The Seasonal Trend Inversion Continues

By now it has been pretty well telegraphed that the Fed will likely announce that it is going to end its “automatic 25 bps rate hike every quarter” policy and replace it with some sort of “incoming data dependent” version. Normally one would expect this to constitute a “buy the news” event, especially in view of the recent sharp decline in the stock market. However, there are still a few problems with this idea –  the chart below illustrates one of them.

 

The eerie, almost perfect inversion of the usual seasonal mid-term election pattern continues unabated – and even though we have pointed this out for quite some time, we are also a bit surprised by how persistent this phenomenon has been.

 

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Sally Forth and Speculate on my Behalf!

Last week, the price of gold was down ten bucks and silver four cents. Someone on Twitter demanded if we didn’t find it odd that the biggest sovereign debt bubble has managed to inflate a bubble in virtually every asset price except for gold.

 

Snapshot from a recent Goldbugs Anonymous meeting. Why, oh why have you failed to bubble my asset, dear fellow speculators? [PT]

 

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Stars in the Night Sky

The U.S. stock market’s recent zigs and zags have provoked much squawking and screeching.  Wall Street pros, private money managers, and Millennial index fund enthusiasts all find themselves on the wrong side of the market’s swift movements.  Even the best and brightest can’t escape President Trump’s tweet precipitated short squeezes.

 

The Donald mercilessly hits the shorts with a well-timed tweet. But as it turns out, this market is in a really bad mood at the moment. [PT]

 

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The Santa Claus Rally –  A Well-Known Recurring Phenomenon

every year a certain stock market phenomenon is said to recur, anticipated with excitement by investors: the so-called Santa Claus rally. It is held that stock prices typically rise quite frequently and particularly strongly just before the turn of the year.

I want to show you the Santa Claus rally using the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) as an example. The DJIA has a very long history and is therefore particularly useful for conducting a long-term analysis.

 

Santa Claus, usually known as a reliable purveyor of presents, occasionally steps on something. When he does, it can be fatal. That said, December crashes are historically so rare, one needs only one finger to count them. When the NYSE reopened in December of 1914 after having been closed for several months following the outbreak of WW1, it did so with a~40% gap down – however, the market quickly recovered as war-time inflation began to boost prices. By early 1916 the market was trading at new highs. [PT]

 

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Numbers from Bizarro-World

The past few months have been really challenging for anyone invested in gold or silver; for me personally as well. Despite serious warning signs in the economy, staggering debt levels and a multitude of significant geopolitical threats at play, the rally in risk assets seemed to continue unabated.

 

Bizarro-World intrudes into our reality, courtesy of central banks. [PT]

 

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A Rocky Road

The price of gold rose $26, and the price of silver rose $0.44. And bitcoin fell $560. Somebody should look into if the Fed and the Plunge Protection Team and the Bitcoin Banks are in cahoots to sell bitcoin naked-short…

 

No PPT for Bitcoin – after breaking a long-standing lateral support level, the cryptocurrency went into free-fall. You may notice the little remark in the annotation at the top of the chart: we believe BTC is highly likely to continue to lead the stock market, as it has done since the turn of the year. This is because both markets are under the sway of the same driver, namely rapidly weakening money supply growth. [PT]

 

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Mud Volcanoes

There are numerous explanations for just what in the heck is going on with the economy.  Some are good.  Many are bad.  Today we’ll do our part to bring clarity to disorder…

 

Two data series it is worth paying attention to at the moment: the unemployment rate (U3) and initial claims. As the chart at the top shows, when the former makes a low it is time to worry about the economy. Low points in the U3 UE rate slightly lead the beginning of recessions. Claims on the other hand are near coincident indicators of the stock market, this is to say, lows in initial claims tend to happen within a time period of four to six weeks surrounding major stock market peaks (in most cases they lead slightly, but small lags have occasionally occurred as well). Note: neither indicator confirms an imminent turning point as of yet – initial claims would e.g. have to rise to around 300k in order to do so. The same is true of other major recession indicators, their most recent readings do not yet confirm that the business cycle is about to turn down. However, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that indicates such a downturn may soon be confirmed, including recent market moves (i.e., deteriorating stock prices and rising credit spreads). [PT]

 

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Worldwide Liquidity Drought – Money Supply Growth Slows Everywhere

This is a brief update on money supply growth trends in the most important currency areas outside the US (namely the euro area, Japan and China)  as announced in in our recent update on US money supply growth (see “Federal Punch Bowl Removal Agency” for the details).

 

Nobody likes a drought. This collage illustrates why.

 

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The Last Thing to be Left Standing – Alas, Not Yet 

The price of gold was about unchanged this week, whereas that of silver fell another nine cents. All Serious Right Thinking people agree that the world does not need gold. Indeed our monetary system produces Great Moderations that are totally unlike the incredible volatility of the gold standard era. They wish they could kill all memory of gold as money.

 

Ben Bernanke, the inventor of the “Great Moderation” fairy tale, somehow felt compelled to explain in 2012 “why the world will never see another gold standard”. One day this will probably  turn out to have been an unwise deployment of the word “never” – since is not exactly known for the accuracy of his forecasts, regardless of their time horizon. Although he dismissed gold as an unimportant residual of tradition, the very central planning agency he led at the time for some reason does keep quite a bit of gold under lock and key behind a 140 ton steel door, both for itself and similar agencies domiciled abroad. [PT]

 

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A Plethora of Headaches

We hope the recent market turmoil is not giving our readers too much of a headache. As you are no doubt aware, the events of the last few weeks have made maneuvering around global markets rather difficult.

 

A less than happy NYSE floor trader [PT]

Photo crdit: Brendan McDermit

 

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Yosemite Sam Gets Worried About Federal Debt

In a talk which garnered little attention, one of the Deep State’s prime operatives, National Security Advisor John Bolton, cautioned of the enormous and escalating US debt.

 

Deep State operative John Bolton, a.k.a. Yosemite Sam [PT]

Photo credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

 

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How to Blow $9 Billion

The life cycle of capital follows a wide-ranging succession. It is imagined, produced, consumed, and destroyed. How exactly this all takes place involves varying and infinite undulations.

 

The Stroh Brewery in Detroit. The company provided an example of how wealth that has been accumulated over generations can be completely destroyed due to just a handful of really bad decisions. [PT]

 

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