The Bear Market Has Just Begun

 

Today the narrow-minded canyons of Wall Street are littered almost entirely of trend-following bulls and cheerleaders who don’t realize how little there is to actually cheer about. Stock values are far less attractive than they were on that day back in 2009 and this selloff has a lot longer to run. There are hordes of perma-bulls calling for a V-shaped recovery in stocks, even after multiple years of nary a downtick.

Here are six reasons why I believe the bear market in the major averages has only just begun:

1) Stocks are overvalued by almost every metric.One of my favorite metrics is the price-to-sales ratio, which shows stock prices in relation to the company’s revenue per share and omits the financial engineering associated with borrowing money to buy back shares for the purpose of boosting EPS growth. For the S&P 500 (INDEX: .SPX), this ratio is currently 1.7, which is far above the mean value of 1.4. The benchmark index is also near record high valuations when measured as a percentage of GDP and in relation to the replacement costs of its companies.

 

2) There is currently a lack of revenue and earnings growth for S&P 500 companies. Second-quarter earnings shrank 0.7 percent, while revenues declined by 3.4 percent from a year earlier, according to FactSet. The Q2 revenue contraction marks the first time the benchmark index’s revenue shrank two quarters in a row since 2009.

S&P 500
SNP3:13PM EST
  • Virtually the entire global economy is either in, or teetering on, a recession. In 2009, China stepped further into a huge stimulus cycle that would eventually lead to the largest misallocation of capital in the history of the modern world. Empty cities don’t build themselves: They require enormous spurious demand of natural resources, which, in turn, leads to excess capacity from resource-producing countries such as Brazil, Australia, Russia, Canada, et al. Now those economies are in recession because China has become debt disabled and is painfully working down that misallocation of capital. And now Japan and the entire European Union appear poised to follow the same fate.

This is causing the rate of inflation to fall according to the Core PCE index. And the CRB Index, which is at the panic lows of early 2009, is corroborating the decreasing rate of inflation.

 

But the bulls on Wall Street would have you believe the cratering price of oil is a good thing because the “gas tax cut” will drive consumer spending – never mind the fact that energy prices are crashing due to crumbling global demand. Nevertheless, there will be no such boost to consumer spending from lower oil prices because consumers are being hurt by a lack of real income growth, huge health-care spending increases and soaring shelter costs.

4) U.S. manufacturing and GDP is headed south. The Dallas Fed’s manufacturing report showed its general activity index fell to -15.8 in August, from an already weak -4.6 reading in July. The oil-fracking industry had been one of the sole bright spots for the US economy since the Great Recession and has been the lead impetus of job creation. However, many Wall Street charlatans contend the United States is immune from deflation and a global slowdown and remain blindly optimistic about a strong second half.

Unfortunately, we are already two-thirds of the way into the third quarter and the Atlanta Fed is predicting GDP will grow at an unimpressive rate of 1.3 percent. Furthermore, the August ISM manufacturing index fell to 51.1, from 52.7, its weakest read in over two years. And while gross domestic product in the second quarter came in at a 3.7 percent annual rate, due in large part to a huge inventory build, gross domestic income increased at an annual rate of only 0.6 percent.

GDP tracks all expenditures on final goods and services produced in the United States and GDI tracks all income received by those who produced that output. These two metrics should be equal because every dollar spent on a good or service flows as income to a household, a firm, or the government. The two numbers will, at times, differ in practice due to measurement errors. However this is a fairly large measurement error and it leads one to wonder if that 0.6 percent GDI number should get a bit more attention.

5) Global trade is currently in freefall. Reuters reported that exports from South Korea dropped nearly 15 percent in August from a year earlier, with shipments to China, the United States and Europe all weaker. U.S. exports of goods and general merchandise are at the lowest level since September of 2011. The latest measurement of $370 billion is down from $408 billion, or -9.46 percent from Q4 2014. And CNBC reported this week that the volume of exports from the Port of Long Beach to China dropped by 10 percent YOY. The metastasizing global slowdown will only continue to exacerbate the plummeting value of U.S. trade.

 

6) The Fed is promising to no longer support the stock market. Back in 2009, our central bank was willing to provide all the wind for the market’s sail. And despite a lackluster 2 percent average annual GDP print since 2010, the stock market doubled in value on the back of zero interest rates and the Federal Reserve ‘s $3.7 trillion money-printing spree. Thus, for the past several years, there has been a huge disparity building between economic fundamentals and the value of stocks.

But now, the end of all monetary accommodations may soon occur, while markets have become massively over-leveraged and overvalued. The end of quantitative easing and a zero interest-rate policy will also coincide with slowing U.S. and global GDP, falling inflation and negative earnings growth. And the Fed will be raising rates and putting more upward pressure on the U.S. dollar while the manufacturing and export sectors are already rolling over.

I am glad Ms. Yellen and Co. appear to have finally assented to removing the safety net from underneath the stock market. Nevertheless, Wall Street may soon learn the baneful lesson that the artificial supports of QE and ZIRP were the only things preventing the unfolding of the greatest bear market in history.

Michael Pento produces the weekly podcast “The Mid-week Reality Check,” is the president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies and author of the book “The Coming Bond Market Collapse.”

 

Rates of Return – Guarantees for Speculation ?

A surprising number of emails ask if I can guarantee a set rate of annual return for a stock market account.

They want to earn the 4 % a month which is the most recent return based on the current portfolio choices.We’d all like to see that return forever and a day – without risk – but that is not what history teaches.

Only Bernie Madoff offered such a guarantee – and that only was implied- not written – by a false set of records .

In general the great potential of the stock market is offset by risk .

To avoid risk consider the current returns I can offer ANY investor:

1) leave all your money in cash under the mattress – safe unless thee is a house fire- but zero return and actual negative the rate of inflation.

2) Bank savings accounts – U.S. and Canada – 2 % – about equal to the rate of inflation.

3) Bonds – 3% little better than inflation and now some risk when the Fed starts the ” taper ”

4) Real estate – current projects with which I am familiar  6 % annually plus the appreciation of the property.

5) Promissory notes – a rate equal to Second Mortgages – currently 12 % and the risk is the quality of the guarantee.

Paid monthly at the rate of 1 % you can earn a compound rate and lessen the total exposure.

Renewed every 12 months so you can withdraw all or a portion of funds.

6) Stock market – unlimited potential but a risk that there is a market down turn of 30 or greater per cent.

You can elect to receive 1 % or more as a MONTH as a withdrawal to lessen your exposure.

Managed Accounts require a six month notice to withdraw but that is a formal requirement only to prevent a
” run” if there is a sharp turn in the market.

For assistance at obtaining the rates set out in items 3 to 6 please email info@jackbassteam.com or call Jack direct at 604-858-3202 ( same time zone as Los Angeles)

 

Amazon Gains $3 billion – in nearly free money

The tech giant has quietly raised capital — at almost no cost- Praise The Fed

FORTUNE — While online shoppers were gobbling up e-deals on Cyber Monday, Amazon once again demonstrated its appetite for capital. It raised $3 billion in debt at ultra-low interest rates. Spread across three tranches of bonds that mature over 6 ½ years, Amazon will pay an average of 1.6%, which makes the loan nearly cost-free to Amazon, factoring in inflation. The unexpected debt-capital raise, Amazon’s first in 15 years, double’s Amazon’s cash stockpile. (The Wall Street Journal has a lot of the facts here.)

The swift move got me wondering what Amazon (AMZN) will do with the money. There are obvious starting points. Amazon recently cut a deal to buy its currently leased Seattle headquarters buildings for a bit more than $1 billion. It’s an odd decision, but Amazon is an odd company. It is investing heavily in new warehouses, the better to offer speedier delivery to customers, particularly in locations where Amazon recently has begun collecting state sales taxes—something it probably should have been doing all along. In my recent interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos he deflected the question of whether Amazon wants to offer same-day delivery, saying the company hasn’t figured out how to make such a service economical. He said it’s hard enough investing simply to push back in the day when Amazon cuts off taking new orders.

MORE: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: The ultimate disrupter

Given its size and growth, it’s also astounding that Amazon sells in just nine countries: the U.S., Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Counterintuitively, Bezos notes that Amazon is investing particularly aggressively at the moment in Spain and Italy. New regions are a natural place for Amazon to invest its cash.

Amazon obviously continues to invest heavily in its Kindle line, which is showing itself to be a worthy competitor to Apple (AAPL) and tablets that use Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system. (The Kindle Fire uses a version of Android too.) Amazon’s Lab126—it’s Kindle design center in Cupertino, Calif.—recently listed more than 200 open job positions.

Then there are Amazon’s many business lines, many of which compete against each other. To get a sense of the breadth of Amazon’s disparate businesses. I made a list of the 25 brands Amazon links to at the bottom of its U.S. home page, including, with one exception, the way Amazon describes them:

AbeBooks. Rare books and textbooks.

Amazon Local. Great local deals in your city.

Amazon Supply. Business, industrial and scientific supplies. (beta)

Amazon Web Services. Scalable cloud services.

Amazon Wireless. Cellphones & wireless plans.

Askville. Community answers.

Audible. Download audio books.

BeautyBar.com. Prestige beauty delivered.

Book Depository. Books with free delivery worldwide.

CreateSpace. Indie publishing made easy.

Diapers.com. Everything but the baby.

DPReview. Digital photography.

Fabric. Sewing, quilting and knitting.

IMDb. Movies, TV & celebrities.

Junglee.com. Shop online in India.

Myhabit. Private fashion designer sales.

Shopbop. Designer fashion brands.

Soap.com. Health, beauty and home essentials.

Wag.com. Everything for your pet.

Warehouse Deals. Open-box discounts.

Woot. Beta deal site. [My description. Amazon’s is so confusing it defies description.]

Yoyo.com. A happy place to shop for toys.

Zappos. Shoes & Clothing.

Vine.com. Everything to live life green.

Casa.com. Kitchen, storage & everything home.

Amazon acquired many of these brands, like Audible, Zappos and IMDb. Some of the sites are clear copycats of more successful startup companies that Amazon hasn’t yet bought. Amazon includes a link at the bottom of its home page to its “Internet-based ads” business, a very real attack on the online advertising industry. It makes no mention of the robotics company it acquired this year, Kiva Systems, which continues to maintain its own web site and gives the appearance of serving non-Amazon customers.

So, how can Amazon spend $3 billion? Let us count the ways.

Available Now at AMAZON.COM ( go to books )

The Gold Investor’s Handbook – click here for   more detail on the in’s and outs of investing in gold

Long Term Themes for The AMP

stock market
stock market (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

Nov 12

Long Term Investment  Themes

– governing selections for for both current publications The Apprentice Millionaire Portfolio and    The Gold Investor’s Handbook

AND for both blog sites ( http://www.amp2012.com and  www.ampgoldportfolio.com)

The single most important theme is the long term outlook for interest rates and the supporting policy of central banks around the world.

Markets are ignoring this idea. They do not want to accept a very-low-interest-rate policy for a protracted period of time. Markets are also ignoring the fact that the same policy is in play in nearly all major mature economies of the world

What Will This Low Interest Rate Climate Bring to your AMP Portfolio?

1) Rising stock markets – in general – specifics as per our books

2) Real estate recovery( already underway in SOME locations.

3) Precious metals and other hard assets are an alternative to low rates for the bond market and will attract more attention. Future inflation fears will attract more investment from individuals . Central banks will increase their gold reserves

What Must YOU Do ?

Take action– don’t sit wringing your hands about inflation, the fiscal cliff or the number of homes needing electricity. Study the market opportunities available and build your portfolio.

The Gold Investor’s Handbook – click here for  investment profits and much more detail on the ins and outs of investing in gold 

AND Give The Gift Of Money This Christmas

All You Need To Succeed –

in 500 pages of Investing Strategy

and Selections Available now at Amazon .com

Stock Market Magic: Building Your Apprentice Millionaire Portfolio 2012: All you need to succeed in today’s stock market [Paperback]

Jack A. Bass (Author)

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews) | Like 1678

Those who have been wringing their hands about the big inflation, rising interest rates, weakening dollar, fiscal cliff, tax policy and the election rhetoric have missed markets. They now have an entry opportunity if they did not take advantage of it in the past.

Related articles

Barry Ridholtz Forecasts Stagflation – and a tough market ahead

Go Away Federal Reserve System!
Go Away Federal Reserve System! (Photo credit: r0b0r0b)

The market diary -results and predictions:

1)The Fed, ECB, BoE, BoJ and SNB will continue to print huge amounts of money, CHECK.

2)Earnings growth globally is slowing with GDP and we’ve seen the peak in profit margins, CHECK.

3)Election is over, DC doesn’t change, taxes are going up at exactly the wrong time, CHECK. An entry today: 1)stop saying “Uncertainty” as the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. 2)stop saying “fiscal cliff” as until market based solutions come to medicare, medicaid and social security, the can will get kicked all over the place and well passed any supposed ‘deal’ in the next two months. 3)Oh yeah, stop saying “kicking the can down the road.”

Bottom line, the stock market correction is not over, earnings will continue to slow, higher taxes of any kind in 2013 will bring a US recession, central banks will print more money (but can’t prevent a cyclical bear market after the near 3 yr bull run) and 2013 will be the most challenging both economically and from a market perspective that we’ve seen in a few yrs. Stagflation here we come is my call. Buy the flation and sell the stag.

Inflation means that gold will rise:

The Gold Investor’s Handbook – click here for  investment profits and much more detail on the ins and outs of investing in gold

and from Kiron Shankar

The European Court of Auditors reported, once again, the the EU made material errors in spending, amounting to 3.9% of its budget. The report will add to the pressure to limit the EU’s budget and will be good news for the Euro sceptics. The UK, in particular, wants a freeze (at worst) in the EU’s budget and the UK PM has little flexibility, given the recent Parliamentary vote (non binding) that he must obtain a cut in the EU budget, let alone a freeze. There is an increasing possibility that the UK will have a referendum as to its continued participation in the EU;

The UK PM meets Mrs Merkel today to try and agree on the EU budget ahead of the 22/23rd November meeting. The EU has proposed a rise of 6.0% in its 2014 to 2020 budget (they have suggested that EU countries cut back on their budgets, by the way), though Mr Cameron wants a freeze, at worst. The Germans have proposed that the EU budget is limited to 1.0% of the EU’s GDP;

The German’s plan of continuing to push austerity is unsustainable. As you know, I expect more pro growth policies, quite possibly as early as Q1 next year. The impact of fiscal multipliers is worsening the fiscal position of countries including Greece, Spain and Portugal and arguably France. This nonsense has to end. The clear downturn in Germany may well be the trigger for a change in policy

German September industrial production (seasonally adjusted) came in at -1.8% M/M, much worse than the -0.7% expected and -0.5% in August, which is yet another confirmation the recent weaker economic data, other than domestic consumption, which to date is holding up, though for how long;

The EU has forecast that the French economy will grow by +0.4% next year (half that forecast by the French) – personally, I expect the French economy to decline next year, especially if current policies are maintained. They added that whilst France should achieve its budget deficit target of -4.5% of GDP this year, it will be higher than the -3.0% next year (-3.5% expected). Personally, I believe that France will find it near impossible to meet even the -3.5% budget deficit forecast next year, based on current EZ policies. I continue to believe that France is the real big problem in the EZ, far more so than Italy (similar to Spain) – so long as the Italians deal with their political issues;

The EU forecasts that 2012 GDP will contract by -0.25% this year, with the EZ to decline by -0.4%. The EZ’s 2013 forecast has been slashed to just +0.1%from +1.0% previously – still too optimistic, based on current policies. Inflation is expected to decline to +1.8% in 2013, in line with previous forecasts, with 2012 inflation at +2.5%, rather than +2.4% previously. They have raised the Spanish budget deficit to -8.0%, much higher than the -6.3% target. Basically, a much weaker EZ economy in 2013 – why is anyone surprised. Indeed, unless policies change, a much worse outcome is likely;

Societe Generale on Debasement Of Currency By the Central Banks

English: Two hot-air balloons from Societe Gen...
English: Two hot-air balloons from Societe Generale and Rhein Energie Deutsch: Zwei Heißluftballons von Societe Generale und Rhein Energie Français : Deux montgolfières, l’une Société Générale l’autre Rhein Energie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 27

the Societe Generale author is Dylan Grice

I am more worried than I have ever been about the clouds gathering today (which may be the most wonderful contrary indicator you could hope for…). I hope they pass without breaking, but I fear the defining feature of coming decades will be a Great Disorder of the sort which has defined past epochs and scarred whole generations….

So I keep wondering to myself, do our money-printing central banks and their cheerleaders understand the full consequences of the monetary debasement they continue to engineer?

He runs through some of the Great Debasements of the past, starting with third-century Rome, running through Europe’s medieval inflations and the French Revolution, to the monetary horror story of Weimar Germany in the 1920s.

His key point is that inflations and hyperinflations don’t just hurt money, they hurt people and the societies they live in. Inflating money is less trustworthy money, and so people doing business trust each other less. Plus, those who are farthest from the source of artificially created money suffer the most (the “Cantillon effect”).

And now the social debasement is clear for all to see. The 99% blame the 1%, the 1% blame the 47%, the private sector blames the public sector, the public sector returns the sentiment  the young blame the old, everyone blame the rich  yet few question the ideas behind government or central banks …

I’d feel a whole lot better if central banks stopped playing games with money….

All I see is more of the same – more money debasement, more unintended consequences and more social disorder. Since I worry that it will be Great Disorder, I remain very bullish on safe havens.

In just 10 days we will see how the US elections turn out. Depending on what happens after, the US will either remain as one of those safe havens (and perhaps become even more of one) or those of us who reside here will need to start thinking more globally. I know a lot of thoughtful people who are already contemplating (if not acting on) plans to make sure their life savings maintain their buying power through the coming decade. I remain optimistic that we will set ourselves on a course that ends in a safe harbor, although the sailing will be quite volatile. What Dylan describes are the unintended consequences of people who think they understand macroeconomics and who are well-intentioned but whose policies can be most disruptive.

Click here for for much more detail on the ins and outs of investing in gold.

The Euro Crisis Country By Country Review

Spanish PM  Zapatero press briefing
Spanish PM Zapatero press briefing (Photo credit: London Summit)

Spain is not Greece” – Elena Salgado, Spanish Finance Minister, February 2010

Portugal is not Greece” – The Economist, April 2010

“Greece is not Ireland” – George Papaconstantinou, Greek Finance Minister, November 2010

“Spain is neither Ireland nor Portugal” – Elena Salgado, Spanish Finance Minister, Nov. 2010

“Ireland is not in ‘Greek Territory’” – Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, November 2010

“Neither Spain nor Portugal is Ireland” – Angel Gurria, Secretary-General OECD, Nov. 2010

“Italy is not Spain” – Ed Parker, Fitch MD, June 12, 2012

“Spain is not Uganda” – Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, June 2012

“Uganda does not want to be Spain” – Ugandan foreign minister, June 13, 2012

” The national budget must be balanced.The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be reduced, if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work,instead of living on public assistance.”  –  Cicero ,  (106- 43 B.C. )

            Having been to all the countries listed above, with the exception of Uganda (although I have been to 15 countries in Africa, several bordering Uganda), I am most happy to confirm that they are all different. Just as you would grant me the fact that the US is not the UK and that France is not Argentina. To paraphrase Tolstoy, dysfunctional countries come by their unhappy sets of circumstances in their own individual ways.

            How does one go about comparing the financial crisis in one country to that of another? The International Monetary Fund tried to do just that, setting off a rather torrid debate in economic circles. And while we will look today at their analysis, the upshot is that the economic models used to guide monetary and fiscal policy may not be working as they did in the past. Last week in this letter, I postulated a condition I called the Economic Singularity. Just as the singularity at the center of a black hole creates a region where mathematical models break down, a large mass of debt will create its own Economic Singularity where economic models no longer work as expected.

The Bottom Line for Investors :

1)Expect The Headlines To Continue and To Upset The Market

2)Place your faith in gold / money – not in politicians

3) Learn how to invest in gold with ” The Gold Investor’s Handbook ”  $19.95 from Amazon.com