Overwhelming Evidence of a Weakening Economy
The Dow Jones was the only one of the major indexes to close the day higher. The S&P was down slightly, we had larger declines in the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000. More importantly than the movements that we’ve just seen on the day, or even the week, look at what’s happened thus far during the month of October, which I had been warning on my podcast. It looked like there could be a weak October, given where we were in the market, given how ridiculous the sentiment was in the face of overwhelming evidence that the economy was weakening
Russell 2000 Down 9.2%
If you look at the numbers, the Dow Jones is down 3.8% so far on the month. That’s the best performing of the averages. The S&P, down about 4.7% on the month, Nasdaq Composite down 7.4%; the transport down 8.3% and the Russell 2000 – 9.2% decline. Remember, the Russell 2000 is where everybody wanted to buy. Earlier last month the talk was that you needed to be in the Russell 2000 because the rest of the world was in trouble, you needed a safe haven from all the turmoil around the world, that the U.S was going to win the trade war, and of course, the companies that had the least vulnerabilities to the trade war were the domestic companies that weren’t multinational and those are the companies that you would find in the Russell 2000. Small-company U.S. stocks – so people were piling in. Those are the stocks that have done the worst. Down 9.2% on the month.
Gold, Gold Stocks Up; Bond Yields Continue to Rise
While stocks were going down, gold was going up. Gold is up about 3% so far during the month of October. Gold stocks doing even better – GDX and GDXJ each up about 8% so far on the month.
Bond yields continue to rise; they were higher today; higher on the week; higher on the month and as bond yields are rising, the dollar is also rising, but ever so slightly. We’re not seeing that much of a gain in the dollar. But ultimately, the dollar is going to turn around when people finally what should have been obvious all along: that the U.S. economy is not nearly as strong as is generally believed. It is certainly not as strong as the Federal Reserve is claiming.
Markets Fall as Fed Shrinks Balance Sheet
The FOMC minutes were out earlier this week and once again, the Fed is displaying extreme confidence in the U.S. economy as it continues to maintain its stance that it will continue to raise interest rates; that it is going to continue with its plan to shrink its balance sheet. Of course that is the real reason that the markets continue to fall. The Fed continues to threaten the markets with higher interest rates.
When You’re in a Bear Market, You Don’t Need an Excuse for the Market to Go Down
Yesterday, we had a pretty big drop in the markets intra-day; the Dow surrendered some gains and a lot of the people in the media were trying to figure out what was to blame. They were pointing to speeches that Larry Kudlow made where he was talking tough against China or Trump talking tough or even European Union getting tough with Italy – I forget all the various excuses.
But, you know what? the market would have probably fallen even if none of those things had happened. When y0u’re in a bear market, and I think there’s a very good chance we’re in a bear market, you don’t need an excuse for the market to go down. The market just goes down.