Building Financial Danger – June 8, 2017 Update

My overall analysis indicates a continuing elevated and growing level of financial danger which contains many worldwide and U.S.-specific “stresses” of a very complex nature. I have written numerous posts in this site concerning both ongoing and recent “negative developments.”  These developments, as well as other exceedingly problematic conditions, have presented a highly perilous economic environment that endangers the overall financial system.

Also of ongoing immense importance is the existence of various immensely large asset bubbles, a subject of which I have extensively written.  While all of these asset bubbles are wildly pernicious and will have profound adverse future implications, hazards presented by the bond market bubble are especially notable.

Predicting the specific timing and extent of a stock market crash is always difficult, and the immense complexity of today’s economic situation makes such a prediction even more challenging. With that being said, my analyses continue to indicate that a near-term exceedingly large (from an ultra-long term perspective) stock market crash – that would also involve (as seen in 2008) various other markets as well – will occur.

(note: the “next crash” and its aftermath has great significance and implications, as discussed in the post of January 6, 2012 titled “The Next Crash And Its Significance“ and various subsequent posts in the “Economic Depression” category)

As reference, below is a daily chart since 2008 of the S&P500 (through June 7, 2017 with a last price of 2433.14), depicted on a LOG scale, indicating both the 50dma and 200dma as well as price labels:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

S&P500 daily since 2008

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2429.31 as this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the June 1, 2017 update (reflecting data through May 26, 2017) is -1.546.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on June 7, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 2, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 2, 2017 value is -.82:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 7, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on June 7, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 2, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 2 value is -.41:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 7, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

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I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2431.94 as this post is written

June 6, 2017 Gallup Poll Results On Economic Confidence – Notable Excerpts

On June 6, 2017 Gallup released the poll results titled “Confidence In Economy in May Lowest Since November 2016.”

Notable excerpts include:

Though still historically high, Americans’ confidence in the economy fell to a six-month low in May, largely dragged down by Democrats’ worsening economic attitudes. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged a score of +3 in May, down slightly from April (+5) but eight points below January’s record monthly high (+11).

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they believe the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.

also:

Even as some Americans become more pessimistic about the economy overall, attitudes about the economy’s current conditions have been relatively stable. Last month, 32% of Americans assessed the economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 22% said the economy was “poor.” Overall, the current conditions component averaged +10 in May, similar to +11 in April and three points shy of the nine-year high (+13) the measure hit in February and March.

Meanwhile, perceptions about the economy’s outlook have more clearly deteriorated. In May, slightly more Americans (49%) said the economy was “getting worse” than said it was “getting better” (45%). The economic outlook component stood at -4 for the month, representing a slight dip from April when the component averaged -1, and it is down notably from its record high in January of +11.

Here is an accompanying chart of the two components of the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, discussed above:

Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index Components

Here is an accompanying chart of the Gallup Economic Confidence Index:

Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index - Monthly Averages

 

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2429.33 as this post is written

Recession Probability Models – June 2017

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession.

While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

Please note that each of these models is updated regularly, and the results of these – as well as other recession models – can fluctuate significantly.

The first is the “Yield Curve as a Leading Indicator” from the New York Federal Reserve.  I wrote a post concerning this measure on March 1, 2010, titled “The Yield Curve as a Leading Indicator.”

Currently (last updated June 2, 2017 using data through May) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 7.8283% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 7.0143% probability through April, and a chart going back to 1960 is seen at the “Probability Of U.S. Recession Predicted by Treasury Spread.” (pdf)

The second model is from Marcelle Chauvet and Jeremy Piger.  This model is described on the St. Louis Federal Reserve site (FRED) as follows:

Smoothed recession probabilities for the United States are obtained from a dynamic-factor markov-switching model applied to four monthly coincident variables: non-farm payroll employment, the index of industrial production, real personal income excluding transfer payments, and real manufacturing and trade sales. This model was originally developed in Chauvet, M., “An Economic Characterization of Business Cycle Dynamics with Factor Structure and Regime Switching,” International Economic Review, 1998, 39, 969-996. (http://faculty.ucr.edu/~chauvet/ier.pdf)

Additional details and explanations can be seen on the “U.S. Recession Probabilities” page.

This model, last updated on June 1, 2017, currently shows a .48% probability using data through March.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated June 1, 2017):

Probability of U.S. Recession

Data Source:  Piger, Jeremy Max and Chauvet, Marcelle, Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities [RECPROUSM156N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed June 5, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/RECPROUSM156N

The two models featured above can be compared against measures seen in recent blog posts.  For instance, as seen in the May 11 post titled “The May 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 15.27% probability of a U.S. recession within the next 12 months.

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2436.10 as this post is written

VIX Weekly And Monthly Charts Since The Year 2000 – June 5, 2017 Update

For reference purposes, below are two charts of the VIX from year 2000 through Friday’s (June 2, 2017) close, which had a closing value of 9.75.

Here is the VIX Weekly chart, depicted on a LOG scale, with the 13- and 34-week moving averages, seen in the cyan and red lines, respectively:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

VIX Weekly chart since 2000

Here is the VIX Monthly chart, depicted on a LOG scale, with the 13- and 34-month moving average, seen in the cyan and red lines, respectively:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

VIX monthly chart since 2000

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2435.63 as this post is written

Charts Of Equities’ Performance Since March 9, 2009 And January 1, 1980 – June 5, 2017 Update

In the March 9, 2012 post (“Charts of Equities’ Performance Since March 9, 2009 And January 1, 1980“) I highlighted two charts for reference purposes.

Below are those two charts, updated through the latest daily closing price.

The first is a daily chart of the S&P500 (shown in green), as well as five prominent (AAPL, IBM, WFM, SBUX, CAT) individual stocks, since 2005.  There is a blue vertical line that is very close to the March 6, 2009 low.  As one can see, both the S&P500 performance, as well as many stocks including the five shown, have performed strongly since the March 6, 2009 low:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

S&P500 and prominent stocks

This next chart shows, on a monthly LOG basis, the S&P500 since 1980.  I find this chart notable as it provides an interesting long-term perspective on the S&P500′s performance.  The 20, 50, and 200-month moving averages are shown in blue, red, and green lines, respectively:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

S&P500 monthly LOG since 1980

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2439.07 as this post is written

Monthly Long-Term Historical Charts DJIA – DJTA – S&P500 – Nasdaq Indexes

StockCharts.com maintains long-term historical charts of various major stock market indices, interest rates, currencies, commodities, and economic indicators.

As a long-term reference, below are charts depicting various stock market indices for the dates shown.  All charts are depicted on a monthly basis using a LOG scale.

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts courtesy of StockCharts.com)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, from 1900 – June 2, 2017:

DJIA Monthly LOG since 1900

The Dow Jones Transportation Average, from 1900 – June 2, 2017:

DJTA monthly LOG since 1900

The S&P500, from 1925 – June 2, 2017:

S&P500 since 1925

The Nasdaq Composite, from 1978 – June 2, 2017:

Nasdaq since 1978

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2439.07 as this post is written

“Not In Labor Force” Statistic – As Of June 2017

In the November 13, 2013 post (“Not In Labor Force Statistic“) I featured editorial commentary from the Wall Street Journal, as well as an accompanying long-term chart, with regard to the number of people not working.

Also, on February 9, 2015 I wrote another post titled “Unemployment And The ‘Not In Labor Force’ Statistic,” in which I discussed various facets of this measure.

Below is an updated chart regarding this statistic.  The current figure, last updated on June 2, 2017 depicting data through May 2017, is 94.788 million people (Not Seasonally Adjusted):

Not In Labor Force

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Not In Labor Force [LNU05000000] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed June 5, 2017;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNU05000000

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2439.07 as this post is written

Average Hourly Earnings Trends

I have written many blog posts concerning the worrisome trends in income and earnings.

Along these lines, one of the measures showing disconcerting trends is that of hourly earnings.

While the concept of hourly earnings can be defined and measured in a variety of ways, below are a few charts that I believe broadly illustrate problematic trends.

The first chart depicts Average Hourly Earnings Of All Employees: Total Private (FRED series CES0500000003)(current value = $26.22):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

CES0500000003

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Average Hourly Earnings of All Employees:  Total Private [CES0500000003] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed June 2, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES0500000003

This next chart depicts this same measure on a “Percentage Change From A Year Ago” basis.   While not totally surprising, I find the decline from 2009 and subsequent trend to be disconcerting:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

CES0500000003 Percent Change From Year Ago

There are slightly different measures available from a longer-term perspective. Pictured below is another measure, the Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees – Total Private (FRED series AHETPI)(current value = $22.00):

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

AHETPI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees:  Total Private [AHETPI] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics;  accessed June 2, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/AHETPI

Pictured below is this AHETPI measure on a “Percentage Change From A Year Ago” basis.   While not totally surprising, I find the decline from 2009 and subsequent trend to be disconcerting:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart last updated 6-2-17)

AHETPI Percent Change From Year Ago

I will continue to actively monitor these trends, especially given the post-2009 dynamics.

_________

I post various economic indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2437.53 this post is written

U-3 And U-6 Unemployment Rate Long-Term Reference Charts As Of June 2, 2017

Shortly after each monthly employment report I have been posting a continual series titled “3 Critical Unemployment Charts.”

Of course, there are many other employment charts that can be displayed as well.

For reference purposes, below are the U-3 and U-6 Unemployment Rate charts from a long-term historical perspective.  Both charts are from the St. Louis Fed site.  The U-3 measure is what is commonly referred to as the official unemployment rate; whereas the U-6 rate is officially (per Bureau of Labor Statistics) defined as:

Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force

Of note, many economic observers use the U-6 rate as a (closer) proxy of the actual unemployment rate rather than that depicted by the U-3 measure.

Here is the U-3 chart, currently showing a 4.3% unemployment rate:

(click on charts to enlarge images)(charts updated as of 6-2-17)

Unemployment Rate

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Civilian Unemployment Rate [UNRATE] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed June 2, 2017;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UNRATE

Here is the U-6 chart, currently showing a 8.4% unemployment rate:

U-6 rate

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons  [U6RATE] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed June 2, 2017;

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/U6RATE

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The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2438.49 as this post is written