Trade talks with China collapse: “This has all the makings of a complete disaster that could lead the stock market to crater this week”

Chaos has returned to global financial markets, and it does not appear that there will be an easy fix this time. For the first four months of 2019, the mainstream media told us over and over again that a great deal of progress was being made on a trade deal with China and that negotiations would soon reach a final conclusion, but now it has become clear that those news reports were fake news. For a variety of reasons, the Chinese have been slow playing negotiations all along. Once they got the Trump administration to suspend the implementation of any new tariffs while negotiations were ongoing, the Chinese no longer had any urgency to reach an agreement. In fact, if the Chinese could have run out the clock all the way to the 2020 election, they surely would have done so. They would very much prefer to negotiate with someone else, and I think that President Trump has finally figured out that he was being played. On Sunday, in a very angry two part tweet Trump announced that he is going to slap China with huge new tariffs

For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars….

…of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!

In response to Trump’s angry tweets, the Chinese suggested that they may cancel this week’s negotiations

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had planned to bring a large delegation to Washington on Wednesday to hash out a trade deal — and there’d been talk in recent days that something resembling a deal could result. Instead, two sources briefed on the talks said the Chinese side may back out of this week’s negotiations.

That was pegged to Trump’s new threats, they said, which abandon a six-month truce after Beijing waffled on some previously discussed commitments.

And according to reporter Edward Lawrence, the negotiations have now officially been canceled…

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has cancelled his trip to Washington this week for trade talks following a tweet by President Donald Trump threatening more tariffs because the talks have moved too slowly.

Needless to say, global financial markets did not respond well to this news. For most of the year, hope that a trade agreement was imminent had lifted stocks, but now that hope appears to be gone.

In Asia, the major Chinese markets were all down more than 5 percent overnight

Asia Pacific stocks tumbled in Monday morning trade following a re-escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions as President Donald Trump declared an impending increase in tariffs rates on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The mainland Chinese markets plunged in morning trade. The Shanghai composite, Shenzhen composite and Shenzhen component all plunged more than 5% each.

And oil prices immediately began falling as well

Oil prices also saw sharp declines in the morning of Asian trading hours, with U.S. crude futures dropping 2.34% to $60.49 per barrel. For its part, international benchmark Brent crude futures also declined 2.09% to $69.37 per barrel.

Unfortunately, this is likely to be far more than just a temporary setback for the markets. Unless a trade deal can be salvaged somehow, things are likely to get very “interesting” quite rapidly.

According to one top expert quoted by CNBC, this “has all the makings of a complete disaster that could lead the stock market to crater this week and send those external risks to the US economic outlook soaring”…

“Another turn of the screw tighter Sunday from the President’s hard-ball tactics with the China trade talks, and his pair of tweets look like they could unleash a sharp stock market correction,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, in a note. “For weeks now markets have been lulled to sleep on the US trade war with China thinking an agreement was imminent. No more.”

“This has all the makings of a complete disaster that could lead the stock market to crater this week and send those external risks to the US economic outlook soaring,” he added.

Could this be one of the triggers that pushes us over the edge and into the economic abyss?

Even without the collapse of trade talks with China, we were definitely heading toward a recession anyway. I really like how economist John Williams made this point during a recent interview with Greg Hunter

“We have a recession in place. It’s just a matter of playing out in some of these other funny numbers. The reality is on the downside, where you have mixed pressures right now. People who are really concerned about the economy right now, and that includes President Trump looking at re-election, he’s been arguing that the Fed should lower rates, and I am with him. The Fed created this circumstance. They are pushing for the economy on the upside because they want to continue to keep raising rates. Banks make more money with higher rates, and they are still trying to liquidate the problems they created when they bailed out the banking system back in 2008.”

The first few months of 2019 have been surprisingly quiet, but now events appear to be accelerating in a major way.

So hold on tight, because it appears that a very bumpy ride is ahead.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

$220,000 For Every Man, Woman And Child – America Is Now 72 Trillion Dollars In Debt

Are you ready to cough up $220,000 to pay your share? One of the reasons why a day of reckoning for the U.S. economy is inevitable is because we are in way too much debt. The 22 trillion dollar debt that the federal government has accumulated gets most of the attention, but the truth is that we would still be 50 trillion dollars in debt even if the national debt was eliminated somehow. Today, debt levels are exploding on every level of society. Corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt, and state and local governments are piling up debt as if tomorrow will never come. According to a Federal Reserve chart that you can find right here, the total amount of debt in the U.S. financial system has now reached an astounding 72 trillion dollars.

My father was a math teacher for many years, and so I like numbers.

I divided $72,000,000,000,000 by the current population of the United States (Google says it is 327.2 million), and I discovered that it breaks down to more than $220,000 for every man, woman and child in the entire country.

So if you have a family of four, your share of all this debt is $880,000.

This debt bubble has been growing much, much faster than the overall economy for a very long time. When Ronald Reagan took office the total amount of debt in our system was less than 5 trillion dollars, and when George W. Bush took office the total amount of debt in our system was just over 29 trillion dollars.

Just prior to the last financial crisis we surpassed the 54 trillion dollar mark, and so since that time we have added nearly 18 trillion dollars to our total.

Of course all of this debt will never actually be paid off. The only thing left to do is to keep this debt bubble going for as long as possible, and the only way to do that is to keep it growing at a faster pace than the overall economy is growing.

And our financial engineers have definitely been successful in extending this Ponzi scheme for a lot longer than many of us had anticipated, but they can’t keep doing this indefinitely.

Every financial bubble in history has eventually ended, and this one will too. I really like what Charles Hugh Smith had to say to Greg Hunter just the other day

Journalist and book author Charles Hugh Smith says the next market crash and recession will unfold like the bursting of the 2000 Dotcom bubble. Smith explains, “The bubble popped or deflated not for any crisis, but simply because there was too much debt, too much leverage, too much euphoria and unrealistic valuations. I think we are seeing that now in stocks, housing and a lot of other assets around the world. The valuations just exceed what makes financial sense. . . . And remember, we are at the longest expansion in history. It’s over 10 years, and the average expansion lasts 5, 6 or 7 years. So, this expansion is pretty long in tooth. . . . You will get a slowdown, and that is a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Once people stop buying houses and once people stop buying cars . . . then you are going to get people being laid off, less people being able to afford to eat out, and then you get a self-reinforcing recession. It’s not a crisis, but like an erosion because everybody is kind of tapped out.”

In the end, nobody can “fix” our system, because our debt-based financial system was fundamentally flawed when it was designed. This is something that I have repeatedly pointed out, but unfortunately most Americans still don’t seem to understand this very basic concept.

If you have a financial system that is literally designed to endlessly create more debt, more money and more inflation, then you are living in a “bubble economy”.

And a “bubble economy” can seem fine as long as the bubble is inflating and economic activity seems to be humming along, but when things start to go bad they can go really, really bad very rapidly.

Individually, there is very little that we can do about our national debt, state and local government debt or corporate debt. We can try to vote people into office that want to do the right thing, but unfortunately fiscal responsibility and financial reform are not hot button political issues right now.

But what we can do is get our own financial houses in order. Now is not the time to take on more debt, and paying off any debt that you have already accumulated would be a very good thing. This is something that Mac Slavo commented on in one of his recent articles

The real truth that no one seems to want to hear, is that those who took out these loans signed on the line and voluntarily entered into a contract. If they didn’t understand the contract, it’s their responsibility (a big scary word) to ask or seek clarity before the agreement is made and signed. That’s called personal responsibility for your actions. However, it’s lacking all over the globe, but particularly in the United States where people are always looking to blame others for their poor decisions that they themselves have made. “Blame the rich for my decision to go into debt and agree to bad terms!”

The debt crisis the U.S. has found itself in could very well cause another recession such as the one that started in 2008. This is exactly why personal wealth gurus such as Dave Ramsey and Future Money Trends‘ James Davis tell people to avoid debt if at all possible. Doing so will protect you when others start to default on their loans. You can’t default if you haven’t borrowed money. It also won’t matter what type of predatory loans exist if people aren’t borrowing that money. Personal responsibility could help lead to more freedom. If people are not free to make bad decisions as well as good decisions, people are not free.

As for the nation as a whole, we can only hope that there is as much time as possible before the inevitable implosion comes.

For decades we have been making exceedingly foolish decisions, and the consequences of those decisions are going to be exceedingly painful indeed.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Give This Stock Market Bubble A Round Of Applause – The S&P 500 And The Nasdaq Just Hit Brand New Record Highs

Stocks just closed at a brand new all-time record high, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is coming to theaters, and a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin just won the 768 million dollar Powerball jackpot. If those are the top headlines today, then everything must be good in ‘Murica at the moment, right? Of course that is not true at all, but as far as the stock market is concerned we must give credit where credit is due. Our financial engineers have created the largest stock market bubble in all of U.S. history, and we should all be hoping that it lasts for as long as possible. Because once this financial bubble is destroyed, the aftermath is going to be truly horrible for the entire country.

Up to this point in the year, the stock market is off to the best start that we have seen since 1987.

Of course we all remember what happened toward the end of 1987.

But for now everything is rainbows and unicorns on Wall Street. The following comes from Fox Business

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 17%, its best start to a year since 1987, while the Nasdaq has gained 22%, its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains about half a percentage point from its record last October.

Tuesday’s move to a record high for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq index comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.

Last December, stocks were plunging dramatically, and it looked like a brand new financial crisis was potentially beginning.

But stocks pulled out of their nosedive, and most investors are feeling really happy for the moment.

If we could just freeze this moment in time somehow, we would be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, time inevitably rolls on, and many believe that there is a lot of pain ahead for investors.

Of course there are other “experts” that believe the best is yet to come. For instance, Kevin Barry just told CNBC that the stock market turmoil that we witnessed late last year “actually prevented a recession”…

“These market levels are justified,” said Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at Captrust Advisors. “The fourth-quarter sell-off actually prevented a recession because policymakers responded extremely quickly. Both President Xi and President Trump cooled off the rhetoric and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came out and reversed course.”

I have read that paragraph over and over, and I still can’t believe that someone actually had the gall to say such a thing.

According to Barry, the coming recession has been postponed indefinitely and everybody can start partying like its 1999 all over again!

If only life were so simple.

Look, the reality is that even Fox Business is admitting that stock buybacks are one of the major factors driving this latest rally…

However, the rally this year has been despite outflows from equity funds, according to Bank of America data, suggesting some of the gains have been driven by corporate buybacks of stocks.

Our largest corporations are going hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to pump up their own stock prices. It is a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, and when things start to go bad there is going to be a race to bankruptcy court.

But for the moment the Ponzi scheme continues, and a lot of people are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

For average Americans, it is absolutely imperative to remember that the stock market is not the economy. Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but the U.S. economy has not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration. This has been the longest stretch of sub-three percent economic growth in our history by a very wide margin, and now all of the numbers are telling us that economic activity is slowing down once again.

Instead of partying, most people should be using this time to prepare for what is ahead, but we know that is simply not going to happen.

And when the end of this bubble finally comes, it is likely to come very quickly. As I always stress to my regular readers, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and that is especially true during times of crisis.

In 2008, enormous amounts of money were lost in the blink of an eye. The following comes from an outstanding article by Bob Henderson entitled “What I Learned From Losing $200 Million”

The day after Lehman fell I lost $20 million, and the day after that $30 million—enough in two days to wipe out all the profits I’d made the previous year. (And that had been a pretty good year.)

But worse was that I felt trapped. My models showed I was destined to lose far more money in the coming weeks, no matter what I did. All roads seemed to lead to an unavoidable abyss. I could practically feel that hot hole breathing under my desk. I actually got dizzy, and lost my ability to think. When my boss stopped by to warn me that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley looked likely to fall next, he seemed almost amused when he told me that I looked green.

I stumbled home early that day, mentally incapacitated for the first time in my career.

Someday we will see similar things happen again, but we should all want that day to be put off for as long as possible.

For the moment, happy times are here again on Wall Street, and we should enjoy them while we still can.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

We Have Seen This Happen Before The Last 3 Recessions – And Now It Is The Worst It Has Ever Been

Since the last financial crisis, we have witnessed the greatest corporate debt binge in U.S. history. Corporate debt has more than doubled since then, and it is now sitting at a grand total of more than 9 trillion dollars. Of course there have been other colossal corporate debt binges throughout our history, and they all ended badly. In fact, the ratio of corporate debt to U.S. GDP rose above 40 percent prior to each of the last three recessions, but this time around we have found a way to top that. According to Forbes, the ratio of nonfinancial corporate debt to U.S. GDP is now nearly 50 percent…

Since the last recession, nonfinancial corporate debt has ballooned to more than $9 trillion as of November 2018, which is nearly half of U.S. GDP. As you can see below, each recession going back to the mid-1980s coincided with elevated debt-to-GDP levels—most notably the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the 2000 dot-com bubble and the early ’90s slowdown.

You can see the chart they are talking about right here, and it clearly shows that each of the last three recessions coincided with the bursting of an enormous corporate debt bubble.

This time around the corporate debt bubble is larger than it has ever been before, and risky corporate debt has been growing faster than any other category

Through 2023, as much as $4.88 trillion of this debt is scheduled to mature. And because of higher rates, many companies are increasingly having difficulty making interest payments on their debt, which is growing faster than the U.S. economy, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

On top of that, the very fastest-growing type of debt is riskier BBB-rated bonds—just one step up from “junk.” This is literally the junkiest corporate bond environment we’ve ever seen.

Needless to say, the stage is set for a corporate debt meltdown of epic proportions.

What makes this debt bubble even worse is the way that our big corporations have been spending the money that they are borrowing.

Instead of spending the money to build factories, hire workers and expand their businesses, our big corporations have been spending more money on stock buybacks than anything else.

Every year, publicly traded corporations spend hundreds of billions of dollars buying back their own stocks from shareholders, and much of that is being done with borrowed money.

For example, in recent years General Motors has spent nearly 14 billion dollars on stock buybacks. And that number certainly sounds quite impressive until you learn that General Electric has spent a whopping 40 billion dollars on stock buybacks.

Sadly, both corporate behemoths are now absolutely drowning in debt as a result of their foolishness.

In the final analysis, borrowing money to fund stock buybacks is little more than an elaborate Ponzi scheme. In their endless greed, corporate executives are cannibalizing their own companies because it makes some people wealthier in the short-term.

And now this giant corporate debt bubble has reached a bursting point, and there is no way that this story is going to end well.

Meanwhile, another financial bubble of epic proportions is also getting a lot of attention these days. If you are not familiar with “shadow banking”, here is a pretty good explanation from CNBC

Nonbank lending, an industry that played a central role in the financial crisis, has been expanding rapidly and is still posing risks should credit conditions deteriorate.

Often called “shadow banking” — a term the industry does not embrace — these institutions helped fuel the crisis by providing lending to underqualified borrowers and by financing some of the exotic investment instruments that collapsed when subprime mortgages fell apart.

This kind of lending has absolutely exploded all over the globe since the last recession, and it has now become a 52 trillion dollar bubble

In the years since the crisis, global shadow banks have seen their assets grow to $52 trillion, a 75% jump from the level in 2010, the year after the crisis ended. The asset level is through 2017, according to bond ratings agency DBRS, citing data from the Financial Stability Board.

Who is going to pick up the pieces when a big chunk of those debts start going bad during the next financial crisis?

Never before in human history have we seen so much debt. Government debt is at all-time record levels all over the world, corporate debt is wildly out of control and consumer debt continues to surge.

A system that requires debt levels to grow at a much faster pace than the overall global economy is growing to maintain itself is a fundamentally flawed system.

But that is what we are facing. If global debt growth fell to zero, the global economy would instantly plunge into a horrific depression. The only way to keep the game going is to keep expanding the debt bubble, and the larger it becomes the worse the future crash will be.

Most of us have been in this system for our entire lives, and so most of us don’t even realize that it is possible to have a financial system that is not based on debt. This is one of the reasons why I get so frustrated with the financially-illiterate politicians who insist that everything will be just fine if we just tweak our current system a little bit.

No, everything is not going to be just fine. In fact, we have perfectly set the stage for the worst financial meltdown in human history.

At this point nobody has put forth a plan to fundamentally change the system, and there is no way out.

All that is left to do is to keep this current bubble going for as long as humanly possible, and then to duck and cover when disaster finally strikes.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Uh Oh: The Number Of Job Openings In The U.S. Dropped By More Than Half A Million In Just One Month

According to the Labor Department, the number of job openings in the United States just plunged by the largest amount we have seen in nearly four years. The latest JOLTS report shows that the number of job openings has declined by 538,000, and that is a really big number for just a single month. But we shouldn’t be surprised by this at all, because it is perfectly consistent with all of the other dismal economic numbers that have been coming in recently. An economic slowdown is here, and many believe that it is just getting started.

Very briefly, let’s review some of the reasons why we should expect to see the employment numbers get worse. As the economy slows down, goods begin to pile up in our warehouses, and that is precisely what the numbers show. In fact, the inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has now increased for five months in a row.

Fewer sales should result in less stuff being shipped around the nation by freight, rail and air, and this is yet another thing that we see happening right now. Overall, U.S. freight shipment volume has dropped for three months in a row.

Once businesses realize that economic conditions have changed, then they start reducing the number of job openings and laying off workers. That is why employment statistics are often referred to as “trailing indicators”. The employment numbers don’t usually start to go down until other indicators start dropping first.

And without a doubt, the employment numbers are starting to move. Continuing jobless claims have been rising at the most rapid pace in 10 years, and U.S. businesses have been adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

With all of that in mind, we should not be surprised at all by this latest number

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled by 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report on Tuesday. The drop was the biggest since August 2015.

That is a really dreadful number, and there is no way to spin it to make it look good.

One factor that is shifting the employment environment is all of the minimum wage laws that are being passed around the country.

A number of liberal enclaves have raised the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, and as a result a lot of small businesses have been forced to let workers go

In what has become just one more example of government intervention going the exact opposite of what socialists intend, minimum wage laws are driving a “payroll tsunami.” Small businesses are being forced to lay off workers in order to comply with a law demanding an increase in wages.

This isn’t all that surprising. Economists, small business owners, and other analysts have said that the net result of higher wages is a loss of jobs. And small businesses, who don’t have the capital or return that large corporations do, are feeling the proverbial pinch. According to Fox News, several mom-and-pop coffee shops and restaurants, are responding by cutting hours, eliminating jobs or closing down entirely because they can’t keep up with rising wages under the law.

My very first job was flipping burgers for McDonald’s, and I made $3.35 an hour doing it. As a teenager, I was grateful to have such a job, but now such minimum wage jobs are in danger. Wal-Mart and other major corporations are already making extensive use of robots to perform basic tasks, and making human workers more expensive is going to hurt those at the bottom of the economic food chain the most.

But for the moment, things are still relatively stable. Most Americans still seem to believe that the bubble of debt-fueled economic “prosperity” that we are currently enjoying is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and they are spending money as if tomorrow will never come.

According to Zero Hedge, U.S. consumer credit has now surged past the 4 trillion dollar mark…

After a few months of wild swings in mid 2018, in February US consumer credit continued to normalize, rising by $15.2 billion, slightly below the $17 billion expected, following January’s $17.7 billion increase. The continued increase in borrowings saw total credit storm above $4 trillion, and hit a new all time high of $4.045 trillion on the back of a America’s ongoing love affair with auto and student loans, and of course credit cards.

We better hope that the U.S. economy is able to pull out of this new slowdown, because most of us are living right on the edge financially.

Sadly, we never seem to learn. The same mistakes that we made last time around are all happening again, and Americans are completely and totally unprepared for what is coming.

And the warnings are all around us. On Tuesday, the IMF downgraded their forecast for global economic growth for the third time in six months. Commenting on this downgrade, IMF executive director Christine Lagarde noted that this is a “delicate moment” for the global economy…

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s executive director, said the global economy is in a “delicate moment.”

“Only two years ago, 75% of the global economy experienced an upswing,” Lagarde said, according to the text of a speech she’s due to give at the US Chamber of Commerce. “For this year, we expect 70% of the global economy to experience a slowdown in growth.”

It is not often that I agree with a globalist like Christine Lagarde, but she is quite right in saying that this is a “delicate moment”.

Global economic numbers have not been this bad since the last financial crisis, and many believe that we have now reached a major turning point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Economic Slowdown Confirmed: Here Are 14 Very Alarming Numbers That Reveal The Current State Of The Economy

The economic numbers just continue to get worse and worse, and at this point it has become exceedingly clear that an economic slowdown is happening. In fact, even the chair of the Federal Reserve is using the term “slowdown” to describe what is taking place. But of course many are still hoping that the U.S. economy can pull out of this slump and avoid the sort of crippling recession that we experienced in 2008. Unfortunately, that may be really tough because the entire global economy is slowing down right now. Our world is more interconnected than ever before, and what happens on one side of the planet is invariably going to affect the other side of the planet. Some parts of the globe are already mired in deep economic problems, and the U.S. appears to be following down the same path.

If you still think that the economy is in “good shape”, please read over the following list very carefully.

The following are 14 very alarming numbers that reveal the true state of the economy…

#1 Continuing jobless claims are rising at the fastest pace in 10 years.

#2 U.S. businesses are adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

#3 General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler all reported sales declines of at least 5 percent on a year over year basis in March.

#4 Tesla vehicle deliveries were down a whopping 31 percent during the first quarter of 2019.

#5 U.S. consumer confidence fell more than 7 points in March.

#6 Manhattan real estate sales have now fallen for six straight quarters. That is the longest losing streak in 30 years.

#7 London real estate sales just dropped by the most we have seen in 10 years.

#8 The owner of Kay, Zales and Jared jewelers just announced that they will be closing 150 stores.

#9 Retail layoffs are 92 percent higher than they were at this time last year.

#10 U.S. freight shipment volume has fallen for three months in a row.

#11 The inventory to sales ratio in the United States has risen sharply for five months in a row.

#12 At this point, almost half of all renters in America spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent.

#13 The real median net income for Minnesota farmers was only $26,055 in 2018, and that was before many of them were absolutely devastated by the recent flooding.

#14 Overall, U.S. economic numbers are off to their worst start for a year since 2008.

We didn’t see economic numbers like this last year.

But now things have clearly changed. It is starting to feel more like 2008 with each passing day, and this is a point that Mac Slavo made in his most recent article

The signs of yet another economic recession are everywhere. In fact, it seems hard to find any positive economic news anymore, even though a mere few months ago, it was difficult to find a report signaling the United States might be headed for some turmoil.

These days, many people get offended at the thought that the U.S. economy is heading for trouble. But the truth is that we have been heading for trouble for a very long time.

Our economy is built on a foundation of sand. More specifically, we have borrowed our way into “prosperity”.

The other day, I wrote an article about our $22,000,000,000,000 national debt. It is the biggest single debt in the history of the world, and we continue to add to it at a rate that is absolutely insane. In fact, our 234 billion dollar deficit in February broke the all-time record for a single month. If we continue to do this, there is no way that our story ends well.

But that 22 trillion dollar debt is only a fraction of our overall debt.

When you add up all forms of debt in the United States, it comes to a grand total of more than 72 trillion dollars. And that doesn’t even include a single dollar of our unfunded liabilities on the federal, state and local level.

When Ronald Reagan took office, the total amount of debt in the U.S. was less than 5 trillion dollars.

When historians look back on this time in history, they will not be surprised that our society ultimately collapsed. What will surprise them is that it took so long for it to do so.

Sometimes I get criticized for urging people to get prepared. But those that really deserve the criticism are those that are assuring everyone that everything is going to be just fine. If we got the smartest minds in the entire country together and treated this like a major national emergency, perhaps we could find a way to engineer some sort of a soft landing when this debt bubble bursts.

But as it stands, there is no plan and our long-term problems get worse with each passing day. Our economy is headed for a crash of epic proportions, and it isn’t going to matter who is in power in Washington when it happens.

And at the rate that our economy is currently slowing down, America may become an economic horror show a lot sooner than many people had anticipated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Wall Street Red Flag: A Bond Market Indicator That Has Predicted Every Recession In The Last 50 Years Just Got Triggered

If the bond market is correct, the U.S. economy is definitely heading into a recession. Over the past 50 years, there have been six previous occasions when the yield on three-month Treasury bonds has risen above the yield on ten-year Treasury bonds, and in each of those instances a recession has followed. Now it has happened again, and this comes at a time when a whole host of other economic indicators are screaming that a recession is coming. Of course we have seen recession indicators triggered at other times in recent years, and the Federal Reserve was able to intervene and successfully extend this cycle on multiple occasions. But now that the global economy is clearly the weakest it has been since the last recession, have we finally reached a breaking point?

Many on Wall Street are taking what happened at the end of last week extremely seriously. According to CNBC, we have not seen a yield curve inversion of this nature in 3,009 trading days…

Short-term government fixed income yields are now ahead of the longer part of the curve, delivering a strong recession indication that hasn’t happened since 2007.

The spread, or yield curve, between the 3-month and 10-year Treasury notes just broke the longest streak ever of being above 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point. The two maturities were last below that level in September 2007, a run of 3,009 trading days, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

3,009 trading days is a very, very long time.

And now we will see how inverted the curve becomes, because as Zero Hedge has aptly pointed out, the more inverted the curve become the “higher the odds of a recession”…

Why is the inversion of the 3 Month-10 Year curve – the first since 2007 – such a momentous occasion? Because not only is said inversion the most accurate recession leading indicator, having correctly “predicted” the last 6 recessions with no false positives, most recently inverting in 1989, in 2000 and in 2006, with recessions prompting starting in 1990, 2001 and 2008….

… it also feeds directly into every Wall Street recession model: the more inverted it is, the higher the odds of a recession.

To get an idea of what the models are currently showing, just check out this chart. At this moment, the odds of another recession are the highest they have been since the last one.

Many investors were hoping that the bond market would have better news for us on Monday, but instead things got even worse

On Friday, markets were spooked when the yield curve inverted, a reliable recession signal though usually not an immediate one. That means the rate on a lower duration instrument rose above a longer duration security’s yield. In this case, it was the yield on the 3-month bill, at 2.44 percent Monday, moving above the 10-year yield, which sank as low as 2.38 percent, a more than 2-year low.

I know that just about everybody in America is writing about the Mueller Report right now, and I just posted an article about it too, but the outcome of that investigation is not going to change the trajectory of the global economy. It has been slowing down for quite some time, and that is the primary reason why we have seen an inversion of the yield curve

“Yield curves are responding to what they see, to what I believe is a global economic slowdown,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “You don’t see this kind of move in curves, not just here but everywhere, unless you get one.”

Global central banks are already jumping into action, and I expect a tremendous amount of intervention as global economic conditions continue to deteriorate.

But there is only so much that they can do, and even though they have pulled a few rabbits out of the hat in recent years, at some point they are going to completely lose control.

Already, we are starting to see things happen that are very reminiscent of the last recession. For example, we are on pace for the worst year for store closings in all of U.S. history, and another major retailer just announced that they will be closing all their stores

LifeWay Christian Resources announced Wednesday that it will be closing all remaining 170 stores this year and focusing on online sales. Carol Pipes, director of corporate communications for LifeWay, posted the announcement on the company’s website, explaining that it was “a strategic shift of resources to a dynamic digital strategy.”

Communities all over America, especially the more economically-depressed ones, are going to start looking really bleak as the number of empty buildings continues to rise. This is something that I have warned about for a long time, and now it is happening on a massive scale.

As I end this article, I once again want to mention a factor that is going to have an enormous impact on our economy throughout the rest of this year. The flooding in the middle portion of the nation has destroyed thousands of farms, and the National Weather Service is warning that the flooding that we have seen so far is just “a preview of what we expect throughout the rest of the spring”. This is already the worst flooding disaster for U.S. farmers in modern American history, and it is going to get much, much worse.

We are going to see another huge surge in farm bankruptcies, thousands of farmers will not be able to plant crops at all this year, food prices are going to rise dramatically, and a lot of families all over America are going to have a real problem making their food budgets stretch far enough.

There are so many factors hammering our economy right now. If the Federal Reserve is able to pull another rabbit out of the hat this time, it will be nothing short of a major miracle.

We are literally at a critical tipping point, and it is not going to be easy to pull us back from the brink this time.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Chair Of The Federal Reserve Just Used The Term “Slowdown” To Describe What Is Happening To The U.S. Economy

Now even the Federal Reserve is publicly admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down. And that is quite remarkable, because usually the Federal Reserve is extremely hesitant to say that an economic slowdown is taking place. As I pointed out the other day, in 2008 former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke kept insisting that a recession was not coming, but we found out later that a recession had already begun when he was making those statements. Normally the Federal Reserve tries very hard to paint a rosy picture of our economic future, and one of the big reasons for that is because they want us to believe that they are doing a good job and that they have everything under control. So it was quite stunning to hear Fed Chair Jerome Powell use the term “slowdown” to describe what is coming for the U.S. economy on Wednesday…

Citing a more modest outlook for the economy, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held interest rates steady and signaled it did not plan to raise rates at all this year and would bump them up just once in 2020, providing a road map for a sustained period of easy-money policy.

“The U.S. economy is in a good place,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference, adding policymakers foresee “a modest slowdown, with overall conditions remaining favorable. We see no need to rush to judgment (by lifting or cutting rates).”

Admittedly, he did only say that it would be a “modest slowdown”, and so to most people that won’t sound that bad.

But this is the very first time that Powell has talked like this, and the truth is that the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is currently forecasting that U.S. growth in the first quarter will be less than half a percent. Fed officials are hoping that growth will be better in the second quarter, but there is also a very strong possibility that the economy will continue to decelerate.

Because the economy is entering a “slowdown”, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it does not anticipate any more interest rate hikes for the rest of the year.

Normally Wall Street would experience a huge surge of euphoria upon hearing such news, but stocks were actually down on Wednesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary-policy announcement dragged Treasury yields lower, pushing bank shares down.

Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock Dow to end the day down 141.71 points at 25,745.67. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain, closing 0.1 percent higher at 7,728.97.

This certainly could not have been the reaction that the Federal Reserve was hoping for.

Could it be possible that bad news for the U.S. economy is no longer good news for Wall Street?

Without a doubt, we are witnessing a huge wave of pessimism in the business community right now. Yesterday, I noted that Federal Express is talking as if a global recession had already started, and other corporate leaders are making similar statements.

For example, just consider what the CEO of banking giant UBS just said

The head of UBS was among the latest to blame the world’s backdrop for weaker-than-expected results. CEO Ermotti told a conference in London on Wednesday that it “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history,” Reuters reported. The Swiss bank slashed another $300 million from 2019 costs after revenue at its investment bank plunged. Investment banking conditions are among the toughest seen in years, especially outside the U.S., he said.

And the CFO of BMW told investors on Wednesday that BMW’s earnings may be exposed to “additional risks” from the global economy in the months ahead…

“Depending on how conditions develop, our guidance may be subject to additional risks; in particular, the risk of a no-deal Brexit and ongoing developments in international trade policy,” CFO Nicolas Peter said in BMW’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday.

Last, but certainly not least, the co-CEO of Samsung just said that his company is anticipating “slowing growth in major economies” for the remainder of 2019…

“We are expecting many difficulties this year such as slowing growth in major economies and risks over global trade conflicts,” Samsung Co-Chief Executive Kinam Kim said.

Here in the United States, whoever is in the White House at the time usually gets most of the credit or most of the blame for how the economy is performing.

But the truth is that President Trump did not create the financial bubble that caused the boom on Wall Street.

The Federal Reserve did.

And President Trump is not going to be responsible when that bubble bursts either.

The Federal Reserve has far, far more control over the performance of the U.S. economy than either the president or Congress does. And since the Federal Reserve was initially created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions and/or depressions, and now we are heading into the 19th one.

If we want to finally get off this economic roller coaster ride permanently, we need to abolish the Federal Reserve. But this isn’t even part of the national political discussion at this point.

However, that could soon change. In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, we witnessed a huge backlash against the Federal Reserve system. Eventually that backlash subsided, but now that we are entering a new crisis, perhaps it is time to start dusting off all of those old “End the Fed” signs.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

FedEx Is Talking As If A Global Recession Has Already Begun – And The Numbers Back That Up

“Slowing international macroeconomic conditions” is just a fancy way to say that the global economy is in big trouble. For months, I have been warning that economic conditions are deteriorating, and we just keep getting more confirmation that we are facing the worst global downturn since the last financial crisis. For the second time in three months, FedEx has slashed its revenue forecast for this year. In an attempt to explain why revenue is declining, FedEx’s chief financial officer placed the blame squarely on the faltering global economy. The following comes from CNBC

The multinational package delivery service reported declining international revenue as a result of unfavorable exchange rates and the negative effects of trade battles.

“Slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue, as seen in the year-over-year decline in our FedEx Express international revenue,” Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in statement.

The use of the word “trends” implies something that has been going on for an extended period of time, and obviously FedEx doesn’t expect things to get better any time soon if they have cut profit projections twice in just the last three months.

And FedEx certainly has a lot of company when it comes to having a gloomy outlook for the global economy. In one recent article, Bloomberg boldly declared that the global economy is in the worst shape it has been “since the financial crisis a decade ago”

The global economy’s in its weakest shape since the financial crisis a decade ago, Bloomberg Economics analysis shows. And the reminders are all around: China got more affirming evidence of its big slowdown, with industrial output and retail sales softening and a jump in unemployment. The question now is how big that slowdown will be, and what China’s stimulus — and the U.S.-China negotiations — will do to put a floor under it. The Chinese premier pledged Friday that they wouldn’t use quantitative easing or massive deficit spending to ease the pain. Japan got more bad news on manufacturing sentiment and in the hard investment data. Germany, Europe’s growth driver, can’t hide from the daunting external risks. And Turkey just entered its first recession in a decade.

In recent weeks I have been sharing lots of numbers that back up the claim that global economic conditions are getting worse, and over the past few days we got a few more…

-U.S. freight volume has dropped for three months in a row.

-In February, orders for Class-8 freight trucks were down 58 percent from a year ago.

-U.S. manufacturing output was down for a second straight month in the month of February.

-U.S. residential construction spending just plunged for the sixth month in a row.

-Industrial production on a year-over-year basis in Europe has fallen for three months in a row.

When we see numbers like those, normally everyone is screaming “recession” by now.

And retailers continue to shut down at a staggering pace here in 2019. Sadly, we just learned that Shopko is officially heading for bankruptcy and liquidation

Shopko will liquidate its assets and close all of its remaining locations by mid-June.

The company was unable to find a buyer for the retail business and will begin winding down its operations beginning this week, the company said in statement released Monday. The decision to liquidate will bring an end to the brick-and-mortar business that began in 1962 with one location in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

There is a Shopko about 20 minutes from where I live, and it will definitely be missed.

Meanwhile, things just continue to get even harder for farmers in the middle part of the country. I wrote about the devastating impact that this historic flooding is having on Midwest farmers a few days ago, and now Fox Business is reporting that all of this flood damage is likely to make our rapidly growing farm bankruptcy crisis even worse…

The number of farms filing for bankruptcy already spiked, following low prices for corn, soybeans, milk and beef, according to analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In the 12-month period ending in June, 84 farms filed for bankruptcy in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana — double the number over the same period in 2013 and 2014.

Now, some of these farmers have lost their livestock as a result of the devastating flooding. Some farmers, the Times reported, said they’ve been separated from their animals by walls of water, while others are unable to get into town for food and other supplies for the livestock.

We can see so many elements of “the perfect storm” starting to come together, and many believe that events are going to start greatly accelerating in the months ahead.

And as the global economy continues to deteriorate, we could quickly have a giant mess on our hands, because the global financial system is far more vulnerable today than it was in 2008. Just consider these numbers

Global debt levels have become “higher and riskier” than that of a decade ago, meaning that “another credit downturn may be inevitable”, S&P Global Ratings has warned.

In a report entitled Next Debt Crisis: Will Liquidity Hold?, published on Tuesday (12 March), S&P found global debt has surged by around 50% since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, led by major-economy governments and Chinese non-financial corporates, while global debt-to-GDP ratios have risen to more than 231%, compared with 208% in June 2008.

Shipping companies often feel the effects of an economic slowdown earlier than just about anyone else. When a lot less stuff is being moved around by truck, rail and air, that should be a clear indication for the rest of us that economic activity is really starting to slow down significantly.

So the fact that FedEx has such a bleak outlook for our immediate economic future is a very ominous sign.

Tough times are ahead, and considering how tense things already are in our country, an economic downturn at this time could ultimately set off a very disturbing chain of events.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

New Numbers Confirm That The Global Economy And The U.S. Economy Are The Weakest They Have Been Since The Last Recession

Even mainstream economists are admitting that economic activity is slowing down. And at this point that fact would be very difficult to deny, because the numbers are very clear. We haven’t faced anything like this in a decade, and many are deeply concerned about what is coming next. Will it be just another recession, or will it be an even greater crisis than we faced in 2008? According to Bloomberg Economics, the global economy experienced a “sharp loss of speed” over the course of 2008 and global economic conditions are now “the weakest since the global financial crisis”…

The global economy’s sharp loss of speed through 2018 has left the pace of expansion the weakest since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Its new GDP tracker puts world growth at 2.1 percent on a quarter-on-quarter annualized basis, down from about 4 percent in the middle of last year. While there’s a chance that the economy may find a foothold and arrest the slowdown, “the risk is that downward momentum will be self-sustaining,” say economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik.

This is definitely the worst condition that the global economy has been in since I started The Economic Collapse Blog, and I am personally very alarmed about where things are heading. The tremendous economic optimism of early 2018 has given way to a tremendous wave of pessimism, and the speed at which the economic environment is changing has stunned a lot of the experts.

In fact, Bloomberg economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik openly admit that they are “surprised” by how quickly the global economy has shifted…

“The cyclical upswing that took hold of the global economy in mid-2017 was never going to last. Even so, the extent of the slowdown since late last year has surprised many economists, including us.

Of course the U.S. has not been immune from the changes. The U.S. economy is rapidly slowing down as well, and this is something that I have been heavily documenting on my website.

And now we have just received more confirmation that the economy is decelerating. The Atlanta Fed has just updated their GDPNow model yet again, and with this new revision they are now projecting that the U.S. economy will grow at a rate of just 0.2 percent during the first quarter of 2019…

Moments ago we got another confirmation of this, when following the latest retail sales report which saw a dramatic cut to December retail sales even as January surprised modestly to the upside, the Atlanta Fed slashed its Q1 GDP nowcast, and after rebounding modestly from 0.3% to 0.5% a week ago, it has once again slumped, and is now at the lowest recorded level, and just 0.2% away from economic contraction.

This is how the AtlantaFed justified its latest Q1 GDP cut, which as of March 11 was just 0.2 percent, down from 0.5 percent on March 8: “After this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the nowcast of first-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth declined from 1.5 percent to 1.0 percent.”

In other words, we are just a razor thin margin away from entering an economic contraction.

Last week, we learned that U.S. job cut announcements were up 117 percent in February when compared to last year. All of the economic momentum is in a negative direction right now, and it is going to be exceedingly difficult to avert a recession at this point.

And of course a lot of analysts believe that what is coming will be a whole lot worse than just a recession. The greatest debt bubble in the entire history of our planet is in the process of bursting, and the consequences are going to be absolutely horrific. I really like how financial expert Egon von Greyerz recently made this point

People must understand that the world has never faced risk of this magnitude. We are now in the final seconds of the global mega bubble, the likes of which the world has never seen before. What will happen next will be worse than the fall of the Roman Empire, much worse than the South Sea and Mississippi Bubbles, and will create a disaster that will dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The problem is simple to define and is all based around debts and liabilities. At the beginning of this century, global debt was $80 trillion. When the Great Financial Crisis started in 2006, global debt had gone up by 56% to $125 trillion. Today it is $250 trillion.

There is no way that a 250 trillion dollar bubble is going to burst in an orderly fashion. Essentially, we are looking at the sort of apocalyptic financial scenario that I have been warning about for a long time, and most people have no idea that it is coming.

And if people only listened to the financial authorities, it would be easy to get the impression that everything is going to be just fine.

For example, Fed Chair Jay Powell just told 60 Minutes that the outlook for the U.S. economy “is a favorable one”. The following comes from Fox Business

Jay Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, says he does not see a recession hitting the U.S. economy anytime soon.

“The outlook for our economy, in my view, is a favorable one,” Powell said Sunday in an interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley for “60 Minutes.”

If you are tempted to believe Powell, let me remind you of what former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told Congress in early 2008

“The U.S. economy remains extraordinarily resilient,” the U.S. central bank chief said in answering questions after testifying before the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Bernanke added that growth will be worse this year. “We currently see the economy as continuing to grow, but growing at a relatively slow pace, particularly in the first half of this year,” he said.

Of course we all remember what happened next. The U.S. economy plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are still dealing with the aftermath of that crisis to this day.

Nobody is going to ring a bell when the next recession starts. It is just going to happen, and just like last time, most Americans are going to be blindsided by it.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

As The Economy Teeters On The Brink Of A Recession, U.S. Debt Levels Are Absolutely Exploding

We now have official confirmation that the U.S. economy has dramatically slowed down. In recent days I have shared a whole bunch of numbers with my readers that clearly demonstrate that a new economic downturn has begun. And even though stock prices have been rising, the numbers for the “real economy” have been depressingly bad lately. But what we didn’t have was official confirmation from the Federal Reserve that the economy is really slowing down, but now we do. According to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model, the economy is growing “at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter”

The U.S. economy is growing at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, based on data on domestic construction spending in December released on Monday, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed.

For years, the goal has been to get U.S. growth above the key 3 percent threshold, but what this forecast is telling us is that economic growth is currently at one-tenth of that level.

That is just barely above recession territory.

So when I say that we are teetering on the brink of a recession, I am not exaggerating.

We also just got some really bad news about construction spending

Construction spending fell 0.6% in December from November, based on a seasonally adjusted annual rate, released today by the Commerce Department. Compared to December a year earlier, total construction spending inched up only 0.8% (not seasonally adjusted), the lowest growth rate since Oct 2011, coming out of the great recession.

Now we can add that to the list of all the other numbers that are telling us that very rough times are ahead.

Meanwhile, debt levels in the U.S. just continue to explode.

According to the latest report, Americans now have 480 million credit cards. That is about 100 million more than during the last recession.

In other words, there are about 1.5 credit cards for every man, woman and child in the entire country.

The total amount of credit card debt in the United States has now reached a whopping $870,000,000,000. That number has never been higher in the history of our nation.

And when you total up all forms of individual debt, U.S. consumers are now 13.5 trillion dollars in the hole.

Corporate debt levels are exploding as well, and this is something that Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan warned about on Tuesday

U.S. nonfinancial corporate debt consists mostly of bonds and loans. This category of debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product, is now higher than in the prior peak reached at the end of 2008, Kaplan said.

A number of studies have concluded this level of credit could “potentially amplify the severity of a recession,” he noted.

The lowest level of investment-grade debt, BBB bonds, has grown from $800 million to $2.7 trillion by year-end 2018. High-yield debt has grown from $700 million to $1.1 trillion over the same period. This trend has been accompanied by more relaxed bond and loan covenants, he added.

Overall, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, and that is just one of the reasons why our financial system is far more vulnerable today than it was just before the last financial crisis.

This week we also learned that the federal budget deficit is exploding as well. The following comes from Business Insider

According to a report from the Treasury Department released Tuesday, the budget deficit — that is the difference between what the federal government takes in and what it spends — hit $310 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2019.

Fiscal years for the federal government run October through September, so the data reflects the shortfall from October 2018 through January 2019. Based on the data, the deficit increased by 77% compared to the same period the prior year.

A 77 percent increase in one year?

I don’t even have the words to describe how foolish this is.

We are on pace to add way over a trillion dollars to the national debt this year, and one of the big things fueling this horrific debt binge is our rapidly expanding interest payments

Finally, and perhaps most concerning, is that for the first four months of this fiscal year, interest payments on the U.S. national debt hit $192 billion, $17 billion, or 10% more than in the same four-month period last year and the most interest ever paid in the first third of the fiscal year. As Reuters’ Jeoff Hall points out, annualizing the $192BN interest expense means that the interest on U.S. public debt is on track to reach a record $575 billion this fiscal year, more than the entire budget deficit in FY 2014 ($483 BN) or FY 2015 ($439 BN), and equates to 2.7% of estimated GDP, the highest percentage since 2011.

But according to the proponents of modern monetary theory (MMT), we can spend as much money as we want because “deficits almost never matter”

Because MMT holds that government spending isn’t funded by taxes, the Green New Deal doesn’t include any measures to finance the very large, open-ended fiscal commitments it would undertake. According to MMT economists, the only possible danger from the resultant government debt would be inflation, which can usually be controlled with tools other than raising taxes. In other words, deficits almost never matter. So confident are they of their theory’s universal applicability that MMT proponents often respond to their critics with scorn.

If you can believe it, there are actually members of Congress that believe this stuff. Of course the truth is that our national debt is an existential threat to the continued existence of our nation, and this is a point that I have made repeatedly.

The U.S. economy was in far better shape just prior to the financial crisis of 2008 than it is now, and today we are drowning in far more debt than we were at that time.

The stage is set for the most terrifying economic horror show in American history, and the clock is ticking away with each passing day.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Investors Brace For Impact As The Cancer That Is Ravaging “The Real Economy” Starts To Spread

2019 sure has been a weird year so far. On Wall Street, everything has been coming up roses for investors up to this point. Stock prices have risen more than 10 percent year-to-date, and the horrible crashes of late last year are quickly fading from memory. Meanwhile, the real economy is literally falling to pieces right in front of our eyes. Debt delinquencies are at unprecedented levels, bankruptcies are soaring, retail stores are closing at a record pace, this is the worst economy for farmers since the early 1980s, exports are plummeting and a brand new real estate crisis has now begun. Economic cancer is rapidly spreading throughout our country, and the U.S. economy is deteriorating at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession. So how long will it be before Wall Street catches up with economic reality?

The retail industry is being hit particularly hard. At the end of last week, major retailers announced 465 store closings in a single 48 hour period…

The ‘retail apocalypse’ is alive and well this week with major chains such as Gap, JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker all announcing massive closures, totalling the death of more than 465 stores over the last 48 hours.

And those closings already bring the grand total for 2019 to “a whopping 4,309 store closures”

That builds on recent store closure announcements by Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe and Ann Taylor parent company Ascena Retail, to name a few. A whopping 4,309 store closures were announced by retailers just in the first two months of this year, Coresight Research said in a research note on Friday. That’s well ahead of the number of announcements the market research firm was tracking this same time a year ago, it said.

The term “retail apocalypse” is being thrown around so frequently these days that it has almost lost its meaning, but the worst is yet to come.

Meanwhile, layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now. For example, I was recently made aware of major job cuts that just happened in North Carolina

Duke Energy Corp. eliminated 1,900 positions in its latest round of job reductions, largely through voluntary buyouts but with some involuntary layoffs included.

For the first time since the last recession, I think that it is time to start visiting sites like Daily Job Cuts on a regular basis once again. Millions of Americans lost their jobs in 2008 and 2009, and a lot of you can still remember how painful that was.

In the middle of the country, the big news is “the farm apocalypse”. Last week, we learned that farm debt has now jumped 30 percent since 2013…

“Farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30% since 2013 – up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last year – to levels seen in the 1980s,” Perdue said in his testimony to the House Agriculture Committee.

As a result of this giant mountain of debt, a ton of small and mid-size farms are going under. As I noted the other day, farm debt delinquencies have now reached the highest level that we have witnessed in 9 years.

I really, really don’t understand the people that are telling us that everything is going to be okay.

Everything is not okay, and things are getting worse with each passing day. ISM’s manufacturing survey just hit the lowest level in 26 months, and for a whole bunch more extremely ominous economic numbers please see my previous article entitled “18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly”.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is hurting. Up north, Canada is literally teetering on the brink of recession

The Canadian government shocked the professional financial and economic media with their latest fourth quarter GDP release showing the economy has essentially come to a grinding halt at 0.1% growth.

And over in Europe, things are arguably even worse. Germany is supposed to have the strongest economy in the entire region, but they are also right on the brink of recession

The country’s economy just escaped entering recession territory last month, with GDP growing at just zero percent following a 0.4 percent contraction in the previous three-month period. But Germany could be just weeks away from a recession-threatening double whammy as a potential no-deal Brexit and Donald Trump’s warning to hike car tariffs by up to 25 percent could send the economy tumbling. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ministers have entered into a frantic plan to avert an economic catastrophe which could end Europe’s biggest economy’s golden growth for a decade.

This is a global economic slowdown, and many believe that it will be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

But as I have previously warned, we aren’t just heading toward an economic storm. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and that includes our governmental institutions.

On Sunday, we learned that the House Judiciary Committee is opening an investigation into obstruction of justice by President Trump. The following comes from Reuters

The House Judiciary Committee will seek documents from more than 60 people and organizations as it begins investigations into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Donald Trump, the panel’s chairman said on Sunday.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told ABC’s “This Week” the panel wanted documents from the Department of Justice, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, among others.

This is going to be a year of great governmental shaking. And no matter which side emerges victorious from the legal struggles and from the election of 2020, the truth is that our governmental institutions will never be the same again.

From 2016 through 2018, America experienced a time of relative peace and prosperity, and a lot of people out there were convinced that this bubble of unsustainable false prosperity could continue indefinitely.

Now it is becoming very clear what is ahead of us, and a lot of people are starting to freak out.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly

Virtually every piece of hard economic data is telling us that the U.S. economy is slowing down dramatically. Many of the pundits have been warning that we could officially enter recession territory later this year or next year, but these numbers seem to indicate that it could happen a whole lot sooner than that. But the stock market has been surging over the last two months, and at this point stocks are off to their best start to a year since 1987, and as long as stock prices are rising a lot of people are simply not going to pay much attention to the economic alarm bells that are ringing. But everyone should be paying attention, because things are really starting to get bad out there. The following are 18 really big numbers that show that the U.S. economy is starting to fall apart very rapidly…

#1 Farm loan delinquencies just hit the highest level that we have seen in 9 years.

#2 We just learned that U.S. exports declined by 4 billion dollars during the month of December.

#3 J.C. Penney just announced that they will be closing another 24 stores.

#4 Victoria’s Secret has just announced plans to close 53 stores.

#5 On Thursday, Gap announced that it will be closing 230 stores over the next two years.

#6 Payless ShoeSource has declared bankruptcy and is closing all 2,100 stores.

#7 Tesla is also closing all of their physical sales locations and will now only sell vehicles online.

#8 PepsiCo has started laying off workers and has committed to “millions of dollars in severance pay”.

#9 The Baltic Dry Index has dropped to the lowest level in more than two years.

#10 This is the worst slump for core U.S. factory orders in three years.

#11 We just witnessed the largest decline in the Philly Fed Business Index in more than 7 years.

#12 In January, sales of existing homes fell 8.9 percent from a year earlier. That was the third month in a row that we have seen a decline of at least 8 percent. This is an absolutely catastrophic trend for the real estate industry.

#13 U.S. housing starts were down 11.2 percent in December compared to the previous month.

#14 Compared to a year earlier, home sales in southern California were down 17 percent in January.

#15 In December, home sales in Sacramento County fell a whopping 22.5 percent compared to a year earlier.

#16 Pending home sales in the United States have now fallen on a year over year basis for 13 months in a row.

#17 More than 166 billion dollars in student loan debt is now “seriously delinquent”. That is an all-time record.

#18 More than 7 million Americans are behind on their auto loan payments. That is also a new all-time record, and it is far higher than anything that we witnessed during the last recession.

It appears that “the recovery” has finally come to an end. After seeing all of those numbers, there is no way that anyone can possibly claim that economic conditions are “getting better”.

And even though the official government numbers are highly manipulated, we never even had one “boom year” throughout the entire “recovery”.

The final numbers for 2018 are now in, and last year was the 13th year in a row when U.S. GDP growth was below 3 percent.

The last time we had a “boom year” when economic growth was above 3 percent was all the way back in 2005. That was in the middle of the Bush administration.

We have never seen a bad streak like this before in modern American history. The following comes from CNS News

But prior to the current 13-year period when real GDP has failed to grow by 3.0 percent in any year, there has been no stretch (in the years since 1930) when the United States went as long as five straight years with real GDP failing to grow by at least 3 percent.

Even though the Federal Reserve pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system over the last decade, and even though we added nearly 12 trillion dollars to the national debt, the best that the authorities have been able to do is to stabilize the system for a while. Now it is starting to sputter once again, and many believe that the next crisis will be far worse than the last one.

By contrast, the Great Depression of the 1930s featured some really bad years, but following those bad years the U.S. experienced a tremendous economic boom

By contrast, after the stock market crash in 1929, the United States saw four years of negative annual GDP—1930 (-8.5), 1931 (-6.4), 1932 (-12.9) and 1933 (-1.2). But then in the nine full years from 1934 through 1942, real GDP grew by an average of 9.75 percent.

We should have had some boom years too, but we didn’t, and now things are going to get bad again.

The Democrats are going to blame the Republicans and the Republicans are going to blame the Democrats, but all of that arguing isn’t going to solve anything.

What is coming next has been a central focus of my work for a very long time. The last recession was very painful, but it did not fundamentally alter life in America.

This next crisis will.

The “Everything Bubble” is bursting, the “Perfect Storm” is coming, and all of our lives will never be the same again.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. In fact, once things really start getting crazy hope is going to be one of the major themes in my work because people are really going to need it.

There will be great challenges, and life will be very different, but that doesn’t mean that life is over.

America is about to experience the consequences of decades of exceedingly foolish decisions, and the pain will be extreme. But difficult times also offer an opportunity for dramatic change, and that is something that we will need to embrace.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Most Depressing Stat Of The Month: The U.S. National Debt Is About To Pass The $22 Trillion Mark

The U.S. national debt is wildly out of control, and nobody in Washington seems to care. According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government is currently $21,933,491,166,604.77 in debt. In just a few days, that figure will cross the 22 trillion dollar mark. Over the last 10 years, we have added more than 11 trillion dollars to the national debt, and that means that it has been growing at a pace of more than a trillion dollars a year. To call this a major national crisis would be a massive understatement, and yet there is absolutely no urgency in Washington address this absolutely critical issue. We are literally destroying the financial future of this nation, but most Americans don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that the national debt and interest on that debt will both explode at an exponential rate in future years if we stay on the path that we are currently on. According to the CBO, the federal government spent 371 billion dollars on net interest during the most recent fiscal year…

In fiscal 2018, the government spent $371 billion on net interest, while the Defense Department budget was $599 billion. Social Security benefits cost $977 billion, Medicare $585 billion and Medicaid $389 billion, according to the CBO estimates.

But the CBO said interest outlays’ rate of growth in fiscal 2018 was faster than that for the three mandatory federal programs: Social Security (up $43 billion, or 5 percent); Medicaid (up $14 billion, or 4 percent); and Medicare (up $16 billion, or 3 percent). In comparison, net interest on the public debt increased by $62 billion, or 20 percent.

The 371 billion dollars that we spent on interest could have been spent on roads, schools, airports, strengthening our military or helping the homeless.

Instead, it was poured down a black hole.

As interest rates rise, it is being projected that we will soon be spending more on interest on the national debt than we do on national defense. And not too long after that, interest on the national debt will cost us more than the entire Social Security program each year.

The bigger our debt gets, the more interest we have to pay, and the CBO is projecting that we will add another 12 trillion dollars to the debt during the 2020s…

Washington has been drowning in red ink for years and it’s only going to get a lot worse over the next decade, a fresh government estimate shows.

The U.S. is likely to add $12 trillion in public debt from 2020 to 2029 through a combination of higher government spending and slower economic growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Of course CBO estimates are almost always way too optimistic, and so reality will probably be a lot worse than that.

But if government debt is so bad, why do we just keep on accumulating more of it?

Well, the truth is that government debt always makes the short-term look better. When the government borrows money and spends it into the economy, it increases GDP. In essence, we are sacrificing our long-term prosperity in order for some short-term gain.

If we went back and removed the 11 trillion dollars that the federal government borrowed and spent over the last decade, we would be in the worst economic depression in American history right now. But by stealing from the future, the federal government has been able to stabilize things.

Unfortunately, the future always arrives eventually, and our future is looking extremely bleak at the moment.

If we want to turn things around, we should not be afraid to learn from what other countries have done. Switzerland and Sweden have both found a lot of success in managing their budgets by adopting very strict fiscal frameworks

What magic formula keeps the Swiss and Swedish fiscal houses in order?

In both cases, they adopted a comprehensive fiscal framework anchored by sensible fiscal targets and enforced by spending and tax limits. It allows them to live with prevailing economic cycles by pegging federal spending and debt to GDP — spending more when the economy is down, and less when growth is strong — and establishing a process for living within those goals.

But that would require discipline, and that is something that is severely lacking in our nation’s capital right now.

In fact, on the left it has become very trendy to say that the U.S. can never face a debt crisis because we can always “print more money”. Here is one example

All lending to the U.S. government is done in dollars, and the Treasury controls the supply of that currency. It is literally impossible for America to face a pure debt crisis because it can always print enough money to pay its bills.

Again, that creates its own problems. Doing so would risk significant inflation which would almost certainly harm the country’s credit rating, making future borrowing more expensive. However, America structurally can’t reach a point where it doesn’t have the money to pay its debts; only a point where it prioritizes different concerns.

There is so much wrong with those two paragraphs that I don’t even know where to begin.

First of all, the U.S. Treasury does not control the supply of our currency. The Federal Reserve does, and under normal circumstances more “Federal Reserve notes” do not come into existence unless a corresponding amount of U.S. debt is also issued.

In other words, the process of creating more money also creates more debt. Most Americans simply do not understand that the Federal Reserve system was designed to be a perpetual debt machine, and it is the primary reason why we are now nearly 22 trillion dollars in debt. During my run for Congress, abolishing the Federal Reserve was one of the key issues that I ran on, and we need to continue to educate the American people about these issues.

Because the truth is that the national debt is an existential threat to the future of this nation, and we are systematically destroying the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The “Stock Market Crash Of 2018” Is Rapidly Transforming Into “The Financial Crisis Of 2019”

Stock markets are crashing all over the world, we are seeing extremely violent “flash crashes” in the forex marketplace, economic conditions are slowing down all over the globe, and fear is causing many investors to become extremely trigger happy. The stock market crash of 2018 wiped out approximately 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth, but things were supposed to calm down once we got into 2019. But clearly that is not happening. After Apple announced that their sales during the first quarter are going to be much, much lower than previously anticipated, Apple’s stock price started shooting down like a rocket and by the end of the session on Wednesday the company had lost 75 billion dollars in market capitalization. Meanwhile, “flash crashes” caused some of the most violent swings that we have ever seen in the foreign exchange markets…

It took seven minutes for the yen to surge through levels that have held through almost a decade.

In those wild minutes from about 9:30 a.m. Sydney, the yen jumped almost 8 percent against the Australian dollar to its strongest since 2009, and surged 10 percent versus the Turkish lira. The Japanese currency rose at least 1 percent versus all its Group-of-10 peers, bursting through the 72 per Aussie level that has held through a trade war, a stock rout, Italy’s budget dispute and Federal Reserve rate hikes.

This is the kind of chaos that we only see during a financial crisis.

Investors are also being rattled by the fact that China just experienced its first factory activity contraction in over two years

The People’s Bank of China said on Wednesday evening it had relaxed its conditions on targeted reserve requirement cuts to benefit more small firms.

The move came after China reported its first factory activity contraction in over two years in December. A long-term Chinese slowdown would cause global havoc.

But of course the biggest news of the day was what happened to Apple. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 660 points on Wednesday, and the huge hit that Apple took was the biggest reason for that decline.

Including the 75 billion dollars that was just wiped out, the value of Apple has now fallen by 452 billion dollars since October 3rd…

In only three months, Apple has lost $452 billion in market capitalization, including tens of billions on Thursday as the tech giant’s stock sank further.

Apple shares have fallen by 39.1 percent since Oct. 3, when the stock hit a 52-week high of $233.47 a share. With its market cap down to about $674 billion, those losses are larger than individual value of 496 members of the S&P 500 — including Facebook and J.P. Morgan.

Ironically, the truth is that Apple is actually one of the strongest companies on Wall Street financially. It is just that the company was priced well beyond perfection, and so any hint of bad news was likely to cause a decline of this magnitude.

The amount of paper wealth that stock market investors have just lost is absolutely staggering. To put this in the proper perspective, here are some more facts about the money that Apple investors have lost that come from CNBC

At this point U.S. financial markets are hypersensitive to any piece of bad news, and the fact that Apple sales are way down in China is definitely bad news.

One analyst said that this was “Apple’s darkest day in the iPhone era” and he expressed his opinion that “the magnitude of the miss with China demand …was jaw-dropping.”

Of course Apple is far from alone. Economic activity is slowing down substantially all over the planet, and on Wednesday we learned that U.S. factory activity just declined by the most since the last recession

Beyond Apple, investors were also rattled by the biggest one-month decline in US factory activity since the Great Recession. The closely-watched ISM manufacturing index tumbled to a two-year low, providing further evidence of slowing growth and pain from the US-China trade war.

In addition, both of Bloomberg’s economic surprise indexes have “turned negative for the first time since Trump was elected”.

The hits just keep on coming, and it is becoming quite clear that this is going to be a very tough year.

As this crisis continues to escalate, keep an eye on our big financial institutions. Italy’s tenth largest bank just imploded, and it is likely that we will see more financial dominoes start to topple as the losses mount.

Over the past decade, there have been other times when Wall Street has been rattled, but those episodes only lasted for a few weeks at the most.

It has now been three months, and this new crisis shows no signs of abating any time soon.

What that means is that we are in a heap of trouble. Because once this giant financial avalanche fully gets going, it is going to be impossible to stop.

For the moment, I think that this current wave of panic selling is subsiding and that Friday will be better for investors. Of course the markets are so jittery at this point that a single piece of bad news could instantly send them tumbling once again. But barring any bad news, hopefully things will be calmer on Friday.

There will be good days and there will be bad days in 2019.

There will be ups and there will be downs.

But it has become exceedingly clear that the downturn that so many have been anticipating has finally arrived, and the financial crisis of 2019 looks like it is going to be a doozy.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

A Surprise Announcement Has Just Unleashed Another Wave Of Panic On Wall Street

Well, that sure didn’t take long. Many had been hoping that 2019 would be a calmer year for Wall Street, but so far that has not materialized. In fact, a surprise announcement by Apple has just sparked another wave of panic selling on Wall Street. In a letter to shareholders, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that first quarter revenue is going to be way, way below expectations. That immediately set off “flash crashes” all over the globe as investors reacted to this unexpected news. According to Cook, the primary reason for the coming “revenue shortfall” is a slowing economy in China

Apple said it sees first-quarter revenue of $84 billion vs. a previous guidance of a range of $89 billion and $93 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $91.3 billion for the period, according to the consensus estimate from FactSet. Apple blamed most of the revenue shortfall for struggling business in China. But the company also said that upgrades by customers in other countries were “not as strong as we thought they would be.”

Once this letter was released, many investors rushed to dump as much Apple stock as they could, and trading in the stock was temporarily halted

After being halted temporarily, Apple shares resumed trading at 4:50 p.m. ET, quickly falling over 8 percent to $145.12. The plunging shares wiped out more than $50 billion in the company’s market value, according to Bloomberg data. Apple, which was trading around $146 in after-hours trading is now down more than 37 percent from its Oct. 3 high and has fallen mightily since becoming the first U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market cap in August.

And many investors generally assume that pretty much any bad news for Apple is bad news for the tech sector as a whole, and so just about every big tech stock was being pummeled in the aftermath of this surprise announcement. The following numbers come from Business Insider

As I warned just yesterday, it looks like 2019 is going to be a very, very challenging year.

At this point the mood of the nation has turned downright gloomy. Economic activity is slowing down all around the globe, the current government shutdown looks like it could last for a very long time, the endless investigations in Washington threaten to derail the Trump presidency, our trade war with China is becoming more painful with each passing week, and even many former optimists are openly admitting that the outlook for Wall Street looks very grim. For example, just check out what venture capitalist Fred Wilson is saying

Like many of his peers in the Valley, legendary New York VC Fred Wilson – the founder of Union Square Ventures – is typically a dewy eyed optimist (just take a look at Union Ventures’ many flailing crypto investments). But in a surprising twist, a list of Wilson’s market calls for 2019 is so gloomy, it reads as if it were ghostwritten by SocGen’s Albert Edwards.

According to Wilson, the S&P 500 will visit 2,000 (a roughly 500 point – 25% – drop from current levels) some time during 2019 as the bottom falls out of the global economy. President Trump will agree to resign after being impeached by the House following the publication of the Mueller report. And the slate of highly anticipated tech IPOs (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb etc.) will fall flat. In other words, 2019 will be a “doozy”, as Wilson describes it.

The new session of Congress begins at noon on Thursday, and Nancy Pelosi will once again be the Speaker of the House. If something suddenly happened to President Trump and Vice-President Pence, she would become the president of the United States.

I don’t know about you, but just the thought of that chills me to the bone.

Now that the Democrats control the House, they are going to investigate the living daylights out of Trump, and it is likely to be a very, very tough year for him.

Many on the left are entirely convinced that Trump will be out of the White House by the end of 2019. Perhaps they will be successful in that mission, but instead of fixing things that would just unleash a whole lot more chaos.

As this year rolls along, the bickering and fighting in Washington is going to continue to intensify, but meanwhile very little is going to get done. With the Democrats in control of the House, the Republicans in control of the Senate, and Trump in control of the White House we have a recipe for gridlock that is pretty much unprecedented in modern American history.

What that means is that if things go really, really bad, we shouldn’t really expect any solutions to come out of Washington. We desperately need real change, but the voters just keep on sending the same old faces back to D.C. and they just keep on pushing the same old tired policies.

It is funny how I often drift into talking about politics, but the truth is that economics and politics are inseparable. And it is undeniable that what is going on in D.C. is going to have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy throughout 2019.

As I write this, the numbers coming from Wall Street just keep getting worse and worse. It looks like it is going to be a really tough day, and without a doubt it looks like it is going to be a really tough year.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

2019: It Is Going To Be Much Worse Than You Think…

The beginning of a new year is supposed to be all about hope, right? And I would certainly like to tell you that 2019 is going to be America’s best year ever and that everybody is going to receive a double portion of blessing, prosperity and happiness, but that simply would not be true. Unfortunately, the truth is that the elements for a “perfect storm” are rapidly coming together and 2019 is going to be an exceedingly challenging year. Of course 2018 wasn’t exactly a wonderful year either. I really like how Dave Barry made this point in his most recent article

We can summarize 2018 in two words:

It boofed.

We’re not 100 percent sure what “boofing” is, despite the fact that this very issue was discussed in a hearing of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. All we know for certain about boofing is that it is distasteful and stupid.

As was 2018.

But as bad as 2018 was, the year that has just started threatens to greatly surpass it.

Let’s start by talking about politics. According to Axios, Donald Trump is currently the subject of 17 different investigations.

Yes, you read that correctly.

We have never seen anything like this in American history. Even during the Nixon era there was some measure of restraint, but at this point they are trying to come up with any angle that they possibly can to get rid of Donald Trump.

And the left truly believes that this is the year that they are going to get rid of him. In fact, the Hill just published an article containing 30 predictions for 2019, and these were the top three

  • Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019;
  • The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn — and fairly soon;
  • His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice;

For a moment, let’s assume that the left is successful and they get rid of Trump. Will everything go back to normal?

No, Mike Pence will become president and they will immediately start investigating him. And then if a Democrat wins in 2020, revenge-seeking Republicans will investigate the living daylights out of whoever enters the White House.

Personally, I can’t understand why so many Democrats are lining up to run for president. Are they absolutely insane? After what has been done to Trump, his family, Brett Kavanaugh and countless others, why would anyone want to subject themselves to such endless public torture?

We are rapidly getting to the point where America will be ungovernable. No matter who is in power, there is going to be anger, strife, discord and resentment. Tens of millions of Americans hated Barack Obama and did not consider him to be their president, and now tens of millions of Americans hate Donald Trump and do not consider him to be their president. Our political institutions are breaking down, and faith in the system is at an all-time low.

But at least economic conditions have been relatively stable, and this has done much to pacify most Americans in recent years.

Unfortunately, economic conditions are really starting to slow down, and big corporations are beginning to announce large scale layoffs. Just like we saw during the last recession, eventually there will be millions of Americans that lose their jobs, and mortgage defaults will spike dramatically once again.

And just like in 2008, the stock market is starting to plunge in a major way.

2018 was the worst year for the stock market in a decade, we just witnessed the worst month of December for Wall Street since the Great Depression, and at this point approximately 12 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out.

And the really bad news is that things are likely to get even worse in 2019.

History has shown that tough economic conditions make military conflict more likely, and the world continues to teeter on the brink of war.

In the Middle East, Turkish tanks have been lining up along the Syrian border in anticipation of a possible invasion, and Syrian forces have been massing to defend against a potential attack. Elsewhere, Hezbollah and Hamas seem to be in a race to see who can start a war with Israel first. If war does break out, Israel may find themselves fighting both of them simultaneously.

As for the United States, our relationships with both Russia and China are rapidly deteriorating. The Russians continue to prepare for a coming military conflict with the United States, and the Pentagon is officially freaked out by the new hypersonic missiles that the Russians have just developed. Meanwhile, the trade war with China continues to escalate and one Chinese general just suggested that the Chinese military should not be afraid to “sink two U.S. aircraft carriers”.

And let us not forget Iran, North Korea and the potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sadly, I have a feeling that there is going to be a whole lot less “peace on Earth” by this time next year.

On top of everything else, the crust of our planet appears to be getting increasingly unstable and climate conditions are changing at a very rapid pace. Dozens of volcanoes are currently erupting, and one expert is warning that about 100 others could be on the brink of erupting. Massive earthquakes have been striking along the Ring of Fire with increasing regularity, and major storms just keep getting larger and more intense.

We could keep going if you like. I haven’t even mentioned the potential for a global pandemic, the impending collapse of the European Union, civil unrest, terrorism, the death of our oceans or the horrible drought in the western half of the country.

Yes, people desperately need hope, but giving them false hope by telling them that everything is going to be just wonderful in 2019 is not a good thing.

Our world is in turmoil, and it is going to get even worse in 2019. So put on your seatbelts and get ready, because it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

2018 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Now that the year is finally over, we can officially say that 2018 was the worst year for stocks in an entire decade. Not since the last financial crisis have we had a year like this, and many believe that 2019 will be even worse. And of course the truth is that stocks are still tremendously overvalued. Stock valuation ratios always return to their long-term averages eventually, and if the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged another 8,000 points from the current level that would begin to get us into that neighborhood. Unfortunately, the system is so highly leveraged that it will not be able to handle a price decline of that magnitude. The relatively modest drops that we have seen already have caused a tremendous amount of chaos on Wall Street, and a full-blown meltdown would quickly result in a nightmare scenario potentially even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

For investors that had become accustomed to large gains year after year, 2018 was a brutal wake up call. The following comes from Fox Business

2018 may be remembered as the year the Grinch stole your retirement or stock investment account.

December was the worst month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 since 1931, as tracked by our partners at Dow Jones Market Data Group. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of stocks, lost 9 percent and the Dow over 8.5 percent.

For the year, stocks turned in the worst performance since 2008.

According to the bulls, this wasn’t supposed to happen. In the middle of the year, they were projecting that a “booming” U.S. economy would continue to drive stock prices higher, but instead we just witnessed the worst three month stretch for stocks since the 4th quarter of 2008, and the month of December was the most painful of all

December was a particularly dreadful month: The S&P 500 was down 9% and the Dow was down 8.7% — the worst December since 1931. In one seven-day stretch, the Dow fell by 350 points or more six times. This year’s Christmas Eve was the worst ever for the index.

The S&P 500 was up or down more than 1% nine times in December alone, compared to eight times in all of 2017. It moved that much 64 times during the year.

Not even in 2008 did we have a December like this. This was the second worst December for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ever, and you know that things are getting bad when you have to go all the way back to the Great Depression of the 1930s to find a time when stock prices were deteriorating more rapidly.

The amount of stock market wealth that has already been wiped out is absolutely staggering. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth plummeted by 20 billion dollars in 2018…

American billionaires saw the biggest loss this year, collectively dropping $76 billion, largely because of December’s market rout. Mark Zuckerberg saw the sharpest drop in 2018 as Facebook Inc. veered from crisis to crisis. His net worth fell nearly $20 billion, leaving the 34-year-old with a $53 billion fortune.

And this was not just a U.S. phenomenon. Virtually every major stock market around the world was hit extremely hard, and a total of nearly 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth was wiped out over the course of the year.

The only time when more stock market wealth was wiped out in a single year was in 2008.

Are you starting to understand the magnitude of the crisis that has now erupted?

Of course the mainstream media continues to insist that this is just a temporary thing, and that markets will begin surging again soon as investors start scooping up stocks at “bargain prices”. For example, just check out this excerpt from a CNBC article that was posted on Monday

John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management, said these declines are “setting the stage for upward surprises in 2019.”

“With what we believe to be almost all but the kitchen sink priced into current valuations, we see opportunity for multiples to return to levels seen at the end of the third quarter … with multiple expansions resulting in a global equity rebound in the coming year,” Stoltzfus wrote in a note.

It sure would be nice if the optimists are correct. Even for those that are relatively poor, the truth is that we live very comfortably in the United States today. The vast majority of us really have nothing to complain about, because we are enjoying a standard of living that is substantially higher than almost everyone else in the world.

Of course we don’t actually deserve this standard of living, but most Americans don’t want to hear that. We consume far more than we produce, and only by going into increasingly absurd amounts of debt are we able to keep the game going.

It is easy to say that this bubble will inevitably burst, but it will be a very sad day when it does.

Those that gleefully look forward to the coming collapse of our financial system do not really understand what we will be facing. It won’t be like 2008 when the authorities were able to patch things together and fairly rapidly restore our standard of living. When this thing finally shatters, nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together like they were before ever again.

This is a very dark time. As I have stressed repeatedly, the elements for a “perfect storm” have been rapidly coming together, and 2019 is going to look a whole lot different than 2018 did.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Is Exactly The Kind Of Behavior That You Would Expect During A Stock Market Implosion…

If a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is swinging up and down wildly, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious. And if a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is “stable”, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Just like in the medical world, instability is not something that is a desirable thing on Wall Street, and right now we are witnessing extreme volatility on an almost daily basis. On Thursday, the Dow was already down several hundred points when I went out to do some grocery shopping with my wife, and at the low point of the day it had fallen 611 points. But then a “miracle happened” and the Dow ended the day with an increase of 260 points. As I detailed yesterday, this is precisely the sort of behavior that you would expect during a chaotic bear market.

As Fox Business has noted, bear market rallies are typically “sharp, quick and usually short”. I figured that the momentum from Wednesday would carry over into the early portion of Thursday, so I was surprised when the Dow was down by so much as we neared the middle of the day. But then around 2 PM we witnessed an extraordinary market surge

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 865-point swing in less than two hours. The blue-chip index had been down in mid-afternoon more than 500 points to cut the previous session’s gains in half, before bargain hunters and short covering turned a big decline into a modest gain.

An 865 point swing in less than two hours is not “normal”.

In fact, it is about as far from “normal” as you can get.

Let’s talk about short covering for a moment. During huge market downturns, speculators often try to make a lot of money very rapidly by shorting stocks. But if momentum suddenly shifts, those short sellers can be caught with their pants down and the consequences can be quite dramatic. The following comes from Marketwatch

Indeed, market veterans warn that massive, one-day rallies are often more characteristic of downturns, occurring as selloffs lead to significantly oversold technical conditions that leave markets ripe for short covering only to give way to renewed selling once the frenzy of forced buying is exhausted. Investors who short a stock are essentially betting that its price will fall by first borrowing the shares, but those traders can be forced to buy shares back if prices suddenly swing higher, which, in turn, can amplify price swings.

In addition, it appears that on Thursday there was more of the “forced pension rebalancing” that Zero Hedge has been talking about

It certainly has the smell of a massive pension reallocation as the moment stocks started to surge, bonds were dumped

No stock market crash in U.S. history has ever gone in a straight line. There are always huge ups and downs during every market crash, and this market crash is no exception.

Ultimately, there is no way that you can possibly interpret the behavior of the market in recent days as “healthy”

Here’s the problem: as we discussed last night, since 1990, every comparable reversal – with a few exceptions – came during the 2008-2009 bear market. According to Bloomberg data, in eight previous bear markets the S&P 500 experienced rallies of greater than 2.5% more than 120 times as the benchmark plunged from peak to trough. From the collapse of Lehman to the financial crisis bottom in March 2009, the S&P 500 rallied more than 4 percent on 13 different occasions.

This is not the kind of price action you see in normal bull markets,” said Robert Baird equity sales trader Michael Antonelli. “This is just a face ripping short cover rally. I am 100 percent not saying we are in a situation like 2008 now, but look at October 10, 2008 to October 13, 2008: the market rose nearly 12 percent in one day. October 27 to October 28, 2008, it rose 11 percent.”

Meanwhile, it appears that one of America’s most iconic retailers is about to go down in flames.

For years I have been warning that Sears was eventually “going to zero”, and if a last ditch rescue attempt does not materialize by the end of the day on Friday, Sears will be liquidated

The employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October. Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.

But as Lampert stares down a deadline of Dec. 28 to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time. As of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had neither submitted his bid, nor rounded up financing, the people familiar said.

The inevitable demise of Sears could be seen from a mile away, and the same thing can be said about the country as a whole.

Our debt-fueled standard of living has been propped up by the biggest debt binge in the history of the world, and Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet.

The entire U.S. economic system has become one huge Ponzi scheme, and all Ponzi schemes ultimately collapse.

Right now, we are in the early stages of a game that is going to take some time to fully play out. The pessimism that has gripped Wall Street is starting to spread throughout the general population, and many experts were stunned to learn that consumer confidence just declined for a second month in a row

The confidence Americans feel in the economy fell for the second month in a row and touched the lowest level since last summer, perhaps a sign that worries about the 9 1/2-year U.S. expansion have spread from Wall Street to Main Street.

The consumer confidence index dropped to 128.1 this month from a revised 136.4 in November, the Conference Board said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 133.3 reading.

If you have been a regular visitor to my websites, then nothing that will happen over the next few months should be a surprise to you.

The inevitable consequences for decades of exceedingly foolish decisions are starting to roll in, and the bursting of “The Bubble To End All Bubbles” is going to be beyond excruciating.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

U.S. Stocks Just Had Their Best Day Ever – And Here Is Why That Is A REALLY Bad Sign…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just posted its biggest single day point gain ever. On Wednesday, the Dow shot up 1,086 points, which shattered the old record by a staggering 150 points. It truly was a remarkable day, and this is the sort of “Santa Claus rally” that investors had been hoping for. Many are convinced that this rally is an indication that the crisis of the last three months is over, but as you will see below, this sort of extreme volatility is actually a really bad sign. But for the moment, the mainstream media is pushing the narrative that everything is once again peachy keen in the financial world. Just consider the following quote from CNN

“Investors went bargain shopping the day after Christmas, where stocks just got too cheap relative to earnings, future earnings, any reasonable assessment of earnings,” said Chris Rupkey, managing director of MUFG. “The coast is clear, back up the truck, investors are saying enough already, the world is not ending.”

The coast is clear?

Really?

Do you think that they were saying the same thing on October 13th, 2008? On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 936 points, and at the time it was the biggest daily point increase that Wall Street had ever seen by a very wide margin.

Of course that was right in the middle of the last financial crisis, and stocks just kept on tumbling after that massive rally.

But then on October 28th, 2008 the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 889 points. Up until Wednesday, that was the second biggest daily point increase in U.S. history.

Was the crisis over then?

No way. Subsequently, the Dow kept on falling until it eventually bottomed out in early 2009.

As I have explained many times before, there is going to be extreme volatility that goes both ways during any crisis on Wall Street.

When markets are calm, stock prices generally tend to go up. And when markets get really choppy, the overall trend tends to be in a downward direction.

14 out of the 20 biggest daily point gains in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average happened either this year or during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

During the great bull market that we witnessed during the intervening time period, stocks rarely shot up dramatically on any particular day. Instead, it was more of a slow and steady rise, and that is what investors should really be wishing for.

On the flip side, 15 out of the 20 biggest point declines in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average happened either this year or during the last financial crisis.

So it goes both ways. Extreme volatility is a clear indication that a crisis has arrived, and that means that what we witnessed on Wednesday should be very troubling for all of us.

And even with Wednesday’s dramatic gains, it is important to note that the stock market is still on pace for its worst December since 1931.

So don’t get too excited yet.

And you won’t hear this from the mainstream media, but the primary reason why stocks shot up so much on Wednesday was because of forced pension rebalancing. The following comes from Zero Hedge

For those who missed our Friday post on the topic, Wells explained where this massive rebalancing comes from: the huge, end-of-quarter buy order was precipitated by the jarring divergence between equity and bond performances both in Q4 and the month of December. The stocks in the bank’s pro forma pension asset blend had suffered a 14% loss this quarter, including about an 8.5% drop in December. Contrast this with a roughly +1.6% quarterly total return for the domestic aggregate bond index. The gap between equity and bond performance in pension portfolios would have been even larger had IG credit OAS not widened nearly 40 bps in Q4.

As a result of this need for massive quarter-end rebalancing, corporate pensions would need to boost their equity portfolios by as much as $64 billion into year-end. Getting a bit more granular, Wells analyst Boris Rjavinski wrote that domestic stocks – both large cap and small cap – may need disproportionately large boosts of $35 billion and $21 billion, respectively, compared to “only” $9 billion for global developed equities (see table below). This is driven by large performance gaps within equity markets: U.S. stocks have trailed global and EM equities in Q4 and December after outperforming the ROW for quarters on end.

So the truth is that we may see more big stock rallies in the waning days of 2018 as tens of billions of dollars of corporate pension money shifts from bonds to stocks.

But if you think that this crisis is “over”, you are going to be in for quite a shock in 2019.

Meanwhile, global economic activity continues to deteriorate

A global economy that until recently was humming has broken down, a sharp contrast to the picture just a year ago when the world was experiencing its best growth since 2010 and seemed poised to do even better.

Already, builders in the United States are erecting fewer single-family homes. German factories are sputtering, and in China, retail sales are growing at their slowest pace in 15 years.

In the final analysis, nothing that happened on Wednesday changed the long-term outlook one bit.

What we witnessed was simply a great deal of forced pension rebalancing, and that is only going to be a very short-term phenomenon.

Hopefully things will calm down as we approach the new year, but I wouldn’t count on it. Extreme volatility appears to be here to stay, and that is definitely not good news for the markets.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

“The Worst Is Yet To Come Next Year”

When talking heads on mainstream news networks are using phrases such as “the worst is yet to come next year”, that is a clear indication that a new financial crisis has arrived. And that is an extremely bold statement to make considering that this is already the worst quarter for the stock market in 10 years, this is the worst December for stock prices since 1931, and we just experienced the worst Christmas Eve that Wall Street has ever seen. So when Mark Jolley made the following statement during a recent guest appearance on CNBC, it definitely raised some eyebrows…

“I would love to be more optimistic but i just don’t see too many positives out there. I think the worst is yet to come next year, we’re still in the first half of a global equity bear market with more to come next year,” Mark Jolley, global strategist at CCB International Securities, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

At this point last year, nobody on Wall Street was talking like this.

In fact, nobody was talking like this even four or five months ago.

But after three extremely painful months the outlook has completely changed, and a lot of market participants are really starting to freak out.

And this is not just happening in the United States. The truth is that most most markets around the world started to fall well before U.S. markets did, and at this point almost all of the big global indexes are in a bear market

Bear markets — typically defined as 20 percent or more off a recent peak — are threatening investors worldwide. In the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite closed in a bear market on Friday and the S&P 500 entered one on Monday. Globally, Germany’s DAX, China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei have also entered bear market levels.

This is the first global bear market that we have seen in a decade, and if central banks are going to try to stop the bleeding they will need to move very quickly.

But the Federal Reserve has already indicated that they do not plan to intervene. In fact, they just told everyone that they plan to keep raising interest rates.

That is completely insane, but since they aren’t accountable to us they can literally do whatever they want.

So if the central banks don’t step in, who is going to come riding to the rescue?

Individual national governments could try to stimulate economic activity by spending more money, but most of them are already drowning in debt.

Just look at the mess that the U.S. government has created. Since the beginning of the last financial crisis, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. And over the last 12 months our debt problems have actually accelerated. Between December 25th, 2017 and December 25th, 2018 we added almost 1.4 trillion dollars to the national debt. The following comes from CNS News

The federal government has added another $1,370,760,684,441.54 to the debt since last December 25, according to numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

On Dec. 25, 2017, the federal debt was 20,492,874,492,282.58, according to the Treasury.

According to the latest numbers published by the Treasury, which show where the debt stood on Dec. 20, 2018, the federal debt was $21,863,635,176,724.12.

So the reality of the matter is that there is simply no room for more “stimulus spending”, because we have already been spending money like drunken sailors that think that they are likely to die tomorrow.

Right now the government is shut down as President Trump and Chuck Schumer square off over 5 billion dollars in border wall funding. But nobody on Capitol Hill is even talking much about the 1.37 trillion dollars that we just added to the national debt, and that is really what everybody should be focusing on.

We are literally committing national suicide. No matter what happens with border wall funding, the U.S. will continue to steamroll toward financial oblivion unless something is done about this horrific debt that we are accumulating.

As I wrap up this article, I would like to share something that Austin Murphy wrote that really struck a chord with me. Over the course of a 33 year career in journalism, Murphy interviewed five presidents and wrote thousands of articles for Sports Illustrated. But now he is delivering packages for Amazon

Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me $17 an hour (plus OT!). It’s been healthy for me, a fair-haired Anglo-Saxon with a Roman numeral in my name (John Austin Murphy III), to be a minority in my workplace, and in some of the neighborhoods where I deliver. As Amazon reaches maximum ubiquity in our lives (“Alexa, play Led Zeppelin”), as online shopping turns malls into mausoleums, it’s been illuminating to see exactly how a package makes the final leg of its journey.

Like Murphy, America’s future is going to be far less bright than its past if we don’t get things turned around, and right now there is absolutely no indication that this is going to happen.

Our national problems are multiplying, the conditions for a perfect storm are rapidly coming together, and pessimism is quickly growing all across America.

Mark Jolley believes that “the worst is yet to come next year”, and in the end he may turn out to be exactly correct.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Worst Christmas Eve For The Stock Market EVER – The Dow Has Now Fallen More Than 5000 Points From The Peak

This is definitely not the gift that investors wanted for Christmas. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 653 points as panic swept through Wall Street like wildfire. That represented a 2.9 percent daily decline, and that made it the worst Christmas Eve for the Dow ever recorded. Incredibly, the previous record had lasted for exactly 100 years. Normally the day before Christmas is a very, very quiet day on Wall Street, but right now there are no “normal” days for the financial markets. If you go back to early October, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81, and on Monday the Dow closed at just 21,792.20. That means that the Dow has now plummeted more than 5,000 points in less than three months, and that is a major milestone.

The S&P 500 also crossed a major milestone on Monday when it entered bear market territory

The term on Wall Street is synonymous with serious, long-lasting declines in stock markets. In numeric terms, a bear market is a 20 percent or more drop from a recent peak.

The S&P 500 hit that milestone on Monday, dropping 20 percent from its 52-week high. Markets have stumbled through what is usually one of their best months of the year, with indexes on track for their worst December performances since the Great Depression in 1931.

What this means is that the longest bull market in all of U.S. history is officially dead.

And there is still about a week left in the month. If things continue to unravel, this could ultimately turn out to be the worst December that the stock market has ever experienced.

Now that a bear market has begun, it is likely to stick around for a while. Just consider these numbers

Since World War II, bear markets on average have fallen 30.4 percent and have lasted 13 months, according to analysis at Goldman Sachs and CNBC. When that milestone has been hit, it took stocks an average of 21.9 months to recover.

Of course all of the “experts” consulted by the mainstream media are going to assume that there will eventually be a recovery.

But could it be possible that this is the beginning of the “big crash” from which we will never recover?

Without a doubt, the elements for a perfect storm have been coming together for a long time. We are witnessing great political shaking, our relationships with both Russia and China are rapidly deteriorating, a trade war has begun, social decay is spreading through our society like cancer, and the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable. Now we can add economic and financial instability to the mix, and a scenario is emerging that is eerily similar to what I have been warning about for a very long time.

Even before the markets crashed on Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had scheduled an emergency call with the “Plunge Protection Team”. The following comes from Reuters

The Treasury said Mnuchin will convene a call on Monday with the president’s Working Group on Financial Markets, which includes Washington’s main stewards of the U.S. financial system and is sometimes referred to as the “Plunge Protection Team.”

The group, which was also convened in 2009 during the latter stage of the financial crisis, includes officials from the Federal Reserve as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But instead of calming the markets, many were concerned that this would actually accelerate the panic on Wall Street

“Panic feeds panic, and this looks like panic in the administration,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “Suggesting you might know something that no one else is worried about creates more unease.”

And without a doubt, what we witnessed on Monday was sheer panic.

Consumer lending has already been tightening up over the past couple of months, and the chaos on Wall Street is almost certainly going to cause financial institutions to become even tighter with their money.

As credit conditions tighten, economic activity will slow down, and that will make the coming recession even more inevitable.

There is one more key data point that I would like to share with you all today. Since 1960, there have only been 13 years when the stock market has declined for the year. As Joe Zidle has noted, most of the time those declines occur “before or during a recession”…

“I think there’s a massive gap between sentiment and fundamentals” for the market, Blackstone investment strategist Joe Zidle said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“If the market closes down for the year, which looks likely … it will only be the 13th time that we’ve seen a full year decline since 1960,” Zidle said. Of those 13 full year declines in the past 58 years, seven occurred before or during a recession.

Now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen more than 5000 points, I think that we can safely say that this is a stock market crash.

But how bad will this stock market crash ultimately turn out to be?

If the Federal Reserve had rushed in with emergency measures at the first signs of trouble, they probably could have stabilized things. But the longer they wait, the harder it is going to be to stop the process that has been set in motion.

The Bubble of All Bubbles is starting to burst, and unless we see dramatic central bank intervention soon it is likely that an unprecedented financial nightmare is ahead.

I hope that you are able to rest and relax with family and friends this time of the year, because it looks like what is ahead in 2019 is going to be extremely painful.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Was The Worst Week For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they did. During normal times, a Friday before Christmas is an extremely boring trading session, but these are not normal times. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 414 points, and that brought the total drop for the week to 1,655 points. The marketplace has been completely gripped by panic, and CNN’s Fear & Greed index has just registered the highest “fear rating” that we have ever seen. I keep saying that we have not witnessed anything like this since the last financial crisis, and the numbers clearly back that assessment up. In fact, this was the largest weekly percentage drop for the Dow since October 2008

The Dow just suffered its deepest weekly plunge since 2008 and the Nasdaq is officially in a bear market.

The miserable performance reflects deepening fears on Wall Street of an economic slowdown and overly-aggressive Federal Reserve.

Apprehension about a looming government shutdown and anxiety over higher interest rates were two of the major factors that pushed stocks down on Friday.

Normally trading volume is very, very light in the days leading up to Christmas, so what we just witnessed was extremely unusual. Trading volume on Friday was “really heavy” with “more than 12 billion shares” changing hands…

In a bad sign on Friday, volume was really heavy. More than 12 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Friday, the biggest volume in at least two years.

When I have warned about a “rush for the exits” in the past, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about.

Many investors were panic-selling on Friday because they wanted to be out of the market before things closed down for the holidays, and stock prices just kept getting hammered lower and lower.

For the week, the carnage was absolutely colossal. The following is how CNBC summarized what happened…

  • The Dow lost 6.8 percent and 1,655 points on the week. It was its worst percentage drop since October 2008.
  • The Nasdaq lost 8.3 percent on the week and is now 22 percent below its record reached in August, a bear market.
  • The S&P 500 lost 7 percent for the week and is now down 17.8 percent from its record.
  • The Dow and S&P 500, which are both in corrections, are on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931, down more than 12 percent each this month.
  • Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are now in the red for 2018 by at least 9 percent.

It should also be noted that the number of stocks hitting 52-week lows right now is at historically high levels. The following comes from Zero Hedge

Since 1984, there were only eight days when a bigger proportion of shares did so, according to Sundial Capital Research. Two of them were in 1987 — during the famous Black Monday crash, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23 percent in one day, and then again during the following session. The rest were in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October and November 2008.

And it isn’t just stocks that are getting hammered. In fact, at this point 93 percent of all asset classes are down for the year.

As so many have already said, 2018 is a year when literally nothing is working.

A similar thing is happening over in Europe, where stocks are on pace for their worst year since 2008. We are watching a truly global meltdown take place, and trillions upon trillions of dollars of paper wealth is being washed away.

Of course not everybody has lost money. Those that sold before this stock market crash started made out like bandits, and it is very interesting to note that over the past couple of months “the smart money” has been getting out of stocks at a pace that we have never seen before.

So what happens next?

For now, there will be a pause. The stock market will be closed for the weekend, then it will open for half a day on Monday, and then it will be closed for Christmas on Tuesday.

Hopefully this “cooling off period” will help things to be much calmer by the time the markets open on Wednesday.

But even if things do calm down during the holidays, the truth is that this crisis is far from over.

The largest financial bubble in U.S. history is starting to burst, and a great deal of pain is ahead.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Worst Market Crash In A Decade: The Dow Has Fallen More Than 4000 Points As Stocks Rapidly Approach “The Capitulation Phase”

We have not seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008. On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 464 points, and over the last five trading sessions it has lost a total of more than 1,700 points. CNN’s Fear & Greed index has swung all the way over to “extreme fear”, and there has only been one December in all of U.S. history that was worse for the stock market than this one. But back at the very beginning of October, most of the experts never would have imagined that the year would end this way. According to CNBC, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81 in early October, and investors were feeling really good about things at that point. But on Thursday the index closed at just 22,859.60, and that means that the Dow has lost more than 4,000 points in less than three months.

All of the major trend lines have been shattered and all of the key support levels have been breached. When analysts look at stock charts these days, all they are seeing is sell signal after sell signal. One investment strategist told CNN that stocks are “quickly approaching the capitulation phase”

“Equity markets are quickly approaching the capitulation phase after having broken below critical support,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, told CNN Business.

According to Google, “capitulation” means “the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent or demand.” In this case, the bulls are on the verge of surrendering to the bears, and if that happens we could see a tremendous amount of chaos break loose on Wall Street.

And the damage that has already been done has been extraordinary. At this point firms listed on the S&P 500 have seen 2.39 trillion dollars in market cap wiped out, and a grand total of 16.7 trillion dollars in stock market wealth has been wiped out globally.

Many are pointing the blame for what is happening at the Federal Reserve. Here is just one example

“We, too, were very vocal in recommending heavily that the Fed not hike yesterday,” said Julian Emanuel, chief equity strategist at BTIG.

“This is all about the speed of things,” Emanuel added. “The problem with ignoring the consequences of the balance sheet reduction really tells you that the Fed is not paying attention to that fact that financial markets correct much more rapidly on the downside than they do in bull markets to the upside.”

Even though the U.S. economy is slowing down substantially, and even though financial markets have already been crumbling, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates anyway.

And they knew that the financial markets would respond very negatively, so nothing that has happened the last couple of days is any sort of a surprise.

Of course it isn’t just stocks that are plunging. Junk bonds just had their worst day since the Brexit vote, and that is an extremely ominous sign. The following comes from Zero Hedge

High yield bond prices are collapsing, but it is clear that liquidity has evaporated as traders have sent high yield bond ETFs (more liquid) dramatically below its fair-value as they seek hedges ahead of their liquidation needs.

Today is HYG’s worst day since Brexit, with price crashing to lowest since April 2016…

As I have discussed before, the collapse of junk bonds was an early sign that stocks were going to totally crash in 2008, and now we see a very similar pattern playing out in 2018.

One of the signature moments from the crisis of 2008 was Jim Cramer’s famous rant about the Federal Reserve on CNBC, and he referenced that rant during remarks that he made on Thursday

For CNBC’s Jim Cramer , the worst part about the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike is that the central bank’s chief, Jerome Powell, seemed to ignore what Cramer regards as “serious” weakness in the U.S. economy.

“I have a better read on the economy than the Fed and I know they’re not going to listen to me,” the “Mad Money” host said Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to a 14-month low . “I feel powerless, just like 2007 , when I ranted that the Fed needed to start easing aggressively in order to stave off a financial catastrophe.”

Does Jim Cramer really believe that he has a better grasp on how the U.S. economy is performing than the Federal Reserve does?

That is quite a bold statement, but based on what the Fed has been doing lately it is tempting to think that they are utterly clueless at this point.

But of course they aren’t clueless. They know exactly what they are doing, and it isn’t about helping the American people.

Meanwhile, just like we saw in 2008, the mainstream media is trying to assure everybody that they should keep their money in the stock market. In fact, CNN posted an article earlier today that encouraged people to put more money in because this latest downturn is a “buying opportunity”

“The market’s behaving like a two-year-old,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “The Federal Reserve is doing its job — and it’s doing it patiently and cautiously.”

Kelly said the recent market slide could present an entry point, especially for investors who previously felt stocks were too expensive.

You can believe that if you want, but there is a reason why corporate insiders were selling stocks at the fastest pace in 10 years just before the market started to crash.

This ridiculously absurd stock market bubble was not going to last forever, and now it is imploding at a speed that is absolutely breathtaking.

Hopefully things will stabilize a bit as we roll through the holidays, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Stocks Are On Pace For Their Worst December Since The Great Depression – The Dow Is Now Down Over 3,300 Points From The Peak

U.S. stocks have not fallen this dramatically during the month of December since the Great Depression of the 1930s. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 507 points, and it is now down more than 1,000 points from Thursday’s close. This fresh downturn has pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 very firmly into correction territory, and the Russell 2000 is now officially in bear market territory. The ferocity of this stock market crash is stunning many of the experts, and many investors are beginning to panic. Back in early October, the Dow hit an all-time high of 26,951.81, but on Monday it closed at just 23,592.98. That means that the Dow has now plunged more than 3,300 points from the peak of the market, and many believe that this stock crash is just getting started.

When it was first being reported that the stock market was on pace for the worst December since the Great Depression, I have to admit that I was skeptical.

But CNBC has the numbers to back up that claim…

Two benchmark U.S. stock indexes are careening toward a historically bad December.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are on pace for their worst December performance since 1931, when stocks were battered during the Great Depression. The Dow and S&P 500 are down 7.8 percent and 7.6 percent this month, respectively.

And we still have two weeks remaining in December. If things continue to unravel, we could potentially be talking about a truly historic month for Wall Street.

But we certainly don’t need things to get any worse, because the damage that has already been done has been immense. The following numbers come from Zero Hedge

  • Dow -12.7% from highs (correction)
  • S&P -13.7% from highs (correction)
  • Nasdaq Composite -17.3% from highs (correction)
  • Dow Transports -19.4% from highs (correction)
  • Russell 2000 -20.6% from highs (bear market)

The Russell 2000 is often an early indicator of where the rest of the market is going, and if that turns out to be the case this time around then we should expect the Dow and the S&P 500 to fall a lot farther.

When asked about this market downturn by CNBC, one equity strategist actually used the “R” word

“The sell-off comes from the risk-off sentiment. Small caps are riskier than large caps, and there are some concerns about the end of a cycle in the U.S. and that we are entering a recession,” said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citi.

We haven’t even had any sort of a major “trigger event”, and yet stock prices have been steadily falling for weeks.

How bad could things ultimately get if there is some sort of “Lehman Brothers moment” that sets off a full-blown state of panic?

Already, many are using the term “bear market” to describe what is happening. For instance, Jeffrey Gundlach attracted a huge amount of attention when he made the following statement on Monday…

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said Monday that he “absolutely” believes the S&P 500 will go below the lows that the index hit early in 2018.

“I’m pretty sure this is a bear market,” Gundlach told Scott Wapner on CNBC’s Halftime Report. The major averages fell to session lows following his comments.

And some high profile stocks are already well beyond bear market territory. Goldman Sachs is now down 40 percent from the 52-week high, and the banking sector as a whole is just getting crushed.

Trillions upon trillions of dollars of paper wealth has disappeared, and needless to say, hedge funds are starting to go down like dominoes. Earlier today, a New York Post article used phrases such as “losing their shirts” and “financial wipeout”…

The stars of the biggest hedge funds are losing their shirts as analysts fear a major financial wipeout is imminent.

From Ken Griffin’s Citadel, to Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, one big name after another is racking up negative returns lately, amid bad bets in a saturated market.

On Monday, we witnessed more forced hedge fund liquidations, and that was one of the major factors that pushed prices down

As we noted previously, you are witnessing a massive culling of the hedge fund industry as hundreds of funds are liquidated and thousands more get sizable redemptions. Many of these funds own the same companies—the outcasts from the indexed world, the cheap, the unloved; the same stocks that many other hedge fund managers own. With the hedge fund industry going in reverse, there is suddenly no natural buyer for what must be sold. As a result, you are seeing waves of forced sell orders and few buyers (which for those so inclined, is creating good bargains all around).

Those of you that have been waiting for the stock market to implode can finally stop waiting.

It is here, and it is really, really bad.

Meanwhile, a new survey contains more evidence that average Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the U.S. economy. In fact, the numbers in the survey were “essentially reversed” from earlier this year…

Overall, 28 percent of Americans said the economy will get better in the next year, while 33 percent predict it will get worse, according to the survey, which was released Sunday. Those numbers were essentially reversed from January, when 35 percent said the economy would get better and 20 percent said it would get worse.

The psychological shift that I wrote about a few weeks ago appears to be accelerating. It is starting to become exceedingly clear that a major crisis has begun, and now the big question is this – how bad will things get in 2019?

Well, Ron Paul told CNBC that “it could be worse than 1929″…

Paul said Thursday on CNBC‘sFutures Now that “Once this volatility shows that we’re not going to resume the bull market, then people are going to rush for the exits.” Paul added that “it could be worse than 1929.” He was referencing the fateful day in October of 1929 when the stock market crashed, and the United States was flung into the Great Depression that lasted ten years. During that year, a worldwide depression was ignited because of the U.S.’s market crash. The stock market began hemorrhaging and after falling almost 90 percent, sent the U.S. economy crashing a burning.

Will it ultimately be that bad?

Only time will tell, but right now things certainly do not look good, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot worse.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 496 points on Friday as panicked investors continue to pull billions of dollars out of the stock market. With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the markets are not supposed to be experiencing this kind of turmoil, but it is happening and there is no end in sight. During the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already seen the S&P 500 fall 11 percent. Even if it doesn’t go down any further, that will be the worst quarter in 7 years. And of course the S&P 500 is not alone – at this point all of the major indexes are officially in correction territory. Things are certainly getting quite frightening on Wall Street, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace

Jittery investors yanked a record $39 billion from global equities in the latest week, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Friday. That included $28 billion that exited US stocks, the second-highest on record. And a record $8.4 billion was pulled from investment grade bonds.

The “race for the exits” that we have been witnessing really is turning into a bit of a stampede, and once panic starts to spread it can be very difficult to stop it.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, one market strategist told CNN that “something is wrong here” and that his firm cannot deny that we are in a “global slowdown”…

Markets were dinged by a batch of negative corporate and economic developments, especially weak growth numbers out of China and Europe.

“Something is wrong here. There is this global slowdown. We can’t deny it,” said Michael Block, market strategist at Third Seven Advisors, a private wealth management firm.

We most certainly are in a global economic slowdown, and this is something that I have been telling my readers for months.

On Friday, we got more troubling numbers out of China. The following comes from CNBC

China reported industrial output and retail sales growth numbers for November that missed expectations. This is the latest sign shown by China that its economy may be slowing down. The data also underscored the rising risks to China’s economy as Beijing works to resolve an ongoing trade war with the U.S.

“The economic data continues to bear out growth is slowing,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “There is still a lot of positive positioning out there. As the data continues to slow, people are feeling less comfortable with that and start to sell.”

Markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and the losses are really starting to pile up.

Here is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage that we have witnessed over the last several months…

  • Dow -10.5% from highs
  • S&P -11.3% from highs – lowest weekly close since March 2018
  • Nasdaq Comp -14.6% from highs
  • Trannies -17.8% from highs – Nov 2017 lows, worst 2-week drop since Aug 2011
  • Russell 2000 -18.5% from highs – lowest since Sept 2017

Financial stocks have been getting hit particularly hard.

S&P financials have now declined 20.3 percent from the 52-week high, and that officially puts them in bear market territory.

The S&P bank index has fallen even farther. It is now down 24 percent from the 52-week high, and global banking stocks overall have been absolutely crashing.

Banking stocks led the way down in 2008, and now it is happening again.

This is very quickly becoming an extremely serious situation. Trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of “paper wealth” is evaporating all over the globe, and we are witnessing disappointing economic numbers just about everywhere.

We will see what happens on Wall Street next week. The second half of December is normally a very sleepy time for the markets, but that may not happen this year. Volatility has returned with a vengeance, and we have already set an all-time record in 2018 for big moves of the VIX

The S&P 500 has averaged a daily range of 2 percent for the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed with triple-digit moves in all but three sessions.

Big moves have pushed the VIX to a record 13 one-day moves of more than 20 percent this year.

Over the past few years, a lot of Americans have become deeply complacent, and that is a huge mistake. Just because our long-term financial problems were delayed does not mean that they were canceled.

The truth is that nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned. Without a doubt we will pay a very great price for our mistakes, and a day of reckoning is inevitably coming.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time to do so.

U.S. Debt Poised To Hit The $22 Trillion Mark As “Storm Clouds” Indicate “We Could Have Another Financial Crisis”

The rapidly exploding U.S. national debt is about to cross another critical threshold. According to the U.S. Treasury, the debt of the federal government is currently sitting at $21,854,296,172,540.94, and at our current pace we will likely hit the $22 trillion mark next month. This is a horrifying national crisis, and yet nothing is being done about it. When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2008, the U.S. was $10.6 trillion in debt, and so that means that we have added 11.2 trillion dollars of new debt to that total in less than 11 years. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade. But instead of getting our insatiable appetite for debt under control, Congress is actually accelerating our spending. At this point, there is no possible scenario in which this story ends well.

Meanwhile, the global financial elite are really starting to talk up the possibility of a new financial crisis.

For example, the deputy head of the IMF just said that he sees “storm clouds building”

The storm clouds of the next global financial crisis are gathering despite the world financial system being unprepared for another downturn, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.

David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of the IMF, said that “crisis prevention is incomplete” more than a decade on from the last meltdown in the global banking system.

“As we have put it, ‘fix the roof while the sun shines’. But, like many of you, I see storm clouds building and fear the work on crisis prevention is incomplete.”

And according to CNBC, Janet Yellen is warning that “we could have another financial crisis”…

“I think things have improved, but then I think there are gigantic holes in the system,” Yellen said Monday night in a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman at CUNY. “The tools that are available to deal with emerging problems are not great in the United States.”

Yellen cited leverage loans as an area of concern, something also mentioned by the current Fed leadership. She said regulators can only address such problems at individual banks not throughout the financial system. The former fed chair, now a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said there remains an agenda of unfinished regulation. “I’m not sure we’re working on those things in the way we should, and then there remain holes, and then there’s regulatory pushback. So I do worry that we could have another financial crisis.”

It almost sounds as if they have been reading The Economic Collapse Blog. Of course they probably aren’t, and the truth is that at this point the next crisis is so close that just about everybody should be able to see it.

So what can be done?

Well, Texas hedge fund manager Kyle Bass wants a trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.

That sounds nice, but we are already adding more than a trillion dollars to our national debt every year. If we want to spend a trillion dollars fixing up our crumbling infrastructure, where is that money going to come from?

We have been spending far, far more money than we have been bringing in, and that has been propping up our economy for quite some time now. But we are progressively making our long-term problems much worse, and there is no way that we can sustain this Ponzi scheme for much longer.

And it isn’t just the national debt that is a massive problem. U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt, and a new report has discovered that credit card debt continues to surge to new heights

Americans are carrying a record amount of credit card debt, according to a new study. The average American family has about $7000 in revolving debt compared to $6081 this time last year. And as interest rates rise, so will those monthly payments to service these debts.

This year’s report focused on revolving debt (debt that is carried over month after month) because it is a “more accurate indicator” of financial hardship, said NerdWallet, who compiled the report. “Credit card debt is the stain on millions of Americans’ finances that doesn’t scrub off easily, if ever,” says NerdWallet credit card expert Kimberly Palmer. “High interest rates combined with expenses that continue to outweigh income mean that some households are unable to fully rid themselves of debt and, in fact, continue to take on more.”

We are a society that is absolutely addicted to cheap debt, but now interest rates are going up, and that is going to cause some enormous financial problems.

Our world has never seen anything like the debt bubble that we are facing right now, and most of that debt was accumulated when interest rates were low. The system simply cannot handle higher rates at this point, and according to Michael Pento “a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before”…

“Unfortunately, a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before because we have never before had so much debt sit on top of artificially depressed interest rates,” said Pento in an interview with USA Watchdog‘s Greg Hunter back in May.“The hubris and arrogance of central banks to take that away, they are way too late in doing so, and they think they can do this with impunity. They are dead wrong. They (central banks) have always caused recessions. We are heading into a global depression.”

Whenever you go into debt in order to enjoy a higher standard of living than you currently deserve, there are short-term benefits but long-term pain.

For decades, America has been stealing from the future in order to make the present more pleasant, but now we have painted ourselves into a corner.

If we had made wiser choices, things could have turned out differently, but that didn’t happen.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Sabotage: The Deep State Has Destroyed Trump’s Chances Of A Trade Deal With China, And The Stock Market Is Tanking As A Result

Somebody out there apparently does not want President Trump to make a trade deal with China. Just after U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to suspend the implementation of new tariffs for 90 days, one of China’s most important tech executives was literally kidnapped as she was changing planes in Canada. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was simply on her way to Mexico, but at the urging of U.S. authorities the Canadians grabbed her and are refusing to let her go. Reportedly, the plan is to extradite her to the United States where she will apparently face charges relating to Huawei’s evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran. When Trump was negotiating face to face with the Chinese, he was not aware that this was taking place. So now all of Trump’s hard work is out the window, and our relations with the Chinese are probably the worst that they have been since the Korean War.

If U.S. authorities wanted to punish Huawei, they should have just slapped a big fine on them and have been done with it.

The Chinese would have been annoyed, but not that much damage would have been done.

But kidnapping a high profile member of Chinese tech loyalty and throwing her in prison is something that the Chinese will not forgive.

The Chinese are a deeply nationalistic people, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou is being treated as a grave national insult in China. If the goal of the Deep State was to really upset the Chinese, they picked a perfect target. The following comes from Robert Wenzel

“This is a really big deal. Ms. Meng is by birth and position a member of China’s corporate royalty,” David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, is quoted by TGM as having said.

According to TGM, Meng, 46, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was appointed CFO of Huawei in 2011 and is also one of four deputy chairs. She appears to be being groomed for the top job at Shenzhen-based Huawei, which is now the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment.

Just imagine how Americans would feel if China kidnapped a high profile member of our tech royalty and multiply that outrage by about 10.

Until Meng Wanzhou is let go, there is not going to be any deal with China. Many Americans are not familiar with Huawei, but they are essentially China’s version of Apple or Microsoft. The following originally comes from CNN

Huawei is one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment. It is at the heart of China’s ambitions to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and become an innovation powerhouse in its own right.

The country is pumping hundreds of billions into its “Made in China 2025” plan, which aims to make China a global leader in industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips. The introduction of 5G wireless technology, which hinges on Huawei, is a top priority.

Meng Wanzhou is not just the CFO of the company. She is also the daughter of the founder of the company and she is considered to be a hero by millions of Chinese.

So what in the world is the Deep State thinking? Are we going to start regularly kidnapping individuals that work for foreign corporations that have somehow violated U.S. laws?

And should Americans expect the same treatment? How would you like it if your mother or daughter was kidnapped while changing planes in a foreign country because the company that she works for had committed some sort of violation?

I don’t want to make it sound like Huawei is perfectly innocent, because they aren’t. But this is a move that is not just going to ensure a nightmarish trade war with China. Ultimately, things could get a whole lot worse than that.

At this point, the Chinese have summoned the U.S. ambassador and have formally demanded Meng Wanzhou’s release

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest the detention of a senior tech executive by the Canadian authorities “at the unreasonable behest of the United States.”

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who is accused by U.S. officials of attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

It would be wonderful if Meng Wanzhou was released, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

So now our relationship with China is officially in the toilet, and this is one of the factors that could push stock prices much lower once again this week. In fact, as I write this article Dow futures are way down

U.S. stock futures fell on Sunday night as traders feared an intensifying trade war between the United States and China.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 197 points, implying a decline of 173.95 points at Monday’s open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also declined. The losses would add to a steep decline from last week.

This current “correction” was supposed to be over by the time December rolled around, but instead stock prices accelerated their decline last week.

And many of those that work in financial circles are starting to use language that is much more pessimistic than we have become accustomed to seeing. Here is just one example

“We’re very mindful once again where we’re at in the cycle,” Gregory Carmichael, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based lender Fifth Third, said at a conference last week. “We’re well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy, and we’ll be very cautious.”

I don’t know what “well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy” means exactly, but it sounds nice.

It frustrates me that so few people seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing. Our stores are filled with cheap products that come from China and they own more than a trillion dollars of our national debt. The two largest economies in the entire world are decoupling from one another, and if the Chinese conclude that they are not able to salvage the relationship then they will rapidly become an exceedingly dangerous enemy.

This is a major turning point, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou has put us on a road that doesn’t lead anywhere good. Hopefully things can rapidly be fixed, because if not, events are likely to start escalating quite dramatically.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

“Panic-like selling” grips Wall Street as the economic numbers point to “a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit”

Fear is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and on Friday we witnessed yet another wave of panic selling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 559 points, closing at 24,389. Previously I had warned that once we solidly broke through 25,000 that it could trigger an avalanche of panic selling, and that is precisely what has happened. The Dow is now down more than 9 percent from the peak in early October, but the S&P 500 is doing even worse. The S&P 500 is now down 10.2 percent from the September peak, and that means that it is officially in correction territory. It has now been two solid months, and the sell-off on Wall Street shows no signs of abating.

And for certain sectors, the carnage that has been unfolding can definitely be called a “crash”.

FANG stocks are now down 24 percent from the peak, and global systemically important banks have now fallen a whopping 33 percent from the 52-week high.

Ladies and gentlemen, the big banks are officially in trouble once again, and it is going to be a wild ride moving forward.

And the way that things wrapped up for the markets on Friday has many wondering what Monday will bring. According to one key index, investors were dumping stocks so rapidly on the Nasdaq on Friday afternoon that it was officially considered to be “panic-like activity”

Selling on the Nasdaq reached panic-like proportions Friday afternoon with less than an hour left in regular trade, as the exchange’s Arms index rose. The Arms is a volume weighted breadth measure, that tends to rise when the broader market falls, as the intensity of the selling in declining stocks is usually greater than the intensity of buying in rising stocks. Levels above 2.000 are considered panic-like activity. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% was off 3% at 6,969. The number of advancing stocks compared against decliners was at 2,108 to 787, pushing the Arms index on the exchange to 2.068.

Thanks to Friday’s nightmare, this week ended up being the worst week for U.S. stocks since March.

This wasn’t supposed to happen in December. According to the experts, we were due for a nice “Santa Claus rally” and everybody was supposed to go home for the holidays really happy.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, the markets are coming apart like a 20 dollar suit.

And guess who CNN is blaming for the stock market decline?

I’ll give you just one guess, and his name rhymes with “Gump”. The following comes from CNN

From “Tariff Man” tweets and inverting yield curves to conflicting messages from Trump advisers and the arrest of a Chinese executive, there is no shortage of headlines keeping investors awake at night.

They don’t want to admit that the same thing would be happening if Hillary Clinton was in the White House.

This isn’t about politics. This is about a financial system that has always been destined to collapse.

Meanwhile, the stunning implosion of the cryptocurrency bubble continues to accelerate. At this point, the price of Bitcoin has now fallen more than 80 percent from where it was a year ago…

In December 2017, bitcoin prices hit a record high of just under $20,000. Flash forward to December 2018 and bitcoin is now trading a little below $3,400. That’s a more than 80% plunge. Bitcoin is at a 15-month low.

But prices have really gotten whacked this week, falling nearly 20% in just the past five days alone.

Other major cryptos such as Ripple, Ethereum and Litcoin have experienced similar crashes.

Yes, this is really happening. Bubble after bubble is bursting, and a day of reckoning for the global financial system is here.

Things are unfolding just as myself and so many others have been warning. Over the past couple of years, there has been a bubble of false hope even though none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis were ever fixed. Instead, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks simply patched things together and inflated the bubbles to a much larger degree than we had ever seen before.

Now everything is unraveling, and many of the “experts” are still in denial. I really like how Peter Schiff made this point during a recent interview…

“What has happened in the last week is very, very bullish for the price of gold, and the price of gold is not catching much of a bid. I think again, the main reason for this is because nobody gets it. People still think this is a bull market. They’re not worried about the decline. They think it’s just a buying opportunity. It’s just a correction. They still think the economy is good. Even though the bond market doesn’t, even though the yield curve is inverting in the front end of the curve, people are dismissing that. They’re dismissing the housing data; they’re dismissing the build in the crude inventories. They’re not looking at any of the real data because nobody wants to believe it. Everybody still wants to believe all the hype — that this economy is great, that this economy is booming. Nobody wants to deal with the truth; because you know how grim the reality is? Because if you have to accept the fact that this economy is going into recession, then you have to accept a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit.

As always, Peter Schiff is making a lot of sense.

If you follow my work on a regular basis, than you already know that I have been highlighting the gloomy economic numbers as they have been steadily rolling out.

All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down.

All of the numbers tell us that we are heading into a recession (if we are not already in one).

And all of the numbers tell us that another great financial crisis is now upon us.

The time for false hope is over. Now is a time to come to grips with reality, because things are going to get very tough in the months ahead.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

U.S. Accused Of “A Declaration Of War” Against China As The Stock Market Teeters On The Precipice Of Disaster

Things are sure getting wild on Wall Street. On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted almost 800 points before roaring back and recovering nearly all of those losses. The Dow closed just 79 points lower for the day, and if you only looked at the final number you would be tempted to believe that there is not much reason for concern. But these wild swings up and down are precisely what we witnessed back in 2008, and they are a sign that the stock market is literally teetering on the precipice of disaster. And it almost certainly would have been a historically bad day for stocks on Thursday if not for a very well-timed article in the Wall Street Journal. Once news broke that the Federal Reserve is considering “a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes”, stock prices immediately began to rebound…

Stocks closed well off their session lows on Thursday after news broke that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy at a slower pace than previously expected.

The Wall Street Journal reported the central bank is considering whether to signal a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes at its upcoming meeting this month. The report said Fed officials do not know what their next move on rates will be after December.

This just shows the immense power that the Federal Reserve possesses.

As I have discussed so many times previously, the Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does, and that includes the president of the United States. Just the mere suggestion that the Fed may slow down the pace of rate hikes was enough to send Wall Street into a feeding frenzy. Nothing that President Trump could have possibly said could have had that sort of a positive impact.

And this is a perfect example of how fundamentally flawed our system is. Personally, I believe in free markets, and so it deeply, deeply offends me that we have an unelected, unaccountable panel of central bankers setting our interest rates for us. As I have repeatedly proposed, we need to shut down the Federal Reserve and return to a system where interest rates are determined by the marketplace.

I’ll get off my soapbox for now. As I noted yesterday, stocks originally began plunging when news broke that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou had been arrested in Canada and would be extradited to the United States…

Trade fears ratcheted up after news broke Wednesday that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver, where she faces extradition to the U.S. The arrest — which took place Dec. 1 — decreases the likelihood that a permanent U.S.-China trade deal will be reached. Huawei is one of the largest mobile phone makers in the world.

Meng Wanzhou is also the daughter of the founder of the company, and her arrest apparently has something to do with the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Huawei has violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

To most U.S. citizens, this is rather meaningless news, but in China there has been a massive explosion of outrage. The Chinese are demanding her immediate release, and the editor in chief of the Global Times is calling her arrest “a declaration of war”

Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, described the arrest as a “declaration of war” against China, according to the New York Times. The Global Times is a state-run newspaper whose views are thought to reflect the ruling communist party in China. Hu’s comments were made on Weibo, a Twitter-like service, the New York Times reported.

“Without any solid evidence, the Canadian and US governments trampled on international law by basically ‘kidnapping’ Chinese citizen Meng,” an official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a Global Times op-ed. “The China-US trade row could become a protracted war.”

Nothing is done or said at the Global Times without the approval of the Communist Party, and if Hu Xijin was out of line he would be immediately fired.

But he wasn’t fired, because he was simply expressing what most Chinese are feeling at this moment. In China, the consensus is that relations between the U.S. and China have “gone nuclear”, and at this point the only thing that is going to soothe things is the immediate release of Meng Wanzhou.

Meanwhile, we just got more evidence that our trade war with China is not going very well at all. Today we learned that the U.S. trade deficit shot up to a 10 year high during the month of October…

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a 10-year high in October as soybean exports continued to fall and imports of consumer goods rose to a record high, suggesting the Trump administration’s tariff-related measures to shrink the trade gap likely have been ineffective.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday the trade deficit increased 1.7 percent to $55.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008. The trade gap has now widened for a five straight months.

And we also just got more evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing down. Last month, factory orders declined at the fastest pace that we have seen in more than a year

New orders for U.S.-made goods recorded their biggest drop in more than a year in October and business spending on equipment appeared to be softening, suggesting a slowdown in activity in the manufacturing sector.

Factory goods orders fell 2.1 percent amid a decline in demand for a range of goods, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was the largest decrease in orders since July 2017.

Economic conditions really are deteriorating, and our financial markets really are headed for big trouble.

But some people out there still refuse to accept reality. For example, an article that was just posted by USA Today is strongly urging people “to buy the dip”…

If you have the courage, now might be a time to step in to buy stocks when they are beaten down and on sale, says Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management.

The worst reaction is to panic and sell, as there’s a good chance you could miss a stock rebound in this environment, he says.

Sadly, a lot of people will take this advice and will watch their retirement savings go up in smoke.

We have reached a critical turning point, and things are really starting to heat up. Unfortunately, most people out there still don’t seem to realize what is happening…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Somebody Pressed The Panic Button On Wall Street – Bank Stocks And Tech Stocks Crash As The Yield Curve Inverts

Stocks aren’t supposed to crash in December. Most of the time we see a nice “Santa Claus rally” to close out the year, and so what happened on Tuesday is definitely extremely unusual. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 799 points, which was the fourth largest single day point decline in stock market history. In fact, there was not a single day during the entire financial crisis of 2008 when the Dow dropped by as many points as it did on Tuesday. Many believed that this “stock market correction” would be limited to October, but then it stretched into November, and now it has extended into the “safe month” of December. What in the world is going on out there?

It would be difficult to overstate the carnage that we just witnessed. The Russell 2000 had its worst day in seven years, financial stocks plunged 4.4 percent, and as you will see below FAANG stocks lost enough money to literally buy McDonald’s.

There are many factors that are influencing the markets right now, but the biggest thing that spooked investors on Tuesday was an inversion of the yield curve

Just when it looked like the battered bull was healing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered a drop of nearly 800 points Tuesday when the bond market sent an ominous signal: The yield on the two-year U.S. government bond rose above the interest rate paid out by five-year notes.

Why the pessimism over that obscure-sounding shift? Historically, when short-term rates rise above longer rates – which is dubbed an “inversion of the yield curve” – it signals an economic slowdown is coming.

However, it should be noted that the yield on two year bonds has not yet risen above the yield on 10 year bonds, and until that happens many investors will still not consider the yield curve to have “officially” inverted yet.

But any way that you want to look at it, what has been happening in the bond market is really bad news for the big banks, because it is going to eat into their profits. In an article posted on Tuesday, CNN explained how this works

The flattening yield curve also affects the income banks collect from lending, since banks pay interest on short-term rates and lend at long-term rates. They make money off the difference.

Once the yield on two year bonds fell below the yield on five year bonds, investors took that as a sign of big trouble for the financial sector, and they started dumping bank stocks like crazy

The flattening yield curve caused investors to bail on bank stocks on concern the phenomenon may hurt their lending margins. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) dropped 5.3 percent. Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America all declined more than 4 percent. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley both reached 52-week lows along with Regionals Financial, Citizens Financial and Capital One.

Of course this is just a continuation of a trend that has been building for quite some time, and at this point the damage that has been done is immense.

The following numbers come from Zero Hedge

  • Global Systemically Important Banks are down 30% from 52-week highs.
  • US Financials down 14.5% from 52-week highs.
  • Goldman Sachs is down 33% from 52-week highs.

We haven’t seen anything like this since 2008, and we will want to watch the “too big to fail” banks very carefully during the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, the FAANG stocks have been getting monkey-hammered as well.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, those stocks had combined to lose more than 140 billion dollars in market value

  • Facebook fell 2.2 percent, losing $7.6 billion in implied market value
  • Amazon fell 5.9 percent, losing $50.8 billion in implied market value
  • Apple fell 4.4 percent, losing $38.5 billion in implied market value
  • Netflix fell 5.2 percent, losing $6.5 billion in implied market value
  • Alphabet fell 4.8 percent, losing $37.5 billion in implied market value

That would be enough money to buy McDonald’s.

Yes, I am talking about the entire company.

Yesterday, I talked about the psychological shift that we have been witnessing. Instead of endlessly promoting the idea that the U.S. economy is “booming”, the mainstream media is now using phrases such as “economic slowdown”, “the next recession” and “market crash”. Here are just a few examples…

“Dow plunges nearly 800 points on rising fears of an economic slowdown”

“Worry Less About Inflation and More About Recession”

“The years of easy money in the stock market are coming to an end”

Normally, the markets get very sleepy during the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that has not happened this year.

The markets will be closed on Wednesday due to the passing of former president George H.W. Bush, and perhaps this “time out” will have soothed a lot of nerves by the time the markets reopen on Thursday.

But as I have warned before, this crisis is not even close to being over.

In fact, it is only just beginning.

We have been waiting for a long time for the largest financial bubble in American history to burst, and now it is starting to happen. It is being called “the Everything Bubble”, and as it implodes we are going to see things happen that we have never seen before.

When historians look back on this time of history someday, the crisis of 2008 will be just a footnote compared to what is coming. It has taken decades of very foolish decisions to get us to this point, and the consequences for our unwise choices are going to be far more painful than most people would dare to imagine.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

George Soros Sold Huge Amounts Of Facebook And Netflix Just Before Tech Stocks Crashed

George Soros avoided a loss of more than 17 million dollars by dumping shares of Facebook, Netflix and Goldman Sachs just before the big crash started happening. In other words, he made out like a bandit by selling at the peak of the market. Is he smarter than all the rest of us, did he have some inside information, or was he simply lucky? In recent months, tech stocks have lost approximately a trillion dollars in value, and many investors have been absolutely devastated. But not George Soros. According to the most recent filing with the SEC, Soros Fund Management was able to dump shares in Facebook and Netflix just in time

Soros Fund Management, which Soros founded and chairs, exited social-network giant Facebook (FB) completely in the third quarter, while also slashing positions in Netflix stock (NFLX) and Goldman Sachs Group stock (GS). Those three stocks have tumbled in the fourth quarter so far, with Facebook and Goldman setting new lows Tuesday. They are down almost 20% and 15%, respectively, so far this quarter. Highflying streaming-content giant Netflix has tumbled almost 29% since the end of September.

Soros saved a chunk of cash by selling: Barron’s estimates that, had he maintained positions in those stocks, he would have unrealized losses of about $17.7 million so far in the fourth quarter.

Perhaps we will never know what prompted those moves, but with George Soros these strange “coincidences” have happened again and again throughout his career.

Unfortunately, the top executives at the major tech companies were not as prescient, and so some of them have literally lost billions of dollars

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has lost a stunning $42 billion since early September, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as the e-commerce giant’s stock has dropped more than 25 percent.

Embattled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also taken a beating as reports indicate he’s lost some $34 billion since late July and is now worth $52 billion – ranking as the seventh-richest person in the world.

Google chiefs Larry Page and Sergey Brin have lost a combined $20 billion from their peak wealth in July as the search engine’s stock has dropped 20 percent and closed in a bear market on Monday for the first time since 2011.

Could you imagine losing 42 billion dollars?

If I lose 42 dollars I get upset. So I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel if I lost $42,000,000,000.

The atmosphere on Wall Street has completely shifted over the last couple of months. Not too long ago those of us that were calling for a bear market were being mocked, but nobody is mocking anymore.

One of the big things that has been propping up the stock market in recent years has been corporate buybacks. In fact, I wrote a major article about this not too long ago that you can find right here. Big corporations have literally been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up their own stock prices, and many of these corporations have been going into tremendous amounts of debt in order to do this.

For a long time General Electric was one of the biggest offenders. They borrowed billions upon billions of dollars for stock repurchases, and it worked for a while. But now GE shares have been absolutely tanking, and they can’t keep the game going anymore because they are drowning in about 100 billion dollars of debt. The following comes from an excellent Marketwatch article

GE was one of Wall Street’s major share buyback operators between 2015 and 2017; it repurchased $40 billion of shares at prices between $20 and $32. The share price is now $8.60, so the company has liquidated between $23 billion and $29 billion of its shareholders’ money on this utterly futile activity alone. Since the highest net income recorded by the company during those years was $8.8 billion in 2016, with 2015 and 2017 recording a loss, it has managed to lose more on its share repurchases during those three years than it made in operations, by a substantial margin.

Even more important, GE has now left itself with minus $48 billion in tangible net worth at Sept. 30, with actual genuine tangible debt of close to $100 billion. As the new CEO Larry Culp told CNBC last Monday: “We have no higher priority right now than bringing those leverage levels down.”

GE was once one of the greatest corporations on the entire planet, but now they stand on the precipice of collapse because they were addicted to borrowing money for stock buybacks.

Of course GE is far from alone. Other corporations that have gone into serious amounts of debt in order to fund share repurchases are also now paying a very great price for doing so. Ultimately, it was a giant Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, but now the game is collapsing.

In my first novel, there is a stock market collapse that begins in the fall, and things begin to deteriorate very rapidly in this country thereafter. Unfortunately, we are starting to watch a very similar scenario play out right in front of our eyes. In recent years a booming stock market has been a big point of pride for a lot of Americans, but now that bubble is bursting.

For many people, money is more important than anything else in life. In fact, a recent survey discovered that Americans find more meaning and purpose in life from “career” and “money” than they do from “faith”.

But when “the god of money” fails, how are most Americans going to respond?

I do not believe that the United States is going to handle another economic meltdown very well. We are already a deeply angry and divided nation, but at least our debt-fueled “prosperity” has kept things relatively calm.

If that “prosperity” completely disappears, we are going to have a complete and utter national nightmare on our hands.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Stock Market Crash: The Dow Has Fallen Nearly 2,500 Points And FAANG Stocks Have Lost A TRILLION Dollars In Value

Thanksgiving week was not supposed to be like this. Normally things are slow in the days leading up to Thanksgiving as investors prepare to gorge themselves with turkey and stuffing as they gather with family and friends. But this year the stock market is crashing, and Wall Street is in panic mode. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,465.64, which is nearly 2,500 points lower than the all-time high of 26,951.81 that was set in early October. But as I noted yesterday, what has been happening to tech stocks is even more dramatic. Each one of the FAANG stocks is now down by more than 20 percent, and they have combined to lose more than a trillion dollars in value. We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and at this point all of Wall Street’s gains for 2018 have been completely wiped out.

Fear is a very powerful motivator, and right now a lot of investors are feverishly getting out of the market because they are afraid of losing their paper profits.

One analyst is describing what is going on as a rush for the exits

“The highways will be crowded this evening as the Thanksgiving rush will begin in earnest, but this morning investors are rushing for the exits,” Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, wrote to clients on Tuesday.

But for many tech investors, the truth is that the cattle have already left the barn.

Just check out how much market capitalization the “big five” have already lost. The following numbers come from CNBC

  • Facebook: $253 billion
  • Amazon: $280 billion
  • Apple: $253 billion
  • Netflix: $67 billion
  • Alphabet: $164 billion

When you add those figures together, you get a grand total of 1.02 trillion dollars.

If you were alive when Jesus was born, and you spent a million dollars every day since then, you still would not have spent a trillion dollars by now.

A trillion dollars is an amount of money so vast that it is difficult to comprehend, and those that hesitated to sell at the peak of the market mania are never going to get that money back.

And many believe that the tech losses are just beginning because several of these companies have now entered “death cross” territory

This could be the final nail in the coffin for the FANG trade.

Three of the companies within the big-tech quartet have entered into death crosses, with Facebook, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet seeing their 50-day moving averages cross below their 200-day moving averages.

We shall see what happens in the days ahead, but right now things do not look good.

Apple was supposed to be the strongest and most profitable of the FANG companies, but slowing sales have suddenly changed everything. In fact, Goldman Sachs just cut their price target for the stock…

Goldman Sachs slashed its Apple price target on Tuesday. The firm said in a note there is a “weakness in demand for Apple’s products in China and other emerging markets,” as well as a disappointing reception for the iPhone XR model.

As the trade war intensifies, many in China have been encouraging a boycott of American goods.

Could this be one of the reasons why Apple phone sales are slowing over there?

The trade war is also being singled out as one of the reasons why the stock market as a whole is falling. The following comes from CNN

The losses have been sparked by a flurry of concerns about everything from higher interest rates and crashing oil prices to the US-China trade war. But the overarching theme is that investors are bracing for the end of the fantastic economic and profit growth that marked the past year. Analysts expect a deceleration in 2019 driven by tariffs, the fading impact of the tax cuts and higher borrowing costs caused by the Federal Reserve.

“Put simply, stocks have already started to price in the risk of an economic slowdown,” Goldman Sachs chief US equity strategist David Kostin wrote to clients on Tuesday.

Ultimately, people buy stocks because they believe in the future. If investors believe that they will get more money back than they are originally investing, they will buy stocks. But if they don’t believe that will be the case, they won’t buy stocks.

For a long time, there was a tremendous amount of optimism about the future on Wall Street, but now that has disappeared. Without that relentless optimism, it is inevitable that stock ratios will return to their long-term averages, and the S&P 500 sales to price ratio is telling us that stock prices still have a very long way to fall.

But our system will not be able to handle a decline of that magnitude. There is more leverage on Wall Street today than ever before, and a huge decline in stock prices would lead to a meltdown unlike anything we have ever witnessed.

If we break 20,000 on the Dow, the panic on Wall Street will be off the charts, and the flow of credit will be absolutely strangled. As a result, economic activity would crash at a pace that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

Our economy is more dependent on Wall Street than ever, and it is absolutely imperative that we have a healthy financial system. Now that the financial system is starting to crumble, a lot of people are becoming highly alarmed.

But according to Larry Kudlow, we have absolutely nothing to worry about…

‘Corrections come and go,’ he told reporters at the White House, saying that the economy is strong overall.

‘I’m reading some of the weirdest stuff how a recession is in the future,’ Kudlow said. ‘Nonsense.’

‘Recession is so far in the distance I can’t see it,’ he said after appearing in a Fox Business Network interview.

It would be wonderful if Kudlow turns out to be correct. But in “Get Prepared Now”, I warned about what can happen when we allow others to do our thinking for us. What is happening on Wall Street should be obvious to everyone, and no amount of optimistic chatter is going to change that.

And the truth is that even the mainstream media is starting to acknowledge the reality of what we are now facing. CNBC just took a poll of global finance executives, and they discovered that more than half of them believe that the Dow will fall below 23,000…

More than half of the members of the CNBC Global CFO Council think the Dow Jones Industrial Average will fall below 23,000 — roughly 2,000 points from its current level — before the stock market barometer is ever able to top the 27,000 level. The 23,000 level would equate to another 8 percent in decline among the Dow group of stocks before the selling stops.

Ultimately the Dow is going to go much lower than 23,000, and it will shake Wall Street to the core.

But for now, hopefully everyone can have a happy Thanksgiving, because it is likely that there won’t be many happy days for investors after that as this financial meltdown accelerates.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

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