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Doug Kass: Top 10 Reasons Investors Should Sell Now

Doug Kass: Top 10 Reasons Investors Should Sell Now

By    |   Monday, 07 March 2016 08:00 AM

The stock market has rebounded somewhat from a February 11 low, which marked a more than 10 percent decline from last year’s record high, but it’s too early to pile into equities just yet, said Doug Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc.

As the global economy weakens and central bank policy is rendered less effective, the possibility of deeper market declines grows, he says in an article for RealMoneyPro.

“Our fragile and interrelated global economy is becoming more vulnerable to tail-risk interruptions and ‘black swans,’” he writes. “The chances of policy mistakes grow ever more likely as monetary authorities try unconventional strategies like negative interest rates, while any sustained drop in stock prices will likely inflict a ‘negative wealth effect’ on the U.S. economy.”

The International Monetary Fund in January cut this year's global growth forecast by 0.2 percentage points last month to 3.4 percent and said another downgrade is likely in April. China, which has the world’s second-biggest economy after the U.S., is growing at a slower rate, which has reduced demand for raw materials from countries like Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Australia.

Kass provides 10 reasons to expect more volatility in 2016 and “possibly even more market risk than at any time since the 2007-2009 Great Recession.”

“I believe stocks' current relief rally could be short-lived,” he says. “The fundamental flaws that exist today are more numerous than in the past, and they represent sizable risks following the quick advance that we've seen from the S&P 500's February lows.”

Doug Kass’s 10 Reasons to Sell Stocks Now
  1. Market Is Too Expensive. “The S&P 500 has rallied about 9 percent since its February lows and is now just some 7 percent away from its all-time high. But I calculate the index's fair-market value at approximately 1,860 based on the probabilities for five different economic scenarios. That's roughly 6% below Wednesday's close.”
  2. Market's Mechanism Is Broken. “In the absence of an effective U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the disruptive influences of quant strategies and leveraged ETFs could linger for years.”
  3. Market Liquidity Is Drying Up. "The Volcker Rule and the Dodd-Frank securities law have limited brokerages' the ability to assume risk and carry inventory of equities and fixed-income products. This has restricted the market-making function that has historically absorbed volatility and provided liquidity.”
  4. European Banking Industry Is Doomed. “Europe's financial firms are currently overleveraged, undercapitalized, under-reserved and victimized by negative interest rates.”
  5. EU at Epicenter of Global Risk. “The risk of a Greek and/or British exit from the European Union has risen in recent months as far-left and far-right parties in both countries grow more popular.”
  6. Monetary Policy Limits Global Banking's Profitability and Lending Role. “More stringent and restrictive lending could lie ahead. In a world in where credit spreads are already wide, that would pose multiple risks.”
  7. Corporate-Profit Expectations Trending Lower. “Forecasts for first-quarter S&P 500 earnings have dropped by 9.6 percent over the past three months. That's double the rate of earnings reductions since 2011, as well as the largest drop since the 2007-2009 Great Recession.”
  8. Geopolitical Backdrop Is Uncertain. “The world's neighborhood is unsafe. Wars are raging not only in the Middle East, but also in Ukraine despite repeated EU peace-deal attempts. Russia is also becoming more aggressive along the East/West divide from the Baltics to the Balkans.”
  9. China's Outlook Has Soured. “Capital is fleeing and domestic economic growth is flailing in this engine of global growth.”
  10. Emerging Markets in Trouble. “A trio of problems — the end of commodities' bull market, a lack of structural reforms and ongoing currency debasements that translate into huge debt-repayment woes — will weigh on these markets for years.”

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The stock market has rebounded somewhat from a February 11 low, which marked a more than 10 percent decline from last year's record high, but it's too early to pile into equities just yet, said Doug Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc.
Doug Kass, investing, stocks, market
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2016-00-07
Monday, 07 March 2016 08:00 AM
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