Jim Quinn summarizes the insane stock market. While Quinn does not discuss the underlying thermodynamic cause of low growth, he does a good job of explaining how we responded to low growth, and why we will experience a lot more pain than we needed to suffer.
In March of 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, Fed overnight interest rates were at an emergency level of .25%. Eight years later after a “tremendous” economic recovery, Fed overnight interest rates are still at an emergency level of .75%. Ten year Treasuries were 2.9% in March 2009 and are currently 2.3%. If this was a true economic recovery, would rates be at these levels?
The truth is, this entire bull market has been generated through financial engineering. A critical thinking individual, which eliminates all CNBC bimbos/talking heads and Ivy League educated Federal Reserve schmucks, might ask how reported corporate earnings per share since 2009 have risen by 221% when corporate revenues have only risen by 28%. That’s quite a feat – creating fake earnings without increasing revenue. It’s easy when you implement a three pronged scheme to manufacture a phony economic and stock market recovery.
Step one was to “temporarily” repeal FASB Rule 157 in March 2009 so banks could value their toxic real estate assets at whatever price they chose. Mark to fantasy versus mark to market allowed the criminal Wall Street banks to generate billions in fake profits. Step two was for the Federal Reserve to buy $3 trillion of toxic worthless assets from the criminal Wall Street banks at 100 cents on the dollar and stick them on their own insolvent balance sheet.
Step three was breathing life into failing corporations with unnecessarily low interest rates. The Fed’s 0% interest rates allowed Wall Street banks to generate billions in risk free profits by depositing reserves at the Fed. ZIRP also allowed insolvent financial firms, underwater real estate developers and zombie retailers to refinance their massive levels of debt at ridiculously low interest rates – eliminating the market clearing creative destruction that happens in free markets. Corporations also used off-balance sheet shenanigans to suppress leverage levels and boost earnings.
Lastly, S&P 500 companies embraced the benefits of globalization by off-shoring millions of jobs to slave labor camps in the Far East, drastically reducing their cost structures and boosting earnings. These same corporations used the BLS fake inflation data as the reason to suppress wage increases for their employees at a 2% level, further boosting earnings. As a humorous aside, executive pay and bonuses advanced at double digit rates.
So all the pieces are in place for an epic stock market crash, along with a real estate and debt market crash as an added kicker. The arrogant, over-confident thirty year old MBA investment geniuses and their super computer algorithms are sure they are smarter than the next guy and will get out before it’s too late. They think there will be a clear event which will signal it’s time to go. The markets are so overvalued, so dependent on the Fed, and so propped up by massive amounts of leverage, they will topple under their own weight at any moment. Central bankers, Wall Street bankers, politicians, pundits, experts, and the stupid lemmings will be shocked by this truly unexpected development.
Data reported in the last week will be the gasoline thrown on the fire when this market starts to burn, turning it into a towering inferno. Margin debt has reached an all-time high, as supremely confident investors (aka speculators) know the trend is their friend. They have borrowed over $500 billion against their stock portfolios to buy some more Snapchat, Tesla, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple. The previous peaks of $400 billion to $425 billion in 2000 and 2007 have been far surpassed. What happened after those previous peaks? I forget. I’m sure this time will be different. A CNBC bimbo spokesmodel told me so.