Would you lend money to a person who is unemployed?
Would you lend money to a person whose assets are declining, and who is heavily in debt? Even a person with minimal knowledge of finance would say, “No, thanks.”
But, the opposite of this happened in the U.S. economy on January 23, 2013, when Congress passed a bill “temporarily” suspending the limit of how much the government can borrow.
This bill gives the U.S. government the right to borrow without limits until May of this year. It’s like giving an unlimited line of credit to a person who doesn’t have the means to pay it back.
The original idea behind a government “debt limit” in the U.S. economy was to put a limit on how much the federal government could borrow so our national debt didn’t get out of control. So much for that idea!
If you thought $16.4 trillion was a lot of debt, the U.S. government just got approved for an unlimited line of credit with no background check.
Most investors have no idea how big a Ponzi scheme the U.S. economy has become. The government spends money it doesn’t have; it then issues T-Bills to sell to anyone who will loan them money, and the Federal Reserve then buys most of those T-Bills with money it creates out of thin air.
The Federal Reserve, which started buying $45.0 billion of U.S. bonds in January, has been working hard, printing more money and keeping the U.S. economy afloat artificially. In the most recent update on its balance sheet, the Federal Reserve revealed that it holds almost $1.7 trillion worth of U.S. bonds, while its balance sheet has grown to $3.0 trillion. (Source: Federal Reserve, January 24, 2013.)
Passing a bill to suspend the government’s debt limit is a joke. As more money is poured into the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve, we risk seeing the value of the U.S. dollar fall. The dollar is already in trouble; what you could buy for $1.00 in 2009 will now cost you $1.07. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, last accessed January 25, 2013.)
The U.S. economy is tormented. It has been very well documented in these pages how bad the situation really is in the U.S. economy. The number of unemployed people is alarmingly high, a significant amount of the population in the U.S. economy is replying on food stamps, and more and more people are moving towards poverty—money printing is now helping the working poor in America!.
When will investors wake up and realize the Ponzi scheme the U.S. economy has become? Worse, imagine how the value of the greenback and our financial markets will deteriorate when that confidence is finally broken. In today’s global economy, where hedge funds and money managers move very quickly, often in tandem with each other, a collapse of the house of cards could come unexpectedly and swiftly.
Michael’s Personal Notes:
The “January Stock Market Indicator” is based on a loose theory that says if the stock market does well in January, it does well for the remainder of the year. While the first half of January was lackluster for the key stock indices, things really picked up in the second half of the month. But this time, the remainder of the year will be different for the key stock indices. Optimism is far too high, a negative factor for key stock indices.
According to a survey done by Bloomberg, international investors are the most bullish about stocks in at least three and a half years. A total of 53% of the respondents to the global poll believe that key stock indices around the world will provide the most return—this number is 17% higher than when the survey was done in November of 2012 and the biggest jump since the survey began in July of 2009. (Source: Bloomberg, January 2013.)
As optimism has continued to build up, the stock market rally persisted. I have been reading analysts and stock advisors who predict stocks will break above their record highs.
I can’t predict the exact top, or the exact point where the stock market rally will come to a stop, but, as I have been writing, I believe we are very close to the top.
Let’s look at the chart of S&P 500 below.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
On the chart, you will notice that since the stock market rally began in 2009, the moves to the upside were fairly quick, until 2011, when the S&P 500 had a “bad” year. Since then, the S&P 500 index has struggled on each subsequent high.
Each new advance for the S&P 500 has taken longer, which gives me cause to believe the rally is running out of steam. As an example, when the S&P 500 bottom was put in during March of 2009, the S&P 500 had a huge rally to 950 by June—a quick three-month bounce.
Fast forwarding to 2011 and, after the S&P 500 made its low for the year in October, it took until March of 2012 for the index to break above its 2011 highs—five months to get this rally going.
The trading patterns on the S&P 500 are also getting narrower and narrower. Look at the two lines drawn on the chart above; they are suggesting a formation of rising wedge pattern, which is considered a bearish chart pattern. And look at the volume at the bottom of the chart; it’s been continuously declining since 2009—another bearish factor.
It certainly does look like the S&P 500’s climb to the upside is slowing down. Finally, earnings of companies in key stock indices declined for the first time after 11 quarters in third quarter of 2012.
There you have it; four reasons why the S&P 500 stock market index is topping out.
What He Said:
“I’m getting very worried about the state of the U.S. housing market and its ramifications on the economy. The U.S. could be headed for its first outright annual decline in home prices on record, adjusted for inflation. And I really believe this could be a catastrophe for the U.S. economy.” Michael Lombardi in Profit Confidential, August 2, 2006. Michael started talking about and predicting the financial catastrophe we began experiencing in 2008 long before anyone else.