Slope of Hope Blog Posts

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Bank Loans Gently Bottoming? (by Gary Tanashian)

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Happy New Year SOH!

NFTRH117 opened the new year with a review of a successful 2010 and a look ahead to 2011.  We reviewed the precious metals, commodities and broad markets.  Risk is quite high in the broad markets now, even as they pump higher this morning, as I write this intro.  

Stock market sponsorship is represented by the absolute dumbest money on the planet as measured by several metrics (AAII out front).  This is money that wants in on the party and wants to repair the indignities of first being fleeced in 2008, and then sitting in Treasury bonds watching the party from the outside.  

While I expect a significant correction before too long, the analysis in the 'Wrap Up' segment of #117 left me feeling a bit less bearish for the entirety of 2011.  Let's see how things develop.  Manage risk (which means manage bear instincts as well as bull ones), keep perspective, and you will do fine in 2011.

NFTRH117 Wrap Up (Bank Loans Bottoming?)

NFTRH117 intended to be brief, with bullet highlights or something to that effect. But
somehow it got to page 9, so we will wrap up here.

Upon finishing the report, I find myself feeling a bit more bullish on the immediate term
than I was before I started writing. If I had to take a guess, I would lean toward
continued bullish activity in most everything outside of the USD, which sports a chart
that does not look very good. But at some point there should be a strong reversal and
with any luck at all, we will be able to find some negative divergence somewhere to
indicate its impending arrival.

Of course, a strong candidate will be the Gold-Silver Ratio, which remains pinned in a
nose dive despite some positive MACD and RSI divergence. Junk bond to relative
quality bond ratios may provide a clue. Gold in relation to industrial metals maybe. Or
perhaps the thing will just reverse one day when most people least expect it.
Well, NFTRH will expect it no matter how high our gains go in the interim, because
NFTRH is in high risk mode and will remain so until the risk parameters clear.
Meanwhile, I guess it’s party on Wayne, party on Garth.

If Wayne and Garth are going to party well into or through 2011 however, the
inflationary policy must translate to the economy. Below is a graph from the St. Louis
Fed (updated 12/30/10) showing what could well be a bottoming out in bank loans to

Deflationists promote the ‘velocity of money’ argument as they predict economic
implosion. While current events indicate speculative momentum and froth subject to
reversal, bank loans look to be gently bottoming into a pattern I would normally buy. We
must consider that this could be one of the diminishing returns (in relation to huge
commodity and precious metals upside) of intense inflationary policy, post-2007.

This would argue for inflation effects (price increases) to become more prominent in
2011 and for treasury yields to continue to rise, which would of course put major pressure
on the economy. An unwinding of non-governmental credit brought on the most recent
deflationary crash in 2008. The next crash might well be brought on by revulsion toward
Treasury credit.

But if the graph below is indeed bottoming, an argument could be made that any coming
near term correction of frothy markets could be a healthy resetting of excess on the way
to a more extended – albeit inflationary – recovery. As with the cycle from 2003-2007, I
would expect the real gains in said recovery to be in the most productive economies and
valuable resources.

Then again, maybe I am reading too much into a fledgling bottoming pattern on a graph.
Best to let events unfold and monitor weekly, and not impose bias on the proceedings.

Here is a long-term view of business loans. Deflationists argue that they are right in the
big picture, but as we have noted previously, they will only be right in the final deflation.
All others, since the last monetary system ties to gold were severed have just been
deflation ‘events’ along an inflationary continuum. The trend as they say, is up. So will
the tiny hitch below turn into a real bottom, signaling that money is indeed getting out
into the economy now that banks have fed at the trough of pigs for two years? If so, do
not be a deflationist.


Do Fibs Lie?

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The very long-term Fibonacci fans that I follow on the S&P 500 index show we're getting awfully toppy here. Take a look at how the prices were supported back in 2006/2007 (green circles) by these fan lines. Once it broke the line, it tried to recover (the leftmost red circle), but then all hell broke loose (feel free to take a moment to wipe a tear away at those joyous days).

After a long fall, the market surged up to its recovery high in late April 2010 (red circle), fell some, and then rallied back yet again to a new recovery high. There's still a little room between current prices and the fan line, but I thought this was an important chart to point out, even if it's a week or two early.

Please. Accept the mystery.