no evidence to support it.
How about jobs?
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that…
I had to chuckle at the headline on Yahoo Finance throughout much of Monday’s trading session:
It’s an accurate headline. Mortgage rates have declined in recent weeks as U.S. government bonds have surged. But the actual article was filled with very dramatic certainties (most of which were inaccurate and/or misleading). For instance, the excellent Mark Zandi of Moody’s was quoted saying that we are seeing a once in a generation buying opportunity in real estate:
“It’s the best time in our generation to buy. It may be the best time in any generation. Mortgage rates are so low and with homes prices down and lots of inventory, you couldn’t pick a better time to buy or re-finance.”
Wow, sounds like we should all go out and buy houses, right? It gets rosier though. The article details why we should all run out and buy houses immediately:
But the decline in rates probably won’t last long, analysts say. So homeowners need to move fast.
“I think they won’t last much longer than a month or two at the best,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. “I can see them going up to 5.5 percent by the end of June if not sooner.”
Move fast, huh? Prices are low. Rates are going back up. That sounds pretty convincing. If interest rates (and home prices) are only going to be low for a brief period then we should capitalize on that opportunity. Right? But then the article takes a dramatic turn for the worst when they try to explain the actual fundamentals behind the rising interest rate argument:
“The US is fortunate now that there’s no pressure on interest rates,” Yun goes on to say. “But going forward, higher rates will be needed for financing the debt.”
Senator Jeff Merkley took to the Senate floor on Tuesday, complete with fist pounding, to air his frustration over the blockage of the Merkley-Levin amendment that would fortify the Volcker Rule. The rule restricts banks that have access to FDIC insurance from speculative trading. What he wanted to know: “Why is Wall Street winning and Main Street losing tonight in the US senate?” Watch his passionate speech:
Note: This article is excerpted from "The State of the Global Markets 2015 Edition," a recent report by Elliott Wave International.
In its November issue, published on Oct. 31, EWI's European Financial Forecast discussed the plunging 5-year/5-year forward swap, a market-based gauge that measures inflation expectations from five years to 10 years out, and stated, "Even the central bank's preferred inflation metric shows nothing but flat or falling prices over the foreseeable future."
In November, a "sharp deterioration in sentiment" (WSJ, 11/17/14) popped up in the economic surveys.
According to a poll conducted by Germany's IW Econo...
Just one thing... Spock's Dead, Stocks Red (and AIG's Benmosche died too)
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While February was the S&P's best month since October 2011 (amid collapsing macro data and earnings), the day and week was on the ugly side... so we thought this was more appropriate than "everything is awesome" for a change...
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Despite the best efforts to shrug off the dismal data and ramp the open, it appears The Fed's Stan Fischer and ECB's Constancio seemed to take the liquidty glow off the market...
*FISCHER: FED BALANCE SHEET TO EVENTUALLY SHRINK TO $1-$2 TLN (wait what!?)
The markets had much to consider this week, most notably Fed Chair Yellen's semi-annual congressional testimony on Tuesday and Thursday and today's updates on Consumer Sentiment and GDP. The S&P 500 showed relatively little reaction to any of this week's economic events, trading within a microscopic 0.79% range from its intraday low on Monday to its intraday high on Wednesday (which was also its record high). Today's -0.30% closing loss trimmed the February monthly gain to a whopping 5.49%, the biggest monthly gain since October of 2011, 40 months ago, when the index rose 10.77%.
Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.
Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...
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Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 cha...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
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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