Nobody knows the future, so the best we can do is strive for an open mind and flexibility in our thinking and responses.
In 1904, the "fact-based" consensus was that rising prosperity would stretch into the future as far as imagination allowed. The prosperity was so widespread that war, it seemed, had been abolished as bad for business.
In 1904, Imperial Tsarist Russia, though suffering from the usual spot of bother now and again, was stable and enduring. In 1904, Great Britain viewed France as its continental rival.
Ten years later, advanced, peaceful, hopeful Europe stumbled into the Great War, and three years into that war Tsarist Russia fell to revolution.
In 1928, permanent prosperity was again the consensus. Two years later, that hope was reduced to ashes.
In 1930, Germany and Japan were economically troubled, as were the other great nations of the world, but neither were seen as threatening. Less than ten years later, the two nations had declared war on the world.
In 1980, fear of a sudden massive Soviet tank attack on West Germany sparked a series of "what if" books and a push for short-range nuclear-armed missiles in Germany--a U.S. plan which galvanized the Western European peace movement.
Ten years later, the Soviet Empire had crumbled into dust and abandoned gulags.
In 1975, scholars and pundits confidently declared that the "cult of Mao" which fueled China’s Culutral Revolution was so entrenched, so pervasive and so central to China’s Communist regime that would outlast Mao the mortal and thus into the next century.
Three years later, Mao was dead and the Gang of Four lost power. Ten years after 1975, when the Cult of Mao was universally viewed as a permanent feature of China, that nation was four years into the state-controlled, limited-capitalist model of engaging the world that created its present-day pre-eminence.
I think you see my point: consensus predictions of what the future holds are generally wrong. The consensus in the U.S. about the world of 2020 is that it won’t be much different from the world of 2010. All the actuarial tables of Social Security run to 2040 and beyond, as if the road ahead will be an extension of the past sixty years of American global dominance and credit-based prosperity.
IT’S like remembering the future. Our brain generates predictions of likely visual inputs so it can focus on dealing with the unexpected.
Predictable sights trigger less brain activity than unfamiliar stimuli, bolstering the view that the brain is not merely reactive, but generates predictions based on the recent past. "The brain expects to see things and really just wants to confirm it now and again," says Lars Muckli at the University of Glasgow, UK.
The finding supports the "Bayesian brain" theory, which sees the brain as making predictions about the world which it updates when new information comes in.
(NEW YORK) — Few analysts forecast this year’s remarkable stock market rebound as major indexes were plunging to 12-year lows last March. Now, with most experts predicting the pace of stocks’ gains will slow in 2010, there’s reason to believe they will be proven correct.
Stocks began the dramatic turnaround in March after Citigroup Inc. and other big banks said they were making money again, and then climbed at a fairly steady pace as signs of an economic recovery from the Great Recession became more pronounced.
Investor fears about a potential financial system collapse played a big role in the early year slump in stocks. Once it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index roared back 64.8 percent from its early March low, the biggest move since the Depression. For the full year, the index rose 23.5 percent, its best showing since 2003.
But sustaining that momentum in the new year likely would require a big drop in the unemployment rate and strong corporate profit gains, along with stable borrowing costs--a combination few analysts are forecasting.
"The easy money has been made already," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management. "You’re not going to see another 65 percent move in the next nine months."
In the last day of the year, more signs of healing first pleased investors, then had them concerned about the economy’s ability to thrive without government help. Light trading volume exaggerated the market’s moves, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 120.46, or 1.1 percent, to 10,428.05.
The year’s stats tell an incredible story across the financial markets:…
Stock market gains often come months before economic recoveries are confirmed. That’s because investors tend to bet on how they think business conditions will be six to nine months in the future. In downturns during the past 60 years, the S&P 500 index hit its bottom an average of four months before a recession ended and about nine months before unemployment reached its peak…
Ron Kiddoo, chief investment officer at Cozad Asset Management in Champaign, Ill., said the market can continue its rally through 2010 only if investors see that companies are again hiring, bringing the unemployment rate down for its present 10…
The rally is going to continue into 2010 according to Wall Street’s most influential bank (Please see here for Goldman’s top 10 trades of 2010). Analysts at Goldman Sachs Europe and America have released their full year 2010 estimates and they are very bullish about the upcoming year.
Goldman sees very low rates, stronger than expected earnings, strong commodity demand and investor reallocation driving prices higher. Goldman sees no rate changes through 2011 – one of the most accommodative outlooks of any bank we have covered. Stronger than expected revenue growth and continued margin expansion will result in 15%+ equity returns in the upcoming year. Although they see a continuation in the rally some moderation is expected. As we previously mentioned, their analysts expect many similarities to 2004. David Kostin wrote:
“Continued profit margin resiliency from prior aggressive cost reductions should drive strong returns in early 2010 and push the S&P 500 towards 1,300.”
Their analysts in Europe are even more bullish. They see the DJ STOXX 600 rising 20% to 300 by the end of 2010.
Goldman argues that we are transitioning into the growth phase of the recovery from the hope phase. This period is generally characterized by stabilization in economic growth and lower equity returns than the hope phase. Nonetheless, doubt remains and catalysts for higher stock prices remain.
Perhaps most important, Goldman sees a continued influx of cash to the equity markets. Thus far, investors have been risk averse and either remain in cash or have moved into bonds. Goldman sees a substantial move into equities as investors become less risk averse.
How to play it? Thematically they focus on three key themes:
Dispersion – higher growth and higher sustainable returns companies.
It doesn’t seem possible that six months have passed under the bridge of time in 2009 yet, does it? Yet they have.
Let’s take a look at the scorecard first from my 2009 Prediction Ticker, remembering of course that I have six months left!
The economy will not recover in 2009. No sign of it yet, "green shooters" be damned. I predicted that U3 would reach 8% by the end of the year, it has exceeded that wildly, and is now 9.5%. U-6 also has exceeded my predicted value already.
Deflation, not inflation, will become evident well beyond housing. Already has. CPI and PPI have come in with negative prints as has capital goods pricing.
Housing prices will continue to decline. Yep.
The Fed’s attempt to "pump liquidity" will be shown to be an abject failure. I’ll leave this one on the table for now; I believe the evidence is in, but I’m in the minority. Score this one as a "no result" as of yet.
GDP will post a 12-month negative number. 12 months aren’t up yet, but we’re working on it!
The Stock Market has not bottomed. Remember, this was made with the market around the 900 level. Major check; we declined to 666. My secondary prediction was a 50% trading range and a 5xx low; we missed that by 67 points, but I still have six months left. I’m sticking with this one.
Precious metals will not be a safe haven. Oh Jim Sinclair! Where’s my $1,600+ gold price? (Or for some, their $5,000+ gold price?) Missing, that’s where. I know, I know, its all manipulation (instead of debt deflation.) Check.
The Dollar will not collapse. Hasn’t yet.
The pound or euro will be where the FX dislocation originates if it occurs. I predicted Par for both being a possibility, not happening yet. We’ll see what the next six months bring.
The US Consumer will go from a negative savings rate to a seriously-positive one. I’m predicting 4% but it could go as high as 10%. Major double-check! We’re up close to 7% now. That’s a home run in any book.
Commercial Real Estate will effectively collapse. The REITs
The Asian session had set up for big losses, but markets were able to defend against such losses even if finishing with a lower close.
The S&P tagged the January low, but it's hard to see it holding out if there's another challenge on 1,810.
The Nasdaq was able to register a higher close (although below the prior day's close). It probably did enough to negate what is normally a bearish black candlestick, but bulls won't have any confidence until the bearish channel is broken.
1) Phil gives his outlook for U.S. markets and the US economic economy. Canada may be heading into a recession because the energy is sector dead for years, at least, but the U.S. economy is slowly improving. What is the basis of Phil's 5% rule? Watch the video.
2) Phil explains why oil demand is falling globally and what the implications are for energy-rich economies like Canada. Hint: The TSX (Canada's oil weighted index) is not going to recover. Oil is not going to recover. Oil's not a thing anymore - like wagon wheels. This is why the Saudis aren't holding back on selling their oil. Canada is due for some painful adjustments.
3) Natural gas - Phil gives the details of his option...
MRC Global Inc. (NYSE: MRC) announced Wednesday, that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its U.S. OCTG business to Sooner Pipe, LLC, a subsidiary of Marubeni-Itochu Tubulars America, Inc., for $48 million, subject to certain adjustments. MRC Global's U.S. OCTG sales were approximately $305 million in 2015. As a result of the expected sale, a pre-tax charge of approximately $5.0 million is expected to be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions.
Andrew R. Lane, MRC Global's chairman, president and chief executive officer, stated, "The divestiture of our OCTG product line is the culmination of our strategy to reduce our exposure to upstream drilling volatility and to foc...
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Throughout the past 30 days of wild volatility, here’s what I didn’t do.
Panic. Worry. Sell.
In fact, the best I did was add to a couple of positions yesterday. The world was already in an uncertain state for the past 3+ years. It’s just that with the market rising, we pushed the issue to the back of our mind and ignored it.
A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies.
We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you control everything.
The invention of the blockchain and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have opened the door to non-state, non-central-bank currencies--money that is global and independent of any state or central bank, or indeed, any bank, as crypto-currencies are structurally peer-to-peer, meaning they don't require a bank to function: people can exchange crypto-currencies to pay for goods and services without a bank acting as a clearinghouse for all these transactions.
Last year, the S&P 500 large caps closed 2015 essentially flat on a total return basis, while the NASDAQ 100 showed a little better performance at +8.3% and the Russell 2000 small caps fell -5.9%. Overall, stocks disappointed even in the face of modest expectations, especially the small caps as market leadership was mostly limited to a handful of large and mega-cap darlings.
Notably, the full year chart for the S&P 500 looks very much like 2011. It got off to a good start, drifted sideways for...
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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.
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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