Washington, DC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/24/2016 -- With just weeks to go before Election Day, the repugnant daytime-TV drama of the political process just gets more and more sickening to many. It seems deceit, dishonesty, and disgusting personal failings are the primary mover in this election, for both candidates, and more and more people I talk to are answering "no one" when I ask who they're going to vote for on Tuesday, November 8th, a crying shame when our country desperately needs us to participate in the processes of governance. With sexual allegations on the one hand and the dump of thousands of humiliating emails on the other, it's as if we Americans are being held hostage to a poorly written TV show, watching the race for the highest office in our land become a race to the bottom.
I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that this election, the first ever to feature a female major party candidate for President, has become in major part a contest to see whether Donald Trump or Bill Clinton is the most odious man on the stage, never mind the fact that Bill Clinton is not actually on the stage. The Democrats are now railing against the hypocrisy of the Republicans in the same way the Republicans decried Democrats' hypocrisy in the 1990s. Is this the conversation we want to be having as the struggle to the narrative occurs between two sides that no sane person would choose if there was any alternative.
And then, of course, hackers broke into Clinton campaign email servers and have started posting thousands of emails, many of which are downright embarrassing to both Hillary Clinton and her campaign. The same hackers that began challenging government surveillance and illegal wartime activities have turned their attention to the political realm, and they are using the transparency site WikiLeaks, founded in 2006, to post their finds. I do believe there is a principled argument for this sort of radical transparency: as Julian Assange said ten years ago, "The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership." Over and over again the Clinton campaign emails reveal the "private position vs. public position" conflict brought out in the second debate. Her private disdain for same-sex marriage, contrasting sharply with her public support, must cause the LGBT community to pause, for instance Her portrayal of herself to Wall Street as extremely supportive of free trade and open borders when she repeatedly claims to be skeptical of both on the campaign trail also reveals an essential disconnect. Add to that other leaked emails indicating collusion between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department, and the steady drip-drip-drip of bad news for Hillary is increasingly become a torrent.
In all, it just seems that no matter who wins this election, America loses. November 8th can't come soon enough as an end to the international embarrassment that is this election, and I'm not the only one in the financial world to say it. Even Merrill Lynch said last week, "Despite the descent of politics, the subjects having little bearing on financial markets, its stench nonetheless permeates everything." Honestly, I think that says it all.
Whether it happens in time for the actual election, I believe that the driving force in American politics for years to come is going to be the pocketbook, and these very issues could still drive Trump to a win. Fundamentals have too long been ignored: a poor and unstable economy; a lack of consumer liquidity; employment and income savaged by many elements, particularly poor-quality trade agreements, shifting wealth off shore. The financial system is no longer a free market system in anything but name, operating outside of reasonable norms and controls. Secretary Clinton is promising continued and even expanded versions of government programs of recent years, and we know we can't afford that. Trump is promising a change, but it doesn't feel likely that he'll be in a position to deliver on that promise.
Whichever wins, I believe the US financial markets and the dollar are going to go through some form of near-term turmoil. As much as you would think this would cause a flight to gold, I'm not seeing that yet. It almost smells like the Federal Reserve, as they did in September 2011, is suppressing the price so it appears that our economy and markets and political system are stronger than they actually are. Back in September 2011, gold topped out and then dropped 400 to 500 points. This year, gold is up about 17 percent year to date and silver up 25 percent. Perhaps the Fed has decided that's simply enough?
This is the main reason why very few investors truly expect a downturn in US stock markets. They believe the Fed has their back, and in the last eight years, the Fed has controlled the stock and bond markets and the practice of buying the dip has worked brilliantly, and it will probably continue to work in the near term unless the members of the Fed's Board of Governors change, which is only likely to happen if Donald Trump does get elected. For now, it seems the powers that be will keep markets aloft so that Clinton gets elected.
But nothing lasts forever, and every bubble eventually bursts, no matter who is inflating it. The breadth of the equity market is collapsing in recent weeks, which rarely ends well for stocks. In general, the indexes follow breadth. Bloomberg has said that these divergences, measured by comparing the S&P 500 and the number of constituent tradings above their fifty day moving average, have been rare since 1990 and generally been bad for investors. In the seven instances that occurred before this year, all but two actually portended further losses. December 1990, February 2000, and October 2008 are notable examples. After 2008, equities ended up erasing half their value over the next two years. It should be clear that our markets have no connection with reality. Earnings and revenues have dropped substantially widely across the S&P and Dow constituent stocks, and even the Russell 2000.
On Black Monday in 1987, the Dow fell 508 points. Then, that was a 22.61 percent drop. The 1929 crash was a 24.55 percent drop. There are analysts that feel we could be heading for a similar event, given the collapsing breadth of the market and our increasingly weak and unstable fundamentals. In today's market, that could be as much as 4000 points. So, regardless of how you vote, look to your pocketbook, your investments, your future. Do what you can to protect them, and be ready for when the dominoes begin to tumble.
For over a quarter century, Dawn Bennett has been successfully guiding clients through the complexities of wealth management. Her unique vision and insight into market trends makes Bennett a much sought after expert resource with regular appearances on Fox News Channel, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and MSNBC as well as being featured in Business Week, Fortune, The NY Times, The NY Sun, Washington Business Journal in addition to her highly regarded weekly talk radio program - Financial Mythbusting. Through prudent and thoughtful advice, Dawn Bennett has strived to consistently provide the highest quality of guidance.
About Dawn Bennett
Dawn Bennett is CEO and Founder of Bennett Group Financial Services. She hosts a national radio program called Financial Myth Busting http://www.financialmythbusting.com.
She discusses educational topics and events in the financial news, along with her thoughts on the economy, financial markets, investments, and more with her live guests, who have included rock legend Ted Nugent, as well as Steve Forbes and Grover Norquist. Listeners can call 855-884-DAWN a as well as take podcasts on the road and forums for interaction.
She can be reached on Twitter @DawnBennettFMB or on Facebook Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett.
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