Pop Goes the Bubble
June 2, 2004 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Is a Market Disaster Immement? The Federal Reserve has confirmed [a] Stock Market Crash forecast by raising the Money Supply (M-3) by crisis proportions, up another 46.8 billion this past week. What awful calamity do they see? Something is up. This is unprecedented, unheard-of pre-catastrophe M-3 expansion. M-3 is up an amount that we've never seen before without a crisis
posted by willnot (45 comments total)
Or imminent even... It reads as gibberish to me, but it sounds like scary, scary gibberish. Can any analysts explain/confirm/debunk this?
posted by willnot at 4:55 PM on June 2, 2004

Damned if I know.....calling all specialists. Hey! Where are you?........

Maybe this should be an AskMetafilter question.

Anyway, I'm paying attention.
posted by troutfishing at 5:08 PM on June 2, 2004

It reads as gibberish to me...

That's because you've been educated stupid.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:10 PM on June 2, 2004

I have no idea what that article is talking about, however the fact that:

  • A Biblical quote is used at the end of the article.
  • The "Ph.D" who wrote it lists an AOL email address.
  • Their forums contain posts by only 4 or 5 different people.

    Makes me think it's a load of B.S.

  • posted by falconred at 5:11 PM on June 2, 2004

    The amazing thing is, the Fed's actions mean they know what is about to happen. They are aware of a terrible, horrific imminent event. What could it be?
    ... No, something is up, bigger than we have ever seen in the history of the United States.

    Terror? what? what else could it be?
    posted by amberglow at 5:12 PM on June 2, 2004

    Someone has seen The Bank far too many times. That graph is just like the one in that movie.
    posted by shepd at 5:12 PM on June 2, 2004

    It's an interesting article, because the writer speaks to both technical indicators (Elliott Waves, Oscillators, Fibonnacci Ratios) and fundamental indicators (money supply growth).

    I can't help you with the technical stuff (never been a chartist), but if you have specific questions about the other stuff, post them. The Fed does not directly control M3. This article is a long primer on the money supply.
    posted by trharlan at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2004

    It'll just take me a few days to pore through all those arcane (to me) graphs and charts. I like the jargon though - invoking the Fibonacci series, and so on. There has been some success tying Chaos Theory derived analysis to market movements. I know that.

    There COULD be a more benign explanation to this though : 1) juice the economy pre-2004 election (if kicking up M3 does indeed do that) 2) A hedge against POSSIBLE (read possible and not guaranteed) acts of terrorism on the domestic US.

    But on this, I know little. Next ?....
    posted by troutfishing at 5:16 PM on June 2, 2004

    It's good to see the Irrational Exuberance of the 90's being replaced by the Irrational fear of the 21st Century.
    posted by Mick at 5:16 PM on June 2, 2004

    Judging solely by the crankish and single-topic tone of the rest of their alerts, I'd venture this is in fact, gibberish.
    posted by ook at 5:21 PM on June 2, 2004

    The Master Planners' prayer is that all markets float higher on the rising tide of swelling money and that the coming catastrophe be mitigated or delayed. Should they be successful in extending the Bubbles, greater imbalances emerge and the ultimate market event will be worse than if now. Defensive strategies are warranted.

    Oh hogwash and poppycock. If the stock market was so closely tied to the money supply then he would be a rich man -- having figured out a beat to the game. The vagaries of the stock market, while painful at times, do not significantly impact the doings of the country and haven't, because of safeguards put in place, since the Great Depression. If the money supply was increased by that much (I doubt it heavily), it would have other effects -- positive effects -- than just inflation. In fact, if you're a Bush administration believer that would not be a dominant outcome anyway. Regardless, this is sky-is-falling drivel. Perhaps he saw a 2 headed goat yesterday and is looking for other signs of the End.
    posted by dness2 at 5:24 PM on June 2, 2004

    Judging by Safe Haven's about page, they prey on the fears of under-educated investors.

    In 2001 the stock market peaked. From July 2003 to April 2004 gold made an amazing rally (http://www.kitco.com/charts/popup/au0365nyb.html). Oil futures are through the roof today. The US dollar has been all over the place (mostly down) since the introduction of the Euro.

    Any competent financial manager will tell you that markets are cyclical, these things happen. If you've got a significant portfolio (from a 401k, trust fund, etc.), let your fund manager do his or her job. If you want fun and excitement, go to Las Vegas.

    If you want to learn more about the markets, there is a lot of very interesting information out there. Wikipedia has a great article on the money supply and a great general economics entry.

    As you read through the economic literature, you will find that much of it is sober and boring -- that is the real economics. If you feel a sudden urge to drastically alter your investment strategy or lifestyle, there is a good chance that the company who wrote what you are reading is trying to sell you exactly that. Take a step back, a deep breath, and think things through carefully.

    There are a lot of honest and respectable people in the financial industry. But there are at least as many people that are so sketchy and dishonest that they make used car salesmen and televangelists look like saints (enron wasn't even the worst). Do lots of research before you get involved with the markets.

    Also as bad as things are now, this is no great depression.
    posted by Kwantsar at 5:34 PM on June 2, 2004

    Hold me amberglow, I'm scared.

    And diversified.
    posted by WolfDaddy at 6:04 PM on June 2, 2004

    : >
    posted by amberglow at 6:09 PM on June 2, 2004

    Same suggestions from 2002. Somewhat more rational piece on the decline in M3 from 2003. And a money supply primer. You'll pardon the cursory glance opinion, but the posted site belongs on Angelfire.
    posted by yerfatma at 6:12 PM on June 2, 2004

    The question is, what is Safehaven selling?
    posted by cleverevans at 6:17 PM on June 2, 2004

    Good point. Free financial advice outside of "buy low, sell high" sounds suspicious.

    Although I don't think it's hokum. But they may be blowing it out of proportion.

    To me it sounds like the Fed is increasing the M-3 in preparation for when they do raise interest rates. Which is any day now. Won't necessarily be a crash, but just in case...
    posted by destro at 6:20 PM on June 2, 2004

    Earlier this evening, my significant other's father sent us this url.
    I will give you an approximate date to expect the arrival of the cloud in full force.

    * 18th-20th June Impact 1
    * 24-25th June Impact 2
    * 26th-27th June "anomaly"
    This is, mind you, is the same man who bought gas masks for his entire family during the Gulf War. She was worried, so I gave her "History of Doomsday Predictions 101".

    Starting with this google query, we read what the tinfoil hat brigade had to say.

    We had previously read about Jon Titor, as previously covered on mefi. After doing some research, we reached our own conclusion that John Titor has been debunked.
    Towards the end, his tale fell apart completely. He had personal contact with some of the anomalies.net board mods and promised far more than he could deliver. After repeatedly stepping on his own story (in examples given above and those I didn't go into) he promised a video would be made of his 'jump' home. Word had it that the video was made...then it simply never arrived. The final breakdown of his story appears in this link, as the moderators discover that he is indeed still with us...posing as an alien on another board.
    We also checked out Snopes had to say. Searching for "end of the world" produced similar results.

    To quench her thirst, she ran out and rented Deep Impact. :-)
    posted by sequential at 6:46 PM on June 2, 2004

    The Fed has announced that they're raising interest rates...but I can't find any legitimate news source that suggests that the Fed is manipulating M3. (Any more than usual.)
    posted by dejah420 at 6:49 PM on June 2, 2004

    Messed up the first paragraph. It was supposed to mention I had found the linked Safe Haven article after reading about it on this page.
    Here is one that talks about some very strange things that the federal reserve is doing which leads one to think they know something is about to happen. I don't know what the heck they are talking about, but it sounds like something quite disturbing is coming:
    posted by sequential at 6:52 PM on June 2, 2004

    But I *want* to believe.
    No, scratch that - I don't want spectacular disasters! Do I?
    Oh I just don't know any more.
    posted by freebird at 7:05 PM on June 2, 2004

    Can anyone confirm that what they state is accurate (M-3 increasing by 46.8 billion over the last week)? The fed site seems to be devoid of such information, and google has no idea what I'm talking about.

    Is it hogwash from the get-go?
    posted by loquax at 7:15 PM on June 2, 2004

    Shades of Bankruptcy 1995, anyone?
    posted by calwatch at 7:29 PM on June 2, 2004

    The Peak Oil crowd picked up on this too.

    I've been following the musings of the "peak oil" crowd a lot lately as I'm not convinced yet that they are crackpots. The usual debunkers are strangely silent. Matt Savinar also seems like a pretty reasonable guy. I'd love if Mefi'ers had dissenting links on it. The only one I've really found is terribly unpersuasive.
    posted by McBain at 7:34 PM on June 2, 2004

    I'm not worried, I haven't seen anything about this on the Drudge Report yet!
    posted by PigAlien at 7:42 PM on June 2, 2004

    Here are the graphs from the Fed on :

    M3 and Bank Real estate loans.

    "Thus far, rising rates have tended to support the value of the dollar.  However, if our foreign creditors come to recognize the vulnerability of the U.S. financial sector to the unfolding environment, the risk of simultaneously sinking bond and dollar prices could prove unnerving.  Would a sinking dollar incite a flight of liquidity to non-dollar assets and markets (an environment with heightened inflation risk for the U.S. economy), or would sharply rising rates and U.S. de-leveraging render the entire linked global Credit system impaired (with the attendant risk of financial dislocation and debt collapse)?  Is the expanding global securities-based Credit system sustainable or is it just a sideshow component of the fragile U.S. Credit Bubble?  As I noted above, there is a great deal we simply don’t know." (from the above link)

    From TheStreet.com's Jim Jubak, June 2, 2004 :

    Debt Bubble Stretches to Breaking Point
    posted by troutfishing at 8:15 PM on June 2, 2004

    Can anyone confirm that what they state is accurate (M-3 increasing by 46.8 billion over the last week)? The fed site seems to be devoid of such information, and google has no idea what I'm talking about.

    Is it hogwash from the get-go?

    Yes ... weekly measurements don't mean much, as there are considerable fluctuations (especially in M3 - one of the broadest measures.) And for what its worth, M3 ... as of the end of April 2004 ... was around 9 trillion. In other words, an increase of 46.8B would be about one half of one percentage point (.005). M3 has been increasing fairly consistantly since around 1995. (It grew by 68B in April, and 97B in March).

    [If you want to get down and geeky, here's a link to monthly measures of M1, M2, and M3 since 1959.]

    This guy is straigt from the tinfoil brigade.
    posted by MidasMulligan at 8:24 PM on June 2, 2004

    That graph I linked to ends - it looks like - sometime in May, and the resolution is pretty course. The trend is way up, yes - but M3 kicked up about the same amount last year....

    And the overall increase since last year would be little more than 5% - outpacing official economic growth rates, but not dramatically so.....

    BTW, William Greider has a great book on the Fed called "Secrets of the Temple" - "Based on extensive interviews with all the major players, Secrets of the Temple takes us inside the government institution that is in some ways more secretive than the CIA and more powerful than the President or Congress. "

    I'm not especially trusting of the Fed, especially after Greenspan's recent advocacy of ARM's, and bubbletalk is widespread among economic analysts - with reason, I think.....

    But I wouldn't base my investment strategy on the main link to this thread. Just saying.....
    posted by troutfishing at 8:37 PM on June 2, 2004

    I'm not especially trusting of the Fed

    Careful, Troutfishing-- You're beginning to sound like an Austrian.
    posted by trharlan at 8:41 PM on June 2, 2004

    Come on, trout, I can't believe you're giving this linkfarm the time of day.

    Robert D. McHugh, Jr. Ph.D. is with Main Line Investors Inc. They'd like to take charge of your portfolio, and get you into gold futures. Richard J. Greene CFA is with Thunder Capital Management. They'd like to sell you some gold futures. Guy M. Lerner is with yahoo dot com. He'd like a more credible email address. Bill Bonner would like to reveal al Quaeda's secret plot to PLUNGE a Gold DAGGER DEEP Into America's Financial HEART! and to sell you his incredible NEW SECRET GOLD CURRENCY that is likely to SKYROCKET 332%... 668%... or MORE!!

    posted by ook at 8:45 PM on June 2, 2004

    It's not going to be a pretty sight when the bubble(s) [US, Australia, etc] burst. Jubak's got a good (and obvious) point, "Consumers stretched by mortgages, home equity loans and credit card debt don't want to admit that the low-interest-rate cycle is over. They'd rather borrow more, especially because it's easier than ever right now, than cut current spending to pay off that debt." The borrow-spend wash rinse repeat cycle is simply not sustainable.

    This is why I get depressed when I (try to) read The Economist.
    posted by shoepal at 8:53 PM on June 2, 2004

    Midas - that's an interesting graph. Just out of curiosity, I scrolled down to 2001.

    There's an odd "9-11" anomaly obvious in the figures from that graph - a 75 billion plus M1 bulge in the 3-month period just prior to Sept. 11. It's very unusual in context - the month-to-month M1 fluctuations during the four years prior to September 11, 2001 were only very occasionally more than 10 billion - around 15 billion twice (I counted) and maybe 13 billion once. And the average fluctuation is probably only 3-5 billion. But in June-July 2001, M1 goes up about 12 billion, and then again by the same amount in July-August. Then, in August to September, BAM! - a 52 billion increase (off the scale).

    Then, in the September to October 2001 period, M1 declines by 37.5 billion.

    posted by troutfishing at 9:00 PM on June 2, 2004

    Some fine detective work out there ook and Midas.
    posted by destro at 9:06 PM on June 2, 2004

    Yeah, I second the thanks to Midas, that's what I sort of remembered from econ 101, but couldn't find readily.
    posted by loquax at 9:10 PM on June 2, 2004

    ook - you're giving it the time of day by commenting on it, I noticed. As I said, I'm not going to base my investment strategy on that linked site. But - by some accounts - the aggregate of US national and consumer debt is at - or is approaching - an all time high. These gold hustlers have always been around - but it's the combined warnings of professional economic forecasters which make me edgy.

    trharlan - Frank Shostak sounds a bit contemptuous there. But Austrians like Mises are just over overcompensating for not being Swiss, right ? (cheap shot) Still, even at very advanced levels, there's still a speculative aspect to this game. And so - yackity yackity yack!

    It's a good industry - there's always some impending disaster (or multiple disasters) which threaten to create market chaos. And this, in turn, requires soothsayers to allay anxieties....
    posted by troutfishing at 9:17 PM on June 2, 2004

    on would imagine brad would be on it, if the sky was falling ... today he's like stink on the usual suspects liars
    posted by specialk420 at 9:35 PM on June 2, 2004

    At this point, following the golden age of home refinancing it is true that a raise in interest rates of, say, 1% would cause the number of bankruptcies in the US to skyrocket and the cost (and therefore value) of real estate to plummet.

    Or perhaps the government is expecting to fail to prevent a major terrorist attack. Or both.
    posted by clevershark at 10:07 PM on June 2, 2004

    As for myself, I always take with a grain of salt any site that uses as many if not more words in boldface than standard type.

    WARNING! I am not an economist, nor do I have any securities licenses whatsoever. Anybody who makes investment decisions based solely on one unsubstantiated website with no additional independent research whatsoever is an idiot and gets what he/she deserves.
    posted by ilsa at 10:23 PM on June 2, 2004

    "Hold me amberglow"

    I'd pay to see that.

    MeFi "Guys Gone Wild", anyone?
    posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:31 PM on June 2, 2004

    I'm glad to see that the trend of relying upon pure unbridled fear to make a point has spread to the 'economists.' Near-total economic collapse on par with the Great Depression seems like only a minor snafu compared to what television news programs would have me cowering in the corner over.

    If I woke up tomorrow and something had ocurrred which was "bigger than [anything] we have ever seen in the history of the United States," well I guess I'd just have to deal with it. I'm certainly not going to start stuffing money under my mattress and pissing into a chemical toliet tonight simply because something terrible might, in the realm of distant probability, occur tomorrow. Frankly, I don't even know what event would qualify as bigger than any previous occurence in the history of the US. The total destruction of the North American continent might be on par with what Mr. McHugh has in mind, but in that case I do believe my personal affairs would be nicely squared away under the header of "completely fucked."

    I have always found that economic literature manages to strike a balance between cold abstraction and irrational fear, providing a rational voice to discuss issues which could otherwise be used to manipulate and defraud. If individuals like Mr. McHugh are determined that economics should live up to its moniker "the dismal science," then I simply have no use for their opinions.

    If we all wake up tomorrow, or later in June, or in the fall, or whenever the fuck ever, and find ourselves trading shells and glass beads for diesel and slugging it out in the Thunderdome then I guess we'll still be breathing, and that's good enough for me. Life is too short to worry about the looming catastrophes.

    "[T]his long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead." -- John Maynard Keynes
    posted by mmcg at 11:15 PM on June 2, 2004

    I haven't stored money under the mattress, but I do have a jar of change buried in the backyard. It's mostly silver coins, so I should be okay. Right?
    posted by damnitkage at 2:50 AM on June 3, 2004

    Upon preview, silver like nickels and such, you know, not a lot of pennies.
    posted by damnitkage at 2:50 AM on June 3, 2004

    Next time I going to read the comments before I send a copy!
    posted by phewbertie at 5:07 AM on June 3, 2004

    Sequential: So perhaps Aussie guy aint so crazy afterall .... Flashes, booms reported over western Washington; officials say meteor possible source
    posted by zeoslap at 6:32 AM on June 3, 2004

    MeFi "Guys Gone Wild", anyone?

    I'm *so* in! (As a spectator...since I have not the equipement to be one of the stars.)

    zeoslap...that's interesting...
    posted by dejah420 at 7:16 AM on June 3, 2004

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