The stock market just got hit with a vicious trifecta that could accelerate its next major meltdown

trader three fingers

The US stock market felt serious pressure from a trio of negative market forces on Friday, each of which is outlined in detail below.
The overriding theme is that investors are getting increasingly worried about an economic slowdown — a sentiment that wasn’t helped by a spate of negative global manufacturing data.

There’s an old saying that when it rains, it pours. And unfortunately for investors everywhere, that rang true in the stock market on Friday.

It was ultimately a perfect storm of conditions. Even though US shares closed at a five-month high on Thursday, repeated signs of an economic slowdown in the prior weeks left them in a vulnerable position.

Then, as US investors slept, weak European manufacturing data sent the yield on 10-year German government bonds into negative territory for the first time in more than two years. European shares traded sharply lower in response.

An eerily similar scenario played out in the US not long thereafter. After a report showing manufacturing activity slumped to its lowest in two years, Treasurys tumbled, leading to a dreaded yield-curve inversion that hadn’t occurred since 2007.

That stoked already-simmering fears of a possible economic recession, and what followed was a weak and uncertain trading session.

All the while, as those forces played out on the surface, investors were showing their displeasure in another way for a solid week. According to data compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, fund managers pulled loads of money of out stocks even before Friday’s sell-off.

It amounted to a vicious trifecta that handed US stocks their biggest drop in two months. And at a time when the market’s biggest tech stocks are under regulatory scrutiny and there are relatively few corporate earnings reports to move the dial, there doesn’t seem to be much relief on the horizon.

Even the Federal Reserve — which some experts point to as supporting the stock market with a newly accommodative monetary policy — will be powerless to help the market if the economy keeps trending lower, one expert says.

“The Fed can’t be dovish enough to support US equity markets given the acceleration in the global growth slowdown and eventual US slowdown,” Peter Cecchini, the global chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote in a recent client note.

With all of that established, here’s a deeper dive on the …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

Imagining Trump’s America Without Robert Mueller

For nearly two years, the American public, and quite a few observers overseas, have hung on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s every word and action: each hire, each redaction, each revealing and yet opaque footnote in hundreds of filings. His fans have indulged in devotional candles and meme T-shirts. The document that Mueller delivered to Attorney General William Barr has been so eagerly awaited that its official name might as well be “The Highly Anticipated Mueller Report.”

This must be uncomfortable for Mueller, who shuns publicity, doesn’t seem to have much taste for politics, and has maintained a silence that is either admirable or infuriating, depending on your point of view. But his report could make things even more uncomfortable for many other people. For substantial parts of the political world, Mueller has been most useful as a cipher: a vessel for hopes and dreams, a shield to hide behind, or a nemesis to be attacked. With his work complete, each faction will have to grapple with a new world.

For the most fanatical Mueller watchers, the conclusion of the report is almost certain to bring disappointment, because anything but a presidency-ending indictment seems likely to fall short of their expectations. For Democrats in elected office and in the presidential race, the delivery of the report means they can no longer use the ongoing investigation as a reason (or excuse) for waiting to act against Donald Trump. Some Republicans have also pointed to the ongoing inquiry as a reason to withhold judgment. For Trump, the end of the probe will deprive him of a villain—and he has succeeded most when he has had a villain, and has flailed when he has not.

[Read: Americans don’t need the Mueller report to judge Trump]

In practice, the nation has never known a Trump presidency without Mueller. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed the former FBI director on May 17, 2017, barely 100 days after Trump’s inauguration. Those first four months were eventful, to be sure, with the implementation of Trump’s travel ban, the exit of Michael Flynn as national security adviser, the firing of then–FBI Director James Comey, and a slew of half-forgotten controversies, from “alternative facts,” to the president’s decision to reveal classified information, to Russian officials visiting him in the Oval Office.

But since Rosenstein appointed Mueller, in the messy aftermath of Comey’s abrupt firing, the …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Best of

      

Creating Conservative Universities Is Not the Answer

“Academics, on average, lean to the left. A survey being released today suggests that they are moving even more in that direction,” began a study released in 2012. By 2014, another study reported, the ratio of liberals to conservatives among American college and university faculty was 6 to 1 nationwide, and 28 to 1 in New England. Still more recent research suggests that the overall national trend may be moving further to the left. As Samuel J. Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College recently learned, even just pointing out these tendencies can land you in trouble with students and peers.

So if you’re a conservative scholar who cares about the American academy and wants to participate in it, what are you to do? One recent suggestion: Start your own university.

In National Affairs, Frederick M. Hess and Brendan Bell make the case for a new university hospitable to conservative thought:

What is needed, then, is a place where serious scholars can have the space to pursue questions and subjects that don’t fit the progressive orthodoxy at today’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning. We need an incubator where promising young intellectuals could pursue their research without being forced to conform to the prevailing ideology, and where they can find the scaffolding—employment, funding, networks, and publication outlets—to enable them to achieve independent viability. What is needed is an ivory tower of our own.

Hess and Bell frame their proposal in largely constructive and unresentful ways. We might note that their express concern is not to enforce a conservative orthodoxy, but to free scholars from obeisance to a progressive one (“without being forced to conform to the prevailing ideology”). Later in the essay, they write, “Though there is no doubt that conservative thought is unwelcome in the academy, it is a mistake to imagine this is the product of a concerted, organized effort to expunge it. The issue is not one of conspiracy but a matter of rhythms, routines, and behaviors that add up to what those on the left might, in another context, term ‘implicit bias’ or ‘progressive privilege.’” The reluctance to invoke a vast left-wing conspiracy to explain the disparities is welcome, in the way that the reluctance to invoke vast conspiracies to explain anything is generally welcome.

And later still, they make an important distinction: “The aim is to create an incubator—not a sanctuary. Talented graduate students and junior faculty …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Best of