JIM ROGERS: The World’s Savers Are Being Wiped Out

English: American investor Jim Rogers in Madri...

English: American investor Jim Rogers in Madrid (Spain) during an interview. Español: El inversor norteamericano Jim Rogers en Madrid (España) durante una entrevista. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jim Rogers decries the growing uncertainty and recklessness of global central planners as the world enters uncharted financial markets:

 

For the first time in recorded history, we have nearly every central bank printing money and trying to debase their currency. This has never happened before. How it’s going to work out, I don’t know. It just depends on which one goes down the most and first, and they take turns. When one says a currency is going down, the question is against what? because they are all trying to debase themselves. It’s a peculiar time in world history.

I own the dollar, not because I have any confidence in the dollar and not because it’s sound – it’s a terribly flawed currency – but I expect more currency

turmoil, more financial turmoil. During periods like that, people, for whatever reason, flee to the U.S. dollar as a safe haven. It is not a safe haven, but it is perceived that way by some people. That’s why the dollar is going up. That’s why I own it. Will I own it in five years, ten years? I don’t know.

It makes it extremely difficult for the investor looking for acceptable risk/reward, or the saver looking to protect their purchasing power; as in Rogers’ view, all options have their problems:

I own gold and silver and precious metals. I own all commodities, which is a better way to play as they debase currencies. I own more agriculture than just about anything else in real assets because of the reasons we discussed before. We were talking before about the risk-free or worry-free investment. Even gold: the Indian politicians are talking about coming down hard on gold, and India is the largest buyer of gold in the world. If Indian politicians do something — whether it’s foolish or not is irrelevant — if they do something, gold could go down a lot. So I own it. I’m not selling it. But everything has problems.

To Rogers, the bigger danger that concerns him is the hollowing out of the ‘saving class’ resulting from this situation. Central planners’ policies are punishing the prudent in favor of rescuing the irresponsible. This has happened before in world history, and the aftermath has always had grievous economic, social — and often human — costs:

Throughout our history – any country’s history – the people who save their money and invest for their future are the ones that you build an economy, a society, and a nation on.

In America, many people saved their money, put it aside, and didn’t buy four or five houses with no job and no money down. They did what most people would consider the right thing, and what historically has been the right thing. But now, unfortunately, those people are being wiped out, because they are getting 0% return, or virtually no return, on their savings and their investments. We’re wiping them out at the expense of people who went deeply into debt, people who did what most people would consider the wrong thing at the expense of people who did the right thing. This, long-term, has terrible consequences for any nation, any society, any economy.

If you go back in history, you’ll see what happened to the Germans when they wiped out their savings class in the 1920s. It didn’t lead to good things down the road for Germany. It didn’t lead to good things for Italy, which did the same thing. There were plenty of countries where it wiped out the people who saved and invested for their future. It’s usually a serious, political reaction, desperation in some cases, and looking for a savior and easy answers is usually what happens when you destroy the people who save and invest for the future.

Related articles

QE 4 Update/ Review

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

English: President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Big Picture

Link to The Big Picture

  • Our market letter will return in the New Year
What Is The Purpose of QE?

Posted: 25 Dec 2012 02:00 PM PST

As detailed earlier in the month, the Federal Reserve announced more stimulus, otherwise known as QE4, at its recent meeting.

Lots of the discussion thus far has focused on whether or not QE will happen and not on the purpose of QE.

What we discuss below is a good example of economists discussing the probability of QE rather than why QE is necessary or what it will accomplish.

So, what is QE supposed to do?  Bernanke told us in his speech over the summer in Jackson Hole:

“After nearly four years of experience with large-scale asset purchases, a substantial body of empirical work on their effects has emerged. Generally, this research finds that the Federal Reserve’s large-scale purchases have significantly lowered long-term Treasury yields. For example, studies have found that the $1.7 trillion in purchases of Treasury and agency securities under the first LSAP program reduced the yield on 10-year Treasury securities by between 40 and 110 basis points. The $600 billion in Treasury purchases under the second LSAP program has been credited with lowering 10-year yields by an additional 15 to 45 basis points.12 Three studies considering the cumulative influence of all the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases, including those made under the MEP, found total effects between 80 and 120 basis points on the 10-year Treasury yield.13 These effects are economically meaningful.

LSAPs also appear to have boosted stock prices, presumably both by lowering discount rates and by improving the economic outlook; it is probably not a coincidence that the sustained recovery in U.S. equity prices began in March 2009, shortly after the FOMC’s decision to greatly expand securities purchases. This effect is potentially important because stock values affect both consumption and investment decisions.

While there is substantial evidence that the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases have lowered longer-term yields and eased broader financial conditions, obtaining precise estimates of the effects of these operations on the broader economy is inherently difficult, as the counterfactual–how the economy would have performed in the absence of the Federal Reserve’s actions–cannot be directly observed. If we are willing to take as a working assumption that the effects of easier financial conditions on the economy are similar to those observed historically, then econometric models can be used to estimate the effects of LSAPs on the economyModel simulations conducted at the Federal Reserve generally find that the securities purchase programs have provided significant help for the economy. For example, a study using the Board’s FRB/US model of the economy found that, as of 2012, the first two rounds of LSAPs may have raised the level of output by almost 3 percent and increased private payroll employment by more than 2 million jobs, relative to what otherwise would have occurred.15

This is not the first time the Federal Reserve has laid out this argument.  In a November 4, 2010 Washington Post op-ed, the day after QE2 was approved, Ben Bernanke defended their actions with the following passage:

Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday that a controversial $600 billion bond buying plan has contributed to a stronger stock market. “Our policies have contributed to a stronger stock market just as they did in March 2009 when we did the first iteration of this program,” Bernanke said at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. forum on small businesses. “A stronger economy helps small businesses more than larger businesses. Interest rates are higher but that’s mostly because the news is better. It has responded to a stronger economy and better expectations.”

To sum it all up:

• The Federal Reserve buys Treasury bonds in order to push down interest rates, making them an unattractive investment (last shown here, page 6) .

• Investors respond by moving out the risk curve and buying assets like corporate bonds and stocks, pushing them higher.  The Federal Reserve believes this happens via the portfolio balance theory.

• But according to the Federal Reserve, moving out the risk curve does not include buying agricultural or crude oil futures, so do not blame them for higher food or gasoline prices.

• Higher asset prices create a wealth effect, which increases spending and confidence and improves the economy. The Federal Reserve believes this has helped create 2 million jobs.

We agree with half of what is written above.

• QE does produce lower interest rates, or at least the belief that rates are too low.  This then pushes investors out the risk curve which is why stocks have such an immediate and positive reaction whenever QE is speculated.

• The Federal Reserve is playing politics in regards to the effect of QE on commodity prices.  There is no reason to believe the risk curve ends at low-rated stocks.  How much QE affects food and gasoline prices can be debated, but to argue there is no effect at all, and will never be an effect under any scenario, merely because the Federal Reserve does not want to answer for these higher prices, is just wrong.

• The argument that higher asset prices produce a wealth effect is only partially correct.  Two conditions must be met for a wealth effect to ensue.  Net worth must reach a new high and it must be perceived to be permanent.  This is why housing produced such a powerful wealth effect before 2006.  Home prices always went up and their gains were perceived to be permanent.  Currently we have a retracement of losses and a widespread distrust of financial markets.  These conditions will not produce any wealth effect and we believe they have not.

QE is great for Wall Street as it produces more volatility (brokers like this), higher stocks prices (fund managers like this) and draws lots of attention (analysts like this).  It is not good for Main Street because it does not create wealth.  QE’s effects are not perceived to be permanent, so it does not lead to higher GDP or job growth.

What Will The Federal Reserve Do?

In Septmber we noted that the median expectation in a survey of primary dealers calls for $500 billion of additional purchases heavily tilted toward mortgage-backed securities.   If the purpose of QE is to push stock prices higher, then the Federal Reserve has to deliver at least $500 billion in purchases.  Otherwise it will disappoint risk markets.

Right now, if we have to guess, we believe the Federal Reserve will announce purchases of less than $500 billion. In January the Federal Reserve adopted an inflation target of 2.0%.  As we detailed in a conference call last month (transcripthandoutaudio), inflation expectations are running well above this target.  One measure of inflation expectations, the 10-year TIPS inflation breakeven rate, is shown below.  Further, in April, when Bernanke was asked if he would adopt a suggestion from Paul Krugman to expand the target to 3%, he flatly rejected the idea (explained here).

The hawks will argue expected inflation is too high to add more stimulus, an argument which will carry some weight.  The compromise will be a program of less than $500 billion in purchases which will disappoint the markets.

Click to enlarge:

Source: Arbor Research

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on our Bond Position

Grover Cleveland - Series of 1914 $20 bill

Grover Cleveland – Series of 1914 $20 bill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nov. 16

Hedge-fund manager Jack Bass, who made $500 million shorting subprime mortgages during the 2007 crash, said he’s now betting half his firm’s money on a rebound in those assets.

Securities tied to the riskiest mortgages are virtually “bullet-proof,” because even if the U.S. housing market declines by 10 percent, investors won’t take a principal hit on their bonds, Bass said in an interview with Bloomberg Televison’sStephanie Ruhle on Market Makers. The assets offer a “very safe place” to make double-digit returns, he said.

“We have more than half our money in subprime bonds,” Bass said. “You don’t like a pair of jeans at 200 bucks, but when they go on sale for $25 you look great in them.”

Mortgage funds have outperformed as the U.S. housing market rebounds, homeowner refinancing remains constrained and the U.S. Federal Reserve buys government-backed debt to try to stimulate the economy. Dallas-based Hayman, which Bass founded in 2005, managed $1 billion at the end of September, according to a firm presentation obtained by Bloomberg News.

‘Best Investments

Bass said his bullish bets are focused on the top tranches of mortgage securities, which would have to endure a “draconian scenario” of homeowners not meeting their payments before bond investors would be hurt. The assets are the “best investment” at a time when U.S. Treasuries provide no yield, he said.

The European sovereign debt crisis and the so-called fiscal cliff in the U.S. have made the current environment “the hardest period of time to invest in our generation,” Bass said. The fiscal cliff refers to automatic tax increases and budget cuts that will start next year unless President Barack Obama and Congress reach a compromise to reduce spending.

While investors have become less concerned about Europe, Bass said it’s too early to pour money into the region. Yields on bonds issued by indebted nations including Spain and Portugalhave fallen since European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged July 26 to defend the euro currency bloc at all costs.

Germany’s Plight

Hedge funds buying assets in Europe “might be picking up a dime in front of a bulldozer,” because they will be crushed if the region falls apart, Bass said. Germany is more likely to exit the euro in the next four years than Greece, which faces mounting debts and is struggling repay bailout funds, he added.

Bass compared the predicament facing the stronger nations in the 17-member euro area to being forced to support struggling relatives.

“Let’s not even discuss relatives,” Bass said. “Let’s discuss 17 people that you might have been fighting with for 200 years.”

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.

How Bernanke Is Pushing Stocks Higher

1-fed

1-fed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sept. 17

 

Stocks Get A Double Kick

The Fed is enlarging the duration of its balance sheet and thereby altering the market’s clearing mechanism. Thus, long duration asset prices are expected to rise. That means US treasury bond yields are expected to fall. But global sellers may have other things in mind. They now suspect the US dollar will weaken and therefore they want to exit their holdings. When they do that, the yields on those instruments will rise and the prices fall if the global sellers sell more in a given period than the Fed is buying. This is the tradeoff we cannot estimate. Only time will tell.

So the volatility in the bond market is rising and will continue to do so. That is what happens when you mess around with duration.

Stocks are a very long duration, variable rate, asset class. They also have the ability to adjust to the inflationary outcomes that this extraordinary Fed policy can deliver. American stocks can state their foreign earnings in US dollar terms. Therefore a weakening US dollar means they will report higher earnings. Thus stocks get a double kick from this policy. They benefit from the weak dollar earnings translation and they benefit from the Fed duration switch.

That explains the market’s reaction to the Fed’s announcement. US long treasury yields rose, not fell. Stocks rose.

We can affirm this reaction by digging into the market.

The cap-weighted S&P 500 average was up 4.49% from Labor Day weekend until the September 14 close. The top 100 are found in an ETF; its symbol is OEF. It was up 4.30%. Remember, it is the larger companies that get the biggest kick from the weaker dollar. So we would expect OEF to trade closely with SPY (the symbol for the S&P 500). It did.

Contrast that with RWL. It is the symbol for the revenue-weighted S&P 500. These are same stocks but with a different weighting method. If the Fed’s policy is expected to result in more inflation, there will be a greater impact on the revenue side, with top-line growth. We should see that expectation show up in the market, where we track revenue weightings vs. cap weightings. It did. RWL was up 5.13% vs. SPY up 4.49%. Note also that risk-taking is broadening in the stock market. We see that by examining RSP. It is the equal-weighted version of the 500 Index. It was up 5.61%.

Let me be very clear. I disagree with this Fed policy move. It was not my first choice. I think the Fed is now playing with fire. But our job is to manage portfolios and not to make policy. If the Fed is now in QE infinity and if the Fed is now buying duration from the market at a rate faster than the market is creating it, then we want to be on the bullish side of that trade. Our US stock accounts are nearly fully invested. Our bond accounts are avoiding the longer-term treasuries and are using them as hedging vehicles. Our international accounts have been realigned accordingly.

The Bible says that Job was tested to his limits. In the next few years the financial and investing world will be tested, too.

Doug Kass : Plans On Shorting Stocks ( Response to Draghi / Euro Zone Crisis)

European Central Bank

European Central Bank (Photo credit: jurjen_nl)

Sept. 6

“I plan to sell/short this news for several basic reasons,” writes Doug Kass, President of Seabreeze Partners

In a new note published on The Street, Kass writes that he’s not very impressed by Mario Draghi‘s announcement that the ECB would begin unlimited bond-buying program.

“Not only is Europe slipping more rapidly into a deeper recession but the implementation of serious and effective longer-term policy responses remains unlikely. Band-Aid policy measures of providing liquidity (which aids the transmission of monetary policy) remain the operative palliative, and they will likely continue for some time to come.”

And he argues that the U.S. serves as a pretty good model for what’s to come:

“…we can look at the massive doses of monetary stimulation in the U.S. as a template. Despite unprecedented easing, we are now more than three years after the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and the domestic economic economy is growing (in real terms) at only 1.8%. Given the more dire state of the eurozone (accelerating inflation, decelerating economic growth and rising unemployment), how will it be possible for Europe to grow out of its debt problem? The answer is that it won’t be able to without the heavy lifting and unpopular policies that could encourage growth by cutting expenditures and balancing trade.”

Bottom line, he says: “There will be many more Thursdays with Mario.”

Read the whole post at TheStreet.com.

What Draghi said:

  • Transparency: Purchases to be revealed on a weekly and monthly basis.

Basically, so long as governments submit to outside observation of fiscal consolidation plans, the ECB will buy 1-3 year debt in unlimited levels.

You can read the full press release on it here.

If this really goes operational (which will require the full activation of the bailout schemes, and the willingness of countries like Spain to submit to outside review) the ECB then has the firepower to take tail risk off the table.

In fact, Draghi specifically said that was the goal: Taking tail risk off the table.

The big question is: how will this different than past bond buying programs? One reporter during the Q&A noted that the ECB has done this twice before.

Draghi’s basic answer: Countries will be subject to conditionality (making bond purchases part of fiscal consolidation) and it will be unlimited. Also it will be transparent.

The mos tension during the Q&A came when German reporters pestered Draghi about the legitimacy of the program, and whether this is really legal under the ECB’s mandate.

Draghi insists it is. He says that it’s consistent with the mandate for price stability and that even in the origanl ECB charter, bond purchases have been anticipated.
ECB press conference was the first time that the bank was expected to announce a real game changer for the euro crisis.

The reason? For the first time, it looks like the ECB is seriously going to open up its unlimited pocketbook and buy bonds agressively to depress yields.

Usually the ECB disappoints when it has a press conference, but this time the markets seem to like what happened. European bond yields are falling, and the Dow is up 130.

The hallmark news of the day was the existence of a new plan: The OMT, which stands for Outright Monetary Transactions.

Previously, when the ECB did bond buying it was under a program called the SMP: Securities Market Program.

The new plan rests on 5 pillars:

  • Conditionality. Strict and effective conditionality is attached to ECB purchases of sovereign debt. What this means is: No country gets to have their bonds purchased unless they submit to outside oversight on fiscal matters. IMF observation will get re-elected. Draghi threatens to terminate actions in non-compliance.
  • Unlimited purchases of 1 to 3 years.
  • ECB is no longer senior. ECB expects the same Pari Pasu treatment.
  • Sterilization: The liquidity created through outright transactions will be sterilized.
  • Transparency: Purchases to be revealed on a weekly and monthl
    • basis.

    Basically, so long as governments submit to outside observation of fiscal consolidation plans, the ECB will buy 1-3 year debt in unlimited levels.

    You can read the full press release on it here.

    If this really goes operational (which will require the full activation of the bailout schemes, and the willingness of countries like Spain to submit to outside review) the ECB then has the firepower to take tail risk off the table.

    In fact, Draghi specifically said that was the goal: Taking tail risk off the table.

    The big question is: how will this different than past bond buying programs? One reporter during the Q&A noted that the ECB has done this twice before.

    Draghi’s basic answer: Countries will be subject to conditionality (making bond purchases part of fiscal consolidation) and it will be unlimited. Also it will be transparent.

    The mos tension during the Q&A came when German reporters pestered Draghi about the legitimacy of the program, and whether this is really legal under the ECB’s mandate.

    Draghi insists it is. He says that it’s consistent with the mandate for price stability and that even in the origanl ECB charter, bond purchases have been anticipated.

    The market seems to like it: The Dow is surging 150 points, hitting the highest level in 52 weeks.

     

Credit Suisse : Fiscal Cliff Primer

THE UNIONS ECONOMIC DAY OF RECKONING

THE UNIONS ECONOMIC DAY OF RECKONING (Photo credit: SS&SS)

Credit Suisse recent published what we like to call a Fiscal Cliff primer.

 

 

August 23

The fiscal cliff is the accumulation of a long list of specific tax increases and spending reductions pre-programmed for the beginning of 2013.
According to U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates, the tax and spending policies that are scheduled to take effect on
New Year’s Day will reduce the federal budget deficit by almost 4% of GDP in fiscal year 2013, and more than 5% on a
calendar year basis – a severe tightening of fiscal policy by any yardstick.

Credit Suisse says there is arguably “less” to the cliff than meets the eye. It’s doubtful that all of the tax hikes and spending cuts will be allowed to occur all at once. Significant provisions within the cliff enjoy bi-partisan support for extension or renewal, and Credit Suisse thinks some of the provisions carry minimal “bang for the buck” benefit for the economy in the first place.

Even so, fiscal policy is likely to be a restraining influence under any plausible scenario next year. While if the entire cliff came to pass – an unlikely but technically possible scenario – the blow to the economy would be severe, almost certainly recession-inducing. Credit Suisse considered the GDP impact under four fiscal cliff scenarios (Ppt. fiscal drag on nominal GDP growth, calendar year basis):

i) Best Case: -0.9%;

ii) Most Likely: -1.5%;

iii) Plausible Downside: -2.4%; and

iv) Worst Case (Unlikely): -3.8%.

Credit Suisse believes the economic expansion could absorb the “best case” and “most likely” scenarios without overly dire consequences. Fiscal drag of these magnitudes is not unusual (this year’s federal fiscal drag is probably around 1%, for example). In the “plausible downside”
scenario, growth could move closer to 1% for the full year, with little room for shortfalls outside of the federal sector (with more potential for a negative GDP quarter, particularly at the beginning of the year when the brunt of the fiscal drag hits the economy). In the “worst case” scenario, GDP could turn negative for the year.

S & P 12 Month Targets

What’s your crystal ball saying these days?
As you peer into the mist, do you see European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi standing idly by as the eurozone crumbles, dragging the global economy into a new recession? Do you see fourth-quarter earnings growth at S&P 500 companies faltering and missing current projections for a
robust 10.5% year-on-year gain?

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 - Jean-Claude Trich...

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 – Jean-Claude Trichet, President, European Central Bank, Frankfurt, speaks during the session ‘Rethinking Government Assistance’ in the Congress Centre of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2010. Copyright by World Economic Forum. swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you glimpse an image of the U.S. economy driving obliviously over the “fiscal cliff” as partisan bickering in Congress grows even worse?
What about persistently high U.S. unemployment and a still weak housing market sapping consumer confidence?
If this is the regularly scheduled programming now being shown on your stock market predicting mechanism of choice, it may be time for an upgrade to a high definition model.

TARGETS
12-Month S&P 500 1500
S&P 500 EPS 2012 $103.18
Mid-Year 2013 S&P Euro 350 1100
Year-End 2012 S&P Asia 50 3400
Year-End 2012 Emerging Markets 1050
Fed Funds Rate 2012 Average 0.1%
10-Year Note Yield 2012 Average 1.8%
Real GDP Growth 2012 2.0%
Real GDP Growth 2013 2.0%
WTI Average/bbl. 2012 $90.23
WTI Average/bbl. 2013 $89.23
Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Far from buckling under the pressure of the global economy’s myriad  roblems, however, the stock market has been rallying lately and is now within sight of the post recession high set back in April, when a series of strong employment report suggested (at least temporarily) that the U.S. economy was
rapidly gaining strength.
“While fundamentals can’t be ignored” says Sam Stovall, S&P Capital IQ’s chief investment strategist, pointing to the consensus projection for a less-than-inspiring 0.85% gain in second quarter S&P 500 earnings per share and a downright worrisome 1.5% decline for in the third quarter, “Wall Street
may be baking in an economic and earnings per share recovery a year or so from now.”

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Euro Crisis Part 367 : Spain Will ” Accept ” A Bailout

Olli Rehn, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Co...

Olli Rehn, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

August 14

Spain’s government is considering a request for a sovereign bailout, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn signalled.

Spain has an “open mind,” Rehn said Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. No decision has yet been taken by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government, he said.

“We stand ready to act if there is a request,” Rehn said.

We stand ready to act if there is a request

Rehn’s remarks follow comments by Rajoy that he would ask the European Central Bank to buy Spanish bonds “if it seems reasonable,” as he moved to extend unemployment subsidies for some of the nation’s 5.7 million jobless.

Rajoy’s only criterion will be “defending the general interests of Spaniards,” the premier told reporters today in Palma de Mallorca after meeting King Juan Carlos. The day before an extraordinary jobless subsidy was set to expire, Rajoy also said the government will extend payments for another six months amid a jobless rate of 25%.

Spanish 10-year bond yields rose to a euro-era high of 7.62% on July 24, exceeding the threshold that prompted full sovereign bailouts in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Yields have fallen since ECB President Mario Draghi said on Aug. 2 the bank would buy sovereign bonds if countries applied for similar support from Europe’s rescue fund and accepted strict conditions in return.

The yield on Spain’s 10-year notes fell 11 basis points today to 6.73%.

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