Could This Rally Be a Head-Fake?
July 21, 2016
If there's nothing supporting this rally but euphoric sentiment arising from orchestrated buying, any eruption of reality will reveal the rally as a head-fake.
Let's say you wanted to engineer a stock market rally that triggered every technical "buy" signal and wiped out those who are short the market--what would you do? First, you'd engineer a new all-time high to signal "all clear for further advances."
Then you'd crush volatility as measured by the VIX, signaling that there is nothing standing in the way of more advances.
Next, you'd engineer new highs every day for a week or more.
To do this, you'd unleash a wave of strong buying at every bit of "good news," no matter how jury-rigged, to trigger computer-trading buying: bogus earnings "beats," any M&A activity, rumors of more stimulus in Japan, a pop up in crude oil, etc.--whatever could be construed as even modestly good news.
This entire rally has an engineered feel. All the technical "buy" signals are precisely what you'd expect in a rigged rally.
The rally's strength is reminiscent of the 1999-2000 Internet-era stock market, but compare the fundamental backdrop of then and now. Back then, earnings, sales, profits and employment were all up strongly globally, and China and the emerging markets were experiencing trade-based organic (i.e. not the result of central bank stimulus) expansion.
Can the same be said of the present? No. Employment is stagnant once low-paying part-time jobs are stripped out of official cheerleading statistics, and corporate profits are sliding--especially if "one-time charges" and other accounting trickery are stripped out.
As for global trade--it's stagnant or down. Whatever "growth" is officially reported is either suspect or based on unsustainable expansion of private credit or central bank/state stimulus. Consider the following chart: three major economies out of five are already experiencing declining private credit, and China's rocket-like trajectory is clearly unsustainable:
The list of global financial weaknesses and potential crises is long and varied. 2016 is not 1999.
If there's nothing supporting this rally but euphoric sentiment arising from orchestrated buying, any eruption of reality will reveal the rally as a head-fake: having exterminated short-sellers, there won't be many who will benefit should the rally be transformed into a rout by reality.
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