U.S. Economy

From Complexity to Chaos, From a Trickle to a Flood

bear-market

As a volatility trader, I loved seeing stocks drop 2% last week after having risen 3%. But as a credit trader and student of market behavior, I know all too well that this type of volatility is a forecast of stormy seas ahead.

Markets were disturbed last week by more evidence that the economy is weak, in spite of the fact that a steady stream of lousy economic news this year has done little to prevent stocks from reaching new highs.

With first quarter GDP increasingly likely to come in at well below 1% - a number that certainly can't be blamed on the weather alone - investors are now starting to sweat. Here's what they'll do next...

Use This Strategy to Profit Before the Markets Head South

Stock market futures

For the last six months, I have been warning that economic growth is faltering. In November of last year, I predicted that the U.S. economy would experience a "growth scare" in 2015.

This week, we learned that the Atlanta Fed is tracking first quarter GDP growth at a mere 0.3% and that the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee (FOMC) has significantly downgraded its growth forecast.

Bond yields have plunged and commodity prices have collapsed. Only stocks have failed to figure out that low growth is a recipe for coming disaster.

Earn 6% When Others Are Losing Money

Money

We're living in crazy economic times.

The race to debase and stimulate has taken us into uncharted financial waters.

Zero interest rate policies (ZIRP) are being replaced with negative interest rate policies (NIRP).

It's an upside-down banking environment that presents some serious challenges.

But investors who are willing to get just a little creative can profit nicely, even as others lose money that just sits there.

And, even better, the shares are trading at an 8% discount now...

February Jobs Report: Why Wages Are Still So Low

February Jobs Report

The February jobs report showed a dip in the unemployment rate. But it also showed zero wage growth and a lower labor force participation rate.

A close look at the numbers shows this "recovery" has passed by too many people…

Here’s the real story on U.S. jobs…

U.S. Layoffs: More than 103,620 Announced in 2015

U.S. layoffs

Today's job report showed unemployment fell to 5.5% - but it doesn't seem like things are getting better when you look at the constant stream of planned U.S. layoffs and job cuts being announced.

Just two months into 2015, employers have announced a whopping 103,620 planned layoffs. That's up 19% from the 86,942 layoffs recorded during the same period in 2014.

Here's a look at some of the biggest job cuts announced so far this year...

With 40% of Americans One Bill Away from Financial Disaster, What's Next?

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Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money and U.S. Federal Reserve stimulus, the U.S. economy is still not working very well for the average American.

According to a survey by Bankrate.com, 40% of Americans say they are just one big bill away from financial disaster. That tells Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald that the government's efforts to rescue the U.S. economy have failed.

He said there's one figure he's watching this week that will show if there's much hope for Main Street at this point...

In This Market, Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

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Stocks hit new records last week as central banks around the world continued writing checks to prop up still struggling economies, the price of oil stabilized, Vladimir Putin lured the West into a phony truce in the Ukraine, and Athens and the EU tried to pretend that Greece isn't hopelessly insolvent or that it even matters if it is or isn't.

In other words, investors were once again all too willing to ignore economic reality and drink the Kool Aid being served by central bankers and politicians.

We might as well call this the "Jonestown Market" because the cult leader Jim Jones could just as easily be handing out paper cups filled with colored water and investors would be swilling it down...

How to Prepare for a Stock Market Crash

stock market crash

Could a stock market crash occur in the wake of plummeting oil prices? If we continue to break certain low price barriers, it could.

All those new buyers loading up on oil, oil stocks, drillers, and explorers will dump their new bets like they were ticking bombs.

Here's everything you need to know to prepare for a potential stock market crash...

January Jobs Report Doesn't Mean What Washington Says It Does

January jobs report

The January jobs report seemed like good news.

The U.S. Labor Department said 257,000 jobs were added to the economy. That easily beat the 230,000 numbers analysts had expected.

And yet unemployment ticked up to 5.7% from 5.6%. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald sees the conflicting data in the jobs report as more proof the recovery is not the success President Barack Obama claims.

In this video, Fitz-Gerald discusses what the funny numbers from the January jobs report mean for the U.S. economy...

What a Strong U.S. Dollar in 2015 Means

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Since 2008 the U.S. dollar has risen against every important currency in the world.

Its steady ascent has been good for a lot of companies, economies, and investors. 

But, if the trend continues, a strong U.S. dollar in 2015 will be bad news for some of those same companies, economies, and investors. Worse, it could trigger a global markets meltdown...

A Measured View of a Difficult Week and the Markets

market volatility

France's 9-11 should remind investors that the world sits atop a precarious geopolitical perch. Madmen with guns have the ability to wreak enormous damage on the fabric of society, which in turn places the stability of markets at risk.

Last week's tragic events in Paris are likely to impose significantly greater security costs on Western societies while leading them to question the open borders that feed immigration and trade, two keys to the future economic growth that will be necessary to dig out of the deepening debt hole they have dug themselves.

Depending on the response, jihadists could win a bigger victory than they imagine if Western governments surrender to their worst fears...

The Scary Wage Growth Story in the December Jobs Report

December jobs report

The December jobs report released today (Friday) by the U.S. Department of Labor highlights what’s missing in the job market’s recovery: wage growth.

According to the report, the United States added 252,000 jobs last month, ahead of consensus estimates of 240,000. That was enough to push the unemployment rate down to 5.6%.

But those impressive numbers were not enough to distract from the bigger story of falling wages…

Facebook Stock (Nasdaq: FB) Gets Boost from Acquisition in Stock Market Today

Stock market today

Stock market today, Friday, Jan. 9: Good morning! Stock market futures Friday morning forecast a 31-point gain from yesterday's close. On Thursday, the Dow Jones rallied 323 points on expectations that the European Central Bank will take more aggressive action to stave off deflation and debt crisis, coupled with swirling optimism for the U.S. economy.

Today will center on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. This morning, the December jobs report indicated that the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs last month, surpassing consensus expectations of 240,000. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 5.6%.

While that may fuel a short-term surge in the markets, investors remain cautious about the Federal Reserve's desire to raise interest rates this year. In a speech yesterday, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said that the central bank should not increase rates in 2015; however, he is not a voting member of the FOMC this year. That sentiment was followed by voting-member Charles Evans. The Chicago Fed President told a CNBC audience this morning that the U.S. job markets have shown strong growth. But, he said, he'd like the central bank to wait until 2016 to raise interest rates.

Here's what else you should know about the stock market today - including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day" - to make it a profitable Friday...

Labor Department Jobs Report: Take a Closer Look at the Numbers

Labor Department jobs report

As usual, a closer look at the U.S. Labor Department jobs report for November shows things aren't as rosy as they first seem...

First, the big news. The jobs report showed employers added 321,000 jobs last month, crushing consensuses estimates of 230,000.

But it's far from "all clear" on the jobs front - here's why...

This Bear Market Indicator Is Off the Mark

bear-wave

Investors are taught that bear markets can't occur unless the Treasury yield curve inverts - that is, unless short-term interest rates are higher than long-term interest rates.

And that can only happen if the Federal Reserve raises the Federal Funds rate, which is the short-term rate that the Fed controls.

But that measure may be off the mark this time, and here's why...

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