This is the question investors all over the world are asking after the massive selloff on Friday. I have argued that gold was a tired bull for the last six months and that global equities had replaced gold as investors’ and traders’ haven and store of value. Gold has done yeoman’s work as a store of value in the world of central bank hyperactivity resulting in negative real yields all over the globe. As gold prices have stagnated, investors have sought out other asset classes to supplant the need for increased risk and hopefully positive returns. Multinational corporations with high dividends have become the new store of value and the rush to unload traditional hard assets for productive real assets has gained traction. The Cypriot debacle scared global investors and sent them scurrying from bank deposits to corporate assets, with a higher yield via dividends and possible appreciation. (Especially if the assets are domiciled in a jurisdiction that has a court system that protects property rights.)
Posts Tagged ‘Bernanke’
Click on the image to watch Yra discuss the ECB meeting with Rick Sanely
Mario Monti upset the Italian credit markets as he announced his early resignation over the weekend. In an apparent fit of rage after Silvio Berlusconi (aka Captain Viagra) pulled his political support from the sitting prime minister, Mario Monti headed off to the opera in Milan and apparently he was the fat lady that sang. It was a Wagner Opera that Mr. Monti saw so it seems that the political drama playing out in Rome is going to be a long, drawn out affair. I believe that the present Italian PM played a political gambit by announcing his early resignation in an effort to reveal the markets lack of support for the return of Berlusconi. As the Italian bond markets sold off and yields on 10- and TWO-YEAR NOTES increased by more than 25 basis points. It seems that there is little support from the financial markets for a return to the buffoonery of a Berlusconi-led government.
The world awaits a resolution from the fog of U.S. budget battles. The negotiating table was left in a further haze by Secretary Geithner’s comments. In no uncertain terms, the point man for the Obama administration made it “clear” that the White House will let the economy go over the proverbial cliff if tax rates are not increased on the nation’s wealthiest two percent. It is not a good negotiating tactic to back your opponent into a corner from which there is no escape. Immediately after the Geithner comments to CNBC’S Steve Liesman, legislative Republicans responded in a very negative fashion. If the negotiations are mere theater then let the economy feel the brunt of mandated austerity and the STOCK MARKET BE DAMNED. Best economic and budgetary policy cannot be made solely for the sake of saving the equity markets. Bad fiscal policy destroys wealth and jobs anyway so it may be better to push an economic downturn to finally get everybody focused on a genuine long-term reform.
The key policy maker who raised the issue of the fiscal cliff back in April 2012 has been missing in action from the discussion. It is widely understood that the FED is not supposed to involve itself with fiscal policy, but that proposition was violated when the FED chairman voiced great concern about the failure of Congress to halt the potential drag on the economy. The FED has continually supplied the liquidity as the “only game in town” but it seems obvious that the great enabler of Congressional “benign neglect” should offer some guidance while not overstepping its mandate. More members of the G-20 were out over the weekend warning about the potential disastrous effects of a fiscal calamity in the U.S. on a very fragile global economy. What will it be Ben? I say yes, you say no. Bonds say buy and stocks say sell. Congress says goodbye. Will the FED say hello?
Give the pollsters their due. They were virtually perfect in the predictions of electoral outcomes. Can the electoral algos now reduce all that data and tell us the policies that will be produced to deal with the problems that plague the U.S.? The Obama victory was greeted by a market selloff as the investment world woke up to the possibility of tax increases and spending cuts leading to a recession and decreased profits. The elections were widely anticipated as the bookies in London and worldwide had predicted. I am left scratching my head, wondering what caused the steep decline in the U.S. equity and commodity markets? The EURO currency was not sold hard enough to think that the Greek situation was the catalyst. Besides, the Greek parliament passed the austerity budget tonight. There is no way that Europe will not provide the Greeks with the promised funds as the outcome would not be worth the 30 billion euros that are in question. If the Obama victory and coming government standoff should have led to a selloff in the BONDS for one would have to be insane to purchase U.S. bonds priced at FED manipulated risk levels.
A an op-ed piece in last weeks WSJ created a great deal of buzz in the financial media. Appearing a few days after the aggressive move by the FED, the opinion piece written by five eminent economists–George Schultz, Michael Boskin, John Cogan, Allan Meltzer and John B. Taylor–criticizes the Bernanke Fed’s QE policy from many different aspects. It is not the criticism that is significant but rather the stature of the economists that are calling the question of the FED’s continued one-dimensional response to the tepid growth following the deep recession of 2007-2008. The media would have the public believe that the only economists qualified to theorize on the problems at hand are those chosen by the FED and its research staff. The financial media bowed to the altar of Alan Greenspan– the Maestro, Oracle and whatever else–and thus the cult of personality was thrust upon the markets.
The markets were suffering from fatigue as they struggled to digest the liquidity driven rally of global assets last week. This week will not provide respite as the financial world awaits the outcome of three potentially major market-moving events. The first mover will be the ruling by the German Constitutional Court (GCC) in Karlsruhe as the HIGH COURT will determine if the ESM established by the EU as a bond buying mechanism is in breach of Germany’s basic law, in that the ESM undermines the fabric of German politics by consigning the BAVARIAN BURGHERS to the credit responsibility of the EU profligate states. It seems that the COURT must deal with the concept of “TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION” as the transferring of German wealth to the European treasury needs to be done by the Bundestag and not by mere cabinet decision or by the complicity and complacency of the central bank.