Central bankers want to impose their own prices

Jul 7, 2014

Baltimore, Maryland

The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance, or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor. "
- Jesse Livermore, How To Trade In Stocks

The trouble with capitalism's guardians is that they have no respect for it.

Markets have been around for at least 2,000 years. Since then they have evolved in many directions, with fancy and sophisticated techniques...and elaborate systems and complicated instruments that take a PhD to understand. But, despite all the brain power put to trying to figure them out, markets still surprise, confound and puzzle everyone. As far as we know, there is still no formula for predicting market movements. And even the smartest and most experienced traders often wash up.

You'd think Janet Yellen and other central bankers would take a step back and stand in awe. Like astronomers looking at the heavens, they should be studying its black holes and its exploding supernovae. Or at least looking for signs of intelligent life.

--- Advertisement ---
Secret High Potential Stocks ...

We both know that every investor's aim is attain maximum returns from his investments without wasting too much time or taking unnecessary risks.

And for over 6 years, we've guided a select group of investors on this path...

Seeing returns like 250% in 2 Years 1 month, 288% in 2 years 5 months and 160% returns in just around 2 years... amongst many more.

Today I would like to invite you to benefit from our research as well!

Benefit from Secret High Potential Stock Picks delivered right in your inbox and which could multiply your returns greatly over the years.

Interested? Just click here for full details...

Instead, Ms. Yellen et al ignore the intricate mechanisms that balance supply and demand; they want to force people to demand more. They have no interest in discovering prices; they want to impose their own prices. And they could care less what Mr. Market has to say; they only hear their own voices.

More guards than guardians, they think they can improve the markets...control them...whip them into shape...and force them to do their bidding.

The gods must be rolling in the aisles.

"No need to lift rates to curb risk, says Yellen" is how the financial Times reported her position last week. Someone must have told her that prices of houses, art, bonds, stocks and other assets are all getting closer to bubbledom. At the top end, mansions are once again setting records. Stocks are at levels never before seen too. Paintings of no obvious interest are fetching millions of dollars at auction. Net debt is higher than it was in '07, with corporations borrowing record amounts - far in excess of profit growth. The Bank of America has borrowed $7.6 billion this year. Oracle took in $10 billion. Cisco -- $8 billion. And a biotech index is trading at 2000 times earnings.

Mr. Alan Greenspan famously remarked that he wouldn't know a bubble if came up and exploded in face. Once the damage was done, he and his colleagues could get to work performing their customary miracles.

Ms. Yellen is not even looking for bubbles. She thinks that she and the other guards can implement some "macro-prudential policies" that will take the risk out them. So bubbles won't matter.

Come again? This is the same woman who was on the job when the last bubble blew up 6 years ago. She saw nothing coming. She heard nothing. She learned nothing. She has no idea how markets actually operate. But she is sure she can manage them and make them more 'resilient.'

Both heaven and hell are full of people who thought they could take the risk out of markets. Some went broke. Some blew their brains out. Some, like Jesse Livermore, did both.

Poor Mr. Livermore made fortunes...and lost them. He lost his first fortune to cotton trading in 1907. Then, in 1929, he breezed through the panic, apparently without losses. Later, his money slipped through his hands, in a way that has never been fully understood.

Some lose their money because they are stupid. Some run into a ditch because they aren't paying attention...or because they are paying too much attention. Some are too cautious. Others are too reckless. Some are arrogant. Some are ruined by timidity. Others by pride.

Whatever your weakness, the markets will find it. They will encourage you to dig yourself in deeper and deeper...and then, they will fill the hole! Speculators will take the opposite side of the trade. They will find the frailty...the flaw...the fine little fracture in your theory.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that traders are doing well by trading Fed policy announcements. They buy stocks the day before an announcement and sell them a week later, buying them again the following week. The system is 'crazy' from a real investment point of view. Companies do not become periodically more and less valuable because of Fed announcements.

But it works! A portfolio managed this way would have returned 650% since 1994. The S&P 500 returned only 505%.

Investors still have confidence in Madam Yellen. They buy stocks and bonds, sure that she will push them higher. But they will turn against her, sooner or later. They will begin selling her favorite assets...and, if she is still at her post, they will ruin her.

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

Disclaimer: The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

Recent Articles

A New Infrastructure Boom March 26, 2019
Selva Freigedo talks about the potential in 5G network and how it could transform the way we communicate.
A 40 Somethings Guide to YouTube Hits March 20, 2019
Vivek dwells into a new YouTube phenomenon.
As the Economy Slows Down, Maruti and Two-Wheeler Companies Cut Production March 19, 2019
The country's largest car maker has cut production by more than a fourth.
In Supporting Demonetisation, RBI Behaved Like an Old Uncle Not Willing to Take a Stand March 13, 2019
The minutes of the meeting of the RBI Board which happened before demonetisation have been released.

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Central bankers want to impose their own prices". Click here!