Friday, February 17, 2012

Freaky Friday: $6 Trillion In Fake Bonds, Euro-Greek Bond Swap; March 23rd Looking Grim

For a Friday, the news flow certainly was heavy.

The morning began with a report out of Italy, that $6 trillion worth of allegedly "fake" US Treasury bonds were seized by Italian police and the US Secret Service along with eight men involved in the counterfeiting and money laundering scam. Authorities said that the individuals arrested were planning to purchase plutonium from Nigeria, a story that has a familiar ring, last used as part of the pretense for going to war with Iraq after 9/11.

This story has all the markings of either a false flag event or wild conspiracy. Details are sketchy, though the assembled mainstream news media has already accepted the idea that the bonds are fakes. Don't expect to hear or see much more about this after today, except from bloggers and investigators outside the mainstream.

The European Central Bank (ECB) swapped its Greek bonds for new ones to ensure it isn’t forced to take losses in a debt restructuring. This story also greeted the morning in New York, without much fanfare, except for the press mimicking the officials at the ECB that Greece is moving closer to a resolution of its debt issues before the fateful date of March 20 arrives.

ZeroHedge has a pretty good take on the implications and possible illegalities of the move, which will apparently trigger the collective action clauses (CAC) and also Credit Default Swaps, as it would be a default event. Ooopsie. Could be a cascade coming.

Related, but unconfirmed, is a report that some banks already have documents detailing a March 23 default by Greece in which Greek banks will be closed, accounts frozen and Euro-denominated currency will become worthless in the land of Plato and Aristotle.

March 23 happens to be a Friday, which makes sense, since the report says the major credit agencies will declare Greece in default, and late Friday afternoons, after US markets have closed, seems to be the preferred time for any nasty news from the credit raters.

Late in the day, our normally-inept congress managed to PURPOSELY UNDERFUND THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND by passing a bill to extend the roughly-30% cut to employees for the rest of the year and keep unemployment benefits flowing to the millions of Americans who just can't seem to find a good job.

Amid all of this, the stock market looked like a side show, with stocks limping along to yet another positive close - except for the NASDAQ, mostly because Apple finished down 0.09 - on horrifyingly-low volume.

It's tough to make this stuff up, but somebody must be, because financial markets are acting as if they're from another dimension or distant galaxy. The only reasonable correlation that can be assumed these days is that if the Euro is up, so will be US stocks. Oh, and any mention of Iran or the Strait of Hormuz is good for at least another 40-cent move higher in the price of crude, which has retail gasoline now priced at US record levels for February.

Hey, it's a three-day weekend. We can worry about Greece on Tuesday. But, don't drive too much. Could just wreck your budget.

Dow 12,950.10, +46.02 (0.36%)
NASDAQ 2,951.78, -8.07 (0.27%)
S&P 500 1,361.23, +3.19 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite 8,114.51, +22.32 (0.28%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,972,077,750
NYSE Volume 3,675,412,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3082-2535
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 303-12 (0 new lows on NYSE. WOW!)
WTI crude oil: 103.24, +0.93
Gold: 1,725.90, -2.50
Silver: 33.22, -0.15

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