Posts Tagged ‘real economy’

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

Courtesy of Robert Reich, of Robert Reich’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

In September 2008, as the worst of the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street, George W. Bush issued a warning: "This sucker could go down." Around the same time, as Congress hashed out a bailout bill, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the leading Republican negotiator of the bill, warned that "if we do not do this, the trauma, the chaos and the disruption to everyday Americans’ lives will be overwhelming, and that’s a price we can’t afford to risk paying."

In less than a year, Wall Street was back. The five largest remaining banks are today larger, their executives and traders richer, their strategies of placing large bets with other people’s money no less bold than before the meltdown. The possibility of new regulations emanating from Congress has barely inhibited the Street’s exuberance.

But if Wall Street is back on top, the everyday lives of large numbers of Americans continue to be subject to overwhelming trauma, chaos and disruption.

View of town's main street with mountains in the distance

It is commonplace among policymakers to fervently and sincerely believe that Wall Street’s financial health is not only a precondition for a prosperous real economy but that when the former thrives, the latter will necessarily follow. Few fictions of modern economic life are more assiduously defended than the central importance of the Street to the well-being of the rest of us, as has been proved in 2009.

Inhabitants of the real economy are dependent on the financial economy to borrow money. But their overwhelming reliance on Wall Street is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back when middle-class Americans earned enough to be able to save more of their incomes, they borrowed from one another, largely through local and regional banks. Small businesses also did.

It’s easy to understand economic policymakers being seduced by the great flows of wealth created among Wall Streeters, from whom they invariably seek advice. One of the basic assumptions of capitalism is that anyone paid huge sums of money must be very smart.

But if 2009 has proved anything, it’s that the bailout of Wall Street didn’t trickle down to Main Street. Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise. Small businesses can’t get credit. And people everywhere, it seems, are worried about losing their…
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YRCW: NO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

YRCW: NO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC RECOVERY

YRCWCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

YRC WorldWide is tanking over 50% on bankruptcy speculation.  The large trucking company has been entangled in brutal labor renegotiation’s and is at the heart of the economic downturn with their highly economically sensitive transport based business.

On Friday the company reported a $158.7MM loss which was followed up by a debt exchange announcement this morning.  Investors are growing increasingly concerned that the announcement could result in an eventual Chapter 11 filing.  Although the company is having cost difficulties (primarily labor related) the weakness at the company is primarily economically related.  On the conference call CEO Bill Zollars detailed the economic struggles which we continue to see across the entire real economy.  His comments would be most unwelcome to anyone who has bought into the recent stock market surge which is now not only very expensive, but pricing in very optimistic economic and earnings growth in 2010:

“The operating environment remains very challenging as we continue to face a difficult economy that appears to have stabilized, but is not showing any signs of sustained positive momentum.  We remain cautiously optimistic that the economy has bottomed out, but it remains too early to know for sure.  We’re not anticipating any growth in the economy for the remainder of this year and at least for the first half of next year.”

I think it’s safe to say that the stimulus based recovery is almost entirely non-organic.  Without further aid from the government and the Federal Reserve this liquidity driven market is likely staring at a very difficult road ahead, if not the dreaded double dip.

 


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How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

Here’s an excellent, must-read article by William K. Black.  Special thanks to New Deal 2.0. - Ilene

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

By Bill Black, Courtesy of New Deal 2.0

money-shark-150 - preditor stateRoosevelt Institute Braintruster William K. Black explains how the finance economy preys on the real economy instead of serving it. He shows how both have become dysfunctional and warns that we must not neglect the real economy — the source of our jobs, our incomes, and the creator of goods and services — as we focus on financial reform.

What exactly is the function of the financial sector in our society? Simply this: Its sole function is supplying capital efficiently to aid the real economy. The financial sector is a tool to help those that make real tools, not an end in itself. But five fatal flaws in the financial sector’s current structure have created a monster that drains the real economy, promotes fraud and corruption, threatens democracy, and causes recurrent, intensifying crises.

1. The financial sector harms the real economy.

Even when not in crisis, the financial sector harms the real economy. First, it is vastly too large. The finance sector is an intermediary — essentially a “middleman”. Like all middlemen, it should be as small as possible, while still being capable of accomplishing its mission. Otherwise it is inherently parasitical. Unfortunately, it is now vastly larger than necessary, dwarfing the real economy it is supposed to serve. Forty years ago, our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%). The minimum measure of how much damage the bloated, grossly over-compensated finance sector causes to the real economy is this massive increase in the share of total national income wasted through the finance sector’s parasitism.

Second, the finance sector is worse than parasitic. In the title of his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith aptly names the problem. The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation. The facts are alarming:

• Corporate stock repurchases…
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THE RECESSION IN RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES….

THE RECESSION IN RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES….

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

The recession in railroads continues unabated.  This is likely the surest proof we have that Ben is simply reflating the bubble while the real economy continues to flounder.  Carloadings were down 17.2% year over year and intermodal traffic declined 15.7%.   On the positive side, it’s quite clear that rail traffic has stabilized and doesn’t continue to decline, however, the robust recovery that equities and other markets have priced in is completely non-existent in the rail data.  The weakness was broad across all segments of the economy.  The weakness was particularly apparent in metals and forest which could be a sign that the recent weakness in housing and lumber prices is a trend:

rails2

The AAR reports:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 8, 2009 — The Association of American Railroads today reported that for the week ended Oct. 3, 2009, rail traffic continues to reflect the down economy – originating 277,734 carloads, down 17.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. All of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from the same week last year, with declines ranging from 2.7 percent for chemicals to 53.2 percent for metallic ores.

Intermodal traffic of 206,293 trailers or containers on U.S. railroads was down 15.7 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 10 percent and trailer volume dropped 37 percent.

Regionally, carloads were down 16.4 percent in the West and 18.3 percent in the East. For the first 39 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,381,905 carloads, down 18.1 percent from 2008; 7,347,299 trailers or containers, down 16.8 percent, and total volume of an estimated 1.11 trillion ton-miles, down 17.3 percent. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending October 3 was estimated at 29.7 billion ton-miles, off 16.6 percent from the same week last year.

rails1

Source: Railfax, AAR

 


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Phil's Favorites

How The Patient Investor Sees the World More Clearly

 

How The Patient Investor Sees the World More Clearly

Courtesy of Cullen Roche, Pragmatic Capitalism 

?One of my favorite things to think about in investing is the theoretical investor who slept through 1987. We all know about “Black Monday”, the crash of 1987, when stocks fell 23% in one day. It was terrifying. But the craziest thing about 1987 is that the S&P 500 had a total return of 5.81% that year. The stock market was positive in a year that is known for being a terrifying crash! So, if you had checked your portfolio on January 1, 1987 and then slept through the entire year and woken on December 31, you would have looked at your portfolio and said “huh, pretty slow year in the markets, but not bad!”

...

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Chart School

Silver is cheap vs Gold

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Metal investors will be paying attention to how out of favor silver is relative to gold. And it is hard to wonder why with the well forecast boom of electric cars expected over the next 10 years. Who owns all the silver? JM Bullion has a series of charts here. Notice the stock pile held by JPM. They will do will if silver gets to $30 USD an once!

Chart up to April 2017



As of the 20th of March 2019 the US Federal Reserve has switched to dovish...

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Zero Hedge

"Fed Returns To The Punchbowl": The Biggest Surprises In Today's Fed Decision

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The Fed is returning to the punchbowl.

That's how Bank of America summarized today's second consecutive dovish surprise by the FOMC regarding rates and balance sheet policy. As we noted earlier, there were two major developments in today's FOMC decision:

  1. the dots dropped substantially to show no further hikes this year and only one hike in 2020. This means that the increasingly "patient" Fed is signaling that policy will remain accommodative relative to the long-run rate expectation.
  2. the balance sheet unwind will start in May and be completed by the end of September....


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ValueWalk

Jamie Dimon On How JPMorgan Is Making The Planet A Great Place [Full CNBC Interview]

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

CNBC Transcript: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and American University President Sylvia Mathews Burwell Speak with CNBC’s Kayla Tausche Today

WHEN: Today, Wednesday, March 20, 2019

WHERE: CNBC’s “The Exchange

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon American University President & Former Obama Health...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Banks Sending Warning Sign To Broad Markets Again?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The financial / banking sector is often a good barometer of the economy and broader stock market.

So when the Bank Index (BKX) began to lag late last summer, it was an early warning sign for investors.

Looking at the chart below, we can see that the banks spilled lower with the December correction. That final swoon lower was set up by a bearish reversal candlestick (1).

Well, the recent rally has brought stocks back up to the scene of that crime! That area is marked by strong horizontal resistance.

Are banks creating a similar reversal ...



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Insider Scoop

Sage's First-Of-Its-Kind Postpartum Depression Drug Clears FDA Hurdle: What You Need to Know

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Shares of mid-cap biotech SAGE Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SAGE), which focuses on therapies for central nervous system disorders, were trading higher Wednesday.

What Happened

Sage ...



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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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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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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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