Onward and Upward for Perhaps a Little Longer

January 22, 2024

When forecasting stock prices, it helps to view the market as a crazed creature driven by fear, greed, and most of all, stupidity. Of course, everyone but the “theme”-obsessed chimpanzees who purport to manage your money understands that the stock market’s heedless ascent into horrifying news is rock-bottom stupid.  In this case, the very bad news coming is already known: Treasury borrowing over the next twelve months will dwarf anything that has ever been attempted before. “The volume to be financed in U.S. Government debt is staggering, historically unprecedented, and absolutely impossible,” writes my colleague Jim Willie. Nearly $1.6 trillion will be needed to finance outlays for fiscal year 2024, and an additional $7 trillion of maturing debt must be rolled, much of it into paper of shorter duration.  “That comes to around $800 billion per month, when $100 billion has been difficult on a monthly basis,” Willie notes. It will occur at a time when sovereign buyers of U.S. debt, particularly China, have been dumping T-bonds. The extremely heavy auction calendar portends a sharp rise in interest rates that threatens to crush corporate earnings, create a tsunami of bankruptcies and trip the U.S. economy into deepest recession. The shock of it would be made worse by the brazen statistical lies The Guvmint has fed us concerning GDP growth, hiring and the supposed health of the economy. All have been egregiously overstated in an election year, gobs of bright lipstick on a pig.

Triggering ‘Stupid’ 

This grim picture, in contrarian fashion, appears to have triggered the ‘stupid’ factor into overdrive, sending stocks soaring on Friday as though the U.S. and global financial picture were just peachy. How long can this gusher of mass hysteria last?  Once again, I turn to a chart of Microsoft shares for the answer. It still says the bellwether stock, currently trading for $397, is likely to hit $430 before the bull market ends. I first published the chart and target a few months ago, and nothing has changed. The rally went a little wobbly in December, but this gave bulls a chance to stage for a push that has tacked on a 6% gain in the last 10 days.  That’s why I am sticking with a major top at 430, although we’ll need to be alert to a possible stall at 419, the ‘Hidden Pivot target of a lesser pattern. Going public with this target and drum-rolling it for months has probably queered its voodoo magic. But the ABCD pattern from which the target was extrapolated is sufficiently compelling to imply it is highly unlikely to be off by much. Caveat emptor!

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