Saturday, February 23, 2008

Market Manipulation at Its Finest

Friday, February 22, 3:15 pm ET: The Dow Jones Industrials were down 129 points. Suddenly, CNBC, the most shamelessly, repugnantly, and overtly deficient purveyors of financial news. announces that some mystical, mythical plan to rescue troubled monoline insurer Ambac Financial Group (ABK) is in the works and should be announced some time next week. Notably, nothing specific was mentioned on the air.

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All of a sudden, every stock that was down, began to rise and the entire Dow Industrials - taking the other indices along with it - went from being down 129 points to gaining 96. A full course ride upwards of 225 point in 40 minutes flat. Remarkable... or pitiful, if you crave free, open, honest markets.

No doubt the Ambac story was only a cover to prevent yet another crashing down of the horrible US equity markets and to keep the American public fat, happy, fully invested and dumber than rocks. Sadly, it appears to be working.

Post of the day comes courtesy of Theroxylandr In Flames, which led off with:
"Today was what I think could be counted as a pretty good confirmation of the existence of PPT (plunge protection team) and they (sic) way it works."

The people in charge of such blatant market meddling is, of course, none other than the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, the legendary Plunge Protection Team, or PPT.

The current members of the President's Working Group (PWG) or PPT, as designated by the original executive order by President Reagan on March 18, 1988, are (links are to their bios):

(1) Henry Paulson, the Secretary of the Treasury, or his designee.

(2) Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System .

(3) Christopher Cox, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

(4) Walter Lukken, (acting) Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

All of them were appointed to their current positions by President George W. Bush. That alone should dispel any notion that these people are fully above board.

So, there you have it. Your pension plan, college fund, retirement account or 401k is in their hands. They won't let you down. Well, at least not all at once. Surely, if a Democrat wins the presidency, then the market will crash. Got it? OK.

Dow 12,381.02 +96.72; NASDAQ 2,303.35 +3.57; S&P 500 1,353.11 +10.58; NYSE Composite 9,064.83 +87.10

On the day, advancing issues held a narrow edge over decliners, 3288-2949, though winners were ahead on the NYSE, and losers had the advantage on the NASDAQ. Guess what? New lows beat new highs for the 30 millionth day in a row, 360-65. That is the largest gap in over a month.

Oil was up another 58 cents to close at $98.81 per barrel; gold dipped $1.40 to $947.80 and silver gained nine cents to $18.04.

The price of silver has nearly tripled in just over two years. Gold is closing in on $1000/ounce. Soon enough, the government surely will attempt to confiscate it from individuals' hands.

Now, take a deep breath, contemplate all this news and figures and ask yourself, do you really want to trust the stock markets and your financial future to people like those who populate the PWG or PPT, call it what you will?

If you do, well, good luck. If you don't, tough. There's nothing you or I can do about it. That's America. Love it or leave it.

NYSE Volume 3,574,533,500
NASDAQ Volume 2,340,831,500

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