Friday, December 5, 2008

1/2 M Jobs Lost in Month. Stocks Rally? Really?

US employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, according to the most recent Nonfarm Payrolls report, released this morning by the Dept. Of Labor.

While that figure alone may be mind-boggling, being that it was the largest one-month job loss since 1974 (when we went off the gold standard), the number crunchers at Labor provided more proof of just how sloppy and contrived government figures have been.

Employers cut 403,000 jobs in September, versus 284,000 previously estimated. Another 320,000 were chopped in October, compared with an initial estimate of 240,000.

It's becoming increasingly clear that Bush administration operatives were hell-bent on keeping a lid on the depth of economic destruction leading up to the election. Not only have we learned - on Monday - that the US has been in a recession since December of 2007 (despite "official" GDP figures for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2008 showing growth), but now we have revisions of 199,000 more jobs lost in the two months just prior to the election.

It's a good thing these people are on the way out. Maybe we can restore some faith in government with a new administration that gives us the straight story, and that's a big maybe.

Dow 8,635.42, +259.18 (3.09%)
NASDAQ 1,509.31, +63.75 (4.41%)
S&P 500 876.07, +30.85 (3.65%)
NYSE Composite 5,401.25, +168.99 (3.23%)

As expected, stocks started out the day on the downside and spent most of the session in the red, until about 2:30 pm. At that point, following a 250-point rally that brought the Dow Jones Industrials to break-even, stocks went straight up. It seems the good, old, tried-and-true pumping tactics of the PPT have not gone the way of the buggy whip and the typewriter.

With stocks taking the worst jobs news in decades so much in stride that they would rally, one has to believe that today's action is about as temporary as a prostitute's decency. Stocks, by almost any measure, have much further to fall. The rosy pictures painted by economists fail to understand the dynamics of the global economic tsunami which has swept in via the corrupt banking and capital-creation system.

Figure the Dow at 5,000, the S&P at 500 and the NASDAQ around 1000 before this is all over.

If those figures sound too harsh, take a gander at any long-range linear charts of the indices in question to discover just how overvalued stocks had become since 1982. Then try to understand the concept of "mean reversion" in which the indices will revert to old habits and ranges. We've been involved in the largest economic fiction ever devised, which began in the 70s when we went off the gold standard, and increased in complexity through Reaganomics, was exploited through the Clinton years and finally exposed and degraded during the Bush II administration.

Of course, nobody believed me when I predicted - last year - that the Dow would plummet below 10,000. Heck, i hardly believed it when it actually happened. Now, I understand just how correct I was and have gotten over the shock and scare of a global depression and can clearly predict where the economy is headed.

We're in for a world of hurt. If the last few months seemed harsh to you, prepare to grab your ankles for another rough ride. This is going to get MUCH, MUCH WORSE than anyone believes or is prepared to state publicly.

If today's trading is any indication, the stock market, along with the government, has gone completely off the rails. More likely, each of them have been far from solvent or honest for at least 18 months. Now would be a good time to start declaring 10 dependents on your W-2, hoarding cash, canned goods and firewood (along with firearms). The rioting will begin sometime next year, if not sooner. Hungry people without jobs or homes can do two things well: riot and die. My thinking is that there will be plenty of both in coming months.

In case you haven't noticed throughout this turbulent fall, all bailout legislation has focused on big business, mostly banking, and not a penny for the average American. Worse yet, the taxpayer has not only not received a plugged nickel, he and she are responsible for the debt. That's part of the social contract we made when we elected the people who are now giving away our money. Naturally, most Americans have been opposed to bailing out businesses from the start, and still are today. The aforementioned social fabric has been pretty badly torn of late, so a new word should enter into everyone's lexicon: repudiate.

It's a wonderful word which releases you from all responsibility to the word or words immediately following it. Repeat after me: I repudiate all debt incurred by the federal government since the illegal election of George W. Bush in November 2000.

Wham! There goes about a $30,000 obligation. Now, if we could get another 200 million or so Americans to do the same thing, we could reduce our debt to pre-2000 level, when the government was actually turning a profit and our national debt was something on the order of $3.8 trillion, not the $12 trillion it's about to become. You want to see stocks soar? Try that little trick!

On the day, advancing issues pummeled decliners, 4496-2151, but the truth lie in the number of new lows (489) to new highs (29). New highs have been flat for some time, though new lows showed gains all week. Trajectory is still negative. Volume was normal.

NYSE Volume 1,552,209,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,224,416,000

That stocks went up so much on Friday is odd, since everything else seemed to be falling in price. Oil fell another $1.92, to an unbelievably reasonable $41.75. Get out and buy an SUV for Christmas! Gold was down $6.50, at $759.00. Silver gained a penny to $9.53

Despite Friday's gains, all indices ended lower for the week, which is as it should be, though we are not nearly down as much as would normally be expected. That 7500 level was no bottom.

It wasn't a really bad week for some, though for people without jobs, it isn't getting any easier. New businesses need to be formed to replace the ones failing now. The biggest and best - companies like Coca Cola (KO), Proctor & Gamble, Exxon-Mobile, Wal-Mart and McDonald's will survive and even prosper. There are actually some good value plays with dividends emerging from that group. But for the rest of the smaller, leveraged businesses and individuals, life is going to sour.

What say we abolish or severely cut the payroll (income) tax? Nothing would put people back to work and boost real estate values any more effectively. Let the federal government run a deficit on that basis.

But Friday's rally seemed to be right out of one of Kafka's most visceral dreams.

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