September 18, 2017, 4:30 pm EST              Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr

BR caricatureAs I said on Friday, people continue to look for what could bust the economy from here, and are missing out on what looks like the early stages of a boom.

We constantly hear about how the fundamentals don’t support the move in stocks.  Yet, we’ve looked at plenty of fundamental reasons to believe that view (the gloom view) just doesn’t match the facts.

Remember, the two primary sources that carry the megahorn to feed the public’s appetite for market information both live in economic depression, relative to the pre-crisis days.  That’s 1) traditional media, and 2) Wall Street.

As we know, the traditional media business, has been made more and more obsolete. And both the media, and Wall Street, continue to suffer from what I call “bubble bias.”  Not the bubble of excess, but the bubble surrounding them that prevents them from understanding the real world and the real economy.

As I’ve said before, the Wall Street bubble for a very long time was a fat and happy one. But the for the past ten years, they came to the realization that Wall Street cash cow wasn’t going to return to the glory days.  And their buddies weren’t getting their jobs back.  And they’ve had market and economic crash goggles on ever since. Every data point they look at, every news item they see, every chart they study, seems to be viewed through the lens of “crash goggles.” Their bubble has been and continues to be dark.

Also, when we hear all of the messaging, we have to remember that many of the “veterans” on the trading and the news desks have no career or real-world experience prior to the great recession.  Those in the low to mid 30s only know the horrors of the financial crisis and the global central bank sponsored economic world that we continue to live in today. What is viewed as a black swan event for the average person, is viewed as a high probability event for them. And why shouldn’t it?  They’ve seen the near collapse of the global economy and all of the calamity that has followed. Everything else looks quite possible!   

Still, as I’ve said, if you awoke today from a decade-long slumber, and I told you that unemployment was under 5%, inflation was ultra-low, gas was $2.60, mortgage rates were under 4%, you could finance a new car for 2% and the stock market was at record highs, you would probably say, 1) that makes sense (for stocks), and 2) things must be going really well!  Add to that, what we discussed on Friday:  household net worth is at record highs, credit growth is at record highs and credit worthiness is at record highs.

We had nearly all of the same conditions a year ago.  And I wrote precisely the same thing in one of my August Pro Perspective pieces.  Stocks are up 17% since.

And now we can add to this mix:  We have fiscal stimulus, which I think (for the reasons we’ve discussed over past weeks) is coming closer to fruition.

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February 8, 2017, 4:00pm EST               Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr

We’ve talked about the drift (now slide) lower in interest rates over the past couple of days.  This is a big deal and something to keep a close eye on.  Remember, this move lower comes in the face of a strong jobs number on Friday.  Following that number, the yield on the 10-year traded up to 2.50%.  Today we’re looking at 2.35% (low of 2.32%).

In contrast to this move in rates, stocks are sitting on record highs, if not making new record highs.  Oil has been stable in a $50-$55 range.  The dollar isn’t doing much.  Implied volatility on the stock market is dead. And commodities are relatively quiet, except for gold.

On that note, yesterday we looked at the tight correlation of the inverse price of gold and yields since the election (i.e. gold goes up, yields go down).  And in recent weeks, yields have been lagging the strength in gold, making the case for even lower yields to come.

We looked at the below trendline on the 10-year yesterday that was testing… that gave way today.

This move lower in yields puts both the Trump administration and the Fed in a much more comfortable spot.

A continued rise in market interest rates would force the Fed to be more aggressive, both of which would work against fiscal stimulus, dulling the contribution to growth, if not neutralizing it all together. Higher rates would slow the housing market and slow spending, especially in a fragile economy.  Among the things to be worried about, higher rates, too soon, could be the biggest (bigger than protectionism, European elections…)

President Trump was said to be asking for advice on the administration’s view on the dollar overnight.  I suspect the upcoming meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister (and co.) had something (a lot) to do with it.  This is precisely what we’ve been talking about.  The dollar and the yen are squarely in the crosshairs for this face-to-face meeting. But Trump may learn from the meeting that he would far prefer a stronger dollar and weaker yen, than a 4-4.5% ten year yield by the end of the year.

As I’ve said, Japan’s QE policies, which weaken the yen, also offer an anchor to U.S. interest rates, keeping them in check.  I suspect the softening of U.S. yields, as all other markets are quiet, may have something to do with Chinese money leaving China (as we discussed yesterday).  But it also may be influenced by Japan, finding the best, safest parking place for freshly printed money (i.e. buying U.S. Treasuries, which pushed down U.S. rates) – and showing that benefits of that influence to the new President.

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February 7, 2017, 4:00pm EST                                                                                 Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr

Yesterday we looked at the slide in yields (U.S. market interest rates — the 10-year Treasury yield).  That continued today, in a relatively quiet market.

Let’s take a look at what may be driving it.

If you take a look at the chart below, you can see the moves in yields and gold have been tightly correlated since election night: gold down, yields up.

As markets began pricing in a wave of U.S. growth policies, in a world where negative interest rates were beginning to emerge, the benchmark market-interest-rate in the U.S. shot up and global interest rates followed.  The German 10-year yield swung from negative territory back into positive territory.  Even Japan, the leader of global negative interest rate policy early last year, had a big reversal back into positive territory.

And as growth prospects returned, people dumped gold.  And as you can see in the chart above of the “inverted price of gold,” the rising line represents falling gold prices.
Interestingly, gold has been bouncing pretty aggressively since mid December. Why?  To an extent, it’s pricing in some uncertainty surrounding Trump policies. And that would also explain the slow down and (somewhat) slide in U.S. yields.  In fact, based on that chart above and the gold relationship, it looks like we could see yields back below 2.10%. That would mean a break of the technical support (the yellow line) in this next chart …

Another reason for higher gold, lower yields (i.e. higher bond prices), might be the capital flight in China. Where do you move money if you’re able to get it out in China?  The dollar, U.S. Treasuries, U.S. stocks, Gold.

The data overnight showed the lowest levels reached in the countries $3 trillion currency reserve stash in 6 years.  That, in large part, comes from the Chinese central banks use of reserves to slow the decline of their currency, the yuan. Of course a weakening yuan only inflames U.S. trade rhetoric.

For help building a high potential portfolio for 2017, follow me in our Billionaire’s Portfolio, where you look over my shoulder as I follow the world’s best investors into their best stocks.  Our portfolio more than doubled the return of the S&P 500 in 2016.  You can join me here and get positioned for a big 2017.


October 4, 2016, 5:00pm EST

Stocks continue to chop around as we head into the big jobs report this week.  But the dollar has been a mover today, so has gold.

Let’s take a look at the chart of gold.  It has broken down technically.

You can see the longer term downtrend in gold since it topped out in 2011.  And we’ve had a corrective bounce this year, which was contained by this descending trendline.  And today we broke the trend that describes this bullish technical correction (i.e. the trend continues lower).

A lot of people own gold.  And it’s a very emotional trade.  Whenever I talk about negative scenarios for gold, the hate mail is sure to follow.

We’ve talked quite a bit about the drivers of the gold trade. I want to revisit that today.

Gold has been a core trade for a lot of people throughout the crisis period. When Lehman failed in 2008, it shook the world, global credit froze, banks were on the verge of collapse, the global economy was on the brink of implosion—people ran into gold. Gold was a fear–of–the–unknown–outcome trade.

Then the global central banks responded with massive backstops, guarantees, and unprecedented QE programs. The world stabilized, but people ran faster into gold. Gold became a hyperinflation–fear trade.

Gold went on a tear from sub–$700 bucks to over $1,900 following the onset of global QE (led by the Fed).

Gold ran up as high as 182%. That was pricing in 41% annualized inflation at one point (as a dollar for dollar hedge). Of course, inflation didn’t comply.

Still eight years after the Fed’s first round of QE (and massive global responses), we have just 13% cumulative inflation over the period.

So the gold bugs overshot in a big way.  We’ve looked at this next chart a few times over the past several months.  This tells the story on why inflation hasn’t met the expectations of the “run-away inflation” theorists.

This chart above is the velocity of money. This is the rate at which money circulates through the economy. And you can see to the far right of the chart, it hasn’t been fast. In fact, it’s at historic lows. Banks used cheap/free money from the Fed to recapitalize, not to lend. Borrowers had no appetite to borrow, because they were scarred by unemployment and overindebtedness. Bottom line: we get inflation when people are confident about their financial future, jobs, earning potential…and competing for things, buying today, thinking prices might be higher, or the widget might be gone tomorrow. It’s been the opposite for the past eight years.

When this reality of low-to-no inflation and global economic malaise became clear, even after rounds of Fed QE, there were a LOT of irresponsible people continuing to tout gold as an important place in everyone’s portfolio, even at stratospheric levels.  People bought gold at $1900 and have since lost as much as 40% on the value of their investment – an investment that was supposed to “hedge” against inflation.

On that note, today the IMF downgraded U.S. growth estimates for the year from 2.2% to just 1.6% — in a year that many were initially expecting to be a good year, nearing trend growth levels (3%-3.5%).  So eight years from the inception of the Fed’s extraordinary policies, the case for gold remains weak and an investment with more risk than reward.

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