NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The teenage years of the new millennium will be difficult for investors, businesses, Wall Street, Main Street, retirees, the health care network, the housing market and the banking system. We will be in a prolonged period where Americans will have to adjust to a lower standard of living. Stocks are overvalued making stock picking an important art to learn.On Wednesday I wrote,
Ten Themes for the teenage years of the New Millennium:
- The Housing Recovery will remain sluggish in 2013. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index will have a tough time sustaining a trend above the neutral 50 reading. Single family housing starts will be stuck around an annual rate of 600,000 units. Existing home sales may average five million or so, but there is a backlog of other real estate owned in the banking system, and at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From the minutes of the Dec. 11 FOMC meeting: "Conditions in the housing market continued to improve gradually, but construction activity was still at a low level, restrained by the considerable inventory of foreclosed and distressed homes and the tight credit standards for mortgages." "Starts and permits of new single-family homes were essentially flat in October after rising significantly in the preceding month."
- The rebound in home prices will slow. As measured by the Case-Shiller 20-City Index home prices could decline in 2013 on a year over year basis. This index is up 9% since bottoming in March 2012, which puts pressure on affordability.
- The upside for money center and regional bank stocks will be limited in 2013. The bigger banks including those considered "too big to fail" will need additional capital to comply with Basil 3 capital and liquidity standards, Federal Reserve stress tests, and increasing assessments to fund the FDIC deposit insurance fund. Banks will also have to comply with still-to-be-determined Dodd-Frank rules. From the Minutes of the Dec. 11 FOMC: "The share of existing mortgages that were seriously delinquent fell in the third quarter but remained elevated."
- Community Banks will continue to fail. The FDIC list of problem banks fell to 694 in the third quarter of 2012 and bank failures fell to 51 for the year. I predict that at least 35 banks will fail in 2013 bringing the total since the end of 2007 to 500 failed FDIC-insured financial institutions. From the Minutes of the Dec. 11 FOMC: "Financial conditions in the commercial real estate sector were still generally strained amid elevated vacancy and delinquency rates."
- Consumer Confidence will remain below neutral. The December 2012 reading for the Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence came in at 65.1, which is well below the 90 to 110 neutral range, and confidence should remain below neutral for all of 2013.
- The low yield environment for the 10-Year Treasury note will continue. (1.956%) The rise in yield over the first few days of 2013 should hold my annual value level at 1.981%. My annual and semiannual value levels are 2.476% and 3.063% with my semiannual risky level at 1.413%.
- The bubble in Comex Gold will not re-inflate. ($1,631.0) My annual value level is $1,599.9 with a monthly pivot at $1.673.8 and semiannual, quarterly and annual risky levels at $1.719.2, $1.802.9 and $1.852.1.
- The bubble in Nymex Crude Oil will not re-inflate. ($91.69) My monthly value level lags at $74.23 with a quarterly risky level at $95.84 and annual risky levels at $115.23 and $115.42.
- The euro vs the dollar will maintain a trading range. (1.3051) My semiannual value level is 1.2797 with an annual pivot at 1.3257 and quarterly risky level at 1.3346. The June 2010 low is 1.1880 with the May 2011 high at 1.4941.
- The stock market is a risky asset class in 2013. Below are the key levels for the major equity averages.