Junk bonds had a phenomenal run. With each truckload of money that the Fed delivered to the markets, valuations soared and yields plunged. Desperate investors, mauled by the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy, took on risks no questions asked. But suddenly the feeding frenzy turned into a brutal rout – a harbinger of things to come in other markets.
So, 175,000 jobs were created in May. The gains for March and April were revised down by 12,000. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6%, from 7.5%, or as the BLS said in its politically correct manner “was essentially unchanged.” With disturbing racial disparities that we’ve become inured to. A showcase of the dreary impact of the Fed’s policies on jobs!
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is one of the funniest – and most disturbing – voices out there in the sea of equivocating central bankers. But this time, he outdid himself in the dreadfulness of his warning and the humor of his presentation.
During their second term, Presidents become obsessed with “legacy.” One of the yardsticks to measure success is the stock market. Many people can relate to it. Retirement depends on it. It’s mentioned even on NPR several times a day. Outside of a few shorts, everyone wants it to go up. But President Obama must now be biting his fingernails down to the quick.
The Dow and S&P 500 are stumbling like drunken but determined sailors from one all-time high to the next, despite lousy employment and economic data, and declining corporate revenues. Bonds have done the same, and their 100-year graph has assumed the terrifying shape of open crocodile jaws, worse even than in 1999 and 2007.
“Labor market conditions are affected by factors outside a central bank’s control,” admitted Richmond Fed President Lacker as the employment report bounced around the world. Yet for years, the Fed has proclaimed that the heroic motivation for its selfless money-printing mania was the deep desire to improve the unemployment fiasco for average Americans.
Bubbles are a funny thing. Participants don’t see them. Outsiders shake their heads, then get sucked in themselves. Central banks create them but deny their existence. Money piles in on top of money. Risks no longer exist. Result: mayhem, capital destruction, devastation of the industry…. and a new beginning for the lucky ones. Take natural gas.
There could not possibly be any clouds on the horizon with the Dow and the S&P 500 setting all-time highs, while the German DAX is marching relentlessly towards 8,000 and the Japanese Nikkei is soaring. But just then, a deeply connected representative of the world’s real economy spoils the rosy scenario.
In 1969, notes greater than $100, including the cool $10,000 note that would still pay for a lot of things, were retired due to “declining demand.” Prematurely, it turns out. Because demand for cold hard cash, despite plummeting use of it for transactions, has surged. Reason: fear.
Contributed by Chriss Street. FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig lambasted in an editorial the too-big-to-fail banks. But why would a top bank regulator complain about the US banking scheme? A warning that if Janet Yellen is chosen to replace Fed Chairman Bernanke, her strategy of igniting inflation to reduce unemployment will cause another banking crisis.