Should we be concerned about September?

Saturday, August 30, 12 noon.

Not that we are predicting a bear market.

But is it true, as some are claiming, that it would be rare for a bear market to begin this late in the year after reaching a new high in August.

In fact, of the 25 bear markets since 1900, five of them began in September. And another 10 of them began in October, November, December, or January. That is, a total of 15 out of 25 began after August. In 1987, the market topped out in August, but even that was with less than a week left in the month, most of the decline taking place in September and October.

MARKET

TOP

MARKET

LOW

DECLINE

 

MARKET

TOP

MARKET

LOW

DECLINE

6-17-1901

11-9-1903

- 41%

 

9-12-1939

4-28-1942

- 40.4%

1-19-1906

11-15-1907

- 48.5%

 

5-29-1946

5-17-1947

- 23.2%

11-19-1909

9-25-1911

- 27.4%

 

4-6-1956

10-22-1957

- 20.0%

9-30-1912

7-30-1914

- 24.1%

 

12-13-1961

6-26-1962

- 27.1%

11-21-1916

12-19-1917

- 40.1%

 

2-9-1966

10-7-1966

- 25.2%

11-3-1919

8-24-1921

- 46.6%

 

12-3-1968

5-26-1970

- 35.9%

9-3-29

11-13-1929

- 47.9%

 

1-11-1973

12-6-1974

- 45.1%

4-17-30

7-8-1932

- 86.0%

 

9-21-1976

2-28-1978

- 26.9%

9-7-32

2-27-1933

- 37.2%

 

4-27-1981

8-12-1982

- 24.1%

2-5-1934

7-26-1934

- 22.8%

 

8-25-1987

10-19-1987

- 36.1%

3-10-1937

3-31-1938

- 49.1%

 

7-16-1990

10-11-1990

-21.2%

11-12-1938

4-8-1939

- 23.3%

 

1-14-2000

10-10-2002

- 38.7%

 

 

 

 

10-11-2007

3-6-2009

-54.4%

Average decline – 36.5%.  Ten largest declines averaged -49.9%.

A number of bullish analysts are also pointing out that over the last 100 years, September has been the worst month of the year, but it’s not worth thinking about, because the average decline was only 0.75%.

It would seem that more than just averaging all Septembers should be involved. What were the results for Septembers when conditions included the market being overvalued by as much as 35% to 65% based on P/E ratios, Price/Book ratios, market capitalization ratios, the Q-ratio, investor sentiment being at high levels, in the second year of the Presidential Cycle, and so on?

It’s like the old jokes:

A guy drowns wading across a pond with an average depth of three feet. He didn’t consider the numerous 20 foot holes.

An economist puts his head in the oven and his feet in the refrigerator. Asked how it felt just before he passed out, he said, “On average, not bad.”

It’s like saying the stock market has made an average annual gain of 2.4% since 2000. Whoops, but there were some 50% holes along the way that many of those wading through it drowned in, and most of the rest were left gasping for air. As another old saying goes, “You don’t drown from being in the water. You drown by not getting out before you go under.”

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I noticed an article this week opining that the current economic recovery has two more years to run because the three expansions prior to the 2008 meltdown lasted an average of 95 months (7.9 years). It was backed up by another average,  that on average those three expansions didn’t end until three years after the unemployment rate had fallen to between 5% and 5.5%.

However, if you read it through to the end, the article did finally drew the conclusion that “The previous cycles may be a poor guide to how long the current one lasts.”, citing the different conditions this time, that the output gap may be smaller, the employment picture is quite different, and interest rates have been stuck at a record low zero percent for five years. And it ends by quoting Olivier Blanchard of the IMF saying, “The economy fluctuates between normal periods, and abnormal periods when it meets the constraints of zero interest rates and weakens suddenly. Before the crisis we assumed we would stay away from those constraints. Now we know that once in awhile we shall get into that region and we have to be ready for it.”

Are markets still at an important juncture or all clear?

Did the S&P 500 closing at 2,003, breaking out above 2,000, signify an all clear for another leg up. Or are too many other indexes still at questionable junctures, at potential short-term overhead resistance to render a judgment?

That question is not only regarding the U.S. market but markets in Europe.

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Other Voices – Lots of Choices.

Bloomberg View, Mark Gilbert: ‘Germany to Europe: Help Isn’t on the Way’. “German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has bad news for anyone hoping the European Central Bank will ride to the rescue of the ailing euro region:

“Monetary policy has come to the end of its instruments. I don’t think ECB monetary policy has the instruments to fight deflation, to be quite frank. What we urgently need is investments, regaining confidence by investors, by markets, by consumers.”

His comments, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, coincide with figures showing annual inflation slowed to 0.3 percent in the euro zone this month. That was the weakest rate of growth since October 2009, and marks 11 consecutive months of prices growing by less than 1 percent. The deflationary danger that policy makers have been denying for months may be upon them.”

Ralph Acampora, Altaira Investment Solutions: Asked on CNBC for his take on forecasts of a mega-downturn made by analysts such as Abigail Doolittle; "I hear that and I see what they’re talking about, but . . . . honestly, if you look at the technicals as I do, there’s just no way I can make those downside targets."

[By the way, this is what Ralph, then at Prudential Securities, said at the severe market top in December, 1999, “I’m not saying the market is in a straight line up . . . I’m saying any kinds of decline, buy them.”]

James Cramer, the street.com: ‘Expect Selling and Don’t Buy It’.It has been so long without even a slight correction, and the upward move has drawn so much money into the market, that there will be no cushion to fall back on. Look for the big dollar amount stocks to be knocked over hard as that, oddly, is where all the momentum money is.”

Barron’s, Michael Kahn: ‘Stock Market Should Keep Rising—at Least for Now’. Only on Wall Street does a record-setting performance stir worry. Despite a blistering rally from early August that pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500 to the 2000 level for the first time, some measures of sentiment remain on fear alert. The CNN Money Fear & Greed index remains at a fearful 34 out of 100 (the higher the number the greater the greed).

But for anyone who tunes everything out but the trend, there is no immediate reason on the charts why the rally should end, at least not in the short term. Several weeks down the road, however, may be a different story as certain factors, including the Federal Reserve, build a bearish picture.”

Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch: “Labor Day weekend should be enjoyed, with a low level of market-top stress to detract from the beers and barbecue. That’s probably the way it felt for investors on Labor Day in 1929, too. . . . . After all, stocks were taking out new highs then, as well. And the Dow would knock out another record high the day after Labor Day. . . . However, that September 3rd peak would be the last for awhile. The 1929 October crash gets the press, but it began to unravel much earlier.

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To read my weekend newspaper column click here:   The Eurozone is a Growing Problem for the U.S. Economy

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter from Wednesday is in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website.

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U.S. market yesterday.

A quiet but positive day. No volume at all until final half hour when they spiked the Dow up to a positive close going into the long weekend. Volume then increased to normal 0.6 billion shares traded on the NYSE.

The Dow closed up 18 points, or 0.1%. And wow. The S&P 500 closed up 6 points, ‘breaking out’ above 2,000 to close at 2003. The NYSE Composite closed up 0.3%. The Nasdaq closed up 0.5%. The Nasdaq 100 closed up 0.4%. The Russell 2000 closed up 0.7%. The DJ Transportation Avg. closed up 0.1%. The DJ Utilities Avg closed up 0.8%.

Gold closed down $2 an ounce at $1,287 an ounce.

The U.S. dollar etf UUP closed up 0.2%.

The 20-yr bond etf TLT closed up 0.1%.

The China etf closed up 0.1%.

Asian markets mostly closed down in their last session of the week.

The Asia Dow closed down 0.4%.

Among individual markets:

Australia closed up 0.1%. China closed up 1.0%. Hong Kong closed unchanged. India closed up 0.3%. Indonesia closed down 0.9%. Japan closed down 0.2%. Malaysia closed down 0.5%. New Zealand closed down 0.3%. South Korea closed down 0.4%. Singapore closed down 0.1%. Taiwan closed down 0.4%. Thailand closed up 0.2%.

European markets closed mixed to flat yesterday.

The London FTSE closed up 0.2%. The German DAX closed up 0.1%. France’s CAC closed up 0.3%. Belgium closed down 0.1%. Denmark closed down 0.2%. Finland closed up 0.8%. Greece closed down 0.5%. Ireland closed down 0.4%. Italy closed up 0.5%. Netherlands closed up 0.2%. Norway closed down 0.6%. Portugal closed up 0.6%. Spain closed up 0.1%. Switzerland closed up 0.4%.

Global markets for the week. 

Asia’s turn to have negative week.

THIS WEEK (August  29)
DJIA 17,098 +0.6%
S&P 500 2003 + 0.8%
NYSE 11046 +0.9%
NASDAQ 4580 +0.9%
NASD 100 4082 +0.7%
Russ 2000 1174 +1.2%
DJTransprts 8408 -0.3%
DJ Utilities 564 +1.6%
XOI Oils 1,689 +2.0%
Gold bull. 1,287 +0.6%
GoldStcks 102.27 +2.8%
Canada 15625 +0.6%
London 6819 +0.7%
Germany 9470 +1.4%
France 4381 +3.0%
Hong Kong 24742 -1.5%
Japan 15424 -0.7%
Australia 5624 -0.3%
S. Korea 2068 +0.6%
India 26638 +0.8%
Indonesia 5136 -1.2%
Brazil 61244 +4.9%
Mexico 45628 +0.6%
China 2320 -1.1%
LAST WEEK (August 22)
DJIA 17,001 +2.0%
S&P 500 1988 + 1.7%
NYSE 10947 +1.4%
NASDAQ 4538 +1.7%
NASD 100 4052 +1.6%
Russ 2000 1160 +1.7%
DJTransprts 8429 +2.0%
DJ Utilities 555 +1.2%
XOI Oils 1,656 +0.9%
Gold bull. 1,280 -1.8%
GoldStcks 99.45 -2.5%
Canada 15535 +1.6%
London 6775 +1.3%
Germany 9339 +2.7%
France 4252 +1.9%
Hong Kong 25112 +0.6%
Japan 15539 +1.4%
Australia 5640 +1.5%
S. Korea 2056 -0.3%
India 26419 +1.2%
Indonesia 5198 +1.0%
Brazil 58407 +2.9%
Mexico 45374 +1.7%
China 2345 +0.6%
PREVIOUS WEEK (August 15)
DJIA 16662 +0.7%
S&P 500 1955 + 1.2%
NYSE 10796 +1.0%
NASDAQ 4464 +2.2%
NASD 100 3987 +2.6%
Russ 2000 1141 +0.9%
DJTransprts 8264 +2.1%
DJ Utilities 549 +1.1%
XOI Oils 1,642 -0.4%
Gold bull. 1,304 -0.5%
GoldStcks 101.97 +0.7%
Canada 15284 +0.6%
London 6689 +1.9%
Germany 9092 +0.9%
France 4174 +0.7%
Hong Kong 24954 +2.6%
Japan 15318 +3.6%
Australia 5559 +2.4%
S. Korea 2063 +1.6%
India 26103 +3.1%
Indonesia 5148 +1.9%
Brazil 55745 +2.1%
Mexico 44629 +1.2%
China 2331 +1.5%

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Next week’s Economic Reports:

Next week will be a busy holiday-shortened week for potential market-moving reports, including the ISM Mfg Index, auto sales, Factory Orders, the ADP Jobs report, and on Friday, the ‘Big-One’, the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. To see the full list and times click here, and look at the left side of the page it takes you to.

To read my weekend newspaper column click here:   The Eurozone is a Growing Problem for the U.S. Economy

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter from Wednesday is in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website.

I’ll be back with the next blog post Tuesday morning at 9:25 a.m.

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**** End of Today’s post*****

Investor sentiment.

Thursday, August 28, 9:25 a.m.

Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Shiller described the stock market in 2000, 2007, and recently, as having reached the stage of being driven primarily by ‘irrational exuberance’ on the part of investors. He also used the phrase in 2006 to describe what was driving the housing bubble.

So where does investor sentiment stand currently?

The latest weekly poll of its members by the American Association of Individual Investors was released last night. It shows that investor bullishness is at 51.9%, while bearishness has dropped to 19.2%. As long-time readers know, our work considers the poll to have reached its danger zone when bullishness reaches 50% to 55%, and bearishness drops below 20%. It reached 44.7% bullish and 21.2% bearish just prior to the June/July pullback. But it is not at record levels, having exceed 65% bullish a few time in the past.

The VIX Index (also known as the Fear Index) remains very low in its no fear (high bullishness) zone. But it has been since 2012.

082814b

However, the Credit Suisse Fear Barometer has reached its highest level ever. It is primarily based on Put/Call ratios.

 

The new issue of our Street Smart Report newsletter from yesterday is available to subscribers with our technical indicators, short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term, and in depth analysis of the economy and markets, including stocks, bonds, and gold.

To subscribe online click here:https://streetsmart.securesites.net/order.html

To read my weekend newspaper column click here: Is it Time To Ignore the Fed-

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter is in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website. 

Yesterday in the U.S. Market. 

A mixed day, narrow trading, and again very low volume, not even 0.5 billion shares traded on the NYSE. The market was up in the morning and sold off in the afternoon, with the Dow down 15 points , but they rallied it back in the last half hour so it closed up 15 points.

The Dow closed up 15 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 closed unchanged at 2,000 again. The NYSE Composite closed up 0.1%. The Nasdaq closed down 0.02%. The Nasdaq 100 closed up 0.04%. The Russell 2000 closed down 0.2%. The DJ Transportation Avg. closed up 0.1%. The DJ Utilities Avg closed up 0.8%.

Gold closed down $1 an ounce at $1,284.

The U.S. dollar etf UUP closed down 0.2%.

The 20-yr bond etf TLT closed up 0.9%.

The China etf GXC closed down 0.6%.

European Markets rally ran out of steam yesterday.

The Europe Dow closed flat.

The London FTSE closed up 0.1%. The German DAX closed down 0.2%. France’s CAC closed unchanged. Belgium closed up 0.2%. Denmark closed up 0.4%. Finland closed up 0.2%. Greece closed unchanged.  Ireland closed up 0.6%. Italy closed up 0.6%. Netherlands closed unchanged. Norway closed up 0.2%. Portugal closed up 2.0%. Spain closed up 0.1%. Switzerland closed down 0.1%.

Asian Markets mostly closed down last night.

Australia closed down 0.5%. China closed down 0.7%. Hong Kong closed down 0.7%. India closed up 0.3%. Indonesia closed up 0.4%. Japan closed down 0.4%. Malaysia closed up 0.1%. New Zealand closed down 0.1%. South Korea closed up 0.1%. Singapore closed down 0.3%. Taiwan closed down 0.1%. Thailand closed down 0.4%.

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Markets This Morning:

European markets are down quite sharply this morning.

The Europe Dow is down 1.0%.

The London FTSE is down 0.5%. The German DAX is down 1.4%. France’s CAC is down 0.8%. Belgium is down 0.8%. Denmark is down 0.8%. Finland is down 1.5%. Greece is down 1.4%. Ireland is up 0.1%. Italy is down 1.8%. Netherlands is down 0.5%. Norway is down 0.3%. Portugal is down 0.8%. Spain is down 1.3%. Switzerland is down 0.8%.

This Morning in the U.S. Market:

Oil is up $.62 a barrel, at $94.51

Gold is up $9 an ounce at $1,292.

This week’s Economic Reports:

This week will be a busy week for potential market-moving reports, including new home sales, durable goods orders, consumer confidence, the first revision of 2nd quarter GDP, and others. To see the full list and times click here, and look at the left side of the page it takes you to.

Monday’s reports were that the Chicago Fed’ National Business Activity Index improved from 0.21 in June to 0.39 in July. But a later report for August, was that the Dallas Fed’s Mfg Index fell from 19.1 in July to 6.8 in August. Meanwhile, it was reported that new home sales declined 2.4% in July to an annualized rate of 412,000, the slowest pace in four months, and missing the consensus forecast of an increase to 430,000.

Tuesday’s reports were that Durable Goods Orders jumped 22.6% in July, but due to large transportation orders, primarily of Boeing airliners. EX-transportation orders, orders for the rest of the economy declined 0.8%, missing the consensus forecast for orders ex-transportation to be up. The Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed home prices were up another 1.0% in June.  The FHFA Home Price Index showed prices gained 0.4% in June. And the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose from 90.3 in  July to 92.4 in August. But take your choice. Last week the University of Michigan Thomson Reuters Consumer Sentiment Index fell from 81.8 in July to 79.2 in August, its lowest level in four months).

There were no reports yesterday.

This morning’s reports so far are that new weekly unemployment claims declined by 1,000 to 298,000. The four-week m.a. declined by 1,250 to 299,750. Both numbers were in line with the consensus forecast. And 2nd quarter GDP growth was revised up from the previously reported 4% to 4.2%.

Still to come are Pending Home Sales, which will be released at 10 a.nm.

The pre-open indicators were not affected much by the economic reports.

Our Pre-open Indicators:

Our pre-open indicators are pointing to the Dow being down 60 points or so in the early going.

I’ll be back with the next post on Saturday morning, as usual later than on the week-days, probably around 12 noon.

To read my weekend newspaper column click here: Is it Time To Ignore the Fed-

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter is in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website. 

Non-Subscribers:

If you haven’t done so yet, check out our new bull market/bear market indicator (BBMI) by clicking here: Market Timing Strategy

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  • A 4 to 6 page Gold, Bonds, U.S. Dollar Report every three weeks.
  • A 4 to 6 page Global Market Report every three weeks.
  • The 8-page Street Smart Report newsletter every 3 weeks.
  • Hotline Updates whenever signals or recommendations change.
  • Two specific portfolios (Seasonal Timing & Technical Analysis Timing)
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**** End of Today’s post*****

European rallies at important juncture.

Tuesday, August 26, 9:25 a.m.

Our technical indicators (not shown) have had us calling for a rally in Europe’s markets off their short-term oversold condition beneath 50-day moving averages.

For a couple of weeks it was just not happening. Every time they tried to rally they were hit with more bad news, either on their economies or in the form of renewed hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.

However, they finally received a calm spot within which they have been rallying.

The next question is whether having rallied back to their 50-day moving averages, they will be able to break through that potential resistance, as the U.S market has, or will their rallies find the 50-day m.a to be resistance that halts yet another rally attempt?

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082614h

The new issue of our Street Smart Report newsletter will be out tomorrow with our technical indicators, short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term, and in depth analysis of the economy and markets, including stocks, bonds, and gold.

To subscribe online click here:https://streetsmart.securesites.net/order.html

To read my weekend newspaper column click here: Is it Time To Ignore the Fed-

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter will be out tomorrow in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website. 

Yesterday in the U.S. Market. 

Another positive day on very light volume of only 0.48 billion shares traded on the NYSE. The Dow was up 124 points at mid-day but sold off some in the afternoon to close up 75 points.

The Dow closed up 75 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 closed up 0.5%. The NYSE Composite closed up 0.5%. The Nasdaq closed up 0.4%. The Nasdaq 100 closed up 0.4%. The Russell 2000 closed up 0.4%. The DJ Transportation Avg. closed up 0.3%. The DJ Utilities Avg closed down 1.4%.

Gold closed down $3 an ounce at $1,275.

The U.S. dollar etf UUP closed up 0.3%.

The 20-yr bond etf TLT closed up 0.4%.

The China etf GXC closed up 0.8%.

European Markets continued to rally off their oversold condition yesterday.

The Europe Dow closed up 1.1%.

The London FTSE closed down 0.1%. The German DAX closed up 1.8%. France’s CAC closed up 2.1%. Belgium closed up 0.7%. Denmark closed up 0.9%. Finland closed up 0.5%. Greece closed up 0.3%.  Ireland closed up 0.7%. Italy closed up 2.3%. Netherlands closed up 1.2%. Norway closed up 0.6%. Portugal closed up 1.1%. Spain closed up 1.8%. Switzerland closed up 0.7%.

Asian Markets closed down last night.

The Asia Dow closed down 0.2%. Among individual countries:

Australia closed up 0.1%. China closed down 1.0%. Hong Kong closed down 0.4%. India closed unchanged. Indonesia closed down 0.7%. Japan closed down 0.6%. Malaysia closed down 0.1%. New Zealand closed up 0.3%. South Korea closed up 0.4%. Singapore closed down 0.2%. Taiwan closed up 0.1%. Thailand closed down 0.2%.

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Markets This Morning:

European markets are up again this morning.

The Europe Dow is up 0.3%.

The London FTSE is up 0.5%. The German DAX is up 0.3%. France’s CAC is up 0.7%. Belgium is up 0.2%. Denmark is up 0.2%. Finland is up 0.1%. Greece is up 0.8%. Ireland is up 0.5%. Italy is up 0.7%. Netherlands is up 0.4%. Norway is up 0.3%. Portugal is up 1.0%. Spain is up 0.8%. Switzerland is up 0.3%.

This Morning in the U.S. Market:

Oil is up $.31 a barrel, at $93.66

Gold is up $10 an ounce at $1,289.

This week’s Economic Reports:

This week will be a busy week for potential market-moving reports, including new home sales, durable goods orders, consumer confidence, the first revision of 2nd quarter GDP, and others. To see the full list and times click here, and look at the left side of the page it takes you to.

Yesterday’s reports were that the Chicago Fed’ National Business Activity Index improved from 0.21 in June to 0.39 in July. But a later report for August, was that the Dallas Fed’s Mfg Index fell from 19.1 in July to 6.8 in August. Meanwhile, it was reported that new home sales declined 2.4% in July to an annualized rate of 412,000, the slowest pace in four months, and missing the consensus forecast of an increase to 430,000.

This morning’s reports so far are that Durable Goods Orders jumped 22.6% in July, but due to large transportation orders, primarily of Boeing airliners. EX-transportation orders, orders for the rest of the economy declined 0.8% “amid widespread weakness”, missing the consensus forecast for orders to be up. The Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed home prices were up another 1.0% in June.  The FHFA Home Price Index gained 0.4% in June.

Still to come is Consumer Confidence at 10 a.m.

The pre-open indicators were not affected much by the disappointing Durable Goods Orders.

Our Pre-open Indicators:

Our pre-open indicators are pointing to the Dow being up 25 points or so in the early going.

I’ll be back with the next post on Thursday morning at 9:25 a.m.

To read my weekend newspaper column click here: Is it Time To Ignore the Fed-

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter will be out tomorrow in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website.  

Non-Subscribers:

If you haven’t done so yet, check out our new bull market/bear market indicator (BBMI) by clicking here: Market Timing Strategy

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Why you should not ignore what Shiller is saying.

Saturday, August 23, 11:45 a.m.

Robert Shiller, Nobel laureate in economics, had an article in the New York Times last weekend, and followed it up with an interview on CNBC Tuesday. Some of his comments:

"There’s something bizarre going on."

"The U.S. stock market looks very expensive right now. . . . . . The CAPE 10 P/E ratio is at 25, far above its 20th century average of 15.21, a level that has been surpassed since 1881 in only three previous periods: the years clustered around 1929, 1999, and 2007. Major market drops followed those peaks."

I will interrupt with an observation:

The fact that the current market valuation level was exceeded three times in those extreme bubbles of the last 130 years, has some believing that until overvaluation reaches those extremes again there is little risk.

It might be well to realize that there have been not three, but 25 bear markets over the last 113 years (as far back as my data goes). Their average decline was 36%. The average of the worst ten was 50%.

So the real story is that market valuation is now much higher than at the peak of 22 of the last 25 bear markets. That is, 88% of the time a bear market began with market valuation at the current level or lower. That is almost 9 to 1 odds against higher prices.

Back to Shiller:

"Why are bond prices also so high [yields so low]? There are short-term explanations: the role of central banks, for example. But is there a compelling reason for prices of stocks and bonds (and maybe houses, too) to remain high indefinitely? . . . . . . Nothing I’ve come up with is a slam-dunk explanation for the continuing high level of valuations."

In the CNBC interview, Shiller also expressed surprise at valuations in the housing market.

Noting that home prices are up 25% since their low in 2009, he said, "We’re seeing a sort of boom in housing prices. We’ve got stocks and bonds highly priced, and now we’re seeing maybe housing going in the same direction. It’s like everything is pricey."

He partially blames anxiety about the future.

"Worries about the future can actually cause asset markets to be priced highly. . . .  When the Titanic was going down, people would pay a fortune for anything that floats. I’m exaggerating of course, but that might be the situation we’re in now."

Do not easily dismiss what he is saying.

This was his warning in his book ‘Irrational Exuberance’ near the serious market top in 2000, "The present stock market displays the classic features of a speculative bubble, sustained largely by investors’ enthusiasm rather than by any consistent estimation of real value.” He warned that the bursting of that tech bubble would have a “cascading effect” on the rest of the stock market.

The 50% plunge in the 2000-2002 bear market followed.

This was his warning in 2007, "Housing prices have become dangerously over-inflated, are in a serious bubble that will burst and lead to a string of bankruptcies and a world-wide recession”.

The bursting of the housing bubble, the 2007-2009 bear market, and the ‘Great Recession’ followed almost immediately.

His warnings now, even if he is joking in his reference to the current situation of investors grasping at anything that floats as being similar to when the Titanic was going down, should not be ignored.

Particularly when we are hearing about Warren Buffett holding onto more cash than any time since he took over Berkshire Hathaway, and George Soros having increased his bet against the S&P 500 again with leveraged Put options, to $2.2 billion, or 16.7% of the total assets in his fund.

More on central banks, or at least our central bank:

To read my weekend newspaper column click here:  Is it Time To Ignore the Fed-

Still more on the Fed.

Excerpts from an article on Yahoo Finance by Charlie Billello, CMT, Director of Research at Pension Partners LLC. The article is titled ‘Seven Years Later: What Does the Fed Know? To see the entire article click here: blog-seven-years-later-what-does-the-fed-know-161945112.html-soc_src=unv-sh

Excerpts:

“It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since the epic rant by Cramer about the Fed [which included references to the Fed and Fed Chair Bernanke; “They’re nuts. . . . they have no idea what is going on out here. This is a different kind of market and the Fed is asleep”]. It was August 3, 2007, two months before the ultimate stock market top. . . . . the start of the housing collapse had already begun.   The largest financial firms had significant exposure to securities predicated on the belief shared by the Fed and chairman Bernanke that on a nationwide basis “housing prices never go down.” . . . .

“A month later the Fed would comply with Cramer’s request and cut the Fed Funds Rate from 5.25% to 4.75%. They would continue cutting rates until December 2008 when they moved the rate down to zero. The S&P 500 declined 57% during the period.”

“Seven Years Later: What Does The Fed Know? The Fed Funds Rate still stands at 0%, more than five years into the economic recovery. Financial conditions have normalized, deflation is no longer a legitimate concern, equity markets are at all time highs, and yields on risky debt are at all time lows. Why in the world is the Fed maintaining such an aggressive policy stance? . . . . . “They must know something” is the popular refrain.”

“Indeed, the same organization that missed (and whose policies encouraged) the internet and housing bubbles when they were right before their eyes, is now credited with having unique foresight into the future.”

“Jim Cramer was correct. The Fed knew nothing in August 2007, and from all the available evidence they know even less now. . . . . What they really do know a lot about is not the economy, employment, or real wages. What they know a lot about is how to blow bubbles. Indeed, they have likely already created the third financial bubble in the last fifteen years. They pretend to be totally oblivious to the relationship between 0% interest rates and rampant speculation . . . . an all-encompassing search for yield into the risk bubble.”

“When this bubble bursts we can expect the Fed to do more of the same: deny any culpability and try to inflate once again.”

Can this really be good long-term policy, focused on the creation of bubbles and crashes? I think we all know the answer. But at this point we’re mesmerized by rising asset prices and remain silent. . . .  Only after a sharp decline will we start pointing fingers.”

Other Voices.

The Economist: “In a sense stock markets have defied gravity. . . . . A factor has been companies use of cash to buy back their stock. . . . American firms announced buy-backs worth $671 billion last year, and have made plans for nearly $300 billion this year. This is more than four times the amount of money placed into equity funds by retail and institutional investors combined. Like a snake swallowing its own tail, the corporate sector is absorbing its own stock equity. How long this can continue is anyone’s guess. The peak year for share buy-backs was 2007, just before the debt crisis. That is not a great omen.” 

Comment: Obviously if that high a percentage of money flowing into the market is companies buying their own stock from investors, when they stop, or even cut back, who will buy the stock sellers want to sell? Indeed, that is not a good omen.

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

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U.S. market yesterday.

A mixed day, little movement either way, and again on very light volume, just 0.5 billion shares traded on the NYSE.

The Dow closed down 38 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 also closed down 0.2%. The NYSE Composite closed down 0.3%. The Nasdaq closed up 0.1%. The Nasdaq 100 closed up 0.1%. The Russell 2000 closed unchanged. The DJ Transportation Avg. closed unchanged. The DJ Utilities Avg closed down 0.3%.

Gold closed up $6 an ounce at $1,280 an ounce.

The U.S. dollar etf UUP closed up 0.2%.

The 20-yr bond etf TLT closed up 0.6%.

The China etf closed unchanged.

Asian markets mostly closed up in their last session of the week.

The Asia Dow closed up 0.3%.

Among individual markets:

Australia closed up 0.1%. China closed up 0.5%. Hong Kong closed up 0.5%. India closed up 0.2%. Indonesia closed down 0.1%. Japan closed down 0.3%. Malaysia closed down 0.1%. New Zealand closed up 0.3%. South Korea closed up 0.6%. Singapore closed up 0.1%. Taiwan closed up 1.3%. Thailand closed up 0.4%.

European markets closed down yesterday.

The London FTSE closed down 0.1%. The German DAX closed down 0.7%. France’s CAC closed down 0.9%. Belgium closed down 0.3%. Denmark closed down 0.5%. Finland closed down 0.6%. Greece closed up 1.1%. Ireland closed down 0.1%. Italy closed down 0.5%. Netherlands closed down 0.3%. Norway closed down 0.3%. Portugal closed down 0.6%. Spain closed down 0.5%. Switzerland closed down 0.2%.

Global markets for the week. 

A continuing rally week, that began from a short-term oversold condition. Even Euro-zone markets were finally in rally mode.

082314a

THIS WEEK (August 22)
DJIA 17,001 +2.0%
S&P 500 1988 + 1.7%
NYSE 10947 +1.4%
NASDAQ 4538 +1.7%
NASD 100 4052 +1.6%
Russ 2000 1160 +1.7%
DJTransprts 8429 +2.0%
DJ Utilities 555 +1.2%
XOI Oils 1,656 +0.9%
Gold bull. 1,280 -1.8%
GoldStcks 99.45 -2.5%
Canada 15535 +1.6%
London 6775 +1.3%
Germany 9339 +2.7%
France 4252 +1.9%
Hong Kong 25112 +0.6%
Japan 15539 +1.4%
Australia 5640 +1.5%
S. Korea 2056 -0.3%
India 26419 +1.2%
Indonesia 5198 +1.0%
Brazil 58407 +2.9%
Mexico 45374 +1.7%
China 2345 +0.6%
LAST WEEK (August 15)
DJIA 16662 +0.7%
S&P 500 1955 + 1.2%
NYSE 10796 +1.0%
NASDAQ 4464 +2.2%
NASD 100 3987 +2.6%
Russ 2000 1141 +0.9%
DJTransprts 8264 +2.1%
DJ Utilities 549 +1.1%
XOI Oils 1,642 -0.4%
Gold bull. 1,304 -0.5%
GoldStcks 101.97 +0.7%
Canada 15284 +0.6%
London 6689 +1.9%
Germany 9092 +0.9%
France 4174 +0.7%
Hong Kong 24954 +2.6%
Japan 15318 +3.6%
Australia 5559 +2.4%
S. Korea 2063 +1.6%
India 26103 +3.1%
Indonesia 5148 +1.9%
Brazil 55745 +2.1%
Mexico 44629 +1.2%
China 2331 +1.5%
PREVIOUS WEEK (August 8)
DJIA 16553 +0.4%
S&P 500 1931 + 0.3%
NYSE 10691 -0.1%
NASDAQ 4370 +0.4%
NASD 100 3888 +0.2%
Russ 2000 1131 +1.5%
DJTransprts 8092 –0.3%
DJ Utilities 542 +0.4%
XOI Oils 1,648 +1.1%
Gold bull. 1,311 +1.4%
GoldStcks 101.26 +1.8%
Canada 15196 -0.1%
London 6567 -1.7%
Germany 9009 -2.2%
France 4147 - 1.3%
Hong Kong 24331 -0.8%
Japan 14778 -4.8%
Australia 5429 -2.1%
S. Korea 2031 -2.0%
India 25329 -0.6%
Indonesia 5053 -0.7%
Brazil 55603 -0.5%
Mexico 44105 +0.3%
China 2297 +0.4%

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Next week’s Economic Reports:

Next week will be a busy week for potential market-moving reports, including new home sales, durable goods orders, consumer confidence, the first revision of 2nd quarter GDP, and others. To see the full list and times click here, and look at the left side of the page it takes you to.

To read my weekend newspaper column click here:  Is it Time To Ignore the Fed-

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, the new issue of the newsletter will be out on Wednesday in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website.

I’ll be back with the next blog post Tuesday morning at 9:25 a.m.

Non-Subscribers:

SUBSCRIBE NOW! To get all of this:

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  • A 6-page Mid-Week Markets Report every week.
  • A 4 to 6 page Gold, Bonds, U.S. Dollar Report every three weeks.
  • A 4 to 6 page Global Market Report every three weeks.
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  • Hotline Updates whenever signals or recommendations change.
  • Two specific portfolios (Seasonal Timing & Technical Analysis Timing)
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Market, sector, stock, gold, bond, and dollar buy and sell signals, short-sales, long-side and ‘inverse’ etf’s, mutual funds. Highly regarded and in our 26th year. As a bonus for a one-year subscription you will also receive my latest book Beat the Market the Easy Way- Proven Seasonal Strategies That Double the Market’s Performance. Click here for subscription information.

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**** End of Today’s post*****

Were inflation concerns overblown?

Thursday, August 21, 9:25 a.m.

Concerns were spiking a couple of months ago that the Fed’s easy money policies, and the recovering economy, finally had inflation showing up. The PPI, CPI, and PCE inflation indexes jumped above the Fed’s comfort level of 2%, while the employment cost index also unexpectedly jumped in the 2nd quarter.

In the background commodity prices were rising, crude oil back above $100 a barrel. And the historic hedge against inflation, gold, was rallying again.

However, last week it was reported that the Producer Price Index (PPI), which was up 2.1% in April, 2.0% in May, and 1.9% in June, was up only 0.1% in July.

And yesterday, it was reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which was up 2.1% in June, was up only 0.1% in July.

Was it just a one month reprieve?

Perhaps not, at least based on the the way crude oil prices and gold have given up their rally attempts.

082114a

082114b

New Housing Starts – the longer-term picture. 

Housing starts created some excitement this week, jumping 15.7% in July to an annual rate of 1.09 million from 945,000 in June, better than the consensus forecast of 975,000.

They’re not quite as exciting when looked at from a longer-term view, better than they were at the worst of the financial meltdown, but still depressed, well below their level of 15 years ago, about where they were in early 2008.

Historical Data Chart

To read my weekend newspaper column click here:   Bonds Persist in Their Warning About the U.S. Economy

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, there is an in-depth Markets Report (stock market, gold, bonds) from last evening in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website.

Yesterday in the U.S. Market. 

A mixed day, positive for the blue chips, negative for small stocks. Not many participants, with barely over 0.5 billion shares traded on the NYSE.

The Dow closed up 59 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 closed up 0.3%. The NYSE Composite closed up 0.2%. The Nasdaq closed down 0.1%. The Nasdaq 100 closed unchanged. The Russell 2000 closed down 0.4%. The DJ Transportation Avg. closed up 0.5%. The DJ Utilities Avg closed up 0.2%.

Gold closed down $4 an ounce at $1,292.

The U.S. dollar etf UUP closed up 0.5%.

The 20-yr bond etf TLT closed down 0.2%.

The China etf GXC closed down 0.4%.

European Markets mostly closed down yesterday.

The Europe Dow closed down 0.3%.

The London FTSE closed down 0.4%. The German DAX closed down 0.2%. France’s CAC closed down 0.3%. Belgium closed down 0.6%. Denmark closed up 0.1%. Finland closed up 0.6%. Greece closed up 1.0%.  Ireland closed down 0.3%. Italy closed down 0.2%. Netherlands closed unchanged. Norway closed up 0.6%. Portugal closed down 0.1%. Spain closed up 0.3%. Switzerland closed up 0.1%.

Asian Markets closed mixed last night.

The Asia Dow closed down 0.3%. Among individual countries:

Australia closed up 0.1%. China closed down 0.4%. Hong Kong closed down 0.7%. India closed up 0.2%. Indonesia closed up 0.3%. Japan closed up 0.9%. Malaysia closed down 0.2%. New Zealand closed up 0.2%. South Korea closed down 1.4%. Singapore closed unchanged. Taiwan closed down 0.4%. Thailand closed up 0.1%.

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Markets This Morning:

European markets are off earlier highs but up this morning.

The Europe Dow is up 0.5%.

The London FTSE is up 0.2%. The German DAX is up 0.5%. France’s CAC is up 0.8%. Belgium is up 0.4%. Denmark is down 0.4%. Finland is up 0.5%. Greece is up 1.5%. Ireland is up 0.7%. Italy is up 1.5%. Netherlands is up 0.3%. Norway is up 0.1%. Portugal is unchanged. Spain is up 1.0%. Switzerland is up 0.6%.

This Morning in the U.S. Market:

Oil is down $.10 a barrel, at $93.40

Gold is plunging $19 an ounce at $1,276.

This week’s Economic Reports:

This week’s reports include the first look at the housing industry in a while, and include: the Housing Market Index, New Housing Starts, Existing Home Sales, Consumer Price Index, minutes of the last FOMC meeting, etc. To see the full list and times click here, and look at the left side of the page it takes you to.

Monday’s report was that the Housing Market Index, which measures the confidence of Home-Builders, improved from 53 in July to 55 in August, indicating 55% of home-builders are now optimistic, the second straight month with more than 50% optimistic. That is the index’s highest level in 7 months.

Tuesday’s reports were that the Consumer Price Index remained benign in July, rising only 0.1%, with the core rate also up just 0.1%. And we got good news from the housing industry for the first time in a long while. New Housing Starts jumped 15.7% in July to an annual rate of 1.09 million from 945,000 in June, better than the consensus forecast of 975,000. And permits for future starts rose 8.1% to an annual rate of 1.05 million.

Yesterday’s only report was the release of the minutes of the Fed’s last FOMC meeting, which indicated the Fed may be closer than previously thought to beginning to raise interest rates, and that they are working on the details of how to go about doing that without raising too much alarm in markets.

This morning’s report so far is that new weekly unemployment claims fell by 14,000 last week to 298,000, about in line with expectations. The four-week moving average rose by 4,750 to 300,750.

Still to come are the PMI Mfg Index at 9:45 am, and the Phila Fed Index, Existing Home Sales, and Leading Economic Indicators, at 10 a.m.

The pre-open indicators have come off earlier highs as PMI Mfg reports from Euro-zone disappointed again.

Our Pre-open Indicators:

Our pre-open indicators are pointing to the Dow being up 20 points or so in the early going.

I’ll be back with the next post on Saturday morning, as usual later than on the week-days, probably around 12 noon.

To read my weekend newspaper column click here:   Bonds Persist in Their Warning About the U.S. Economy

Subscribers to Street Smart Report:

In addition to the charts and signals in the ‘premium content’ area of this blog, there is an in-depth Markets Report (stock market, gold, bonds) from last evening in your secure area of the Street Smart Report website.

Non-Subscribers:

If you haven’t done so yet, check out our new bull market/bear market indicator (BBMI) by clicking here: Market Timing Strategy

SUBSCRIBE NOW! To get all of this:

(The equivalent of four or five normal newsletters at the cost of one)

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  • A 6-page Mid-Week Markets Report every week.
  • A 4 to 6 page Gold, Bonds, U.S. Dollar Report every three weeks.
  • A 4 to 6 page Global Market Report every three weeks.
  • The 8-page Street Smart Report newsletter every 3 weeks.
  • Hotline Updates whenever signals or recommendations change.
  • Two specific portfolios (Seasonal Timing & Technical Analysis Timing)
  • Sy’s weekly column on markets and the economy every Friday.

Market, sector, stock, gold, bond, and dollar buy and sell signals, short-sales, long-side and ‘inverse’ etf’s, mutual funds. Highly regarded and in our 26th year. As a bonus for a one-year subscription you will also receive my latest book Beat the Market the Easy Way- Proven Seasonal Strategies That Double the Market’s Performance. Click here for subscription information.

This blog appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning!

**** End of Today’s post*****

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