Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Counterfeiting and Money Laundering At Its Finest: Fed To Begin Balance Sheet Unwind

If there's one thing everybody can be sure of after today's FOMC rate announcement (spoiler alert: fed funds remain unchanged), it's that the officials at the Federal Reserve will continue to tell everybody that everything is under control, until it's obvious that nothing is under control.

What the Fed will embark upon beginning in October is selling off the assets it purchased during and after the Great Financial Collapse (GFC), thos being primarily mortgage backed securities (MBS, AKA, toxic bond waste) and Treasury bills, notes, and bonds.

Of the two, the treasury issuance will be much less of a problem unloading than the MBS, since treasuries come with an implied guarantee that they're as good as the federal government's full faith and credit promise to repay... with interest and return of principal.

Those toxic mortgage backed securities, which the Fed likely purchased at or near par (100% of value), will be more of a challenge, but, being the central banker to the world, the Fed has nothing about which to worry.
Many of these MBS contain tranches of mortgages minted during the sub-prime crisis. Many of them are worthless. Many more are worth less than half of par value.

But, that does not worry the Federal Reserve, because, since they want to shrink their balance sheet, they can just sell them at whatever price they can get, because they - unlike just about any other entity in the known universe - can just print more money if they need it.

So, $4.4 trillion is going to be wound down to probably under $1 trillion over the course of six to ten years. Some of the mortgage backed securities are performing, many are not. They're in default. Somebody will buy them, ostensibly, because if not, they remain on the Fed's balance sheet - at par value.

It's ludicrous. The Fed will, let's say, sell what they consider to be $500 billion of MBS which is in fact worth maybe, $100 billion. They'll write the $400 billion off their books, in effect, taking a loss. It won't matter. It's gone. It's all just accounting, and, since the Fed doesn't report to the IRS, IMF, BIS, or anybody for that matter, they'll just whistle past the grave of homes lost or stolen by vicious, unscrupulous bankers, who, by the way, will probably be the ones repurchasing - at pennies on the dollar - the very same MBS they unloaded onto the Fed.

And, just for good measure, those very same banks will try to enforce their rights on those bonds, triggering another round of financial shenanigans, this time going after people who thought they bought properties with good title, only to learn that there are claims on them, claims that were hidden in the bowels of the Fed's books for five, six, seven or eight years.

It's the best counterfeiting and money laundering operation that's ever been hatched, and it will all be done out in the open because 99% of the people in the world don't actually understand how it all works.

In the long run, it's all flimflammery of the flimsiest variety, but our glorious central counterfeiters and money launderers just do business that way.

As they say in investing, gambling, and, supposedly, now, banking, "easy come, easy go."

At the close, Wednesday, September 20, 2017:
Dow: 22,412.59, +41.79 (+0.19%)
NASDAQ: 6,456.04, -5.28 (-0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,508.24, +1.59 (+0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 12,147.50, +15.77 (+0.13%)

Stocks at All-Time Highs Awaiting Fed Unwind

In what could be a truly historic day for equity investors, stocks sit at all-time highs prior to Wednesday's FOMC rate policy announcement, which is also expected to include a definitive start date of the Federal Reserve's asset disposal program, as the central bank begins to unload up to $4 trillion of assets into the market.

All of the major indices closed at record levels on Tuesday, setting up the FOMC announcement as the ultimate "bell ringer" at the tippy-top of the year-year-plus bull market, the second longest in history.

While it is improbable to call the closing quotes of September 19 the absolute top, it may make some sense to keep stops close, just in case the market has telegraphed the turn.

A turn in markets is usually more subtle, most often without warning, but, considering the fantastical nature of finances in the days of general central bank control, this may be as good a time as any to sit on the sidelines or dispose ones portfolio of risky equity assets.

A complete report will be posted after the close today. The FOMC rate decision is scheduled for 2:00 pm ET.

At the Close, Tuesday, September 19, 2017:
Dow: 22,370.80, +39.45 (+0.18%)
NASDAQ: 6,461.32, +6.68 (+0.10%)
S&P 500: 2,506.65, +2.78 (+0.11%)
NYSE Composite: 12,131.73, +20.28 (+0.17%)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dow Jones Industrials, S&P 500 Mark New All-Time Highs; Fed To Unwind Massive Fake Balance Sheet

All is well!

At the Close, Monday, September 18, 2017:
Dow: 22,331.35, +63.01 (+0.28%)
NASDAQ: 6,454.64, +6.17 (+0.10%)
S&P 500 :2,503.87, +3.64 (+0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 12,111.45, +31.31 (+0.26%)

Following a truly boffo week past, the mid-point of September brings more record-breaking on the stock exchanges.

Just ahead is a roadblock to progress, as the FOMC begins a meeting on Tuesday, concluding Wednesday with what should be a statement covering plans to begin unwinding its $4.5 trillion portfolio of Treasuries and mortgage backed securities.

Remember, many of those mortgage-backed securities which the Fed holds (lots of them 20 or 30 years in length) are largely worthless, and, since the Fed purchased them at par (ha, ha), they'll be selling at a loss.

Of course, it's all just worthless paper in any case, so, if the Federal Reserve paid $100 million for mortgage toilet paper X, and they sell it for $30 million, the result is a 70% loss, or a cool $70 million. Multiply that into the billions which the Fed held and that balance sheet will erode pretty quickly.

The effort is going to be largely deflationary, as opposed to what many analysts believe will be an inflationary tsunami driving interest rates sky high.

There's also the question of just who will be buying the mortgage toilet paper. Will it be the very same banks which issued it in the first place back in 2006-2009? That is a somewhat likely outcome, or, as karma dictates, what goes around, comes around.

Couldn't happen to a better bunch of banker crooks.

Have a happy.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dow Posts New All-Time High; Retail Sales Miss, Inflation Higher In August

With a 45-point gain on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new all-time closing high (22,203.48), putting an exclamation mark on what has been an incredibly fruitful week for investors.

With a small gain last Friday, the Dow has now gone five straight sessions without posting a loss. The blue chip average is up 405 points for the week (1.86%) and despite some discouraging data prior to Friday's open, it appears set to finish the week on a healthy note.

The data Friday morning that sent futures lower was a pickup in inflation according to the CPI figures for August, showing a 0.4% increase, due largely to a spike in retail gas prices and a 0.5% increase in the rent factor. On a year-over-year basis, the index is up 1.9%, closing in on the Federal Reserve's two percent target rate.

Retail sales were down 0.2% in August, with the largest contributor to the decline the drop in auto sales which slumped 1.6% for the month after being flat in July.

With inflation up slightly (and understandably) and sales down, the Fed will find itself once again in a box on rate increases and likely do nothing when the FOMC meets next week. Some mention of the winding down of their enormous, $4.1 trillion balance sheet is expected and that could move markets, although the Fed has been extremely cautious to commence the wind-down as it could spark inflation, a market selloff or other unforeseen consequences.

Nonetheless, stocks are poised for another solid week while the economy appears to be slowing gradually during the third quarter.

At the Close, Thursday, September 14, 2017:
Dow: 22,203.48, +45.30 (+0.20%)
NASDAQ: 6,429.08, -31.10 (-0.48%)
S&P 500: 2,495.62, -2.75 (-0.11%)
NYSE Composite: 12,062.62, +7.44 (+0.06%)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stocks on Track for Awesome 3rd Quarter Returns

Spoiler Alert: Depending on how your money is allocated, your third quarter 2017 401k, pension or retirement fund statement is going to look pretty good when you get it the first or second week of October.

That's because the rally that started in March, 2009 is still alive and well here in September, 2017.

For instance, if you're a blue chip kind of person, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended May just below 21,000. Two-and-a-half months later, it's broken through 22,000 and is poised for more gains through the end of the September. The Dow is tracking for roughly a five percent gain for the quarter. That's 20% annualized. Who knew this investing stuff was so easy?

In case you're a tech spec, the NASDAQ began the quarter at 6200 and just yesterday broke through to a new all-time high, above 6450. The gain is just over 4%, a little less than the Dow.

For those widely diversified, say, in an index fund tracking the S&P or NYSE, the 500 started June rocketing through 2420 and is currently just below 2500. Again, the profit is around 4%. The NYSE Composite has gone from 11,600 to over 12,000 in the quarter. That 400 point gain is less than four percent, but very safe and sound.

There are just 13 trading days remaining in the third quarter and no impediments for stocks to continue making new high after new high.

Happy returns!

At the Close, Tuesday, September 12, 2017:
Dow: 22,118.86, +61.49 (+0.28%)
NASDAQ: 6,454.28, +22.02 (+0.34%)
S&P 500: 2,496.48, +8.37 (+0.34%)
NYSE Composite: 12,057.12, +46.86 (+0.39%)