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September 26, 2021 | Is the Fed Quietly Preparing for an Evergrande Tsunami?

[Recently I wrote here that the world’s biggest financial institutions are in Evergrande muck up to their eyeballs, even if they claim that their exposure is small in relation to their respective assets. The trouble is, the supposed assets are as ethereal as Evergrande’s grotesquely inflated real estate holdings. In the guest commentary below, Shawn […]

September 25, 2021 | ‘Katie-Bar-the-Door’ Time for Evergrande Speculators?

  Bears had a rare chance to get short with impunity last week — arguably the first such free-money opportunity since the bull market began more than 12 years ago. With the Evergrande saga unfolding in real time, shares appeared to be doing a Wile E. Coyote ahead of Friday’s opening. Their gravity-defying behavior reflected […]

August 29, 2021 | The 800-Pound Tapeworm in the Room

Jackson Hole hubris was operating at full strength last week as investors around the world anxiously awaited the announcement on Friday that would send the markets into hyperdrive. The broad averages had in fact churned impassively for several days ahead of whatever lame twaddle concerning The Tapeworm lay in store. The question of when the […]

August 22, 2021 | From Doug Behnfield…

[Editor’s note: The following was sent out to clients in mid-July by my friend Doug Behnfield, a financial advisor and senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Boulder, CO.  Long-time followers of Rick’s Picks will be familiar with Doug’s work, since his thoughts have appeared here many times. I have always referred to him not […]

August 15, 2021 | Why This Wall of Worry Is Different

There is increasing confusion in America about how to handle the rapid spread of Covid’s delta variant. The stock market can usually tell us how much fear is out there, but this time Wall Street seems, if not quite clueless, then certainly heedless. The broad averages have moved steadily higher in recent weeks, caused more […]

August 8, 2021 | Why ‘Work-at-Homes’ Darken America’s Future

  Bloomberg missed the real news in its flippant headline, “Return to the Office Five Days a Week? How About Never Again”. The article was just family-page pap about how work-from-home employees aren’t complaining about the indefinite postponement of a back-to-the-office mandate. With the delta variant on a headline rampage, exile in suburbia seems to […]

August 1, 2021 | Why Low Rates Can’t Save Us

  If you’re worried that interest rates are about to explode because of inflation, the graph above would seem to offer comfort. From a visual standpoint, the gentle rollover that has occurred over the last several months has sapped the vigor from a menacing spike that had pushed yields on the 10-Year Note from 0.40% […]

July 25, 2021 | Deflation Hinges on a Dollar that Refuses to Die

  My friend Greg Hunter at USA Watchdog weighed in recently with such a despairing outlook for the dollar that it’s probably a good time to determine whether the charts support this view. Here’s the post from his site, which over the years has featured my own thoughts on deflation, the global economy and other topics: The […]

July 18, 2021 | Dollar’s Fans Needn’t Fear Biden SDRs

  The latest attempt to move the global economy away from the dollar’s dominance involves a plan by Biden to issue $650 billion of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) through the IMF. Ardent fans of the greenback needn’t worry, however, since this sum, as large as it seems, is just a drop in the bucket compared […]

July 11, 2021 | The Monster Rally and Its Deceptions

Rick’s Picks subscribers ended the week transfixed by a powerful rally in the E-Mini S&Ps whose inevitable destination was 4362.25. Why inevitable? Mainly because a chat-room ace whose trading system has been getting the big swings exactly right lately had said so the day before. If he were a pistol sharpshooter, this trick would be akin […]

July 4, 2021 | So Maybe Gold Actually Does Suck

I was premature when I gave the green light to gold bulls five weeks ago.  “If you’re a bullion investor,” I wrote at the time, “you can buy the stuff now without fear or qualm.” Had you taken this advice, you’d have gotten aboard just in time to get smashed in the head, since gold […]

June 27, 2021 | Baseball Is Cure for Covid Fear-Mongering

Fear of the much-ballyhooed Delta variant was nowhere in evidence recently at North Carolina’s McCormick Field, home of a minor-league baseball team called the Asheville Tourists. The team, a high Single-A farm club operated by the Houston Astros, filled McCormick’s 4000 seats to near-capacity, and there was nary a mask in sight. It was great […]

June 20, 2021 | Is Repo Madness Predicting a Crack-Up?

  [The following was written by a San Francisco friend from the hedge fund world, Shawn Brown. It buttresses the suspicion that while there seems to be plenty of credit money available for speculation, the collateral behind it is getting thinner and shakier by the week.  The Fed, with $8 trillion of Treasury paper and other […]

June 13, 2021 | State Budgets Shout ‘TOGA!!!!’

Flush with stimulus, the states are in a spending mood that can be summed up in a single word:  TOGA!!!!!  Take Oklahoma. Their latest budget reflects an annual increase of nearly 18%, according to report from the Associated Press. It includes bigger earmarks for education, corporate and personal tax cuts, credits for school choice and […]

June 6, 2021 | Enjoy Inflation While It Lasts

If we’d known the pandemic would trigger the most reckless monetary blowout in history, could anyone have imagined that the U.S. dollar a year later would have fallen by just 14%? That doesn’t even qualify as a bear market, just a middling correction of a powerful bull run begun in 2008, a year ahead of […]

June 1, 2021 | Gold Really Sucks. Here’s Why…

Sucks? Yeah, sure. Maybe in the eyes of crypto fanatics and the quacks who re-invent monetary policy every month. In actuality, few things in the material world suck less than gold. Sorry to resort to headline flim-flammery to get your attention, but it was time to upgrade our enthusiastic endorsement of gold — and silver! — to […]

May 23, 2021 | Why Tax-Free Munis Are Still a Buy

    Investors who feared muni-bond defaults when the pandemic first hit created unusual opportunity for those willing to buck the tide. One of the winners was Doug Behnfield, a Boulder-based financial adviser at Morgan Stanley whose ideas have been featured here many times over the years. Doug is not only one of the savviest […]

May 16, 2021 | Greasing the Slide Toward Deflation

With home prices pumped to record levels, we are hearing more and more about Uncle Sam’s plan to avoid sticking it to taxpayers when the next crash hits. Although it’s always wise to have a plan to deal with catastrophe, especially one that is inevitable, there are reasons to doubt that a mortgage market valued […]

May 9, 2021 | When Bulls Turn Certain

We went out on a limb here last week with speculation that, just maybe, the bull market was topping. Alas, Friday ended with a short-covering orgy that bloodied bears, leaving the boldest of them festooned on the ropes. My hunch had been rooted in technical factors, including an ominous head-and-shoulders pattern that has been evolving […]

May 2, 2021 | Here’s One Fraud We Can Eliminate

  First, let me titillate permabears with a ray of hope:  A potentially important top may have formed last week in, respectively, the E-Mini S&Ps and in IWM, a proxy for the Russell 2000. The former stalled inches from a ‘Hidden Pivot’ resistance at 4222.82, while the latter turned down precisely on schedule after tracing […]

April 25, 2021 | Tax-Hike Talk Just an Annoyance

Headline writers hyperventilated last week over the prospect of higher capital gains taxes while the stock market took it in stride. Biden wants to double the levy on long-term investments to 39.6%, ending a felicitous run at 20% that was enacted 40 years ago under President Reagan. The Wealthy Will Fight Him to the Death, proclaimed […]

April 18, 2021 | A Simple Explanation for Bitcoin’s Plunge

Bitcoin mania hit an air pocket on Sunday with a so-far $11,500 plunge from last week’s record-high $64,858. Groping for an explanation, Bloomberg and other mainstream sources attributed the drop to speculation that the U.S. Treasury might crack down on digital-money laundering. Yeah, sure. This tired story has been marking time for a decade, ever […]

April 11, 2021 | A Contrarian Bet Against Inflation

The inflation trade is struggling for loft, a potential victim of its own, wild popularity. “We don’t have strong reflation-trade momentum at the moment because people are waiting for more data,” said Daniel Tenengauzer, markets strategy chief at Bank of New York Mellon. By his logic, all that it would take to stoke inflation would […]

April 4, 2021 | Biden’s $2.2 Trillion Trojan Horse

Biden’s $2.2 trillion ‘infrastructure’ plan is quite ambitious as far as Government boondoggles go. But what if it’s just the Democrats’ opening bid? “We can do $10 trillion!” exhorted Alexandria Octavio-Cortez in a remark that is unlikely to be challenged by fellow Democrats or the New York Times.  Even $10 trillion would be chump change, however, […]

March 28, 2021 | The Myth of American Affluence

The technological wizardry that has given us smart phones, desktop computers, electric cars and flat-screen TVs has masked a pernicious decline in America’s standard of living since the 1950s. One area where this is painfully obvious is the deterioration of customer service. Recall the scene in Back to the Future when a car pulls into a filling […]

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