It is a widely accepted postulate that excessive debt slows growth while lowering interest rates is a remedy applied to stimulate growth. The most recent US economic recovery has registered unusually slow growth in a low interest environment marked by a sharp increase in debt. The US national debt doubled in the course of the Obama administration over eight years. Deficit spending is thought to be a measure conducive to stimulating a sluggish economy. A combination of low interest rates and budget stimulus should have produced strong growth and not growth rates remaining under 2% for years on end.
Should the Fed continue with two more interest rate hikes in 2017, many commentators are of the opinion that the US will have a recession in 2018. The Fed`s intention to trim its balance sheet, if put into practice, will mean turmoil in the bond market as the Treasury will have to issue more bonds to cover the deficit of $670B with the national debt currently at $19.96T. The Fed will probably end up having to buy some of the new debt, thereby foiling its efforts at rebalancing its balance. October is at present the most likely month for a stock market correction or crash according to some observers.
Investors currently face great difficulty in trying to limit risk while desperately searching for higher yields. ZIRP and NIRP have made bonds uninteresting even as central banks continue buying up what is available on the market with the result that yields are kept artificially low. Central bank acquisitions on the stock market have pushed equity prices so high that new records have been set. David Stockman is correct in asserting that price discovery has been eliminated.
The Fed has invoked 2% as the magic number for inflation but claims that its goals have not been reached even though the economy is doing well and, therefore, interest rate hikes are justified. Inflation statistics depend on where one looks for inflation and the weighting given to different components. It is obvious that statistics can be manipulated and, unsurprisingly, consumer price inflation in the US is low, under 2%. Workers consequently do not have the argument of high inflation to justify requests for pay rises.
This Newsletter has predicted a stock market correction at the least if not a crash in the near future and favors gold as an investment. What has happened is that the FAANG stocks continue to ride high while the rest of the market generally limps along. The gold price suffers a setback every time it strikes northwards. If that was not enough to make one suspicious, inflation remains low despite huge injections of capital into the economy.
This Newsletter has suggested in the past that investors avoid bonds, and it is likely that bonds will become even worse investments in the near future. The geniuses at central bank headquarters in the US, EU and Japan have created a situation that makes it extremely risky and unprofitable to put money in bonds. Not only have bond purchases by central banks distorted the bond market but the ZIRP and NIRP implementation has resulted in central banks not being in a position to combat the next recession. The present policy of the Fed to raise interest rates in a sluggish economy will only hasten the arrival of the next downturn which has already started in some sectors.
President Trump has railed against false news as the MSM (Main Stream Media) report (?) his horrendous doings as they are determined to delegitimize his administration by any means possible. Likewise the Fed and Wall Street attempt to pass off dubious statistics as proof that the economy and stock markets are fairing well. They do not want people to panic but to continue buying what is for sale. The preposterous claims of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election are matched by the ridiculous statistics promulgated by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics or rather Bureau of Laborious Statistics). It is a difficult feat for the imagination to believe that US unemployment is only 4.5% when 95 million people of working age are not in the work force now as opposed to 79.5 million not in the work force in 2000, further considering that in 2000 the US work force was 156 million and in 2017 it is 153 million with a total population of 325 million.
Disclaimers inform investors that previous performance is no guarantee of how a financial investment will perform in the future. Analysts and financial commentators and observers, including this Newsletter, also furnish disclaimers that absolve them of any responsibility for what they reckon will take place in the markets. In other words, all those peddling financial instruments assume no responsibility for future performance of the same, and all those daring to predict how markets will react decline to cover any losses that may result from investors following the advice proffered.
The last few days have seen some slight losses on the part of the FAANG stocks, which the media appear to have greatly exaggerated as if it was something extraordinary that the market could not continue its upward trend and have Tesla quickly reach the $1,000.00 mark. The Fed confidently raised interest rates again, which resulted in a stronger dollar on Forex markets for the time being.
For the second time this year, the Fed hiked interest rates, in a widely expected move that reflects the central bank's confidence in the U.S. economy. After two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee raised their benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The move was essentially a foregone conclusion and the market was pricing in a 99% chance of a rate hike, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.
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