Dangerous Stock Markets

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

These record US stock-market levels are very dangerous, riddled with extreme levels of euphoria and complacency.  Largely thanks to the Fed, traders are convinced stocks can rally indefinitely.  But stock prices are very expensive relative to underlying corporate earnings, with valuations back up near bubble levels.  These are classic topping signs, with profits growth stalling and the Fed out of easy dovish ammunition.

Stock markets are forever cyclical, meandering in an endless series of bulls and bears.  The latter phase of these cycles is inevitable, like winter following summer.  Traders grow too excited in bull markets, and bid up stock prices far higher than their fundamentals support.  Subsequent bear markets are necessary to eradicate unsustainable valuation excesses, forcing stock prices sideways to lower until profits catch up.

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Beware The Young Bear!

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Stock markets are forever cyclical, an endless series of alternating bulls and bears. And after one of the greatest bulls in US history, odds are a young bear is now gathering steam. It is being fueled by record Fed tightening, bubble valuations, trade wars, and mounting political turmoil. Bears are dangerous events driving catastrophic losses for buy-and-hold investors. Different strategies are necessary to thrive in them.

This major inflection shift from exceptional secular bull to likely young bear is new. By late September, the flagship US S&P 500 broad-market stock index (SPX) had soared 333.2% higher over 9.54 years in a mighty bull. That ranked as the 2nd-largest and 1st-longest in US stock-market history! At those recent all-time record highs, investors were ecstatic. They euphorically assumed that bull-run would persist for years.

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World’s Smartest Investors Can’t Figure Out The Markets

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Hedge fund managers sit at the top of the financial world’s food chain. They’re generally seen as the smartest money managers, and their companies have the most flexibility to pursue new opportunities. The result is supposed to be the best possible returns – for clients who can afford the high fees.

But lately things haven’t worked out that way. Hedge fund managers appear baffled by the behavior of stocks, bonds and pretty much everything else, as time-tested strategies fail and brand-name managers report terrible results, in a growing number of cases throwing in the towel, returning their investors’ money and riding off into the sunset.

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Stock Markets Hyper-Risky 3

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The lofty US stock markets remain riddled with euphoria and complacency, fueled by an exceptional bull. Investors believe downside risks are trivial, despite long years of epic central-bank easing catapulting valuations to dangerous bull-slaying extremes. This has left today’s markets hyper-risky, with a massive bear looming as the Fed and ECB increasingly slow and reverse their easy-money policies. Caveat emptor!

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Companies On Track For $800 Billion Share Buyback Record In 2018

By Rick Mills – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Donald Trump’s tax cuts are already paying dividends… well, actually the companies that are benefiting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Trump Administration in December are not only returning cash to shareholders in the form of dividends, but are presiding over what could be the largest share buyback program in history.

The legislation slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and the top individual tax rate shrunk to 37%. It also cut income tax rates, doubled the standard deduction and eliminated personal exemptions. All told, the Trump tax cuts are the eighth largest since 1918, and represent just over 1% of GDP – in other words, how much federal revenue the government will forego as a percentage of the economy.

Yardeni.com

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Robert Shiller is Worried

Re-Blogged From http://reports.pmcapital.com.au

Legendary Economist Robert Shiller is Worried. Maybe You Should Be Too.

Robert Shiller, renowned economist, Yale professor and Nobel Laureate, is worried about the over-priced stock market.  So much so that he is refraining from adding to his own stock positions. One factor, among many, that he says makes him nervous is the CAPE ratio. A recent Bloomberg article notes that while the CAPE metric is still about 30 percent below its high in 2000, it shows stocks are almost as expensive now as they were on the eve of the 1929 crash. “The market is way over-priced,’’ Shiller says. “It’s not as intellectual as people would think, or as economists would have you believe.’’

What Not to Buy in Today’s Stock Market

By Vitaliy Katsenelson – Re-Blogged From IMA
Dear reader, if you are overcome with fear of missing out on the next stock market move; if you feel like you have to own stocks no matter the cost; if you tell yourself, “Stocks are expensive, but I am a long-term investor”; then consider this article a public service announcement written just for you.
Before we jump into the stock discussion, let’s quickly scan the global economic environment. The health of the European Union did not improve in 2016, and Brexit only increased the possibility of other “exits” as the structural issues that render this union dysfunctional went unfixed.
Japan’s population has not gotten any younger since the last time I wrote about it — it is still the oldest in the world. Japan’s debt pile got bigger, and it remains the most indebted developed nation (though, in all fairness, other countries are desperately trying to take that title away from it). Despite the growing debt, Japanese five-year government bonds are “paying” an interest rate of –0.10 percent. Imagine what will happen to its government’s budget when Japan has to start actually paying to borrow money commensurate with its debtor profile.

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Expect No More Than 3 Percent Returns in the Next 20 Years

By John Mauldin – Re-Blogged From http://www.newsmax.com

We didn’t have all of this big data or computing power when I started in the investment publishing industry in 1982. But we do today.

This data not only shows us the present state of the stock market, but also tells what that means in terms of probable returns over the coming 7, 10, and 12 years and what it means in terms of relative risks.

Below, I picked out three telling charts that reveal how pricey the stock market is and what that tells us about probable forward returns.

Median P/E (Price-to-Earnings Ratio) Shows That We Are At The Second Most Overvalued Point Since 1964

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Why You Should Be VERY Careful With Stocks Here

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From Gains, Pains, & Capital

I want to warn you to be very VERY careful with stocks right now.

The common narrative is that the US is entering a golden age in its economy and that this growth will drive stocks ever higher.

The reality is that GDP growth has collapsed. The third quarter of last year (3Q16) was the quarter everyone thought signaled a new beginning with growth of 3.5%. However, the very next quarter’s growth (4Q16) collapsed to 1.9%.

And thus far this quarter 1Q17 is tracking at 1.8%

Put simply, growth is NOT coming soon if at all. Even Trump’s top economic advisor has admitted that GDP growth of 3% is unlikely until the end of 2018.

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Irrational Exuberance In US Stock Market Grasps At 20K For Dow Index

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Great Recession Blog

Since Trump’s election, the US stock market has climbed unstoppably along a remarkably steep path to round off at a teetering height. Is this the irrational exuberance that typically marks the last push before a perilous plunge, or is the market reaching escape velocity from the relentless gravity of the Great Recession?

This burst of enthusiasm in response to Trump’s victory, flew in the face of almost everyone’s predictions. That it lifted the market from seven months of languor certainly makes 20K on the Dow look like the elevation marker of a breathtaking summit.

While breaking 20k, if it happens, may be as meaningless as one more mile on the odometer when all the numbers roll over, it is psychologically potent for many. Breaking through it, could cause fear as eyes turn down and see how far below the earth now is, or the rarified air up here may bring euphoria that lifts the market to even greater levels on a rising current of hot air.

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Record Bond And Stock Prices Sending the Same Message

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The S&P500 is trading near an all-time record high. But investors should not take this as the all clear signal. According to most indicators, the market is now more overvalued than ever before.

The Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings Ratio analyzes the value of the S&P500 Index with the 10-year average of “real” (inflation-adjusted) earnings as the denominator to determine if the market as a whole is overvalued or undervalued. Today this ratio sits at 26.73, close to the short-term high of 27.2 seen in 2007 and well above its historic average of around 16.

Then we have the Q ratio, developed by James Tobin. This metric takes the total price of the market divided by the replacement cost of all its companies’ assets. The average Q ratio is .68, but the latest estimate of the Q ratio .98.  This suggests that the S&P 500 is currently dramatically above the mean.

Adding to this, the total market cap of U.S. stocks is now 122.5% of GDP. This is the highest level since mid-2000, which was during the NASDAQ bubble. This measure reached its peak at 142%, before crashing back to the more traditional level of just 70% by 2002.

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Stock Topping Valuations

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The prevailing valuations in the lofty US stock markets are increasingly becoming a bone of contention.  Wall Street calmly asserts stocks are reasonably valued, since it has a huge vested interest in keeping people fully-invested.  But with valuations soaring following a massive rally and weak third-quarter earnings season, they are dangerously high and portend great downside risk.  Stock topping valuations abound.

Since investing is all about buying low then selling high, the price paid for any investment is everything.  Buy good companies at cheap prices, and you’ll multiply your wealth over time.  But buying those very same good companies at expensive prices radically stunts future gains.  While cheap investments have great potential to soar as traders recognize their inherent value, expensive ones have already exhausted their upside.

And it’s valuations, not absolute stock prices, that define cheap and expensive.  Valuations are where stock prices are trading relative to their underlying corporate earnings streams.  The less investors pay in terms of stock price for each dollar of profits, the greater their ultimate returns.  Valuations are most often expressed in price-to-earnings-ratio terms, with stock prices divided by underlying corporate earnings per share.

This concept is so easy to understand, yet the vast majority of investors ignore it.  Imagine purchasing a house for a rental property that has expected annual rental income of $30k.  How much would you be willing to pay for it?  If you can get it for $210k, 7x earnings, it will pay for itself in just 7 years.  That’s a great deal.  But if that same house is priced at $630k, 21x, it will take far too long just to recoup the initial cost.

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One Step Back From The Ledge

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.PentoPort.com

I started Pento Portfolio Strategies three years ago with the knowledge that the unprecedented level of fiat credit creation had rendered the globe debt disabled and would result in mass global sovereign default. As a consequence, there would be wild swings between inflation and deflation dependent upon the government provisions of fiscal stimulus, Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Policies…

For much of the third quarter the US Federal Reserve has avowed to raise rates. This in turn caused a sharp stock market correction on a worldwide basis. The flattening of the Treasury yield curve and the strengthening of the US dollar were the primary culprits. But then the September Non-Farm Payroll Report came in with a net increase of just 142k jobs, which was well below Wall Street’s expectation. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1% but the labor force participation rate dropped to the October 1977 low of 62.4%. Average hourly earnings fell 0.04% and the workweek slipped to 34.5 hours. There were also significant downward revisions of 22k and 37k jobs for the July and August reports respectively.

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Why The Fed Is Afraid To Raise Interest Rates

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Even though the major stock market averages are flat for the first six months of the year, by nearly every measure the stock market is still extremely overvalued. This point is not lost on Ms. Yellen and company, as the Fed Chair herself has recently assented that the current value of stocks are “quite high”. Given this, the Fed must privately be afraid that even a small change in the Fed Funds Rate could serve as the needle that pops the massive bubble in the stock market.

Exactly How Overvalued Is This Market?

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Shiller And Goldman Say US Stocks Are Overvalued

Goldman Sachs’ chief equity strategist, David Kostin, said that “by almost any measure, US equity valuations look expensive”, which echoed Robert Shiller’s earlier opinion. Is the U.S. stock bubble finally going to burst? How will it affect the gold market?

More and more analysts are warning against a U.S. stock market bubble. Last weekend, Yale professor and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller said that in his opinion U.S. stocks were overvalued. Although he is not sure that the current situation is a classic bubble, he clearly sees the bubble element. For example, Shiller pointed out that the CAPE (cyclically adjusted P/E) ratio has been recently around 27, which is high by U.S. historical standards (the only other times it was that high or higher were in 1929, 2000, and 2007 – all moments before market crashes).

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Q1 Earnings Risky For Stocks

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The highly-anticipated first-quarter earnings season is in full swing, with traders eager to see how US companies are faring.  While expectations are low, these profits releases still collectively pose serious risks for today’s overvalued and overextended US stock markets.  A few high-profile misses could prove all it takes to unleash a long-overdue serious selloff.  Investors and speculators alike need to remain wary.

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What the F*#k Should Investors Do? (Part 2)

(This article was written last October! Several forecasts has turned out right on the money. The author’s advice still is quite valuable today.  –Bob)

By Vitaliy Katsenelson – Re-Blogged From http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/

In my column last Friday, in response to an e-mail I had received from an investor asking “what the fuck” he should do, I promised to explain what we’re doing with our portfolio. I will, but first let me tell you a story. When I was a sophomore in college, I was taking five or six classes and had a full-time job and a full-time (more like overtime) girlfriend. I was approaching finals, I had to study for lots of tests and turn in assignments, and to make matters worse, I had procrastinated until the last minute.

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Beware The Stock Bear!

The US stock markets’ latest record highs have left traders exceedingly euphoric and complacent.  They are utterly convinced this stock bull will power higher for years to come.  But their enthusiasm is very misplaced.  In real inflation-adjusted terms, the US stock markets only just regained breakeven levels 15 years after the last secular bull peaked.  Now the secular stock bear ever since is overdue for a new cyclical bear.

The flagship benchmark index for tracking the US stock markets is the mighty S&P 500, often shortened to SPX.  The whole financial world literally revolves around this dominant index, with most global equity markets and even some major commodities markets like oil usually mirroring it.  American stock traders can directly trade the SPX through a handful of gargantuan ETFs including the leading SPY S&P 500 ETF.

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Share Buybacks – Good or Bad?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Buy Low and Sell High!

Though this is what investors aim for, many (most?) wind up doing just the opposite. Companies buying or selling their own shares are notorious for their awful timing. Rather than indicating merely lousy skill, many times it points to corporate leaders acting in their own, personal interests, even when that is opposite to their fiduciary responsibility of working for the benefit of all shareholders.

When you hear a CEO say that the company is buying back its own shares ‘To release shareholder value,” you may need to dig deeper. After that kind of “handshake,” you may want to count your fingers.

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Stock Markets & FED Policy

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Stock markets are one reflection of the health of a country’s Economy. If the Economy is growing, markets tend to go up, and if the Economy is in trouble, markets tend to fall.

Since stocks represent ownership in businesses, the price of the stock is affected by the underlying profits and by how fast profits are growing (or falling). Comparing the price of a stock to the underlying profit per share, the “Price to Earnings Ratio” or more commonly the stock’s PE Ratio, we can get an idea of what people are willing to pay to

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