Felix Zulauf: Danger Ahead for Chinese and U.S. Markets

Felix Zulauf, a Barron’s Roundtable member and advisor to BFI Wealth Management, foresees a correction on Wall Street, believes Hong Kong banks are fragile, and expects more trouble in Turkey.

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CEO Earnings Skepticism Backs Weakest S&P 500 Forecast in Decade

Investors who want to know why U.S. equity strategists are the most pessimistic in a decade need to look no further than statements by chief executive officers.

For every company predicting in January that earnings will beat analyst estimates, 2.5 are projecting results that fall short, matching the worst ratio since the rally began in March 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While analysts say Standard & Poor’s 500 Index profits will rise 8.8 percent in 2014, that’s almost the same estimate they generated a year ago for 2013, when earnings ended up increasing at about half that rate, the data show.

Diminishing income growth was cited by everyone from David Bianco at Deutsche Bank AG to Barclays Plc’s Barry Knapp in predicting a weaker stock rally for 2014. Last year, even as profit gains slowed to the lowest since 2008, the S&P 500 rallied 30 percent as valuations expanded. Best Buy Co., Lululemon Athletica Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. have already cut earnings forecasts because of weak December results.

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JPMorgan’s Gold Vault Has Biggest One-Day Withdrawal Ever

Curious why over the past few months JPM has quietly been accumulating a substantial amount of eligible physical gold (even as its registered gold inventory is the lowest it has ever been at just 87K ounces since December 13, 2013 when 147K ounces of gold was withdrawn – keep that date in mind for a few minutes)?

This may have something to do with it: moments ago (January 24th) the daily Comex gold vault report confirmed what many expected, namely that the JPM accumulation was merely in advance anticipation of major withdrawals. How major? Well, on January 23, JPM saw 321,500 ounces of gold depart in one day. This was tied for the single biggest daily withdrawal in history! The last time JPM had an identically sized withdrawal? December 13…. 2012.

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Living in an Age of Increasing Government Control and Surveillance…

… and apparently accepting it without much ado. Remember: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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