Posts Tagged ‘New Normal’

We Can Only Dream

We Can Only Dream

Courtesy of Michael Panzner of Financial Armageddon 

Children play with giant bubbles at the Glastonbury Festival 2010 in south west England, June 23, 2010. Picture taken June 23, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

Reports like those that follow help make it clear that the problems we face are structural rather than cyclical. Myriad bad policies and a distorted sense of economic reality — no doubt fed by ruthlessly self-interested corporate and political interests — encouraged large numbers of Americans to acquire knowledge, skills, and perspectives that are really only relevant in an easy-money-fueled economy.

Once the bubble bursts, however, they are as unprepared for changing times as a proverbial fish out of water. And yet, we still have a growing chorus of mindless Keynesians, ivory tower economists, Wall Street strategists, and assorted other pseudo-experts pushing for more stimulus, more borrowing, more tax cuts — more of the hair of the dog that bit us to begin with.

If government is going to do anything at all — which seems inevitable, like it or not — wouldn’t it be better if the those in charge focused on telling people the cold, hard truth about where things stand; directed efforts towards helping Americans adjust to a new operating environment, instead of the one that is not coming back; and, rejigged policy incentives — like those that favor borrowing and homeownership — in ways that might prove more beneficial in the long run?

Oh well, we can only dream.

~~~

"U.S. Jobless Rate Hints at Permanent Shift" (The Globe and Mail)

As the United States continues its battle with high unemployment, policy makers are confronting a troubling question: What if they’ve been taking the wrong approach to fixing the ailing job market?

Some prominent economists and policy makers are…suggesting the real problem isn’t lack of consumer spending – it’s that the unemployed don’t have the right skills to fill the jobs that are open.

These people are now theorizing that the financial crisis has altered the structure of the U.S. labour market, perhaps permanently.

If they’re right, the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve will need to change their approach to increasing employment because their current one, which is aimed at stoking spending, could end up exacerbating the conditions that led to the financial crisis.

Raghuram Rajan, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, argues the U.S.’s high unemployment rate is the result of structural changes rather than a cyclical downturn in demand. He reasons the U.S. housing bubble


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BILL GROSS: EVERY NATION FOR ITSELF

BILL GROSS: EVERY NATION FOR ITSELF

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

As always Mr. Gross’ monthly outlook is a must read:

It is this lack of global aggregate demand – resulting from too much debt in parts of the global economy and not enough in others – that is the essence of the problem, which only economists with names beginning in R seem to understand (there is no R in PIMCO no matter how much I want to extend the metaphor, and yes, Paul Rugman fits the description as well!). If policymakers could act in unison and smoothly transition maxed-out indebted consumer nations into future producers, while simultaneously convincing lightly indebted developing nations to consume more, then our predicament would be manageable. They cannot. G-20 Toronto meetings aside, the world is caught up as it usually is in an “every nation for itself” mentality, with China taking its measured time to consume and the U.S. refusing to acknowledge its necessity to invest in goods for export.

Even if your last name doesn’t begin with R, the preceding explanation is all you need to know to explain what is happening to the markets, the global economy, and perhaps your own wobbly-legged standard of living in recent years. Consumption when brought forward must be financed, and that financing is a two-way bargain between borrower and creditor. When debt levels become too high, lenders balk and even lenders of last resort – the sovereigns, the central banks, the supranational agencies – approach limits beyond which private enterprise’s productivity itself is threatened. We have arrived at a New Normal where, despite the introduction of 3 billion new consumers over the past several decades in “Chindia” and beyond, there is a lack of global aggregate demand or perhaps an inability or unwillingness to finance it. Slow growth in the developed world, insufficiently high levels of consumption in the emerging world, and seemingly inexplicable low total returns on investment portfolios – bonds and stocks – lie ahead. Stop whispering (and start shouting) the words “New Normal” or perhaps begin to pronounce your last name with an RRRRRRRRRRRR. Our global economy, our use of debt, and our financial markets have changed – not our alphabet or dictionary.

Source: PIMCO 


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A Conversation with John

A Conversation with John

Courtesy of John Mauldin at Thoughts from the Frontline

Unemployment Positives

Michael Faraday (1791-

This morning’s unemployment number, though still down by 11,000, is the best we have seen in a very long time. The birth/death ratio only added 30,000 jobs, and previous months were revised upwards. Given that the ADP employment number on Wednesday was so high, and the service ISM was not good, this comes as a very pleasant and positive surprise. Is this a trend, or something seasonal because the main driver was temporary jobs? We will see in a few months. Let’s hope we see a real turnaround soon.

A Conversation with John

With Damien Hoffman of Wall St. Cheat Sheet

John Mauldin coined the incredibly popular phrase, "Muddle Through Economy." If the next few years continue to drag along as we rebuild from the greatest credit bubble in history, then John’s term may become the catch phrase used by every financial journalist and economist in the land.

John is a passionate traveler with business partners all over the world. He also puts out a free newsletter to over one million people worldwide. This reach of friends and travels give John an excellent macro view of the world economy. Further, his multidisciplinary interests offer some unique insights into economics and human behavior.

I had a chance to catch up with John and talk about his experiences as an economist, his perspective on which countries will grow the fastest in the coming decades, how he sees demographics affecting the world, and a bonus question from one of our 1400 Twitter followers …

Damien Hoffman: John, was economics part of your schooling or a passion of yours right from the start?

Rear view of Monks praying in front of a sculpture, Kanari Cave, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

John: I had a triple major in college, one of them being economics and history. So I’ve always been fascinated by history, economics, and finance. The markets are a big puzzle to me and I’m a puzzle addict. So it feeds my addiction. I started reading the Austrian economists first, in the early ’80s as I entered the investment world. That was my real introduction to economics. Over time, if you stay around long enough and read enough, you can pick up all the other schools of thought, like I did.

Damien: Based on some of your newsletters,
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An Unusually Cheery Set of Links

An Unusually Cheery Set of Links

By inoculatedinvestor, courtesy of Zero Hedge

Intro: "For a change, this week I decided to only comment on links that suggest that everything in the world is rosy and that the US is already in the middle of an impressively sound V-shaped recovery. Too bad I couldn’t find anyone who argued either of those points credibly. Oh well, guess everyone will have to settle for yet another dose of reality."  

Peggy NoonanPeggy Noonan pulls no punches: In one of her latest missives in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan poses a very simple question. Do today’s leaders of America really care about the future of this country? I often worry that the re-election cycle has gotten so short and the incentive to pass the burden onto future lawmakers is now so pervasive that we can do no better than short-sighted, even foolish near term fixes to current problems. Extend and pretend when it comes to financial companies and kick the can down the road when it comes to the bulging deficit seem to have become the official policies in Washington. Clearly, no one wants to force any more pain on already strained American households. But at what point do the consequences of the actions being taken actually become magnitudes worse than the painful rebalancing and restructuring we could choose to face today? It is within this context that Noonan posits an interesting theory. Her premise is that the current leaders have lived in a period of such US prosperity that they are essentially too arrogant to even contemplate the idea that country could be in the midst of a lasting decline:

When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren’t they worried about the impact of what they’re doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse?
 
I think I know part of the answer. It is that they’ve never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don’t have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they’re big on that word. But they’re not really


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Consumer Credit Contracts Record $21.6 Billion

Consumer Credit Contracts Record $21.6 Billion

Courtesy of Mish

Yesterday in Job Creation Down 35%, Consumer Spending Down 33% From Year Ago I noted consumers are spending less because they have to. In many instances it is a forced attitude adjustment because debt levels are too high, and ability to service that debt decreasing.

Today, economists were shocked to find U.S. Consumer Credit Falls by a Record $21.6 Billion.

U.S. consumer credit plunged more than five times as much as forecast in July as banks restricted lending terms and job losses made Americans reluctant to borrow.

Consumer credit fell by a record $21.6 billion, or 10 percent at an annual rate, to $2.5 trillion, according to a Federal Reserve report released today in Washington. Credit dropped by $15.5 billion in June, more than previously estimated. Credit fell for a sixth month, the longest series of declines since 1991.

The arrival of the government’s “cash for clunkers” program in late July wasn’t enough to keep credit that covers car loans from plummeting by a record amount, as consumers delayed other purchases.

Economists had forecast consumer credit would drop $4 billion in July, according to the median of 31 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Flashback May 8, 2009: Consumer Credit Plunges Record $11.1 Billion.

U.S. consumer borrowing fell more than expected in March, plunging a record $11.1 billion, a Federal Reserve report showed Thursday.

March consumer credit fell at an annual rate of 5.2% to a total of $2.55 trillion. This was the biggest percentage drop since December 1990.

Today, consumer credit contracted at a pace that is shockingly twice as bad as March, even though the March contraction was the biggest drop since 1990.

Frugality Reality Hits Mainstream Media

Only now is much of mainstream media catching up with "frugality" as a buzzword. Here are some things I have written about starting well over a year ago.

Looking


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Gross: The new normal for “the next 10 years and maybe even the next 20 years

Gross: The new normal for “the next 10 years and maybe even the next 20 years

bill gross, pimcoCourtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

Bill Gross has a piece out now on Pimco’s website suggesting we are about to witness a sea change in saving and spending habits, government intervention, and a host of other issues. This is not a buy-the-dips kind of atmosphere and it will last for, oh, 20 years.

Gross says:

This “new” vs. “old” normal dichotomy was perhaps best contrasted by Barton Biggs, as I heard him on Bloomberg Radio in early 2009, when he said he was a “child of the bull market.” I thought that was a brilliant phrase, and Barton is a brilliant phrase-maker. He went on to say though, that his point was that for as long as he’s been in the business – and that’s a long time – it has paid to buy the dips, because markets, economies, profits, and assets always rebounded and went to higher levels. That is not only the way that he learned it, but that is the way, basically, that capitalism is supposed to work. Economies grow, profits grow, just like children do. I think that’s why he said he was a child of the bull market, not just because he had experienced it for so long, but also because economic growth and higher asset prices are almost invariably a natural evolution, much like the maturation of a person. That’s how people grow, and so I think Barton was saying that capitalism just grows that way too.

Well, the surprise is that there’s been a significant break in that growth pattern, because of delevering, deglobalization, and reregulation. All of those three in combination, to us at PIMCO, means that if you are a child of the bull market, it’s time to grow up and become a chastened adult; it’s time to recognize that things have changed and that they will continue to change for the next – yes, the next 10 years and maybe even the next 20 years. We are heading into what we call the New Normal, which is a period of time in which economies grow very slowly as opposed to growing like weeds, the way children do; in which profits are relatively static; in which the government plays a significant role in terms of deficits and reregulation


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What does a double dip recession look like?

What does a double dip recession look like?

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

On Friday, in reporting on second quarter GDP statistics, I wrote with some skepticism about the underlying consumer demand which would underpin a sustainable recovery.  I do feel that the stage is set for recovery; Alan Greenspan thinks the economy has already recovered. However, I am worried that a double dip could result as much of the likely output gains will come from changes in inventory destocking and not from consumer demand.

Then again, why do I think there will be any recovery at all? An astute reader asked me “how could that be possible when, as you document well, this is a technical recovery, and there’s no sign of consumer recovery? It seems more likely that this will continue to last for the foreseeable future.”  That is a very good question which I hope to answer here with some words about what recession is, about the ‘new normal’, and about GDP being a first derivative statistic. Then I will finish up with a look back at the 1980-82 double dip to show you how the 1980-82 double dip looked statistically and why it could presage what we are about to experience.

What is recession?

In a nutshell, a recession is a period of diminishing economic activity.  That’s it, plain and simple.  Now, the NBER, which decides the official dates of recession in the U.S., looks at five areas to decide when a recession begins and ends: output (real GDP), production, sales (wholesale and retail), employment and real income.  When those areas show a general decline, the economy is in recession.  When those statistics start increasing, the recession has ended. In a post last month “Technical recovery won’t feel like a recovery to most,” I said:

The NBER is looking to date the period when economic activity is diminishing, not when it is diminished.  That means that economic activity MUST be LOWER when an economy ends recession and starts a recovery than when it entered the recession. Recovery starts from a position of diminished economic activity. I attempted to get this point across in detail in my post “Economic recovery and the perverse math of GDP reporting.”

Read those two referenced posts.  They make fairly clear that we are talking about…
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The End of the Recession?

Courtesy of John Mauldin’s Thoughts from the Frontline

John Mauldin is a multiple NYT Best Selling author and recognized financial expert. He has been heard on CNBC, Bloomberg and many radio shows across the country.

The End of the Recession?green shoot

By John Mauldin

Last week we began a series on data abuse, about how various commentators twist and torture data to make it say what they want, or fail to look at the details underneath the headlines. Predictably, there is a lot of fodder this week as we forge ahead into this ripe territory. The headlines screamed that US income data went up unexpectedly. Green shoots were everywhere. But if you look at the actual data, you find something much different. And, I keep hearing the insistent refrain that the market is telling us that the recovery is around the corner. Well, the recovery may be, but can the market really tell us that? I have about 25 windows open in my computer, with tons of misleading data. Let’s see how much we can cover in this week’s letter.   [More information on John Mauldin's subscription service here.]

And now to funny-looking data. Where to begin? There are so many targets of opportunity!

The End of the Recession?

I walked into the office yesterday evening and there was someone on CNBC talking about how the 50-day moving average of the S&P 500 rising above the 200-day moving average was telling us the market was getting ready to rise and the recovery had started. I listened to his babbling for another 2-3 minutes and couldn’t take it anymore (and no, it was not my friend Larry Kudlow, who is a lot more balanced than whoever was on.)

We keep getting told that the market is telling us "something," usually that the recession is going to end. For some reason, people keep repeating the bromide that the market looks out about 6 months. To that I politely say, rubbish.

Riddle me this, Batman. Did the market see the recession in October of 2007? We were already in recession and the S&P 500 (see below) was making new highs! Where was the market prescience? Did it see the 25%+ drop in January of this year? And I could go back and cite scores of examples where the market "missed" the future turning points over the past ten decades.

jm062609image001
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The PhilStockWorld.com Weekly Webinar - 10-21-2020

For LIVE access on Wednesday afternoons, join us at PSW!

 

Major Topics:

00:00:09 - Checking on the Market
00:02:06 - Petroleum Status Report
00:03:05 - Currencies
00:04:04 - EIA Report
00:06:17 - Trading Techniques
00:07:01 - Current News
00:10:27 - 2020 Growth Projection
00:12:32 - Stimulus Hopes
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00:26:45 - Economic Stimulus Act 2008
00:34:43 - COVID-19 Update
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Biotech/COVID-19

COVID-19 causes some patients' immune systems to attack their own bodies, which may contribute to severe illness

 

COVID-19 causes some patients' immune systems to attack their own bodies, which may contribute to severe illness

In autoimmune diseases, circulating antibodies destroy an individual’s own tissues. JUAN GAERTNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

Courtesy of Matthew Woodruff, Emory University

Across the world, immunologists who retooled their labs to join the fight against SARS-CoV-2 are furiously trying to explain why some people get so sick while others recover unscathed. The pace is dizzying, but some clear tr...



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ValueWalk

Arquitos Capital Management 3Q20 Commentary: MMAC Is Undervalued

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Arquitos Capital Management commentary for the third quarter ended September 2020, discussing how their historical holdings MMA Capital (MMAC), Westaim (WED.V), and Enterprise Diversified (SYTE) are historically undervalued.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

There is nothing noble about being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. - Ernest Hemingway

...



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Zero Hedge

Stimulus Stalemate Sparks Slump In Stocks, Bonds, Oil, & The Dollar

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Day after day the algos excited pumped and dumped stocks on the back of 'hope' and 'nope' headlines about the next round of COVID-19 relief from Washington. By the end of the week, stocks were down, bond (prices) were down, oil was down, the dollar was down, and economic data was down...

Source: Bloomberg

But all stocks care about is their next "feed" of free money...

Source: Bloomberg

But apart from that everything is awesome...

Small Caps and ...



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Politics

How to track your mail-in ballot

 

How to track your mail-in ballot

Make sure you know when your ballot is arriving, and whether it’s been accepted for counting back at your election office. erhui1979/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Courtesy of Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis

Many voters who want to participate in the election by mail are concerned about when they’ll receive their ballot – and whether it will get back in time to be counted.

The pandemic has caused interest in ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Doc Copper/Gold Indicator Breaking Out Again?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The Doc Copper/Gold ratio broke above a 2-year falling channel back in 2016 at (1). Following this breakout, it rallied for the next year. During that year, Copper related assets did very well!

The ratio peaked in the summer of 2018 and created a series of lower highs over the past two years.

The strength of late has the ratio attempting to break above dual resistance at (2).

If the ratio continues to push higher and succeeds in breaking out, Copper, Basic Materials (XLB), and ...



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Chart School

Dow Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Time to see what happens to the Dow post US elections.

The Dow Gann Angle Target 3 (from 2007 top) is on the table, and what a ride that will be. The FED went BRRRRR is all the fundamental news you need to know. Gann angles are very good tool to see how the masses are pushing price.


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The last two US elections saw Bitcoin and the DOW rally well for 6 months, due to stimulus. The most bearish 2020 US Election case for the markets is a Biden win with the Senate and Congress controlled by the Democrats, somehow this blog feels that is very unlikely. So what could go wrong!


...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin: the UK and US are clamping down on crypto trading - here's why it's not yet a big deal

 

Bitcoin: the UK and US are clamping down on crypto trading – here's why it's not yet a big deal

Where there’s a bit there’s a writ. Novikov Aleksey

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, University of Liverpool

The sale and promotion of derivatives of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to amateur investors is being banned in the UK by the financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a...



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Mapping The Market

COVID-19 Forces More Than Half of Asset Management Firms to Accelerate Adoption of Digital Marketing Technology

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

There is no doubt that the use of technology to support client engagement initiatives brings both opportunities and threats but this has been brought into sharp focus this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has brought to the fore the need for firms to enable flexibility in client engagement – the expectation that providers will communicate to clients on their terms, at their speed and frequency and on their preferred channels, is now a given. This is even more critical when clients are experiencing unparalleled anxiety from both market conditions and their own personal circumstances.

...

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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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