The time for a dollar bounce is at hand. One reason I make that statement is the single best contrarian indicator on the US dollar has spoken.
Please consider Dollar Rout by Peter Schiff, July 15, 2010.
Peter Schiff has proven to be a huge contrarian indicator on commodities, on China, on foreign investments, and on the US dollar. I suspect this video will be no different.
In the video, Schiff makes a case that it was impossible to see these bounces coming. I disagree and have called for several of them.
Political Alignment vs. Investment Decisions
Politically I align with Peter Schiff. The financial sector bailouts were obscene, as are all of the stimulus efforts. There will be hell to pay for both.
However, investment-wise I cannot and do not agree with Schiff. His hyperinflationary rants are simply unfounded. The reason he cannot see the forest for the trees is he fails to consider the role of credit in a fiat-based credit world.
Credit dwarfs money supply. Much of that credit cannot and will not be paid back. Schiff got that part correct, in spades, predicting as many others did a collapse in housing. His mistake was in assuming the dollar would crash with it.
Think about that for a second. If the dollar crashed to zero, the number of dollars it would take to buy a house would be infinite. There has never been a hyperinflation in history where home prices crashed and barring some war-zone anomaly, I doubt it ever happens.
If hyperinflation was in the cards, the correct response would be to buy as much real estate as possible given real estate only requires 5% down. That amount of margin is hard to come by in any other play except derivatives.
Could the world economy be headed for a depression in 2011?
As inconceivable as that may seem to a lot of people, the truth is that top economists and governmental authorities all over the globe say that the economic warning signs are there and that we need to start paying attention to them. The two primary ingredients for a depression are debt and fear, and the reality is that we have both of them in abundance in the financial world today.
In response to the global financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008, governments around the world spent unprecedented amounts of money and got into a ton of debt. All of that spending did help bail out the global banking system, but now that an increasing number of governments around the world are in need of bailouts themselves, what is going to happen? We have already seen the fear that is generated when one small little nation like Greece even hints at defaulting. When it becomes apparent that quite a few governments around the globe cannot handle their debt burdens, what kind of shockwave is that going to send through financial markets?
The truth is that we are facing the greatest sovereign debt crisis in modern history. There is no way out of this financial mess that does not include a significant amount of economic pain.
When you add mountains of debt to paralyzing fear to strict austerity measures, what do you get?
Max Keiser is in his prime discussing Goldman and Bill Clinton’s hypocrisy in defending Goldman. Which is not all that surprising considering Clinton’s son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Investment banker. A brief bio on Marc:
As a biography, Marc Mezvinsky date of birth is unknown, but he has been reported to be 31 years of age. He is the son of the former Iowa congressman Ed Mezvinsky (who recently has been released from a halfway house after doing time for investment fraud) and Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky, a former NBC reporter.
Marc and Chelsea originally met in 1996, when they were introduced by colleagues of their political parents. They even attended Stanford University together and studied finance. It has been reported that the two started dating in October of 2007.
Currently Marc Mezvinsky is an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and makes his home in Manhattan, New York, where he bought a $3.8 million condo last year.
Anyway, in addition to the usual scathing observations on the life, universe and everything, Max goes head to head with Senate hopeful Peter Schiff. Good clean fun ensues, with Alan Greenspan’s invitation to the Keiser show pending.
Here’s an excellent discussion on the economy and China. We present many views here, and Pragcap’s are some of the most thoughtful and balanced. And if you haven’t yet, check out Op-Toon’s Review (fun images and satirical commentary). – Ilene
The United States government has made a curious series of interventionist moves over the course of the last 18 months. Some have been beneficial, but not surprisingly, few of these policies are actually helping the economy recover from the Great Recession.
As I’ve previously mentioned, Keynesianism can work. There is good government spending and bad government spending, despite the constant shrieking from Austrian economists with regards to all spending being bad. Giving money (on a silver platter) to banks who are not reserve constrained is exhibit A of bad spending. Spending money on a healthcare plan in the middle of a recession is a close runner-up. The banking bailouts not only set a terrible social precedent, but were also implemented with the belief that banks are reserve constrained – something that is entirely false.
The great recession was never a banking sector problem despite it being labeled as a “credit crisis”. In reality, this was a consumer driven crisis. The results prove this. The banks have recovered, but lending hasn’t improved. Why? Because this is a consumer driven recession. Banks aren’t reserve constrained. Finding willing borrowers, on the other hand, is a whole other matter….
The healthcare debate is a bit more messy. While the social aspects of healthcare spending are likely positive, you just have to wonder about the motives of the men pushing this plan when we are mired in the worst recession in 75 years. Is healthcare really our top priority when unemployment remains near 10%? More importantly, is this an efficient form of government spending when we could easily target job creation or other productive investments in the long-term growth of America (China’s high speed rail system comes to mind here). Meanwhile, we have an antiquated infrastructure. Where are the priorities?…
With today’s unexpected decline in December payrolls, the cry for more job-related stimulus will grow even louder. But the sad truth is that any new stimulus or jobs bills will ultimately swell the ranks of the unemployed, thereby raising calls for an even bigger federal effort. If we are not careful, government regulations, subsidies, and spending, all designed to fight unemployment, could push the labor market into a death spiral.
Regulation acts like a tax on job creation. By subjecting employers to all sorts of extra expenses when they hire people, regulations increase the cost of employment far beyond the wages employers actually pay their workers. In fact, some regulations are specifically tied to the number of workers employed. This provides some employers with a strong incentive to stay small and not hire.
The minimum wage law, which is really just a very visible workplace regulation, actually makes it illegal for employers to hire certain individuals and destroys entire categories of jobs. For instance, faced with high labor costs, some restaurants will avoid hiring dishwashers by switching to plastic utensils and paper plates. On a larger scale, factories may decide to switch to robotic assembly lines if human labor gets too expensive.
Other types of regulations, such as those that prohibit discrimination, create incentives for employers not to hire individuals that fall within the protected class. This is the result of potential litigation costs that may result from wrongful termination lawsuits. In other words, the more expensive government makes it to fire workers, the less likely they are to hire them in the first place.
Subsidies produce the opposite effect of regulation, but sometimes the results can be just as harmful. Government subsidies divert resources towards politically favored activities, resulting in more jobs in areas such as health care and education, but fewer jobs in other sectors such as manufacturing. The net effect of this transfer is to diminish the productive capacity and efficiency of the economy, which lowers real economic growth and diminishes employment opportunities.
Although not as visible as regulations and subsidies, government spending also plays a…
You hear the bull story every day on TV and from the likes of Tom Friedman. Michael Pettis and Chanos take the bear side. Below is a recent must-watch, hour long presentation by Jim Chanos, courtesy of Peter Schiff.
Here is an interesting video by Pete Schiff that discusses in what instances homes are investments vs. speculation vs. just a place to live.
I agree with Schiff that for most people who own and live in their own home, the best way to think about homes is as shelter. The mistake many made was thinking that home prices would rise forever, and somehow those rising home prices would support retirement. We have since seen how fatally flawed that idea is.
Schiff labels as speculators, those buying multiple homes hoping for price appreciation. Again I concur. Some who got out at the right time made fortunes, other who held on too long and could not sell or make their mortgage payments went bankrupt.
Those buying homes to rent, (assuming they know what they are doing, where lease rates will support the mortgage payment – conditions I added), can reasonably be called investors. Those needing huge price appreciation to cover interim losses and those not having a clue as to what they are doing, can also be labeled as speculators.
Homes As Consumables
I strongly agree with Schiff that a home is a consumable. It has to be maintained or its worth will head to zero. In fact, homes can be worth less than zero as has happened recently in Detroit.
While all the talk at present is about economic corners turned and markets charging ahead, no one is paying much notice to an American economy deteriorating before our eyes. These myopic commentators seem to be simply moving past the now almost-universally held conclusion that before the crash of 2008, our economy was on an unsustainable course. If these imbalances had been corrected, then perhaps I too would be joining in the euphoria. But evidence abounds that we have not veered at all from that dangerous path.
Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that consumer spending as a percentage of U.S. GDP has risen to 71%, a post-World War II record. This level is notably higher than other wealthy industrialized countries, and vastly higher than the levels sustained by China and other emerging economies. At the same time, our industrial output is contracting, our trade deficit is expanding once again (after contracting earlier in the year), and our savings rate is plummeting (after an early year surge).
The data confirms that government stimuli are worsening the structural imbalances underlying our economy. The recent ‘rebound’ in GDP is not resulting from increased economic output, but merely from the fact that we are borrowing more than ever. That is precisely how we got ourselves into this mess. An economy cannot grow indefinitely by borrowing more than it produces. Not only is such a course untenable, but the added debt ensures a deeper recession when the bills come due.
This soon-to-be-called depression will not end until the pendulum of consumer spending habits swings violently in the other direction. This will be a jarring change, but it is the splash of cold water that we need to return our economy to viability. I believe that consumer spending as a share of GDP will need to temporarily contract to roughly 50% of GDP, before eventually moving toward its historic mean of 65%. Such a move would indicate a restoration of our personal savings, a decline in borrowing and trade deficits, and an increased industrial output. That would be a real recovery.
In the meantime, the higher the spending percentage climbs, the more painful the ultimate decline becomes.
Consumers and governments must spend less so their savings can be made available to…
Faber’s argument is that a weakening dollar will lead to inflation (as every dollar will buy less goods and services).
The government has injected trillions of dollars into the economy in the form of TARP bailout funds and other programs. Indeed, the government’s own watchdog over the TARP program – the special inspector general – said that number could be $23 trillion dollars in a worst-case scenario.
The basic argument for inflation is – as everyone knows – that the government has injected so much money into the economy (through bailouts, quantitative easing, purchase of treasuries, etc.) that there will be a lot more dollars chasing the same number of goods and services, which will drive up prices. In other words, the supply is the same, but demand has increased.
Indeed, the U.S. has also provided huge sums of dollars to foreign central banks. Could dollars given abroad cause inflation inside the U.S.? Yes – because some proportion of those dollars will be spent by citizens in those countries to buy stocks, commodities, goods and services within the U.S.
Three well-known advocates of the inflation argument are Rogers, Buffet and Schiff.
Specifically, billionaire investor Jim Rogers said we are…
To understand why, in spite of previous differences between us, please consider the following compelling case, starting with a look at government bailouts, the moral hazards of too big to fail, the current rise in the stock markets, and the "great government advance" of corporate welfare and bailouts at taxpayer expense.
So how can the Dow be flirting with 10,000 when consumers, who make up 70 percent of the economy, have had to cut way back on buying because they have no money? Jobs continue to disappear. One out of six Americans is either unemployed or underemployed. Homes can no longer function as piggy banks because they’re worth almost a third less than they were two years ago. And for the first time in more than a decade, Americans are now having to pay down their debts and start to save.
Even more curious, how can the Dow be so far up when every business and Wall Street executive I come across tells me government is crushing the economy with its huge deficits, and its supposed "takeover" of health care, autos, housing, energy, and finance? Their anguished cries of "socialism" are almost drowning out all their cheering over the surging Dow.
The explanation is simple. The great consumer retreat from the market is being offset by government’s advance into the market. Consumer debt is way down from its peak in 2006; government debt is way up. Consumer spending is down, government spending is up. Why have new housing starts begun? Because the Fed is buying up Fannie and Freddie’s paper, and government-owned Fannie and Freddie are now just about the only mortgage games remaining in play.
Why are health care stocks booming? Because the government is about to expand coverage to tens of millions more Americans, and the White House has assured Big Pharma and health insurers that their profits will soar. Why are auto sales up? Because the cash-for-clunkers program has been subsidizing new car sales. Why is the financial sector surging? Because the Fed is keeping interest rates near zero, and the rest of the government is still guaranteeing
The happenings on Wall Street in 1999 prove that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Although the events of 1999 are ancient history by many standards, some very clear memories no doubt remain for many investors. With technology and biotech stocks once again hot, a number of comparisons to the last bubble have been made. But the current environment can’t come close to matching 1999, either in terms of valuations or in the sheer madness of the markets.
As another example of "has the world gone mad?" - we present the following words of wisdom from BoJ Governor Kuroda-san:
*KURODA DOESN'T SEE ANY ASSET BUBBLE OR STOCK MARKET BUBBLE, OR ANY 'FINANCIAL EXCESS' IN ECONOMY
And in the interests of sanity, we highly suggest he not look at the chart below...
And while on the topic of utter insanity, ask yourself - as you read his statements of perplexing blind ignorance - just what happens to BoJ capital when his $95 billion equity portfolio suffers a 2%, 10%, 50% sell-off?
When one looks back over the past year, Health Care ETF (XLV) has been a good place to be. The above table looks at the 9 key sectors of the S&P 500, which reflects that XLV has done really well, grabbing the #1 spot over this time frame. Year-To-Date, XLV remains in the top spot as well.
Can this hot performance continue? Check out the pattern XLV has been forming the past few months
CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
Over the past 90-days, XLV remains at the top spot as well, up a little over 2...
Last week we remarked how the S&P 500 finally had broken out of a multi month range… but then it did little. Usually once a stock/ETF moves out of a long range it has a pronounced move; but the S&P 500 didn’t – it barely budged. Today that move collapsed. The S&P 500 fell 1.03% and the NASDAQ 1.11%. Most pointed to some vague increase in a chance of a rate hike but this is too much tea leaving – the Federal Reserve has said everything is data dependent.
Early last week, stocks broke out, with the S&P 500 setting a new high with blue skies overhead. But then the market basically flat-lined for the rest of the week as bulls just couldn’t gather the fuel and conviction to take prices higher. In fact, the technical picture now has turned a bit defensive, at least for the short term, thus joining what has been a neutral-to-defensive tilt to our fundamentals-based Outlook rankings.
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 t...
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Understanding the new normal of a business model is key to the success of any company. The managment of companies need to adapt to the changing demand, but first they must recognize what changes are taking place. Big Pharma's business model is changing rapidly, and much like the airline industry, there will be but a handful of pharma companies left at the end of this path.
Most Big Pharma companies have traditionally done everything from research and development (R&D) through to commercialisation themselves. Research was proprietary, and diseases were cherry picked on the back of academic research that was done using NIH grants. This was in the heyday of research, where multiple companies had drugs for the same target (Mevocor, Zocor, Crestor, Lipitor), and could reap the rewards on multiple scales. However, in the c...
Bitcoin, the virtual digital currency, has been called the future of banking, a dangerous fad, and almost everything in between, but we're finally about to get some solid data to help settle the debate.
On Monday, the Nasdaq (NDAQ) stock exchange said it would ...
Chris Kimble likes the idea of shorting the US dollar if it bounces higher. Phil's likes the dollar better long here. These views are not inconsistent, actually, the dollar could bounce and drop again. We'll be watching.
Phil writes: If the Fed begins to tighten OR if Greece defaults OR if China begins to fall apart OR if Japan begins to unwind, then the Dollar could move 10% higher. Without any of those things happening – you still have the Fed pursuing a relatively stronger currency policy than the rest of the G8. So, if anything, I think the pressure should be up, not down.
UNLESS that 95 line does ultimately fail (as opposed to this being bullish consolidation at the prior breakout point), then I'd prefer to sell the UUP Jan $25 puts for $0.85 and buy the Sept $24 call...
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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