#1 According to The New York Post, nearly all of the major Wall Street banks are planning huge layoffs….
“Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley currently are among those financial institutions either weighing staff cuts or actually paring payroll”
#2 A new CNBC article claims that a “negative feedback loop” has “taken control” on Wall Street. Essentially what is happening is that bad economic news is creating an “environment of pessimism” which creates even more bad economic news, etc. etc.
#3 OPEC has announced that oil production levels will not be raised. This is likely to spook the financial markets and cause the price of oil to go up even higher in the coming weeks. The last time U.S. energy expenditures were over 9 percent of GDP was back in 2008 and at that point the economy rapidly plunged into a very deep recession. For the first time since 2008 we have reached the 9 percent figure again, and many on Wall Street fear that this could lead to bad things.
#4 QE2 will be wrapping up at the end of June, and many on Wall Street had been counting on yet another round of quantitative easing. Over the past couple of days, however, it has started to become clear that is just not going to happen – at least for now. In fact, Pimco’s co-chief investment officer, Bill Gross, is telling investors that for the Fed it will “be difficult to initiate a QE3“. But without artificial stimulation the U.S. economy may start really struggling again, and Wall Street knows this.
#5 Moody’s recently warned that it may downgrade the debt ratings of Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. Bank stocks were on the cutting edge of the financial collapse of 2008, and it looks like that may happen again this time.
#6 Faith in the U.S. dollar continues to decline. Back on April 18th, Standard & Poor’s changed its outlook on U.S. government debt from “stable” to “negative” and warned that the U.S. could soon lose its AAA rating. China has been very busy dumping short-term U.S. government debt and there does not seem to be a lot of people (other than the Federal Reserve) that are eager to buy U.S. Treasuries right now.
#7 U.S. consumer confidence is already lower than it was back in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed. Consumer spending makes up approximately 70 percent of the U.S. economy and Wall Street is watching this number closely.
#8 A whole slew of bad economic news has been pouring in lately. Mike Riddell, a fund manager at M&G Investments in London, recently pointed out to CNBC some of the data points that have been particularly alarming….
“US house prices have fallen by more than 5 percent year on year, pending home sales have collapsed and existing home sales disappointed, the trend of improving jobless claims has arrested, first quarter GDP wasn’t revised upwards by the 0.4 percent forecast, durables goods orders shrank, manufacturing surveys from Philadelphia Fed, Richmond Fed and Chicago Fed were all very disappointing.”
“I think right now we’re on the tipping point of a market correction. Data from the U.S., from Europe, from Japan, from China are suggesting an economic slowdown.”
#10 According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 48% of Americans believe that it is either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the United States will experience a “depression” within the next 12 months. Needless to say, Wall Street is highly influenced by the overall mood of the nation.
Once again, let’s hope that financial disaster can be averted for as long as possible. The last thing the United States needs right now is another major crisis.
But America has been hit by a whole series of natural disasters in 2011. We have seen unprecedented tornadoes, historic flooding along the Mississippi River, and horrible wildfires in Texas and in Arizona.