Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bye, Bye, American Pie

There are only a few facts that need to be known to understand what happened today on Wall Street, and, believe me, it wasn't nearly worth the effort.

New unemployment claims came in at 425,000, up 10,000 from an upwardly-revised (always) 414,000.

The government's second (rhymes with fecund) estimate of 1st quarter GDP was 1.8%, the same as the first estimate, but measured differently. For instance, the price index for US domestic purchases increased by 3.8% and motor vehicle output added 1.28% to real GDP for the quarter. Translation: inflation was the main driver behind the poor 1.8% gain and a lot of cars were produced, but only a fraction of that number were unsold. Were it not for government sleight of hand, we'd be going backwards, which we are, but nobody wants to use the "R" word just yet. Forget about growth in this environment. It's a mirage. Survival will be the operative term for the next five years, as it has been for the last three.

It was one of the five slowest trading day of the year thus far. The Dow was down as much as 76 points early on, up as much as 47 later and finished nearly flat.

In other words, if all the traders, bankers, money managers and other financial gurus had stayed home and done nothing, the same result could have been mailed in from a remote location without all the fuss. Tomorrow will likely be ever more boringly stupid as we approach a three-day weekend.

Judging by GDP, our elected officials reluctance to do anything constructive and the general lack of regard by the public, it's a safe bet that we've ceased to be a nation of people and are now just an amorphous aggregation of individuals foraging for life support. America is a dead duck and all that's left are whatever crumbs one can pick from others.

Today may not have been the day the Republic died - that was probably years ago - but anyone who believes that there's a future here is really on some powerful meds and should share with the rest of us.

The federal government is busily raiding the retirement funds of federal employees and will be coming after similar state funds in due time, then private accounts. Eventually, the banker class will have stripped the country of all assets, in plain sight of the populace. Bye, bye, American Pie. The levy truly is dry.

Dow 12,402.76, +8.10 (0.07%)
NASDAQ 2,782.92, +21.54 (0.78%)
S&P 500 1,325.69, +5.22 (0.40%)
NYSE Composite 8,341.66, +46.29 (0.56%)

Advancing issues outpaced decliners, 4663-1852. New highs on the NASDAQ were 64, compared to 51 new lows. On the NYSE, there were 77 new highs and 29 new lows. Total: 141 highs, 80 new lows. Volume? No.

NASDAQ Volume 1,859,346,250
NYSE Volume 3,656,113,250

Commodities were mostly down, with WTI crude oil off $1.09, to $100.23. Gold's latest reading was down $4.60, to $1521.20, with silver stepping in line, losing 50 cents, to $37.40.

Advice for Friday: Take the day off; make it a four-day weekend, maybe five.

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