Is Something Starting To Break? Stocks Plummet And Bonds Go Nuts As Economic Data Disappoints

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Are the financial markets headed for trouble?  There was quite a bit of panic on Wall Street on Thursday after more bad economic numbers were released.  But honestly I simply do not understand why the financial markets responded with such surprise.  By now it should be apparent to everyone that we have a “Weekend at Bernie’s economy” that is being propped up by unprecedented levels of government spending.  If we actually tried to live within our means, we would immediately plunge into a depression.  Our politicians definitely do not want that, and so about every one hundred days they are adding another trillion dollars to the national debt, and the vast majority of that borrowed money goes directly into the veins of the corpse that we call the U.S. economy.

But even though we are absolutely flooding the system with cash stolen from future generations of Americans, economic performance has been extremely anemic.

On Thursday, the government reported that the U.S. economy grew at a 1.6 percent annualized rate during the first quarter of this year…

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, grew by 1.6% on an annualized basis in the three-month period from January through March, the Commerce Department said in its first reading of the data on Thursday.

That is much lower than the 2.4% increase forecast by LSEG economists and marks a sharp slowdown from the 3.4% pace seen during the fourth quarter. It is the slowest pace of growth in two years.

“This was a worst of both worlds report — slower than expected growth, higher than expected inflation,” said David Donabedian, chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth US. “The biggest setback is the acceleration in core inflation, and in particular, the services sector rising above a 5% annual rate.”

Even if the GDP numbers were accurate, and I don’t believe that they are, that would still be absolutely terrible.

At this point, some pundits are using the term “slowdown” to describe what is happening to the economy…

Some analysts believe Thursday’s weaker-than-expected report signals the start of a broader slowdown in the economy.

Personally, I am entirely convinced that if honest numbers were being used they would indicate that GDP growth is negative.

But in any event, pretty much everyone agrees that we are heading in the wrong direction.

In response to this bad economic news, stock prices plummeted.

At one point on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 600 points, and it closed the day down 375 points

Stocks tumbled Thursday after the latest U.S. economic data showed a sharp slowdown in growth and pointed to persistent inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 375.12 points, or 0.98%, to close at 38,085.80, weighed down by steep declines in Caterpillar and IBM. The S&P 500 dropped 0.46% to finish the session at 5,048.42, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.64% to 15,611.76.

Not too long ago, the Dow was flirting with 40,000.

Since that time, it has lost nearly 2,000 points.

Will this “slide” eventually turn into an avalanche?

What is happening in the bond market is of even greater concern.

The release of the GDP numbers caused U.S. Treasury yields to go completely nuts

U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday after the first-quarter GDP report showed slowing growth and rising consumer prices.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield climbed 4.8 basis points to 4.702%, while the rate on the 2-year Treasury gained 6.1 basis points to 4.998%. At their session highs, the yields on both notes hit their highest levels since November.

Let’s keep a close eye on this.

If Treasury yields start swinging too wildly, that is going to have enormous implications for those that trade derivatives.

Shifting gears, we have also just learned that the median price of a home in the U.S. has just hit another brand new record high

It is more expensive than ever to buy a home in the U.S., according to a new report from the real estate company Redfin.

The median home price hit a record $383,725 during the four-week period ending April 21. That’s up 5.2 percent from a year ago, Redfin found, one of the largest leaps in home prices since October 2022.

Sadly, home ownership is now out of reach for a very large chunk of the population.

If you can believe it, Redfin says that the median monthly housing payment has risen “to a record $2,843”

The median monthly housing payment also jumped to a record $2,843, up 13 percent from the same period last year.

Chen Zhao, the economic research lead at Redfin, said prospective buyers should “accept that this year is probably not the time to find a dream deal.”

Who can afford a mortgage payment of $2,843 a month?

That is insane.

Home ownership has never been more unaffordable than it is right now, and young adults that are just starting out are being hit the hardest.

Earlier today, I just had to laugh when I came across an article entitled “So you may never own a home. Here’s why maybe that’s … a good thing?”

To me, that sounds eerily similar to “you will own nothing and be happy”.

That particular article is directed at young adults in Canada, but millions of young adults in the U.S. are also wondering if they will be renting for life.

Yes, there are some advantages to renting, but you aren’t building any equity.

And I think that is what the wizards on Wall Street would like to see.

I think that they envision a future in which they own almost all of the homes and the vast majority of us are renters.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that I don’t think that things will ever get that far.

Our entire system has started to come apart at the seams, and it won’t be too long before it completely crashes.

A lot of the “wealth” that we see on Wall Street is just a mirage.

For the moment, stock prices are absurdly high because there are people out there that are willing to pay those prices.

But when conditions take a dramatic turn for the worse, the buyers will all disappear and so will the absurdly high stock prices.

So enjoy the last days of the bubble while you still can, because the clock is ticking…

Michael’s new book entitled “Chaos” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and you can check out his new Substack newsletter right here.

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