Last month, we reported on a Bank of America survey that indicated the mainstream has started to acknowledge that the stock market is a big, fat, ugly bubble.
The latest fund-manager survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that a record 48% of investors say the US stock market is overvalued. Meanwhile, 16% of investors say they are taking on above-normal risk. BoA chief investment strategist Michael Hartnett called this “an indicator of irrational exuberance.”
Now, even the government has taken notice, acknowledging asset prices are floating in dangerous bubble territory.
Earlier this month, World Gold Council chief market strategist John Reade said he expects gold to shine in 2018, and one of the primary reasons will be rising income growth in China and India.
A report recently published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research lends support to Reade’s prediction. According to the 2018 World Economic League Table, India will leapfrog France and England in 2018 to become the world’s fifth largest economy in dollar terms. The report also predicted that China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy in 2032.
Janet Yellen and company pretty much followed the script during last week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, raising interest rates another .25 percent and signaling three rate hikes in 2018.
We tend to focus primarily on Federal Reserve actions, but it’s important to remember the Fed isn’t the only central bank game in town. While it nudges interest rates slowly upward, the European Central Bank is standing pat on economic stimulus. And there’s no indication that is going to change in the near future.
Loose monetary policy has dumped billions of dollars of easy money into the world’s financial systems over the last eight years, pumping up a whole slew of bubbles. We are still on the upside of the business cycle, with stock markets hitting record levels it seems like on a daily basis. But if history serves as any kind of indicator, a crisis is on the horizon.
What will precipitate it? That’s the proverbial $64,000 question.
Jim Rickards has compared financial crises to an avalanche. Snow piles up becoming increasingly unstable. Eventually, it reaches the point when all it takes is one more snowflake to set off an avalanche.
In a recent column, Rickards highlights three potential “snowflakes” that could set off the next deluge.
In all of the talk about tax reform, nobody is considering the more fundamental problem facing America – the size and scope of the federal government.
Peter Schiff has described the Republican tax plan as “tax cuts masquerading as reform.” When it’s all said and done, Americans aren’t going to get tax relief. They are going to get big government on a credit card. The balance will come due down the road.
The real issue is the total cost of government. In an article originally published on the Mises Wire, Ryan McMaken argues that if Republicans really want to ease the burden of government, they need to cut spending.
The middle class is not getting tax relief under the Senate plan currently under consideration. It’s getting big government on a credit card.
Here’s a fun fact. Did you know virtually all of the individual tax cuts in the Senate version of tax reform are temporary?
Indeed, what the Senate giveth, it also taketh away. Most of the tax cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 under the Senate plan.
So what’s the reasoning behind sunsetting the tax cuts?
So what are we to make of the continuing stock market climb?
Peter Schiff summed it up succinctly in a recent interview on Fox Business.
Well look, I think it’s a bubble.”