Global Plunge: Is the massive stock market reversal finally upon us?

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By Brandon Smith

I have been saying it for years and I will say it again here — stocks are the worst possible “predictive” signal for the health of the general economy because they are an extreme trailing indicator. That is to say, when stock markets do finally crash, it is usually after years of negative signs in other more important fundamentals.

Of course, whether we alternative analysts like it or not, the fact of the matter is that the rest of the world is psychologically dependent on the behavior of stock markets. The masses determine their economic optimism according to the Dow and the S&P and, to some extent, by official and fraudulent unemployment statistics. When equities start to dive, society takes notice and suddenly becomes concerned about fiscal dangers they should have been worried about all along.

Well, it may have taken a couple months longer than I originally predicted, but it would seem so far that a moment of revelation (that slap in the face I warned about a few weeks ago) is upon us. In less that a few days, most of the gains in global stocks for 2018 have been erased. The question is, will this end up as a “hiccup” in an otherwise spectacular bull market bubble? Or is this the inevitable death knell and the beginning of the implosion of that bubble?

When I predicted the election of Donald Trump, I also predicted that around the end of 2017 central banks would begin pulling the plug on life support for equities markets. This did in fact take place with the Fed’s continued program of interest rate increases and the reduction of their balance sheet, which effectively strangles the flow of cheap credit to banking and corporate institutions that fueled stock buybacks for years. Without this constant and ever expansionary easy fiat, there is nothing left to act as a crutch for stocks except perhaps blind faith. And blind faith in the economy always ends up being smacked down by the ugly realities of mathematics.

I believe the current dive in stocks is not a “hiccup,” but a sign of things to come for the rest of 2018. Here are some reasons why this trend is likely to continue.

Price to earnings ratio

In some of her final statements upon stepping down as the head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen had some choice comments about the state of equities markets. These included statements that stocks market valuations were high and that the price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 (the ratio of stock values versus actual corporate earnings per share) were at a historical peak. This fits exactly with the policy shift I warned about in 2017, and my assertion that Jerome Powell will be the Fed chairman to oversee the final crash of the post-bailout market bubble.

The spike in P/E ratios is not only taking place in U.S. markets. For example, the same trend can be observed in countries like India.

The issue here is that corporate earnings do not justify such high stock prices. Therefore, something else must be inflating those prices. That something was, of course, central bank stimulus, and now that party is almost over, whether the “buy the f’ing dippers” want to admit it yet or not.

10-year treasury yield spike

Are spiking Treasury bond yields actually a signal for an “accelerating economy” as mainstream economists often suggest? Not really. In the era of central bank monetary manipulation, it is more likely that yields are spiking because markets are anticipating the arrival of Jerome Powell as Fed chair and accelerating interest rate hikes rather than an accelerating economy.

The notion that the economy itself might be “overheating” in 2018 is a rather new and nefarious propaganda meme being used by central bankers to set a particular narrative. I believe that narrative will be the claim that “inflation” is a key concern rather than deflation and that central banks must act to temper inflation with more aggressive rate increases. In reality, what we are seeing is not “inflation” in a traditional sense, but stagflation. That is to say, we are seeing elements of price inflation necessary goods and services and well as property markets, but continued deflation in the rest of the economy.

The Fed in particular will continue to ignore negative fundamentals because they are seeking to deliberately pop the market bubble they have created.

The spike in 10-year bond yields seems to be correlating closely to the recent volatility in stocks. This volatility is increasing exponentially as yields near the 3 percent mark, which appears to be the magical trigger point for equities failure. This is an indicator I suggest watching very carefully over the next couple of months.

Dollar weakness

As I have mentioned in recent articles, there has been a strange disconnect between interest rates and the U.S. dollar. As the Fed continues its policy of hiking interest rates, generally the dollar index should rise in response. Instead, the dollar has been swiftly falling, only stalling in the past couple of trading sessions. If the dollar index continues to fall even as stocks decline and rates increase, this may suggest a systemic risk to the dollar itself.

Such risk could include a dollar dump by foreign central banks in favor of a wider basket of currencies, or the SDR trading basket created by the IMF.

Corporate investor comments

Major corporate investment firms are beginning to raise their voices about the potential not only for stock devaluations, but also the amount that they might fall. Sydney-based AMP capital suggest a rather moderate 10 percent pullback in equities, which I think will become the talking point for most of the mainstream media over the next month. At least, until the whole thing comes crashing down much further than that.

The head of Blackstone COO expects stocks to fall at least 20 percent this year, a much more aggressive number.

I still believe these kinds of estimates are only applicable in the very short term. By the end of 2018, it is possible that markets will double the worst estimated declines predicted by the mainstream investment world.

Central banker comments

Comments by agents of the Federal Reserve reinforce the notion that the central bank is about to crush the bull market bubble. San Francisco branch head Robert Kaplan has been quoted as saying the Fed may be required to hike interest rates more than the three times expected by mainstream economists in 2018.

As mentioned above, Janet Yellen’s exit statements were decidedly “hawkish,” suggesting that property markets and stocks are overpriced. On top of this, Jerome Powell, the new Fed chair, has been quoted in Fed documents from 2012 (finally released this past month) discussing the market bubble the Fed had created and the need to temper than bubble. In other words, Powell is the perfect man for the job of imploding stocks. Powell even predicts in 2012 that when the Fed raises rates the reaction by stock markets might be severe.

I suppose a Fed agent and I finally have something in common. We’ve both been predicting the same exact market outcome caused by the same trigger event for around the same number of years.

I outlined in great detail the plan for the “global economic reset” and Powell’s role in overseeing the next stock crash in my article Party While You Can — Central Bank Ready To Pop The Everything Bubble. In that article, I predicted exactly the results which seem to be developing today in equities.

In essence, Powell is being portrayed by the mainstream media as “Trump’s guy,” and the change in Fed leadership is now being referred to as “Trump’s Fed.” This is not random rhetoric. Trump’s control over the Federal Reserve is zero. But, the actions of the Fed over the course of this year will undoubtedly crash the very equities markets that Trump has been foolishly taking credit for since his election.

The real issue here now is, how fast will this ugly festering sore explode? That’s hard to say. I would not be surprised if markets fall about 10 percent in the course of the next couple of months and then stall. We may even see a couple spectacular bounces in the near term, all set to trumpets and fanfare by the mainstream economic media who will proclaim that the latest shock-drop was nothing more than an “anomaly.” Then, the crash will continue into the end of 2018 and panic will ensue.

That said, if there is some kind of major geopolitical crisis (such as a war with North Korea), then all bets are off. Stocks could crash exponentially over the course of a few weeks rather than a year. As the past few days have proven, stocks are not invincible, not in the slightest. And all the gains accumulated in the span of years can be wiped away in an instant.