The Size of Corporate Debt One Rung Above Junk Has Never Been Greater, Warns Louis Gave

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Louis Gave at Gavekal Research says the greatest source of potential instability in the years ahead lies with the massive growth of the U.S. corporate debt market, particularly at the BBB-rated (near junk) level. Continue reading

Puerto Rico hurtles toward default

Government could run out of cash in 3 months

A severe liquidity crisis that threatens to shut down Puerto Rico’s government is making life difficult for U.S. municipal bond investors.

The island territory has been labeled “America’s Greece.” Its $73 billion in bonds trading in the U.S. municipal-bond market carry junk ratings and are trading at record-high yields.

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OPEC Boasts About Pain In U.S. Shale

Oil prices continue to fluctuate in a relatively narrow band around $50 for WTI and $60 for Brent. On March 6, Baker Hughes reported another round of declining rig counts. Only this week the pace of cutbacks accelerated. An estimated 75 rigs were removed from the oil patch for the week ending on March 6, a big jump from a week earlier. It is important to remember that week-to-week numbers are largely statistical noise; the long-term trend line is more important. Still, after several weeks in which the rig count collapse appeared to be slowing, last week’s figures are a reminder that the rout is not over yet. After all, production has not dropped off – U.S. production surpassed 9.3 million barrels of oil per day in February, the highest level in decades. Continue reading

Four Signs That We’re Back in Dangerous Bubble Territory

The United States is already experiencing a false recovery to begin with. While the Dow Jones might very well be going up, it’s quite a poor indicator of the economy’s overall health. Jobs are still being lost while entire sectors are propped up and subjugated through government bailouts. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry will soon be in shambles under the weight of heavy politics, law and regulation.

The next economic crash will hit harder than the last due to this current false recovery already being a mere sugar high from ‘quantitative easing’ and accounting tricks. Yet, the real crippling crash to worry about is likely to be the tsunami not seen after the markets already received the next hit. This is the one that will make the Geat Depression look like a Sundays picnic. The United States is not untouchable and is one significant event away from a total meltdown.

As the global equity and bond markets grind ever higher, abundant signs exist that we are once again living through an asset bubble or rather a whole series of bubbles in a variety of markets. This makes this period quite interesting, but also quite dangerous. Continue reading