Why In The Hell Would Any Investor Buy Stocks Now?

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by ByLoSellHi, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. http://seekingalpha.com/article/31189

    Current Global Market Worries Are Justified

    Posted on Mar 30th, 2007 with stocks: EWJ, FXI, IEV, IOO, SPY

    Enzio von PfeilDr Enzio von Pfeil submits:
    Notes from my recent appearance on Bloomberg TV Hong Kong and Germany.


    Are current market worries justified – or just emotional?

    • Justified.
    • For far too long we have been warning that The Economic Time ™ is worsening in America, but also in Japan and in Europe. In simple talk: the Central Banks are creating an excess demand for money, and for good reason: inflationary pressures are looming.
    • Central Banks tighten precisely because they want the economy to slow down!
    • And they stop tightening for an equally good reason: they figure that, in the jargon of our Economic Clock®, the “excess demand for goods” which was fanning inflation is waning, and that this is morphing into an “excess supply of goods.”
    • If you agree with this simple logic – then why on earth would people buy stocks knowing that demand either has to be curtailed via further tightening, or that it is set to slow? In either case, the turnover portion of the profits equation gets squeezed, so down go corporate profits!


    So where do you see inflation?

    • We believe that there is pronounced cost push inflation, which could end up in stagflation next year:

    o Productivity is falling while
    o Labor costs are rising , so
    o Unit labor costs are rising

    • Of course, rising oil prices off the risk of a block Straits of Hormuz don’t help, either

    How could rising ULCs affect profits?

    • If corporates pass the higher ULCs on, then the Fed tightens even more – ultimately crimping turnover, or
    • If corporates do not pass these higher ULCs on, then their margins get hurt immediately.


    What does this nervousness have to do with a rising yen?

    • When people do a “carry trade,” they borrow yen and sell it in order to buy a higher yielding asset, e.g. Australian bonds
    • So when they get nervous about the global Economic Time, they start selling such non-yen assets and buy yen and re-[au the loans
    • We pity the bright sparks who did the “yen drop” trade: borrow yen and invest in high yielding sub-prime mortgage derivatives!


    So if the US and Europe stumble, who gets hurt in Asia?

    • The small, open and export-dependent markets, especially Singapore
    • Japan, I never have liked on account of Central Bank tightening
    • China and India live under the yoke of a growth mandate, so even if the US slows, they cannot – unless the governments want the unemployed to bellow
    • Hong Kong is the water skier off the back of the Chinese speed boat: our growth (and our lungs!) is (are) linked to China


    Your view on China’s Property Law passed at the NPC on 16th March?

    • I am all for it: in typical Chinese pragmatism, Beijing has realized that it must keep the growing middle class politically on-side – all the more in that the private sector accounts for 2/3 of GDP, and private sector fixed assets investments (such as machinery and factory buildings) nearly tripled from 2000 – 2005
    • Of course it is not perfect. One bright economist calls this China’s Property “Flaw” – inter alia, because farmers still cannot use their rural land as collateral against which to borrow.
    • But my point is that private ownership – of homes, of cars – breeds a “rule of law” mentality: after all, if someone has damaged your private property, why should he/she not pay for it? That question never arises if the State (or indeed the firm!) is paying
    • One upshot: the rise of the middle classes will give rise to China’s “Gucci Dole”- what you see so much in Hong Kong: rich parents pampering their un-industrious spoilt brats – just like the state pampers people who don’t want to work in Europe!
  2. http://usmarket.seekingalpha.com/article/31210

    Final Q4 GDP Data: Goldilocks Has Left The Building

    Posted on Mar 30th, 2007

    Barry Ritholtz submits:
    Markets rallied yesterday morning on the final GDP data, revised to 2.5% - up from the 2.2% preliminary report (2/28) but down from the initial advance (1/31) read of 3.5%.

    But the indexes gave up those gains and then some as the day wore on. A little "window dressing" into quarter's end closed the markets in the green by day's end.

    Was the GDP "improvement" really all that good? A quick look at the details suggests otherwise.

    The 0.3% improvement was two parts inventory build (primarily autos), one part GDP deflator "adjustment." Pretax corporate profits decreased 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2006, the first quarterly decline since the third quarter 2005.

    CapEx spending remains punk, as corporate management is cutting back on all manners of spending to avoid eating into profits - short term thinking at its finest. Nonresidential investment fell 3.1% for Q4, worse than the initially reported decline of 2.4%. But the big miss was equipment and software spending - down 4.8% (vs. initial -3.2%). This is consistent with the series of weak durable-goods reports we have seen the past few months.

    Signs of economic strength? Hardly.


    "The (GDP) headline number looks better, but the gut of the report is a little worse," said Robert Brusca, chief economist for Fact and Opinion Economics in New York. "Going forward, we still don't know, but you should be disturbed by the lack of capital spending."

    Business investment spending fell at a 3.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter rather than the 2.4% decline the government estimated a month ago. That contrasted with a 10% third-quarter jump.

    Spending on new-home building plummeted by 19.8% – even steeper than the 19.1% fall estimated a month ago – after an 18.7% drop in the third quarter.

    It was the fifth quarter in a row that residential spending has fallen and the steepest since a 21.7% plunge in the first quarter of 1991 when the economy was on the brink of recession.

    The overall trend of GDP, corporate profits, durable goods and CapEX spending is downward. Housing, Autos, and Manufacturing are already in a recession (I have a car coming off lease May 1st, and I plan on waiting some time to see what sort of incentives the auto industry will be throwing my way as inventory continues to build). I don't see how these issues get any better any time soon.

    Goldilocks has left the building . . .

    U.S. GDP growth hobbled by stocks of unsold goods
    Rising inventories, give year-end lift but spending curb suggests slowdown
    Glenn Somerville
    Reuters Mar 30, 2007 04:30 AM