With global markets recenty on a tear, today one of the greats in the business sent King World News a powerful piece warning that people need to get prepared for one of the most spectacular financial disasters in history. He also discussed exactly what he is doing with his own money ahead of the coming chaos.
March 4 (King World News) – Despite the hoopla here in America over the Nasdaq reaching 5,000 again, the rest of the world ignored that monumental "milestone" with overnight stock markets nearly all a bit lower. Even more unusual was the fact that nearly all the bond markets declined as well. I dont want to make too much of one night, but I found the development moderately interesting (I am especially focused on the action of JGBs).
As for stocks here, they were weaker after yesterday's first-of-the-month jam job to achieve the aforementioned Nasdaq big round number, and through midday they had lost about 1% before an afternoon rally trimmed the losses to the 0.5% or so you see in the box scores.
Lesson In How Long Markets Can Remain "Insane"
Despite all of that backstory, there isn't really any point discussing the action because it is the same as it has been, with the stock bulls pretending that the Fed will be able to raise rates and the stock market will continue to go higher for whatever reasons they deem worthy. That won't turn out to be the case, but those like me who have suggested the market couldn't sustain itself without QE are getting yet another lesson in how long things can remain "insane."
Tug-Of-War In Gold And Silver
Away from stocks, green paper was a bit weaker, fixed income was as well (notably, stock weakness didn't help bonds), oil gained a percent, and the metals were lower after seeing pretty intense two-way volatility. Initially, gold dropped $10 only to rally back to up $10, then gave up its gains in New York trading. Silver followed the same pattern, and by day's end gold had a small loss while silver fell 1%. I don't know what — if anything — there is to make out of all that motion.
Nasdaq 5000 – WARNING: Incredibly Intense Speculation
In terms of the stock market, I noticed that the Wall Street Journal bent over backwards to suggest that with the Nasdaq now back to 5,000, we won't see a replay of what happened last time, with their argument sort of hinging on the fact that valuations aren't quite as extreme as they were then. Having said that, they are still extreme, and speculation is incredibly intense. If today's crop of venture stocks were public, as they would have been back in 2000, and part of a capitalization-weighted index, P/E ratios would be much higher than they currently are.
Mania Fueled By Free Money – But Financial Disaster Is Coming
Said differently, this mania is not exactly the same as the 1999-2000 version, but it is a mania nonetheless, fueled by free money and huge increases in corporate and government debt, which intensify the risks once the bubble bursts but, regrettably, don't tell us anything about the timing. So everyone who thinks they are safe because things are so much better is going to find out that, while this time is different, the ultimate outcome is still going to be quite painful.
Risks Incredibly High – What I'm Doing With My Own Money
The fact of the matter is that the risks are as high, if not higher, than they have ever been, even if the absolute downside might be slightly less (maybe). In any case, I added to my VXX position today and bought puts on Intel, as I think that company is very vulnerable to losing at beat-the-number this quarter. I also plan to buy other PC-oriented puts as events develop. (I also bought puts on Oracle.) Positions in stocks mentioned: long VXX, long INTC puts, long ORCL puts. *** To subscribe to Bill Fleckenstein's fascinating Daily Thoughts CLICK HERE.
***ALSO JUST RELEASED: Russia, Berkshire And How Warren Buffett Just Shocked The World CLICK HERE.
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