Thursday, November 10, 2011

Euro/Equities Correlation In Play; Largest US Municipal Bankruptcy in Alabama; Foreclosures Rise

As has been noted here recently, the correlation between the Euro and US stocks is operating in perfect harmony. Today, with the Italian 10-year note dipping below the magic 7% yield line, the euro gained in strength against other currencies, most notably the US dollar, which sent - as it always does - US stocks upward.

There's really no further analysis to the US stock market needed, so long as Europe remains in crisis and the unannounced policy of the Fed and Treasury is to keep the US dollar weak. Whenever the Euro is rising, so too US stocks, and when the Euro is down, so are equities across the pond. It's a losing strategy in the big picture view, but that doesn't prevent Wall Street's masters of the universe from making bank on both sides of the trade.

One could suggest that the entire global economy is now tied to the fates of Greece and Italy, though in reality, it's the Fed and the major US banks that are pulling most of the strings. Just as fundamentals no longer matter for stock-picking, so too the daily drumbeat of Euro-craziness that manifests itself in speeches, statements and the occasional turnover of a sovereign government.

Keeping the dollar week and the Euro strong is all that matters, even though the Euro should, realistically, be trading at par with the dollar or lower. Eventually, this is a failing policy that will flatten everything: stocks, currencies, politicians and their weakened governments.

The correlation is not perfect, however, as our New highs - New lows indicator below demonstrates in perfect fashion. Today was a "risk on" event, though more of a momentum play than a true rally.

On the domestic front, Jefferson County, Alabama, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday after defaulting on a sewer project that plagued the county for nearly two decades. The county, which is home to Alabama's largest city, Birmingham, filed for $4 billion, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in US history.

The story behind the bankruptcy is a pantheon of the the ills plaguing the once-great United States, involving the EPA - which ordered the county to upgrade its sewer system - corrupt local officials, who were offered and took sweetheart deals from - you guessed it - Wall Street speculators. There's blame and shame aplenty to go around, as 22 local officials were indicted and convicted for their roles in the corruption.

The federal government has bailed out banks, insurance companies and automakers, but when it comes to cites where Americans actually live and work, no dice. The county goes belly-up, leaving creditors holding worthless paper. It's an American tragedy brought to you by the crony capitalists spanning the nation.

Also making domestic headlines, RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings rose seven percent in October from the previous month, as lenders got back to work after the robo-signing scandal had derailed their efforts for a year. While Nevada remained atop the foreclosure rate for the 58th straight month, California took over as the top dog for October with a 17% spike in default notices. The top ten states for foreclosure activity (these are the places worth considering moving to in the next 3-5 years because housing prices will be ridiculously low) are Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Oregon and Colorado.

God bless America. We've been in a depression for three years but nobody will admit it. It's a shame, because this is a good country with some very wonderful people, but our political leaders and Wall Street bankers have bastardized the entire financial system.

Tomorrow being Veteran's Day, be sure to honor our living and fallen military men and women, and, maybe, save a little bit of wrath for those who made them fight, and die, for causes that benefitted a few at the expense of the many.

Dow 11,893.86, +112.92 (0.96%)
NASDAQ 2,625.15, +3.50 (0.13%)
S&P 500 1,239.70, +10.60 (0.86%)
NYSE Composite 7,423.64, +70.19 (0.95%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,908,959,750
NYSE Volume 4,015,058,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3629-1866
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 36-104
WTI crude oil: 97.78, +2.04 (WTI is becoming WTF. Oil up more than $20 in the past six weeks.)
Gold: 1,759.60, -32.00
Silver: 34.11, -0.26

No comments: