We are now very bullish on Chinese shares. We called the top here in 2007. It was a few weeks before the market hit 6,000 on the Shanghai Index. The piece was called Party Like Its 1999. It focused on similarities that bubbles have. The rate of ascent was becoming parabolic and was unsustainable.
For most of the punditry, it was the Chinese miracle. I guess people never learn. Participants have the hardest of times to shake off their biases once in a bubble.
I have been a witness to long term negative sentiment toward Chinese shares in the 2003-2004 period. I felt that the sequence had the hallmark of a final C wave. I got very excited in 2005. I felt very strong that the market was prepared to go up in a final 5th wave sequence. I was right. From a base level of around 1,000 the index proceeded to trade to 6,000 in a little bit over two years.
We did explain to our subscribers recently that there are great dislocations between the economic reality and the stock index behaviour. It is even more prevalent with the Shanghai market.
Years of impressive growth have never guaranteed a higher market. Why would it matter now?
The stocks have this uncanny ability to confuse most participants anyways.
We have held to our bearish stance since 2007 to only turn to the bull camp recently.
We are very bullish. We think that we are facing a wave 3 of 3. This large sequence could in fact propel the market back to its old highs. The market could double and even triple from here.
We remember a time where Chinese funds were the rage. They are not anymore as they have lost their popularity. Long term sentiment is very negative toward China. We believe it is consistent with the psychology of a corrective wave two.
We think Asia has the upper hand in the debate of credits versus debits. Most of our work is derived from behavioural economics. We think it better lends itself to today's environment.
Market observers are out of touch with today's world. Do yourself a favour to dig in the past as it is very revealing of our future.
For the first time, a mainland Chinese company has defaulted on its bonds. Shocklingly, it is a high-flier solar panel maker that trades in the US market - Suntech Power. Its stock shot up in a classic parabolic FOMO pattern (FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out), and has now fallen like a broken windmill blade below the parabolic liftoff. The irony is that Chinese solar makers have used easy credit to scale up, and throwing the solar cell market into a huge glut, crushing Western manufacturers; and now it is coming back to bite the Dragon by its own tail.
Sure, it could be a one-off, but Chnia's corporate bond market is much larger (adjusted for GDP) than the US equivalent and is highly misallocated due to easy credit and political malinvestment. While unconnected to the Euro crisis, coming so swiftly after Cyprus, it may be another harbinger that the wheels may be slowing coming off the global credit train.
The EU decison to sweep 10% of deposits may signal the beginning of the end for kicking the can down the road. Cyprus itself is small, but its banks have been attracting deposits and lending to high risk countries like Greece in amounts much beyond the Cyprus economy - and attracting foreign depositers (particularly Russians) with high interest. (In the US this is restricted - as a bank gets into trouble it is not supposed to be able to issue high-yields on deposits.)
Banks runs have swept Cyprus, and the government has called several days of bank holidays to get a vote on the bailout through before depositers can get their cash out. It is not clear the votes are there.
The Cyprus bank-runs are eerily like the beginning of the sovereign debt crises in 1931-2 that drove the global economy off the edge. The same sorts of events seem to be unfolding, but in slow motion as central banks dump liquidity to stem the crises.
You might think that it can't happen here in the US, but it did, in 1933: FDR confiscated gold in exchange for paper Dollars, then re-valued the gold ratio from $20/oz to $35/oz - effectively confiscating 40%, well beyond the Cyrpus action. Because transactions in the US stayed priced in Dollars, it appeared to be a wash, but inflation began as US prices re-marked to real money.
Martin Armstrong, a student of financial history, looks at this and conjectures that when the Fed faces a similar crisis, for example when it begins losing control over interest rates and has to get more buyers of Treasury debt at low rates, Treasury may issue Savings Bonds and Congress pass a law to force purchases of them. This acts like a gold swap or deposit sweep in that the forced savings are likely to be traded into an illiquid and below-market asset, the savings bond. He calls it Patriot Act II - a good patriot woud buy the bond.
Short term, however, this may be bullish for the US as money races to US assets as a safe haven. After an initial jitter in stocks, the on-rush of foreign capital spikes the S&P to new highs. Looking at the market since 2000, it appears to be in a trading range, but over-shot below the bottom in 2009; typically it would now over-shoot above the top of the range before the end.
The market seems to be in its final run to an epic Triple Top back to 2000. Chris Martenson supplies a nice piece of analysis, expecting a 40% drop after we top. His chart shows this in the S&P:
Zoran Gayer, whose analysis updated Wave Theory with Chaos Theory, demonstrated how triple tops are good indicators pf trend changes. The Chaos Theory view, which is based on Thermodynamics, is that markets move in Thrusts and Plateaus, where a Plateau is the market on the edge of chaos, seeking order. A Thrust is order. All non-linear chaotic systems show this behavior, including weather and market economics. The formation in the S&P is a classic Plateau after a really strong thrust up in the '90s. The Plateau does not pre-determine the next Thrust, but Zoran found that after a triple touch of a trendline, the Plateau usually was showing exhaustion and the Thurst coming out of it would be the other way. In 2002-3, for example, we had a strong Thrust down, then a triple bottom in what he called the Iraqi War Triangle, followed by a Thrust up into 2007 that marked one of the largest asset bubbles of all time.
The timing of the triple top looks to be within the next few months. Seasonal patterns usually top around April or May, followed by a correction into September. Some pundits (like Neely) expect a sharp rise towards SP1600 in March, with a top in early April. Whichever it is, expect a bit of a throw-over at the end and then a really sharp "bifurcation" move down to mark the top.
The Plateau since 2000 marks a huge experiment with economic history, where all of us are the guinea pigs: central banks are trying to apply the lessons learned in the Great Depression to reflate the global economy. Problem is, they first created a terrible asset bubble in real estate, and after that corrected, they are now putting the global economy on central bank life support. As more fiscal borrowing is pumped out into the system, nominal GDP levels atrophy as the ever-increasing debt puts pressure on continuing this flow of monetary oxygen into an increasingly-moribund economy. As the system approaches the Rogoff Level of 90% debt-to-GDP, economies began to sag. Europe is already entering recession, as has Japan; and the US is skipping across the 0% GDP level, skating on very thin ice. Worries abound about China as well.
The Triple-Top Plateau therefore reflects markets at the edge of chaos on whether this huge central bank experiment will work.
Looking forward, history says this long secular bear market should last 16-20 years. The last one from 1966-1982 was 16 years; the prior one from 1929-49 was 20 years, and we saw a similar long plateau around Dow 100 from 1901-1921. The Depression of 1874-1896 was even longer, as was the one from 1837-1859. This puts the bottom out to between 2016 and 2020.