Category Archive: 6b) Austrian Economics

Eugen von Böhm Bawerk
“Value does not come out of the workshop, but out of the wants that goods satisfy” The quote by Mr Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk is as true today as it was more than 100 years ago, even though modern pundits often ignore the simple fact. This blog is not an attempt to revive Mr Böhm-Bawerks thoughts, life and deeds, but from a sober view of the world comment on and analyze ongoing events. We aim to take the analysis a step further. We question accepted truths and always strive to answer the simple question “why?” We are opinionated.

US Stock Market: Conspicuous Similarities with 1929, 1987 and Japan in 1990

There are good reasons to suspect that the bull market in US equities has been stretched to the limit. These include inter alia: high fundamental valuation levels, as e.g. illustrated by the Shiller P/E ratio (a.k.a. “CAPE”/ cyclically adjusted P/E); rising interest rates; and the maturity of the advance. Near the end of a bull market cycle there is always the question of when a decline will begin, and above all, how large will it be.

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Durable and Capital Goods, Distortions Big And Small

New orders for durable goods, excluding transportation industries, rose 9.1% year-over-year (NSA) in January 2018. Shipments of the same were up 8.8%. These rates are in line with the acceleration that began in October 2017 coincident to the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In that way, they are somewhat misleading.

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Purchasing Power Parity or Nominal Exchange Rates?

“An alternative exchange rate – the purchasing power parity (PPP) conversion factor – is preferred because it reflects differences in price levels for both tradable and non-tradable goods and services and therefore provides a more meaningful comparison of real output.” – the World Bank

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Socialism and Capital Consumption

We have been promising to get back to the topic of capital destruction, which we put on hiatus for the last several weeks to make our case that the interest rate remains in a falling trend. Today, we have a different way of looking at capital destruction.

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Haunted by Ghosts of the Old Eastern Bloc

Jerome Powell, the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve, just completed his third week on the job. He’s hardly had enough time to learn how to operate the office coffee maker, let alone the all-in-one printer. He still doesn’t know what roach coach menu items induce a heinous gut bomb.

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Update on the Modified Davis Method

Frank Roellinger has updated us with respect to the signals given by his Modified Ned Davis Method (MDM) in the course of the recent market correction. The MDM is a purely technical trading system designed for position-trading the Russell 2000 index, both long and short (for details and additional color see The Modified Davis Method and Reader Question on the Modified Ned Davis Method).

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Market Efficiency? The Euro is Looking Forward to the Weekend!

As I have shown in previous issues of Seasonal Insights, various financial instruments are demonstrating peculiar behavior in the course of the week: the S&P 500 Index is typically strong on Tuesdays, Gold on Fridays and Bitcoin on Tuesdays (similar to the S&P 500 Index). Several readers have inquired whether currencies exhibit such patterns as well. Are these extremely large markets also home to such statistical anomalies, or is market efficiency...

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Strange Economic Data

Contrary to the situation in 2014-2015, economic indicators are currently far from signaling an imminent recession. We frequently discussed growing weakness in the manufacturing sector in 2015 (which is the largest sector of the economy in terms of gross output) – but even then, we always stressed that no clear recession signal was in sight yet. US gross output (GO) growth year-on-year, and industrial production (IP) – note that GO continues to be...

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US Equities – Retracement Levels and Market Psychology

Following the recent market swoon, we were interested to see how far the rebound would go. Fibonacci retracement levels are a tried and true technical tool for estimating likely targets – and they can actually provide information beyond that as well. Here is the S&P 500 Index with the most important Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline shown. So far, the SPX has made it back to the 61.8% retracement level intraday, and has weakened a...

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The Future of Copper – Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q1 2018

The Q1 2018 meeting of the Incrementum Fund’s Advisory Board took place on January 24, about one week before the recent market turmoil began. In a way it is funny that this group of contrarians who are well known for their skeptical stance on the risk asset bubble, didn’t really discuss the stock market much on this occasion. Of course there was little to add to what was already talked about extensively at previous meetings. Moreover, the main...

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What Kind of Stock Market Purge Is This?

Down markets, like up markets, are both dazzling and delightful. The shock and awe of near back-to-back 1,000 point Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) free-falls is indeed spectacular. There are many reasons to revel in it. Today we shall share a few. To begin, losing money in a multi-day stock market dump is no fun at all. We’d rather get our teeth drilled by a dentist. Still, a rapid selloff has many positive qualities.

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Why I Own Gold and Gold Mining Companies – An Interview With Jayant Bandari

Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable has recently interviewed Jayant Bandari, the publisher of Capitalism and Morality and a frequent contributor to this site. The topics discussed include currencies, bitcoin, gold and above all junior gold stocks (i.e., small producers and explorers). Jayant shares some of his best ideas in the segment, including arbitrage opportunities currently offered by pending takeovers – which is an area that generally...

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Seasonality of Individual Stocks – an Update

Readers are very likely aware of the “Halloween effect” or the Santa Claus rally. The former term refers to the fact that stocks on average tend to perform significantly worse in the summer months than in the winter months, the latter term describes the typically very strong advance in stocks just before the turn of the year. Both phenomena apply to the broad stock market, this is to say, to benchmark indexes such as the S&P 500 or the DJIA.

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When Budget Deficits Will Really Go Vertical

United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has a sweet gig. He writes rubber checks to pay the nation’s bills. Yet, somehow, the rubber checks don’t bounce. Instead, like magic, they clear. How this all works, considering the nation’s technically insolvent, we don’t quite understand. But Mnuchin gets it. He knows exactly how full faith and credit works – and he knows plenty more.

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US Stocks – Minor Dip With Potential, Much Consternation

On January 31 we wrote about the unprecedented levels – for a stock market index that is – the weekly and monthly RSI of the DJIA had reached (see: “Too Much Bubble Love, Likely to Bring Regret” for the astonishing details – provided you still have some capacity for stock market-related astonishment). We will take the opportunity to toot our horn by reminding readers that we highlighted VIX calls of all things as a worthwhile tail risk play....

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“Strong Dollar”, “Weak Dollar” – What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronouncements and reversals which will take place in the coming months and years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised. So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

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Too Much Bubble-Love, Likely to Bring Regret

Readers may recall our recent articles on the blow-off move in the stock market, entitled Punch-Drunk Investors and Extinct Bears (see Part 1 & Part 2 for the details). Bears remained firmly extinct as of last week – in fact, some of the sentiment indicators we are keeping tabs on have become even more stretched, as incredible as that may sound. For instance, assets in bullish Rydex funds exceeded bear assets by a factor of more than 37 at one...

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The Donald Saves the Dollar

The world is full of bad ideas. Just look around. One can hardly blink without a multitude of bad ideas coming into view. What’s more, the worse an idea is, the more popular it becomes. Take Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor. It’s nearly as destructive as prescription pain killers. Yet people chug it down with reckless abandon.

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The FOMC Meeting Strategy: Why It May Be Particularly Promising Right Now

As readers know, investment and trading decisions can be optimized with the help of statistics. One way of doing so is offered by the FOMC meeting strategy. A study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2011 examined the effect of FOMC meetings on stock prices. The study concluded that these meetings have a substantial impact on stock prices – and contrary to what most investors would probably tend to expect, before rather than after...

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Swiss Trade 2017: Exports at all-time high

Last year, Swiss foreign trade accelerated yet again relative to 2016: exports rose by 4.7% to reach a new record high. Imports grew by 6.9%, posting their strongest growth rate since 2010. Aside from the improved economic situation worldwide, the weakening of the Swiss franc and price trends played a decisive role in both directions of trade. With a surplus of CHF 34.8 billion, the balance of trade closed the year 6% (or CHF 2.1bn) lower than the...

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