Today's Closing Numbers:
Dow 12,217.56, -69.48 (0.57%)
NASDAQ 2,605.15, -8.59 (0.33%)
S&P 500 1,257.60, -5.42 (0.43%)
NYSE Composite 7,477.03, -8.60 (0.11%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,008,177,750
NYSE Volume 2,225,404,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2647-3004
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 178-47
WTI Crude oil: 98.83, 0.82
Gold: 1,566.80, +25.90
Silver: 27.92, +0.60
Of the four major indices, only two - the Dow and S&P 500 - returned positive results for the year.
Here's how 2011 stacked up:
|Index||Close 12/31/10||Close 12/30/11||Change|
Now, checking back on Money Daily's 2011 predictions, here, here and here, we can summarize the results.
We said the overriding theme would be VALUE. With the emphasis now on dividend-paying stocks, we can give ourselves a half thumbs-up, though the real word for the year, especially the second half, was VOLATILITY.
We mentioned that "US employment situation is not going to get materially better in 2011..." A+ on that call.
Housing: "The expectation is for residential housing prices to drop another 6-10% during the year, with larger decreases in the NorthEast and MidWest." Bingo.
FOREX: "The US dollar will fare well against almost all other competing currencies. Destruction of the world's reserve currency takes time, and a year is just a small part of the breaking tableau." Another spot on analysis.
Eventually, price will meet demand, or lack thereof, and some equilibrium found before riots and starvation become the norm. Your best bets for 2011 are still gold and silver, with the latter being the favored instrument as it seeks to re-establish the 15-1 gold-silver ratio. Both should appreciate well in excess of 15%, so $1500 gold should be an easy target and silver may bust right through $40 per ounce in rapid manner.
As far as oil is concerned, apart from the rigged and artificial aspects of how it is traded, crude prices cannot exceed $100 for very long, if they even reach them. Absolute price inflation will crimp demand, and, thus, set the wheel back to "go" again, so don't expect oil prices to skyrocket or decline much at all. Stable prices would be best for all parties (except those selling the stuff, short term), and that's what we may get. There's about a 30% chance oil prices actually fall on slack demand, back under $75, but not much further, though a price around $60 per barrel would go a long way toward global growth, though the supply/demand numbers simply don't add up well for that to be much more than a wing and many prayers.
Despite a serious decline in the latter months of 2011, gold and silver held up well, despite blatant price manipulation by central banks. The call on oil was pretty much correct.
The following are the predicted trading ranges for the major indices in 2011:
S&P 500: 875-1300
NYSE Comp: 5650-8100
Not a bad showing, though the predicted lows were never met.
Money Daily also made some comments regarding the bond market, inflation, social trends and politics which were generally in the right direction. They can be found here.
Now, on to predictions for 2012 (very briefly):
Stocks: At the end of 2012, after a protracted decline though to the elections, the markets should get a bounce and end somewhere around:
NYSE Composite: 6780
Overall, it's going to be another challenging year for stocks, with high unemployment, the collapsing Euro and high tensions in the Middle East among the factors that will keep investor confidence low.
Commodities: Since gold and silver fell off the cliff at the end of 2011, they should rebound smartly and be among the best investments of the year. Oil will continue to fluctuate between $75 and $100, though passage of a bill allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built or a war with Iran (very high probability) could push prices out of that range; lower in the former instance, much higher in the latter.
Bonds are going to remain in their tight ranges, since the Fed has already announced they'd keep the federal funds rate unchanged though 2013.
FOREX: Short the Euro, Long US dollar, Aussie and Canada.
Politics will keep the economy from gaining very much traction until the election. The plan by the schemers behind the candidates is to keep the economy stumbling along in order to usher in a new Republican era. Whether or not they succeed will depend on a vast sea of changing factors, though the most pressing will still be the economy, followed by Iran, Obama-care and voting right. The Republicans can't win with Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. A Ron Paul candidacy could make life a little too interesting for the incumbent and Paul would be a great president, exactly what's needed in the US at this time of perpetual crisis. Paul would change the nature of US foreign policy, reform entitlements and get back to the rule of law.
While it's a near certainty that the Republican party chiefs will do everything in their power to keep him from winning the nomination, he could do it. Otherwise, a third party candidacy by Dr. Paul would ensure an Obama landslide.
Unless Ron Paul is in the race, Obama will win a second term.
That's it. See you in 2012. Happy New Year!