– New doomsday poll: 99.9% risk of 2014 crash (MarketWatch, March 17, 2014):
Commentary: Black-swan crisis warning for now through mid-April
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Global risks are accelerating. This is our fourth major poll update of industry leaders: A critical review of their warnings from early last year when we first predicted a 87% risk of a crash: Bernanke’s Fed saw an “unsustainable bubble” … Gross: “credit supernova” … Gundlach: “kaboom ahead” … Ellis: “Don’t own bonds” … Shilling: “shocker” … Roubini: “Prepare for perfect storm” … Shiller: “Irrational exuberance is back” … Schiff: “Doubling down” on “doomsday” prediction … InvestmentNews’ warning 90,000 advisers: “tick, tick … boom!”
A few weeks later the crash risk was up to 98%. Then a dramatic preholiday uptick in investor sentiment. America’s collective unconscious tired of negativity after a Halloween headline: “Economic guillotine dead ahead.” A week later, 2014 became the “Year of the Boom.” Bank of America’s chief strategist screamed: “Bet on the bulls now.” The Great Gatsby spirit was celebrating the holidays: “Even old grumpy Dr. Doom, celeb economist Nouriel Roubini, began humming a happy tune all over television: “A global recovery is going to occur, get into equities.”
What really happened? Fed politics. Short-term, Larry Summers withdrew as a candidate for the Fed chairman’s job. Dark cloud lifted as Janet Yellen become the pick. Wall Street cheered, Bernanke’s easy-money printing presses would not screw up their year-end bonuses. Plus Main Street was mentally exhausted, tired of the bad news, relentless political drama. We needed a holiday break.
By Thanksgiving, “irrational exuberance” was accelerating in full holiday tilt: Headline: “Shiller’s hot P/Es will power a roaring bull till 2017,” and 2014 got branded the “Katy Perry market!” A week later, a Thanksgiving headline added: “10 reasons to be a bull in 2014.”
But long term? What’s really ahead for America in 2014? Warning, something bigger is hiding in the deep shadows of our collective brain. At a recent lunch with an old friend, one of the world’s more successful commodities traders, he confirmed that “something” was dead ahead. But not just another brief statistical shift in sentiment. Not a medium-term volatility shift. America, the world, are in a historic transition, a paradigm shift, a mysterious upheaval that few will grasp till it moves further along.
Dark road dead ahead: Yellen, Gross, GOP, off-center, all tested
More losses? How bad? Worse than 2000 and 2008? Yes. Wall Street, Main Street, Washington, the global economy, will all be knocked off-center. Traders are focusing on St. Patrick’s Day for guidance, below S&P 1,850, Dow 16,400, with a downturn accelerating after a macroeconomic news event in mid-April. For Wall Street’s short-term thinkers, all easy to dismiss, they make money on the action, up or down.
But this trader’s track-record says listen. His predictions fit our polls. The underlying reason is simple: Yellen’s policy is to keep printing cheap money. Remember last summer: Bernanke still in power? Wall Street feared Summers would hurt bonuses. Gross screamed, “QE must end.” Yet market kept rising. Pimco lost. Gross was off-center. His partner Mohamed El Erian left. Gross’s confusion was just one of many signs of a fundamentally flawed monetary policy dating back to Greenspan and Reaganomics
What’s ahead is even bigger: A black swan. Unpredictable. A macroeconomic catastrophe in China, Russia? Something politically dramatic, like the fall of the Berlin Wall? Oil wars? What do you see? Dismiss? Comment: Will 2014 continue the bull? Correction? Bear? The “big one” predicted for last year? Finally coming? Our poll resembles the one we reported on from 2004 to 2008, summarized shortly before the collapse.
To help you, here are highlights we reported over the last year. Read, comment, what do you see ahead? A critical mass of macroeconomic triggers that could accelerate a downturn, recession, something we’ll deny, never hear, till too late:
Gary Shilling: 42% decline in S&P … and global recession
“With a global recession depressing corporate revenues, unsustainable profit margins and currency translation losses spawned by a robust dollar.” In early January Shilling saw “S&P 500 operating earnings … a quarter below Wall Street consensus. Throw in a bear market P/E low of 10 and the S&P 500 Index drops to 800, a 42% decline.”
Bill Gross: Credit supernova dead ahead
In February, Gross warned of a “credit supernova.” Pimco has $2 trillion at risk if the Fed’s cheap money explodes, brings down the economy. Worse, “investment banking, which only a decade ago promoted small-business development … now is dominated by leveraged speculation and the Ponzi finance.”
Nouriel Roubini: Global collapse, prepare for perfect storm
Roubini on Slate: “Sooner or later, another ugly fight” over debt, and markets get “spooked.” Any one trend “would be enough to stall the global economy, tip it into recession.”
InvestmentNews: Bond crash coming, “Tick, Tick … Boom!”
InvestmentNews March front page was so overwhelming, you could hear sirens flashing, warning in huge bold type: “Tick, tick … boom!” Their readers, 90,000 advisers, trust INews forecasts. Warning: Millions of investors have “no idea what’s about to happen.”
Gary Shilling: Grand shocker will trigger new crash
Long-time Forbes columnist again warned of a “grand disconnect” driving “stocks around the world while the zeal for yield, amidst low interest rates … suggests an expanding bubble.” Shilling saw a black swan, a grand “shocker” coming.
David Stockman: Get out of market now and hide in cash
“Stop the Fed from micromanaging the economy,” said Stockman in March: “No more cheap money, debt buybacks, investing in private companies.” Restore “Fed’s original mission: to provide liquidity in times of crisis … get out of the markets, hide out in cash.”
Charlie Ellis: Advice to long-term investors, don’t own bonds
Back in April the author of the classic “Winning the Loser’s Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing” said: “The best piece of advice I could give long-term investors today is don’t own bonds. And if you do own them … move out of them.”
Jeffrey Gundlach: Bond guru sees ‘Kaboom’ ahead’
“Kaboom ahead,” said Bloomberg about Doubleline Capital’s CEO. Real damage yet to come, an “ominous third phase” whose impact will “far exceed the damage of 2008.” He’s buying hard assets, “sitting on cash” waiting to scoop up deals at “fire-sale” prices.
Gary Shilling: Expands on 9 signs global GDP will fall near zero
Shilling predicted “another eight years of slow growth of about 2% in real GDP per year.” Plus nine megatrends slowing global growth to near zero over the next generation.
Bill Gross: Warning, the 30-year bond bull market ended on April 29
Bonds started dropping in late 2012. Gross made it official here, the 30-year bull market was dead . His Pimco firm had capitalized on the run, build a $2 trillion portfolio. Losing.
Societe Generale strategist: ‘Bubble with no name’ near popping
In April bank strategist Kit Juckes warns we’re all trapped in the fourth megabubble fueled by the Fed since the rise of conservative economics, the “Bubble With No Name Yet.” And “it’s close to popping, like the Asian, dot-com and credit crashes.”
Peter Schiff: Doubles down on his doomsday prediction
Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, author of “The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy,” is “not backing away from doomsday predictions” wrote MarketWatch’s Greg Robb. A week earlier Schiff warned: “I am 100% confident the crisis that we’re going to will be much worse than the one we had in 2008.” Yes, 100%.
Federal Reserve Board: Unsustainable bubble in stocks, bonds
Fed’s Advisory Council’s May meeting: Members expressed “strong concerns over the Fed’s low-interest-rate policies and its bond-purchase program, which they say could trigger unmanageable inflation and an ‘unsustainable bubble’.”
Terry Burnham: Lizard brains, denial, devastating decline
In July, former hedge fund manager and author of “Mean Markets and Lizard Brains” predicted: We’ll see “Dow 5,000 before we see Dow 20,000.”
Robert Shiller: Bubbles forever, irrational exuberance is back
Millions of investors were searching for the elusive “new, new normal,” something better than today’s heart-pounding uncertainties. In July Shiller’s “Bubbles Forever” warned that “irrational exuberance” was back in America.