So much for my triple-top theory.
With the Dow putting on gains to close out the week - finishing at new highs for the 8th consecutive week - the world's most watched index is now at 18-month highs, leaving the memories of Lehman Bros., TARP and the painful housing crisis far behind in the memory hole.
But while stocks and traders are rejoicing over their riches, they fail to see, or even understand, the devastation caused by kicking 2 million families out of their homes or 8 million (probably more) out of jobs. Wall Street pros have stars on their foreheads and in their eyes. They obviously do not share the same values as most middle-class Americans.
The rally which began on March 10, 2009 has now reached extraordinary status. It is a full 12 1/2 months old, and the percentage gains off the bottom are simply spectacular.
The following are the March 9, 2009 lows, then today's closing prices, followed by the percentage gains.
Dow... 6,547.05 ... 11,204.28 ... +71,13%
S&P 500... 676.53 ... 1,217.28 ... +79.93
NASDAQ... 1,268.64 ... 2,530.15 ... +99.44
NYSE Comp. ... 4,226.31 ... 7,701.61 ... +82.23
There you have it. All anyone had to really do to turn $10,000 into roughly $18,000 over the course of the past 13 months was to buy all the stocks in any index and let it ride. For the rich and powerful, such as the lead traders at Goldman Sachs, the trick was to turn $1 billion or $10 billion into $1.8 billion or $18 billion. Being even more sophisticated, they probably had returns which far outstripped those of the entire indices.
Is there any wonder how the biggest frauds and thieves eve to walk the face of the earth (the leaders of Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, et. al.) were all able to pay back the government's (read: taxpayers) TARP money within a year's time?
Not only did the financial calamity which took the stock market down in the Fall of 2008 through the Winter of 2009 appear to be contrived and driven by the same people who created it, so too the "miraculous" recovery of stocks overall, and their very own firms, to boot.
On March 9, 2009, Bank of America (BAC) closed at 3.74. Citigroup (C) finished the session at 1.05; Goldman Sachs (GS), 73.28; Morgan Stanley (MS), 16.34; JP Morgan Chase (JPM), 15.79; Wells Fargo (WFC), 9.89 (actually closed at 8.06 on March 5).
Today, Bank of America finished the session at 18.43; Citigroup, 4.86; Goldman Sachs, 157.40; Morgan Stanley, 31.94; JP Morgan Chase, 44.94; and Wells Fargo, 33.48.
These are the five largest private sector financial institutions in the country. They've all done exceedingly well over the past 13 months, mostly at the expense of foreclosed-upon homeowners, people strung out on credit cards carrying rates that used to be called usury and millions of unemployed workers who lost their jobs because these bankers and traders convinced most of corporate America that the sky was falling. That the crisis occurred at the very end of the Bush administration's reign of terror was no coincidence. It was easily the greatest crime of all time.
All of these firms ruthlessly cut their dividend payouts to shreds at the height of the crisis and are still paying out less than 1% each. Citigroup pays no dividend. Goldman Sachs is the most generous, at 0.90%, at a time in which they paid their employees 43% of profits. These guys never learned to share.
Wall Street has changed dramatically from the days in which prices were quoted in eighths and sixteenths. Today's "titans" need billions of dollars to fill up their coffers in the highly rigged game of liar's poker. As a market observer - and sometimes participant - of over 35 years, I can safely say I have never seen a crash nor a rally quite as spectacular as the ones witnessed over the past 19 months. And, as the saying goes, "if it looks to good to be true, it probably isn't."
I don't know where this rally will end, or how, but it will, I imagine. Maybe it won't. Maybe the "masters of the universe" will keep stocks on a permanent upward slope in order to capture even more of the world's money supply. After all, government's just keep printing the stuff, so the bankers and frauds have to use up more of it, don't they?
I've been out of this market since December of 2009 and won't venture back in until I see some of these companies' CEOs in leg irons, which means I've probably already made my last investment in equities. I consider the current regime of manipulators and skimmers to be nothing better than common crooks. Having already stolen much of America's private wealth, they're no doubt scheming to steal the rest. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I'll keep the reporting in this same vein.
Wall Street is the biggest fraud most of us will ever see. enjoy it while it lasts.
Dow 11,204.28 69.99 (0.63%)
NASDAQ 2,530.15 11.08 (0.44%)
S&P 500 1,217.28 8.61 (0.71%)
NYSE Compos 7,701.61 58.78 (0.77%)
Advancers led decliners by a wide margin, 4406-2097. So too, new highs, all 1130 of them, crushed the 68 new lows. Volume was slimmed down from the levels earlier in the week.
NYSE Volume 5,888,237,000.00
NASDAQ Volume 2,434,851,250.00
Oil gained $1.42, to $85.12. Gold gained $10.80, to $1,153.10. Silver was higher by 18 cents, finishing at $18.19.
Everything went up today except your paycheck. Seriously, working has become the toil of suckers. If the "retirement investments" aren't wiped out by the frauds of finance, the taxman will take whatever else there is.
Good grief. Good luck.