What Are Investors Smoking? – Ep. 387

CHECK OUT Buying Bitcoin is Like Buying Air


GM Hit New Low for the Year

If you want to look at some of the signals you’re getting from the markets, look at the automobile stocks: General Motors and Ford, which are basically the only 2 automobile companies we have left. (Chrysler is now owned by Fiat.) They both hit 52-week lows today and they’re both in bear markets. General Motors closed at $33.91 – a new low for the year.  The stock was as high as $46.76 in June. The stock is down almost 30% in the last couple of months. It’s a bear market.

Ford at a Six-Year Low

The story at Ford is even worse. Ford was up at around $12 a couple of months ago.  It is down to $9.27. If you look at its high – it was at $16 in September of 2014.  Ford is down to where it was the summer of 2012 – 6 years ago. It’s at a 6-year low.  If we go any lower we’ll be at an . 8-year low.

Two Auto Companies Solidly in Bear Market

So you’ve got our 2 automobile companies solidly in bear market territory, making new lows. These are vital parts of the economy. There are many industries that feed off these companies, the aftermarket industries.  These are the good jobs, the high paying jobs that Trump promised to bring back.  Remember he was really campaigning in Detroit and other places where they make cars. These companies are hitting multi-year lows.

Tariffs Aren’t Helping Auto Industry

So the tariffs aren’t working. The tax cuts aren’t working. The auto companies are going down.  Remember, stocks are forward looking, so the stocks are basically saying that there is a big slowdown coming in the automobile sector. Profits are not going to be there. Tax cuts are not going to be very valuable if there aren’t any profits.

Industry Slowdown in Home Building

Also look at what is happening with the home building companies. All these stocks getting killed – some down over 5% today alone. They are pretty much all in bear market territory. So now the homebuilders are also saying, “The industry is going to slow down.”

Autos and Housing Are Not Booming

Those are 2 very important sectors of the economy: housing and autos. If they are on the verge of recession.  If the stocks in those sectors are forecasting recession, how is it possible that the U.S. economy is experiencing a “historic boom”? “It’s booming like it’s never boomed before!” Yet autos and housing are not only not part of the boom, they’re actually having a bust. Riddle me that, Batman. How is it that the economy is so strong when these two key sectors are so weak?

Interest Rates and Inflation

Why are these sectors so weak?  Well one reason, of course, is rising interest rates.  Everybody believes that interest rates are going to keep rising which means more nails in the coffin of the auto sector and the housing sector. And of course, both housing and autos are being hit by inflation because of raw material costs.  It’s more expensive to build cars – it’s even more expensive to build homes.

Tariffs Attacking Our Vendors and Bankers

The tariffs are getting higher.  Trump was out today saying he is going to put another $240 billion of tariffs on Chinese products in addition to the $200 billion we already have queued up and yesterday he was talking about going after Japan and we’re the ones who have the most to lose by picking all these fights with all the countries that are supplying us the goods we need and loaning us all the money we need.  We’re basically attacking our vendors and our bankers and somehow think this is a good strategy.

Big Leading Indicators Say Something is Wrong

So you can’t have a recession in autos and housing simultaneously and somehow the rest of the U.S. economy is impervious. These are obviously big leading indicators that something is wrong.


Peter Schiff is an economist, financial broker/dealer, author, frequent guest on national news, and host of the Peter Schiff Show Podcast.



Signup to schiff sovereign newsletter