Posts Tagged ‘liabilities’

DID THE CONSUMER EVER RECOVER FROM THE NASDAQ BUST?

Pragcap explains why the reflation fix cannot work in the long run and is nothing more than a kick-the-can solution to our economic woes (high unemployment, losses of houses, lack of money for retirement, too much debt, record numbers of people on food stamps, etc). – Ilene 

DID THE CONSUMER EVER RECOVER FROM THE NASDAQ BUST?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

There are more than a handful of notable economists and investors who believe that the current credit crisis is really just an extension of a much larger bust that was set in motion more than a decade ago.  In essence, the 90′s created a mentality that everything was different.  American net worth exploded and the world appeared to be permanently altered for the better.  Specifically, assets to liabilities soared:

Then the Nasdaq bubble burst and the paper wealth went up in flames.  Alan Greenspan’s approach was simple.  If we could simply reflate the consumer balance sheet through asset reflation everything would be resolved.  So, the consumer was encouraged to continue taking on excess debt without the underlying income to sustain this debt.  In essence, Americans were trying to sustain the lifestyle that they had become accustomed to in the 90′s and the Federal Reserve and Treasury did everything in their power to maintain that lifestyle.

As the housing bubble grew Americans once again felt the invincibility of paper wealth.  Of course, just like the Nasdaq bubble none of this was actually supported by the underlying fundamentals.  And as the housing bubble wealth effect dissipated in 2005 so did the ability of the consumer to sustain its 25 year spending spree:

The surge in household wealth due to the double bubbles proved to be nothing more than paper gains that were not supported by the underlying fundamentals.  Assets were higher than they otherwise should have been.  It’s clear, in retrospect, that Americans never really recovered from the excesses of the 90′s.  The government’s response to this bubble era has done little to help create the foundation for a sustained recovery.

This past weekend, Brian Sack admitted that the Fed’s recovery plan is largely dependent on propping up asset prices that would “otherwise be lower.”  The U.S. government hopes they can reflate assets and sustain a supposedly capitalist market without having any losers. They just can’t come to grips with the fact that there are decades of…
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See, I told You So (Again): Corporate Balance Sheets

Essentially, the giant piles of cash on corporate balance sheets are offset by similarly large liabilities (but few are writing about that). – Ilene

See, I told You So (Again): Corporate Balance Sheets

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

No, really?

BOSTON — You may have heard recently that U.S. companies have emerged from the financial crisis in robust health, that they’ve paid down their debts, rebuilt their balance sheets and are sitting on growing piles of cash they are ready to invest in the economy.

It all sounds wonderful for investors and the U.S. economy. There’s just one problem: It’s a crock.

Yep.

Again, back to the charts:

See the blue section?  Yep.

$10.9 trillion, to be precise.

To be fair, it is down some from the peak, which was $11.16 trillion in Q4/2008.  But the recent low, that is $10.9 trillion recorded in Q4/2009, is now up by close to $300 billion.

So when you hear "record cash", you have to subtract back out the liabilities.  At least you do if you’re being honest, which none of the mainstream media clowns are.

Let’s look at this with a bit different perspective via charts:

There’s your "growth" in non-financial business credit. 

Now let’s compare against stock prices to see whether leverage is "reasonably reflected" in them….

 

Uhhhhh… that’s not so good…..

Specifically, notice that during the "climb out" from the 2002 dump leverage continually increased.  That is, while prices roughly doubled so did total outstanding business credit. The problem with this progression is that you only get benefit from that if you can profitably employ the credit you have out.

When equities dove then and only then did businesses cut back – and not much! And now, with the nice little rampjob from the lows, businesses have stopped de-leveraging.

Into excess capacity this is suicidal and is one of the (many) reasons that I say that equity valuations are dramatically unattractive at the present time. De-leveraging grossly compresses multiples, which serves to amplify the damage that comes from debt service that is required on non-productive borrowed funds.

"The street" talks about how "debt markets have pretty much returned to health" (other than securitized mortgages and similar things.) Sure they have – for the snakes on Wall Street, who are back to their asset-stripping and…
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Do sovereign debt ratios matter?

Do sovereign debt ratios matter?

Courtesy of Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets 

Flags flutter in front of the headquarters of Spain's largest savings bank La Caixa in Barcelona July 23, 2010. European Union bank stress tests due from regulators on Friday aim to bolster confidence in the sector by making clear which lenders are healthy and which need to raise capital. Tests on 91 financial institutions from 20 of the EU's 27 nations simulate worsened economic conditions including declines in the value of sovereign debt they hold. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

In the past few weeks I have been getting a lot of questions about serial sovereign defaults and how to predict which countries will or won’t suspend debt payments or otherwise get into trouble.  The most common question is whether or not there is a threshold of debt (measured, say, against total GDP) above which we need to start worrying.

Perhaps because I started my career in 1987 trading defaulted and restructured bank loans during the LDC Crisis, I have spent the last 30 years as a finance history junky, obsessively reading everything I can about the history of financial markets, banking and sovereign debt crises, and international capital flows. My book, The Volatility Machine, published in 2002, examines the past 200 years of international financial crises in order to derive a theory of debt crisis using the work of Hyman Minsky and Charles Kindleberger.

No aspect of history seems to repeat itself quite as regularly as financial history.  The written history of financial crises dates back at least as far back as the reign of Tiberius, when we have very good accounts of Rome’s 33 AD real estate crisis.  No one reading about that particular crisis will find any of it strange or unfamiliar – least of all the 100-million-sesterces interest-free loan the emperor had to provide (without even having read Bagehot) in order to end the panic.

So although I am not smart enough to tell you who will or won’t default (I have my suspicions however), based on my historical reading and experiences, I think there are two statements that I can make with confidence.  First, we have only begun the period of sovereign default.

The major global adjustments haven’t yet taken place and until they do, we won’t have seen the full consequences of the global crisis, although already Monday’s New York Times had an article in which some commentators all but declared the European crisis yesterday’s news.

Just two months ago, Europe’s sovereign debt problems seemed grave enough to imperil the global economic recovery. Now, at least some investors are treating it as the crisis that wasn’t.

The article goes on to quote Jean-Claude Trichet sniffing over the “tendency among some investors and market participants to underestimate Europe’s ability to take bold decisions.”  Of course I’d be more impressed with…
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Tsunami of Red Ink – Global Look at National Debt and Who Owns US Debt

Tsunami of Red Ink – Global Look at National Debt and Who Owns US Debt

Courtesy of Mish 

The Chicago Tribune had an excellent set of charts this weekend in A Tsunami of Red Ink regarding US government debt and who owns it, and also a comparison of US debt to the national debt of other countries.

Debt as a Percentage of GDP

Comparison of US Debt to Other Countries

Click on the link at the top to see foreign holders of US debt country by country. The top three US debt holders are China, Japan, and Canada.

Some will not believe those figures on debt to GDP comparisons. I don’t either. For starters the numbers are from 2009.

The footnote also says, if intragovernmental debt is included the figure is 83%. That number is approximately correct in my opinion (as of 2009).

Some will want to count unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities out to 2050 or whatever. This is simply wrong. That would be like counting a car you intend to buy 3 years from now as part of your debt now.

Many things can happen between now and then.

  • You may buy a smaller car.
  • You may not buy the car at all, opting for public transportation.
  • When the time arrives, you may postpone buying a car for a couple more years.
  • You may save enough to pay for the car in cash so that you incur no debt.

Likewise, the plans for Social Security and Medicare might change. Costs may go up, or down. The plans may be scaled back by the next generation of US citizens who think our generation was the most greedy in history.

Things We Know

  • The current path and current plans are not sustainable.
  • The money has not been spent, yet.
  • Costs may go up or down.
  • Political promises can easily change.
  • Taxes may go up dramatically, to pay for the costs.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

 


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Losing the Red Queen’s Race

Losing the Red Queen’s Race

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

The Red Queen’s Race is an apt analogy for the meltdown in assets and debt now swamping the global economy. 

The Red Queen’s race refers to running very fast to stay in the same place. As asset values fall globally (except where massive government stimulus has pushed the day of reckoning forward a bit), debt holders are frantically paying down or writing down debt--running very fast--but finding themselves in the same place--zero equity--despite their prodigious efforts.

I’ve prepared a chart to illustrate The Red Queen’s Race in assets and debt:

Owning an asset as it catapults ever higher in a credit/asset bubble offers a fateful temptation to leverage that rising equity ("free money") or extract it to enjoy.Millions of speculators did so by borrowing against their stocks (margin accounts) and tens of millions did so by borrowing against their home equity via second mortgages or HELOCs (home equity lines of credit).

Alas, when the asset bubbles bursts, values quickly begin a long and painful retrace to pre-bubble valuations. In very short order, those who bought with high leverage or borrowed 90% of their equity find themselves underwater, owing more than the value of their asset/property.

Those with 80% of bubble-top value mortgages who cling to the hope of a rapid recovery in valuations soon find they too are underwater.

Lenders who thought they were "safe" extending 80%-of-value loans at the bubble top find their 1-2% reserves against losses are woefully inadequate as assets continue their ceaseless decline to rational valuations.

In a desperate attempt to stave off losing the Red Queen’s Race, The Federal Reserve essentially hands the banks billions in easy profits, loaning them unlimited funds at near-zero interest rates so they can "re-capitalize" by loaning their unlimited "free money" at higher rates of interest.

But even the incantations and legerdemaine of the Fed are no match for the inexorable punishment of running in place just to avoid falling behind; no matter how fast the Fed-induced profits flow, they cannot gain on the declining assets. Banks pocket billions yet their net equity remains far below zero.

At some point, the lender or owner tires of writing down or paying down debt to no avail, and they lose the Red Queen’s Race. Having lost, some lenders, owners and even governments (see Japan, Inc. for a…
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In The Year 3000: Predicting The Liability Side Of The Fed’s Balance Sheet

In The Year 3000: Predicting The Liability Side Of The Fed’s Balance Sheet

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

When it comes to the asset side of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, there are no secrets: with the winddown of the bulk of the Fed’s emergency liquidity programs by February 1, the majority of the Fed’s current $2.2 trillion in assets will continue being outright-held securities. And even as the emergency programs sunset, the quasi-permanent, QE remnants will be here to stay. What we know for certain is that the current $1.8 trillion in Treasuries and MBS will rise to at least $2.2 trillion, as the balance of QE round 1 is exhausted. Will this purchasing of outright securities end there? Hardly. As the Fed is the only market for MBS, and as the MBS market can not allow a dramatic rise in 30 year mortgage rates, which is precisely what will happen if the buyer of first resort disappears, we fully expect some form of QE to show up and grab the baton where QE 1.0 ends. In fact just today, Fed economist Wayne Passmore, under the aegis of Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart, stated during the annual American Economic Association meeting that GSE ABS should have an outright explicit guarantee by the Federal Reserve. Forget about QE then – this would be an onboarding of over $6 trillion in various assets of dubious worth, which currently exist in the limbo of semi-Fed guaranteed securities, yet which have an implicit guarantee. Of course, should the broader Fed listen to young master Passmore, look for John Williams’ expectation of hyperinflation as soon as 2010 to be very promptly met. The danger of the Fed’s next unpredictable step is so great that it is even causing insomnia for none other than BlackRock big man Larry Fink, who asks rhetorically "Are they going to kill the housing market?" Well Larry, unless the Wall Street lobby hustles, and the Fed isn’t forced to print another cool trillion under the guise of Mutual Assured Destruction, they very well might.

So now that we (don’t) know about the assets, what about that much less discussed topic: the Fed’s liabilities?

As it stands now, and as we have often pointed out, the liabilities of the Federal Reserve are rather straightforward: the major items are currency in circulation (about a $800 billion, and excess…
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Daniel Amerman vs. Mish: Reflections on the Great Inflation/Deflation Debate

This debate – inflation vs. deflation – illustrates how important it is to agree on definitions first, in order to engage in a more productive exchange of ideas, second. – Ilene

Daniel Amerman vs. Mish: Reflections on the Great Inflation/Deflation Debate

Courtesy of Mish

Last week I was in an inflation vs. deflation debate on Financial Sense with Daniel Amerman. The debate was moderated by Jim Puplava. It is a credit to Jim that he is willing to entertain both sides of an argument even though he himself is an inflationist.

Amerman took the inflation side, and of course I took the deflation side.

One of the main rules of any debate is to agree on definitions. In this case, there was no agreement.

I believe inflation is an increase in money supply and credit while Amerman considers inflation to be a purchasing power phenomenon. This lead to different opinions as to whether or not we are in deflation.

Furthermore, as with any audio discussion, there was an inability to point to charts or written material to make a case.

Let’s now explore some of the issues that came up in the debate starting with Amerman’s post Puncturing Deflation Myths

Japan & “Where’s The Beef”?

As discussed in Part One, someone who had attended one of my inflation solutions workshops asked me to debate deflation theory with him. I said “fine” but with one condition: before I would debate theory, he needed to first provide a real word example of this problem actually having happened. Could he answer this simple, real world question:

Name an example of a modern, major nation where the domestic purchasing power (as measured by CPI) of its purely symbolic & independent currency uncontrollably grew in value at a rapid rate over a sustained period, despite the best efforts of the nation to stop this rapid deflation?

The problem with this line of reasoning is agreement on the definition. One could just as easily define inflation as the number of meteors visible to the naked eye at nightime and conclude inflation is a cyclical phenomena that peaks every August in conjunction with the annual Perseids Meteor Shower.

Amerman did not "puncture deflation myths" because there is no agreement that his definition is the correct one.

Interestingly, he does post this chart


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Phil's Favorites

Ray Dalio Is Kinda, Sorta, Really Wrong, Part 3

 

Ray Dalio Is Kinda, Sorta, Really Wrong, Part 3

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline 

Two weeks ago I started a mini-series in the form of an open letter responding to a series of essays by Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates. I wrote here and here that he was kinda, sorta wrong in Why and How Capitali...



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Zero Hedge

Exposing The Fed's False QE/QT Narrative With Its Own Data

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Daniel Nevins via FFWiley.com,

“The fact that financial markets responded in very similar ways... lends credence to the view that these actions had the expected effects on markets and are thereby providing significant s...



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ValueWalk

Beyond Meat vs Impossible Burger: Comparing The Vegan Meat Burgers

 

Beyond Meat vs Impossible Burger: Comparing The Vegan Meat Burgers

Courtesy of Vikas Shukla, ValueWalk

Pexels / Pixabay

The trend of vegan food has been gathering momentum in the last few years as people become more health conscious. They have also begun to realize the environmental impact of raising meat for human consumption. According to PETA, it takes an estimated 1...



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Insider Scoop

Wedbush Steps To The Shopify Sidelines

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Shopify Inc (NYSE: SHOP) ha introduced multiple new initiatives to spur growth, but the stock's valuation is already full at current levels, according to Wedbush.

The Analyst

Wedbush's Ygal Arounian downgraded Shopify from Outperform to Neutral with a 12-month price target lifted from $270 to $305.

The Thesis

Shopif...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Wilshire 5000 Creating A Triple Top? An Important Breakout Test Is In Play!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The stock market has been on fire of late, rallying up to the edge of price resistance on several indexes. Today, we look at one of those stock market indexes: the Wilshire 5000.

The Wilshire 5000 tracks all of the stocks in the US market, so it is a broad-based index that carries significant importance when gauging the health of the overall US stock market.

Looking at the long-term “weekly” chart above, it is pretty clear that the index is at an important price juncture.

The Wilshire 5000 spent the last 25 years trading within a rising price channel (1)...



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Chart School

Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally ends

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

When valuations for the boring water company or the boring electric company is trading like your Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Netflix or Google (ie FANG) you know something is wrong.

This is when a seriously over valued market is screaming at you.

Of course the reader must understand in a world where money printing goes super nuts (Zimbabwe style) the stock market may go hyper inflationary and picking a time frame for a top is never a good idea, but we are not there yet. There is no Ben Bernanke helicopter money to the masses yet (ie MMT). 

To see when water company's (and such like) are nearing the crazy FANG like valuations a review of the Dow Jones Utility Index channel shows us how history can repeat. The c...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

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

 

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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