The stock market has regained all of its loses year to date as economic indicators continue to flash red, corporate profits continue to plunge, consumers continue to spend less at retailers, real wages continue to fall, and housing sales continue to decline. The entire dead cat bounce has been generated through corporate stock buybacks, Wall Street lemmings trying to make up for their terrible year to date investing performance, and central bankers who will stop at nothing to verbally manipulate markets higher – since their monetary machinations over the last seven years have been a miserable failure in reviving the real economy.
As John Hussman points out, the market is poised to deliver nothing over the next decade, with a 40% to 55% “dip” in the foreseeable future. I wonder how many barely sentient, iGadget addicted, non-questioning, normalcy bias dependent zombies are prepared for a third Federal Reserve generated market collapse in the last 15 years?
From a long-term investment standpoint, the stock market remains obscenely overvalued, with the most historically-reliable measures we identify presently consistent with zero 10-12 year S&P 500 nominal total returns, and negative expected real returns on both horizons. From a cyclical standpoint, I continue to expect that the completion of the current market cycle will likely take the S&P 500 down by about 40-55% from present levels; an outcome that would not be an outlier or worst-case scenario, but instead a rather run-of-the-mill cycle completion from present valuations.
The only people who can’t see the recession in front of their noses are central bankers who are paid to lie, obfuscate, and mislead; corrupt politicians trying to get elected or re-elected; and media pundits whose job is to keep the sheep sedated with positive propaganda and a never ending stream of trivialities and drivel. The average person has been experiencing a recession for the last eight years, with stagnant wages, rising living costs, no return on their savings, and rising taxes. Now, even the manipulated government economic statistics can no longer hide the true deterioration, as Hussman describes.
From an economic standpoint, recall that economic deterioration typically follows a well-defined sequence, with weakness in what I call the “order surplus” (new orders + backlogs – inventories) followed by deterioration in industrial production (which retreated again last month) and by real retail sales (which have declined for two consecutive months), then real personal income (which is the next measure to watch here), and typically followed only then by weakness in employment indicators. Nothing in recent weeks has changed our assessment of an imminent likelihood of recession, though as I’ve regularly noted, the immediacy of that expectation would be deferred if our measures of market internals improve significantly. Though employment is a lagging indicator, we would still watch for an increase in weekly unemployment claims above roughly 330,000, a decline in aggregate weekly hours over a 3-month period, and an increase in the unemployment rate to about 5.3% or higher to confirm the actual start of a recession.
The central banker action plan of monetary easing, negative interest rates, printing trillions of new fiat, currency debasement, and buying the bad debt of the criminal banking cabal, has not improved the lives of average people living in the real world. They have improved the net worth of the .01% who rule the world. They have succeeded in making the ultra-rich ultra-richer.
They, without a doubt, have made the lives of senior citizens far worse, the lives of middle income working class families ghastlier, and the lives of millennials just entering the workforce debt saturated and hopeless. Their deranged machinations have set in motion a global collapse which will make 2008 look like stroll in the park on a warm spring day.