Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Up and Down Thursday with Lady Gaga and the Fed

Now that the US stock markets are inexorably intertwined with Fed POMOs and repurchases, and, in turn, to movements in the US dollar, investors are more likely to see moves such as today's rather than stocks moving on fundamentals, news, or economic data.

In the absence of a POMO today, the whizzing HFT computers got the markets off to a bang-up start, only to be headed off by the Federal Reserve's #1.5 billion reverse repo, which actually takes liquidity out of the market. Thus, with less free money on hand, stocks slumped midday, though managed to stage a final hour rally to close positive, again. The major indices registered marginal gains, except for the NYSE Composite, the broadest measure.

Stocks simply cannot go down. That much is clear. How high the HFT computers and the Fed, via their Primary Dealers (PMs) will take it is the big unknown. Eventually, while Americans move from 99 weeks of unemployment benefits into the underworld of welfare recipients and food stamps, the stock market - permanently unhinged from reality and the US economy - may challenge the all-time highs. We expect REAL unemployment to be registering at about 25% (it's already 22% and rising), though the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will have it pegged at something around 9.7%, as they discard discouraged workers and anybody who was on a payroll for more than one hour in a given week.

In that regard, the weekly new unemployment claims were "down" to 452,000 this week, from last week's 475,000, which was revised from the reported 462,000. Not to worry, this week's figures will be revised upward next week, so they can show "improvement" again. The BLS has upwardly revised the number every week save one for the past six months. No, really, it's true!

US investors and their computers which run them also overlooked the extreme austerity measures undertaken by the British parliament and the ongoing strikes in France which have pretty much shut the country down.

Conditions in France are so bad that Lady Gaga cancelled all her upcoming appearances. Now, that's shocking and maybe will awaken the MTV generation that all is not well with the world.

Not making headlines today, but surely taking the heat from traders, was Bank of America (BAC), which hit another 52-week low, closing down 39 cents at 11.36. The widely =-circulating rumor is that BofA is being used as a fall guy for much of the toxic mortgage paper that investors wish to shed and be compensated for. Bank of America, with headquarters in Charlotte, NC, is not part of the Wall Street cartel, thus, it may be under preparation to be jettisoned from the land of publicly-traded companies.

For many mortgage and bank account holders, this could not happen to a better (worse) bank.

Dow 11,146.57, +38.60 (0.35%)
NASDAQ 2,459.67, +2.28 (0.09%)
S&P 500 1,180.26, +2.09 (0.18%)
NYSE Composite 7,515.67, -8.14 (0.11%)

despite the valiant efforts in the final hour, declining issues beat advancers, 3591-2799. New highs beat new lows, 522-74. Volume remained mostly moribund.

NASDAQ Volume 2,145,050,000
NYSE Volume 5,269,549,000

Commodities got smacked down again, with oil losing $1.98, to $80.56 on the first day of the December contract, a particularly bearish sentiment being expressed. Gold dropped another $18.60, to $1,325.60, while silver fell 73 cents, to $23.14, a tempting price, though one's enthusiasm for the precious metals must be tempered at this point. Commodities may be reacting more to the conditions in France, the rest of Europe and in England, as a global depression may be taking fuller shape and would negatively impact all asset classes, and primarily, commodities, as demand would be severely crimped for all production on every level.

Considering the damage done in the main by the corrupt, illicit actions of US financial institutions over the past two decades, global depression 2.0 seems the most likely outcome, something predicted here at least two years ago. Check our archives from 2006 and 2007 if you need any proof.

The banksters who roam Wall Street as free men (and maybe a few rogue women) have delivered to the world the ultimate crap sandwich, complete with a rotten apple in a fetid, torn paper bag. With US politicians more intent on re-election than actually handling problems, nothing gets done and nothing will, if the media pundits have their way.

Predicting a Republican "Tea Party" triumph, taking control of the House and maybe the Senate, the most likely outcome - with a Democrat in the White House - would be gridlock, with an assortment of charges, counter-charges, investigations and accusations being thrown by both parties at each other. This may be the most desirous of conditions for the American public, who might, after a while, simply give up on government policy and demand the wholesale dissolution of the federal government.

In the event of widespread public rage, after the rioting, ranting and raving, the states may then be able to stand up individually and reject federal controls which have destroyed the union. There will be periods of fear and bloodshed, but, in the end, removing the shackles of government may be the best and possibly, only solution.

One would hope that it would not come to such extremes, but the vast pantheon of history is replete with uprisings, revolts and revolutions. It's all part of what keeps the world spinning and a necessary needed cure to tyranny and control.

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