As the Dow Jones Index tumbles again, down some 200 points today, I had to look back on some of the things I’ve said recently. I can’t say I am surprised at the condition of the market, nor the outlook being discussed now. On reflecting I found that I mentioned many of these things back in November 2007.
“The Fed's huge new credit facility, announced on Tuesday, "can help in a rather small way ... but the underlying risks will remain with the institutions that borrow from the Fed, and this does nothing to change their capital," National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein noted.
And I stated.
“I had a friend recently ask me what I thought would be happening to the economy, and my answer was it’s going to get bad. Perhaps recession bad. And I added that the current group of Democratic candidates may only make it worse.
I say this because of several factors. Not the least of which are, the housing crisis, the financial sector, the cost of oil, and potential tax ramifications based on the current plans announced by candidates.”
Perhaps I was too general. Maybe I could have been more clear.
“One broker, whom I respect and consider quite sharp [even when I disagree], had an interesting comment on my predictions. I believe that the move to junk rating of ACA, the probable $6 - 12 billion loss at JP Morgan [significantly higher than expected], eventual losses from Citigroup - which reinsures itself, oil breaking $100 a barrel, and the multiple overseas investments will all hit the market in mid-January 2008. Thus I think a move to 11,000 is more than probable.”
Maybe if could have seen what would be the effects
“The facts are that China and India need gold. Even in a global slowdown their demand has increased pressure on supply. Recession and inflation fears and a lagging stock market in the United States have not diminished though they are not leading world headlines this moment. Oil prices are foreseeable going to continue higher and place more pressure on world economies, especially if OPEC cuts production rates as expected. And the prospect of a Democratic President in America is generally seen as a negative for the stock market, further spurring a move to gold to hedge investments.”
Fine, all that having been said at points in the past, what do I have to say now?
We need to see the stock market crash. Seriously it needs to drop to my target of 11,000 I called for in 2007. And every single action by the Fed and Congress to stop this will only create a bigger and longer lasting problem.
At the moment the Government is trying to create an artificial floor for the market. The reason is to give investors a false sense of hope and a bit of political momentum. Neither is worth the problem it is creating. The Fed has reacted too slowly and in moderation thus not correcting any of the liquidity issues. Huge rate cuts may look impressive, but since they don’t have an effect for months if not a year, the short-term effect is windowdressing. A series of stagard smaller cuts (started far earlier) over a period of time is far more effective.
Injecting money into the pockets of citizens is also a waste of money. The momentum and problems are not with people failing to buy things, it’s with the cost of the things being purchased. If oil costs are up 40% then there is just that much less to spend in a discrectionary manner.
Giving people money in the middle of chaos means that the money will either go to pay immediate bills or stashed away for the possible immediate need to pay a bill. Rather, let the emotion and the weakness in the market play out and then give the stimulus. Otherwise you are throwing money down a drain hoping it will eventually clog if you dump enough. And we are weakening the dollar in the process, which hurts the very economy we are trying to fix.
The financials are not done with the mortgage crisis. Some would like to divert attention from this, but the fact is that we are still in the crisis. And a great number of people will lose their homes. The housing market will have it’s crash, which is long overdue, and credit will be harder to get. All of which is normal.
For too long people have had too much credit without any security to back it on. A full generation of young adults have grown up thinking that this was the norm. We need this correction to get back to reality.
Want lower oil prices? Develop new sources of energy. Not because it’s an ecological thing to do, or because of some nightmare dreamed up based on barely enough information to make an estimate on. We need to do it because it will create jobs that can’t be exported, will lower dependance on oil, and infuse the economy with cash. It also means that the equity structure of the market will change, several blue chips will lose value and new ones will be created. Such is a dynamic market, which we don’t have now.
Gold will strike my target of $125 and oil $1125 this year. And they will both do so far faster than I expected if we continue to weaken the dollar and fix they symptoms and not the problem. Loss is part of an investment, as is long-term gain based on fundementals. To try to prevent one prevents the other.
This will feel bad, and unemployment may hit, gasp, 8%. 30 years ago that was a massive win. And it’s not a bad thing. If we aren’t throwing money at the public because they aren’t as comfortable as they were 5 years ago. If politicians had balls they would say this. Social entitlements should only be for those in need, not thouse that need to want.
The end of the 1st quarter will be another round of write-off for financials. And the market will continue to flounder as they try to stabilize their losses. At least one major financial will fail (actually will be forced to merge because they are too big to fail). And at 11,000 the market will stabilize and slowly rise. Growth will begin at that point at a moderate and unimpressive 1% or 7% in the market.
If gold moves as I expect, and the Government stops wasting money in stimulus plans, then there will be a sale in the commodity and an influx in the market. If wind and solar get a few positive laws there will be a spur in that arena and oil will drop slightly after hitting my target. IF taxes are increased, as was voted on yesterday, then the problem will extend into 2009 3rd quarter.
Patience, calm and paying attention to the underlying fundementals will do investors and homeowners more good than cutting rates and suggesting purchases of new Ipods that people can’t afford to have anyway. Shifting energy plans away from ethanol, which is driving up food prices and thus inflation, is also smart.
What will I do with my $600 from the Government stimulus plan? Leave it in the bank until I have a bigger purchase item I need for my business. I’ve already cleared my debt, and keep minimal revolving credit. My investments are balanced and long-term so the current moves don’t faze me. Unlike the Governments rush to do something – even if they have no idea what to rush and do, I have a plan and that allows me to sit and wait to see what happens.
So now you have my thoughts. I’ve factored in the lower refining levels due to the accident earlier this year. I’ve factored in the lesser supply of gold from South Africa, and the Olympics in China. I’ve looked at the real estate market, and the Dow Jones. So until the Dow hits 11,000 (plus minus 100 points or so – I’m not that good) oil and gold rise further and we enter the 3rd quarter it’s just time to accept the pain. But I’m sure this being an election year all of that will get mucked up by political ambitions.
We shall see.
Labels: China, Crude oil prices, Dow Jones Index, economic forecasts, ethanol, gold spot prices, green energy usage, mortgage crisis, Olympic games, tax increase