Drama in Bond Market: What is Happening?

    The past 10 days since the weekend of Saturday, March 7th, when Saudi Arabia started a severe oil price war, have had some of the most dramatic financial market movements ever, even more shocking than a few parts of the 1929 and 2008 crashes. What is particularly unusual is the end of the pattern where bond prices rise when stock prices fall. Instead bond and stock prices both fell together recently by significant amounts. This is because stocks are still significantly overpriced and need to go down much more to reach fair value. Bonds have been hurt by the politicians’ promises of massive deficit fueled stimulation to try and offset the damage caused by Corona Virus quarantine, etc. There

2020-03-18T18:31:28-07:00March 18th, 2020|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Drama in Bond Market: What is Happening?

Gold Investing: The Hidden Factors

    Should people buy gold to get protection from inflation? The increasing use of Federal Reserve money printing because of the “Repo” crisis implies that the Fed will accidentally trigger a repeat of the terrible inflation of the 1970’s. During that era investors were able to protect themselves by holding short term bonds because the yields kept up with inflation (when a short term bond matured the proceeds could be reinvested at higher rates as inflation rose). But in the post-2008 post-GFC era rates have been artificially low and could be held down to zero by the Fed. Thus investors would not be able to replicate the benefits of short term bonds during a repeat of the 1970’s level of

2020-01-15T12:26:11-08:00January 15th, 2020|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Gold Investing: The Hidden Factors

Should Bearish Investors Avoid Gold and Treasuries?

    Have bearish investors gotten ahead of themselves regarding buying gold and Treasuries? One strategy some people (who are bearish about stocks) use is to buy gold and long-term Treasuries with the expectation that they will go up in value when stocks crash.  The problem is that if too many stock market bears did this then they would make the price of gold and bonds too high to make this strategy succeed. Gold should only be roughly 1,000 based on its long-term pattern of appreciating in line with CPI inflation; instead it has been around $1,500. Perhaps the $500 “excess” price is like a long-term put on stocks? If a repeat of the crash of 2008 occurs perhaps gold will

2019-11-08T17:58:25-08:00November 8th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Should Bearish Investors Avoid Gold and Treasuries?

Negative Rate Policies To End

   The possibility of endless dropping of yields until rates reach negative 8% (as suggested by one expert) is nonsense. The economic crisis that enabled negative rates somewhat like the 1962 Cuban missile crisis where stakes of failure were so high that everyone needs to pitch in and help compromise to avoid war. It was a new era, despite the cliché that people never change and thus (the old cliché) wars will continue to occur; but that is no longer applicable. So by analogy, possibly the advocates of Quantitative Easing (QE) and Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) will realize how dangerous it is and the opponents will be assertive enough to persuade government policy makers to stop it. Precedents for

2019-11-06T17:29:00-08:00November 6th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Negative Rate Policies To End

Debt Jubilee Led by Central Banks

   Perhaps central banks will decide to simply print up money and donate to those who have too much debt, which is a debt jubilee. This would be a way to stimulate the economy without hurting savers with negative interest rates. Unlike Fed rate cutting that lacks believability and effectiveness, this would be highly credible as consumers could feel the benefits and get emotional about it, thus stimulating demand. To make this work it would have to be similar to the tax code where those who are neediest get the best outcome. If someone is truly wealthy they shouldn’t get to benefit from debt forgiveness.    If done in a harsh recession it might not cause that much new inflation,

2019-08-27T10:51:38-07:00September 10th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Debt Jubilee Led by Central Banks

Negative Rates and the End of Central Banking

   Negative interest rates will act as a deflationary force that will reduce consumption and reduce investment in productive capital assets, as well as reducing consumer confidence. It will act to weaken the confidence of stock market investors thus resulting in a sell off of stocks. The central banks gambled and lost regarding their policy of negative rates. Their credibility has been diminished. Once people realize that central banks and their rate cuts can’t stimulate the economy then investors will stop believing in the myth of the central bank put option. This will exacerbate the stock sell off. The U.S. central bank bailouts and stimulus of 1998, 2003, and especially 2008 acted to create Moral Hazard (where the availability of

2019-08-27T10:23:24-07:00September 5th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Negative Rates and the End of Central Banking

Fed Rate Cut: An Unhelpful Placebo

        Today the Federal Reserve cut the rate by 0.25%, the first cut in 11 years. They did this a half year after they raised rates when they said there was a need for more tightening. Rate cuts are not that useful and lack substantial impact on the economy. Most borrowing is done with short term or intermediate term debt which may be fully amortized over a few years, thus the principal payments as a percentage of the total payment are quite high, so a tiny 0.25% cut in the rate (tax-deductible for business and many homeowners) is a very tiny portion of the total payment. If a business manager is worried there will be no demand for a new

2019-08-04T15:15:50-07:00July 31st, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Fed Rate Cut: An Unhelpful Placebo

Will Bonds Perform the Same as in the 1970’s Inflation Era?

   During the 1970’s there was a significant increase in inflation in the US and the UK which made interest rates rise, thus damaging long term bonds. Gold’s price rose during the 1970’s and was the best asset during that era. Stocks spent the inflationary era of 1966 to 1982 going down 50% and then their prices returned to their starting points after a 16 year bear market, so on a nominal price return basis investors made no gains, however they did get dividends. Could this time be different where yields are repressed by central banks and not allowed to rise in tandem with inflation? There was a precedent for that in the UK in the 1970’s the real rate

2019-07-12T16:11:06-07:00July 12th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Will Bonds Perform the Same as in the 1970’s Inflation Era?

Will The U.S. Become a Bankrupt Banana Republic?

   Looking 30 years ahead the growing federal deficit as forecast by a Congressional agency implies the U.S. will become a Banana republic with high interest rates and an unaffordable gigantic budget deficit. Since people may become alert to this and take steps ahead of time to overcome the problem then I expect the following things to occur: * Defense spending greatly reduced, resulting in less global stability and greater flight capital into the US and similar countries. The increased flight capital puts downward pressure on interest rates. * Social Security starting age raised to 72, forcing more workers to delay their retirement, creating a surplus of job seekers, which is deflationary. * Medicare and Medicaid spending reduced through new

2019-06-26T17:52:47-07:00June 26th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Will The U.S. Become a Bankrupt Banana Republic?

Will Inflation Return?

     Economist Mohamed El Erian wrote that inflation may increase once cost cuts from the gig economy (Uber, Amazon, etc.) have been maxed out and the supply of unemployed people dries up, and corporations get more oligopolistic. I disagree, I believe: The dominant paradigm of the era is cheap EM labor undermining Developed countries resulting in unemployment, foreclosures, low growth in Developed countries. This force is far more powerful than the inflationary force suggested by Mohamed El-Erian. The fundamentals of EM countries are export subsidies, and excess production funded by local banks under political orders to loan money to companies that are not financially sound, so as to create make-work jobs, etc. Ironically as the trade dispute with China acts

2019-05-22T17:25:26-07:00May 22nd, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Will Inflation Return?