A lot of bearish news came out over the weekend. First and foremost was OPEC’s decision not to reduce production in the face of weakening demand for crude and an oversupply on the market, which has pushed the price of crude off the cliff. In addition, the sales numbers for Black Friday in the United States fell dramatically by double digit numbers from the year before. Finally, China posted weak manufacturing data which is more evidence of falling global demand. This confluence of negative risks seems to be the perfect storm for the markets across the board. However, in spite of all the bad news, I believe the markets, especially in the United States, will continue to climb-the-wall-of-worry through year end.
This big question on investor’s minds this morning is How do I deal with the collapse in the price of oil? What does it mean? There is no question that demand is falling for crude. This is due to many factors, not the least of which is concern over global economic growth. There is also an obvious oversupply on the market, primarily from the ramp-up in production in North America. The majority of the talking-heads on financial television and on the financial blogs are crowing that this price collapse will shake North American producers from the market and leave OPEC with pricing power at the end of the oil-price gun battle. As I have stated before, I don’t think this is true. I believe the energy world has fundamentally changed and the rest of the world cannot come to grips with this fact. Yes, there will be weak hands forced out of the market, but that will not be what historians write about this period. They will write how North American ingenuity and technocracy busted the OPEC cartel. The world has underestimated this energy revolution from the beginning as they have a vested interest in the narrative being true. They will continue to do so. OPEC can’t put the genie back in the bottle. American and Canadian energy companies will not be destroyed, in fact, it will be countries relying on oil production that will be harmed. North America will be fine and will come out on top.
There is another factor that is driving the markets as well, a political one. The Keynesian, socialist, spread-the-wealth-around, make the pie smaller government the United States has had for the last six years has been voted out of power and favor in an epic way. Yes, Obama has two more years but he has been all but neutered. What the elections couldn’t do, the Supreme Court will do for America shortly as it stands to reverse many policies of this administration. The world has not yet grasped this truism. Give it a few months to a year and the American economy will explode higher. The markets are a forward-looking indicator. They are looking forward to the scenario. Intrusive regulations will be rolled back, spending will be decreased, and the government will get out of the private sector’s way in general.
Finally, I don’t buy the weak holiday sales argument being bandied around in the financial press. I think retail is morphing. The way people buy things is changing. The time and place people buy things is changing. We just don’t realize and can’t really foresee yet how these changes will play themselves out. It may be that events like Black Friday are just never going to be the same. The winners will be able to figure out how to market and harvest sales from consumers in this new paradigm. I don’t think anyone has completely figured it out yet.
So no, I don’t see a big correction before the end of the year. When you combine all of the above with seasonal positive factors for the markets, I think it’s full steam ahead through the new year. Yes, we may have a needed correction into 2015 but I don’t think it’s here yet. So my advice is jump on Santa’s train when you see an opportunity.
L.Todd Wood is a former emerging market debt trader with 18 years of Wall Street and international experience. He is also an author of historical fiction thriller novels. His first of several books, Currency, deals with the consequences of overwhelming sovereign debt. He is a contributor to Fox Business, Newsmax TV, and others. LToddWood.com