Is it possible that the three asset bubbles of the past decade and a half could all reappear simultaneously? It’s not only possible, it’s happening.
Bubble the First: Tech stocks (the latest iteration of which are of the social networking variety) are on a tear. IPO’s pop like thunder. Don’t believe me? Ever heard of YELP? Yeah, neither had I. According to my American Heritage, to “yelp” is to utter a short, sharp bark or cry. YELP yelped yesterday in its IPO. Shares are up 73% from its offering price. The company has never made a dime. Not one cent. A neat little chart on Bloomberg shows its revenues relative to earnings over the course of its history. As it turns out, losses are increasing at a rate faster than revenues are growing. Yet the stock market deems it worth a billion and a half dollars. It runs a social platform allowing people to share restaurant reviews and things like that. Wow…can’t do that on Facebook, Google, or just an old blog now can you? But its CEO is so uber-cool looking. And that’s really what matters in the world today, no? Appearing hip and cool enough that people will give you money–that’s today’s metric for measuring success.
Add to YElP, Apple’s $500 billion valuation, making it the Most Valuable Company in the World. And Facebook’s $100 billion or so IPO valuation. At least Apple actually makes money, but is it really intrinsically more valuable than, say, Exxon? Which would matter more to the world; if Exxon went away, or Apple? Or Facebook? Exactly.
Bubble the Second: Residential real estate is making a comeback. Construction contracts are up, existing home transactions are up, everything is up, up, up…again. There still is a huge overhang of excess supply, but not if everyone starts flipping houses again, not if houses again become investments. Prices have yet to resume their growth to the sky, but don’t worry, the Fed’s on it, promising to do everything it can to keep prices from falling further.
Bubble the Third: Commodities have lately again been on a tear. Check out Bloomberg’s chart four commodities indices:
And all of this is courtesy of the delusions created through fiscal deficits and willy-nilly money printing. The Fed has been busy indeed–managing to simultaneously blow three bubbles, where before it mainly did them one at a time. All hail the Fed.