5 bear rallies in 1930sDuring the early 1930s, the Dow Jones industrial average staged five bear market rallies of 20 percent or greater before hitting an ultimate bottom in 1932. The most famous was a 48 percent gain in 1930. Tom McManus, chief investment officer with Wachovia Securities, says the market will give up at least half of its March gains. "We are in a bottoming process, where the market is winnowing out the winners from the losers," he says. "March 9 was probably a bottom for the quality stocks. It's probably not a bottom for the lower-quality stocks." He says there's a 40 percent chance the overall market could fall below its March 9 low.
Durables are volatileMcManus doesn't put much faith in the signs of stabilization that some analysts see, such as better-than-expected reports on durable goods, home sales and retail sales. Durable goods is so volatile, he says, "I would never use it as a signal the trend has changed." Some analysts cheered when the government reported that retail sales in February were down only 0.1 percent (economists were expecting a 0.5 percent drop) and revised January's surprise increase upward to 1.8 percent from its original estimate of 1 percent. When you look at the drop in retail sales over the previous three to four months, "the size of the improvement is microscopic," he says. "It's like saying your kid took a test and got 1 right out of 20. The next time he got 2 right out of 20. You could say, 'Wow, he did twice as well.' But it was still horrible." McManus says the S&P 500 might "bounce around 700-900 for another six months." It closed Friday at 816. Its low on March 9 was 677. He says the economy will start to recover at the end of 2009 or early next year. He warns that investors should not try to pick the exact bottom. Instead, they should put money into the market gradually over the next six months. Five years from now, that will look like a very smart investment.
Patience can pay off"The valuations are very attractive. Someone who is patient can make money. Focus on improving the quality of your portfolio," he says. That means dumping stocks that have gone down the most and putting money into high-quality companies that have been hurt less. Rob Arnott, chairman of Research Affiliates, is gloomier on the economy. "I don't see how the economy can turn around while we are engaged in this massive de-leveraging," he says. "Resources are being siphoned to pay down debt, both household and corporate debt. This process is going to take time, a lot of time. It's dangerous to assume the economy can suddenly pick up when the de-leveraging process is only just now gaining full steam."
Growth seen in 2010Arnott says the economy won't start growing until 2010 and employment won't pick up until 2011. "I think unemployment will crest above 10 percent, perhaps significantly above. This will be ugly," he says. For now, Arnott says investors should put money into corporate bonds, not stocks, on the theory that the stock market can't really recover until the credit markets do. He says that corporate bonds did not show the same improvement in March that stocks did. Until they do, "I don't think this is a real bull market," he says.
Net Worth runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail Kathleen Pender at [email protected].
This article appeared on page D - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
By Burton Frierson Reuters New York: The U.S. economy may have pulled out of its tailspin, but it is still losing altitude. Global stock markets have turned euphoric over the idea that the worst may be over for the world's largest economy, with Wall Street rallying more than 20 percent from lows reached earlier in March. Fueling this newfound optimism, unexpectedly robust economic reports last week showed signs of recovery in the beleaguered U.S. manufacturing and housing sectors. However, economists warn that it is too soon to say the United States is recovering from what will probably become the longest and deepest decline since the Great Depression. "I think it's reasonable to say that we perhaps are pulling out of the tailspin, that we're moving out of the period of free fall," said Nigel Gault, director of U.S. economic research at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. "That's not the same thing as recovery being just around the corner." The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart, echoed this sentiment Thursday, saying one month of improved data did not constitute an economic recovery. "Most of the data that we follow appears to signal a continuing recession, at least a few more months," Mr. Lockhart said. Indeed, data confirmed the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter at its fastest pace since 1982, with a chain reaction of job losses and plummeting demand for imported goods from around the globe. Leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging economies meet this week in London to try to come to grips with the global economic crisis. The most painful vestige of the U.S. recession, the sharp rise in unemployment, will not begin to improve until long after the rest of the economy stabilizes. The scale of job destruction should be evident when the U.S. government releases monthly employment data Friday. The nonfarm payrolls report, usually the biggest event on the U.S. economic calendar, is expected to show 654,000 jobs were lost in March, according to the median in a Reuters poll of economists. Economists have already increased their forecasts for job losses. The only silver lining is that the projected total would be little worse than the 651,000 jobs lost in February. The U.S. unemployment rate is expected to have jumped to 8.5 percent in March. This would be the highest level since 1983, when the economy was still shaking off the debilitating effects of stagflation, with its low economic growth and sharp price rises. Gault, at IHS Global Insight, expects 750,000 job losses for March — which would be the worst month since 1949. He said the unemployment rate would continue rising this year before peaking at more than 10 percent in the first half of next year, perhaps well after the economy starts to grow. "The next employment report is probably going to be the worst one yet," Gault said of the March payrolls report. "Unemployment is the very last thing that turns." Other U.S. economic indicators during the week are unlikely to depart much from the gloom of the jobs report. The United States will not be able to look abroad for much help, at least for now. A report to be released Monday on Japanese industrial output is expected to show a 10 percent decline. Meanwhile, Japan has slipped to the brink of deflation. Euro zone consumer and industrial sentiment readings Monday are expected to remain negative. Similarly, manufacturing and service sector gauges to be released Wednesday and Friday are likely to remain weak. The European Central Bank's meeting Thursday may only highlight the difficulties facing the euro zone economy. Economists expect an interest rate cut but also a discussion of less common methods of easing monetary conditions. Ultimately, though, analysts figure the global economy is still trailing the United States on its slog through the quagmire, so new measures may be of little immediate help. "The rest of the world is falling into the same hole we did, but later," said Brian Fabbri, managing director of economic research at BNP Paribas. Source: www.iht.com
The Dollar's Tipping PointA defining move by the Fed last week to buy billions in treasuries and Freddie and Fannie mortgage backed securities will change the world as we know it. In my November 25, 2008 article entitled 'Deflation Dragon Disaster', I asked:
Will the unprecedented inflow of cash that is being injected into the system be enough to still the Deflation Dragon? At what point will the unyielding upward trend in the dollar be stopped in its tracks by the avalanche of FIAT sisters and brothers joining daily?With the Fed buying 300 billion in treasuries, I believe that day of reckoning has come. Martin Weiss of Money and Markets adds up the tally of government funds committed so far as close to 13 trillion. He also reports a total of 57.3 trillion in credit default swaps. This inevitably will push the dollar down. I explained the perils of this stealth tax in my December 30, 2007 article:
I hear many smart financial people say ‘but Americans buy everything in dollars so it won’t really affect us much’. ‘It is great for increasing our exports’ they add. Yes, it does at first, but products aren’t sold on price alone but design, promotion, etc. To them I say “Foreign countries and Americans sell commodities at the international price on the Chicago Market. Cocoa beans, chocolate, oil, plastics and soy beans are all paid in US dollars at the international prices.”I continued on to say:
The thought that you will not even hear whispered is that an unhinging of the reserve currency could happen and that would cause financial panic, plummeting stock markets, oil priced in the us dollar would rise way over $100 a barrel and the gold price, which has been shouting inflation, would quickly jump over $1000 an ounce as investors seek protection in safe havens. The government’s reserves would be gone in a few days if it had to support a dollar dive. Conversely, if we keep our dollar strong, foreign capital from the developing world will buy the US dollar and help finance the huge liabilities of social security, Medicare and interest on the national debt.I also explained in my August 12, 2007 article:
If fear of US instability creates more selling of the dollar, interest rates will have to eventually rise considerably to lure the world back to buying the greenback.Foreign government saber rattling by Russia and China has finally brought attention to the viability of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Is a planned New World Order complete with a New World Currency backed by gold and silver all a part of the puppet show unfolding before our eyes? What would the consequences be if the world Mainstream news media has finally tackled this concept with questions this week to Bernanke, Geithner and President Obama asking if they were for a new world currency. Obviously they all said no. We know this issue will be well represented at the G20 meeting in London on April 2, 2009. If currency devaluation does come due to:
- A massive spending and bailout.
- A fear based rush out of the dollar.
- A planned devaluation of all G20 currencies.
Source: Jennifer Bawden www.seekingalpha.com
This week's Mutual Funds and ETF stories More investors are switching to exchange-traded funds, and the mutual-fund business may never be the same. ETFs started out humbly enough, but as the stock-market declined over this decade their status has risen. Now ETFs are giving actively managed funds a literal run for their money. One look at a typical mutual-fund's dismal performance and you can understand why financial advisers in particular have embraced these index-tracking vehicles that trade like stocks. ETFs are low-cost, tax-efficient, easily bought and sold, and deliver average returns -- everything traditional mutual funds are not. When every penny counts -- especially if you're sending clients a monthly bill -- ETFs are attractive assets. But don't think mutual-fund companies are about to let the ETF bakers run away with the pie. Two of the biggest firms, Charles Schwab and Pimco, are trusted names with financial advisers, and now they're planning to give them what they want. Their entry into the ETF world is aimed at protecting this crucial base, and could spur other fund giants to join the fray in hopes of keeping disgruntled investors from jumping ship. One thing's for sure: If actively run funds don't lower expenses for money-losing shareholders, those expensive cash-cows they stable will increasingly be exchanged and traded away. Source: www.marketwatch.com -- Jonathan Burton, assistant personal finance editor
Can the Hedge Fund ETF Actually Deliver?By Matthew Hougan www.seekingalpha.com The new IndexIQ Hedge Fund ETF (QAI) is one of the most interesting - and controversial - ETFs to launch in a while. The fund, which aims to synthetically replicate the performance of hedge fund strategies, launched Wednesday on NYSE Arca. Judging by early trading volume, the new fund is going to be a hit: QAI looks like it will trade more than 100,000 shares today (Thursday), an impressive performance for just its second day on the market. The idea of providing access to hedge fund-like returns through an ETF is hugely attractive. The best investors in the world—endowments like Harvard and Yale—hold enormous investments in hedge funds for a reason: They deliver returns with low correlations to the broader market. If QAI can make those returns available to all investors in a low-cost wrapper, it'll be big news. As I said yesterday on CNBC, however, the proof will be in the pudding: Can QAI actually deliver on its promises? It's important to understand that this ETF doesn't actually invest in hedge funds; rather, it uses factor-based analysis to determine the performance characteristics of hedge funds in general, and then builds a portfolio (using other ETFs) that it thinks will replicate that performance. Over the past few days, a lot of people have told me that this idea sounds crazy. I disagree. Too many people have a near-mythical conception of hedge funds; they think they are run by high-paid geniuses who make either spectacular or spectacularly bad investments. The truth is more mundane: While some hedge funds are run by geniuses, most are run by normal guys who use pretty standard strategies to generate a certain kind of return. They do a reasonable job, and are paid absurdly well to do it. The idea of synthetically replicating that performance at lower costs is well-established both in academia and the real world. Both Goldman Sachs (GS), and IndexIQ itself, for example, have been running synthetic hedge fund mutual funds since last summer. Generally speaking, they've done pretty well: The Goldman Sachs fund is down about 15% since July 2008, while the IndexIQ fund is down about 12%; that compares to the S&P 500, which is down about 38%. That's a good relative performance. Most hedge funds are down over that span too, in line with the synthetic products. The question now is whether these funds will be able to perform well as the market recovers. Although both funds have well-documented methodologies, they are nonetheless largely black box strategies; the concept behind the funds make sense, but you have to have faith that the quant-engine driving them is going to work. One advantage of the new ETF is that you can watch the holdings on a daily basis and see for yourself if they make sense. As of Wednesday's close, here's what QAI was holding:
|iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond||AGG||23.89||ProShares UltraShort Russell 2000||TWM||1.93|
|iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond||SHY||18.32||ProShares UltraShort MSCI EAFE||EFU||1.62|
|iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index||EEM||11.11||ProShares UltraShort Real Estate||SRS||0.46|
|Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF||BND||8.39||ProShares UltraShort Euro||EUO||0.4|
|PowerShares DB Currency Harvest||DBV||7.94|
|iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corp Bond||HYG||7.29|
|iShares Barclays Short Treasury Bond||SHV||3.92|
|SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF||JNK||3.25|
|Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF||BSV||3.11|
|SPDR Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF||BIL||2.36|
|Vanguard Emerging Market ETF||VWO||2.22|
|iShares Barclays TIPS Bond||TIP||1.81|
|PowerShares DB Commodity Index||DBC||1.53|
|SPDR Barclays Capital Aggregate||LAG||0.45|
- 72.79% fixed income, including 32.73% in broad-based bond indexes; 27.71% in short-term Treasuries; 10.54% in junk bonds; and 1.81% in TIPS
- 13.33% in emerging market stocks, the only long equity position in the portfolio
- 9.47% in commodities and currencies
- 4.41% in various inverse funds
2009-2010 Inflation (Or Hyperinflation) In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.The term "inflation" once referred to increases in the money supply (monetary inflation); however, economic debates about the relationship between money supply and price levels have led to its primary use today in describing price inflation. In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is "out of control", a condition in which prices increase rapidly as a currency loses its value. Formal definitions vary from a cumulative inflation rate over three years approaching 100% to "inflation exceeding 50% a month." In informal usage the term is often applied to much lower rates. I think a lot of things will be much higher in price, including oil, next year or maybe later this year. But, don't confuse price with value. If there is any economic recovery globally and the dollar is falling, we could see any possible price you want to imagine but, it would be in dollars, and not other currencies. There are several analysts that are predicting a large drop in the dollar and that will even give the markets a boost. Using an extreme example, you could see DOW 50,000 by the end of the year if the dollar gets dumped but, while you would have seen over 40,000 more pts. you couldn't buy any more at 50,000 than now, if you sold it and probably a lot less. The price of the DOW doesn't reflect value, just price. Oil is the same. If there is a recovery globally, oil demand will rise and with all the supply being cut now, it will cause oil to go back up for all nations but, if the dollar is falling, even if they don't pay more, we will. We could pay $1,000 a barrel or $10,000 a barrel or $1 million a barrel as that is what happens when a currency collapses. For those who say that would crush our economy. Correct 100%. That too, is what happens when a currency collapses. The world basically moves on without you. If that happens to the U.S. then the world will move on but much slower than before. Because we are such large consumers there is good news and bad news in that. The countries that move on would find fewer buyers but, also less demand for copper, oil, steel, concrete, etc. and thus, they could still have profits even with fewer exports. They may not be large for years but, there are two sides to U.S. consumption. It drives up both the price of goods and the price of things to make goods with when we consume a lot. Peter Schiff goes as far as to say the world's exporters would actually be better off without us increasing demand for raw materials so much due to our consumption. However, just as it takes a depression for us to go from debtor nation to creditor nation, it will take a global recession at the minimum to go from a global economy dependent on us to one that isn't. Consumption is touted as this big "cure all," but, it isn't. Production and making things faster than debt rises, is the cure all. Spending less than you earn, saving so you can spend in down times, budgeting, and sensible investing vs. "gambling" on stock moves is the "cure." Less government, not more, less government spending, not more, fewer programs not more at the federal level is what we need. If we aren't already there then soon we will be more of a drag on the global economy than aid to it. Peter Schiff, if not right now, soon will be. Think of it this way. You make things. I buy from you but, to keep buying from you, you have to keep loaning me money from what I pay you. To make it worse, I pay you back with devalued money so that you are even losing buying power with every new loan to me. How long are you going to keep selling to me? You end up better off making something else and selling to somebody else or just making the stuff for "trade" and "sale" with people you buy your raw materials from. In the last couple of years, one oil nation, Venezuela has done just that. It "trades" some of its oil instead of selling it for things it needs from nations that don't want to "buy dollars" to buy oil with and that have materials that Venezuela needs. Iran stopped using dollars, too. It even got Japan to buy the oil it gets from Iran in Yen as well as sell in euros to other nations. In short, there are no certainties going forward except that we have to change the way we run this nation from top to bottom. Source: www.ezinearticles.com
A Bottom for Real Estate? – HOV, URE, XHB, KBH March 27, 2009 By: Billy Fisher Contributor, Stock Traders Daily Following what has seemed like an unending downturn for the sector, real estate received some rays of light this week. As of the market’s close on Thursday, major homebuilder names such as KB Home (NYSE: KBH) and DR Horton (NYSE: DHI) had already locked in gains of 25.9% and 30.6% this week alone. Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) had soared 64.4% since last Friday’s close and experienced double its average daily trading volume on Wednesday. So what initiated this week’s rally? On Wednesday the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes in February rose for the first time in 7 months. This metric increased 4.7% to an annual rate of 337,000. Then Thursday brought an additional encouraging development for the sector when a Deutsche Bank analyst said that the stocks of homebuilder companies may be reaching a bottom. If this development proves to be the case, it would be a welcomed sequence of events for a sector that has been in a downward spiral since peaking in the summer months of 2005. The past two years have been especially trying for those stakeholders associated with the homebuilding industry. In 2007, the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSE: XHB) and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Fund (NYSE: ITB) racked up respective declines of 47.7% and 58.0%. Last year did not turn out to be all that much better. These two funds experienced declines of another 36.2% and 41.8%. Looking forward, it is inevitable that investors in this arena will be wondering whether or not this week’s rally is sustainable. Fortunately, the inventory of new homes hitting the market is much leaner than it has been during past years of this extended market downturn for homebuilders-- it is at its lowest point in nearly 7 years. Prices of newly constructed homes have been coming down for several quarters now and mortgage rates are at record lows. A tax credit that arose out of the government’s stimulus plan for buyers who purchase a home prior to December 1st also should play a contributing role in stirring up new sales in the months ahead. Homebuilders aren’t the only stocks looking to shift into a recovery mode. Even REITs participated in the broader real estate rally on Thursday. The Ultra Real Estate ProShares Fund (NYSE: URE) experienced a 5.5% move up the charts yesterday before closing at $2.69. “We invested in URE at $2.14,” said Tom Kee Jr., president and CEO of Stock Traders Daily. “We intend on holding onto it with risk controls in place.” The volatility that REITs have been subjected to in recent months will likely continue to keep Kee on his toes. He will also be monitoring homebuilder stocks for trading opportunities via trading plans he has developed specifically for KBH, DHI and HOV. Source: stocktradersdaily.com