Stock market bubbles – they allow investors to make the mostest the fastest – don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen in a context. But this time, the context is different. Very different.
By Bianca Fernet, Argentina, The Bubble: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner returned to her post this week, shuffling her cabinet and shaking up financial markets. Balding men marked the occasion by holding their heads in their hands in front of computer screens.
The beneficiaries of Abenomics are now coming out of the woodwork with soaring profits – but they’re doing the opposite of what Abenomics promised they’d do: they’re diversifying away from Japan.
Cisco CEO John Chambers had a euphemism for it during the earnings call: “challenging political dynamics” in China, without ever naming the NSA. Then there was India and others, including Russia where Snowden is holed up, and where sales outright collapsed.
A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?
There has been a symphony of calls for American investors to plow their money into European stocks. So, net inflows into European equity funds have set records, driven by euphoria about a presumed recovery. Equities soared. But turns out, reality has bad breath.
In terms of announced mass layoffs, 2013 is shaping up to be the best year since 1997. Overall, employers aren’t shedding lots of jobs. But glitter in some sectors covers up aggressive, permanent job destruction in other sectors – where the sky used to be the limit.
Sign of trouble: A wealth manager told me some of his elderly clients were now coming into his office, and they’d say, “My kids tell me that I can make 25% a year with stocks.” How much were they were willing to lose? “Nothing,” they’d say.
How can anyone look at this without concern? Many portfolio managers are riding the wave but are prepared to dump their investments at the first alarm – then, who is going to buy?
By Don Quijones: 58% of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities aren’t countries but corporations. Royal Dutch Shell’s revenues exceed the GDPs of 171 countries, making it the 26th largest economic entity in the world. And the balance of power is shifting rapidly.