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Chaos is taking over stock markets all around the globe. Traders have been in a total panic since last Friday, when a number of leading stocks crashed and oil prices significantly plunged, after a wave of infections caused by a new virus variant was recorded in South Africa and several European countries, leading to another round of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and reigniting concerns about the economic impacts of the health crisis.
The S&P 500 had its worst day since February as several nations around the globe, including the US, reimposed travel bans from a half-dozen African countries. The sudden uncertainty spooked otherwise bullish investors who had thought that the worst of the health crisis was over. The prospects of new prolonged and strict lockdowns disrupting global production have shaken the market, which had seen a robust performance in recent weeks.
However, according to some market watchers, this initial reaction was just the beginning of the meltdown. As countries continue to assess the risks of the new variant, volatility will become more widespread and cause even sharper drops. Most investors were pricing the stocks for perfection and forgetting about our economic reality. But the day of reckoning seems to have arrived, and they’re just realizing that the risks are much more dangerous than they’ve anticipated.
Last Thursday, U.S. stock markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, and on Friday, traders logged out early, which some argue may have contributed to the delayed response compared to other markets around the world. Thin trading over the weekend is also likely to exacerbate the swings throughout this week, but the carnage so far has been considerable. On Friday, the market’s decline pushed the S&P 500 down from a record high reached just last week, closing 2.3% lower. The Nasdaq composite index fell 2.2%, while European stock markets fell 3% to 5%.
In recent months, investors have been mainly worried about supply chain disruptions and shortages of labor and goods — factors that are still fueling inflation growth as the price of everything skyrockets. Central banks have already announced plans to withdraw stimulus to fight rampant inflation rates, which many believed would be the pin to pop the stock market bubble. But the unexpected emergence of a new virus strain has brought their focus back to a problem that never really went away.
Of course, as the economic impacts of this variant are just starting to be felt, what happened so far was just the beginning of an intense financial meltdown that is going to result in a massive stock market crash over the next few weeks. At this stage of the bubble, all evidence points that the market has already reached its peak, and from now on, the only way to go is down.
“It’s one thing when a single market indicator — or even a few indicators — show weakness,” says John Hussman, president of the Hussman Investment Trust. It can be hard to draw major conclusions from small sets of numbers. But it’s a very different thing when “dozens” of indicators start to issue red flags at the same time, he argues. “Across four decades of work in the financial markets, and over a century of historical data, I’ve never observed as many historical indications of a market peak occurring simultaneously,” Hussman said in a recent note. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Hussman cited some very alarming indicators that expose that conditions are set for a sizable stock market crash. The investor believes that there’s no way this bubble can last for much longer and that future returns will be dismal.
“Jay Powell talks about transitory, or certainly did for a long time, and got mocked for it because we’re watching things that look pretty permanent coming in,” David Hunter, the chief macro strategist at Contrarian Macro Advisors, outlined in a recent interview. Hunter, just as many other market veterans, including Harry Dent, Michael Burry, Jeremy Grantham, and Robert Kiyosaki are calling for the “biggest stock market crash in world history”.
He sees that tightening measures will cause stocks to crash to a tune of about 80%, marking the largest drop since 1929. Given that the bubble has been popped, and the mounting risks have become too unbearable, the amount of evidence supporting their view is definitely alarming. What markets have gone through so far is just a slight indication of what is coming next. It is safe to say that this is game over. The stock market crash no one thought was possible is already upon us. It’s all downhill from here.