ZIRP Era in Pictures

Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was instigated by a credit induced collapse of the US financial system and perpetuated in December of 2008 by desperate financial policy makers as a fix to problems they created in the first place.

In reality, it is simply an epic distortion of normal economic signals that cleaned up the mess created by previous policy distortions (like the commercial credit bubble of the Greenspan era) by systematically (5+ years and running) main lining new distortions into the system.

zirp

So in addition to this picture, which could one day hang in a monetary museum with the title ‘Grandma and Her Savings Account Bail Out Wealthy Asset Owners’, let’s take a walk down memory lane and marvel at some other pictures created by this policy… Continue reading "ZIRP Era in Pictures"

Pigs no Longer Fly; What Are the Implications?

Along with the highly publicized loss of leadership from big tech, the US stock market is now in danger of losing another, and possibly more important leader, the piggies or banking sector.

While the weekly chart of BKX has not yet broken down, it is very close to doing so after sporting a negative RSI divergence for the better part of the last year. We should not jump the gun with bearish scenarios, but as always we want to be among those looking forward and ready, just like in 2007, which was the last time BKX-SPX began to roll over in earnest.

bkx

NFTRH has followed the BKX-SPX (leadership) ratio every step of the way during the current leg of the cyclical stock bull market. Most recently we noted that BKX-SPX failed to make higher highs on two occasions. This put the ratio – and by extension the stock market – on alert as we watched for a lower low.  Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a lower low. Continue reading "Pigs no Longer Fly; What Are the Implications?"

What's Happening To The Smaller Banks?

By: Tim Melvin of Benzinga

Consider the life of a banker running a small bank today.

It used to be a great life running one of these little banks. You oversaw a network of 10 or 15 branches in smaller towns or suburbs across the country and were a well-liked business leader of your community.

More than likely you weren't just a member of the Rotary and other civic groups, you were an officer of the group.

Bankers helped people buy homes, grow their businesses, put their kids through college and even save for and fund their retirement. The employees had good jobs and made decent money and really liked the bank and the officers. The stock price was at a nice premium from the original offering price and most folks in town were pretty excited about that. On weekends, the bankers probably played golf and went to local college games with local politicians, developers and car dealers. Continue reading "What's Happening To The Smaller Banks?"

Rates of Interest

As the 10-year to T-bill yield curve chart makes clear, we are not in Kansas anymore.  We are in Wonderland and as you can see, in Wonderland interest rates and their interrelationships are at the center of events.

tnx.irx

Last week the bullish case reasserted itself across financial markets, but to argue that policy makers are doing anything better than pumping future distortions into the system is crazy talk along the lines of 'the world is flat' or… ‘the above chart is flat’.

Last week Ben Bernanke clarified for people that yes indeed the Fed will eventually taper its QE bond buying operation while making clear that Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) will remain as is.  I think that the average market participant is starting to settle in and get comfortable with the terms of our 'Taper to Carry'(T2C) plan, which sees the banks benefiting from borrowing short and lending longer. Continue reading "Rates of Interest"