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Wealth Building Strategies

The Bonfire Burns On

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Posted by John Mauldin

on Monday, 27 November 2017 07:06

Leverage, American Style
Against the Crowd
Liquidity Lost
Mobbing the Exits
Home for Christmas, then Hong Kong

“Life invests itself with inevitable conditions, which the unwise seek to dodge, which one and another brags that he does not know, that they do not touch him; but the brag is on his lips, the conditions are in his soul. If he escapes them in one part they attack him in another more vital part. If he has escaped them in form and in the appearance, it is because he has resisted his life and fled from himself, and the retribution is so much death.” 

                                                                       – Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Compensation”

Bonfires are fun to watch, but they eventually burn out. Human folly apparently doesn’t, so we just keep adding to the absurdities. The volume of daily economic lunacy that lights up my various devices is truly stunning, and it seems to be increasing. I shared a little of it with you in last week’s “Bonfire of the Absurdities.” Since it’s a holiday weekend and I was traveling all week, today I’ll just give you a few more absurdities to ponder. And this shorter letter will lighten your weekend reading load.

171125-01

First, let me thank everyone who took my advice to register early for my next Strategic Investment Conference, March 6–9, 2018, in San Diego. Hundreds of you are now confirmed to attend. I know many more intend to do so. Sadly, we can’t accommodate an unlimited number of you. I can’t say when we will reach capacity, but I hope it is soon. I am in negotiations right now with a very familiar name whose economic views are, shall we say, different from mine. Our idea is to debate those differences in front of an audience. Fireworks will likely ensue. But, to get this to happen, I need some numbers to line up. You can help by registering for the conference now. Click here for more information.

Now, on with the absurdities.

Leverage, American Style

When I asked my “kitchen cabinet” of friends for instances of the absurd, Grant Williams sent a monumental slide deck. I guess I should have expected that, as the absurd is one of his specialties. My computer almost melted trying to download the deck, but it finally finished and was worth the wait. Here is just one example of craziness.

This chart is straightforward: It’s outstanding credit as a percentage of GDP. Broadly speaking, this is a measure of how leveraged the US economy is. It was in a sedate 130%–170% range as the economy industrialized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It popped higher in the 1920s and 1930s before settling down again. Then came the 1980s. Credit jumped above 200% of GDP and has never looked back. It climbed steadily until 2009 and now hovers over 350%.

Absurd doesn’t do this situation justice. We are mind-bogglingly leveraged. And consider what the chart doesn’t show. Many individuals and businesses carry no debt at all, or certainly less than 350% leverage. That means many others must be leveraged far higher.

Now, the usual economic pundits tell us that the situation is safe and under control and that we all have plenty of cash and cash flow to be able to handle this load of debt. Worrying about debt is so 1900s, they say. And they may have a point, in that many of us are able to use debt in responsible ways. But how about that $1.2 trillion in student debt?

While lending has been a very lucrative business in recent decades, it’s hard to believe it can last. At some point we must experience a great deleveraging. When that happens, it won’t be fun.

Against the Crowd



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Wealth Building Strategies

One Of Richard Russell’s Last And Most Shocking Predictions Is Now Unfolding

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Posted by Richard Russell via King World News

on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 06:48

KWN-Russell-I-11232016"I believe a great speculative third phase lies ahead for this bull market. The coming third phase will see the stock market climb far higher than even the bulls think possible.

The question is: is it too late to enter the stock market? In the third phase of a bull market, usually more money is made than in the first two phases combined. Thus, I foresee the possibility of large gains if a third and final speculative phase is ahead. My advice is that you assume an initial position in DIA or SPY on any weakness."

Richard Russell died November 21 2015 - the Dow closed that day at 17,799.

....read more of reasoning HERE

 

also from King World News:

What Is Happening In The Residential Real Estate Market Is Remarkable

 

 



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Wealth Building Strategies

Reefer Madness Could Make You Rich

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Posted by Sean Broderick - The Edelson Institute

on Monday, 20 November 2017 06:08

Cannabis stocks have zig-zagged for months. It’s been a regular roller coaster! Now, the next breakout is here. Just how high could this next round of reefer madness take us?

Dude … pretty darned high!

Here’s a chart of the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (TSX: HMMJ) (OTC Grey: HMLSF). It’s a basket of 37 leading cannabis-related stocks operating in North America.

sc

You can see that HMMJ is on a wild ride. After soaring into August, it slumped all that month. It didn’t make new highs until September. Then it was off to the races until October, until it went into consolidation. Again!

But now … well. Now, it’s time to shatter that ceiling.

The most recent thing to light a firecracker under cannabis stocks is the news that broke on Monday.

Alcohol goliath Constellation Brands is guzzling nearly 10% of Canada’s premier marijuana company, Canopy Growth. It only cost Constellation $190.9 million. Such a deal!



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Wealth Building Strategies

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sells for record $450m

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Posted by Martin Armstrong - Armstrong Economics

on Thursday, 16 November 2017 06:32

DaVinci-Salvator-MundiLeonardo da Vinci’s 500-year-old painting known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) is the only work in private hands. It just sold at Christie’s auction room in New York for a record $450m – almost half-billion. The painting apparently once belonged to King Charles I of England back in the 1600s. The last time it was sold at auction was 1958 when it was sold in London for a mere £45. At that time, it was generally believed to have been the work of a follower of Leonardo rather than the work of Leonardo himself.

The painting was sold by the family trust of the Russian billionaire collector Dmitry E Rybolovlev, who is reported to have bought it in a private sale in May 2013 for $127.5m. So that’s a pretty good profit. It is the highest auction price ever paid for any work of art.  There are fewer than 20 of Leonardo paintings in existence. The Salvator Mundi, is believed to have been painted sometime after 1505. The bidding began at $100m and the final bid for the work was $400m, with the buyer’s premium, the full price up to $450.3m. The unidentified buyer was involved in a bidding contest, via telephone, that lasted nearly 20 minutes. The mystery buyer hopefully lives outside of New York so that avoids the sales tax. Purchases above $110 are subject to a 4.5% New York City Sales Tax and a 4% NY State Sales Tax. That makes anything bought in New York City subject to a total Sales and Use Tax of 8.875%. What is astonishing, is that with taxes, rates rise with the more people. That is counter to capitalism which dictates that prices decline with scale. Government costs rise with the scale showing something is just not right!

Obviously, this is serious money still moving off the grid!

...also from Martin:

EU Preparing for the Banking Crisis

and...

Our Ignorance of Cycles Causes them to Exist?



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Wealth Building Strategies

Stock Ownership Figures Look Nothing Like A Bubble

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Posted by Chris Ciovacco - Ciovacco Capital Management

on Wednesday, 08 November 2017 06:57

Summary

Are stock ownership figures nearing bubble territory?

Latest polling data provides some insight into the bull's sustainability.

Are annual charts leaning bullish or bearish?

A Euphoric, All In Bubble?

Once a year, Gallup conducts a poll that provides some insight into the sustainability of the bull market in stocks (SPY). The concept of an investment bubble implies irrational investor confidence. If skepticism and fear were near all-time, bubble-like lows, we would expect a very high percentage of U.S. households to be in the stock market (VTI), as was the case near the euphoric 2007 stock market peak (see graph below).

saupload Gallup2007HouseholdOwnershipChart

Are We Back To Bubble Territory In 2017?

....continue reading HERE



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