The FED and the Elections

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The Stock Markets often predict the outcome of Presidential elections. If stocks are up – or even if they just are flat – the party which holds the White House tends to win the election. If stocks are down – especially if they’re down big time – the opposite party is favored to take the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been in the 18,000 area for the last two years, and as the US Economy has stagnated, the PE Ratio has gotten up to a near bubble level over 25. This has been achieved single handedly by the FED, which except for last December’s hike, hasn’t raised rates for 10 years, keeping them near zero for several of those years.

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Negative Rates Will Kill Growth

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From http://www.europac.com

For years I have argued that ultra-low interest rates act more as an economic sedative than a stimulant. This idea has elicited laughter from the economic establishment. But it is becoming clearer that rates set by central banks that are far below the levels that free markets would have otherwise determined have dragged the world into the economic mud. The simple proof is currently arising in Europe where negative interest rates are now transforming companies from agents of growth, production, and employment into financial sloths that exist solely to borrow money.

In a September 7 front page article, the Wall Street Journal reported that as of September 5,  706 billion worth of investment-grade European corporate debt, or roughly 30% of the market, according to trading platform Tradeweb, was trading at negative yields, an increase from just 5% in January. These negative yields were the result of intense activism on the part of the European Central Bank (ECB).

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No Wonder the Stock Market’s So High: It’s All Corporate Buybacks

By John Del Vecchio – Re-Blogged From http://economyandmarkets.com

Not too long ago Carly Fiorina was still in the race. Everyone remembers Carly as the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who lost her job. I remember when Carly took over as the Chief Executive back in 1999. In her six-year tenure, the company bought about $14 billion of its stock, which was $2 billion more than it had made in profits.

Again, that was just in six years. Over the next six years, her first two successors bought back about $53 billion. That was as of 2011. I don’t even want to know how much the current CEO has purchased, as corporate buybacks have only grown more popular in recent years.

I was reading an article about buybacks published in Business Insider this past weekend. It said that they’ve accounted for almost all of the stock market’s gains since 2009.

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Unemployment & Civil Unrest

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

In Summer 1965, the US suffered through much turmoil, including the Watts riots.

Today in the US, we again are having civil unrest, but with a major difference. Today’s unrest appears to be more organized, with police and other authorities as specific targets.

Even the “lone wolf” attacks seem to have a common thread tying them together – Islam. Now, I’m not saying that most American born muslims are set on destroying our country, but before you dismiss me as a racist, you might want to reread the current events of the last couple of years.

Most of the press stories seem to be placing the blame squarely on the Republicans – currently in office and hopefuls on the campaign trail. While many Republicans in Congress are complicit with the policies that are hurting all Americans – including poor blacks – for the most part, they aren’t the ones coming up with these stupid policies.

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Where Oh Where Has the Rally Gone?

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From The Great Recession Blog

Last week began the blackout period for companies buying back their own shares, as we are nearing the end of a quarter, when stock buybacks are put on hold. It also began the bust of the stock market’s recent rally. If you followed my last article, you’d see that this is exactly what I expected the stock market to do because nearly all of the buoyancy in the recent market rally has been created by companies buying back stocks and sometimes focusing the buybacks on specific major shareholders.

The big players use stock buybacks to save themselves

Take a look at the chart above, which shows how the stock market is almost exactly tracking stock buybacks. Note the last time buybacks hit a zenith (in 2008) similar to the present. As soon as stock buybacks ended, the stock market crashed. As the market grew more desperate, there were more buybacks by corporations in an attempt to keep their share prices rising but perhaps also as an engineered exit for major stockholders. (Use the company money to buy back shares so that massive buybacks don’t have any negative impact on stock prices.)

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