Is The 9-Year Long Dead Cat Bounce Finally Ending?

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by: Charles Hugh Smith

Ignoring or downplaying these fundamental forces has greatly increased the fragility of the status quo.

The term dead cat bounce is market lingo for a "recovery" after markets decline due to fundamental reversals. Markets tend to bounce back after sharp declines as participants (human and digital) who have been trained to "buy the dips" once again buy the decline, and the financial media rushes to reassure everyone that nothing has actually changed, everything is still peachy-keen wonderfulness.

I submit that the past 9 years of market "recovery" are nothing but an oversized dead cat bounce that is finally ending. Here is a chart that depicts the final blow-off top phase of the overextended dead cat bounce:

Why are the past 9 years nothing but an extended dead cat bounce? Nothing that's fundamentally broken has been fixed, and none of the dynamics that are undermining the status quo have been addressed.

The past 9 years have been one long dead cat bounce of extend and pretend, i.e., do more of what's failed, because to even admit the status quo is being undermined by fundamental forces would panic those gorging at the trough of the status quo's lopsided rewards.

This 9-year dead cat bounce was pure speculation driven by cheap central bank credit and liquidity. Demographics, environmental degradation, the decline of middle class security, the erosion of paid work, the bankruptcy of public and private pension plans, the global debt bubble, soaring wealth and income inequality, the corruption of democracy into a pay-to-play bidding war, the destruction of price discovery via market manipulation by those who have turned markets into signaling devices that all is well, the laughable distortion of statistics to mask the real-world decline in our purchasing power (inflation is near-zero - really really really), the perverse incentives to leverage up bets in financial instruments that have no connection to the real-world economy - none of these have been addressed in the market melt-up.

Rather, ignoring or downplaying these fundamental forces has greatly increased the fragility of the status quo. Gordon T. Long and I discuss these fundamental forces in our latest half-hour video program, 2018 Themes (29:46 min):