Opinion

Unspoken Truth

We all know it yet the unspoken truth deserves to be said out aloud.

You all heard the phrases ‘Don’t fight the Fed’, and ‘ there is no alternative’. Can we be clear what these phrases really mean? They mean people are buying assets at prices they otherwise wouldn’t because a central planning committee is putting in market conditions that changes their market behavior.

People are paying forward multiples that are higher than they would if they earned higher interest income. The ‘desperate search for yield’ they call it. Think of it as a forced auction. You must pay, and you must pay more because you can’t bid on anything else and neither can anyone else hence there are now bidders for ever less available product (i.e. think shrinking share floats) driving prices wildly higher. And as central banks have become permanently dovish over the past decade Fed meetings are the principal impetus for rallies. Indeed most gains in markets come around days that have Fed Day written on them, a well established history going back decades now.

A fact the Fed itself is very well aware of:

“In a 2011 paper, New York Fed economists showed that from 1994 to 2011 almost all the S&P 500’s returns came in the 3 days around an FOMC decision. Over this period the index rose by 270%, and most of those gains happened the before, the day of, and the day after a Fed meeting.”

So Pavlovian has the response become that shorts automatically cover ahead of Fed meetings and investors buy ahead of Fed meetings expecting a positive response. The Fed is the market as it’s driving its entire behavior. The “Fed put” they call it. Another phrase that explicitly acknowledges that investors are orienting their risk profile behavior on what this unelected committee does.

And it is this over decade long process of now permanent intervention that has produced the ever widening disconnect in asset prices from the economy:

A perpetual process of intervention that is creating ever wider wealth inequality and is building ever more financial risks, facts that are well recognized by participants. Here is Mohammed El-Erian in his latest opinion piece highlighting the ‘Fed put” and the building risks and disconnects:

“even looser monetary policy is likely to result in further disconnecting financial markets from the real economy (the issue of prosperous Wall Street versus struggling Main Street). This could easily amplify the view that the Fed is aggravating inequality. While officials have tended to brush off – at least in public — the risk for future financial stability of over-valued markets and over-extended new retail investors, it may prove harder now that loose mortgage conditions are decoupling the housing market from forward income-based affordability indicators. Indeed, many signs of excessive financial risk-taking are already flashing yellow or red on the back of the continuously reinforced market notion of a deep, always in-the-money ‘Fed Put’.”

Well there you have it. The gall of Jay Powell then, who not only has a personal long index portfolio in the tens of millions of dollars, who not only personally benefits from said construct, but then continues to deny the policy’s direct impact on widening wealth inequality, that audacity to lie to the American public about it all is something else. He can claim unchallenged by the press that the Fed’s policies absolutely do not add to inequality but everybody knows that it does. Shame on him and shame on all the Fed presidents that keep playing along in the game of denial and deception.

All of Wall Street, its compensation, the valuation of companies, all of it is vastly inflated and impacted by Fed bail outs and interventions and now supposedly going forward as well based on the view that the Fed will remain at zero rates for many years to come, independent on what the data may say in the future.

‘The Fed has our backs’ is another one of those phrases lurking out there displaying an attitude of complacency and open admission that because of the Fed investors are engaging in risky behavior they otherwise perhaps wouldn’t were it not for the belief that the Fed will bail them out of risky investing decisions by bringing markets back from the abyss.

And that is the truth, the entire market universe orients itself on these phrases and therefore engages in such behavior driven by the action of this central planning committee that denies this very fact.

This has nothing to do with free market capitalism. It’s a perverted form of market planning. Now I can’t change the construct and like many I can just play along. For example, last week’s view that $NDX was setting up for a long trade based on a technical pattern was also based on the view that people would once again buy into stocks ahead of a coming Fed meeting during OPEX week no less.

That rally to come I suggested at the end of my recent CNBC interview:

And I suggested it in the charts. On Friday on our private feed and see also Straight Talk: Technicals Matter:

And sure enough they kept piling in ahead of the Fed. Three gap ups in a row this week  running like flies toward the light (the Fed):

So yes we can play along with it, but we can also be critical of the construct and the entire dishonesty of the Fed to refuse to acknowledge its role and to blatantly lie about the consequences. And we can highlight the budding financial risks that keep being propagated by this unaccountable committee that operates unchecked and unbalanced self admittedly crossing red lines.

But while the Fed has succeeded again in bailing out Wall Street, its self declared pretend effort to help Main Street has predictably turned into a joke:

So today we all gather again to watch this committee shower us with pretend wisdom. By all means, let’s celebrate the absurdity:

Just don’t call it free market capitalism. Let’s call it what it is: A desperate subsidy masking all the structural problems underneath by disconnecting asset prices ever further from the economy & enabling ever larger credit bubbles:

A subsidy benefitting the wealthiest while leaving the poor in the dust, a subsidy based on lies told by idiots signifying nothing other than a reflection of a bankrupt political system that is incapable of developing structural solutions and entirely dependent on ever more debt expansion and cheap money, a house of cards that will crumble when the efficacy of central intervention and the ever desperate efforts to make reality reach their limit.

And that is the unspoken truth.


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Categories: Opinion

19 replies »

  1. Powell will appear as a paper tiger and the markets will start it’s next leg down and will break the March lows. “Own don’t trade” sqqq tecs spxs sdow soxs drv uvxy.

  2. Sven, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments, but why are investors continuing to pile in? The Fed is like the Wizard of Oz, pull back the curtain and there is no wizard. Current policy of very low rates is problematic, I agree. However, the Fed doesn’t and can’t print money, nor can they force banks to lend, so they cannot directly increase the money supply. The Fed is, however, pretending and jawboning like it can lift markets, and investors are buying it hook, line and sinker. Dumb investors, I say..

  3. This Modern Monetary Theory policy is going to continue running its course until it implodes. Fascinating that more and more people are thinking that deficits don’t matter. Good thoughts starting at minute 13 by Rickards on this. In youtube: “Real Conversations: Jim Rickards – How To Protect Your Wealth When This Bubble Bursts”

  4. The FED does nothing today. AAPL has been on the decline since September 1st. You would think everyone would be unloading their shares but instead it seems BTD prevails. The sky is falling and nobody cares.

  5. Interesting FOMC-meeting today. The Fed is operating unlimited on everything they have. And they changed old strict rules, into free unlimited interpretation rules. And they will do that for the next years. Forget any kind of market crashs. Better be ready for stock splits galore. *lol

  6. Sven……………it will work………….until it doesn’t. There will be no major crash again until after the U.S. election. All imbalances will be made right again very soon. Be early, preserve your past gains, get your money out to safety and keep it out for the long term. All is not what it seems in our economies today. There is much trickery and lies in being told in this world today. The world has fundamentally changed and “THEY” want you to be the last to know!

  7. Futures dipped hard when J-Pow said no long end curve buy program to be enacted, which would have been great for market gains (perhaps next meeting?). Futures did not like J-Pow saying “Lending Powers are NOT Spending Powers”, in regards to why banks need to make profit on loans and not have any losses. Funny that such “logic” never gets applied to bank customers. The iconic moment was when J-Pow tried to explain why higher inflation is good for the consumer, saying interest/loan rates can not raise higher unless inflation gets higher. If I did not know better, I would have thought J-Pow was enacting policy only for the banks, like an unelected, bank barron who was making tens of millions in personal profits pushing his policy on 7 billion unsuspecting souls….

  8. Proposed Fed 2020 Slogans:

    “Fight the Fed, Wet the Bed”
    “Bow down to J-Pow or Risk a K-Pow”
    “Climate Change is a Fiat Thing”
    “Broken Windows have WoKe the Millennials”
    “(M)agic (M)oney (T)rain is a J-Pow Thing”

    How about a quick poem (never made a poem before, so bear with me, HA):

    J-Pow is God, over Earth and Sod
    Then I thing, I can’t blink
    Least my earnings, end up burning
    At the alter, of Fed fiat falter
    When the game, of lies and blame
    End the perception, which ruled the deception
    Of those old days, so far away
    Played by rules, today ridiculed
    By folks who wink, and insanely think
    Free lunches are real, and will never reveal
    Capitalism was fun, but now is done…

    Yort

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