I went to the mall today.
This is a few weeks into reopening phase 2!
I expected people would have pent up demand and be swarming the stores even while keeping their social distance.
They weren’t at the mall!
The stores were nearly void of people.
The shelves were virtually empty of goods.
Whatever merchandise there was seemed to marked “sale, sale, sale” even on the already deeply-discounted clearance items.
It was completely frightening–like the economy is dead or on severe life support!
Most stores had 3 or more associates standing around or sitting twiddling their thumbs.
This while the stock market keeps ticking up and the NASDAQ is reaching new highs almost daily.
Coronavirus is surging again across much of the U.S. and there is almost 140,000 dead in the U.S. after just 5 months even though much of the population was in self-quarantine.
The economy looks to me in sh*t shape, despite the U.S. pumping $3 trillion dollars more of debt to artificially prop up the economy and the fed lending out money at super low rates.
It makes NO sense for the market to be hitting all time highs as if everything is all roses when the economy is still a true mess!
The New Yorker magazine wrote back in May of a post coronavirus “decade of depression” with an L shaped recovery, yet we keep seeing a V-shaped one and no one seems to be able to offer any plausible explanation for it.
Two-months ago, even before the recent stock run-up to higher levels, Business Insider reported that “the Stock Market is trading at its highest valuation in 18-years.“
Last month, Forbes reported that “the stock market appears to be reaching unsustainable highs.“
Yesterday again, Bloomberg reported that the “economic recovery is faltering.”
Almost daily, I read that companies are laying off their workers (in Travel, Transportation, Entertainment, Retail, Energy, etc.) or declaring bankruptcy (e.g. Hertz, JC Penny, Neiman Marcus, Chesapeake Energy, and more).
This while we are still, in the best case scenario, maybe half a year away from the possibility of a tested, approved vaccine. And then it will then need to be mass produced and mass distributed to hundreds of millions of people in this country and billions globally.
In the meantime, we certainly could be up for a second wave of Coronavirus on top of the flu in the fall/winter. And then the Coronavirus may mutate and become more virulent requiring annual vaccines like the flu shot–more hit or miss.
All this while U.S.-China trade war is imperiling our economy further, and arch-enemies Iran and North Korea remain national security threats.
To me this all points to that we are nowhere near out of the woods and perhaps that there is a wildfire raging and no one seems to be paying any attention!
The stock market euphoria is a common trap and is the definition of “irrational exuberance” but comes after investors have been robotically indoctrinated to buy the dips!
IMHO, buyer beware, beware, beware. 😉
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)