Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

U.S. Deficit

The debt crisis has taken the world by storm; but few seem to be sounding the alarm. The U.S dollar, the go-to currency for global economic stability and growth, is imploding at an unprecedented rate.

Profit Confidential editors have been critics of the U.S.’s inability to rein-in government spending. Based on the White House’s own figures, the national debt will reach $20.0 trillion by the end of this decade—about 140% of our current gross domestic product (GDP).

Historically, countries that have incurred considerable debt and consistent national debt-to-GDP multiples of 120% or more have experienced currency devaluation. The U.S. dollar has been in a free-fall against other major world currencies since 2009.

Since November 2008, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has initiated three rounds of quantitative easing (QE) in an effort to create more economic activity and increase home prices.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has printed roughly $3.0 trillion. And, it’s climbing each month by an additional $85.0 billion.

What have three rounds of QE accomplished? It was supposed to increase lending, create more jobs, and lower the unemployment rate. Instead, banks are sitting on a pile of cash and remain tight-fisted, fewer jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate remains high

What QE has done is flood the global markets with trillions of U.S dollars. It’s not as if this new-found money is backed by gold. It’s simply created out of thin air.

And, things are not going to get any better. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects the U.S. economy to remain moribund in 2013 and for unemployment to remain high. What’s more, the official U6 unemployment rate (which includes people who have given up looking for work and people who have part-time jobs but want full-time jobs) has held steady around 15% for months.

The unofficial shadow statistic unemployment rate (which includes the long-term unemployed) sits at 22%!

Americans are out of work, and their dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to. Consumer spending might have once been the workhorse for economic growth, but not anymore. And, that could spell doom for the U.S. economy.

After phenomenal amounts of bailouts were doled out, followed by non-stop government spending, the U.S. national debt rose 76.2%—from $9.2 trillion in 2008 to $16.3 trillion in 2012. (Source: TreasuryDirect, last accessed November 27, 2012.)

It gets worse. The current administration said it would keep the budget deficit below $1.0 trillion. It hasn’t. For fiscal 2012, the federal budget deficit was $1.1 trillion, slightly below the $1.3 trillion deficit recorded in 2011. (Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 12, 2012.) What’s more, 2012 marked the fourth consecutive year in which the U.S. government experienced an annual deficit above $1.0 trillion. As a percentage of GDP, the U.S. government’s budget deficit for the year 2012 stands at seven percent.

Along with skyrocketing government debt, the Federal Reserve has printed $3.0 trillion. Where did the $3.0 trillion come from? It’s not backed by gold. It was simply created out of thin air. And, the presses continue to print an additional $85.0 billion a month!

At Profit Confidential, we believe a home-grown debt crisis is brewing for America, and we believe other aspects of our financial system will suffer because of it

High Risk to Start the New Year

By for Profit Confidential

High Risk to Start the New YearHappy New Year to our Profit Confidential readers!

In 2012, small-cap stocks were the second-best performing group, following the technology sector. The Russell 2000 was the top performer in December and has been since the end of the first quarter. How the small-caps fare this year will, again, depend on the global economy.

My stock analysis is that what happens in January will be an important indicator for the year as far as performance. Historical records indicate that stocks have increased an average of 1.6% in January since 1969, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac. In 2012, January was a strong month, so it was not a surprise to see the relatively good advance in stocks.

As we move into 2013, the focus will be on any remaining fiscal cliff fallout and the impact of the deal, along with the eurozone mess, the U.S. national debt, and jobs growth.

For 2013, my stock analysis is cautious to start the year, based on the high global risk.

The fact that the economy is triggering some jobs growth is encouraging. My analysis is that this will likely continue in 2013, although the unemployment rate is expected to remain relatively high at over seven percent.

My stock analysis tells me that we need to see leadership from such areas as the financial and technology sectors. The big banks were strong in 2012, but we also need to see technology take a leadership role.

It definitely will be a tricky year, given the global and domestic issues, along with suspect earnings and revenue growth to start the first quarter, which you can read … Read More

Canadian Dollar Poised for Long-term Strength

By for Profit Confidential

U.S. dollarWith the monthly jobs reports out in various countries, the news that the U.S. created only 120,000 new jobs in March was certainly less than expected; especially when you consider the trillions spent by the government trying to “stimulate” the economy. All we have left is a massive U.S. deficit. But in some countries there have been big job gains—Canada is one of these countries. Last month, the Canadian economy created over 82,000 jobs. With a population approximately 1/10th the size of the U.S., it would be the equivalent of the American economy creating 820,000 new jobs in March!

This situation already has my attention, as do investments based in the Canadian dollar. The Canadian dollar has already strengthened from a low of CAD$1.0657 to buy one U.S. dollar in October 2011 down to only CAD$0.9976 to buy one U.S. dollar. With the U.S. deficit pegged to hit and possibly exceed $1.3 trillion this year, this can’t help the U.S. dollar. In fact, I think this push to lower the value of the dollar is the explicit policy of the administration and this will help the Canadian dollar. How? Additional monetary stimulus (money printing) has devalued the U.S. dollar and pushed up commodity prices before and will do so again. Canada sells commodities, tons of them; from oil, to gold, to wheat and almost everything in between. The higher commodities go, the higher the Canadian dollar goes. This is combined with the fact that the Canadian government is very well managed financially, with some estimating that the Canadian budget deficit for this year will only be $20.0 billion. Their government … Read More

My Market View: A Risky Start to 2012

By for Profit Confidential

My 2012 Market View: High Risk to Start OffHappy New Year!

In 2011, small-cap stocks lagged blue-chips and large-cap stocks following a strong 2010. In my market view, the big difference in 2011 was the uneasiness of the economic renewal in the U.S. and global economies. And, despite a positive January 2011, stocks largely fell last year.

The general market view is that what happens in January is an important indicator for the year as far as performance goes. Historical records indicate that stocks have increased an average of 1.6% in January since 1969, according to Stock Trader’s Almanac.

I was off last year as far as my forecast and market view, as I underestimated the weakness of the eurozone debt and the inability of domestic jobs and housing market to turn around.

For 2012, my market view is cautious to start the year based on the high global risk.

The fact that the economy is expanding in spite of a lack of strong jobs growth is encouraging. We are seeing what economists call a “jobless recovery.” And my market view is that this will likely continue in 2012, as the unemployment rate is expected to remain high at over eight percent, despite the extended tax cuts to drive consumer spending and economic renewal.

This is also an election year, so there will be haggling as far as policies go, as both parties are aiming to set themselves up for the election. As such, many pundits are expecting to see political gridlock to start the year and this will likely impact President Obama.

My market view is that we need to see leadership from such areas as … Read More

The Place You Need to Have Capital in 2012

By for Profit Confidential

The market chaos continues to grip the stock markets. We have the European debt crisis and a concerted effort to fix it, albeit it will be extremely difficult and take years.

The European Central Bank (ECB) cut the eurozone’s interest rate by 25 basis points to one percent—the second cut in five weeks. However, keep in mind that the ECB increased rates two times prior to the cuts. The cut will have little impact on the effort to revive the region and avoid another recession given the debt crisis. The ECB should have cut interest rates to below one percent as we did in the U.S. and as the U.K. did. The concern was that inflation in Europe is three percent, so the fear was that lower rates could drive up inflationary pressures.

Stocks Facing Many Hurdles Ahead

By for Profit Confidential

The upside potential is limited at this time. The problems are global in nature. You have the massive debt crisis in Europe and the U.S., along with deepening U.S. deficit situations. We are seeing state governments take days off here and there in order to save a few extra bucks. But this is merely a loose bandage strategy and not a remedy for the ailing U.S. economy. President Obama and the Fed realize the extent of the hurt. Obama introduced a $447-billion plan to drive job creation, but whether it will work or not is up in the air. It’s not going to be easy and everyone realizes this.

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