Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
US Coronavirus Infections & Deaths Trend Trajectory - How Bad Will it Get? - 2nd Apr 20
Silver Looks Bearish Short to Medium Term - 2nd Apr 20
Mickey Fulp: 'Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste' - 2nd Apr 20
Stock Market Selloff Structure Explained – Fibonacci On Deck - 2nd Apr 20
COVID-19 FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN: Can PAYPAL Be Trusted to Handle US $1200 Stimulus Payments? - 2nd Apr 20
Day in the Life of Coronavirus LOCKDOWN - Sheffield, UK - 2nd Apr 20
UK Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Trend Trajectory - Deviation Against Forecast - 1st Apr 20
Huge Unemployment Is Coming. Will It Push Gold Prices Up? - 1st Apr 20
Gold Powerful 2008 Lessons That Apply Today - 1st Apr 20
US Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Projections Trend Forecast - Video - 1st Apr 20
From Global Virus Acceleration to Global Debt Explosion - 1st Apr 20
UK Supermarkets Coronavirus Panic Buying Before Lock Down - Tesco Empty Shelves - 1st Apr 20
Gold From a Failed Breakout to a Failed Breakdown - 1st Apr 20
P FOR PANDEMIC - 1st Apr 20
The Past Stock Market Week Was More Important Than You May Understand - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus - No, You Do Not Hear the Fat Lady Warming Up - 31st Mar 20
Life, Religions, Business, Globalization & Information Technology In The Post-Corona Pandemics Age - 31st Mar 20
Three Charts Every Stock Market Trader and Investor Must See - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus Stocks Bear Market Trend Forecast - Video - 31st Mar 20
Coronavirus Dow Stocks Bear Market Into End April 2020 Trend Forecast - 31st Mar 20
Is it better to have a loan or credit card debt when applying for a mortgage? - 31st Mar 20
US and UK Coronavirus Trend Trajectories vs Bear Market and AI Stocks Sector - 30th Mar 20
Are Gold and Silver Mirroring 1999 to 2011 Again? - 30th Mar 20
Stock Market Next Cycle Low 7th April - 30th Mar 20
United States Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Trend Forecasts Into End April 2020 - 29th Mar 20
Some Positives in a Virus Wracked World - 29th Mar 20
Expert Tips to Save on Your Business’s Office Supply Purchases - 29th Mar 20
An Investment in Life - 29th Mar 20
Sheffield Coronavirus Pandemic Infections and Deaths Forecast - 29th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Projections Trend Forecast - Video - 28th Mar 20
The Great Coronavirus Depression - Things Are Going to Change. Here’s What We Should Do - 28th Mar 20
One of the Biggest Stock Market Short Covering Rallies in History May Be Imminent - 28th Mar 20
The Fed, the Coronavirus and Investing - 28th Mar 20
Women’s Fashion Trends in the UK this 2020 - 28th Mar 20
The Last Minsky Financial Snowflake Has Fallen – What Now? - 28th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Projections Trend Forecast Into End April 2020 - 28th Mar 20
DJIA Coronavirus Stock Market Technical Trend Analysis - 27th Mar 20
US and UK Case Fatality Rate Forecast for End April 2020 - 27th Mar 20
US Stock Market Upswing Meets Employment Data - 27th Mar 20
Will the Fed Going Nuclear Help the Economy and Gold? - 27th Mar 20
What you need to know about the impact of inflation - 27th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Herd Immunity, Flattening the Curve and Case Fatality Rate Analysis - 27th Mar 20
NHS Hospitals Before Coronavirus Tsunami Hits (Sheffield), STAY INDOORS FINAL WARNING! - 27th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Curve, Stock Market Crash, and Mortgage Massacre - 27th Mar 20
Finding an Expert Car Accident Lawyer - 27th Mar 20
We Are Facing a Depression, Not a Recession - 26th Mar 20
US Housing Real Estate Market Concern - 26th Mar 20
Covid-19 Pandemic Affecting Bitcoin - 26th Mar 20
Italy Coronavirus Case Fataility Rate and Infections Trend Analysis - 26th Mar 20
Why Is Online Gambling Becoming More Popular? - 26th Mar 20
Dark Pools of Capital Profiting from Coronavirus Stock Markets CRASH! - 26th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Herd Immunity and Flattening the Curve - 25th Mar 20
Coronavirus Lesson #1 for Investors: Beware Predictions of Stock Market Bottoms - 25th Mar 20
CoronaVirus Stock Market Trend Implications - 25th Mar 20
Pandemonium in Precious Metals Market as Fear Gives Way to Command Economy - 25th Mar 20
Pandemics and Gold - 25th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Hotspots - Cities with Highest Risks of Getting Infected - 25th Mar 20
WARNING US Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Going Ballistic! - 24th Mar 20
Coronavirus Crisis - Weeks Where Decades Happen - 24th Mar 20
Industry Trends: Online Casinos & Online Slots Game Market Analysis - 24th Mar 20
Five Amazingly High-Tech Products Just on the Market that You Should Check Out - 24th Mar 20
UK Coronavirus WARNING - Infections Trend Trajectory Worse than Italy - 24th Mar 20
Rick Rule: 'A Different Phrase for Stocks Bear Market Is Sale' - 24th Mar 20
Stock Market Minor Cycle Bounce - 24th Mar 20
Gold’s century - While stocks dominated headlines, gold quietly performed - 24th Mar 20
Big Tech Is Now On The Offensive Against The Coronavirus - 24th Mar 20
Socialism at Its Finest after Fed’s Bazooka Fails - 24th Mar 20
Dark Pools of Capital Profiting from Coronavirus Stock and Financial Markets CRASH! - 23rd Mar 20
Will Trump’s Free Cash Help the Economy and Gold Market? - 23rd Mar 20
Coronavirus Clarifies Priorities - 23rd Mar 20
Could the Coronavirus Cause the Next ‘Arab Spring’? - 23rd Mar 20
Concerned About The US Real Estate Market? Us Too! - 23rd Mar 20
Gold Stocks Peak Bleak? - 22nd Mar 20
UK Supermarkets Coronavirus Panic Buying, Empty Tesco Shelves, Stock Piling, Hoarding Preppers - 22nd Mar 20
US Coronavirus Infections and Deaths Going Ballistic as Government Start to Ramp Up Testing - 21st Mar 20
Your Investment Portfolio for the Next Decade—Fix It with the “Anti-Stock” - 21st Mar 20
CORONA HOAX: This Is Almost Completely Contrived and Here’s Proof - 21st Mar 20
Gold-Silver Ratio Tops 100; Silver Headed For Sub-$10 - 21st Mar 20
Coronavirus - Don’t Ask, Don’t Test - 21st Mar 20
Napag and Napag Trading Best Petroleum & Crude Oil Company - 21st Mar 20
UK Coronavirus Infections Trend Trajectory Worse than Italy - Government PANICs! Sterling Crashes! - 20th Mar 20
UK Critical Care Nurse Cries at Empty SuperMarket Shelves, Coronavirus Panic Buying Stockpiling - 20th Mar 20
Coronavirus Is Not an Emergency. It’s a War - 20th Mar 20
Why You Should Invest in the $5 Gold Coin - 20th Mar 20
Four Key Stock Market Questions To This Coronavirus Crisis Everyone is Asking - 20th Mar 20
Gold to Silver Ratio’s Breakout – Like a Hot Knife Through Butter - 20th Mar 20
The Coronavirus Contraction - Only Cooperation Can Defeat Impending Global Crisis - 20th Mar 20
Is This What Peak Market Fear Looks Like? - 20th Mar 20
Alessandro De Dorides - Business Consultant - 20th Mar 20
Why a Second Depression is Possible but Not Likely - 20th Mar 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Coronavirus-bear-market-2020-analysis

Housing and Stocks Bubble - The Punch Bowl Stays

Stock-Markets / Liquidity Bubble Jun 09, 2015 - 06:35 PM GMT

By: Peter_Schiff

Stock-Markets

It is well known that I don’t think much of the ability of government officials to correctly forecast much of anything. Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have made famously clueless predictions with respect to stock and housing bubbles, and rank and file Fed economists have consistently overestimated the strength of the economy ever since their forecasts became public in 2008 (see my previous article on the subject). But there is one former Fed and White House economist who has a slightly better track record...which is really not saying much. Over his public and private career, former Fed Governor and Bush-era White House Chief Economist Larry Lindsey actually got a few things right.


Back in the late 1990s, Lindsey was one of the few Fed governors to warn about a pending stock bubble, and to suggest that forecasts for future growth in corporate earnings were wildly optimistic. He also famously predicted that the cost of the 2003 Iraq invasion would greatly exceed the $50 billion promised by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a dissent that ultimately cost him his White House position. (But even Lindsey’s $100-$200 billion forecast proved way too conservative - the final price of the invasion and occupation is expected to exceed $2 trillion).
 
Now Lindsey is speaking out again, and this time he is pointing to what he sees as a painfully obvious problem: That the Fed is creating new bubbles that no one seems willing to confront or even acknowledge.  Interviewed by CNBC on June 8th on Squawk Box, Lindsey offered an unusually blunt assessment of the current state of the markets and the economy. To paraphrase:
 
“The public and the political class love to have everything going up. We had “Bubble #1” in the 1990s, “Bubble #2” in the 00s, and now we are in “Bubble #3.” It’s a lot of fun while it’s going up, but no one wants to be accused of ending the party early. But it’s the Fed’s job to take away the punch bowl before the party really gets going.”
 
To his credit, however, Lindsey sees how this is sowing the seeds for future pain, saying:
 
“The current Fed Funds rate is clearly too low, the only question is how we move it higher: Do we do it slowly, and start sooner, or do we wait until we are forced to, by the bond market or by events or statistics, in which case we would need to move more quickly. By far the lower risk approach would be to move slowly and gradually.”
 
In other words, he is virtually pleading for his former Fed colleagues to begin raising rates immediately. I would take Lindsey’s assertion one step further; the party really got going years ago and has been raging since September 2011, the last time the Dow corrected more than 10%. (That correction occurred at a time when the Fed had briefly ceased stimulating markets with quantitative easing.) Since then, the Dow has rallied by almost 58% without ever taking a breather. With such confidence, the party has long since passed into the realm of late night delirium.
 
As if to confirm that opinion, on June 8th the Associated Press published an extensive survey of 500 companies (using data supplied by S&P Capital IQ) that showed how corporate earnings have been inflated by gimmicky accounting. Public corporations, upon whose financial performance great sums may be gained or lost, are supposed to report earnings using standard GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) methods. But much like government statisticians (see last month’s commentary on the dismissal of bad first quarter performance), corporate accountants may choose to focus instead on alternative versions of profits to make lemonade from lemons.
 
Using creative accounting, bad performance can be explained away, moved forward, depreciated, offset, or otherwise erased. Given the enormity and complexity of corporate accounting, investors have deputized the analyst community to sniff out these shenanigans. Unfortunately, our deputies may have been napping on the job. 
 
The AP found that 72% of the 500 companies had adjusted profits that were higher than net income in the first quarter of this year, and that the gap between those figures had widened to sixteen percent from nine percent five years ago. They also found that 21% of companies reported adjusted profits that were 50% more than net income, up from just 13% five years ago. 
 
But with the fully spiked punch bowl still on the table, and the disco beat thumping on the speakers, investors have consistently looked past the smoke and mirrors and have accepted adjusted profits at face value. In a similar vein, they have looked past the distorting effect made by the huge wave of corporate share buybacks (financed on the back of six years of zero percent interest rates from the Fed). The buybacks have created the illusion of earnings per share growth even while revenues have stalled.   
 
So kudos to Lindsey for pointing out the ugly truth. But I do not share his belief that the economy and the stock market can survive the slow, steady rate increases that he advocates. I believe that a very large portion of even our modest current growth is based on the “wealth effect” of rising stock, bond, and real estate prices that have only been made possible by zero percent rates in the first place. In my opinion, it is no coincidence that economic growth and stock market performance have stagnated since December 2014 when the Fed’s QE program came to an end (it has very little to do with either bad winter weather or the West Coast port closings).
 
Prior to that, the $80+ billion dollars per month that the Fed had been pumping into the economy had helped push up asset prices across the board. With QE gone, the only thing helping to keep them from falling, and the economy from an outright recession (which is technically a possibility for the first half of 2015), is zero percent interest rates. Given this, even modest increases in interest rates could be devastating. Lindsey’s gradual approach may be equally as dangerous as the rapid variety. But the quick hit has the virtue of bringing the inevitable pain forward quickly and dealing with it all at once. Call it the band-aid removal approach; it may seem brutal, but at least it’s direct, decisive and makes us deal with our problems now, rather than pushing them endlessly into the future.
 
The last attempt made by the Fed to raise rates gradually occurred after 2003-2004 when Alan Greenspan had attempted to withdraw the easy liquidity that he had supplied to the markets in the form of more than one years’ worth of 1% interest rates. But by raising rates in quarter point increments for the succeeding two years, Greenspan was unable to get in front of and contain the growing housing bubble, which burst a few years later and threatened to bring down the entire economy. In retrospect, Greenspan may have done us all a favor if he had moved more decisively.
 
Today, we face a similar but far more dangerous prospect. Whereas Greenspan kept rates at 1% for only a year, Bernanke and Yellen have kept them at zero for almost seven. We have pumped in massively more liquidity this time around, and our economy has become that much more addicted and unbalanced as a result. Arguably, the bubbles we have created (in stocks, bonds, student debt, auto loans, and real estate) in the years since rates were cut to zero in 2008 have been far larger than the stock and housing bubbles of the Greenspan era. When they pop, look out below. Unfortunately, the gradual approach did not save us last time (worse, it backfired by making the ensuing crisis that much worse), and I believe it won’t work this time.   
 
In fact, the current bubbles are so large and fragile that air is already coming out with rates still locked at zero. However, unlike prior bubbles that pricked in response to Fed rate hikes, the current bubble may be the first to burst without a pin. It appears the Fed fears this and will do everything it can to avoid any possible stress. That is why Fed officials will talk about raising rates, but keep coming up with excuses why they can’t.   
 

Lindsey will be right that the markets will eventually force the Fed to raise rates even more abruptly if it waits too long to raise them on its own. But he grossly underestimates the magnitude of the rise and the severity of the crisis when that happens. It won’t just be the end of a raging party, but the beginning of the worst economic hangover this nation has yet experienced.

Best Selling author Peter Schiff is the CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. His podcasts are available on The Peter Schiff Channel on Youtube

Catch Peter's latest thoughts on the U.S. and International markets in the Euro Pacific Capital Spring 2014 Global Investor Newsletter!

Regards,
Peter Schiff

Euro Pacific Capital
http://www.europac.net/

Peter Schiff Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules