Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Wall Street

Inflation Concerns Unfounded, Wall Street Moves Higher

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 14, 2018:  

Money-supply

Money-supply (this is an old chart, but you get the idea)

Once Wall Street traders read beyond the headlines released early Wednesday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they reversed the early selloff and bid the market higher.

Those traders were on high alert following the January report that wages had jumped nearly three percent last year. This triggered concerns that inflation was imminent, and that the Fed would institute interest rate increases which would slow the economy.

The headline from the BLS seemed to confirm those concerns:

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Despite Stock Sell-off, Few See Recession

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 9, 2018: 

Barbara Friedberg must be feeling pretty good right about now. Last October she made “10 Bold Stock Market Predictions for 2018,” and already she is scoring five out of 10:

Value stocks will triumph;

Cash will be king;

Inflation will inch up;

Market volatility will return; and

Bonds will offer higher yields.

The jury is still out on her prediction that “the Bull Market [in stocks] will end in 2018.”

Friedberg is no lightweight. She is a former portfolio manager and has taught finance and investments at several universities. She authored a popular book in 2014, How to Get Rich Without Winning the Lottery.

Despite the mantra that stocks’ performance is often a harbinger for future economic performance, few at present agree with her about the bull market in stocks being over.

The sell-off (which appears to be continuing as this is being written) in stocks is impressive. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA, or The Dow) has lost 3,227 points since its high on January 26, or 12 percent, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has dropped by 290 points, or 10 percent, since then as well. This is into “correction” territory and should be drawing negative outlooks on the future of the U.S. economy from every quarter.

But they can’t be found. Aside from perma-bears Michael Snyder and David Stockman, few of the usual suspects can be found who agree with Friedberg. When the Wall Street Journal polled its economists, they remained adamant about the health of the economy: GDP will continue to grow and unemployment will continue to drop:

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Markets Move Higher Following Crash Instigated by Obscure Agency

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 7, 2018: 

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

With Wall Street regaining its footing following the decline that started last Thursday, commentators in the mainstream media are still searching for the decline’s cause. Initially they claimed that it was an unexpected surge in inflation evidenced by the rise in the yield of 10-year U.S. Treasury notes approaching three percent (in early September it was closer to two percent). This was followed by the jobs report that announced that wages increased 2.9 percent year-over-year, up from just over two percent previously.

Writers at the Wall Street Journal dug deeper: The selloff was caused by — ready? — “volatility sellers, risk-party funds and algorithmic trading.” They then went into mind-numbing detail about how these strategies work and how the crash cost people using in them in excess of $200 billion.

Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, told TheStreet.com that maybe it was the Federal Reserve’s unhappiness with The Donald:

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Sorry, Inflation Worries are Not Behind the Selloff in Stocks

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 7, 2018:  

All manner of explanations for the recent market selloff in stocks have come out of the woodwork: the market has gotten ahead of itself; it was due for a correction anyway; it’s been 400 days since a three percent correction; and so on. The least informed is that all of a sudden there is inflation! See? The yield on the 10-year Treasury is up 80 basis points since September! That must mean there’s inflation! Couple that with the “surge” in wages just reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2.9 percent year-over-year compared to 2.2 percent reported previously) and – voila! – inflation is back. Time to take profits!

Most commentators didn’t bother to check with the Fed, specifically the Cleveland Fed and the St. Louis Fed, which report the real numbers on inflation and money supply. First:

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Treasury Advisory Committee Says U.S. Must Borrow Trillions, Sending Stocks Down

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 5, 2018:

When an obscure advisory committee announced last Wednesday that the U.S. Treasury would have to borrow billions to fund Trump’s tax reform program, the stock market pitched headlong into a selloff, dropping Thursday, Friday, and early into Monday. Before the selloff, the Dow was approaching 26,300, but by the close on Friday it had lost 760 points. The rout continued into Monday, with the Dow down more than 1,200 points from Wednesday’s high. [Note the rout continued into Tuesday but found some footing by the end of the day.]

Much handwringing by commentators blamed the selloff on various technical factors:

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What’s in the GOP Tax Bill?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 6, 2017:

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The GOP tax reform bill presented last Thursday attempts to be “revenue neutral” within 10 years. By giving most of the cuts to corporate taxpayers, there’s precious little left for the middle class to enjoy. The problem is not only the mathematics — trying to match the “give” with the “take” — but the politics: Democrats will work to scuttle any attempt to relieve fiscal pressure on entrepreneurs (i.e., capitalists) who are largely carrying the burden of supporting the government. Absent any attempt to cut spending — the tax bill’s 429 pages offer little help with that — what’s left, as has been said, is simply moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic.

First,

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The U.S. Economy is Built on Papier-mâché and Politicians’ Promises

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

What a perfect definition of the American economy! Papier-mâché is defined as a “composite material consisting of paper pieces of pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.” Add in a dose of political promises that everyone knows cannot be kept – not even close – and we have the American economy.

From a distance it looks pretty good. More than pretty good: to the untrained eye the American economy is setting world records, to wit:

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U.S. Economy Powers Through Hurricanes, Beats Forecasts With Three-percent Growth in Third Quarter

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 27, 2017:  

Putting in its best six-month performance in three years, the U.S. economy barely skipped a beat in the third quarter, growing at a three-percent annual rate. That was just slightly behind the second quarter, which grew at 3.1 percent, but way ahead of economists who had forecast growth for the third quarter at just 2.5 percent.

The Commerce Department said

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Maduro Blocks Opposition, Is Kept in Power by Banks and Marxist Allies

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 20, 2017: 

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

Days after the fraudulent election of mayors in Venezuela, Marxist dictator Nicolás Maduro banned the five mayors from the opposition party from taking office. He replaced them with party hacks, all but ending any opposition to his increasingly repressive regime. The election, in which 17 of the 23 mayoral races went to Maduro supporters, was widely criticized for being manipulated in order to give the country’s dictator the win.

Evidence that the election was fraudulent provided by the opposition is being ignored, with the head of Maduro’s National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, calling the elections

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This Thoroughbred is Just Beginning to Feel His Oats

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 20, 2017:

English: Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Down...

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs.

It’s tempting to push the analogy comparing the U.S. economy to a Thoroughbred horse too far. But it is tempting. The Thoroughbred breed began around the time of the Industrial Revolution, when an English mare was crossbred with an imported Oriental stallion with Arabian, Barb, and Turkoman breeding. All Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions imported into England in the 17th century. They were exported to Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America during the 19th century, and today an estimated 100,000 Thoroughbred foals are registered worldwide every year.

A Thoroughbred is tall, slender, athletic, and built for competition, usually on racetracks. Among the most famous are Citation, Phar Lap, Old Rosebud, Whirlaway, Roamer, Seabiscuit, and Man o’ War.

And, of course, the United States economy.

Starting at around 1800, the U.S. economy grew at such a rate that

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Venezuela’s Maduro’s Election Victory Likely to be Short-lived

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro celebrated the phony, fraudulent election on Sunday as if it were real and meant something:

We have won 75 percent of the country’s governorships … Chavismo [the socialist policies that have driven once-prosperous Venezuela into the ground] is alive [and] triumphant.

He rejoiced in the election’s supposed slap against foreign devils, including the United States: “This victory is a moral and political feat of the Venezuelan people who have learned to resist the onslaughts of the oligarchy’s war and who have said ‘no to sanctions,’ ‘no to interventionism.’’’

He didn’t tell his supporters that his victory is likely to be very short-lived.

That his election was clearly manipulated was spelled out by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert:

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Dow Crosses 23,000 for the First Time in History

Performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index ...

Performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Index during Black Monday

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 17, 2017:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), colloquially called “The Dow,” crossed over the 23,000 benchmark level early Tuesday morning for the first time in history. The Dow, which tracks the stocks of 30 major corporations, has gained 25 percent since the election while the NASDAQ (which tracks the stock performance of a vastly larger and more diversified range of companies across the globe) is up 27 percent. The S&P 500 Index (which tracks the stock performance of 500 American companies) is up 19 percent.

The Wall Street Journal had no trouble finding money managers who were willing to comment positively on the news. Mark Freeman, chief investment officer and portfolio manager at Westwood Holdings Group (which invests $22 billion for its customers), told the Journal:

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As the Fed Shrinks Its Balance Sheet, Nothing Can Go Wrong

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 20, 2017:

Investors and Wall Street gurus, seers, and prognosticators paid attention on Wednesday to the emanations from the Federal Reserve board meeting, hoping to glean more of the details about the “great unwinding” of the Fed’s enormously bloated balance sheet. In June, Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the time was drawing near to begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet and there were at least two ways to start: letting maturing bonds “roll off” instead of reinvesting the proceeds in new issues, and liquidating, ever so slowly, some U.S. treasuries, starting at $10 billion a month in October. That liquidation would increase on a quarterly basis until it topped out at $50 billion a month.

The goal, it was suggested, was to

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Shiller’s CAPE, Harvey, Irma, and now Jose: How Much More is Needed for a Stock Selloff?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, September 8, 2017:

English: (left) and meeting shortly after the ...

Republicans Smoot and Hawley

Wall Street prognosticators have watched Robert Shiller’s CAPE – “cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings” ratio – for years for signs that stocks are becoming overvalued. It’s now at a nosebleed level reached just before the October 1929 crash. The good news is that CAPE has been at that level ever since Shiller said that stocks were overvalued earlier this year. It is not a market timing tool, but more of an early warning indicator.

Short sellers have gotten smashed as the stock market continues to defy gravity. Bets against the SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund, the largest ETF tracking that index, fell to lows in July not seen since May 2013.

But Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now possibly Jose may finally bring things back to earth. The jump in unemployment claims for the week ending September 2, caused by Harvey and reported by the Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday, not surprisingly exceeded economists’ consensus. The increase of 62,000 for the week to

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Jump in Jobless Claims Following Harvey Is Just the Beginning

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 7, 2017:

View of the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina taken...

View of the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina taken on August 28, 2005 as the storm made landfall on the United States Gulf Coast.

The jump in unemployment claims for the week ending September 2, as reported by the Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday, not surprisingly exceeded economists’ consensus of just 241,000. The increase of 62,000 for the week to 298,000 nearly broke a claims record that has been in place for 131 weeks: 300,000.

That record will surely be broken in the weeks to come. The unemployment claims are just beginning to come in, and they are a predictor — a proxy — for job layoffs. Some workers

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Hurricane Harvey, President Trump Putting More Pressure on Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, August 27, 2017:

On Friday President Donald Trump once again ramped up sanctions against Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, shutting off his ability to sell new debt or equity in the U.S. financial markets. On Saturday, Hurricane Harvey, the worst hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in 50 years, has all but sealed Maduro’s fate.

Following Maduro’s installation of his illegal “constituent assembly” in July, President Trump placed sanctions on Maduro himself, freezing any and all of his assets lying within American jurisdiction. A week later Trump added a few of Maduro’s cronies to that list, and on August 9 he added a few more. At the time The New American expressed skepticism that they would have any effect on Maduro’s obstinacy and determination to continue policies that have caused Venezuela’s economy to shrink by 35 percent just since 2014.

On Friday the Trump administration broadened those sanctions to include

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Anthony Scaramucci — the “Mooch” — Named as Trump’s Communications Director

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 24, 2017:

Following his appointment as White House communications director on Friday, Anthony Scaramucci (shown) made the rounds of various Sunday talk shows. He told Fox News that President Trump is “one of the most effective communicators that’s ever been born. And we’re going to make sure that we get that message out directly to the American people.” He added:

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Trump’s Growth Target Reduced to 3 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 17, 2017:  

For Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s director of his Office of Management and Budget (OMB), reality is setting in. On the campaign trail Trump repeatedly promised four percent growth in the GDP (gross domestic product): “We’re bringing it from 1 percent up to 4 percent. And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.” (October, 2016). Later that month he doubled down during a speech to an audience in North Carolina: “I’m going to get us to 4 percent growth and create 25 million jobs over a 10-year period.”

Mulvaney’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday was unapologetic: “We are promoting MAGAnomics — and that means sustained 3 percent growth.” This new tag, which incorporates the acronym for “Make America Great Again,” is a play on “Reaganomics” from the 1980s:

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Has Janet Yellen Tripped the Bernanke Indicator?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 14, 2017:

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...

Official portrait of former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

During a question and answer period following her talk at the British Academy in London on June 27, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was asked if there could possibly be a repeat of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. She answered:

I think the system is much safer and much sounder [today]. We are doing a lot more to try to look for financial stability risks that may not be immediately apparent, but to look in corners of the financial system that are not subject to regulation, outside those areas in order to try to detect threats to financial stability that may be emerging….

 

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.

Historians will remember similar assurances from then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just before the real estate crash that led to the financial crisis back in 2007:

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Goldilocks Stock Market Making Forecasters Nervous

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 13, 2017:  

At the moment, Wall Street investors are enjoying a “Goldilocks” economy: not so hot that it pushes prices up and not so cold that it causes a recession. Translation: Unemployment is low, wages are rising, interest rates are still near record lows, the gross domestic product (GDP) continues to grow (although not as fast as President Trump would like), and inflation is under control.

It isn’t a perfect world, but to Wall Street investors it’s close.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.