This Week in Barrons – 10-30-2016:
“Children taste color, hear shapes, and see sounds” … Picasso
When I think of Halloween, I think of a simple idea that hasn’t changed a whole lot, and yet has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, there are very few of those ideas. Immigration (for example), the U.S. policy has remained static since 1990, and before SF sent me the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE I would have thought that: (a) our immigration policy mattered to the world, and (b) we were a part of the solution. On both counts I would have been wrong.
- Since 1990 the U.S. has taken in 1m immigrants per year, and that’s virtually our social and infrastructure limit. The World Bank tells us that there are 5.6B people living in poverty around the globe: (Africa - 650m, India - 890m, Asia - 1.3B, and Latin America - 105m) and our 1m immigrants do NOT even make a dent in that total.
- Therefore, when people wish to double the number of immigrants that the U.S. takes in (irrespective of the devastating effect it will have on our own unemployed, the working poor, and our natural resources) – I wonder if they’ve run the numbers.
- Seldom have I heard the stance that our immigration policies may be doing more harm than good. That in fact the immigrants that we accept are among the most energetic, well-educated, and dissatisfied people in their particular countries. IF they did not immigrate, THEY would be the ‘agents for change’ within their own country.
- So not only can’t we take enough people to make a difference, but the people we take are the very ones that would be the catalyst for changing their own cultures. After all, the true heroes are the ones that STAY in their own country and apply their skills to help their fellow countrymen.
- Numerically, our immigration policy is working even worse than the odds suggest. While the U.S. was taking in its 1m immigrants, the rest of the world was adding 80m to their own poverty numbers every year.
- Immigration is NOT the answer. The ONLY place where 99.9% of the impoverished people of the world can be helped – is where they live! I encourage you to watch this video done so uniquely by an economist who uses ‘gumballs’ to represent those in poverty, and explains (in very basic terms) why the US policy is flawed and why it only exacerbates the issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE.
My second misconception was that China has more poor people than the U.S. and Europe. This week CW sent me the Credit Suisse Annual Global Wealth Report where it showed that as a percentage of the world's population, there are now more poor people in the United States and Europe than there are in China. Almost 25% of Americans have a negative net worth. The reason for that is that the U.S. makes it so easy to go into debt. (a) You can borrow tens of thousands of dollars for a college degree without ever having to show the ability to pay it back. (b) We encourage people to buy homes by making home mortgage interest deductible on our tax returns. (c) The FED has kept interest rates at zero, making it more attractive to borrow than to save. And (d) our government leads by example – with a net worth of NEGATIVE $60T.
As our government continues to modify the definitions of inflation, GDP and unemployment to suit the political landscape, those same definitions are coming home to roost. We have over 90m U.S. citizens not participating in the workforce (www.bls.gov). That means over 37% of our working aged labor force is NOT working at all. Of those 90m, over 43m of them are receiving food stamps worth over $5B per month. Obamacare costs have just started to skyrocket with national premiums increasing 25%, and regional ones around Philadelphia rising 56%. As the Obamacare patient population continues to skew toward the unemployed and older, and as fewer and fewer ‘healthy people’ actually pay into it – its prices will continue to rise. Eventually the ‘takers’ will outnumber the ‘givers’ and the system will fail.
Anymore, I’m amazed how complex and convoluted we can make a very simple idea, and I admire the ones that have remained pure throughout the years. Picasso once said: “It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael – but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
- Paccar, Volvo, and Daimler trucks all saw their profits and revenues decline in the third quarter of 2016.
- Mortgage applications and business investment fell in Q3.
- Italy’s oldest bank ‘Monte dei Paschi di Siena’ announced that it will cut 2,600 jobs, close 500 branches, sell off its bad loans, and raise capital in the latest bid to secure its survival.
- OTTO / UBER made its first autonomous driving delivery = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0Kzb3haK8
- Freight rail car orders fell to their lowest level in 6 years, meaning that there is no growth in shipping.
- NATO recently announced plans for its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War.
- Reuters reported that U.S. mutual funds had their largest outflow in five years. $16.9B was pulled from stock mutual funds in the seven days through Oct. 19, more than in any other week since August 2011.
- The first look at 3rd quarter GDP came in at 2.9%. That's amazing considering the 2nd Q was just 1.4%. The annualized rate is still under 2%.
This week Deutsche Bank attempted to calculate how much of the S&P’s run up was due too Central Bankster behavior. After all, earnings have gone nowhere over the past two years, and on a GAAP basis they are the lowest since 2010.
This means that earnings growth has NOT been a factor behind the stock market's ascent to all-time highs. After all, there are three components of a stock’s price: (a) earnings growth, (b) a stock’s sector multiplier, and (c) the ‘equity risk premium’ – as people view stocks as being less and less risky they drive the price higher. DB said that the FED is worried that once rates go up (as a result of renormalization) and due to the lack of a central bank intervention, stocks will crash. As it turns out the following chart shows that the FED has ample reason to be worried. After all the bulk of the equity performance between 2012 and 2016 is captured inside the ‘equity risk premium’.
This also means that every push higher in yield, whether orchestrated by our Central Banksters, or due to events like a ‘The Donald Becoming President’ risks upsetting the precariously compressed equity risk premium (ERP) spring – leading to a violent market crash. IF the ERP is responsible for 92% (800+ points) of the S&P500 move since 2012, that would suggest that our FED is directly responsible for approximately HALF the value of the stock market, and any moves to undo this support could result in crash that lands the S&P around 1,400.
In terms of trading next week leading up to the election, I’m looking for the same S&P chop that we’ve experienced for the past 5 months. I expect the S&P to remain between 2120 and 2070 for the week, and drift slightly higher in anticipation of a Clinton presidency.
At 1pm on Friday, the FBI announced that they were looking into more Emails concerning Hillary Clinton. The market instantly went from up 74 to down 50. The Democrats started asking how the FBI could be so insensitive as to open an investigation with just 11 days left to the election. The Republicans started proclaiming that just maybe the rule of law in the U.S. could be saved.
Theories abound concerning what they have and why they did this: (a) The ‘powers that be’ see the early voting results, realize that Trump is going to pull this off, and want to save their necks. (b) FBI insiders were going to spill the beans on what they know, as many field officers felt betrayed by Dir. Comey. (c) Dir. Comey knows that WikiLeaks is going to release information this week that ties ALL of the top politicians into the corruption, and wants to get ahead of it. (d) FBI agents (NOT throttled about investigating Hillary) were working on Weiner/Huma emails, and found so much stuff they were going to come forward. You can pick your favorite, but what we know thus far is that the FBI found thousands of State Department-related emails (ostensibly containing classified information) on the electronic devices belonging to Mr. Anthony Weiner and his wife (top Clinton aide) Ms. Huma Abedin. The discovery has prompted FBI Director James Comey to (on the eve of the election) reopen the Clinton e-mail case.
I don't know how this all works out. My questions start with: (a) Is this the first election where one of the candidates is possibly under investigation for criminal activity? (b) If more bombshells hit, will the DNC yank Hillary and replace her with Bernie or Joe? (c) Could Obama use executive order to delay the election and give the DNC time to form a replacement?
My gut tells me that this is showmanship. All the stuff they had originally was MORE than enough to disqualify her from ever having confidential clearance, and the FBI and the Justice System did nothing. I think the FBI field officers felt betrayed. I think that as more and more Podesta e-mails are made public, they had to do something to make it look like they're not bought off shills. If this investigation continues, Hillary could be the first Presidential candidate that on election day is being investigated by the FBI for a Federal crime.
- NFLX (Netflix) – selling Call Credit Spreads around $130,
- GOOGL (Google) – selling Put Credit Spreads around $820,
- AMZN (Amazon) – selling Call Credit Spreads around $770,
- FB (Facebook) – buying Call Debit Spreads for earnings run,
- FFIV – buying Call Debit Spreads – moving higher,
- GS (Goldman) – buying Call Debit Spreads – moving higher w/ rates,
- OIL – looking to hold the 47 to 48 level then move higher,
- The Bank of Japan and Bank of England both have interest rate decisions next week – and a hint at more QE will drive the dollar and gold higher.
- If Donald Trump wins the Presidency – watch for gold to spike higher over-night.
To follow me on Twitter.com and on StockTwits.com to get my daily thoughts and trades – my handle is: taylorpamm.
Please be safe out there!
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