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JOHN HUSSMAN ISSUES A RECESSION WARNING

JOHN HUSSMAN ISSUES A RECESSION WARNING

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

John Hussman is officially sounding the double dip siren.  He issued a similar call in November of 2007:

Based on evidence that has always and only been observed during or immediately prior to U.S. recessions, the U.S. economy appears headed into a second leg of an unusually challenging downturn.

A few weeks ago, I noted that our recession warning composite was on the brink of a signal that has always and only occurred during or immediately prior to U.S. recessions, the last signal being the warning I reported in the November 12, 2007 weekly comment Expecting A Recession. While the set of criteria I noted then would still require a decline in the ISM Purchasing Managers Index to 54 or less to complete a recession warning, what prompts my immediate concern is that the growth rate of the ECRI Weekly Leading Index has now declined to -6.9%. The WLI growth rate has historically demonstrated a strong correlation with the ISM Purchasing Managers Index, with the correlation being highest at a lead time of 13 weeks.

wmc100628a JOHN HUSSMAN ISSUES A RECESSION WARNING

Taking the growth rate of the WLI as a single indicator, the only instance when a level of -6.9% was not associated with an actual recession was a single observation in 1988. But as I’ve long noted, recession evidence is best taken as a syndrome of multiple conditions, including the behavior of the yield curve, credit spreads, stock prices, and employment growth. Given that the WLI growth rate leads the PMI by about 13 weeks, I substituted the WLI growth rate for the PMI criterion in condition 4 of our recession warning composite. As you can see, the results are nearly identical, and not surprisingly, are slightly more timely than using the PMI. The blue line indicates recession warning signals from the composite of indicators, while the red blocks indicate official U.S. recessions as identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Read the full article here.

Source: Hussman Funds 


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The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

Courtesy of Michael Pettis 

A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai

It has not been a good year for the Shanghai stock market.  Since its closing peak at 6092 in October 2007, the closing high in the past year or so on Shanghai’s SSE composite was 3471, on August 4 last year.  Since then the market has been pretty bleak.  The SSE Composite finished 2009 by dropping nearly 6% from that high, to close at 3277.

This year things got only worse.  By May 20 the market had dropped a further 22% to close at 2556, and then bounced around for the past ten days closing yesterday at 2568.  In my May 12 blog entry, I finished the piece by saying “Last Friday the SSE Composite closed at 2688.  I bet it is much higher by the end of the summer.” 

Obviously my timing was off.  Within a week of my prediction the market had managed to lose another 132 points.  I still believe that the market will be higher by the end of this summer, and that within weeks we will see moves by the regulators to prop it up.  With all the liquidity sloshing around, all we need is a reasonable period off stability before the market comes roaring back, I suspect.

So am I predicting a strong economy?  Not really.  It is tempting to read falling stock prices as an indication that Chinese investors believe that the economy is poised to slow dramatically, and if the market surges, that Chinese growth is back, but we should be very cautious about how we interpret the meaning of the gyrations in Chinese stocks. 

We’re used to thinking about stock markets as expected-cash-flow discounting machines, and we assume that stock price levels generally represent the market’s best estimate of future growth prospects, but this is not always the case, and it is certainly not the case in China.  I am often asked to comment on big price moves on the Chinese stock markets and what they mean about growth expectations, but I usually try to caution people from reading too much meaning into the market.

Three investment strategies

To see why, it is probably useful to understand how investors make trading decisions.  This blog entry is going to be a pretty abstract piece on how I think about the underlying dynamics of a well-functioning capital market, and how these…
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DID GOLDMAN SACHS MANIPULATE JOURNALISTS AND STOCK PRICE ON SAME DAY AS SENATE TESTIMONY?

Mark Ames, co-editor of The eXiled, suggests Goldman Sachs’s tentacles extend even farther than we may have imagined. Mark’s thought-provoking articles, such as "Confessions of a Wall St. Nihilist: Forget about Goldman Sachs, our Entire Economcy is Built on Fraud" and "Fraudonomics: 10 Fun Fraud Facts" are published at Mark’s online home, The-eXiled, and at the NY Press’s Fraudonomics

The eXiled itself has fascinating history, being the second incarnation of The eXile, The eXile was a "Moscow-based English-language biweekly free tabloid newspaper, aimed at the city’s expatriate community, [combining] outrageous, sometimes satirical, content with investigative reporting" (wikipedia).  Vanity Fair described The eXile as subversive, “gutsy …direct, visceral… serious journalism… abusive, defamatory… poignant… paranoid." The written version in Russia was closed down in 2008. The online sequel lives on.  - Ilene 

DID GOLDMAN SACHS MANIPULATE JOURNALISTS AND STOCK PRICE ON SAME DAY AS SENATE TESTIMONY?

Courtesy of Mark Ames  

William Hogarth's print

A reader brought to my attention a new rumor going around about the strange behavior of Goldman Sachs’s stock price. On April 27, the day Blankfein was dragged before Congress to testify about fraud, Goldman’s stock rose–even though every other financial stock in the S&P 500 dropped, all 78 of them, on a day when the overall S&P average tanked 2.3 percent.

According to Bloomberg that day:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had the only gain among 79 financial companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Indexas executives testified to a Senate subcommittee about mortgage securities.

Goldman Sachs advanced 0.7 percent to $153.04, while theS&P 500 Financials Index retreated 3.4 percent.

It’s an obvious question, just wondering if anyone has looked into this because as one reader wrote, “it makes no sense whatsoever.” Except as an expensive PR exercise funded by the bank’s insiders.

Whatever the case, that unexpected stock jump turned out to be wonderful news, the billionaires’ smackdown on all the resentful parasites trying to take down Goldman Sachs–this according to all sorts of media lickspittles who are rooting for Goldman. Here for example is The New York Daily News gloating over Goldman’s unexpected stock price rise:

I would be happy to let the whole United States Senate curse at me for just a fraction of the $2.8 million Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein made while he was testifying before a subcommittee this week.

The opinions of the senators carry so little weight that


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Carte Blanche for the Banksters

Carte Blanche for the Banksters

By MIKE WHITNEY writing at CounterPunch

Rear view of woman wearing fairy costume walking down a dirt road

Housing is still on the rocks and prices are headed lower. Master illusionist Ben Bernanke has managed to engineer a modest 7-month uptick in sales, but the fairydust is set to wear off later this month when the Fed stops purchasing mortgage-backed securities (MBS). When the program ends, long-term interest rates will creep higher and sales will begin to flag. The objective of Bernanke’s $1.25 trillion quantitative easing program was to transfer the banks’ toxic assets onto the Fed’s balance sheet.  Having achieved that goal, Bernanke will now have to find a way to unload those same assets onto the public. Freddie and Fannie, which have already been used as a government-backed off-balance-sheet dumping ground, appear to be the most likely candidates.

Bernanke’s liquidity injections have helped to buoy stock prices and stabilize housing, but the economy is still weak. There’s just too much inventory and  too few buyers. Now that the Fed is withdrawing its support, matters will only get worse.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the folks at Bloomberg News from cheerleading the "nascent" housing rebound. Here’s a clip from Monday’s column:

"The U.S. housing market is poised to withstand the removal of government and Federal Reserve stimulus programs and rebound later in the year, contributing to annual economic growth for the first time since 2006. Increases in jobs, credit and affordable homes will help offset the end of the Fed’s purchases of mortgage-backed securities this month and the expiration of a federal homebuyer tax credit in April. ‘The underlying trend is turning positive,’ said Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York."

Just for the record; there have been no "increases in jobs".  Unemployment is stuck at 9.7 percent with underemployment checking in at 16.8 percent. There’s no chance of housing rebound until payrolls start to rise. Jobless people cannot afford to buy homes.

Also, while it is true that the federal homebuyer tax credit did cause a spike in home purchases its effect has been short-lived and sales are gradually returning to normal. It’s generally believed that  "cash for clunker-type" programs (like the homebuyer tax credit) merely move demand forward and have no meaningful long-term impact.

So, it’s likely that housing prices — particularly on the higher end — will continue to fall until…
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How much money is Wells Fargo really making?

How much money is Wells Fargo really making?

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

Wells FargoThe positive earnings announcement by Wells Fargo on Wednesday was marred by a sell recommendation from Dick Bove and a lot of chatter about credit writedowns and mortgage servicing rights (MSRs). I wanted to add a few words about the report, MSRs, and bank stocks more generally.

First of all, this has been a very good quarter for bank earnings. Many of the big names globally have surprised to the upside. this includes Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, SEB in Sweden, Credit Suisse in Switzerland and on down the line. As one would expect, most banks are profiting from record low interest rates.

The question for the big banks is whether the huge writedowns they are still taking and the run-up in their stock prices since march limits any upside in valuation. For smaller banks, we should expect weaker results as they are more leveraged to the sectors of the economy like commercial real estate and construction loans which are still suffering.  Goldman and Morgan Stanley should do relatively better as they are really broker-dealers and both investment banking and sales & trading are doing well right now. On the whole, I have said I think upside is limited for the sector, but downside is vast. Hence I am bearish on bank stocks.

Let’s look at Wells Fargo (WFC) as an example of what is happening.

Wells reports record profits

Wells reported net income of $32 billion, a robust operating pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion, and record net income of $3.2 billion. Sounds wonderful. What’s not to like?  That was bank analysts Dick Bove’s initial impression as well. Live on-air at CNBC, he said Wells Fargo “is proving itself to be a standout.”


But, once Bove got a peek under the hood and started to crunch the numbers at Wells, he was significantly less impressed – so much so that he issued a sell rating literally nine hours later. And he took a lot of flak for this about-face.

The Wall Street Journal’s Market Beat reports:

Prominent banking analyst Dick Bove, who caused a stir Wednesday with seemingly contradictory remarks on Wells Fargo, has decided he’ll no longer provide immediate earnings commentary on air.

“I’m not


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Why Goldman Sachs Is Bullish, Sort Of

Why Goldman Sachs Is Bullish, Sort Of

Goldman Sachs, stock marketCourtesy of TIME

It’s a bit odd these days that some of the most bullish things driving stock prices are not facts but opinions. Earlier in July there was a nice market bounce thanks to bullish comments by long bearish analyst Meredith Whitney. On Monday it was an opinion coming from the investment strategy team at Goldman Sachs, which reported that the firm was raising its estimate for what companies in the S&P 500 would earn this year and next.

Goldman’s strategists raised their expectation for 2009 earnings by 30%, and they hiked the 2010 outlook by 19%. With that boost, the 2010 earnings for S&P 500 companies should be 45% higher than 2009, Goldman says. Those hefty upward revisions, which sent investors on a buying spree, didn’t come because consumers are suddenly spending more, nor because housing is bouncing back, neither of which Goldman asserts. The lion’s share of Goldman’s new optimism derives from the fact that banks look more profitable now than they did several months ago. (Read "How to Know When the Economy Is Turning Up.")

Banks are seeing some light in their trading operations—Goldman Sachs is a star performer in that category—there’s more mortgage refinancing happening, and credit card problems may be bottoming, all good stuff, say Goldman’s strategists. But there’s another important reason the earnings for S&P financial stocks are looking better— many of the sickies are gone from the index, including Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It’s not just the banking stock group that benefits by offloading its weaklings. A stock sector known an ‘Consumer Discretionary,’ which includes everything from automakers to fast-food retailers, is enjoying a more bullish earnings outlook too, thanks— you guessed it— to the dropping of GM stock, which had been a load of lead to this sector’s profitability. As a result of offloading GM, earnings for the group are expected to rise by 35% in 2009 and 40% in 2010.

Investors may respond with huge cheers to the new earnings forecasts, but Goldman Sachs is not so ebullient. In fact, the firm goes to great lengths to point out the distortions to its growth projections, and adds that without the GM affect the consumer-discretionary stock group would see a far more modest 17% growth next year—not bad, but no blowout.

The other sobering note in Goldman’s bullish report today…
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Insider Scoop

Apache Agrees To Sell Western Canada Assets For US$374M

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) and its subsidiaries today announced an agreement to sell producing oil and gas assets in the Deep Basin area of western Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, for $374 million.

Incremental to Apache's earlier $2 billion share re-purchase announcement, the company plans to use the proceeds of this transaction to buy back Apache common shares under the 30-million-share repurchase program that was authorized by Apache's Board of Directors in 2013.

Apache is selling primarily dry gas-producing properties comprising 622,600 gross acres (328,400 net acres) in the Ojay, Noel and Wapiti areas in Alberta and British Columbia. In the Wapiti area, Apache will retain 100 percent of its working interest in horizons below the Cre...



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Zero Hedge

What Happened To The Middle Class? The Infographic

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Restaurants like Olive Garden and Red Lobster are struggling, while high end dining is flourishing. At GE, demand for high-end dishwashers is racing ahead of sales growth for mass-market models. The increased wealth of highly skilled workers, the insane wealth of those with capital, and the outsourcing of lower skilled jobs have left us all asking, “what happened to the middle class?

 

Source: BestMSWPrograms.com

...

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Chart School

Getting Technical: Weekend Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here's the latest weekend update from Serge Perreault, a Chartered Professional Accountant and market technician located near Montreal, Canada. Serge has been following the U.S. market in a series of weekly charts. Here is his update on the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 resurfaced inside a previous sideways trading range (inside an uptrend), on above-average volume (adjusted for the short week) and on strong momentum.


Click for a sharper image

 

...

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Phil's Favorites

"Insatiable" Idiocy from the Economist on What to Do About Russia; Warmongers Can't Think

Courtesy of Mish.

In "Insatiable" the Economist says "The cost of stopping the Russian bear now is high—but it will only get higher if the West does nothing".

Economist: Mr Putin has used the Ukrainian crisis to establish some dangerous precedents. He has claimed a duty to intervene to protect Russian-speakers wherever they are. He has staged a referendum and annexation, in defiance of Ukrainian law. And he has abrogated a commitment to respect Ukraine’s borders, which Russia signed in 1994 when Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons. Throughout, Mr Putin has shown that truth and the law are whatever happens to suit him at the time.

Mish: What a bunch of one-sided hypocritical nonsense. The ...



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Market Shadows

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

Two guest authors, David Stockman and long-time contributor John Rubino, write about the current state of Abenomics. 

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

By  

This one matters a lot. Abenomics was predicated on a lunatic notion—namely, that the economic ills from Japan’s massive debt overhang could be cured by a central bank bond buying spree that was designed to be nearly 3X larger relative to its GDP than that of the Fed. Yet anyone with a modicum of common sense and market...



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Option Review

Wild Ride For Chipotle

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Ticker: CMG) opened higher on Thursday morning, rising more than 6.0% to $589.00, after the restaurant operator reported better than expected first-quarter sales ahead of the opening bell. But, the stock began to falter just before lunchtime on concerns the burrito-maker will increase menu prices for the first time in three years. The price of Chipotle’s shares have since fallen into negative territory and currently trade down 3.5% on the session at $532.89 as of 1:50 p.m. ET.

Chart – Shares in Chipotle cool by lunchtime

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here is the new Stock World Weekly. Please sign in with your user name and password, or sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly. Click here. 

Chart by Paul Price.

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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously 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 though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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