Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dow Runs at 13,000, Relents, as Oil Tops $106/Barrel; Gold, Silver Rocket Higher

On the heels of a three-day weekend and a late-night session of EU finance ministers which apparently (maybe, sort of, kinda) came to a conclusion on funding for the failed state of Greece, the Dow Jones Industrials were poised to exceed 13,000, a number not seen since May of 2008.

While the Eurocrats dithered, wrangled and finally agreed to a very messy agreement to stave off the imminent default of the Republic of Greece, most Americans were sleeping, though the conditions of the Greek people continued to worsen, seemingly by the hour.

Nonetheless, stocks opened with the usual ebullience afforded the opening of a new week of stock profit pursuits and quickly came within a whisker of the magic 13,000 level, before falling quickly backward at 10:00 am, as the Euro plunged.

Undiscouraged, the monkey algos, which amount for more than 70% of all trades, turned around as the Euro resumed gaining value against the US dollar and the Dow eventually broke through the haloed mark, though just briefly, on three different occasions during the session.

Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of WTI crude oil surpassed $105/barrel and just after 2:30, rang up $106. At that, the market had had enough and the day's rally was quickly over, the Dow - and all of the major averages - falling into the red before recovering slightly into the close for a split finish.

While there is still some guarded optimism over the Greek "deal" struck by the EU ministers, there are more than just a few doubters that the country will ever recover from the depression caused by decades of overspending, cheating on taxes (it's a Greek - and exceedingly a global - way of life) and an overhang of debt that would make even mighty Atlas himself shy from the task of holding aloft the birthplace of democracy.

Stock profiteers aside, there's ample reason to believe that Greece's ongoing tragedy will help pull down the rest of the Eurozone, and with it the global economy, fiat money and eventually, governments. The major economies of the world are playing with fire, printing without remorse nor sufficient moral appreciation of what the aftermath of global inflation will bring.

Today's skittish market turnaround may have been the first chapter in what could be "the great unraveling." Too little has been done - here in the US, in Europe, China and Japan - to address the underlying issues of the great recession, with the economists of the world having come up with no answer other than to simply pile more debt on top of the already enormous mountain of unpayable debts built up during the go-go 90s and moribund 2000s.

If there's any wonder why gold and silver took off today like they were launched out of cannons, the chart below may explain why the now-12-year bull run of the precious metals may just be getting started.

Dow 13,000 may be a pretty number and cause for celebration in some board rooms and on certain stock desks, but it has little to do with the overall health of the economy of any nation. Relentless printing of money, backed by "full faith and credit" has become the norm and we will all be the poorer for it in time and the price of oil is merely the tip of the spear that will pierce all the misconceptions and hopeful tones emanating from Wall Street, the City of London, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Dow 12,965.69, +15.82 (0.12%)
NASDAQ 2,948.57, -3.21 (0.11%)
S&P 500 1,362.21, +0.98 (0.07%)
NYSE Composite 8,115.42, +0.91 (0.01%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,815,109,000
NYSE Volume 3,766,193,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2490-3168
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 260-16 (ridiculous)
WTI crude oil: 105.84, +2.60
Gold: 1,758.50, +32.60
Silver: 34.43, +1.21

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