Is A Massive Stock Market Reversal Upon Us?

I have been saying it for years and I will say it again here — stocks are the worst possible “predictive” signal for the health of the general economy because they are an extreme trailing indicator. That is to say, when stock markets do finally crash, it is usually after years of negative signs in other more important fundamentals.

Of course, whether we alternative analysts like it or not, the fact of the matter is that the rest of the world is psychologically dependent on the behavior of stock markets. The masses determine their economic optimism  (if they are employed) according to the Dow and the S&P and, to some extent, by official and fraudulent unemployment statistics. When equities start to dive, society takes notice and suddenly becomes concerned about fiscal dangers they should have been worried about all along.

Well, it may have taken a couple months longer than I originally predicted, but it would seem so far that a moment of revelation (that slap in the face I discussed a couple weeks ago) is upon us. In less than a few days, most of the gains in global stocks for 2018 have been erased. The question is, will this end up as a “hiccup” in an otherwise spectacular bull market bubble? Or is this the inevitable death knell and the beginning of the implosion of that bubble?

After I predicted the election of Donald Trump, I also predicted that central banks would begin pulling the plug on life support for equities markets. This did in fact take place with the Fed’s continued program of interest rate increases and the reduction of their balance sheet, which effectively strangles the flow of cheap credit to banking and corporate institutions that fueled stock buybacks for years. Without this constant and ever expansionary easy fiat, there is nothing left to act as a crutch for stocks except perhaps blind faith. And blind faith in the economy always ends up being smacked down by the ugly realities of mathematics.

I believe the latest extraordinary dive in stocks is NOT a “hiccup,” but a sign that "contagion" is still a thing, and also a trailing sign of instability inherent in our fiscal system. Here are some reasons why this trend is likely to continue.

Historic Corporate Debt Levels

As mentioned above, artificially low interest rates have allowed corporations incredible leeway to manipulate stock markets at will using stock buybacks and other methods.  However, there are still consequences for this strategy.  For example, corporate debt levels are now at historic annual highs; far higher even than debt levels just before the crash of 2008.

If this doesn't illustrate the falseness of the so called "economic recovery", I don't know what does.  Beyond that, what happens as the Fed continues to raise interest rates and all that debt held by the "too big to fails" becomes vastly more expensive?  Well, I think we are seeing what happens.  Over time, faith in the corporate ability to prop up equities will erode, and a considerable decline is built directly into the farce.

Price To Earnings Ratio

In some of her final statements upon stepping down as the head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen had some choice comments about the state of equities markets. These included statements that stock market valuations were high and that the price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 (the ratio of stock values versus actual corporate earnings per share) were at a historical peak. This fits exactly with the policy shift I warned about in 2017, and my assertion that Jerome Powell will be the Fed chairman to oversee the final crash of the post-bailout market bubble.

The spike in P/E ratios is not only taking place in U.S. markets. For example, the same trend can be observed in countries like India.  Meaning, there are equities valuation problems around the world.

The issue here is that corporate earnings do not justify such high stock prices. Therefore, something else must be inflating those prices. That something was, of course, central bank stimulus, and now that party is almost over, whether the “buy the f’ing dippers” want to admit it yet or not.

10-Year Treasury Yield Spike

Have spiking Treasury bond yields actually been a signal for an “accelerating economy” as mainstream economists often suggest? Not really. In the era of central bank monetary manipulation, it is more likely that yields were spiking because markets are anticipating the arrival of Jerome Powell as Fed chair and accelerating interest rate hikes rather than an accelerating economy.

The notion that the economy itself might be “overheating” in 2018 is a rather new and nefarious propaganda meme being used by central bankers to set a particular narrative. I believe that narrative will be the claim that “inflation” is a key concern rather than deflation and that central banks must act to temper inflation with more aggressive rate increases. In reality, what we are seeing is not “inflation” in a traditional sense, but stagflation. That is to say, we are seeing elements of price inflation in necessary goods and services and well as property markets, but continued deflation in the rest of the economy.

The Fed in particular will continue to ignore negative fundamentals because they are seeking to deliberately pop the market bubble they have created.

The spike in 10-year bond yields seems to be correlating closely to the recent volatility in stocks. This volatility increased exponentially as yields neared the 3% mark, which appears to be the magical trigger point for equities failure.  Though yields suffered a modest decline as stocks tumbled this week, I still recommend keeping an eye on this indicator.

Dollar Weakness

As I have mentioned in recent articles, there has been a strange disconnect between interest rates and the U.S. dollar. As the Fed continues its policy of hiking interest rates, generally the dollar index should rise in response. Instead, the dollar has been swiftly falling, only stalling in the past couple of trading sessions. If the dollar index continues to fall even as stocks decline and rates increase, this may suggest a systemic risk to the dollar itself.

Such risk could include a dollar dump by foreign central banks in favor of a wider basket of currencies, or the SDR trading basket created by the IMF.

Balance Sheet Reductions Accelerating

The Fed's most recent release of data on its balance sheet reduction program shows a drop in holdings of $18 billion; this is far higher that the originally planned $12 billion slated by the Fed.  Meaning, the Fed is dumping its balance sheet holdings much faster than it told the public initially.

Why is this important?  Well, if you have been tracking the behavior of stocks over the past few years as well as the increases in the Fed's balance sheet, you know that stock markets have risen in direct correlation with that balance sheet.  In other words, the more purchases the Fed made, the higher stocks climbed.

Image result for Fed balance sheet and Stocks 2017

If this correlation is directly linked, then as the Fed reduces its balance sheet, stocks should fall.

So, the fed announces its latest round of balance sheet reductions on January 31st, the reduction is much higher than anticipated, and within a week we witness the largest two day market drop in years.  You would think this observation might just be important, but if you look at the mainstream economic media, almost NO ONE is mentioning it.  Instead, they are searching for all sorts of random explanations for what just happened, none of which are very logically satisfying.

I believe that the Fed will not only continue its program of interest rate increases even if stocks begin to flounder, but that they will also unload their balance sheet as quickly as possible.

Corporate Investor Comments

Major corporate investment firms are beginning to raise their voices about the potential not only for stock devaluations, but also the amount that they might fall. Sydney-based AMP capital suggested a rather moderate 10% pullback in equities, which I think will become the talking point for most of the mainstream media over the next couple weeks. At least, until the whole thing comes crashing down much further than that.

The head of Blackstone COO expects stocks to fall at least 20% this year, a much more aggressive number but not high enough in my view.

I still believe these kinds of estimates are only applicable in the very short term. By the end of 2018, it is possible that markets will double the worst estimated declines predicted by the mainstream investment world given the fundamentals.

Central Banker Comments

Comments by agents of the Federal Reserve reinforce the notion that the central bank is about to crush the bull market bubble. San Francisco branch head Robert Kaplan has been quoted as saying the Fed may be required to hike interest rates MORE than the three times expected by mainstream economists in 2018.

As noted above, Janet Yellen’s exit statements were decidedly “hawkish,” suggesting that property markets and stocks are overpriced. On top of this, Jerome Powell, the new Fed chair, has been quoted in Fed documents from 2012 (finally released this past month) discussing the market bubble the Fed had created and the need to temper that bubble. In other words, Powell is the perfect man for the job of imploding stocks. Powell even predicted in 2012 that when the Fed raises rates the reaction by stock markets might be severe.  Interesting that markets would plunge the very first day Powell assumes the Fed chair position.

I suppose finally a Fed agent and I have something in common. We’ve both been predicting the same exact market outcome caused by the same trigger event for around the same number of years.

I outlined in great detail the plan for the “global economic reset” and Powell’s role in overseeing the next stock crash in my article Party While You Can - Central Bank Ready To Pop The Everything Bubble. In that article, I predicted exactly the results which seem to be developing today in equities.

In essence, Powell is being portrayed by the mainstream media as “Trump’s guy,” and the change in Fed leadership is now being referred to as “Trump’s Fed.” This is not random rhetoric.  I can't think of ANY other president in the past that was given credit by the mainstream media for the activities of the Federal Reserve. Trump’s control over the Federal Reserve is zero. But, the actions of the Fed over the course of this year will undoubtedly crash the very equities markets that Trump has been foolishly taking credit for since his election.

The real issue here now is, how fast will this ugly festering sore explode? That’s hard to say. I would not be surprised if markets fall about 20% below recent highs in the course of the next couple of months and then stall. We may even see a couple spectacular bounces in the near term, all set to trumpets and fanfare by the mainstream economic media who will proclaim that the latest shock-drop was nothing more than an “anomaly.” Then, the crash will continue into the end of 2018 and panic will ensue.

That said, if there is some kind of major geopolitical crisis (such as a war with North Korea), then all bets are off. Stocks could crash exponentially over the course of a few weeks rather than a year. As the past few days have proven, stocks are not invincible, not in the slightest. And all the gains accumulated in the span of years can be wiped away in an instant.

 

 

 

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stevenguinness
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written by stevenguinness , February 07, 2018

Excellent analysis. It was interesting to watch the other day markets betting down the likelihood of the Fed's planned 3 or 4 rate hikes this year. All in a matter of minutes.

This got me thinking - if there is no discernible geopolical fall out in the months ahead e.g. no war in North Korea or prolonged government shutdown, then unlike over the past year the Fed's actions are at increased risk of being seen as negative for the economy. Would it not leave them exposed to direct criticism?

I'd have to think there will be a major geopolitical event or series of events that will mask the Fed's actions this year. The latest budget deal proposals call for a full year's funding of the defense department with funds rolling over only until March for others. Perhaps a sign that trouble is brewing?

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The game's afoot.
written by Guest , February 07, 2018

Thanks, Brandon, for the excellent article- you've definitely got your eye on the ball.

It looks to me that the opening moves have now been made in the planned take down, at least the visible ones. The talking heads are all over the place trying to downplay what is occurring and spouting " there's nothing to see here, move along, don't worry, we've got this". When in reality, the world had just changed! The Fed sent a clear message to the market Friday-Monday, "we're no longer on your side". I watched the market scream off the cliff under full power, knowing that it was intentionally driven over the edge, to a spectacular crash. I told my wife "This is no accident, it's intentional",

Now, we are left to contemplate what the nature of the next moves may be, and how painful. These will not restricted to the economic sphere, by any means. We are ripe for every kind of unpleasantness, nothing is off the table. Hold on to your hats, and remember God is still on the throne. The birth pangs spoken of in Matthew 24 are hard upon us.





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written by Anon55 , February 07, 2018

What do you think about the crash in the Cryptocurrency markets and the recent negative comments from the newly appointed chief of BIS?
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written by Brock Lesnar , February 07, 2018

When the market falls everyone will rush back into treasuries
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Major Skeptic
RE: Korea
written by Major Skeptic , February 07, 2018

Did anyone else see this story about the replacement of the Olympics security force by the military due to a "norovirus" outbreak: https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/winter-olympics-2018/1-200-security-workers-pyeongchang-olympics-tested-norovirus-n845011

This could be setting the stage for a "false flag" event.

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written by Implied Violin , February 07, 2018

There is also this:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-06/china-deploys-300000-soldiers-nkorean-border-preparation-potential-war

Stocks wonky; soldiers lining up; missile parades; Pence meeting with Alaskan soldiers before heading to South Korea; government shutdown; false impending doom alerts (three now after Florida)...then there are all the earthquakes, plagues, floods, fires, freezes, and meteors!

SOMETHING is going to happen soon. Will it be war, or will it be natural? Or will the war be used to mask natural events?

All I know is, one can't possibly have enough popcorn...

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Small thought
written by TJB323 , February 07, 2018

Brandon, Thank you for the great in-depth and easily read articles. When I saw what happened with the stocks, I was wondering if this was going to be the beginning of the end.

The thought I had was if the powers that be (Central Banks, New World Order, ect.) really wanted to keep with the time frame of bringing about a one world currency (in 2018), wouldn't it behoove them to start the crash now? Wouldn't it take time to move through the process?

I know from reading that there seems to be a few factors that started the 1000 + points drop, but those factors did not seem major enough to cause what happened. Hence the comments I have seen on MSM and why they may just call it a little "blimp" on the way up.

Back to my thought. If TPTB wait to get the collapse going say till, late summer or early fall, then they might not be able to keep with their 2018 time frame of the New Monetary system. And maybe they have changed their time frame??

If they have not, and they really want to get the party started, then could it be that the "blimp" was the triggered start?

And I know that Brandon has stated that he thinks that TPTB will crash things in order to blame Trump, and I don't disagree with that. However, if they crash it now, is it to soon to blame Trump? Wouldn't it be easier to blame him if it was set to crash towards the end of his term?

Then the last question. Which direction is more important to TPTB? Bringing about the New Currency or playing the blame game on Trump?? I think if this is the year, I guess you could do both, but I wonder if it will be harder to blame Trump doing it now.

I would like to see any thoughts on this from anyone.

Take care everyone and thanks again Brandon.

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Since you asked
written by Renewed , February 07, 2018

As far as blaming Trump, I would say not only has he been bragging about his great and huge financial achievements but he capped it all off with his big state of the union. Also, Trump now has "his" man at the helm at the Fed. Its all Trumps now! He will suffer the same fate as Herbert Hoover. Remember Hoover tried to jump start the economy with his infrastructure building plans just like Trump will do. Won't work. I wonder what project will be named after Trump?
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Who will buy $1.8 trillion in new Treasury issuances?
written by Arnold Ziffel , February 07, 2018

China and Japan have indicated they won't be buying Treasuries and the Federal Reserve is slowly liquidating Treasuries. So how is the $1.8 trillion in new Treasury issuances going to be funded over the next 5 months? Only 3 possible scenarios: Euro crashes, stock market crash, or Q4.
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two possible scenarios - nr 2 is more likely
written by some1 from Germany , February 08, 2018

Looks like there's two possible scenarios:

1) Crash is ahead. This could mean the crisis will occur during the Olympic Games (maybe some kind of false flag terror attack - note how quiet the Gladio-game has been the past couple of months) + Wall Street-crash, huge blast, war with North Korea, etc.
Could be that this is already the time.

However, I think scenario 2 is more likely)
It's just not going to happen that fast. For so many years so many analysts have (correctly) predicted that the bubble will burst. Geopolitically speaking this is likely to occur together/followed by a huge war, The huge WWIII. Not unlikely.
But just not yet... I think the economy is going to superficially stabilize, the Olympic games will go OK and the big crash won't be until 2019 or later.

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Brandon Smith
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written by Brandon Smith , February 08, 2018

@Some1

If the Fed continues to dump their balance sheet and raise interest rates, there's zero chance that markets will stabilize this year.

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Stock market/Crypos
written by Filthy McNasty , February 08, 2018

@Anon55
Another FUD from BIS official regarding cryptos ....... IMO all recent negative comments are nothing but coordinated game to spook week holders and crate perfect entry point for 2018 huge gain in cryptos.
CFTC chairman Giancarlo has opposite opinion, "do no harm" to cryptos.
Do not listen what people are saying, especially big boys/big money. Buffet recently said that he would put 5 year options that BTC is going to fail but at the same time said that he would never SHORT BTC. Two days ago Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway has become the latest member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance. Does he know something that we do not know?
Am I a proponent of cryptos, NO. Are they gonna be part of our lives in the future, YES ..... unfortunately. Is there a room for much bigger price appreciation , definitely. Until when, probably 2018. and maybe 2019.


Regarding stock market, we all know it is going to correct big time, I do not believe it is gonna be a crash like 1987. but steady decline. DOW will probably go to 30,000 before correction. When, nobody knows ........
If you follow Catherine Austin Fitz and other insiders you`ll get the picture what is on horizon. This lady was high ranking financial official in Bush Jr. administration. I highly recommend checking her website and youtube videos .....


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Stock Prices
written by wholy1 , February 08, 2018

Isn't so-called "equity valuation increases" simply the pricing in of PRIVATELY-held [NOT]Federal[NO]Reserve continual FIAT "credit" largess?
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written by Enki , February 08, 2018

And so it begins,

Be prepared people

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written by MM , February 08, 2018

Hmmm...If I got hunkered down any lower any "longer" preparing for the giant market POP by the FED weasels...I would be underground. Oh wait...in a way I am. I have put in a serious Root Cellar as a wise investment in keeping my belly full.

I can't help it if the POP goes the Weasels rhyme is constantly playing in my head. I know FED rhymes with Head, there is a simplistic deserving sarcastic poem there, somewhere.

I must confess I have been buying the DIP for a long time...but it has always been in PMs.

Waiting for the inevitable is dangerous...preparing for it is wise.

Too many grasshoppers not enough ants.

Thanks Brandon.


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Major Skeptic
Possible Korean War Trigger
written by Major Skeptic , February 08, 2018

I have watched the mainstream news here in New Zealand for the last week or so and I think it was last night they reported that Kim Jong Un's sister was now at the Olympics.
I'm thinking that a possible war trigger event would be the assassination of his sister, which would probably be staged, but it only has to look real.

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Dow Falls 666!
written by jots , February 08, 2018

This headline last week reminded me of when the S&P 500 hit an intra-day low of 666 points in March of 2009, which turned out to be the market bottom. Not a coincidence. These people obviously like to have fun with their highly leveraged financial machines!

When the Dow Jones closed at 19,999 about a year or so ago, I thought perhaps this was the signal they were about to pull the pin. Obviously they weren't done pumping the markets up for an even more spectacular fall!

I'm going to predict that last Friday's 666 point drop was signalling the market top. They just do these things openly now because they assume correctly that most people are too stupid to figure it out.

Anyway, the markets will be going down for a few years. I missed the market bottom in 2009, but I'll be ready next time to get back in at the very bottom when we see those three sixes re-appear in one of the major indexes.

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Major Skeptic
Another numerologic "coincidence"
written by Major Skeptic , February 08, 2018

On June 6, 2006 (6-6-06), gold closed at $666.
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Contagion
written by Contact , February 09, 2018

Hi Brandon,

Very good article and I have been thinking a few of the same things this past week. Not sure what's going on behind the scenes with possible contagion with Div market exposure, etc. Not seeing much in large cash flows back and forth which is an indicator for a safety play by the big players. As you stated the 10 year treasury is going up which clearly is problematic with the massive debt leverage. Eventually it won't matter what the central clowns do to prop up things it will come down regardless. I could be wrong, but my guess this is just an adjustment which we will have many over this coming year. One clear indicator we are not seeing is the metal acting like crypto. I expect that to occur before the crash and right now the clowns still have control. We will see what happens next.

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Escalation in Syria
written by Renewed , February 10, 2018

The situation is again heating up in Syria. Just consider how many countries armies are located in this region in close proximity. A middle east war is getting closer!
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Follow The Money
written by JohnF , February 10, 2018

The game's afoot
"This is no accident, it's intentional"

Exactly,

Looks like Janet Yellen's FED Speak Agreed with Alan Greenspan's Bubble in Stocks & Bonds.

Looks like they are deliberately trying to start a decline.!!!! When the FED Speaks - The Markets Move.

Judy Woodruff: "Former fed chairman Alan Greenspan said the other day he's seeing a bubble in the stock market and the bond market. Are you worried about bubbles?"

Janet Yellen: "So I don't want to label what we're seeing as a bubble, but I would say that asset valuations generally are elevated, and this is a characterization that we've offered up, for example last summer in our monetary policy report, for the stock market, the ratio of price to earnings which is a measure valuation is near the high end of its historical range. And if we look at, for example, commercial real estate and other assets, we're seeing high valuations."

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Dow 3000
written by draintheswamp , February 10, 2018

3000 is fair value for the illuminati Deep State control cheating hoes of deep State! scan ken Dushanbe bags!
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Dollar rising as interest rates are hiked
written by Anthony C. , February 11, 2018

"As I have mentioned in recent articles, there has been a strange disconnect between interest rates and the U.S. dollar. As the Fed continues its policy of hiking interest rates, generally the dollar index should rise in response. Instead, the dollar has been swiftly falling, only stalling in the past couple of trading sessions. If the dollar index continues to fall even as stocks decline and rates increase, this may suggest a systemic risk to the dollar itself."

As usual, an excellent article. IMO, the reason the dollar is falling is because the market is foreseeing what rising interest rates, tax cuts and infrastructure spending portends. Increasing deficits and much more debt. The govt has no way to repay the debt so they will have no choice but to "print".

I believe that this is a 10-15% hiccup that may very well go parabolic akin to the year or so before the Great Depression only this time it will be an inflationary Great Depression as the dollar is puked up from all countries around the world and is no longer the reserve currency.

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Brandon Smith
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written by Brandon Smith , February 11, 2018

@Anthony

Well, firstly, the market doesn't foresee anything. Markets are completely blind to reality until it slaps them in the face.

Secondly, this is the Martin Armstrong school of thought. So far, Armstrong has been wrong about most things. The assumption that dollar devaluation automatically equates to stock market inflation is simply wrong. Stocks have ALREADY been inflated, but only because low interest rates have allowed corporations to afford constant stock buybacks using Fed dollars. If interest rates continue to rise this year, stocks will fall. WHO is going to buy if the Fed stops the flow of easy money? This is my primary concern.

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Brandon Smith
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written by Brandon Smith , February 11, 2018

Central banks will NOT be stepping in this time. There will be no new QE:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-11/dont-expect-central-bank-bailout-time-ecbs-nowotny-warns

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Central banks NOT stepping in
written by Renewed , February 11, 2018

And if that does not due the trick, there's always this:

White House Will Release Promised $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Monday.

Let's see Trump do his Herbert Hoover impersonation!

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Brandon Smith
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written by Brandon Smith , February 11, 2018

@Renewed

Yes, it's funny because the fed and others have been using Trump's infrastructure spending as the excuse for needing higher interest rates. You can easily see the narrative building that Trump and the people who support him are to blame for what is coming.

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Futures up biggly
written by Jeras , February 11, 2018

Yep. It was all about the budget last week.

It's over now.

Friday's action, in massive volume, showed the Fed is in control and that thing is NOT going down

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Brandon Smith
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written by Brandon Smith , February 11, 2018

@Jeras

The Fed is not supporting stocks anymore. This is abundantly clear. Futures are irrelevant in a volatile market. They were up last week multiple times before the two 1000 point drops. Also, Trump's spending plan will only cause FASTER interest rate increases, meaning the free money feeding the bull market will soon be gone. There will be no one left to buy.

If you are a ticker tracker and ignore the fundamentals, you will lose everything in this market. The fed will continue to hike rates and dump their balance sheet. Stocks will continue to fall this year. Dead cat bounces are bound to happen (as they did last week), but they don't change the reality of the situation.

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