International Forecaster Weekly

It Is Different

pundits of today, are spewing the same crap they spewed in the 1999 market madness. Overvaluation didn’t matter they said because they were all going to make so much money in this “Internet thing”.

Bob Rinear | August 8, 2017

Every Monday, I reach out to my readers and ask them how their weekend was, and a little bit about what mine was like. In “general” terms, the wife and I use Sunday afternoons to take a 5 mile bike ride to the beach, pick a place to lay our towels and do some sunning and splashing in the gulf. Then we walk back to the bikes, ride back to the truck and go home. It makes for a great day of sun and fun. Well, as you’ll see below, this weekend that didn’t happen. But something else did, so let me repost that:

As always, I hope your weekend was a brilliant one for you all. Mine was interesting in a "different" way. While we usually try and ride our bikes to the beach or pick some park or what have you to walk through, I simply didn't have it in me Sunday. The weather man was predicting possibly record temps, ( and sure enough my vehicle thermometer read 101 at 2 pm) and the humidity level was hovering around 79%. I just didn't want to sweat that bad.

So, we went to the mall instead, as the wife is looking for a new outfit to take with her on her journey to NJ this week. Well, what a surprise I was in for.

The Macy's which had been a cornerstone store in this particular mall, had closed and moved to a newer mall in North Sarasota. So we entered through another corner store, SEARS. Well there were signs hanging everywhere "Everything must go, 40 - 60% Off" Yes they're closing on September 17th. But as we made our way through the mall, which until just two years ago was the biggest, oldest mall in town, all we saw was closed stores, discount stores and people. Sure, in a mall with over 100 units, there were still some recognizable stores, but most were deep discount smaller companies. And don't get me wrong, this place is no dump. Until they opened the new mall at University, this was the nicest one in the county.

I was really pretty much in shock. I hadn't been in the mall in quite some time, and the change was drastic. As we wandered around, we came upon a store called 21 forever. This place was huge, full of mostly women’s clothes. Well the big sign on the door read "Everything 10 dollars and under" I shook my head in something of disbelief, because as we walked around inside the store, many of the tickets had started out at 79, or 69 or 49 dollars per item. Now everything in the store is 7.99 - 10 bucks. My guess is that they're going out.

Moving along, it just got worse and worse. One store we went in, which I'll keep nameless, had just a few lights on and NO air conditioning. The one sole woman in the place attempted to tell us it was broke, but I got the suspicion that they can't afford to run it.

I think the kicker to the trip was when I expected to find another well known store as we rounded the food court, but instead of a major well-known clothing store, there was a plastic surgery joint in its place. Yes folks you too can now get a boob job at the local mall.

With Macy's gone, Sears shutting down, at least 20+ empty storefronts, it doesn't look good for the survival of this particular mall. Yet it isn't just this mall. We're hearing reports like this from many parts of the country. Even the latest greatest mall they opened at University, has experienced a ton of turn over. Stores..."ain't makin it" as one lady told me.

Which brings up the question, is this the Amazon effect? I don't think so. Certainly, online is a part of this, but consider this...

Report: E-commerce accounted for 11.7% of total retail sales in 2016, up 15.6% over 2015. The US Department of Commerce reports total e-commerce sales in 2016 reached $394.9 billion.

Well if on-line is just 12% of retail sales...what's up with the mall? I think that what's up is that more and more people have less and less money. I think the only things that can survive are deep discount stores. Long gone are the days where people walk in and buy up an 89 dollar blouse. Now they want it for 15. Oh sure, the well-off still shop their higher end favorites. But the only stores that I saw any people in were selling jeans for 12.99.

Just a sign of the times I guess.

But it’s anecdotal’s like that which brings me to the madness that is indeed the US stock market. I’ve told you all over and over until I’m blue in the face that yes, this time it is different. This time the market isn’t being pushed higher and higher and higher by tons of people flooding, clawing, desperate to try this “stock market thing”. No, this time it’s being pushed by the Central bankers, FOR the 1%’ers, and yes that’s different.

We just got another bogus jobs report. Car sales are puking. 3300 retail stores are slated to close. Malls look like downtown Detroit. Yet the stock market is at all-time highs. That is NOT mom and pop desperate to buy stocks. That’s not some Millennial putting “cash to work” because he got a job at McDonald’s. No, that’s Central banks, printing money, keeping rates technically negative, and helping companies buy up their own shares in buy backs.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most about all this, isn’t that the Central banks are doing this, it isn’t that they’ve perverted the whole concept of a “market”, it isn’t even the rampant fraud and manipulation that’s so evident. What bugs the living hell out of me is the talking head scumbags on Financial TV that will NOT call a spade a spade. To a tee they tell me it’s about jobs, or earnings, or Trump’s plans, or what have you. What a crock of crap.

If the Cramer’s of the world, or any of the zip heads on CNBC would come out and say the following, I could find a modicum of respect for them. But they don’t and won’t.

Here’s what I’d like to hear. It’s really simple, ready? “ Good morning folks, it looks like another up day brewing. This isn’t the result of the jobs report, which stunk out loud, with 395K new part time jobs, while we lost 54K full time. Besides the insane BLS used its Birth/Death model to create 158K phantom jobs for the report. No, it’s got nothing to do with earnings which are actually lower now than they were in 2015. We just tell you that crap because that’s the game. The fact is, we’re at nosebleed levels because Central banks, via QE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, negative interest rates, fraud and manipulation, have pushed the ONLY thing that can really make a difference in. That’s why markets are up”

Just once I’d like to hear that. Just once. Because that is the FACT of the matter. Not earnings, not jobs. Central Banks.

Three months ago, we got the March 31 Swiss National bank results. Want to hear why stocks go higher? Here’s the additions to just FIVE out of the Hundreds they own. And they added to almost all of them:

Shares owned, added, Position size in 1,000’s

APPLE INC 18,894,016 +3,844,600 $2,714,314
MICROSOFT CORP 26,245,670 +5,546,200 $1,728,540
JOHNSON & JOHNSON 10,460,664 +2,045,400 $1,302,876
EXXON MOBIL CORP 15,563,336 +3,192,100 $1,276,349
AMAZON INC 1,431,141 +308,700 $1,268,764
FACEBOOK INC 8,448,400 +1,834,400 $1,200,095

If you want to see their entire holdings, take a peek at this:

So, in December the Swiss National bank owned 63 Billion in US stocks. As of March 31, they now own 80.3 BILLION. That’s just one bank folks. Just one that’s at least willing to tell us what they’re doing. We wonder how many others are doing the same??

Oh and by the way, the latest quarters additions should be out today. I can’t wait.

Yet the same old blowhards on TV tell us lies about jobs and earnings. Well, that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to look back to what these “guru’s” were saying the last time the stock market was going nuts, in 1999. Let’s look:

"Juniper is the stock that will have just as many buyers at 500 as it does at 230. It is immune to price." - Cramer

"Just to look at the financial numbers, you wouldn't necessarily think GeoCities was worth $5 billion."

'Dow 36000' co-author to be named White House CEA chief, report" …

"Stock prices could double, triple, or even quadruple tomorrow and still not be too high." - Sept. 1999

"Relative' is Wall Street's favorite word." (December 10, 1999) $CIEN

2000: Terra Networks buys Lycos for $12.5B

2004: Daum Communications Buys Lycos for $95m

“10 Stocks to Last the Decade,” Fortune Magazine, August 2000 Nokia, Enron, Norton, Oracle, Broadcom, univision, Schwabb, Morgan Stanley, Genentech, Viacom.

Feb, 29, 2000 “You want Winners? Okay write em down!” ARBA, ISLD, EXDS, SVNX, INKT, VRTS, SNRA, MERQ, INSP,- Jim Cramer

So as you can see, the pundits of today, are spewing the same crap they spewed in the 1999 market madness. Overvaluation didn’t matter they said because they were all going to make so much money in this “Internet thing”. By late 2002, over 200 stocks that traded over 100 bucks a share… were “0”. They knew it was bogus, but they played the game.

Today they know it’s not earnings and jobs and growth, but they play the game. They will NEVER tell you the truth, it would destroy their industry. I say, “good” it’s about time. Sorry, just ranting is all.