Category Archives: Stocks

Is This Why Tesla Executives Are Fleeing? Investors Want To Know

Is Tesla The New Theranos?

I originally started following Tesla as I felt it was a structurally unprofitable business nearing a cash crunch as hundreds of competing products were about to enter the market.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/11325d20-260e-46c8-87de-fb9bbec62749.jpg?itok=QPDAqoOh

As I’ve studied Tesla more closely, I’ve come to realize that Elon Musk appears to be running a Ponzi Scheme disguised as an auto-manufacturer; where he has to keep unveiling new products, many of which will never come to market, in order to raise new capital (equity/debt/customer deposits) to keep the scheme alive. The question has always been; when will Tesla collapse?

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Tesla-Bullshit-Conversion-Cycle.jpg?itok=O2KMdlapTesla’s Bullshit Conversion Cycle is the key financial metric underlying this scheme (from @ProphetTesla)

As part of my research on Tesla, I decided to read Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, the journalist who first uncovered the Theranos fraud. It is the story of how Elizabeth Holmes created Theranos and then lurched between publicity events in order to raise additional capital and keep the fraud going, despite the fact that the technology did not work. The key lesson from Theranos for determining when a fraud will implode is that there are always idiots willing to put fresh money into a well marketed fraud – so you need a catalyst for when the funding dries up.

The other salient fact was that most senior employees actually knew that something wasn’t quite right, but feared losing their jobs or getting sued if they did anything about it. Therefore, employee turnover was off the charts but no one was willing to risk their career by saying anything publicly. However, when Theranos started risking customers’ lives, the secret got out pretty fast. This is because most people are inherently ethical – especially when they know that their employer is doing something immoral, like releasing flawed lab results to sick patients. Eventually, some employees felt compelled to become whistle-blowers and started to reach out to journalists and regulators. This started a cascading event.

First, one intrepid journalist took the career risk to write about the Theranos fraud. Then other whistle-blowers felt emboldened to step forward and contact this first journalist, as they also wanted their story told – especially as they had already reached out to government regulators who were too scared to investigate a politically powerful company.

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Once a few good articles had been written about Theranos, the dam broke open and the feeding frenzy began. Other journalists, smelling page-clicks rapidly descend on Theranos; more workers spoke out, more incriminating evidence came to light and then there was a sense of voter outrage. Finally, the regulators who were first contacted by the whistle-blowers many months previously, felt compelled to act – at which point the fraud collapsed and the money spigot shut off.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Tesla-executive-departures.jpg?itok=TEBxT2PFExecutives Fleeing Tesla Is A True Bull Market “Up And To The Right”

We’ve already seen the mass exodus of senior Tesla executives. When they say they “want to spend time with their family,” it really means they “want to spend less time in prison.” Next, we have the first whistle-blowers—there will be MANY more. Currently there are at least 3 different ones feeding information to journalists. Using past frauds as a guide, once we get to this point of the media cycle, the fraud usually unravels pretty fast.  Given the perilous state of Tesla’s finances, they are in urgent need of new capital. The question is; who would want to invest new capital when Tesla is now admitting to knowingly selling cars without testing the brakes in order to hit some arbitrary one week production target? When a company admits that it will sacrifice vehicle quality and even risk killing its customers to win a twitter feud and start a short squeeze, regulators must step in. The question is; what else has Tesla done illegally to hit its targets? We know that Tesla long ago passed over the ethical threshold of selling faulty products that have killed people—what other allegations will soon come to light? Elon Musk demanded that Tesla stop testing brakes on June 26. Doug Field, chief engineer, resigned on June 27. Is this a coincidence? Of course not—Doug Field doesn’t want to be responsible for killing people. I think Tuesday’s article will speed up the pace of Tesla’s bankruptcy quite dramatically and I purchased some shorter dated puts after reading it.

Tesla is the fluke stock-promote that found a way to address society’s fascination with ‘green technology’ and the ‘next Steve Jobs.’ Elon Musk eagerly stepped into the role of mad scientist and investors gave him a free pass. It now increasingly seems that everything he’s done for the past few years was simply designed to keep the share price up, keep the dream alive and raise more capital – as opposed to creating shareholder value. Along the way, customer safety has been ignored in order to hit production targets and appease the stock market. In addition to not testing brakes, a recent whistle-blower has accused Tesla of installing over 700 dangerously defective batteries into Model 3 vehicles.

I suspect there will be many more allegations as whistle-blowers come out of the woodwork. It really is the Theranos of auto makers. I suspect it will all end soon. Theranos and Enron both collapsed within 90 days of the journalists getting up to speed. The reporters now know the right questions to ask and Tesla will be out of cash by the time they are all answered.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-07-05_9-33-07.jpg?itok=kqXN3GzmStock Promotion In Overdrive Lately. What’s Elon Trying To Distract People From?

Besides, Elon Musk isn’t even all that innovative. Hitler already tried this same automotive customer deposit scam 80 years ago (From Wages of Destruction)

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-07-05_9-34-55.jpg?itok=Cc-tNH4U

Source: ZeroHedge | Submitted by Kuppy Via AdventuresInCapitalism.com

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“Short-Tempered” Musk Reportedly “Snapped” At Staff Working 12-Hour Shifts In Model 3 “Production Hell” Week

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The conditions at Tesla’s production facility leading up to meeting its Model 3 production goal have been reported as nothing short of hellish as Elon Musk “barked” at employees working 12 hour shifts, bottlenecking other parts of the company’s production and reportedly causing concern by employees that the long hours and strenuous environment would cause even more workplace injuries and accidents.

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2017 Was The Biggest “Money For Nothing” IPO Year Since Pets.com

Over 80% Of 2017 IPO’s Had ‘Negative’ Earnings – Most Since Dot-Com Peak

2017 was a banner year for many things – record low volatility, record high complacency, and record amounts of money printed by the world’s biggest central banks, among many others.

All of which heralded the belief in the super-human, ‘can-do-no-wrong’ venture capitalist… and of course the ‘exit’ cash-out moment.

108 operating companies went public in the U.S. in 2017 with the average first day return a healthy 15.0% – well above the average 12.9% bump seen since the start of the 21st century.

But of most note in years to come, we suspect, is the fact that over 80% of IPOs in 2017 had negative earnings… the most since the peak of the dot-com bubble in 1999/2000…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-19_9-52-14.jpg?itok=Ogatu-xI

Put a slightly different way, 2017 was the biggest “money for nothing” year since Pets.com… consider that the next time you’re told to buy the dip. Remember the only reason “the water is warm” is because it has been ‘chummed’ by the the last greater fool ready for the professional sharks to hand their ‘risk’ to…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-05-19_10-15-43.jpg?itok=r2KyPi-o

Source: ZeroHedge

LIBOR Has Been Surging, These Companies Are Most Vulnerable (video)

Over the weekend, ZH looked at the notional amount of non-financial Libor-linked debt (so excluding the roughly $200 trillion in floating-rate derivatives which have little practical impact on the real world until there is a Lehman-like collateral chain break, of course at which point everyone is on the hook), to see what the real-world impact of the recent blow out in 3M USD Libor is on the business and household sector.

To this end, JPM calculated that based on Fed data, there is a little under $8 trillion in pure Libor-related debt…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/libor%20table%20jpm.jpg

and that a 35bps widening in the LIBOR-OIS spread could raise the business sector interest burden by $21 billion. As we wondered previously, “whether or not that modest amount in monetary tightening is enough to “break” the market remains to be seen.”

In other words, unless the Fed – and JPMorgan – have massively miscalculated how much floating-rate debt is outstanding, and how much more interest expense the rising LIBOR will prompt, the ongoing surge in Libor and Libor-OIS, should not have a systemic impact on the financial system, or economy.

What about at the corporate borrower level?

In an analysis released on Monday afternoon, Goldman’s Ben Snider writes that while for equities in aggregate, rising borrowing costs pose only a modest headwind, “stocks with high variable rate debt have recently lagged in response to the move in borrowing costs.”

Goldman cautions that these stocks should struggle if borrowing costs continue to climb – which they will unless the Fed completely reverses course on its tightening strategy – amid a backdrop of elevated corporate leverage and tightening financial conditions.

Indeed, while various macro Polyannas have said to ignore the blowout in both Libor and Libor-OIS because, drum roll, they are based on “technicals” and thus not a system risk to the banking sector (former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan once called the Libor-OIS “a barometer of fears of bank insolvency”), what they forget, and what Goldman demonstrates is what many traders already know well: the share prices of companies with high floating rate debt has mirrored the sharp fluctuation in short-term borrowing costs. This is shown below in the chart of 50 S&P 500 companies with floating rate bond debt (i.e. linked to Libor) amounting to more than 5% of total.

Here are some details on how Goldman constructed the screen:

We exclude Financials and Real Estate, and the screen captures stocks from every remaining sector except for Telecommunication Services. So far in 2018, as short-term rates have climbed, these stocks have lagged the S&P 500 by 320 bp (-4% vs. -1%). The group now trades at a 10% P/E multiple discount to the median S&P 500 stock (16.0x vs. 17.6x). These stocks should struggle if borrowing costs continue to climb, but may present a tactical value opportunity for investors who expect a reversion in spreads. The tightening in late March of the forward-looking FRA/OIS spread has been accompanied by a rebound of floating rate debt stocks and suggests investors expect some mean-reversion in borrowing costs.

Goldman also notes that small-caps generally carry a larger share of floating rate debt than do large-caps, which may lead to a higher beta for the data set due to size considerations.

In any event, the inverse correlation between tighter funding conditions (higher Libor spreads) and the stock under performance of floating debt-heavy companies is unmistakable.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/GS%20libor%20vs%20corporations.jpg?itok=7X2aJ5oc

Finally, traders who wish to hedge rising Libor by shorting those companies whose interest expense will keep rising alongside 3M USD Libor, in the process impairing their equity value, here is a list of the most vulnerable names.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/companies%20exposed%20to%20libor.jpg?itok=sTtXSX13(click for larger image)

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“They’re burning the furniture to heat the house”

Money manager Michael Pento says the biggest unreported story is the skyrocketing interest rate of LIBOR. What’s that? Pento explains, “LIBOR, and people don’t understand or talk about it, is the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate. This rate has gone from 0.3% at the end of 2015 to 2.3% today. The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate is the rate that is applied to $370 trillion of loans and derivatives and loans, from credit cards, to student loans, to auto loans are priced off of LIBOR. . .  That is the biggest reason why the stock market is rolling over because the cost of borrowing money. . . is going up very, very sharply. . .  All of this is going to hit a crescendo in October of 2018.” Pento Says gold prices are going way up because the Fed will no be able to raise interest rates.

Source: ZeroHedge

Stocks Suffer Worst Q2 Start Since The Great Depression

Well that really escalated quickly…

After last week’s “paint the tape ahead of a long-weekend” melt-up into the close, the first trading day of the second quarter was a bloodbath… In fact the worst since The Great Depression

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_10-52-02.jpg?itok=Xy96uhjj

As David Rosenberg (@EconguyRosie) summed up so precisely: New math: every tweet by @realDonaldTrump subtracts 70 points off the Dow. Keep ’em coming.

Woah…a ubiquitous opening bounce, then puked into Europe’s close, then another attempt to ignite momentum, fails and stocks puked into red for the year again…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_13-00-06.jpg?itok=TEWDVMM7

3rd dead cat bounce in a week…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_12-47-48.jpg?itok=9yMFSMDT

The S&P 500 and The Dow broke below their critical 200DMA… (Nasdaq is closest to its 200DMA since Brexit plunge) –

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_11-43-53.jpg?itok=9oVG27vQ

there was a desperate last few minutes attempt to rally ’em back above the 200DMAs – Dow ended back above its 200DMA

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_13-07-42.jpg?itok=nB1ATXIC

First time the S&P has closed below the 200DMA since June 27th 2016 (Brexit)

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_11-45-03.jpg?itok=SMbagwjR

VIX topped 25, leading the US equity index vols higher today…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_12-53-28.jpg?itok=RPb7OY-X

Tech led the tumble…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_12-41-10.jpg?itok=X0GdmeU0

Lowest close for NYSE FANG+ Index since January 5th…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_12-54-40.jpg?itok=-WasIrw2

With Tesla bonds…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_12-36-19.jpg?itok=voOKK-ju

and Stocks really ugly – We suspect Elon is regretting the April Fools’ joke…

Tesla Tumbles After Elon Musk Jokes About Bankruptcy

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This morning shareholders of Tesla are hardly laughing, with Tesla stock tumbling as much as 5%, down to $254, the lowest level in a year.

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_11-00-42.jpg?itok=F2I2j8Ot

And the 10Y Yield dropping to neat two-month lows…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-04-02_10-44-00_0.jpg?itok=hNfTxkJj

Source: ZeroHedge

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The very next day…

Stocks Soar After Bloomberg Report Unleashes Amazon Buying Panic

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It was generally a quiet day, with no macro news and equities range-bound, seemingly spooked by the ongoing verbal war between Trump and Jeff Bezos, where first in a tweet then a White House press conference, the president warned that US taxpayers will no longer subsidize Amazon “by the billions.” And, as has been the case recently, every time Trump spoke or tweeted, Amazon turned negative.

And then, just around 2:45pm, a Bloomberg headline hit, according to which  President Trump is not formally looking at options to address his concerns with Amazon, which immediately unleashed a buying panic first in Amazon and then across the broader market:

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/AMZN%20no%20action.jpg?itok=Z2EoABj1

 

There Is Just One Thing Preventing Elon Musk’s Vision From Coming True: The Laws Of Physics

When Elon Musk stepped on stage at Tesla’s product-launch event earlier this month, he knew the market’s confidence in Tesla’s brand had sunk to an all-time low since he took over the company a decade ago. So, he resorted to a tactic that should be familiar to anybody who has been following the company: Shock and awe.

While the event was ostensibly scheduled to introduce Tesla’s new semi-truck – a model that won’t make it’s market debut for another two years, assuming Tesla sticks to its product-rollout deadline – Musk had a surprise in store: A new model of the Tesla Roadster that, he bragged, would be the fastest production car ever sold.

Musk made similarly lofty claims about the battery life and performance of both vehicles. The Tesla semi-trucks, he said, would be able to travel for 500 miles on a single charge. The roadster could clock a staggering 620 – more than double the closest challenger.

There was just one problem, as Tesla fans would later find out, courtesy of Bloomberg: None of it was true.

In fact, many of the promises defy the capabilities of modern battery technology.

Elon Musk knows how to make promises. Even by his own standards, the promises made last week while introducing two new Tesla vehicles—the heavy-duty Semi Truck and the speedy Roadster—are monuments of envelope pushing.

To deliver, according to close observers of battery technology, Tesla would have to far exceed what is currently thought possible.

Take the Tesla Semi: Musk vowed it would haul an unprecedented 80,000 pounds for 500 miles on a single charge, then recharge 400 miles of range in 30 minutes. That would require, based on Bloomberg estimates, a charging system that’s 10 times more powerful than one of the fastest battery-charging networks on the road today—Tesla’s own Superchargers.

The diminutive Tesla Roadster is promised to be the quickest production car ever built. But that achievement would mean squeezing into its tiny frame a battery twice as powerful as the largest battery currently available in an electric car.

These claims are so far beyond current industry standards for electric vehicles that they would require either advances in battery technology or a new understanding of how batteries are put to use, said Sam Jaffe, battery analyst for Cairn Energy Research in Boulder, Colorado. In some cases, experts suspect Tesla might be banking on technological improvements between now and the time when new vehicles are actually ready for delivery.

“I don’t think they’re lying,” Jaffe said. “I just think they left something out of the public reveal that would have explained how these numbers work.”

While Jaffe seems inclined to give Tesla the benefit of the doubt, there’s little, if anything, in Musk’s recent behavior to justify this level of credulity. In recent months, Musk has repeatedly suffered the humiliation of seeing his lies and half-truths exposed. For example, the self-styled “visionary” claimed during the unveiling of the Model 3 Sedan that he would have 1,500 copies of the new model ready for customers by the end of the third quarter. Instead, the company managed a meager 260 models as factory-line workers at its Fremont, Calif. factory struggled to assemble the vehicles by hand as the Model 3 assembly line hadn’t been completed.

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Increasingly agitated customers who placed deposits with Tesla back in March 2016 have begun asking for refunds, only to be chagrined by the company’s sluggish response. While nobody in the mainstream press has (somewhat bafflingly) made the connection, Tesla revealed earlier this month that it burned an unprecedented $1.4 billion of cash during the third quarter – or roughly $16 million per day – despite Elon Musk’s assurance that Tesla had its “all-time best quarter” for Model S and X deliveries.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/11/20/2017.11.25teslacashflow.png

And let’s not forget the fiasco surrounding Tesla’s autopilot software. Musk has repeatedly exaggerated its performance claims. And customers who paid more than $8,000 for a software upgrade more than a year ago have been repeatedly disappointed by delays and sub-par performance.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/11/20/2017.11.25batterydensity.png

Musk’s exaggerations about the Tesla Roadster were particularly egregious.

Tesla claims that its new $200,000 Roadster is the quickest production car ever made, clocking zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds. Even crazier is the car’s unprecedented battery range: some 620 miles on a single charge. That’s a longer range than any battery-powered vehicle on the road—almost twice as long as Tesla’s class-leading Model S and Model X.

To achieve such power and range, Musk said the tiny Roadster will need to pack a massive 200-kilowatt-hour battery. That’s twice the size of any battery Tesla currently has on the road. Musk has previously said he won’t be making the packs bigger on the Model S and Model X because of space constraints. So how can he double the pack size in the smaller Roadster?

BNEF’s Morsy has a twofold answer. First, he expects Tesla will probably double-stack battery packs, one on top of the other, beneath the Roadster’s floor. That creates some engineering problems for the battery-management system, but those should not be insurmountable. Still, Morsy said, the batteries required would be too large to fit in such a small frame.

“I really don’t think the car you saw last week had the full 200 kilowatt hours in it,” Morsy said. “I don’t think it’s physically possible to do that right now.”

Is it possible that, thanks to incremental improvements in battery density and cost, Musk somehow manages to hit these lofty targets? Perhaps, though, as Bloomberg points out, the fact that Musk is basing these claims on a set of projections that haven’t yet been realized is hardly confidence inspiring.

To be sure, there’s an important caveat to Musk’s claims. While they may be staggeringly exaggerated, there’s still the possibility that incremental improvements in battery technology will make these targets more feasible by the time the models hit the market.

Again, Musk may be banking on the future. While Tesla began taking deposits on the Roadster immediately—$50,000 for the base model—the first vehicles won’t be delivered until 2020. Meanwhile, battery density has been improving at a rate of 7.5 percent a year, meaning that by the time production starts, packs will be smaller and more powerful, even without a major breakthrough in battery chemistry.

“The trend in battery density is, I think, central to any claim Tesla made about both the Roadster and the Semi,” Morsy said. “That’s totally fair. The assumptions on a pack in 2020 shouldn’t be the same ones you use today.”

However, in its analysis of the feasibility of Musk’s claims, Bloomberg overlooked one crucial detail: Back in August, the company’s veteran director of battery technology, Kurt Kelty, unexpectedly resigned to “explore new opportunities,” abruptly ending a tenure with the company that stretched for more than a decade, and comes at a critical time for Elon Musk.

Kelty’s resignation – part of an exodus of high-level executives that is alarming in and of itself – hardly inspires confidence in Tesla’s ability to innovate. We’ve noticed a trend with Tesla: The more the company under delivers, the more Musk over promises.

In our opinion, this is not a sustainable business strategy.  

Source: ZeroHedge

What Was Going On With MGM Resorts In September, Just Before The Terrorist Attack?

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On Tuesday, September 5th, 2017,  the board of MGM Resorts International decided to approve a $1 billion share repurchase program. At $17.7 billion today, the program represented a significant portion of its current market cap. By the end of the week, MGM’s CEO, James Murren, had coolly divested himself of 80% of the shares he owned in his company. The divestment came just days before the ex-dividend date on September 8th, 2017.

The sales were originally disclosed in a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Murren had previously divested 57,269 shares on July 31st and August 9th, 2017.

It’s currently unclear why Murren chose to sell when he did. To date, MGM’s stock has not experienced a significant decline in value due to the repurchasing program. It could be interpreted to run against the company’s interests for the CEO to convey a sense of urgency in the selling of his shares by disposing of them immediately after the commencement of his company’s share repurchase program. It’s also strange that the CEO of a company would sell more than half of their stake (let alone 80%) in the company that they represented.

Mr. Murren and his fellow board members were not the only speculators who were bearish on MGM’s prospects. Billionaire investor George Soros also bought $42 million worth of puts on the company, according to SEC filings from mid August.

That point being made, it needs to be asked why any profit-oriented CEO of any company would sell 80% of his personal stake in his own corporation, especially after he thought it was in the business’ best interest to initiate a massive share repurchase program which one would theoretically assume to reduce the number of shares in the company and increase the price of each share, ceteris peribus.

Why would the individual with the most information about the company sell 80% of his shares immediately after the commencement of a program that most would consider positive for the stock? Shouldn’t he want to hold on to his shares? Is there something he knew, that others didn’t, that lead to so much movement in such little time? What a week!

On September 5th, 2017, 18 analysts were bullish on MGM, 1 had a hold rating, and 1 had a sell rating. Taking the events of September and October into consideration, has MGM’s picture heading forward improved, or worsened?

… and finally, should James Murren’s membership on the DHS Infrastructure Advisory Council mean anything to investigators and shareholders?

By William Craddick | Disobedient Media

Fed Warns Markets “Vulnerable to Elevated Valuations” [charts]

Hussman Predicts Massive Losses As Cycle Completes After Fed Warns Markets “Vulnerable to Elevated Valuations”

Buried deep in today’s FOMC Minutes was a warning to the equity markets that few noticed…

This overall assessment incorporated the staff’s judgment that, since the April assessment, vulnerabilities associated with asset valuation pressures had edged up from notable to elevated, as asset prices remained high or climbed further, risk spreads narrowed, and expected and actual volatility remained muted in a range of financial markets…

According to another view, recent rises in equity prices might be part of a broad-based adjustment of asset prices to changes in longer-term financial conditions, importantly including a lower neutral real interest rate, and, therefore, the recent equity price increases might not provide much additional impetus to aggregate spending on goods and services.

According to one view, the easing of financial conditions meant that the economic effects of the Committee’s actions in gradually removing policy accommodation had been largely offset by other factors influencing financial markets, and that a tighter monetary policy than otherwise was warranted.

Roughly translated means – higher equity prices are driving financial conditions to extreme ‘easiness’ and The Fed needs to slow stock prices to regain any effective control over monetary conditions.

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/14/20170816_FOMC11.png

And with that ‘explicit bubble warning’, it appears the ‘other’ side of the cycle, that Hussman Funds’ John Hussman has been so vehemently explaining to investors, is about to begin…

Nothing in history leads me to expect that current extremes will end in something other than profound disappointment for investors. In my view, the S&P 500 will likely complete the current cycle at an index level that has only 3-digits. Indeed, a market decline of -63% would presently be required to take the most historically reliable valuation measures we identify to the same norms that they have revisited or breached during the completion of nearly every market cycle in history.

The notion that elevated valuations are “justified” by low interest rates requires the assumption that future cash flows and growth rates are held constant. But any investor familiar with discounted cash flow valuation should recognize that if interest rates are lower because expected growth is also lower, the prospective return on the investment falls without any need for a valuation premium.

At present, however, we observe not only the most obscene level of valuation in history aside from the single week of the March 24, 2000 market peak; not only the most extreme median valuations across individual S&P 500 component stocks in history; not only the most extreme overvalued, overbought, over bullish syndromes we define; but also interest rates that are off the zero-bound, and a key feature that has historically been the hinge between overvalued markets that continue higher and overvalued markets that collapse: widening divergences in internal market action across a broad range of stocks and security types, signaling growing risk-aversion among investors, at valuation levels that provide no cushion against severe losses.

We extract signals about the preferences of investors toward speculation or risk-aversion based on the joint and sometimes subtle behavior of numerous markets and securities, so our inferences don’t map to any short list of indicators. Still, internal dispersion is becoming apparent in measures that are increasingly obvious. For example, a growing proportion of individual stocks falling below their respective 200-day moving averages; widening divergences in leadership (as measured by the proportion of individual issues setting both new highs and new lows); widening dispersion across industry groups and sectors, for example, transportation versus industrial stocks, small-cap stocks versus large-cap stocks; and fresh divergences in the behavior of credit-sensitive junk debt versus debt securities of higher quality. All of this dispersion suggests that risk-aversion is rising, no longer subtly. Across history, this sort of shift in investor preferences, coupled with extreme overvalued, overbought, over bullish conditions, has been the hallmark of major peaks and subsequent market collapses.

The chart below shows the percentage of U.S. stocks above their respective 200-day moving averages, along with the S&P 500 Index. The deterioration and widening dispersion in market internals is no longer subtle.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/14/20170816_huss.png

Market internals suggest that risk-aversion is now accelerating. The most extreme variants of “overvalued, overbought, over bullish” conditions we identify are already in place.

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A market loss of [1/2.70-1 =] -63% over the completion of this cycle would be a rather run-of-the-mill outcome from these valuations. All of our key measures of expected market return/risk prospects are unfavorable here. Market conditions will change, and as they do, the prospective market return/risk profile will change as well. Examine all of your investment exposures, and ensure that they are consistent with your actual investment horizon and tolerance for risk.

Source: ZeroHedge