Red Screen at Morning, Investor Take Warning

Growing up as I did in coastal New England, this old rhyme was drilled into us as children:

Red sky at night, sailor's delight;

Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.

Because many of the people in town still made their living on the sea, the safety of person and property depended on being able to recognize the signs of approaching danger.

A notably red sky at morning is usually due to sunrise reflection off of moisture-bearing clouds, signifying an arriving a storm system bringing rain, wind and rough seas. Those who ignored a red sky warning often did so at their peril.

Red Sky In The Markets

I'm reminded of that childhood rhyme because the markets are giving us a clear "red sky" warning right now. One that comes after (too) many years of uninterrupted fair winds and smooth sailing.

The markets have plunged nearly 8% over just a single week. And the losses are across the board. Nearly every asset class from stocks to bonds to commodities to real estate are participating in the pain. Market displays are a sea of red.

We've written so often and recently of the dangerous level of over-valuation in asset prices (caused by years of central bank intervention) that to re-hash the premise again feels unnecessary.

But the chart below is worth our attention now, as it really drives home just how dangerously over-extended the markets have become. It's a 20-year chart of the S&P 500, showing how it has traded vs its 50-month moving average (the thin green line).

Importantly, the chart also plots the Bollinger bands for this moving average. These are the thin red (upper) and purple (lower) lines above and below the green one.

The simple definition of Bollinger bands is that they are measurements of volatility, and serve as indicators of "highness" or "lowness" of price relative to trading history (a more complex explanation can be found here).

What that means is, when the price of the S&P 500 trades near the upper (red) Bollinger band, that's an indication it's over-priced vs its historic trading behavior. And vice-versa when it trades near the lower (purple) band.

Now, the chart below is important because it shows that over the past 20-years, the S&P 500 has *never* traded above the its 50-month upper Bollinger band -- EXCEPT for the 7 months preceding this one. Simply put, the market had not been more overvalued in (at least) the past 20 years as it was last month:

(click here for an expanded view)

But just as frightening, though, is how the 7% drop the S&P has experienced over the past week has only brought it back to just touch the upper Bollinger band. Despite its recent losses, the S&P is still wildly over-valued.

Said another way: it still has further to fall. A LOT further.

If indeed this is the start of a major correction, one that clears out all  "excessive exuberance" as happened in 2001 and 2008, we could well see a retracement down past the 50-month moving average, all the way to (and possibly, briefly, below) the lower Bollinger band.

That would put the S&P somewhere around 1,500-1,600 -- a drop of around 40% from where it closed today.

And as we made the case earlier this week when looking at classic asset price bubble curves, a return of the S&P to a price level below 1,000 can't be ruled out.

Time To Batten Down The Hatches

When a storm arrives at sea, sailors hunker down. They strip, tie fast, and stow everything they can -- then they ride out the storm and re-emerge once it has passed.

This is an excellent model for today's investor. If this week's plunge indeed accelerates into a bear market, simply surviving the carnage with a substantial percentage of your capital intact will constitute "winning".

So, if you still have long positions in your personal or retirement portfolios, what should you be doing at this point?

1) Move To Cash

Get your money to the sidelines. Remember that everything is relative during periods of extreme volatility like now. When everything around you is dropping in value, the relative value of your cash position rises.

Those who had already moved to cash now find they can buy 7% more of the S&P with it than they could a mere week ago. That relative rise in purchasing power will only increase should the markets fall farther from here.

Cash is also offering an improving absolute return as well these days, as interest rates rise. Not that you'd know it from what your bank is offering you (surprising no one, banks have kept depositor rates near 0% despite receiving higher interest payments themselves from the Federal Reserve).

But holding your cash in short-term T-Bills (durations of less than 1 year) through a program like TreasuryDirect is now returning yields of close to 1.5%. That's 25-50 times(!) more than what the average bank savings account interest rate is right now.

Given this high relative payout and the extreme safety of Treasurys (the last financial instrument in the world likely to default, as the US will simply print the money to repay, if necessary), this strategy is a clear no-brainer for those with a material amount of cash.

Those looking to learn more about the TreasuryDirect program, including how to open an account there, can read this primer we created.

2) Prepare Your Action Plan

We have long been loud advocates of working with a professional financial advisor. Now, more than ever, you want to review your action plan with him/her.

If you have remaining long positions, battle test them. How do you expect them to perform in a bear market? If the market falls another 10% from here, what will be the expected impact to your overall portfolio? What if the market falls 25%?

Does hedging make sense as a risk management strategy for you? How about building up a short position with a minority percentage of your portfolio?

Now is the time to address and answer these questions, because if indeed a major correction is nigh, it very well may happen so fast you don't have time to act. (Just ask those holding Bitcoin in January how quickly 50% of your position can vaporize.)

As always, if you're having difficulty finding a firm willing or able to engage in the above with you, consider scheduling a free consultation with Peak Prosperity's endorsed financial advisor.

Also, folks frequently underestimate the effort and time it takes to set up accounts, get funds transferred, etc. Don't set yourself up for the frustration and disappointment of delays should you wait until the midst of a market melt-down to get all this in place. The market may be moving so fast at that point as to make your efforts moot. (Again, talk to the crypto crowd here about their challenges funding accounts and trading through the exchanges last month.) 

Instead, get everything set up and prepared now. You don't need to necessarily transfer any funds at this point. But do yourself the service of getting all the administrative hurdles behind you today.

3) Track The Risks & Opportunities Closely

As we've warned for years, we've been living through The Mother Of All Financial Bubbles. When it bursts, the damage is going to be truly horrific.

The ride down in the markets is going to be painful and scary. There are going to be many knock-on effects that are impossible to forecast with precision -- or even to identify -- right now. What will happen with housing, jobs, pensions, entitlement programs, social services, the banking system? All could be impacted.

To what degree? We don't know at this point. Which is why tracking developments in real-time and assessing their likely impacts will be critical.

Similarly, in crisis there is opportunity. There will be speculative opportunities that present themselves during a melt-down (e.g., shorting mortgage insurers during the 2008 crash). And one markets find their bottom and stabilize, there will be the chance to invest in quality assets at fire-sale values compare to today's prices.

Know when to deploy your dry powder, and what to deploy it into, will be key.

We'll be doing our best here at PeakProsperity.com every week to offer essential insights to help you stay well-informed and on top of these fast-moving events.

To that mission, we're swiftly assembled a webinar on this coming Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 8pm EST with Chris Martenson, Lance Roberts, Axel Merk and several other financial experts to provide in-depth context into the recent market plunge and their best assessment of what to expect from here in the near term. (To learn more about the webinar, click here)

Markets are warning us that even stormier seas lie ahead. Heed that warning, sailor, and hold fast!


Glenn Beck can't help but wonder, "What is wrong with us?" in light of the Left's latest move — canceling six Dr. Seuss books due to "hurtful and wrong" illustrations — that takes America one step closer to complete insanity. And now, school districts are jumping on board after President Joe Biden seems to have dropped Dr. Seuss from the White House's annual "Read Across America Day" proclamation.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn argued that deleting books is the perfect example of fascism, and asked when we as a country will finally realize it.

"They are banning Dr. Seuss books. How much more do you need to see before all of America wakes up? ... This is fascism!" Glenn said. "We don't destroy books. What is wrong with us, America?"

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:


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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard and Glenn Beck don't agree much on policy, but they're in lockstep on principles.

On "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week, Tulsi spoke with Glenn about one of her last acts in Congress, introducing the "Protect Women's Sports Act," which she says would "strengthen, clarify, and uphold the intent of Title IX to provide a level playing field for girls and women in sports." But since then, the Biden administration has gone in the opposite direction, and has supported allowing biological men to compete in women's sports.

Watch the video clip below to hear why Tulsi took a stand for female athletes:


Watch the full interview with Tulsi Gabbard here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Later this week, former President Trump will attend CPAC and give his first major policy appearance since leaving office. Sources close to the President reveal he will focus on "the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement."

The future of the GOP is a question that demands real discussion before elections in 2022 and 2024. Right now, I can see three possible answers for how you act:

  1. Those in power and senior positions will ignore the reasons behind Donald Trump winning in 2016. They will be vindicated in their minds because they outlasted him, as they view DC as a job for life. These leaders will go back to business as usual and seek forgiveness from the left, hoping for unity and acceptance in the future.
  2. The second outcome is another section of the party that is understandably very angry over the left's Presidents treatment. They still support and believe in Trump. They think it's time to take off the gloves and treat Biden/the left exactly how they treated Trump.
  3. The few policy positions offered in public will be centered solely around opposing the left. They will also make the case how the left suck, are dangerous, and how you need them in power. The next four years are merely a countdown for Trump to run again and right the wrong of 2020.
  4. The third outcome is very similar to the second, but with one key difference. While they appreciate everything Trump accomplished while in office, they feel it's time to unite behind another candidate.
Question

Which of these three positions will work best for the American people? Which helps built a political base for elections in both 2022 and 2024?

If you seek to help save America, it is critical to do some soul searching. Whether you love or hate him, Donald Trump got 75 million votes and made advancements in key demographics. What did he do well that you can develop further? In what areas was he poor, and how can you improve?

I want to raise six principled points everyone on the right should be forced to consider in the run-up to 2024.

1 - Understanding American Exceptionalism

FACT: America is an exceptional nation. If you read enough of world history, you will find ample evidence that America acted in ways that made it unique and significantly different from other countries in the past and modern times. These reasons must be understood and promoted through the culture and body politic.

One of those reasons is the layout of your Declaration of Independence. If you look around politics today, you will see people on all political sides telling you what they hate, why the other side is the enemy, and how they must be defeated.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson also made that case against the English when he listed 27 grievances against the King. So how is the layout key? It took Jefferson 357 words to get to those grievances. Your Declaration is your mission statement: it tells everyone in the world what America aspires to be. It states the belief that all were created equal, all had certain rights that come directly from God, and that it is the government's job to protect rights -- not give people rights.

The left is successfully painting everyone on the right to be a terrorist who enjoyed the Capitol Hill riots. If you ever want to win another election, it will be critical to explain what you stand for to the American people.

After all, ask yourself which makes you the most passionate to vote - removing someone from office or voting for a vision and change you believe in?

2 - The Constitution

Is there a better place to start this vision than the Constitution? Yes, it is mostly ignored today by those in power and is only referenced by politicians and media when it fits a narrative.

The Constitution is a beautiful and complex document but is primarily based on a straightforward principle. The government should be extremely limited in its power, but it should be as close to the people as possible where there is a clear need for government. Who can argue with this principle?

Who wants someone they have never met, dictating how they live their life?

This is why the Constitution grants the President no real power, and gives Congress 18 clauses of power, listed under Article 1, Section 8. Any and every power not mentioned there belongs at the state level.

3 - Finances

The power structure in DC has changed many times over the last twenty years, with both parties having the opportunity to rule the different federal branches. There have been two periods where one party controlled all the power in DC:

  • 2008-2010: Obama / Dem
  • 2016-2018: Trump / GOP

Despite these changes, your government continually grows, you continue to spend money you don't have, and in ten out of the last thirteen years, you have added over $1,000,000,000,000 to your national debt, which now sits just under $28 trillion. Does this seem sustainable to you? Of course not, but sadly your finances only get worse.

America has revenue of over $3.2 trillion every year, yet DC has not passed a budget since 2008. Can you imagine any business running that way? Do you think Apple, Amazon, or Disney have a budget? It is time to get America on a path to financial sustainability, work towards a balanced budget, and explain to the American people how you will achieve it.

4 - Taxes

Do you remember discussing taxes during the Tea Party?

We used to make the simple moral case to the American people: any money you earn is yours, you should use it to plan your life, and the government has no right to take it from you. This was so successful around 2012 that Herman Cain ran for President with one primary policy: the 9-9-9 plan.

If America is to return to prosperity after Covid, lower taxes and a simpler tax code must be a central theme.

5 - Cutting Government

Look at the size of the US government in 2021. Are you happy? Can you name the numerous departments? Is it now the freedom-loving Americans' position that agencies like Education, Energy, EPA, and Commerce are constitutional bodies of government and are well-run?

How about the IRS, which targeted Tea-Party groups under President Obama? Do they deserve support, or is it time to start sharing a vision of the departments that should be abolished?

This principle used to be a big part of the Conservative platform. It played a massive role in 2012 when Rick Perry ran for President. His campaign was destroyed in 45 short seconds when he could not remember the three agencies he would abolish.

Maybe it's time to refresh this debate but change the parameters. How about we discuss the agencies that should be kept?

6 - Bill of Rights

Today, the Bill of Rights is under constant attack. The far-left/woke mob hates free speech, and they seek to cancel anyone with an opposing view. However, the attacks on the Bill of Rights don't always come from the left.

America has a second amendment that guarantees you the right to bear arms. The last time the GOP held both houses of Congress and the Presidency, they banned bump stocks - but who really NEEDS a bump stock?

As the years have passed, some have admitted they are open to red flag laws. Is this still the case?

While the second amendment may be under attack, it is clear the fourth amendment is dead. Regardless of which party holds power in DC, the NSA is given continuous ability to spy on Americans. The simple, principled case from Rand Paul of "get a warrant" always falls on deaf ears.

The Bill of Rights should be a unifying document for most Americans, as the principles are self-evident and a significant part of any freedom platform going forward.

Conclusion

America will face significant challenges over the coming years. As the government continues to grow, the far left get more hostile, and central planners seek a great reset. If you share my concern, then now is the time to forget our tribes and ignore the debate on who should be President in 2024.

It's time to work hard to build a platform by raising a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels. We must share a clear vision to the American people of a bright future where they are free, prosperous, and can pursue their happiness.

When the platform is built and successful, people can identify the best candidate to run in 2024.

"First, you win the argument, and then you win the election." — Margaret Thatcher

Jonathon Dunne is a keynote speaker, weekly podcast host on Blaze Media, and published author on major platforms such as The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Libertarian Republic, Western Journalism, and Constitution. Since 2012, he has reached millions with his message of American exceptionalism.

You can find him on social media – Facebook, Twitter, MeWe

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is under fire for questioning President Joe Biden's nominee for an assistant health secretary position, Dr. Rachel Levine, about her alleged support for giving children puberty blockers and sex-change surgeries.

During a confirmation hearing Thursday, Paul pointedly asked Levine, who is a transgender woman, about her support for allowing children to change their sex, and whether she believes children are capable of making such life-altering decisions.

Levine evaded the question, answering instead with a vague statement about the complexities of transgender medicine, which she would again reiterate for Paul's subsequent questions.

Watch a video clip of the confirmation hearing here.

Predictably, Paul has been labeled "transphobic" and accused of trying to derail Levine with "transphobic misinformation" by the leftist media.

On the Glenn Beck Radio Program Friday, Paul said his questioning Levine had nothing to do with who she is or the fact that she is a transgender adult, but was about the question of gender changes for children.

"The interesting thing is, none of it was directed towards her personally or who she is. It was directed towards the question of whether children can consent. And this is an intellectual question. It's not an inflammatory question. It's a question of serious consequences," he explained. "Most people would argue that children can't really make an informed consent. You know, we have laws against a man having sex with a 12-year-old, even if the 12-year-old says 'yes', because we don't think a 12-year-old is capable of consenting. They just aren't old enough to make the decision."

Paul went on to add, "I guess the danger is, you have to have some chutzpah. You have to have some guts, some courage to stand up because it is a culture out there where ... everybody is saying I made transphobic comments yesterday. All I did was ask whether a minor could consent to this kind of dramatic surgery. Nothing I ever said was hateful. I said nothing hateful about these people. I said nothing hateful about adults who choose to do this. But the culture is out there is so strong that so many in office are afraid to speak out. And it's getting worse.

"There's a handful of us that will speak out in the Senate. There's a handful in the House, and we just have to grow our ranks. But we have to resist or it just will roll over us. And we'll live in this terrible cancel culture world where nobody speaks out, and everybody is afraid to say anything."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.