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Posts Tagged ‘Financial Hurricane’

In 2006, I was writing to my clients in my private client letter about what I felt was occurring in the financial markets.  I described what I felt was coming as a Category 5 hurricane.  I think that I even named it Hurricane Greenspan at the time.  Although he is a distant memory, he had a lot to do with the problems that we are facing today.

It feels like we were hit with a category 5 hurricane last year.  Unfortunately, I think that another one is brewing and might even be getting very close to shore.

Every Friday it seems another bank fails.  Last Friday we saw a sizable bank fail.  The Failure of Colonial Bank marks the 6th largest bank failure in U.S History.  It is a bank of $25 billion and 346 branches in 5 states.  Besides the troubling nature of this story and the fact that the Government cannot bail all of them out, the FDIC insurance pot takes another big hit.  It looks like the 13 billion dollar fund will lose another $2.8 billion because of this bank failure. That insurance fund designed to protect you and me is quickly dwindling.

Another hurricane indication would be the Government’s sale of Government Bonds. The Treasury Department sells bonds to raise money for Government spending.  It is the way the Government borrows money.  Last week the Treasury Department sold 75 billion dollars in bonds.  Do you really think that China and other countries are lining up to lend us money?  No, you would be correct.

So, who is buying these treasury securities and lending money to the United States?  Ok, if you have high blood pressure or a weak heart, please stop reading.

Our own Federal Reserve Board is buying many of those securities and lending money to the US. For a great expose on this, read this article.  I don’t need to tell you how desperate that is and how much trouble we are in considering that is occurring.

I hate to say it but this is going to end badly.  All of this is going on at the same time we are facing an unemployment crisis and a whole list of problems in this country.  Once again, I advise you to watch your risk and don’t fall for the notion that this is just a normal cycle.  In other words, don’t drink the kool-aid.

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I had a debate with a fellow investment manager about his take on the market. He completely disagrees with me regarding my outlook.  His argument is that there are a lot of risks in the market.  However, the market is comfortable with that risk.  In other words, we have seen the full extent of the risk.  If you think about it, it is the big surprises that cause the large declines in the market.

Although I agree with that opinion, I don’t agree that the worst is behind us.  We have to consider the problems that are brewing on the horizon that have yet to become a full blown problem.  I remember writing in my client newsletters a few years ago about the category 5 financial hurricane that is sitting out in the distance.   I wrote that the market sees the risk of the housing bubble.  However, there is nothing that is ruining the party – so why worry?

Then the Bear Sterns collapse occurred and the market woke up to that category 5 financial hurricane that was heading for the United States financial markets.  Of course, Swine Flu was never on my radar of financial risks.  In fact, up until Saturday, I had never even heard of it.  So is a global epidemic of Swine Flu the new worry?  

Well, it is always tough to tell what is really going on and if this is a real problem.  The health “experts”, much like economists, are positively optimistic and downplaying the possibility of an epidemic forming.  President Obama addressed the scare this morning.  “This is obviously a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert,” Obama said, “but it’s not a cause for alarm.”   We are on a heightened state of alert and there is no cause for alarm?  What did he say?

Typically, these types of stories cause a negative reaction in the market.  However, it doesn’t develop into a full blown risk for investors.  However, if this were to become something much greater, then it would probably become a problem for investors.  For now, it is too early to tell.

Price Levels – Remember we always watch price levels in the S&P 500 to determine how much risk is out there for investors.  Friday, although a good ending to the week, the stock market was having a tough time getting above 875.  I would dare to say in the short-term it would be tough to be to optimistic until the S&P 500 can close a market day above 875.  This is a new week and let’s see what clues the market brings. 

TOMORROW:   What does my current Category 5 financial hurricane look like?  We will talk about it.

 

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