Tuesday, May 31, 2022


The only thing more dangerous than gamblers who believe bear markets no longer exist, are economists who think recessions no longer exist. One thing they all have in common is the belief that printed money is the secret to effortless wealth. The only question they ALL have is, why did no one try it sooner?

For months last year pundits pounded the table that inflation is NOT transitory. Last December the Fed finally agreed, and they slammed on the brakes. Six months later pundits are now saying inflation IS transitory. Stagflation in the 1970s lasted almost six years from 1974 to 1980. This time around it lasted six months. Which begs the obvious question, what is the definition of transitory?

The answer is it no longer matters, because per tradition the Fed is  heading in the wrong direction and this clown car doesn't go in reverse. We don't know if the economy is in recession right now, we only know it's on a slowing trajectory. Which means we are headed for recession and the Fed is accelerating towards the cliff. There is a consensus belief among pundits that the Fed can raise rates to the "neutral" level this year ~2.5% and then start cutting rates next year, all while avoiding recession in the meantime. In other words, the Fed will create monetary buffer by demolishing economic buffer. When they fail, the consequences will be cataclysmic. First the financial bailout will fail. And then the economic bailout will fail. Monetary policy is now a spent farce. 

This recent Fortune article basically sums up the standard view:

Fortune May 2022:

There Are Two Kinds of Recessions. The Good Kind and The Bad Kind. We Deserve The Good Kind:

“It typically takes about 10 months from the low in unemployment to recover to pre-recession employment levels in a typical recession,” Miran said. “For the dot-com [bubble] and the global financial crisis, it took about three times that amount, about 32 months, to recover to pre-recession unemployment levels.”

There are many things wrong with this article. It starts off by assuming there is NO asset bubble this time around. Which is obviously an asinine assumption. We learned today that home prices surged 20% in March. Which is a Black Swan event with a 1 in 420 probability based on known data alone. 

"March’s reading was the highest year-over-year price change in more than 35 years of data"

We have a parabolic housing bubble AND a collapsing Tech bubble, this time with no safety net beneath the economy. Yet both gamblers AND economists are convinced this bear market and this recession will be the easiest of the three. You have to be brain dead to believe this bullshit, which is why it's largely unquestioned. 

The article makes an even more fundamentally flawed and asinine omission when they claim that typical recessions don't last very long and are not as bad as 2008. Because what they fail to mention is that the Fed lowered rates between 5 and 10% in every recession of the past 50 years. Currently the Fed has less than 1% dry powder. So how is it possible to have a "garden variety" recession when the Fed has nowhere to go on rates?

What you notice from this chart is that every recession required the Fed to dramatically cut rates. EXCEPT the pandemic, because they only had 2.5% to go on rates. 

What saved the economy in 2020 was the largest fiscal expansion since World War II MONETIZED by the largest Fed balance sheet expansion on record.

The bet now is that will happen again during a mid-term election:

In summary, we are heading for a very hard landing. 

Whether stocks lead or follow is NOW totally irrelevant. The economic damage is done and the Fed no longer has any rate cut powder. This consensus view that they can head off catastrophe by tightening faster, is a LETHAL assumption. 

Which means we are now facing simultaneous deleveraging in tech stocks, housing, consumption, corporations, state and local governments, emerging markets, all at the same time. 

When the financial bailout fails and markets implode there will be no appetite to bailout out the wealthy. In addition, fiscal stimulus will be insufficient in a mid-term election year heading for political gridlock. 

The belief that printed money is the secret to effortless wealth has reached Terminal Idiocracy. Today's pundits claiming there will be a "soft landing" are borderline criminal. And the complacent masses wouldn't have it any other way.   

Thursday, May 26, 2022


Late stage Tech crash and early stage housing crash. With a Fed tightening liquidity at the fastest pace in history. Retail investors are doomed. They've doubled down on collapse...

Collapse is ahead of schedule. The market has already reached the -20% Lehman pre-explosion level which took nine months to reach in 2008 and only five months this time. Despite being at the CRASH level AND at the cusp of bear market, I still get questions on Twitter if that means the market is NEAR bottom. No, it means the opposite, the worst has not yet begun. 

So far this decline has been a text book end of cycle market. First growth stocks imploded. Now cyclicals are imploding, led by retail stocks. Defensive stocks are weakening. And Energy stocks are in a blow-off top. 

It's a classic pre-recession market. It checks every box. And yet still today's pundits will claim no one saw it coming. 

"We remain steadfast of the view that the inflation scare is going to pass very soon — The lagged effects from the supercharged U.S. dollar is huge in terms of the impact on the cost of imported goods. Inventories have shifted from deficient to excessive"

The stock market is following a familiar pattern of a recessionary bear market. The first phase is the Fed-induced P/E multiple contraction"

The only problem is that Rosenberg is far too bullish on his S&P price prediction as are many other "bearish" pundits, which is why sadly today's investors are being told that it's too late to sell. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. After Y2K, it took 13 years for the stock market to make a new high. Inflation-adjusted it took 17 years. In 1929, it took 25 years to get back to the all time high on a nominal basis. In Japan, it's been 32 years on a nominal basis. On an inflation-adjusted basis the losses are much worse. 

Investors are reaching what I call "The valley of death". The point from which it will take DECADES to recover.  Unfortunately, not everyone has that kind of time.

This decline has now reached the point of no return. Retail gamblers are ALL IN as they've been buying every dip lower. Which means that the next phase will bring what I call "Bailout failure". This is the greatest risk markets face and yet no pundit is discussing it. It's what happens when investors are far too complacent in the face of epic risk. Sadly, the Fed can't bail out all global markets at the same time. Which means that retail gamblers who waited over a decade to pile back into the casino are going to ride unaffordable losses lower.

Here we can clearly see via the S&P futures net speculative (long-short) contracts traded, that speculators have been getting more and more complacent over the course of this LONGEST CYCLE in history.


Another problem is that investor MASS COMPLACENCY has fed back into the Fed's financial stress index via a muted VIX and compressed bond yield spreads. Which means that investor complacency has led to FED complacency. Which will be a DISASTER. Per the meeting minutes released Wednesday, in three weeks the Fed is going to unleash the tightest liquidity reduction in market history. 

Fed overtightening has caused every recession since WWII, so why stop now?

Going into this week the Dow was on the longest losing streak in 100 years - down eight weeks in a row. So, no surprise, it's bouncing this week ahead of the May long weekend. Working off the oversold condition. The market is now oversold on price and overbought on breadth. Which is the recipe for a panic collapse. 

Crashes occur in oversold markets that have been bought all the way down. 

Here we see the S&P 500 has declined to the bear market level, however the NYSE is MORE overbought on breadth than it was at the top and the counter-trend high in April:

In summary:

It's too late for bulls to capitulate because capitulation will initiate meltdown. Consumer Staples and Utilities - "recession stocks" are the "leading sectors" for now. 

Which was the same pattern we saw in 2008. 

"The current market price structure is eerily similar to the global financial crisis in 2008"

"In order to call for a stock market bottom, capitulation from both institutions and retail investors is needed. Before market capitulation happens, leadership in sector, industry group and stock is likely to disappear"

Monday, May 23, 2022


It's Davos week, with the U.S. stock market on the verge of meltdown. Which begs the question - in a world where there is no such thing as right or wrong, what could go wrong?

Oxfam: Pandemic Created A New Billionaire Every 30 Hours
"There were 573 more billionaires in the world by March 2022 than in 2020, when the pandemic began, Oxfam said in a brief on Monday"

Fred: Wealth of 1%

Today's pundits all have one thing in common, they all have severe amnesia. Forgetting how we got here is necessary in order to pretend the future will be the exact same as the past. Be that as it may, once in a while it's important to remind ourselves of the level of delusion that is currently baked into today's Disney markets. 

First off, anyone who wants a reminder as to how far off the trendline we have come in recent years should read fund manager John Hussman's blog from time to time:

April 2022:
"The most challenging financial event for investors in the coming decade will be the repricing of securities to valuations that imply adequate long-term returns, following more than a decade of reckless and intentional Fed-induced yield-seeking speculation"

There’s a strong possibility of an interim loss in the S&P 500 in the range of 50-70% over the completion of this market cycle"

Then he goes on in deep detail how he arrives at this conclusion. Most of his work compares recent returns to the long-term trendline. For those who believe that the macroeconomic future will be the past, I suggest that his analysis is as good as it gets. He explains in theory there are two ways to get back to trendline - time or price. Historically however, returns have NOT  been negative for years at a time, so what usually happens is a "front loaded" crash and severe bear market followed by years of recovery. Not so bad for those who avoid the "re-pricing event". 

However, my view of this situation is quite a bit more dire than that of John Hussman or any other paid financial manager. Why? Because I believe the past century to be an outlier with respect to overall returns on capital. And I believe that this coming period will unwind much of the capital friendly policies of recent decades. I am of course referring to "free trade", massive tax cuts for the rich, de-regulation of finance, debt-fueled stock buybacks, bailouts for the wealthy, and massive  consumer debt accumulation. ALL of which have come at the expense of the middle class. If you back out all of those capital friendly policies and replace them with middle class friendly policies, it's easy to believe that we will undercut the multi-decade trendline and go much lower. 

One thing I believe will continue is zero interest rate policy, which means that valuations in our lifetime may always be distorted by the asinine theory of "infinite" present value. Be that as it may, the "numerator" in the calculation will be collapsed aka. corporate profits. No question, central banks will NOT give up on this delusion easily. And for that experience we can look to Japan and China where they've done everything possible to prevent TRUE pricing in the markets. And yet they have failed. The long-term implication of 0% interest rates is 0% economic growth. This fate has so far been avoided in the U.S. ONLY by strip-mining the middle class to the benefit of the ultra-wealthy. In a zero sum game. A process which is reaching its inevitable terminus. 

What I am trying to say is that there will very likely NEVER be a time when this market will appear "investable". Tradable yes, investable no. Why? Because all of the "capital friendly" factors I mentioned above have essentially blighted the economy. And I believe that once the stock market deflates back to the Hussman trend-line, we will begin to see an unwinding of the political tailwinds that created this massive one-time extreme over-valuation. In China they call it "Common prosperity". And I believe that theme is coming worldwide and will replace financial delusion as the predominant political force.

Granted, I could be wrong, but I for one believe this fairy tale has a very bad ending. And RIGHT NOW we are seeing ALL of the risks of the past 50 years coalescing at the exact same time, with a rabid Fed hellbent on detonating THEIR thermonuclear weapon of financial mass destruction. Fittingly, this delusion now has its best chance of giving back DECADES worth of ill-gotten gains in short order.

In summary, the roller coaster ride will begin as usual - with a huge drop. After that there will be a lot of volatility. For those who can stomach the ride, there will be decent returns to be eked out. In the 1930s there were TEN bull markets and TEN bear markets - each of 20% or more, in a SINGLE decade. Basically one bull market and one bear market per year on average.

Just don't puke on the way down.

Sunday, May 22, 2022


Today's bullish investors have only one investment strategy right now, which is waiting for bailouts. Therefore they must pray that their bailout karma has not run out after a decade+ of continuous bailouts and ever increasing moral hazard...

mor·al haz·ard

"Lack of incentive to guard against risk where one is protected from its consequences"


Today's investors have ZERO hedge. 

The site Zerohedge rose from the ashes of the Great Financial Crisis. The name itself impugns the sheer fantasy of perpetual bailout. But something odd happened over the many years since 2008. That platform morphed from criticizing market delusion INTO monetizing market delusion. They adapted to the "new normal" of what they had originally decried as "Keynesian bailout" culture. What began as a critique of the decadent culture of bailout, ultimately morphed into a 24x7 purveyor of non-stop delusion. So it is that we find ourselves knocking on Heaven's Door of the longest cycle in U.S. history, as retail bagholders FINALLY pile back into "this time is different".  While being sold down the same old river by Wall Street. And ironically once again there is NO ONE to warn them. All pundits having surrendered to the siren song of perpetual cheap money bailouts.  

Let's see what we have THIS time:

Imploding Tech bubble. Largest Nasdaq losses since 2008. 

Collapsing Crypto bubble on a scale larger than subprime circa. 2007 

Largest housing bubble in history. 

Largest inflation shock since 1980. 

Largest oil shock since 1973. 

Largest bond collapse in history.

Largest EM currency collapse since 1998.

In other words, the Fed will now successfully navigate all of the risks that caused recession and deep bear market in the past 50 years, without causing a recession or deep bear market. Despite having the least amount of interest rate buffer in history.

This is the current investment delusion:

History will say it took a pandemic to create the worst case scenario of a Fed way behind the curve of monetary tightening at a point when supply side pressures were at cycle high. The first rule of Japanfication is NEVER allow the economy to run too hot. Why? Because when there is too much debt, a hot economy will spike interest rates and bring down the entire house of cards. The pandemic made the perpetual Goldilocks scenario impossible. And yet few of today's pundits see it ending. 

Last December, Mohamed El-Erian was one of the first pundits to warn that the Fed was making a huge mistake by keeping policy loose for too long:

December 2021:


"El-Erian has repeatedly said the Fed is underestimating inflation risks as the U.S. economic recovery from last year’s pandemic shock accelerates price increases for everything from energy and food to consumer items"

Failure to do so could result in needing to “hit the brake hard” in a few months, which would risk sending the economy into recession, El-Erian said"

Here we are a "few months" later, and El-Erian's worst case scenario is taking place in real time. The Fed IS hitting the brakes too hard. But what does he say now? He says there is low risk of recession:


"The US economy can potentially dodge a recession, but stagflation is coming"

El-Erian and all of the other inflationists went from seeing the problem, to being the problem. They are now of the same mind as the Fed - that inflation is the biggest worry, NOT recession.


This week's abysmal retail earnings sent retail stocks to their worst performance since 2008. Tech stocks are having their worst two quarters since 2008. Consumer Staples are outperforming the S&P the most since 2008. And Energy stocks are leading the market the most since 2008.

How much warning do these people need?

Back in 2008, economists were still debating whether or not the economy was in recession, NINE MONTHS after it started. There are no economic leading indicators of recession EXCEPT markets themselves. The allocation of risk capital to LATE CYCLE trades is the clearest indication of late cycle risk.

"Stagflation is coming"

We may or may not be in recession at this moment, but it doesn't matter. Because the Fed is going to keep tightening policy until they are CONVINCED that we are in recession. Which means DEEP in recession. 

And then they will realize they don't have enough dry powder to get us out again. It will be at THAT point when today's pundits realize pounding the table on inflation for too long facilitated THE LARGEST policy error in Fed history. 

Today's older investors have NO EXCUSE not to see it coming. Aside from early onset dementia brought about by 14 years of brain dead investing. They've become fat and lazy. Accustomed to embracing all risk.

Today's young investors believe they are a new hardy breed of investor, unlike their parents who panicked and sold into the past two -50% market collapses. These young people have "diamond hands", meaning they never sell. 

That is all well and good, but they have diamond hands in a crystal market. Meaning they won't sell until the Matrix melts down around them like a well cultivated illusion.  At which point they will finally realize their entire life has been fed into a corporate hopper and sent to the Cayman Islands for efficient distribution to global Oligarchs.

Yes I feel bad for these young people facing EVERY type of major risk of the past FIVE decades at the same time. Layered on top with a collapsing crypto bubble, a student loan crisis, and a Fed with the least amount of dry powder at any end of cycle in U.S. history. All aided and abetted by the most corrupt and decadent financial commentary in U.S. history. 

Recall that brokers lowered commissions to ZERO right before the pandemic, thereby luring an entirely new generation into the casino just before the end of cycle pandemic mega bubble took off. So no wonder they see themselves as the chosen ones of casino gambling.

Be that as it may, history will say they were the ultimate victims of moral hazard and late cycle criminality.

To believe anything else is IDIOTIC.

Could I be wrong that this fairy tale is NOT ending right now?

Sure, there could be ANOTHER chapter of Goldilocks and NO BEARS. Alternatively, this is just ending the worst way possible with the fewest number of people seeing it ending, as one would FULLY expect it would end after 14 years of central bank sponsored moral hazard. 

Bet accordingly. 

Friday, May 20, 2022


"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion"

 - Ludwig Von Mises

If the Fed accelerates rate hikes they bring forward recession and asset meltdown. If they ease off rate hikes, they won't have dry powder for a recession and asset meltdown. Either way, investors are trapped at the END OF THE CYCLE...

Today's pundits who still believe in this "market", no longer believe in any element of TRUE financial analysis. They ignore eroding profit margins, they ignore collapsing P/E multiples due to high interest rates. They ignore cycle risk and recession indicators. They ignore consumer sentiment. They ignore Fed tightening policy. They ignore global risk factors. And of course they ignore ALL concept of over-valuation. All they believe in is the efficient Bailout Hypothesis, despite the fact that the Fed itself has repeatedly warned them that it's not happening this time. 

Mostly what pundits ignore is the risk of being wrong when the Fed is tightening liquidity at the fastest pace in history NEAR the zero bound. There is no monetary safety net beneath this lethal gambit. This is the monetary equivalent of Russian Roulette. 

The real policy error started 14 years ago when the Fed began conditioning investors to expect a bailout at the first sign of trouble. Prior to 2008, the Fed's mandate was price stability and full employment. The post-2008 mandate is full employment, price stability, and Dow making all time highs in perpetuity. Unfortunately, this untimely combination of end of cycle/supply chain bottlenecks now makes it impossible for the Fed to fight inflation AND save markets. 

"Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George said the “rough week in the equity markets” was not surprising, and doesn’t alter her support for half-point interest-rate hikes to cool inflation"

Going into this year, financial advisors told their retail clients that stocks usually perform well during the first year of a new rate hiking cycle. Fast forward five months and the Nasdaq is deep in bear market territory and the S&P 500 is now just points off of a bear market. 

What went wrong? Several widely unquestioned assumptions were invalid this time around. For one thing, the Nasdaq asset bubble started imploding a year ago. Secondly, the Fed tapered their balance sheet expansion in record time leading to further weakness in Tech. Thirdly, as I showed in my prior post, bond yields and mortgage rates sky-rocketed as the Fed continued to escalate their ever-more hawkish tone ahead of each FOMC meeting. In June, the Fed is planning to double tighten rates AND double tighten the balance sheet. Which would be the most extreme tightening measures in HISTORY.

All of this rising risk hasn't stopped today's pundits from continuing to propagate belief in the Fed put. This idea that the Fed is always ready to step in to save markets. Which is why investors are now counting on the Fed to bail them out of a nascent bear market.  

"Bolstering his opinion is a conviction that US inflation has probably peaked, or is about to do so, paving the way for a pullback in price pressures that will eventually allow the Federal Reserve to moderate the pace of monetary tightening"

This is the Goldilocks and NO BEARS economic fairy tale - not too hot and not too cold. And they lived happily ever after. The fact that this outcome WON'T allow the Fed to normalize policy is of no concern. Nor is it explained how we go from 8% inflation down to 2% in a few months, which has never happened before EXCEPT in the 2008 market meltdown. The fact remains that the ONLY way to get inflation from 8% down to 2% quickly is via market crash. Anything less, and the Fed will continue tightening long after inflation has "peaked". They won't be satisfied with a 5% inflation rate. 

Getting back to the topic of policy error, the Fed has systematically conditioned investors to misallocate capital throughout ALL points in the cycle. To actively embrace risk rather than protect capital. Which ironically is why the Fed sees no major market risk on the horizon. The Fed's own proprietary financial stress index is a mirror image of the stock market VIX - both are stuck at a relatively low level. No surprise, the VIX is one of the constituent data elements of the Fed's index. 

Both the VIX and FSI are confirming MASS COMPLACENCY in financial markets. And therefore the Fed feels free to continue tightening. 

In summary, the S&P 500 is at the precipice of a bear market, and yet complacency reigns supreme. End of cycle risk is coalescing in the background while the Fed is systematically taking liquidity out of the market. Investors are no longer hedging because it's too expensive and they assume the Fed will bail them out sooner than later. 

Unfortunately, this time they can't afford to be wrong. Because a crash coming AFTER a -20% decline is WORST CASE SCENARIO and will stress test these Disney markets far beyond their breaking point.   

So the only question now is "What could go wrong?"

And the answer is ANYTHING. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Retail investor bagholders have a long tradition of going ALL IN at the top. Why stop now?

Today's pundits are largely of the groupthink mind that the Fed can thread the needle between normalizing monetary policy and recession. 

Every oil shock in the past 50 years has preceded recession. Every inflation shock for the past 50 years has preceded recession. Every housing bubble in 75 years has preceded recession. 8 out of 10 rate hiking cycles has preceded recession, and the DotCom bubble in Y2K preceded recession.

This time we have ALL of those risk factors and a negative GDP print in Q1, but pundits are STILL not certain there will be a recession.

Here we see the University of Michigan index of current economic conditions is the lowest in 50 years, yet this time the housing bubble is STILL growing. What are we to believe will happen when it collapses?

Retail sales came in today near expectations, which has led pundits to believe "the consumer is strong". However, headline retail sales are NOT adjusted for inflation. On a quantity basis, we can see that retail sales are imploding:

Real consumption expenditures, QUANTITY:

Walmart warned today that they are no longer able to pass along all costs to the consumer hence profit margins are imploding:

Walmart stock peaked only three weeks ago, which is several months AFTER the overall market. The same pattern that took place in 2008. 

What today's retail gamblers don't understand that institutions DO understand is that the Fed bailout cycle is OVER. The Fed is now intent on normalizing monetary policy as quickly as possible, because they know recession is coming. Which means they need as much dry powder as possible. So ironically, they are now in the process of accelerating recession in order to get rates to a level that will allow them to cut in the future. Investors are now trapped by this policy conundrum. 

The rational strategy is to rebalance portfolios from stocks back to T-bonds and to raise CASH aka. t-bills, money markets. However, RETAIL investors have been led to believe that inflation is NOT transitory and therefore they must OWN the riskiest end of cycle assets. By this I mean commodities and commodity stocks. While holding minimal cash.

What is not priced into these markets is DEFAULT risk. The Fed's proprietary financial stress indicator has fallen since the stock market crash began. Why? Too much complacency in the stock market AND in the high yield bond market. 

There is no cycle risk priced into these markets:

We got news this week that China is already in a recession.

Their market has collapsed back down to where it was in late 2015 right before the wheels came off the global bus. In addition, the Yuan is collapsing at the fastest rate in history (not shown). 

The markets have ALREADY done the Fed's job for them. Consider that the Fed rate is currently at .75% but the 30 year mortgage is at the highest level since 2008. HIGHER than it was in 2018 when the Fed rate was at 2.5%!

That's insanity.  

Homebuilder sentiment is collapsing. AND home buyer sentiment is collapsing as well. 

Last week saw the highest number of Nasdaq weekly lows in HISTORY. And yet in four weeks time the Fed is intent on double tightening their balance sheet AND a double rate hike. The most EXTREME Fed tightening measures in HISTORY.

Which means that the Nasdaq is imploding AND the Fed is tightening both at record pace. 

BTFD: Buy The Fucking Depression...

In summary, this same market pattern played out in 1929. At first, individual investors bought the dip. But then the selloff accelerated and they ultimately panicked and the market crashed. 

This chart shows the 1929 Dow inset against my predicted path for the U.S. market. Until the Fed panics, this market WILL NOT see a tradable bottom. Which means the initial crash will not be enough to stop stocks from going lower. I predict a neutral Fed will lead to a dead cat bounce followed by another leg lower. Which is what happened in 1929. The percentages are ESTIMATES. There is nothing magical about these price levels. If anything, they could be lower.   

Friday, May 13, 2022

BTFD: Buy The Fucking Depression

This article from the Wall Street Journal confirms that retail investors are buying stocks with both hands while institutions are selling in massive quantities. Which is what happens at EVERY stock market top. Once again, retail investors waited until the end of the cycle to plow record amounts of money into stocks at record over-valuations this time with NO Fed safety net. It's financial suicide:

"This year’s stock market volatility has turbocharged a favorite strategy among individual investors: buying the dip"

Many individual investors who bought the stock-market dip are sitting on losses...This year, the S&P 500 has fallen 16%, its worst start to a year in nearly a century"

Vanda estimates the average individual investor portfolio peaked late last year and has since tumbled, giving the average individual a paper loss of about 28%"

In other words, individual investor losses roughly equal Nasdaq losses. So far. The lack of panic is highly evident in the subdued Nasdaq VIX:

Investors have been systematically conditioned by central banks to buy the dip despite ever-increasing risk. They no longer look at valuations or economic information, they just blindly buy stocks whenever they fall. On the assumption that this strategy will ALWAYS pay off. The last time this strategy REALLY failed of course was in the 1930s. After the market peaked and crashed in 1929, it eventually lost 90% of its value by the lows of 1932. The high of 1929 was only regained 25 years later. 

Ironically, Warren Buffett was born in 1930 so he began his investing career AFTER the worst bear market in history. Therefore he believes that stocks always go up as well. Of course Japan and China give us much more recent examples of what happens when monetary policy fails. In both those cases, stocks remain far off their all time highs. 

You don't have to be a genius to predict how this all ends:

The Fed pushes global markets over the cliff until the global asset bubble explodes - a process which is already well underway. Retail gamblers will be trapped with MASSIVE losses. The Fed is slow to react at first, but eventually reverses.  In the meantime markets continue to implode. Consumer confidence collapses. Global depression ensues. 

Here we see that consumer confidence has already collapsed to where it was at the bottom of the last housing bubble. This time, it has collapsed at the top of the housing bubble. Meanwhile, the Fed is tightening monetary policy at the fastest pace in history. 

A disaster in the making. 

Ultimately, investors will lose confidence in the Fed and in markets and they will bail at the bottom. I don't predict a 90% loss however because this time the Fed is going to Japanify the bond market which will ultimately put a bid under stocks. Something that was not attempted in the 1930s. Nevertheless, the degree of dislocation will ensure that investor confidence is fully shattered.

This is by far the most likely scenario given the information we already know. And yet, not even ONE mainstream pundit sees it coming. They all see Fed interest rate hikes for the rest of 2022 and into 2023. Zerohedge always has the bipolar "depressionary hyperinflation" angle covered. Which is an asinine theory of course. There will either be recession or inflation, not both. 2008 is the closest analog. Back then, inflation expectations collapsed along with the commodity markets. This week we learned that China is likely going to cut interest rates as soon as next week. And they may soon lockdown Beijing over COVID. In addition, Europe has backed off the idea of a Russian oil ban. So the argument keeping oil bid no longer exists.

We can see there is now a massive divergence between crude oil and the Canadian dollar, which is a proxy for global growth:

The markets are going to do the Fed's job for them, only FAR FASTER. They are going to take away the punch bowl and collapse inflation expectations. Which means that most of today's pundits will be catastrophically wrong as to how this all plays out. And most investors in risk assets will get wiped out.  



The dislocations we've already seen this week in Crypto currencies should have been a warning as to what is coming to other markets. Crypto is currently 95% correlated to the Nasdaq. The Crypto losses to date are $1.7 trillion which is more than subprime losses in 2007 ($1.3 trillion).

The next big shoe to drop will be in Emerging Markets which have been getting monkey hammered by the rising dollar.

And are now BIDLESS.

In summary, the losses are racking up in IPO junk, ARK ETFs, Emerging Markets, Cryptos, and Mega Cap Tech. However, complacency is rampant. 

Retail investors are just buying the dip lower and lower into the economic abyss. And sadly, there is no one who will tell them it's a bad idea. The amount of economic hardship this will cause is totally unthinkable. 

The age of easy money is OVER and now the age of democratized fraud is ending far worse than the majority expect.

Who knows if it was meant to be this way.

"In the broadening top formation five minor reversals are followed by a substantial decline."

In its formation, most of the selling is completed in the early stage by big players and the participation is from general public in the later stage"


Tuesday, May 10, 2022


The Fed is raising interest rates heading into recession. Investors want to know when they should double down on stocks. It's the power of imagined reality...

"What a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing"

Way back in late 2014 hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry penned an open letter to his investors telling them that he was "taking the blue pill now" - the Matrix metaphor for drinking the Kool-Aid. He had reached the conclusion that central banks would continue manipulating markets ad infinitum, thereby creating an ever greater divergence between fantasy and reality. He called QE, the "virtual simulation of prosperity". This divergence he claimed would go on indefinitely, but then end extremely badly. However he believed that no one could predict when it would end because by the time it ended everyone would believe in the invincibility of central banks. He called this new investment approach the power of "imagined realities". Looking forward to 2015 he predicted that amid GDP growth at 25 year lows the PBOC would create a Chinese stock bubble and he was going to buy into it. He was right - for a time - because in 2015 the PBOC did create a vertical stock market rally, but then it all came crashing down and they lost control of the market. What I call "Shanghai Surprise" i.e. when you find out central banks are NOT invincible. In the event, Hendry lost his hedge fund as large investors left in droves. Here we see Chinese stocks peaked back in 2008:

What we are witnessing right now in the U.S. is the EXTREME version of imagined realities i.e. investors buying a disintegrating market with NO explicit OR implicit central bank support.

"Demand for equities was light to start the month, but as the major indices continued their strong pullback below key support levels, we saw demand accelerate"

This shows the IMX relative to collapsed Nasdaq breadth in the bottom pane. In all of the prior times % Nasdaq above 200 dma reached this current level, the Fed DID bailout the market. As we will see in the next chart below, they are nowhere near doing so now. 

Worse yet, China's COVID zero policy is creating an extreme divergence in monetary policy between China and the U.S. By locking down large parts of the country, China is exacerbating global supply chain shortages, forcing central banks such as the Fed to tighten more. At the same time, the lockdowns are imploding China's economy causing them to ease more and weaken the Yuan. Emerging markets are caught in the middle, forced to devalue their currencies in line with China while inflation is rising. It's a recipe for mass exodus of capital WORSE than what happened back in 2015 when China's stock market imploded. Back then the Fed was only planning to raise rates and then they stopped. China's lockdowns are only short-term "inflationary" from a supply chain standpoint. Their collapsing currency and the sky-rocketing U.S. dollar are long-term DEFLATIONARY.

All of which is why I don't predict these markets will have a conventional crash. I predict we will see global asset EXPLOSION across every risk asset class, that is totally uncontrollable by central banks.

This graph of the Nasdaq shows that the Fed has stepped in to rescue the market EVERY time it fell meaningfully below the 200 day moving average (red line). Currently, the Nasdaq is down -27% but the Fed Funds futures still predict a 100% probability of rate hike in June. With an 85% probability of ANOTHER .5% rate hike. 

Tech is not the only problem. During the pandemic, cyclicals got bid up to ludicrous valuations. And now as the economy turns from inflation to recession, the reflation trades are about to go BIDLESS.

Millennials have never been through a bear market. Their primary investment experience took place during the 2018 and 2020 Fed bailouts. So they believe that markets ALWAYS magically v-bottom and sky-rocket higher. Hence they keep buying more as the market collapses. The thought that they could keep plunging lower never even enters their mind.

They will keep buying lower until they get margined out of existence.  

"Nursing losses in 2022 that are worse than the rest of the market’s, amateur investors who jumped in when the lockdown began have now given back all of their once-prodigious gains"

“A lot of these guys started trading right around Covid so their only investing experience was the wacked-out, Fed-fueled market”

In summary, we have now reached the terminal juncture that Hugh Hendry predicted "no one" would see coming. The point at which central banks lose control. As we see via today's totally useless financial media, investors desperately want any excuse to embrace risk. Which is why their current preoccupation is finding the "bottom" in this bidless market. Which is what happens in EVERY bear market. Investors slide down the slope of hope.  

The market is technically broken now. We are seeing a Y2K level of financial decimation. In 2021, Wall Street dumped RECORD amounts of junk stocks into the market which are now imploding the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq will be dead money for years if not decades. History will say that the Millennials were protesting Wall Street at the beginning of the cycle and got bilked by Wall Street at the end of the cycle.

And then they exploded and brought down the entire Casino.

Because it was all one JUNK MARKET inflated by the unquestioned belief that printed money is the secret to effortless wealth.