The list of stock market players who are talking openly about the danger of an imminent crash (in doublespeak, that’s “correction”) is growing fast. This is all the more remarkable when you remember that it is generally against the best interests of players to warn people away from the game at which they are making their money. They are, in a sense, yelling “Fire!” in a crowded casino; either they know nobody is going to pay any attention, or they are sitting next to a pre-dug tunnel out. Or there really is a fire.
Rich people are in general given too much deference in our money-worshiping culture. We don’t do that here. But people who speak against their apparent interests are especially interesting, and it usually behooves us to listen to what they have to say.
Here, then, an incomplete compendium of the players who have complained about their heartburn in the last ten days or so:
Mark Faber, market newsletter publisher: “I think it’s very likely that we’re seeing, in the next 12 months, an ’87-type of crash.” On October 19. 1987, the market lost 22.6% of its value — about $500 billion — in the largest one-day crash in history.
Sam Zell, billionaire investor: “The stock market is at an all time [high], but economic activity is not at an all-time [high]. It’s very likely that something has to give here.”
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank for central banks: “Financial markets have been exuberant over the past year … dancing mainly to the tune of central bank decisions. Growth has picked up, but long-term prospects are not that bright. Financial markets are euphoric, but progress in strengthening banks’ balance sheets has been uneven and private debt keeps growing. Macroeconomic policy has little room for maneuver to deal with any untoward surprises that might be sprung, including a normal recession.” Translated from central bank obfuscation, the above can be interpreted as “Run! Run for your lives!”
Carl Icahn, legendary billionaire investor: “very worried” about US equity markets, i.e. the stock market, because “you have to worry about the excessive printing of money” (by the Federal Reserve).
Jeremy Grantham, contrarian hedge fund manager: the crash is coming, and it will be “unlike any other” we have seen. “We have never had this before. It’s going to be very painful for investors.”
Mark Spitznagel, hedge fund manager: “We have no right to be surprised by a severe and imminent stock market crash. In fact, we must absolutely expect it.”
Mark Cook, legendary investor and guru: Sees a 20% market pullback within 12 months. Describes the difference between stock prices and business performance this way: “It’s like being in the Twilight Zone. Imagine going outside when it’s raining and getting sunburned. That’s the environment we’re in right now.”
As we have reported here over and over again, none of these people seem to be aware of, let alone include in their calculations, the impending collapse of the shale-oil bubble, which raises all the risk factors in the market by orders of magnitude. Scared as they are, the Masters of the Universe aren’t nearly scared enough.