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Avi Gilburt
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Avi Gilburt is a lawyer and accountant by training. He formerly was a partner and National Director at a national firm. Mr. Gilburt is also the Managing Member of Gilburt Financial Services, LLC, which provides: - Financial market analysis to the public through ElliottWaveTrader.net; - Elliott... More
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  • HIGH PROBABILITY TOP IN EQUITY MARKET & CONCURRENT LOW IN USD: AN ELLIOTT WAVE PERSPECTIVE
    I am going to try to present to you as objective an Elliott Wave count in the S&P500 as I possibly can, which is also supported by an Elliott Wave count on the US Dollar. 
     
    For those unfamiliar with the Elliott Wave Principle, Elliott Wave International provides a very nice summary of the theory.
     
     
    In its simplest form, the Elliott Wave Principle provides that markets move in 5 waves in the direction of the main trend, and in 3 waves as a countertrend.
     
    I am going to begin with the assumption that we are in a long term bear market, and working our way to completion of a “cyclical bull market” retracement within that larger bear market.
     
    The basis behind my assumption for the long term bear market is that we have a fairly clean and clear 5 wave move down from the all-time highs on the S&P500 chart, wherein the wave relationships are clearly indicative of standard Fibonacci relationships between the various waves. 
     
    When you have a 5 wave move off a prior high, it is usually indicative of a change in trend, based upon Elliott Wave Principles. Therefore, this is the basis for my assumption that we are currently in a larger bear market, and this move back up since March 2009 has only been a 3 wave counter-trend rally.
     
    Ultimately, my premise is that we will shortly reach a high for this counter-trend move in the S&P500 at the same time that we will attain a low for a counter-trend move in the US Dollar. This will coincide with the re-emergence of significant deflationary pressures, which will cause the equity markets to continue a significant multi-year decline and will cause the US Dollar to continue its significant multi-year rally.

    Therefore, the market is now setting up a shorting opportunity that will even potentially exceed 2007 in potential profitability from the short side.
     
    HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND WAVE COUNT
     

     

    After the impulsive 5 wave move down from the all-time high in the S&P500, which we labeled as Wave 1 down in red, we then expected a Wave 2, three wave, counter-trend move, which we label as A-B-C. Waves A and C usually subdivide into 5 waves and Wave B usually subdivides into 3 waves. Standard Fibonacci retracements for such Wave 2 counter-trend moves are .500, .618 or .764 of the initial impulsive 5 wave move.
     
    In our case, as you can see, this pattern has now been filled in. We had a 5 wave move off the lows into the .618 Fibonacci retracement for the A wave. The B wave came down into the .382 Fibonacci retracement level of the Wave 1 decline. Currently, I believe we have completed the C wave of Wave 2 at the .764 retracement area.
     
    I also want to point out that Waves A and C will usually maintain some Fibonacci relationship, most often 1:1 or 1:.618. In our case, our completed wave count has Wave C roughly at .618 the length of Wave A. Furthermore, the level at which Wave C is .618 the length of Wave A also converges in the region with the .764 retracement of the entire Wave 1 move down. Additionally, Wave C is a Fibonacci 13 months long. Whenever we have such a confluence of Fibonacci levels, coupled with a Fibonacci time period, it is usually a point at which the market will exhibit a strong reaction, which it, in fact, did.
     
    Analysis of USD
     

     
    If you look at the long term dollar chart, you can see that I view the 2008 low of the 70.60 region as the completion of a larger correction within the USD chart. From that point, it had a 5 wave move up, which was an inverse move relative to the equity markets. This is what economic theory dictates should happen during a period of deflationary pressures, which existed at the time the equity markets were in their year-long downtrend.
     
    For the last two and a half years, the USD has been retracing an ABC wave 2 retracement, again, inverse to the wave 2 retracement within the equity markets. 



    Currently, we seem to have completed wave (4) of the c wave of Wave (c) of Wave 2, as I have it labeled. Additionally, it seems we have now completed a truncated 5th wave 5 wave move down in the DXY, which means we have now completed Wave 2 down.  Therefore, based upon my count, the dollar will now begin a multi-year bull run.
     
    CONCLUSION FOR HIGH ALERT WARNING
     
    My theory is that the dollar has put in a Wave 2 low at the same time that the equity market put in a Wave 2 high, although this happened a Fibbonacci 21 days apart!
      
    In my opinion, this signals a multi-year reversal in both the USD and equity markets. Therefore, you need to be raising cash, and, for the more experienced traders, perparing to short the market for what is setting up to be a better shorting opportunity than even 2007!
     


    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
    Jul 31 8:59 AM | Link | Comment!
  • COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING INFLATION AND WHAT AN INVESTOR SHOULD KNOW AND DO
    When we watch the financial news television media, or we read articles published in various other modes of news media, we are continually told that the drum beat of inflation is getting louder and louder. But is the actual drum beat itself getting louder, or is it simply that louder sound equipment is being used?
     
    I, for one, do not believe the inflation argument, since it does not fit the definition of inflation.  Furthermore, when I present the evidence for this argument to others, the reply is that the “old definitions no longer apply.”  I view this type of argument in the same manner as “this time it is different.”
     
    So let’s try and understand what inflation really is, and, if it is really causing certain price increases in certain markets and not others.
     
    DEFINITION OF INFLATION
     
    As defined by Webster’s Dictionary:
     
    Inflation is a persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.
     
    Written in a calculation format, we would present it as follows:
     
    INFLATION = MONEY/DEBT INCREASE   yields  GOODS & SERVICES PRICE INCREASE
     
    In its simplest form, inflation is CAUSED by CREDIT/MONEYBASE EXPANSION.  If you think about it, if everyone has more ability to buy goods because there is more money/credit available for them to do so, then the cost of the limited number of goods available must go up based upon the law of supply and demand.  Of course, the opposite is true as well.
     
    PERVASIVE MISCONCEPTIONS OF INFLATION
     
    How is a determination of “inflation” actually arrived at by many of our experts today?  We hear many pointing to the CPI or the PPI rising and then claim that we have inflation.  We hear many pointing to the rise in price of precious metals has gone up, and then claim we have inflation.  We hear many more pointing to energy and food prices rising and claim that we have inflation.
     
    Yet, these same “experts” seem to dismiss the declining employment statistics, or the declining housing statistics, or the true declining consumer debt statistics.  They say that those price declines are happening for “other” reasons.
     
    But, is the fact that we see certain prices rising (even though others are declining) a reason to cry from the top of the financial peaks that “inflation is upon us!?”  Let’s analyze the definition of inflation a little more closely and see if these cries for inflation are truly warranted.
     
    A CLOSER LOOK AT THE DEFINITION OF INFLATION
     
    Whenever we analyze definitions, such as the one for inflation, we have to understand that there are two aspects to the equation; one is the cause, and the other the effect. 
     
    INFLATION CAUSE:   an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services
     
    INFLATION EFFECT:  a persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money
     
    Keep reminding yourself during this exercise that inflating prices is an EFFECT of the definitional cause, and not the determinative factor in making the case for inflation.   In order to determine if this effect is actually pervasive in the market and can be termed “inflation,” we need to determine if the CAUSAL side of the equation actually exists.  Ultimately, we need to see an increase in available currency or credit which is outpacing ALL available goods and services in the economy in a relative manner. 
     
    We have all heard the term that “a rising tide raises all ships.”  This is exactly how inflation works.  Again, if more people have more buying power through possessing additional greenback notes or additional credit, then the prices of ALL the limited available goods and services in the economy, as a whole, should be rising. 
     
    Yet, we have some asset prices which are soaring, while other prices have been declining.  But how can some asset prices really be declining if there is true inflation, which is supposedly caused by more “money” available to buy those assets?  Shouldn’t the additional purchasing power, if it truly exists, cause ALL asset prices to rise in a true inflationary bout?
     
    It seems to me that most analysts are only looking at the effect side of the equation and ignoring the causal side of the equation.  But simply identifying price appreciation in some assets is not how we appropriately define inflation.  Have you heard any “expert” point to a rising relative monetary base as the cause of the rising prices they cite?  If not, how can one reasonably claim a resulting effect of inflation?
     
    ULTIMATE CAUSE OF INFLATION THROUGH TARGETED CREDIT EXPANSION
     
    Based upon the definition of inflation, the key question we really have to ask ourselves is if the monetary base is increasing so fast that it is outpacing the ability of the market to keep up with the resulting demand for goods and services.  The best place to look for this answer would be the M3 chart, which should provide us with answers as to whether our monetary base is truly increasing at an alarming rate, as it is the most inclusive definition of the monetary base that we have.
     
     
    If you view the chart above, it is clear that there has been a positive uptick in the M3 over the last year.  However, the other piece of information that we glean from this chart is that M3 had been in a free-fall since 2008.  In fact, we have barely even retraced one quarter of that decline to date.  When you consider the Herculean efforts aimed toward monetary base expansion engaged in by our government, especially the significant infusion of credit orchestrated by our FED through Quantitative Easing, this increase is relatively pathetic. 
     
    In my opinion, this is not pointing to such a dramatic increase in the monetary base, through credit expansion, that would fit the inflation definition that we outlined above. Rather, this is simply showing us that the FED has been fighting a battle with a public that has been engaged in significant credit deleveraging.  Now that the FED has stopped fighting that battle, and there is still no evidence that the public has ceased to deleverage, then deflationary pressures should resume, and we should begin to see a resulting decrease in the M3 shortly.  Clearly, this would not be inflationary.
     
    IF THERE IS NO TRUE SYSTEMIC INFLATION, HOW DO WE EXPLAIN SOME PRICES RISING?
     
    Remember that each market works on rules of supply and demand.  Therefore, if you experience a supply shortage within a specific market, for one reason or another, but maintain stagnant demand, or even a lowered demand that does not keep pace with the reduction in supply, this would clearly cause certain markets to experience price increases.  This is NOT inflation, but rather specific supply and demand concerns within specific markets.  This is a potential cause for the recent food price increases.
     
    Another reason that specific market prices can rise without having systemic inflation is due to speculation and/or emotion.  Examples of markets that are experiencing these price increases are commodity markets such as oil and metals.
     
    Furthermore, we know that we have not been able to make much of a dent in the unemployment rolls over the last 3 years.  In fact, if we were to look at true underemployment, we then realize that the number has actually been on the rise.  A result of lower employment, coupled with a relatively stagnant productivity number, is that less goods and services are available in the market, which would also cause an increase in prices in certain markets.
     
    Let me provide an example of price increases in a market that is not caused by inflation. If you provide a service that is in high demand for whatever the market reason, and that demand outpaces the market’s ability to provide that service, then the price you charge for that service will rise based upon the laws of supply and demand, until an equilibrium is reached between the price and the demand.  Even though prices for this particular market service are going up, it does not mean that the economy as a whole is experiencing inflation. 
     
    However, if the price of this service is going to go up relative to rising prices for other goods and services, which is caused by a relative increase in the monetary base, then we can point to inflation within the economy.
     
    WHAT IS AN INVESTOR TO DO?
     
    Ultimately, if we are truly not experiencing systemic inflation, but rather fighting deflation, history has shown that deflation is much more difficult to beat. In fact, if the herculean efforts of our government have not sent deflation running for the hills, then chances are we will lose this battle.
     
    What we have learned from the deflationary scenarios of both the recent and “ancient” past is that almost all asset prices are eventually effected by deflationary pressures. This includes corporate debt instruments, corporate stocks, mutual funds, real estate, commodities, and, yes, even gold and silver. For those that do not believe there is any reason that gold or silver can be effected by deflation, simply look back at how shocked everyone was in 2008 as the price of gold was dropping at the same time as the equity markets.
     
    However, when we take a close look at what happened during deflations of the past, we notice that the home currency of the country that is being effected by deflationary pressures saw the value of their currency rise, as prices of assets were falling. Of course, based upon the inverse of the definition of inflation, this makes perfectly good economic sense. 
     
    As available debt contracts, which is how deflation is caused in our times, so do the value of the underlying assets which have been purchased by such debt. Yet, while we experience debt contraction, the relative amount of Greenbacks in the system rises, since the actual amount of Greenbacks never changes, causing their ratio to the overall M3 number to significantly rise.
     
    As a recent example, if we look at the YEN during a portion of Japan’s credit deflationary period, we see this exact phenomena when comparing equity prices to the value of the YEN.
     
     
     
     
    As another recent example, if we compare the US dollar to the S&P 500 during relatively the same period, we see a similar result.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    CONCLUSION
     
    When we are able to point to “other reasons” why only certain prices, and not all prices, go up, and it is not caused by a relative increase in the monetary base, then we are not pointing to price increases as being caused by inflation. 
     
    Inflation is defined as an end result of specific causes.  It is solely the result of a relative increase in the monetary base as compared to goods and services available in the market.  Therefore, if we were truly experiencing a relative increase in the monetary base that would be cause for inflation, then ALL goods and services available in the economic system would be rising as a result, and not simply rising within certain markets, and declining in others.
     
    Ultimately, this must lead us to a conclusion that we are not experiencing systemic inflation.  Rather, it is clear from the underlying dropping consumer and housing debt statistics, which the FED has been battling through QE, that the true battle has been with deflation.  Now that the FED has stated its lack of desire to continue any form of QE, this should become much more clear as more deflationary pressures begin to take hold of the entire economic system.
     
    Based upon history, we need to start raising cash as the deflationary signs grow more prominent, and store it in a safe place.
     
    NEXT ARTICLE: CAN YOU TRUST YOUR BANK TO STORE YOUR CASH?
     
     


    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
    Jul 24 9:58 AM | Link | 3 Comments
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