Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rally Gets Back on Track

After taking a hiatus Monday - genuflecting to congress and Andrew Cuomo - investors continued their spirited bear market rally on Tuesday, racking up huge gains on all indices. The NASDAQ, yesterday's big loser, was the day's top performer.

Stocks took a little while to get going in the morning, though as soon as it became clear that the politicians were blowing a lot of hot air over the AIG bonuses, and that AIG would not budge from its position that its employees earned and deserved those bonuses, stocks resumed their inexorable rise.

I have to admit to naivety and a total misread on the AIG issue. Neither Wall Street nor Washington is in reality the least bit concerned over revelations of the insurance giant's counterparties to the $170 billion of government largesse and the bonuses are nothing more than a side show. This bull run will continue at least until options are played out this Friday. After that, where it goes is anybody's guess, but one thing's for sure, the American public is being taken to the cleaners by the main protagonists in this economic drama: the politicians and Wall Street's masters of the universe.

Using their media shills to maximum effectiveness, the public has been sufficiently pacified to believe that all is well in the American and world economy. Never mind those trillions of dollars of derivatives overhanging everything like the Sword of Damacles or the fact that AIG paid off on credit default insurance to the very same companies which were receiving government assistance (and now claim they no longer need any help).

The greatest fraud ever perpetrated has nearly run its course. Nobody has been indicted. None of the major players have even lost their jobs. Only in America can one lose billions of dollars, nearly implode the entire financial system and not only not get fired, but be the beneficiary of enormous bonuses paid for by the very people you are robbing. It's incredible, but true.

Just like Americans muddled through 8 years of the George Bush administration's abuse and shredding of the constitution, so too will they have their livelihoods and retirements yanked away from them without a fight. Washington and Wall Street win. We elected some. Others were merely put in place and pleasured by those elected officials. The money spent by financial firms in lobby activity is proof of government's complicity in the grand fraud.

Americans soldier on in the most over-regulated, overtaxed, slavish parody of democracy that has ever existed. It took nearly forty years of deceit, corruption and apathy, but we finally have arrived at the final destination: the death of the land of the free and the home of the brave. It has been abruptly replaced with land of the fleece and the home of the knave.

Dow 7,395.70, +178.73 (2.48%)
NASDAQ 1,462.11, +58.09 (4.14%)
S&P 500 778.12, +24.23 (3.21%)
NYSE Composite 4,868.14, +139.23 (2.94%)

Advancers bettered decliners by a wide margin, 4997-1506, but new lows did not roll over, still ahead of new highs on the day, 111-13. Volume ramped up mightily in the final half-hour, keeping in line with recent trading activity, though a touch lower overall.

NYSE Volume 1,492,070,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,105,405,000

Oil gained $1.81, to close near the highs, at $49.16. Gold dipped $5.20, to $916.80. Silver followed lower, down 22 cents, to $12.67, At least some markets are making sense, though the price of oil is going far too high, much too quickly, considering the demand destruction caused by conservation, last year's gouging and the current weak economic conditions.

With options expiration approaching, the rally could end abruptly, though the general mood on Wall Street is currently one without fear, determined to run up to resistance, which next appears around 8000 on the Dow.

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