How Close Is A Recession? Probably About 18 Months – 2 Years

Sorry we haven’t posted in a while. In all seriousness, there really hasn’t been much news in the markets. Yes, it’s reaching all time highs, but that’s just as planned for the end stages of the bull market. Expect more volatility, use caution when adding large chunks of money to your positions, but don’t expect the “crash” any time soon. In other words, don’t let any kind of news scare you off. This market has room to run.

How do we know? Well, we previously posted a bit about inverted yield curves here:

Yield Curves and Recessions

It’s one of those super nerdy economic indicators that bores people to tears. All you need to know is this: when the yield curves invert, a recession is typically 12-18 months away. A yield curve inverts when the markets and the Federal Reserve seem to disagree about the direction in the economy. The most popular indicator of a coming recession is the 10 year yield – the 2 year yield. Don’t worry about what that means exactly, you JUST need to know where to look for the number and what it means. The other most common indicator is the 10 year – 3 month. The 10 year – 3 month spread number is typically warning sign one before the 10 year – 2 year. ONCE AGAIN, do  NOT worry if you don’t know what this means exactly. We’re going to show you where to find a chart to cheat and know what the big heads of finance know.

10 year – 3 month Yield Spread = Warning Sign #1

10 year – 2 year Yield Spread = Warning Sign #2

When you load those charts, you just need to see if the blue line has crossed below the 0 line (black) at the bottom. You don’t need to understand the mechanics, you are just looking for it to dip below 0. Here is a snapshot of where the 2 warning signs stand today:

10y3yspread 7.25.19

As you can see, the blue line just crossed below 0. And you see those 3 shaded areas that come before? Those are recessions. Notice a pattern between the blue line dipping below 0 and those 3 shaded areas? This indicator has worked 100% of the time since the spread has been tracked around 1982. So that’s warning sign one and will show up before our next warning sign.


Notice that this one hasn’t crossed below 0. But you also notice, those 3 grey shaded areas have the same pattern seen with the 10 year – 3 year chart.

Ok, here is where our estimation of a recession comes in… When the 10 year – 2 year chart crosses below 0, a recession typically takes 12-18 months to show up. Right now, the first warning sign (10y-3m) has fired off, but we haven’t yet dipped below 0 on the famous signal (10y-2y). That gives us a bit more time, but we need to keep an eye out.

So consider this: the big crashes happen around the time a recession is imminent, but if you hear the talking heads on the news site this nerdy signal as if a crash is going to happen tomorrow…well, they’re talking out of their asses. We have time. Hold your positions in this bull market and if you want to check on this signal from time to time, have at it.

Cliff’s Notes:

If the blue line on this chart, crosses below the black 0 line. We probably have 12- 18 months before an actual recession. It’s close, and a warning sign has already fired off, but we’re not there yet.

Related note:

Check out this post if you want to a way to predict where interest rates are going next.

The New Gold Bull Market Has Begun

This morning, the Fed stated that it was keeping interest rates the same, but was open to cutting rates in the near future “should it be needed” to aid the slightly wounded economy*. We’re not going to go into more detail on what they said exactly because, frankly, it bores the ever-living sh*t out of us. But you can read that stuff if you’re on the toilet here…

Fed Holds Rates Steady, Hints at Future Cuts if Outlook Doesn’t Improve

Here’s what the stock market liked from the Fed

The Fed just defied Trump’s wishes for a rate cut but signaled that one could come soon

What you do need to know, is that interest rate cuts means gold goes up. Why? Well, in a nutshell, for interest rates to go down the Federal Reserve has to “print money” to buy up treasuries and cause the yield to go down. Prices of bonds/treasuries work in a seesaw motion against the yields they have. (Lesson for another time) Printing money means more money in circulation, which means “theoretically” more inflation, and gold is supposed to be an inflation hedge.  It’s all very boring. Gold went up nearly 3% on the Fed news, but here’s what’s important about gold’s recent price action. Gold spiked up in MULTIPLE currencies, not just the US dollar and has been on a steady move up in all of the big 5 currencies for the last month. The big 5 currencies are the US Dollar, Great Britain Pound, Swiss Franc, Canadian Dollar, and the Japanese Yen. Gold is officially having a bull moment when it moves up in ALL 5 currencies. This metric is used so that it can be established that gold is not just being used as a hedge for one currency while not affecting anybody else in the globe.

Gold prices6.19.19


Notice how the Japanese Yen price of gold has gone up the least amount in the last month and it’s still up over 2.5%. When we add up the last month’s price action, 1, along with the 3% spike today in all currencies, 2, then note that the high of today for spot gold in the US dollar is $1,394 and that is the highest level gold has reached in over 5 years (in the US of course) …we’ve got a pretty damn good case that the bull market in gold we’ve been waiting for is here.

There IS a major caveat to this article. We may be a bit premature. We need to see gold break the $1,400 level and stay there to really know that the new bull is here, but our money is on exactly that happening in the next week or 2. Our preferred place to look at the spot price of gold is Kitco.





*The main thing hurting the economy at the moment is the trade war. Trump wants the rates cut to theoretically unf*ck problems he caused in the first place.

Using Metal Prices To Predict Interest Rates (Master-Level Nerdy Sh*t)

This article is going to fall under the “a quick take our word for it and go do your own research” category. Not just our word, Jeff Gundlach (one of our favorite market geniuses) is a big proponent of this indicator.

How many of you have heard the phrase “the Fed is lowering rates”. Well, in a nutshell it means the government is stepping in to control the interest rate that works as the baseline for the economy. Around this baseline, real estate mortgage loans, bank loans, car loans, etc are going to be be tacked on based on a certain percent spread. It’s all very nerdy and boring. For those of you who already DO understand this concept, a rather esoteric trick to predict where interest rates are going (as controlled by the Fed) is to compare the ratio of copper prices to gold prices.

Copper is often called “Dr. Copper”. Because it’s such a staple in construction, the prices going up typically indicate that the economy is humming along. Buildings are being built, cars are being manufactured, you know the drill.  Gold on the other hand is more of a fear/pessimism metal. It has no way near as much use as a base metal like copper. Gold is usually going to go up when investors are worried the economy is NOT going to do all that well. It’s a safe haven metal that people hold on to in case of emergencies.

So long story short: the price of copper going up typically = economic optimism, gold going up = economic pessimism. When you divide gold price by copper price and the ratio is high you can assume an optimistic outlook on the economy as determined by the pricing. Vice versa, a low ratio means pessimism. How does the Fed react to pessimism? It lowers rates, making it easier for the man on the street to borrow money to use for things that will get the economy back in shape (buying bullsh*t, taking out loans on homes, creating jobs, etc)

This may be a bit more succinct explanation from :
Gold is the most widely recognized safe-haven asset among investors. Therefore, during times of economic and geopolitical distress it generally tends to perform well, making it a leading indicator of fear.
Copper is the exact opposite. Because it is a key industrial metal that is used globally in a wide range of industrial applications it performs strongly when the global economy is firing on all cylinders. This makes it a leading indicator of global economic health and has led to it being commonly called Dr Copper.
The ratio prices copper in gold and it represents the number of ounces of gold it takes to buy an ounce of copper.


This is where it gets pretty cool to look at… If you overlay the copper to gold ratio with the Fed controlled interest rate IT’S A PRETTY F*CKING CLOSE CORRELATION. Not exact, but pretty damn close. See below for somebody else’s fancy example of the correlation in action…

copper to gold ratio april 2015 to june 2017

See what we mean? Pretty damn close. Granted that’s an older time line and we’re too lazy to make our own graphic at the moment. But you can use the following two links to find updated graphs.

StockCharts Copper-to-Gold Ratio

Longtermtrends Copper-to-Gold Ratio


The current graphs indicate rates going down a bit.coppergold2

Low and behold, the jobs report that came out this morning led to the Fed saying that they may be cutting rates back down.


It’s no longer a question of if the Fed will cut interest rates, but when

Fed Begins Debate on Whether to Cut Rate as Soon as June

So that is where we leave you today. Go out and do your own research and know that now you can make an educated guess about where rates are going when people want to sound smart mentioning the economy at “cocktail parties”. But in all seriousness… who the hell still has cocktail parties.





Further Reading and Resources:

The Power of Copper-Gold – Jeff Gundlach’s Double Line Fund Report PDF

Validating Gundlach’s 10-yr Treasury relation to the Copper:Gold Ratio

How the Gold-to-Copper Ratio Can Make You a Smarter Investor

Copper-Gold Ratio Signals Treasury Yields May Be Set to Drop (July 2018 Article)

The Copper-Gold Ratio

Buy While Everybody Else is Cryin’

Well that bounce played out much better than we expected! On January 9th, we suggested averaging in to your watch list because stocks had become so comparatively cheap. The market “crashed” down in late December when we first said NOT to sell. We were looking for another possible down turn, but it didn’t happen. Instead stocks went on a monster run, peaking on May 1, before coming back down to the 200 day moving average. Now we’re 5.5% off the highs, but the way people are reacting you’d think we were back down -20%. Below are a few gauges we’re looking at in deciding that this is a great new opportunity to buy in, if you haven’t already…

Exhibit AAAII Sentiment Survey (a weekly survey of mom and pop investors). Note the excessive bearishness in comparison to the historical average.

American Association of Individual Investors

Exhibit B: Yield curve inversion of the 10 year -3 month spread. 99% of you don’t know what this means, so check out our previous article for an intro. The 10 Year – 2 Year curve is the most popular indicator of a recession, but the most important thing to understand is that recessions are usually foretold about 18 months ahead of time. Right now we only see an inversion with the 10 year – 3 month, not the 2 year yield. It doesn’t matter though, most people who have heard a yield curve inversion signals a possible recession think it’s IMMEDIATE and think it signals a stock market crash, which it doesn’t.

yield curve inversion

Exhibit C: Seasonality. Without even looking at an indicator, the old adage is “sell in May and go away” Historically, stocks have made almost all of their gains between mid-October through early May. Summer has horrible returns. Why does this matter? If everybody is on board with thinking summer is a garbage time to own stocks, and they all sell-off after a fairly large drop, the market runs low on sellers. Remember last October through December? Horrible. It’s a fair bet to say that the last year may not stick to the old adages for season. A contrarian sees this as a good time to buy.

Exhibit D: The total put/call ratio. The options market is a great tool for contrarian ideas. Once again, when the majority is bullish or bearish, we know it’s close to a good time to buy or sell. Right now the amount of puts (bearish bets) is almost as high as it was in mid December, right before the market bottomed out. Meaning if not now, very soon we should be hitting a market bottom.


Exhibit E: Trump loves to say he has the upper hand in the trade war, but here’s the key to why he doesn’t. The primaries. Voting is starting soon, and he needs a strong economy in middle America where he gets the majority of his votes. The irony is that those areas are populated with people like farmers and coal miners. Guess who the biggest buyers of those economies are? China. All Xi Jinping as to do is hit middle America where it hurts to screw Trump and his votes are gone. This is just a theory on our part, of course. But when it comes down to it, we think that the pessimism on getting some kind of trade war agreement underway is way overblown. Something will pan out sooner rather than later in our opinion.

Verdict: We’re ONLY down 5.5% from the peak on May 1st at the moment. The McClellan Summation Index is still positive. The VIX is only bouncing around the 15-17 range. Yet we just outlined several examples of  people reacting way too negatively. If you waited this last rally out, right now is a GREAT time to buy in. We may not be at the absolute bottom, but we would bet it wouldn’t be more than a few weeks off at the absolute max. Play it like we recommended back in December and January.

Now is not the time to be pessimistic. 

Read the Same News as a Market Genius

We’re lazy and copying a metric shit-ton of links isn’t our favorite way to start our day. For an easy one click way to read what somebody much smarter than us is reading daily, see below.

Ed Yardeni: What I Am Reading



A semi-hidden part of Business Insider that narrows down the news to different investment markets

Markets Insider


BONUS #2: The following are great for (close to) daily lessons that generally mix news with investment ideas. Beware the click-bait links though.


Jeff Clark’s Market Minute


Sorry, dear readers, for the huge gap in new articles. Numerous outside issues had to be tended to before we could make any new posts. Everything looks to be squared away for now and we’re back to making new online content.

2 major changes to be aware of:

  • Future  articles will tend to be more sporadic. That means fewer fluff posts (just trying to crank out one a day) and more need-to-know lessons and news.
  • We will likely start doing specific stock analysis. It seems the only thing many people we’ve spoken to want are stock picks. So now you’ll get a few. The best (highest potential return) ideas will be preserved for private clients.
  • We will TRY to make the lessons to be even more simplified. Some people have complained that the articles are too long and hard to focus on. Again, private tutoring is available if things run over your head.

Now here’s what you need to know about the markets:

Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies have nearly doubled since March. Why? Because while you weren’t looking the big boys started buying in. This means hedge funds, banks etc. They’re trying to establish positions as crypto usage takes hold as a TOOL, not a fad. That means what crypto was originally intended for is starting to take shape. Our clients were told to buy in to 4 – 6 different coins on March 21 and the returns since that date all range between 38 – 99.5%. Not bad for a 2 month return.

President Mango Mussolini has re-ignited the trade war. In all fairness, he’s actually not completely wrong in threatening tariffs. Apparently china tried to re-neg on the last few months of negotiations and actually tried DELETING pages in the agreements hoping they would still get signed. Trump threatened tariffs, then China threatened back. The result on both sides was a swift bitch slap to the markets. Rest assured, this is only temporary. It’s almost exactly the kind of thing that acted as a catalyst in late 2018 and look how we rebounded. This isn’t a time for panic selling. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be holding some cash and hedging like a responsible investor.

Gold has simmered around the $1,300 zone for quite some time. While this annoys the piss out of us at times, it means the metal is going through consolidation. Consolidation is a stand still sideways trend while building up energy for a big move up or down. Our bets are on up obviously. As people grow more worried about the market being overpriced, trade war issues, inflation, etc gold tends to act as a sort of portfolio insurance policy. Typically, Worry = Good for Gold. Gold stocks have been up and down in a general bull trend and just FYI; they generally take a while to catch up when gold makes a move up. The higher prices commanded by the metal itself means profit margins increase, which means stock earnings calls get better and better.  More gold and precious metal lessons coming soon…

What are the best areas of investment in the markets?

As a catch up gift for reading this boring shitpost, the following is a ranking of market sector* strength from best to worst. Real estate is the strongest performer, energy the weakest. The easiest way to see what kind of companies are in each sector is to click on the link that starts with X and then go to holdings. Buy/Sell accordingly.

  1. Real Estate (Residential and Industrial real estate are king at the moment) (XLRE)
  2. Technology (XLK)
  3. Communication Services**  (XLC)
  4. Consumer Staples (XLP)
  5. Utilities (XLU)
  6. Consumer Discretionary (XLY)
  7. Industrial (XLI)
  8. Financial (XLF)
  9. Healthcare (XLV)
  10. Materials (XLB)
  11. Energy (XLE)

Glad to be back.

*Sector is basically just a way of saying “type of business”
**Most of the stocks you probably pictured (Google, Facebook, etc) when you read technology actually fall under communication services. Go look at the holdings for the etf XLK for technology and XLC for this sector.


Something Stupid This Way Comes aka The Little MMT Birdy in AOC’s Ear

WARNING! The following hypothetical bullsh*t conversation is not a direct attack on AOC, nor should it be construed as such. Talking points have been culled from ideas mentioned in numerous interviews between the press, her, AND her advisers.

AOC: “Hey everybody, I’m so glad I’ve gotten so much support since I was elected. By the way, my friend told me about a great new way to create jobs. Anybody who wants a job can get one, and we’ll pay for the jobs by just charging it to the government deficit and tax rich people later to help pay the bill. Isn’t that badass?!”

Twitter People: “WOW! That sounds awesome. We can totally latch on to that idea without understanding how it works. I’m gonna tell my friends! You’re so cool, AOC!”

NSFW: “Um, AOC….what? How is that going to work?”

AOC: “It’s easy. So what people don’t understand is that when our government spends more than it takes in with taxes, it doesn’t really matter. We don’t have the risk of going bankrupt because we can just print more money. We make OUR OWN money because we’re a sovereign currency-making government. So let’s say I go to Target and buy something like one of those crappy “some assembly required” tables that take hours to put together. We put in on the government credit card. Then I take out a bit of napkin and write US Dollar on it in crayon, I can pay my credit card bill with that for now and now I’ve created a job for somebody. Americans get to put that table together if they want to. Guaranteed job. Later on, we can just tax the rich people in the country and then switch the piece of napkin for real money.

NSFW: “Wait, what? Who the f*ck told you that?!”

AOC: “My advisor Stephanie Kelton. She’s got a theory called MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) that says I can do that. The idea should at least be on the table”

NSFW: “Dude, we’re already in debt because we’ve financed too much sh*t with the government credit card for years. Now you with you’re buying tables. On a civilian level, we have an entire generation of people saddled with credit card debt and student loans and now you’re telling them it’s a good idea if the government gets us more into debt?”

AOC: “That’s totally different, because the government prints it’s own money. Our entire banking system is based on this already. This can be used to guarantee jobs and really it’s more important that we go ahead and over  It’s called quantitative easing. We just add an extra step to that. It’s worth it to spend the money now if it will create growth and help the economy.”

NSFW: “Go on…”

AOC: “We want to do a version of the New Deal like FDR did back in the day. We can have a bunch of government-run green initiatives and roll out things like new infrastructure and just charge it and pay for it later. Anybody who wants a job can have one. Like I said, deficits don’t really matter. We can just create new dollars to pay for it now. We only maybe have to worry about inflation.”

NSFW: “Deficits don’t matter… You know who else said that? Dick Cheney. He said that the Reagan administration’s work proved they don’t matter. I’m guessing you’re not a fan of Cheney or Reagan, right?”

AOC: “That’s different… he’s a malicious Republican. They’re sure as hell not going to spend the money on green initiatives. They spend it on things like war. Totally different”

NSFW: “Only the second half is different. Spending is what’s called fiscal policy. The creation of money is monetary policy. You may disagree on the spending part, but you seem to agree on the money creation part. If you’re saying we can just put the money on the government credit card you’re not doing anything different than anybody else. You’re just trying to use a newer “economic theory” to justify it. Trump likes putting stuff on the credit card too. And while YOU may understand how quantitative easing works, most of the population doesn’t really understand how the government uses it to keep interest rates down for economic stimulation. Trump just got on the Fed’s ass back in December for trying to raise rates. Raising rates is essentially shutting off the credit card. So again, you and the Republicans agree on SOMETHING.”

AOC: “Wait, how am I ANYTHING like Trump. He’s a piece of sh*t who doesn’t want to help the American people at all. He just wants to get rid of brown people and help the wealthy. I want to tax the wealthy. In fact, suggested the idea to put a 70% marginal rate on the “tippy top” earners of our country.”

NSFW: “Why do you want to tax the wealthy? You just said we can put it on a credit card because deficits don’t matter.”

AOC: “Well, we use that money to pay the bill later.”

NSFW: “When is later? We already have a lot of debt. If we don’t set a deadline now, how do we know when the bill is due? We keep overspending when our economy has massively slowed down in growth compared to other countries in the world. Why do you think it’s healthy to just keep the ball rolling? Sure, there are arguments to be made that overspending can be healthy when pulling out of an actual recession, but you sound more like a kid with a credit card that just says “spend now, and we’ll figure out how to pay the bill later”

AOC: “Every president has done it for years. Why is it not OK for us to do it?”

NSFW: “Ok, here. Perfect example. A lot of young people don’t think they’ll get any money for social security. That it’s an outdated program and that their parents and grandparents already maxed out the bill, right? Ok, so your MMT theory basically says that’s not possible because we can always issue more dollars and social security doesn’t have to run out of money if we don’t want to. So not only is social security not in trouble, but we should do social security on a larger level to finance giving people jobs and creating green infrastructure. So which is it? do you REALLY feel like we don’t have anything to worry about with us, our kids and their grand kids being able to get help from social security? or is this new economic theory just sound like it’s just a way to do stuff that looks great now at the cost of who knows what later?”

AOC: “I don’t see the problem, why can’t we do it if everybody else does? It’s an investment. At least, we’d be helping people.”

NSFW: “Are you though? This is exactly like when Trump passed the recent tax cuts. People making under about 180k a year got some kind of benefit, even if it wasn’t much. Everybody who hated Trump jumped on the bandwagon that “we may save a little money now, but it’s going to cost us down the line. Hillbillies just don’t understand economics.” We’ll this is just the left, “progressive” version of that. You’re wanting to  finance initiatives with things hopefully coming down the line. Sure you might create jobs now, but what if we’re paying for it for years?”

AOC: “They don’t understand economics, that’s why Trump also gave massive tax cuts to corporations and that didn’t work out at all. We have a completely diff…”

NSFW: “Ok, I’m going to stop you right there. Your argument is that taxes will come to pay the bill later. I get it. So the argument here isn’t really even about the tax code. We can fight over that forever. The argument is about whether or not its a good idea to just create money out of thin air to spend now because it will be spent on things you like and help people. That’s exactly what Trump and Republicans AND democrats have done for years. This is the Dick Cheney and Donald Trump “deficits don’t matter” ideology. Some people in the MMT realm have gone so far to say that talking extensively about deficits is fear mongering. It seems your advisers are really leading you down a dangerous road that’s going to put a nail in your coffin down the line. It’s ok to not know things, but when you promise things to the public and they assume you know what you’re doing because it sounds good? That’s how people like Trump end up in office. The average person doesn’t know any better. People don’t typically fact chick things that they already support. Most of your fan base consists of people reading tweets and Facebook posts about promises that sound great to people who are upset at how our country is being run. Doesn’t that sound f*cking familiar? And look where that got us. People now spend so much time retweeting stuff that sounds good and focusing on social issues while “tiny issues” like money creation get swept under the rug. What happens later? Things like the housing bust and the financial crisis and bailouts, etc etc. Then everybody goes blaming this side or that side not realizing that both sides are being f*cking stupid.”

AOC: “Did you just imply that I’m like the left-wing Trump?”

NSFW: “100% yes. Some of your ideas sound great and they’re refreshing. People are so f*cking upset about the presidency that you ARE a breath of fresh air. That’s how MAGA people felt when Trump started tweeting. That’s all we’re saying. Anti-Trump’ers love sh*tting all over MAGA people and how stupid they are, but you’re all falling into the same trap and don’t even realize it. When great programs are even hinted at being funded by MMT, that’s a risky bet that doesn’t need to be taken. MMT has NEVER BEEN TESTED IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY. IT OPERATES SOLELY ON THEORY. And just as a side note… I’m sure you’d be glad to know that the main guy behind your theory, Warren Mosler? He’s an extremely wealthy ex-hedge fund manager that lives in the virgin islands to avoid paying US taxes. Probably not the beacon of hope you’re looking for.

Your supporters may not have even paid attention to you mentioning funding initiatives other than you mentioning a 70% marginal rate on income, but they sure as hell love when you talk about jobs and healthcare. People need to know if “the bill” is coming for it later.  You want change, but you’re walking into a gun fight with a Nerf bat. The wealthy of this country are way more knowledgeable about financial matters than the lower income and middle classes that are starting to take action. People can’t just vote on social issues and programs to SPEND money on and hope for the best. If you want change, that’s f*cking awesome, but that’s just step one. In the same way that it took Trump being elected for people to wake up and pay attention to political issues; now you need to start looking at economic issues with the same fervor as people post on Facebook and Twitter about gender-neutral bathrooms or “the wall”. It’s the other side of the same coin, and nobody is looking at that side. The longer you go without looking at BOTH sides, the bigger the bill we pay down the line is going to be.

Nobody in this country gets to bitch about repercussions anymore if they don’t actively attempt to educate themselves before voting. Voting blindly just doesn’t cut it.”

AOC: “I dunno…I’ll  have to see wtf my advisers are thinking and try to convince my followers that the means are truly justified for the results people want.”  ***super optimistic response courtesy of NSFW***

NSFW: “Good, talk about it! You’ll also note I didn’t site sources for this exchange. I had over 53 sources saved just for this article and in the end decided why bother? It would be more helpful if people just did their own digging. I want you to SNOPES THE F*CK OUT OF US. Do your research, tear this entire conversation apart. You will learn a hell of a lot in trying to break down the argument. Think of how much progress has been made since the last election as far as people asking for citations for facts. Now do it with every politician when they talk about monetary theory, job creation, health care, etc. Wake the f*ck up and start learning this stuff now so we can do BETTER than every other generation that we like to complain about. All the information in the world is widely available, so now we don’t get to make excuses… we only get to admit when we were flat out wrong. How much we’re willing to pay for being wrong is up to us to decide right NOW.”




*The asterisks are to avoid work and school keyword filters.