A Weekly Outlook and Analysis of the
Global Investment Climate
One year later, Werner Heizenberg proved the "Heizenberg Principle," which guaranteed him the Nobel Prize in physics, in 1932, for his role in the creation of Quantum Mechanics.
In this issue of the Global Investment Climate:
The Object of FedSpeak is not Transparency
As I read the account, it became enlightening to then observe the Fed Chairman speak and enact policy in the real world. I had begun to understand why so much ambiguity poured from the lips of Alan Greenspan and the various Fed governors over the years. More importantly, why it had to. Because the object of FedSpeak (a slang term used to label the general public opinions, speeches, and comments made by members of the Federal Reserve Board) is not transparency; indeed the prime directive of any public statement must be to minimize Heizenberg's principle.
In other words, and perhaps in its most appropriate role, it (FedSpeak) exists primarily to neutralize participants' expectation sets in order to prevent (or minimize) the uncertain influence of the observational bias - a slight twist on the original idea. Extrapolating this hypothesis, it becomes apparent that pretending that there really is no stock bubble, or an inflation problem or vice versa, is not really a bad thing… especially if your words can affect an unpredictable outcome.
There are many ways to maintain an organizational transparency, without having all of your directors give ambiguous daily speeches, which almost any analyst will tell you give us less insight into the organization by way of the constant contradiction. Thus, the process is born of scientific (read political) necessity. For, the truth may be that our monetary leaders are running an economic experiment in which they are trying to anchor our expectations. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Heizenberg's principle, please review the two unrelated analogies below:
In politics, as much as in physics, Heizenberg's principle that the measurer cannot help but affect what he measures is true. These national polls, moreover, do not actually measure anything of much relevance (a candidate could easily have a substantial lead in a single national ballot and yet lose the electoral vote if his support is divided across small states,) and so the polls only affect the election and do not truly measure it. (Yuval Levin, Liberzine.com)
Moderator Larry Grossman, the columnist, author and former president of NBC News, noted that the problem of impartiality begins with the Heizenberg Principle, the theory that the act of observation itself alters the event. This increasingly is a problem for a press corps that the public sees as not its surrogate, but a player in the game (www.journalism.org)
More scientifically called the "principle of indeterminacy," it was named after Werner Heizenberg, who received the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics after a spirited fight in 1926 against the leader of an opposing faction of academic thought. His opponent, Schrödinger, felt that the two theories yielded the exact same mathematical result, but that his own (Wave Mechanics - where light is made up of waves) was easier to calculate and understand. Hence, he all but concluded that the existence of Heizenberg's theory (Matrix Mechanics - where light is made up of particles) was redundant and not necessary. Heizenberg proved, however, that the simpler calculations over looked the "principle of indeterminacy," and soon after a walk in a park under a starlit sky, we are told, he had the epiphany that light was not only wave, but also atomic particle.
In the same year, he wrote a 14-page letter to Wolfgang Pauli, where he defined the mechanics of the uncertainty "premium," which occurs while trying to measure an experiment, and which results from either error in the theoretical interpretative framework for the observation, or simply, in the act of the observation itself.
The principle is especially relevant in the social sciences, for very much like the processes that go on within the atom, here to, Newton's laws of gravity need not apply. Nonetheless, if this is indeed the object of FedSpeak and is intended to replace the role of anchored policy, it is fallible because creating the inflation expectation set is perhaps the best weapon that the Fed actually has, at its disposal.
The reason we feel that way is that it is unfeasible to neutralize the expectation set of prospective receivers of dollars outside of the Fed's immediate communications, or like, domain. Thus, the enforcement of legal tender outside of US borders is and always has been determined not by US pressure, but by how the principles of monetary economics interact with foreign interests, and thus the international monetary arrangement (order). In order for a particular fiat currency to sustain a stable economic unit of purchasing power throughout the world, homogeneously and over a consequential period of time, the nation enforcing the fiat would ultimately have to take over the entire world or it would sooner or later have to holdfast to the discipline of the economic principles, which govern money supply and demand.
Anyhow, our point is not that this government and monetary authority believe that they can manipulate the economy simply by "sterilizing" our psychology, but that in order to stop the inflation, the Fed will have to do more than neutralize an increasingly global set of participants' expectations… it will have to focus its policy on the monetary principles of supply and demand, for dollars. Greenspan & company will have to actually act, which means that he will have to raise interest rates and perhaps enact 'out of favor' policies at a time when we really do not want him to, like when stock prices are reeling or when the economy is contracting faster and faster, and all the while, prices continue to rise.
If he were to do that while simultaneously telling people that there is no inflation (a possible prognosis), conceivably his credibility would be shot and then his mandate would be constrained by the general public confusion, or at least by an angry mob or two. Perhaps the best weapon in the Fed's arsenal is to come clean (why does that seem so taboo these days?), tell people that there is a problem, present a solution that they can have confidence in, and proceed to cross their fingers in the hope that the public will not invent their own solution.
We are not trying to invent new policies here, but rather we are trying to point out that the policies of the FOMC continue to err on the side of inflation. For as it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the uncertainty principle with respect to dollar policy (psychology) on foreign markets, where there is less communications influence, inflation expectations are indeed on the rise. Thus the deterioration of the purchasing power of the US dollar in international markets has already begun, and we have already shown this to be the case in recent commentary. And if this is true, then it is also true that the Fed is behind the curve on interest rates. Finally, if that is true, then one of the two prognoses (in the preceding paragraph) ought to follow.
Santa will rally off of lower levels
Anyhow, our guess is that if it (the stock market rally) continues, it should prompt another sterilizing non-action from the FOMC next week. Having said that, it is also our guess that it will not continue, which may in fact prompt the Fed into action. So our Fed model assumes that the Fed will react to psychological imbalances with psychological counterweights, and that it will react to economic imbalances with policy action. Of course, the model already falls short of perfection as the evidence suggests that the Fed only reacts with discretion and after much deliberation, and only to imbalances that it perceives as fear inducing. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, if you're an eternal optimist.
in a bear market, all news is bad news!
We have already shown our readers reasonable evidence that dollar owners and/or acquirers have progressively more preferred to exchange those dollars for oil, natural gas, palladium, platinum, and other commodities than they have preferred to exchange them for more equity. The evidence came in the form of two charts, which compared the rate of return on dollar denominated assets to the rate of return on the dollar price of important commodities over the past two years. Guess who won.
Chart the US Dollar Index and Crude
Ignore the relative slopes as the arithmetic chart scale conceals the out performance of crude prices. Thus it is not surprising to us that this loud yet oddly silent battle still dominates the general stock market current.
And it is therefore not surprising to us that the main theme in a bear market rally over this past week has been a nostalgic reversion to the goldilocks dream. This is evident in the strong relative performance of the technology and transportation issues over the utilities and oil sector stocks last week.
But what does it mean?
Consequently, technicians ought to point out that while encouraging, there was no real significance to last week's Miss Goldilocks pageant, other than fresh evidence that some horses were still willing to go to the trough on command. That being said, a decisive move through 3000 (on the Nasdaq), might summon enough momentum to challenge the 200 day moving average, which is quickly approaching the 3500 mark. Beyond that, however, conditions are not yet right for a meaningful general market bottom to have already occurred. There is still a lot of work to do. On the two-year weekly charts below, the last bar on the right in each case depicts last week's market action:
Chart the Nasdaq 100 Stock Index and the NYSE Composite Stock Index
The SP500 ended the week by consolidating near (but underneath) its 50 day moving average and well underneath the 200 day. I will admit that the bulls have done a decent job at bending some of the charts back in their favor. The Dow Industrials and the NYSE composite index were both rallied above their respective moving averages just in the nick of time, since the bearish crossover divergence in the NYSE composite occurred on only Wednesday of last week. In doing so, wounded bullish forces were able to contain prices in what appears to be a symmetrical consolidation of lower highs and higher lows, a neutral chart pattern, over the past 10 weeks. I do have to say that it is amazing to watch these narrow averages way up here, still near all time highs, while the rest of the market has been literally falling apart.
The main reason, I think, is that the "Point of Recognition," while perhaps having occurred, has been somewhat obscured, by the psychologically manipulative tactics of the Fed, and of course, some Wall Street types.
And so while this still might come as a surprise to the bull's militia, the primary market debate does not revolve around the next President, but instead, inflation. Specifically, whether or not we are at the breaking point of a run away inflation in commodity prices, as the result of a misguided US Dollar policy… whether or not all the charts of all commodities will soon look like this…
Consider some visual aids…
All of the above are two-year weekly charts, depicting a trend that has been evolving for nearly two full years now. Not that one would know by reading anything that the Fed, administration, or the average curb monitor has to say about the market. Please observe two important points; first, that a growing proportion of commodity prices are rising not falling, despite a quickly slowing economy. Second, that a 20% retracement in oil prices (over the past 14 sessions) has had hardly a negligible effect on either the CRB or the energy weighted Goldman Sachs Commodity Total Return Index.
How is that for some truth serum? So while Greenspan is telling you that the Fed is working hard to slow "aggregate" economic demand, he is probably hoping that the reason for rising prices is in fact an overheated economy. For then, an economic slowdown should cool the inflation, right? Yet even as the US/European manufacturing sectors continue to crumble, as corporate credit markets get squished (sorry, trying a new word), global stock markets are pummeled, and the heavily indebted consumer struggles to find a way to shorten his or her Christmas list, prices continue to generally rise against the dollar. And arguably, even as the evidence of global recession mounts, prices continue to generally rise. Think about that next Tuesday when the FOMC meets to decide on whether or not to shower the market economy with more, cheap fiat currency. Think about whether the FOMC ought to consider the theory of aggregate economic supply and demand over the theory of money supply and demand, in setting interest rate policy.
Of course they shouldn't.
But OPEC, for one, would certainly love
it if they did!
Undoubtedly, both the IEA (International Energy Agency) and the USA have already been selling oil into the market since the IEA announcement on December 1, apparently in order to avert an economic disaster. Though, we feel that the move is a bad one, and will probably precipitate an economic disaster. If the driving force behind a reversion to objective values (refer link to dollar utility article) for the dollar is the relative scarcity of certain commodities with respect to the relative abundance of currency, then will not creating a larger shortage in the reserve accounts of major oil dependent nations ultimately fuel the inflation? Perhaps not if US economic authorities are correct about the "temporary nature" of the oil price spike.
Actually, the importance for US authorities to be correct on this supposed temporary nature of the oil price spike cannot be understated. For if the economy continues to slow and oil prices continue to grow (the rhyme is unintentional), rather than decline as they should, on a slowing in "aggregate" demand, the market will have broken the Fed and its psychological game.
Furthermore, we think that they are wrong
Wall Street Gets Behind The Transportation
On October 6th 2000, Paul Kangas interviewed Julius Maldutis, managing director at CIBC World Markets on the Nightly Business Report. Maldutis said,
"The airlines have started to hedge oil very significantly. And second, airlines put through three fair increases and a fuel surcharge. So, in effect, they've neutralized the corrosive impact of oil prices."
That answered my curiosity about the recent leg in the Dow transports. While there is certainly a relative undervaluation in the transportation issues compared with the overall market, the bulls (consistent species that they are) also perceive that there is a relative over pessimism with regard to the traditional relationship between the financial performance in the airlines and the rising cost of oil, even though it is their second largest cost category after labor. Maldutis also revealed that the airlines have been working really hard, using the Internet, to improve on the filling of typical excess seating capacity, which traditionally results in lost revenues. Furthermore, their Internet initiative has been putting the squeeze on the likes of PriceLine and other travel agents, by providing you with direct access to ticket purchases. This way, the overall price of travel does not rise to the consumer, yet the overall share of the profit pie in the travel industry grows in favor of the airline stocks. Do you see what the bulls see?
So, if the government can keep pressure on oil prices just until the end of the month, there is a good chance that the aforesaid broad hedging activity in this sector will show some off balance sheet windfall profits in the next reporting season (January?), provided that the gains are realized. So you see, the market debate is about inflation, and if the boyz are wrong about what they are telling us, then this hedging activity will ultimately result in "extraordinary" losses for some of the new puppies in the game. Do you see then, that represented by the stock market leadership last week, the tape is positioning itself around expectations for lower oil prices?
Another Great Selling Opportunity
Chart 2 year put/call against 2 year S&P 500
GATA supporters put their money where
their mouths are
The move is clearly controversial because no one thinks that these guys have any proof. But the timing is extraordinary, as one smoking gun after another is discovered in one market after another. With a little help from the market forces already in motion, this could turn out to be an explosive story. As I write this, the BIS already responded on its own, suggesting that the claims have no merit. Is that all they got?