Monday, February 25, 2008

PPT Chart Violations

I am going to say something that I have never said before. Being a guy, and being that this particular phrase is usually reserved for utterage by women, it's not something I say lightly.

Well, here goes... "I feel violated."

I have seldom, if ever felt this way. I usually have my wits about me and, as such, have seldom, if ever, been a victim. However, what the Plunge Protection Team, or whomever it is mauling the markets of late, did on Friday and did again today, has me feeling that somebody has taken advantage of me.

Seeing things in plain light, I am not fooled by missteps, mistakes or false moves in the market, as I've been studying stocks and markets for nearly 50 years (started when I was 6 years old, just so you know). The gains of the past two days are nearly perfect examples of transparent manipulation of the markets, and while they are by no means anything new (the PPT has been doing this earnestly since 2000), they have shaken my confidence in the veracity of US markets to the point at which I believe almost nothing coming out of the mouths of government officials, company CEOs, talking heads on CNBC or even some of the oft-quoted analysts.

Many of us in the business of market analysis take news and reports with a healthy grain of salt, but so thick and redolent is the smell of fishiness in everything these days, I find myself carrying around a 50-pound bag of the stuff just to tamper down the odor.

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It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I presently have a very negative view on the overall investment potential for stocks, but one might as well throw in the towel and become a buyer here, as the PPT seems relentless in their pursuit of an ever-higher Dow, S&P and NASDAQ.

Following Friday's ridiculously-rigged 225-point gain off the lows of the day, Monday saw no less of a malignant buying bug in the index futures. It wasn't so obvious until the Dow leapt 100 points in a five minute span just before 2:30. The volume spike was also quite obvious and nobody can claim that short sellers all acted at once. It was just another in a long series of excessive pumping maneuvers by the government, large brokerages (proxies) and the Federal Reserve acting in concert.

As such, stocks look really healthy at the close of trading today.

Dow 12,570.22 +189.20; NASDAQ 2,327.48 +24.13; S&P 500 1,371.80 +18.69; NYSE Composite 9,210.08 +145.25

They're not.

The current stock market is so chock full of companies which will report, in about six weeks, earnings short of expectations, or at least below last year's same quarter comparisons, that I can blithely state that I have never been more bearish.

Of course, there's the matter of overt government intervention in the markets, to say nothing of the blatant abuse of the news media in reportage of all things relative to the economy, which is just a fancy way of saying that stocks should go down but probably won't.

My best guess on how this plays out is tied to the political climate in ways which are neither healthy, advisable nor sustainable. Everything has become politicized to a point that the price of stuffed bears at Wal-Mart is even subject to further review.

We are witnessing a massive shift in sentiment today with the number of advancers and decliners. Gainers outnumbered losers on Monday by a massive amount, 4552-1770. New lows held onto their edge over new highs, 207-140, but the gap is shrinking rapidly.

Oil gained 42 cents to close at $99.23. Gold dipped $7.30 to $940.50 and silver was up a nickel to $18.09.

So, what's next?

Expect the mindless gains on the stock markets to continue unabated over the next three to five weeks. There's nary an earnings report or bit of economic data that cannot be hidden, altered or otherwise obscured if it's bad news. The markets have violated (there's that word again) major downtrend lines and if any logic applies, they will extend gains beyond the most recent high of 12,841.88 on the Dow, which is the next serious data point.

If that's the case, the Fed and the government and the supine news media can declare the subprime crisis (which really isn't the core problem, after all) over, the Fed victorious and we can all go back to watching Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain sling buckets of mud at each other.

Of course, there will be a major market crash (it will be called "an adjustment") in April, if not sooner. That's how it works. Perfectly illogical and inscrutable is how the big boys like it.

NYSE Volume 3,772,699,500
NASDAQ Volume 2,152,884,500

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