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Posts Tagged ‘S&P 500’


As expected, since the Trump and Republican Party tax cuts were written to benefit the rich and their corporations, only the rich and their corporations are benefiting from them, for the most part. The tax cuts were intended to increase income and wealth inequality in favor of the billionaires and multi-millionaires, and that is precisely what they have done, according to a perusal of a story in the May 11, 2018 issue of the Wall Street Journal (Buybacks Surge, Steadying Market, Wall Street Journal).

The Journal reported “U.S. companies are buying back their shares at a record pace, providing fresh support during a rocky stretch for the stock market when many investors have rushed for the exits. S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings for the first three months of 2018 bought $158 billion of their own stock in the quarter…. About 85% of S&P 500 components (companies which are also known as corporations) have reported so far.”

The Journal reports corporations can do this since the “new tax law” is “freeing up cash.” This is something corporations badly need since total US corporate profits fell during the fourth quarter of 2017. One can be reasonably suspicious that before-tax corporate profits during the first quarter of 2018 might also have fallen, especially since the US and world economies are at the tail end of an economic expansion. Those first quarter statistics are not yet available.

One can be reasonably suspicious that, as I pointed out in a previous story, much of the tax cut money would be used by corporations and the rich to fuel the stock market higher, rather than create jobs building products for which there is no demand.

The S&P 500 peaked at $2853.53 on January 26 of this year. It has been down ever since, influenced to a large degree by the fall in fourth-quarter profits. The Dow also peaked in January and has been down since then. This is likely why investors are fleeing the stock market.

When the Journal reporters write about “investors,” they are not writing about you and me. They are writing about billionaires, multi-millionaires, Wall Street Banks like Goldman Sachs, hedge funds, wealth fund managers, and other financial institutions that invest mostly for rich people.

So corporate managements are buying their own shares and taking them off the market. This is done in order to push share prices higher, which is a simple case of supply and demand. Reduce the supply of shares on the market, and this should jack up prices, so long as no other variables happen to come along. One of which is the decline in corporate profits.

Of course, there is something else CEO’s of corporations are doing to entice investors into the market.

They are taking the savings from tax cuts and offering higher dividends, which are payments made to shareholders. Notice these payments will go mostly to billionaires and millionaires, along with the higher priced shares due to the buybacks.

So the stock market bubble continues thanks to the Trump/Republican tax cuts for the rich and their corporations. Naturally, this only increases income and wealth inequality. Worst yet, with a recession right around the corner, all that money in buybacks and increased dividends is simply throwing good money after bad.

As a final note, I should point out that the Journal reporters (Ben Eisen and Akane Otani) are either stupid, poor reporters, or liars. They write, “The S&P 500 is up only modestly for the year.” Apparently, they do not count the month of January as being part of the year 2018 because that is when the S&P 500 reached its peak value, at least according to Yahoo. On the other hand, they write, “…many analysts believe major indexes would have suffered losses without the support of buybacks.” This is, of course, the purpose of the buybacks.

There is no doubt about the purpose of the tax cuts for the rich; increase income and wealth inequality in their favor and at the expense of the 99 percent. The federal government is now looking at reducing programs for the infirmed, the needy, the elderly, children, and others, in large measure due to the tax cuts. The federal deficit is now growing, thanks to the tax cuts. Fewer taxes collected mean fewer dollars for government programs that benefit anybody except the rich.

The federal government and the United States Federal Reserve Bank will only print up trillions of dollars to save the rich. The rest of us, being cannon fodder for the rich, are expendable.

For more information on this see Breakdown-of-the-26-trillion-the-federal-reserve-handed-out-to-save-rich-incompetent-investors-but-who-purchase-political-power–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

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The red line in the graph below represents borrowing to buy corporate shares. The blue line represents the growing value of the S&P 500 stock index. Notice the growth in the financial markets is being fueled by record amounts of debt. The growth of both clearly mirrors each other.

Eight months ago, I wrote, “The latest in a long line of stock market bubbles is being fueled by record amounts of debt according to the New York Stock Exchange. This debt is called “buying on margin” (BOM). Notice the acronym of BOM, which is pretty close to bomb, and this current bubble is going to explode. Total BOM hit a record high of $528.2 billion in February 2017.”

By November 2017 (the latest data that is available), total BOM hit nearly $581 billion. Stock prices, in other words, have been bid up with borrowed money, like at an auction.

Once the lunatic Trump tax cuts were passed, the already dangerously obese stock market bubble began expanding even more in anticipation of more after-tax cash going to the rich and corporations, to whom the vast majority of those tax cuts were targeted. This has given corporations and the rich the leverage to borrow on margin even more in anticipation of future increased after-tax earnings.

That is not necessarily always a big problem early in a business expansion when the market is going up, but it’s now late in the ball game. Our economic expansion is 103 months old (as of January 2018), making it the third longest in US history. In terms of numerous indices, such as job, GNP, and wage growth, this is one of the weakest expansions in US history. The vast majority of new income and wealth have gone to the top 1 percent, and not to the 99 percent.

All of this suggests the coming crash is long overdue. When we hit this soon to arrive recession, it should be a train wreck worse than the so-called Great Recession of 2007-09.

November’s total BOM was nearly $80 billion more than twelve months before. This increase is a sign of optimism or foolishness. People and institutions like hedge funds want to get in on the action while the stock markets are rising. What is going to happen when the bubble pops?

Suppose you have $10,000 to invest, so you purchase 100 shares of Home Depot at $100 per share. The market crashes and the share price drops to $40. Now your investment is worth $4,000. That is not a good result, but your investment is still worth something, and can potentially recover if you hang on to it in the long run.

Let’s say you borrow an additional $20,000 from your broker to buy another 200 Home Depot shares at $100 each for a total of 300 shares and at a total cost of $30,000. The market crashes and the share price quickly drops to $40. Now all 300 shares are only worth $12,000 — but you owe your broker $20,000 (plus interest) for borrowing money to buy the stock. The broker calls in his loan. You are forced to sell your shares to get the funds to pay your broker but at the lower share price. You lose $18,000 of your $30,000 investment. But your broker wants the rest of his $20,000 plus interest. You only have $12,000 remaining of your original $30,000 investment, so you owe more than $8,000 to your broker.

So your original $10,000 is wiped out, your loan of $20,000 is annihilated, and you need to come up with $8,000 plus interest to pay back your broker.

During most recessions, it is much more difficult to get credit to pay your broker back, so you may both be out of luck, although you’ll likely be in court defending against him, her or it.

On a massive scale, say trillions of dollars of investments, that’s a recipe for absolute disaster for the whole economy. Corporations of all types (which often borrow to purchase their own shares in order to jack up their share prices), as well as hedge funds, governments, investment banks, commercial banks, small businesses, other wealth management firms, etc…, will likely need to lay off employees in order to pay back the money they owe.

Side Notes

***Let’s also get something straight which the corporate media doesn’t want us to know; tax cuts for corporations are the same as tax cuts for the rich since corporations in great measure pass on their tax cuts to the wealthy via higher after-tax corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends.

***As an aside, your government has allowed a conspiracy in restraint of trade in the housing market to be the primary fuel that ignited this current stock market bubble. See The Big Banks Are Manipulating the Housing Market–JohnHIvely.wordpress.com.

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The S&P 500 rolled over 1,400 for the first time today as the US financial markets rose. The main stream media will tell you the markets rose on the strength of positive economic news some such claptrap. The truth is different.

The rapid rise of the financial markets suggest the redistribution of income and wealth from the 99 percent to the one percent is running wild. The middle class is being wiped out slowly but surely. Wall Street and the federal government are the primary tools by which the one percent achieve this objective.

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