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Posts Tagged ‘debt outstanding’

Ground Hog Day

February 24th, 2020 by Kurt L. Smith

Though Ground Hog Day was officially February 2nd, I am referencing the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray. I feel like I am reliving the same day over and over again in the market place.

The Dow Jones Industrials traded today at the same level it did six weeks ago. Yet every morning I am seemingly greeted with a new intraday high for stocks. Bonds are scarce, yet every day I hope to scratch and claw my way to several worthwhile pieces.

Last month I wrote that asset prices were Better Than Best. After weeks of Ground Hog Days, guess what?  Prices are still Better Than Best. That is the danger in delaying writing this letter in hopes of writing something new. There is nothing new.

Even when we think there is something new (in Washington or in Wuhan), it is seemingly of little consequence. I don’t write about those types of things anyway, preferring to watch what the markets are telling me. Obviously, they have been telling me the transition from upward trend in prices to downward trend is taking its time. Does that mean six more weeks of this like the groundhog prognosticates? We will know when the markets tell us.

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High Demand for (Low) Yield

December 16th, 2019 by Kurt L. Smith

Long-time readers are well aware of my call to the end of the thirty-plus year bond bull market in 2012. That’s seven years now behind us. For long-term bonds this period has been quite a topping process (in 2012, 2016 and again in 2019) with the primary result being the tremendous issuance of new debt.

Treasury debt has exploded from $4.3 trillion in 2006 to $15.9 trillion in 2019 (Q2). My debt figures come from a wonderful website, www.sifma.org, check it out.  Luckily the Federal Reserve has been there as the primary buyer, expanding their balance sheet in various quantitative easing programs.

Right behind treasuries in debt expansion is corporate debt, rising from $4.9 in 2006 to $9.5 trillion (Q2). Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in October that “leverage among corporations and other forms of business, private businesses, is historically high” –Bloomberg.

Indeed, not only are bond prices high (yields low) but there are more of them! As long as “lower-for-longer” holds, values should hold. Interest rates are low, so low it would appear that negative interest rates are a closer reality than higher interest rates.

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NEWS FEED

The $247 trillion global debt bomb washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-2…