Author Archives: Pater Tenebrarum

     

 

 

Pre-Election Market Movers – Mr. Comey and the Trio Infernal

Before this Monday, the S&P 500 Index went down nine days in a row. While this was almost unprecedented (or in any case, a very rare event) the decline was quite small overall. The timing of the pullback and the subsequent strong rebound on Monday suggests that Mr. Comey’s letters to Congress regarding the FBI investigation into official emails by Hillary Clinton – which have found their way unto a computer owned by Anthony Weiner (the former husband of Clinton’s right-hand woman Huma Abedin) –  were the “trigger” for these moves.

 

comey-and-the-trio-infernalFBI chief Comey and the Trio Infernal: Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton. Weiner is embroiled in a rather unsavory scandal – allegedly he has inter alia mailed pictures of his unclothed reproductive organs to a minor. The FBI has detected some 650,000 emails on his computer that seem to have come from Ms. Clinton’s private email server, which she in turn used in her official capacity as Secretary of State (her use of this device violated regulations and testified to her lack of sound judgment).

Image credit: Robyn Beck, Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

 

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Is Stagflation a Potential Threat?

The Incrementum Fund held its quarterly advisory board meeting on October 3 (the transcript can be downloaded below). Our regular participants – the two fund managers Ronald Stoeferle and Mark Valek, advisory board members Jim Rickards, Frank Shostak and yours truly –  were joined by special guest Grant Williams this time. Many of our readers probably know Grant; he is the author of the bi-monthly newsletter “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…”, as well as one of the founders of Real Vision TV.

 

1-stagflationCharacteristics of stagflation: economic growth goes into reverse, but price inflation rises  anyway. This scenario was completely unexpected by the Keynesian consensus when it hit the economy in the 1970s. Keynesian theory ended up discredited for a while as a result. Not surprisingly though, as a theory that provides a “scientific” fig leaf for statism and interventionism, it has been resurrected since then. Today it once again is an important part of mainstream economic orthodoxy; the monetarist school has retained a certain degree of influence as well, but its policy prescriptions are just as misguided in our opinion.

 

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Only Sell Stocks in Recessions?

We were recently made aware of an interview at Bloomberg, in which Tony Dwyer of Cannacord and Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research were quizzed on the recently announced utterly bizarre AT&T – Time Warner merger. We were actually quite surprised that AT&T wanted to buy the giant media turkey. Prior to the offer, TWX still traded 50% below the high it had reached 17 years ago.

 

1-twx-tThe merger of AT&T and TWX simply doesn’t appear to make much sense. It certainly is a symptom of loose monetary policy though – click to enlarge.

 

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Andy Duncan Interviews Claudio Grass

Andy Duncan of FinLingo.com has interviewed our friend Claudio Grass, managing director of Global Gold in Switzerland. Below is a transcript excerpting the main parts of the first section of the interview on the problems in the European banking system and what measures might be taken if push were to come to shove.

 

andy-duncan-and-claudio-grassAndy Duncan of FinLingo.com (left) and Claudio Grass of Global Gold (right)

 

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So Far a Normal Correction

In last week’s update on the gold sector, we mentioned that there was a lot of negative sentiment detectable on an anecdotal basis. From a positioning perspective only the commitments of traders still appeared a bit stretched though, while from a technical perspective we felt that a pullback to the 200-day moving average in both gold and gold stocks shouldn’t be regarded as anything but a normal – and in this case actually long overdue – event.

 

1-goldGold has pulled back to its now rising 200 dma (the fact that it is rising differentiates this pullback from declines during the pre-2016 bear market period) – click to enlarge.

 

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Iffy Looking Charts

The stock market has held up quite well this year in the face of numerous developments that are usually regarded as negative (from declining earnings, to the Brexit, to a US presidential election that leaves a lot to be desired, to put it mildly). Of course, the market is never driven by the news – it is exactly the other way around. It is the market that actually writes the news. It may finally be time for a spanking though.

 

spankinggoodtimeTime for some old-fashioned disciplining… (a. D. 1891)

Photo credit: Littleton View Co.

 

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Sentiment and Positioning

When we last discussed the gold sector correction (which had only just begun at the time), we mentioned we would update sentiment and positioning data on occasion. For a while, not much changed in these indicators, but as one would expect, last week’s sharp sell-off did in fact move the needle a bit.

 

gold_bullionGold – just as nice to look at as it always is, but slightly cheaper since last week.

Photo via The Times Of India

 

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The Long Term Outlook for the Asset Bubble

Due to strong internals, John Hussman has given the stock market rally since the February low the benefit of the doubt for a while. Lately he has returned to issuing warnings about the market’s potential to deliver a big negative surprise once it runs out of greater fools. In his weekly market missive published on Monday (entitled “Sizing Up the Bubble” – we highly recommend reading it), he presents inter alia the following eye-popping chart:

 

1-wmc161003cThe median price-sales ratio of S&P 500 component stocks – click to enlarge.

 

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A Companion Update to this Year’s “In Gold We Trust” Report

Our good friends Ronnie Stoeferle and Mark Valek of Incrementum AG have just published a new chart book, which recaps and updates charts originally shown in this year’s 10th anniversary edition of the “In Gold We Trust” report and provides an overview of recent developments relevant to the gold market. The chart book can be downloaded in PDF form via the link at the end of this post.

 

Queen Elizabeth skeptically eyes what little is left of England's once sizable gold hoardQueen Elizabeth skeptically eyes what little is left of England’s once sizable gold hoard. Her mien seems to indicate regret. Well-known socialist financial guru Gordon Brown ordered the sale of half of the UK’s gold in 1999, at prices that had just reached 20 year lows. Not surprisingly, these prices have never been seen again. While he created a once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity for the rest of the world, the Queen possibly suspects that regrets over this ill-conceived disposal could one day easily become a great deal more intense.

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

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A Litany of Failures

It was widely expected that the BoJ would announce something this week after it promised to perform a comprehensive review of its monetary policy. It certainly did deliver a major tweak to its inflationary program, but its implications were seemingly not entirely clear to everybody (probably not even to the BoJ).

 

b-bojcurrency-a-20160131-870x641This picture was taken back when the BoJ first introduced NIRP, but it has the appropriate horror movie atmosphere. Kuroda’s press conferences with these nifty little placards remind us a bit of school. As an aside, the term “quality” evidently got there by mistake. One cannot improve a money’s quality by increasing its quantity and enforcing negative rates (these are a particularly dangerous abomination).

Photo credit: Yuya Shino / Reuters

 

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John Hussman on Recent Developments

We always look forward to John Hussman’s weekly missive on the markets. Some people say that he is a “permabear”, but we don’t think that is a fair characterization. He is rightly wary of the stock market’s historically extremely high valuation and the loose monetary policy driving the surge in asset prices.

 

1-spx-vs-nyse-ad-lineThe S&P 500 Index and the NYSE advance-decline line. Most market internals weakened steadily until early February 2016, but strengthened noticeably thereafter. The a/d line is just one of many examples. A major reason for this was that market participants reassessed the likely future path of the Fed’s monetary policy – click to enlarge.

 

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The Economy and the Stock Market

As long time readers know, we are always paying close attention to the manufacturing sector, which is far more important to the US economy than is generally believed. In terms of gross output it is the largest sector of the economy, and it should of course be obvious that saving, investment and production are the only ways to create wealth.

 

factoryWhat’s left of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery.

Photo credit: Paul Raphaelson

 

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Most read in the last 20 days:

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  • Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting, Q1 2017 and Some Additional Reflections
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  • Trump and the Draining of the Swamp
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  • Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
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  • The Great Wailing
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  • Unleashing Wall Street
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THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
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