Warning: Crash dead ahead. Sell. Get liquid. Now.
Commentary: 'Game's in the refrigerator.' Power's turning off. Dow sinking below 6,470
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- "This game's in the refrigerator! The door's closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling ..."
That was legendary Lakers' radio announcer Chick Hearn's signature way of calling a game early, telling fans the home team won ... you can head for the exits before the final buzzer. Chick wrote the book with popular sports phrases like "slam dunk," "air ball," "charity stripe," and a "bunny hop in the pea patch" for a traveling violation.
Niall Ferguson: Investing amid uncertainty
Economic historian and author of The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, Niall Ferguson gives his predictions on gold prices, emerging markets and the Swiss franc. Ferguson also tells Dow Jones Veronica Dagher where he's investing his money amid the uncertainty.
Chick's our inspiration today: Last March I wrote "6 reasons I'm calling a bottom and a new bull." Today it's time for a new call. We've had a good year. Net gains over 50% in 2009. But now: "Game over, head for the exits." Bears beating bulls.
No, no, "it's a buying opportunity," says another legend, hedge fund manager, Barton Biggs. Buying opportunity? For who? Remember, Biggs isn't advising Joe Lunchbox about what to do with his little 401(k). Biggs' customers are mega-millionaires in his $1.5 billion Traxis Partners Fund. Main Street investors like Joe are prey in his casino.
Read on, you decide: As you stare from high up in the nose-bleed bleachers watching the game, staring at a Dow that not long ago was above 11,000 and heading for 12,000. Now the Dow's sitting on the bench, ready for the showers, weak after a couple air balls around 10,000. No more timeouts. "This game's in the refrigerator."
How bad is your bookie's point spread in this game? A blowout? Will the Dow drop below 9,000 again? Now that it's broken technical supports, will it drop below 6,470, where the last bull rally started in early 2009? Can you handle the nerve-racking volatility generated by Wall Street's high-frequency traders playing the game at warp-speed with algorithms making thousands of micro-bets in milliseconds, betting billions daily?
So who should you listen to? Barton and I arrived at Morgan Stanley about the same time. He stayed decades longer, became one of the world's leading strategists, advising the kind of high-rollers who also bet at private tables in a Vegas casino.
You remember Biggs: In his book "Wealth, War & Wisdom" he advises his high rollers to prepare for a "breakdown of the civilized infrastructure." Buy a farm: "Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food ... It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson." Biggs is not advising small investors on what to do with their 401(k)s.
If you're gambling at Wall Street's casino, folks, the odds-makers are betting against Biggs. It's "game over."
Main Street lost 20% last decade ... yet like sheep keep going back
Yes, if you're channeling Chick, here's your "mixed metaphor" cue card: "This game's in the refrigerator ... Wall Street won (proof, Goldman's $100-million-profit trading days and Blankfein's $68 million bonus) ... Main Street's headed for another losing streak ... Congress' lights are out ... the refrigerator door's closing on financial reforms ... the lobbyists are laying some rotten eggs, poisoning capitalism ... the Tea Party-of-No-No ideologies are hardening ... the bull's Jell-O is jiggling to a flat line ... and this market's going into hibernation, with the bears ... run, don't walk, to the exits, folks."
But will Main Street exit? Will we ever learn? No. The Wall Street casino makes mega-billions for insiders like Blankfein and the Goldman Conspiracy. Yet "The Casino" is still below the 2000 record of 11,722. So after accounting for inflation, Wall Street lost over 20% of Main Street's 401(k) retirement money between 2000 and 2010. Yes, Wall Street's a big loser the past decade. Their advice is self-serving. Period.
Given their miserable track record, only a fool would bet with Wall Street. Betting odds are Wall Street will lose another 20% in the next decade from 2010-2020. Yes, today's market is a "buying opportunity," but only for Wall Street casino insiders like Biggs, Blankfein and even low-level staffers inside "The Casino." But not for our 95 million Main Street investors, there's more pain ahead, this market's dropping.
Correction? New crash imminent, worse than 2008
More proof: Earlier economist Gary Shilling said price-to-earnings ratios are at a "nosebleed 22.5 level." The Dow was around 11,000. Money manager Jeremy Grantham recently said the market's overvalued 40%. That could mean a collapse to 6,600. Last week in Reuters' "Markets Could Be Derailed Again," George Soros echoed a "game over" warning with a "stark warning ... that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis."
Now Dow Theory's Richard Russell is warning the public of an imminent crash: "Sell ... get liquid ... by the end of this year they won't recognize the country."
A bigger meltdown than the credit crisis? Yes, Bush's team drove America into a ditch. But now Obama and his money men, Summers, Geithner, Bernanke, are digging the hole deeper. Soros says we have not learned "the lessons that markets are inherently unstable." As a result, "the success in bailing out the system on the previous occasion led to a super-bubble." Now "we are facing a yet larger bubble." Worse than 2008?
Yes, the game may be "in the refrigerator," the lights will go out, but as Soros hints, the electricity may get turned off too. Get it? This may not be a correction. Not even a bear. What's coming could be worse than the 2000 dot-com crash and the 2008 meltdown combined, a "Super-Bubble" says Soros. And the biggest reason, Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm tell Newsweek, is that "the president's half-measures won't fix our failed financial system" because he refuses to "bust up the too-big-to-fail banks."
Yes, Congress will pass something. But unfortunately, as reported on MSNBC, Senator Dodd, the reform bill's sponsor, is a turncoat, working overtime with Wall Street lobbyists "to weaken financial reform," leave us vulnerable to a new, bigger crash in the near future. And Wall Street lobbyists are spending hundreds of millions to kill reform.
'White Swans:' 2000 and 2008 crashes were predictable, next one too
Recently Roubini was interviewed by Charlie Rose in BusinessWeek. His message confirms the worst. Roubini was questioned about his new book, "Crisis Economics." Rose began by asking, "what have we learned from these crises of capitalism?" Roubini could easily have said, "nothing, we learned nothing." His actual reply:
"The first lesson is that crises are not 'black swan' events ... they're not just random outcomes. They are the result of a buildup of financial and policy vulnerability and mistakes -- excessive risk-taking, leverage, debt, and so on." They are 'White Swans' "because these events are predictable. But generation after generation, we seem to forget the past. When there's a bubble, there's euphoria. There's irrational exuberance. Consumers can use their homes like ATM machines. Governments and policy makers are happy because they get reelected. Wall Street makes billions of dollars of profits. Everybody's delusional."
Sound familiar? Yes indeed, in "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff pinpoint the key signal that will blow the whistle and call the game: The "90% ratio of government debt to GDP is a tipping point in economic growth." For 800 years "you increase it over and beyond a high threshold, and boom!"
Warning, fans, the numbers on the game-clock are flashing wildly. America's ratio is now 92%, thanks to Obama's $1.7 trillion budget, future deficits, exploding debt. Soon, Ka-Booom! Another great nation bites the dust. Depression follows. Goodbye retirement.
Warning: 800 years of history are calling 'game over'
But can't we change destiny? Or are Dodd, Congress, Obama, Wall Street, the Party of No-No and 300 million Americans all just playing their parts in a historical script well-known to historians like Reinhart and Rogoff, Kevin Phillips, Niall Ferguson and others? The message of "This Time Is Different" is very simple:
"We have been here before. No matter how different the latest financial frenzy or crisis always appears, there are usually remarkable similarities from past experience from other countries and from history. ... no country, irrespective of its global importance, appears to be immune to it. The fading memories of borrowers and lenders, policy makers and academics, and the public at large do not seem to improve over time, so the policy lessons on how to 'avoid' the next blow-up are at best limited."
So please listen closely: All the TARP bailouts, stimulus debt and Fed loans won't work. Neither will a new conservative government. This is not a basketball game. We are not channeling Chick Hearn, calling this game before the final buzzer. While we prefer the illusion that "this time really is different," eight centuries of history suggest otherwise:
"The lesson of history, then, is that even as institutions and policy makers improve there will always be a temptation to stretch the limits. ... If there is one common theme to the vast range of crises ... it is that excessive debt accumulation, whether it be by the government, banks, corporations, or consumers, often poses greater systemic risks than it seems during a boom. ... Highly indebted governments, banks, or corporations can seem to be merrily rolling along for an extended period, when bang -- confidence collapses, lenders disappear and a crisis hits. ... Highly leveraged economies ... seldom survive forever ... history does point to warnings signs that policy makers can look to access risk -- if only they do not become too drunk with their credit bubble-fueled success and say, as their predecessors have for centuries, 'This time is different'."
No, "this time" it's never different. Get it? In the end, it doesn't matter what happens to the Dodd-Obama financial reforms. The endgame's never a Black Swan, it's a very White Swan well known to historians -- guaranteed, inevitable and inescapable. This time is never different.
The clock's flashing. Huge point spread. Think bear, think crash, think end of capitalism, think Great Depression II ... This is no buying opportunity, this game's in the refrigerator, call it.
Quick Financial Prediction Round-Up:
First six months of 2010, Americans will continue to live in the 'unreality'...the period between July and October is when the financial fireworks will begin. The Fed will act unilaterally for its own survival irrespective of any political implications ...(source is from insider at FED meetings). In the last quarter of the year we could even see Martial law, which is more likely for the first six months of 2011. The FDIC will collapse in September 2010. Commercial real estate is set to implode in 2010. Wall Street believes there is a 100% chance of crash in bond market, especially municipals sometime during 2010. The dollar will be devalued by the end of 2010.
Terrorist attacks and the "Crash of 2010." 40% devaluation at first = the greatest depression, worse than the Great Depression.
In the summer of 1998, based on classified data about the state of the U.S. economy and society supplied to him by fellow FAPSI analysts, Panarin forecast the probable disintegration of the USA into six parts in 2010 (at the end of June – start of July 2010, as he specified on 10 December 2000).
Have projected that the third and final stage of the economic collapse will begin sometime in 2010. Barring some kind of financial miracle, or the complete dissolution of the Federal Reserve, a snowballing implosion should become visible by the end of this year. The behavior of the Fed, along with that of the IMF, seems to suggest that they are preparing for a focused collapse, peaking within weeks or months instead of years, and the most certain fall of the dollar.
July and onward things get very strange. Revolution. Dollar dead by November 2010.
2010 Outlook from a group of 25 European Economists with a 90% accuracy rating - We anticipate a sudden intensification of the crisis in the second half of 2010, caused by a double effect of a catching up of events which were temporarily « frozen » in the second half of 2009 and the impossibility of maintaining the palliative remedies of past years. There is a perfect (economic) storm coming within the global financial markets and inevitable pressure on interest rates in the U.S. The injection of zero-cost money into the Western banking system has failed to restart the economy. Despite zero-cost money, the system has stalled. It is slowly rolling over into the next big down wave, which in Elliott Wave terminology will be Super Cycle Wave Three, or in common language, "THE BIG ONE, WHERE WE ALL GO OVER THE FALLS TOGETHER."
Forecasts on the economy. He sees the real estate market continuing to decline, and advised people to invest in precious metals and commodities, as well as keeping cash at home in a safe place in case of bank closures. The stock market, after peaking in March or April (around 10,850), will fall all the way down to somewhere between 2450 and 4125 during the next leg down.
Harry Dent (investor)
A very likely second crash by late 2010. The coming depression (starts around the summer of 2010). Dent sees the stock market--currently benefiting from upward momentum and peppier economic activity--headed for a very brief and pleasant run that could lift the Dow to the 10,700-11,500 range from its current level of about 10,090. But then, he sees the market running into a stone wall, which will be followed by a nasty stock market decline (starting in early March to late April) that could drive down the Dow later this year to 3,000-5,000, with his best guess about 3,800.
Richard Russell (Market Expert)
(from 2/3/10) says the bear market rally is in the process of breaking up and panic is on the way. He sees a full correction of the entire rise from the 2002 low of 7,286 to the bull market high of 14,164.53 set on October 9, 2007. The halfway level of retracement was 10,725. The total retracement was to 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009. He now sees the Dow falling to 7,286 and if that level does not hold, “I see it sinking to its 1980-82 area low of Dow 1,000.” The current action is the worst he has ever seen. (Bob Chapman says for Russell to make such a startling statement is unusual because he never cries wolf and is almost never wrong)
Niño Becerra (Professor of Economics)
Predicted in July 2007 that what was going to happen was that by mid 2010 there is going to be a crisis only comparable to the one in 1929. From October 2009 to May 2010 people will begin to see things are not working out the way the government thought. In May of 2010, the crisis starts with all its force and continues and strengthens throughout 2011. He accurately predicted the current recession and market crash to the month.
The crisis is accelerating and will become worse week by week until the whole system grinds into a collapse, likely sometime this year. And when it does, it will be the greatest collapse since the fall of the Roman Empire.
Wall Street Journal - (2/2010)
"You are witnessing a fundamental breakdown of the American dream, a systemic breakdown of our democracy and our capitalism, a breakdown driven by the blind insatiable greed of Wall Street: Dysfunctional government, insane markets, economy on the brink. Multiply that many times over and see a world in total disarray. Ignore it now, tomorrow will be too late."
There is no precedence for the panic and chaos that will occur in 2010. The global food supply/demand picture has NEVER been so out of balance. The 2010 food crisis will rearrange economic, financial, and political order of the world, and those who aren’t prepared will suffer terrible losses...As the dollar loses most of its value, America's savings will be wiped out. The US service economy will disintegrate as consumer spending in real terms (ie: gold or other stable currencies) drops like a rock, bringing unemployment to levels exceeding the great depression. Public health services/programs will be cut back, as individuals will have no savings/credit/income to pay for medical care. Value of most investments will be wiped out. The US debt markets will freeze again, this time permanently. There will be no buyers except at the most drastic of firesale prices, and inflation will wipe away value before credit markets have any chance at recovery. The panic in 2010 will see the majority of derivatives end up worthless. Since global derivatives markets operate on the assumption of the continued stable value of the dollar and short term US debt, using derivatives to bet against the dollar is NOT a good idea. The panic in 2010 will see the majority of derivatives end up worthless. The dollar's collapse will rob US consumers of all purchasing power, and any investment depend on US consumption will lose most of its value.
Alpha-Omega Report (Trends Forecast)
Going into 2010, the trends seemed to lead nowhere or towards oblivion. Geo-politically, the Middle East was and is trending towards some sort of military clash, most likely by mid-year, but perhaps sooner...At the moment, it seems 2010 is shaping up to be a year of absolute chaos. We see trends for war between Israel and her neighbors that will shake every facet of human activity...In the event of war, we see all other societal trends being thoroughly disrupted...Iran will most likely shut off the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. This will have immense consequences for the world’s economy. Oil prices will skyrocket into the stratosphere and become so expensive that world’s economies will collapse..There are also trend indicators along economic lines that point to the potential for a total meltdown of the world’s financial system with major crisis points developing with the change of each quarter of the year. 2010 could be a meltdown year for the world’s economy, regardless of what goes on in the Middle East.
Robin Landry (Market Expert)
I believe we are headed to new market highs between 10780-11241 over the next few months. The most likely time frame for the top is the April-May area. Remember the evidence IMHO still says we are in a bear market rally with a major decline to follow once this rally ends.
John P. Hussman, Ph.D.
In my estimation, there is still close to an 80% probability (Bayes' Rule) that a second market plunge and economic downturn will unfold during 2010.
Founder of Elliott Wave International, implores retail investors stay away from the markets… for now. Prechter, who was bullish near the lows in March 2009, now says the stock market "is in a topping area," predicting another crash in 2010 that will bring stocks below the 2009 low. His word to the wise, “be patient, don’t rush it” keep your money in cash and cash equivalents.
Current Research Director at the Foundation for the Study of Cycles - Because of a convergence of numerous cycles all at once, the stock market may go up for a little while, but will crash in 2010 and reach all-time lows late 2012. Mogey says that the 2008 crash was nothing compared to the coming crash. Gold may correct in 2009, but will go up in 2010 and peak in 2011. Silver will follow gold.
James Howard Kunstler (January 2010)
The economy as we’ve known it simply can’t go on, which James Howard Kunstler has been saying all along. The shenanigans with stimulus and bailouts will just compound the central problem with debt. There’s not much longer to go before the whole thing collapses and dies. Six Months to Live- The economy that is. Especially the part that consists of swapping paper certificates. That’s the buzz I’ve gotten the first two weeks of 2010.
Peter Schiff (3/13/2010)
"In my opinion, the market is now perfectly positioned for a massive dollar sell-off. The fundamentals for the dollar in 2010 are so much worse than they were in 2008 that it is hard to imagine a reason for people to keep buying once a modicum of political and monetary stability can be restored in Europe. In fact, the euro has recently stabilized. My gut is that the dollar sell-off will be sharp and swift. Once the dollar decisively breaks below last year's lows, many of the traders who jumped ship in the recent rally will look to re-establish their positions. This will accelerate the dollar's descent and refocus everyone's attention back on the financial train-wreck unfolding in the United States. Any doubts about the future of the U.S. dollar should be laid to rest by today's announcement that San Francisco Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen has been nominated to be Vice Chair of the Fed's Board of Governors, and thereby a voter on the interest rate-setting, seven-member Open Markets Committee. Ms. Yellen has earned a reputation for being one of the biggest inflation doves among the Fed's top players." Schiff is famous for his accurate predictions of the economic events of 2008.
Dollar devalued 30-50% by end of year. It will become very difficult for the average American to afford to buy even food. This was revealed to him through an Illuminati insider.
Unnamed Economist working for US Gov't (GLP)
What we have experienced the last two years is nothing to what we are going to experience this year. If you have a job now...you may not have it in three to six months (by August 2010). Stock market will fall = great depression. Foreign investors stop financing debt = collapse. 6.2 million are about to lose their unemployment.
DOW will fall below 7,000 before mid summer 2010- Dollar will rise above 95 on the dollar index before mid summer 2010- Gold will bottom out below $800 before mid summer 2010- Silver will bottom out below $10 before mid summer 2010- CA debt implosion will start its major downturn by mid summer and hit crisis mode before Q4 2010- Dollar index will plunge below 65 between Q3 and Q4 2010- Commercial real estate will hit crisis mode in Q4 2010- Over 35 states will be bailed out by end of Q4 2010 by the US tax payer End of Q4 2010 gold will hit $1,600 and silver jump to $35 an oz.
Markets up until mid-to-late-summer. Then "all hell breaks lose" from then on through the rest of the year.