Posts Tagged ‘stock market’

Booming real economy, falling stock market?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

One of the most common ideas floating around is that the real economy must be on its way to recovery because the stock market, which is often a leading indicator, is recovering. The mainstream economist will tell you that the contradictory newspaper headlines that we showed in our previous article are not really contradictory at all. They will say that since the stock market is a leading indicator, then it will bottom out first before the real economy bottoms out. According to their logic, that’s why you can see rising unemployment and rising stock prices simultaneously.

The idea that the stock market predicts the business cycle is a very dangerous one for the investor. The truth is that, as we said before in Is this a bear market rally or a turning point?,

To be more precise, the stock market anticipates but not predicts turning points. What this means is that economic recoveries are followed from recoveries in the stock market, but a stock market rally does not necessarily indicate an economic recovery.

So, assuming that this stock market rally does not signify an economic recovery, what will be the outcome? The deflationist believes that this rally will eventually run out of steam and collapse into a rout. The inflationist believes that the worse the real economy is, the bigger the bubble in the stock market will be (see Should you be bullish on stocks?) because of unprecedented money printing.

If you subscribe to the inflationists’ view then it follows that should the real economy recovers, then it will be very bad for the stock market. To understand why, consider what will happen if the real economy really recovers:

  1. Stimulus will be withdrawn.
  2. The Federal Reserve will mop up the ‘printed’ money from the financial system.
  3. Government tax revenue will increase sustainably, which means the the size of the budget deficit can decrease, which in turn means that the government will be less sensitive to rising interest rates by the Fed.
  4. The Fed will then raise interest rates.

A truly recovering real economy will result in liquidity draining out of the system. Since the current rally is fuelled by massive loosening of liquidity, draining liquidity will imply that the stock prices will fall and the US dollar strengthens. As the US dollar strengthens, then the short squeeze in the US dollar will happen (see Currency crisis ahead? Part 1- Potential short squeeze on the US dollar), which implies that the Aussie dollar and stock prices will tank.

So, beware of the stock market rally!

Can we have a booming stock market with economic calamity?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

After the First World War, the Allies imposed punishing sanctions on the Central Powers. Germany had to pay gigantic war reparations and had their industrial base in the Rhineland occupied by the Allies. Austria-Hungary was broken up into Austria, Hungary and the other states. They also lost millions of their citizens to the newly formed successor states. The former imperial capital, Vienna, was left as a vast city without any hinterland to support it. Without Czech coal and Hungarian food, the Austrian economy was hardly self-sufficient. There was political and economic chaos in Hungary, Austrian and Germany. Hyperinflation and hunger reigned. Life was miserable then.

In the midst of such widespread economic despair, as this book, When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Collapse described,

Speculation on the stock exchange has spread to all ranks of the population and shares rise like air balloons to limitless heights … My banker congratulates me on every new rise, but he does not dispel the secret uneasiness which my growing wealth arouses in me … it already amounts to millions.

In other words, the economic was a disaster, but the stock market roared. As we pointed out before in Zimbabwe: Best Performing Stock Market in 2007?, Zimbabwe too had a roaring stock market.

Today, the mainstream often associate economic calamity with collapsing stock markets and price deflation, and booming economy with booming asset prices and price inflation. As we wrote in Are improving consumer sentiments ?good? news?, if the masses’ sense of financial well-being depends on asset prices, then the past 3 months of rising asset prices had done wonders for improving the masses’ confidence. But as we stressed many times in this journal, it is possible to have economic calamity with booming asset prices, especially stock prices. As we wrote before in Harmful effects of inflation,

With inflation, there is less incentive to be productive and more incentive to hoard, speculate and gamble. This in turn will reduce productivity and increase price inflation, which further increase the incentive to be less productive. In addition, as we said before in How to secretly rob the people with monetary inflation?, inflation re-distribute wealth unfairly and exacerbate the divide between the rich and the poor.

As time goes by, the economy will be structurally damaged one step at a time. This process can take many decades to completely play out. Of course, with economic mismanagement, it can be accelerated, as in the case of Zimbabwe.

It is this speculation in asset prices that brought about the ‘booming’ stock market. In times of hyperinflation, the prices of everything (including everyday stuffs) rise in nominal terms, company profits included. Therefore, stock prices have to rise too to accomodate the hyperinflating profits.

Unlike the mainstream, we see any sustained rally in the stock market with a very suspicious eye.

Chinese stock market correction begins

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Last week, we warned about the Chinese stock market bubble in this article: Discerning a stock market bubble. Today, we read this news report of a correction. As it said, there may be more to come.

Tide turned

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

The US stock market tide is turning, after being spooked by the latest batch of economic data suggesting that the economy may fall into recession. Last Friday, the Dow Jones retreated back to below 12,000 points?the first six-session drop since mid-2005.

We are not the least surprise by the fall. As we said before, the financial market is currently at an inflexion point, which is the point of confusion. As such, market sentiment will be seesawing with no clear conviction. Our conviction still stands?the US economy is very sick and by implication, the stock market will eventually follow. For us, we are hedging our financial well-being with gold.