Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

For my U.S. readers, a moment to pause and reflect. To think upon the past and to wonder on the future.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Middle Eastern Mood and Markets

Precipice Living by Splitting Borders
Well, we do certainly live in interesting times. The markets and mood continue to remain elevated in the U.S. and most other large Western market-economies. While the smell of rot underlies it all, the myth of Fed omnipotence is strong and the assumption the Welfare-Warfare-Security State is all-encompassing and unassailable continues to be peddled in the mainstream propaganda most people consume.

The flashpoints we have seen in Ferguson/New York/Baltimore (ethnic tensions and anti-police sentiment), in Waco (potential for mass gang violence), and the ongoing efforts to expand the formal reach of the Security State (debates over the PATRIOT Act), will inform the boundaries of this coming negative mood era.

In addition, what had once been regarded as a dark fantasy of hardcore conspiracy theorists has now become a mainstream push by "respectable" economists - banning all cash and allowing Central Banks and/or Governmental agencies the power to make you use your money in a way they see fit.

At this point, I cannot say exactly what kinds of crazy will irrupt across America and the world once this fever-dream we have been living over the last few years cracks. We'll continue to try and find the outlines of what is to come, but it looks like the first move will be towards a formally authoritarian regime with absolutely massively intrusive financial controls over the population, probably in response to some combination of internal unrest and some sort of terrorist attack. Combine this with pushing quick adoption of self-driving vehicles (for our own good), which obviously implies the people who control that network can control whether you travel or not, it looks like we have a recipe for the initial crackdown.

Now, the shape of the whirlwind which will result from that coming crackdown is a mystery to me, but I suggest you have a good social network (not an electronic one, but a network of friends and family in your immediate area upon whom you can rely) in place. Success is a team sport in all endeavors, but especially during hard times.

Middle East Overview

With much attention being paid to the ongoing ability of the Islamic State to not only survive, but thrive, let's take a look at the markets of a few of the countries in the region and see how they might correlate to the kind of negative mood which might make them susceptible to IS (I especially think Saudi Arabia is particularly vulnerable to this group - time will tell).

Five Year Chart of the TA-100 Index, from Bloomberg
This the five-year chart of the Tel Aviv 100 Index out of Israel. It looks like a picture of confidence and generally positive mood. With the recent reelection of Netanyahu, it would seem to reinforce the current positive trend.

Five Year Chart of the Amman Stock Exchange General Index, from Bloomberg
The Jordanian index over the past five years looks steady in the near-term. I won't comment on any potential wave counts, leaving that to the experts at Elliott Wave International, but you might keep an eye on this chart in the coming months.

Five Year Chart of the Tadawul All Share TASI Index, from Bloomberg
And here is an index chart from the great prize of the Middle East - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I will refrain here as well from giving you my wave counts, but implore you to put this stock chart on your watch list. If the Kingdom goes down under the next push from the Islamic State, or if their Shi'a minority rises up as part of an Iranian-sponsored push against the Sunnis, well then, we have ourselves one ugly situation. 

Housekeeping Notes

The Nuclear Strike of the Month feature will return in June. I didn't have time to do such a post justice. I want to make sure I create useful scenarios and sometimes that takes a bit more planning than I've put into the blog recently.  We'll cover a few more single strikes and I'll be working my way up to a review of the concept of Nuclear Winter and a few other fear-inducing aspects of nuclear war to help you think more clearly in what I am assuming will be tumultuous years to come.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Quick Check-In

Pardon the lack of posts lately. Dealing with various things in work and life. A couple of posts in the cooker that need more thought. Keep your eyes on the Middle East and Ukraine, but I suggest ignoring headlines and the first three paragraphs of any story you come across and try to dig deeper. Lot's of cross-currents out there and we continue to see signs of building negative mood, though the various markets in most major countries continue to be elevated.

Remain alert, but don't let them blind you with fear.