Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stocks Pause; Good Entry Point?

After setting new all-time highs for what seems to be the better part of the past two weeks, stocks finally cooled off on Thursday as somebody, ostensibly, took profits.

But, was that a wise move, or with the Republican National Convention winding down, might this not be a wise time to double down, knowing that the status quo will want to put the best lipstick on its little piggies, making every effort to make Hillary Rodham Clinton the 45th president of the United States of America.

Hillary is obviously the choice of rich bankers and well-oiled politicians who wish for nothing more than another four years of free money from the Fed, insane public policy from the politicians, and more fleecing of the soon-to-be-defunct middle class.

It would appear that with the presidency in her sights, Mrs. Clinton, for all her obvious faults, may be the best thing for equity investors since the FASB eliminated mark-to-market accounting back in 2009.

At least until late October or whenever it appears that nothing can or will stop Mr. Trump from elevating his posture into the White House, the Fed and its many backers will want to keep stocks flying high in hopes that Mrs. Clinton can lay claim to a vigorous economy (which, of course, is pure fiction, and which she had absolutely nothing to do with making it so).

Back up the truck and buy this dip. We could be looking at Dow 20,000 before long.

Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,517.23, -77.80 (-0.42%)

5,073.90, -16.03 (-0.31%)

S&P 500
2,165.17, -7.85 (-0.36%)

NYSE Composite
10,758.62, -34.48 (-0.32%)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monday, Tuesday... Minor Gains

Not much happening the first two days of the week...

Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,559.01, 25.96 (0.14%)

5,036.37, -19.41 (-0.38%)

S&P 500
2,163.78, -3.11 (-0.14%)

NYSE Composite
10,751.91, -41.26 (-0.38%)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weekend Edition: Historic Rally Stalls At End Of Week

Anticlimactic was Friday's market action after a sustained two-week, post-Brexit collapse rally sent the Dow and S&P 500 to new all-time highs.

Stocks finished with one of their their weakest performances of the month, though it may just be a pause in an otherwise relentless advance led by central bank buying.

Yes, you're reading that correctly; central banks were the leading participants in the post-Brexit rally, preventing what may have turned into a widespread financial panic had the BOJ and ECB not intervened with either direct purchases of stocks or the same via proxies.

This leads to a time-worn dilemma in market confidence otherwise bandied about as moral hazard.

It's the same as fixing horse races or weighting the balls on a roulette wheel. Rigged financial markets will sooner or later be found to be lacking in both stability and longevity, which, when dealing with life-spanning investments touted by the major brokerages, are - or should be - two major pillars of strength.

If central banks continue to play fast and loose with not only monetary policy and begin to dabble in fiscal policy (well underway) and overtly entering trading markets (also pretty obvious), it may be only a matter of time before the curtain is rolled back and the man in the booth behind the controls is revealed as a faker, a fraud, a charlatan, and the foolishly following investors taken in by the scheme.

In simple terms, caution continues to be the best friend of anyone with reasonable means. Hard assets appear once again to be not only safe, but sure.

Many in the financial arena thought that the world was ending in 2008, though afterthought now is clear that an era of unbridled intervention by central banks was only just beginning.

How and when it ends are open questions, but certainly, valuations are stretched to extremes, data - along with stock prices - is being manipulated, and individuals investors have long ago headed for safer havens.

The game may go on for years more, which is likely the path of least resistance since there's so much riding on a continuation of current politics and economics. The thought that the larger the debt and fraud (and both are enormous), the greater the fall may or may not be a truism.

What's working now may be reversed in the near future. One glance at YTD charts of either gold or silver tells you that a paradigm shift may be already underway.

Friday's Closing Numbers:
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,516.55, +10.14 (0.05%)

5,029.59, -4.47 (-0.09%)

S&P 500
2,161.74, -2.01 (-0.09%)

NYSE Composite
10,773.12, -13.51 (-0.13%)

For the Week:
Dow: +369.81 (+2.04%)
S&P 500: +31.84 (+1.49%)
NASDAQ: +72.83 (+1.47%)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dow, S&P Post New Highs Again, But, Who's Doing The Buying?

In a market that more often resembles a three-ring circus than an amalgamation of the best corporate entities vying for favoritism among investors via increased earnings, revenue and expectations, the recent melt-up in US equities has more than just a few analysts scratching their quickly-balding heads.

It's widely known that equity mutual fund outflows have been more or less continuous for the better part of the past four months, a trend that doesn't seem to be abating, despite the recent runaway rally.

So, with mutuals (institutional investors) out of the picture - and they're a huge part of the landscape - and individuals mostly too scared to tread too deeply into the Wall Street morass since the devastation of the 2008 washout, there aren't many places from which the money to buy up all these loose assets can come, except, of course, if you're the operator of a central bank, such as the Bank of Japan, the ECB or the almighty Fed.

For verification of the central bank buying conspiracy theory (now fact), we turn to the erudite and educated Zero Hedge, which puts the matter to rest in no uncertain terms in his recent post, "Mystery Of Surging Stocks Solved—-It’s The Central Banks, Stupid!"

The Hedge cites Citi's Matt King, who publishes a must-see chart of rolling central bank asset purchases, and there for all the world to see are egregiously large buys by Japan and the ECB.

Yep! Those shifty Asians and super-smart Europeans are buying up US equities at valuations measured at a median rate of 24X. Good for them! When they awaken from their Keynesian stupor somebody must announce to them - they being economists, not investors - that the goal is to buy low and sell high, not the other way around.

Their rude awakening will coincide with the complete financial and societal implosion of their economies and their sovereignty, which, in the case of Europe, has been questionable for at least a couple of decades, and, for Japan, is only a matter of time before demographics and deflation tear the country to shreds.

What the world is witnessing (or not, depending upon how many people are playing Pokemon Go at present) is the beginning of the final phase of complete totalitarian financialization by central banks and their appointed henchmen, which will result in hemorrhaged debt defaults by individuals, corporations, and eventually (but maybe initially) governments.

Unlike people and companies, governments have a unique advantage in that they can run deficits and debt in piles as high as the moon without recourse for the most part, until, that is, the general public and business people have enough of higher taxes, worsening living conditions and runaway inflation.

Central banks are even better off, being the enabler of all debt and fiat folly via their ability to print endless scads of fiat money literally out of thin air.

Both groups, the money-makers and the politicians, are parasites, and they are killing the host, that being the good-will and capital of citizens and businesses, burying them in debt that will never be repaid.

Hope for a debt jubilee has reached new heights with the latest round of stupidity, but it is far from over.

The shackles which bind the citizenry and businesses to debt and drudgery, taxes and regulations, will tighten before they are broken.

New all-time highs are great when people and funds are doing the buying. That's a sign of a growing, robust economy. When it's central banks doing the heavy lifting, it reeks of desperation and failure.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

-- Fearless Rick

New Highs! Get 'em while you can!
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,506.41, +134.29 (0.73%)

5,034.06, +28.33 (0.57%)

S&P 500
2,163.75, +11.32 (0.53%)

NYSE Composite
10,786.63, +52.43 (0.49%)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The World According To Morons

Noting the popularity of the new smart phone game, "Pokemon Go," and its coincident release with fresh all-time highs on the S&P 500 and Dow Industrial Average, it can be safely assured that the civilized nations of planet earth have entered the final stage of self-destruction, in which morons - not zombies - take over the planet.

In some ways, the process of moron-izing the population is already well underway.

We are led to believe that voting for representatives in government actually is an expression of our freedom within a working democracy. When these representatives, from the president and members of congress on down to the local code enforcement officer, are proven to be solely interested in either re-election, amassing a fortune, or advancing their career paths and not working in the public interest we are called cynical or pessimistic.

Year after year, school budgets are increased while the quality of education is diminished. Normally intelligent-looking people vote to pay more in taxes to support a system that fails on a regular basis.

We pay good money for cable TV or other entertainment delivered to our homes or workplaces to watch people who are vastly overpaid do stupid things or play sports.

Investment professionals routinely lose money on investments with our hard-earned money and yet are hailed as experts within the financial community.

The vast majority of people can't raise a decent garden, hammer a nail or turn a screw. Still, they all complain that the infrastructure of the country is falling apart.

These are but a few examples of the lunacy that has nearly completely gripped our nation. The truth is that the people running things - politicians, bankers, CEOs - aren't all that bright. In fact, most of them are morons, versed only in maximizing their incomes, pensions and perks, but we follow them and aren't too overly distraught that they make 50-70 or 500 times what we do.

We should be, but it's getting a little late in the game to do anything about it. Besides, most of your contemporaries are morons with their noses stuck on their "smart" phones, playing the latest game app.

What can be done? Plenty.

Stand up, do something you haven't tried. Fix something that's broken. Pay less for things you usually buy, or just change your buying habits a little. Save the money, a little at a time, which will grow over time into something more substantial.

Stop voting. Period. Just stop. It only encourages bad behavior by the winners and losers alike.

Spending on frivolities is maybe a favorite of yours. As you grow older, you'll discover that spending money - often money you don't already have (credit) - is a behavior to be avoided. Spending on things you don't need, but only want, can be destructive to your finances.

A way to combat the incessant need to spend, foisted upon us by the media, commerce and ad industry, is to institute no-spend days. This can start as an experiment, as in a "No-Spend Sunday," and expanded to multiple days. It's pretty easy to do. Just buy what you'll need for a few days, and then don't spend any money over the next few.

(I'm currently in the midst of a three-out-of-four no-spend days. After a successful no-spend Saturday and Sunday, I realized I needed beer and ice on Monday, so I reluctantly spent $12.76. Today, Tuesday is a no-spend no-brainer).

It's a rewarding habit, as you end up with more cash in your pocket and a sense of accomplishment, when you actually accomplished little, other than not buying anything.

But, of course, morons won't understand this simple concept.

Until next time,

-- Fearless Rick

Today's markets were horribly dull, likely the result of central banks doing most of the trading over the past few weeks, months, years(?). They decided to not goose the markets any more, since they got over the desired all-time highs, for now. That should work until the next financial non-event, like Brexit, scares out the weak hands or causes some Alphas in the herd to take profits.

The S&P traded in a 10-point range over the entire session; the Dow, 75 points; the NASDAQ range was 33 points.


At the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,372.12, +24.45 (0.13%)

NASDAQ Composite
5,005.73, -17.09 (-0.34%)

S&P 500
2,152.43, +0.29 (0.01%)

NYSE Composite
10,734.16, +7.38 (0.07%)