Those fall season concerns in market volatility are once again upon us. After so many years of a zero interest rate environment, nervous tension is breaking out. Review the record. For a comparison of International Stock Indexes, Market Data Center statistics from the WSJ is useful. Now evaluate Doug Ramsey’s, chief investment officer at the Leuthold Group, argument in Comparing Valuations: U.S. vs. International Stocks.
Seldom does the enormous bond market turn on the fate of a single trader. Well, the news that Bill Gross was leaving Pimco under suspicious circumstances did not go unnoticed. The WSJ writes:
Proponents of big government, from both the left and right, share one important trait; namely, both spend their waking hours dreaming up new schemes to tax wealth. Only a blind, deaf and dumb observer of economic imbalance would deny that the massive accumulation of worldly assets into the hands of the smallest number of robber barons in all of history is at the core of most social unrest and global instability. However, adopting a Marxist outlook on the evils of the bourgeoisie simply confuses the nature of the financial magnates, while blaming the hard pressed merchant class for conducting beneficial business. Creation of tangible wealth is the greatest achievement in the uplifting and improvement of the human condition, when that stream of riches flows between and among entrepreneurs and business proprietors.
As the yearly end of summer doldrums engulf the Hamptons, the uber-wealthy position themselves for a rocky coming storm when the robust fall trading season begins. Some of the most memorable major equity collapses happen during this time of year. Logic, fundamentals and sound business analysis has very little to do in forecasting when the actual plug will be pulled on the rocket ride in stocks. In a rigid game, the house always knows when and at what time the fleecing of the mark happens. Such timing projections do not apply to the decline in the purchasing power of the dollar. More appropriately, Federal Reserve Notes are only compulsory money because of the legal tender laws. Yet, financial instruments are gauged in terms of their worth by the dollar redemption value they produce.
The belief that calling for and instituting sanctions against Russia is a sound policy, illustrates the economic disconnect of the Obama administration. With the fervor for starting a new cold war, the propaganda machine is working overtime to paint a picture that ignores real economic synergism. Note the conflicting reports regarding the EU. Nine EU countries ready to block economic sanctions against Russia, quotes a diplomatic source to ITAR-TASS:
Financial instruments are inventions of gnomes from investment houses and exchanges. There is nothing intrinsic about profitability or guarantee that over time such transactions will be rewarding. Much like the games played at a casino, the baccarat banks that run the betting sport and wheel of fortune, are running the odds in their favor. If only the payoff was similar to the gambling den probability, the consistency of indulgence might be worth the risk. However, the systemic incentivisations within the markets themselves are designed to reflect little of economic proportion to actual trading results. Just look how the financial firms compensate their traders to substantiate that the underlying security of the “so called” investment, which bears little resemblance to quoted pricing.
A quaint comparison of what money can buy in today’s market has Bill Gates being able to afford every home in Boston. His $76.6 billion reported by the Washington Post or the $78.4 billion by Forbes seems a pittance when put up against John D. Rockefeller’s peak wealth of $318.3 billion (based on 2007 US dollar). According to your resident commissars over at MSNBC, “The median net worth of American households hasn’t changed much over the past decades, it’s about $20,000.” So if Gates decided to purchase all the Beantown houses, whom would he pay for the bricks and mortar? Certainly, most Americans may think of “their home is their castle”, but few actually own a debt free deed to their grand estate. No wonder the banks and financial institutions, are so fond of placing liens on real property.
What does the United States have in common with Japan’s economy? Demographics of an aging population have consequences for both countries. As Japan News reports, National debt hits record high.
“Japan’s national debt totaled a record-high ¥1.02 quadrillion as of the end of March, up ¥33.36 trillion from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said.
The central government debt, which increased ¥7.01 trillion from the end of December last year, kept rising mainly due to ballooning social security costs in line with the aging of the population.”
Quite a stir occurred with the academic presentation, How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, by Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee. Both “have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.”
As the deadline for filing yearly income taxes is rapidly approaching, businesses especially hard pressed to make a profit in a depressed economy struggle with their tax compliance. Reporting legitimate deductions and costs is the easy part. When you are losing money, disclosing a diminished income stream based upon lower margins, is not a difficult decision. Nevertheless, small enterprises burdened with government regulation costs and tax obligations, often are unable to conduct business and retain a net return. Self-proprietorships frequently are so scared that many look to the cash underground economy to hide income earnings.
Debt is everywhere but it just does not seem to matter. Thanks to the folks at Zero Hedge, you get the account Global Debt Crosses $100 Trillion, Rises By $30 Trillion Since 2007; $27 Trillion Is “Foreign-Held” – “Total global debt has exploded by 40% in just 6 short years from 2007 to 2013, from “only” $70 trillion to over $100 trillion as of mid-2013, according to the BIS’ just-released quarterly review”. They make this assessment:
Economic illiteracy is a hallmark of most political policies. The prime example of this principle is the idiocy out of the Obama administration that maintains that the Affordable Care Act is favorable to job seekers. The ranks of progressive euphoria reporting on the joys of Obamacare want to spin the latest Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis as favorable. As these imbeciles push out their demented dreams for a neo Great Society, the facts of trade and industry need to be buried in order to institute the total welfare state.