T.G.I.F., or, more succinctly, thank God this Friday is over.
After the release of some really poor employment numbers in May's non-farm payroll report from the BLS, stocks fell off a cliff right from the open and continued to slide all day in the single worst trading session since last November.
With only 69,000 net new jobs created in May - well below the average estimate of 150,000 - the false "recovery" meme from just a few months ago was completely eviscerated as a rash of poor data which had been flowing to the market all week culminated in the worst employment figures in a year.
In addition to the unemployment rate rising to 8.2% - the first rise in over a year - March and April data were revised lower. March job growth total was reduced from 154,000 to 143,000 and the April number slashed from 115,000 to just 77,000.
While the US had its own woes, the deepening recession in Europe only made matters worse as Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 45.1 in May from 45.9 in April, its lowest level since June 2009. The index's latest reading was all the more frightening as data showed manufacturing in France and Germany - supposedly the two strongest members of the EU - slowing at its fastest rate in nearly three years.
Even in developing nations like China, India and Brazil, growth has been slowing and the pace of decline continues to gather momentum. Since the economies of these and other developing nations depend greatly on exports to Europe and the US, the slowdown of the developed economies produces a knock-on effect to the exporters.
The only bright spot of the day came from automakers, which saw double-digit sales gains when compared to a year ago, though all of the US figures were below expectations. GM posted a gain of 11% from May of last year, Ford sales were up 13%, Chrysler, 30%, while Toyota, rebounding from the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster of a year ago, saw a sales increase of 87%.
The Dow Jones Industrials and NYSE Composite index each saw all of 2012 advances wiped out as of the close today. The S&P 500 is just 20 points better than the close on December 30, 2011, while the NASDAQ still sports a gain for the year of better than 100 points. All but the NASDAQ closed today below their 200 day moving average, a sure sign that there is more downside to come.
Along with stocks hitting the skids hard on the day, the US 10-year note hit yet another historic low, ending the week at 1.45%. Its counterpart in Germany, the 10-year Bund, has also been chasing yield lower, with a reading of 1.12% seen today.
Gold had a rapid rise on the news, regaining its status as a safe-haven currency, along with silver, which also posted a healthy increase. Precious metals investors should not be fooled, however, by today's moves alone. During the crash of 2008, all asset classes were decimated, though the metals improved earlier and with more ferocity than equities.
All around, even though it was a shortened trading week, it was the worst of 2012 on the major indices. Internals are screaming correction in equities, while the price of oil continues to signal a cold, deflationary environment in the face of a rising dollar, which seems to be a silver lining to a worsening economy. Gas prices will be lower, though many will be unable to afford to go anywhere.
After governments and central banks have thrown trillions in quantitative easing and stimulus for bailouts and bank balance sheet bolstering, the global financial system seems on the verge of another major breakdown, one that may make 2008 look like a picnic by comparison. As all fiat money systems in the history of civilization have eventually failed, our current regime of "money from nothing" appears to be coming to a cataclysmic demise, and it is gaining momentum at a terrifying pace.
Eventually, all the bad debts run up by governments and financial institutions are going to result in ruination of the global system, to be replaced by some forms of gold and/or silver-backed currencies. Only then will the world's economies become honorable and stable once again.
Welcome back to the Greater Depression.
Dow 12,118.57, -274.88 (2.22%)
NASDAQ 2,747.48, -79.86 (2.82%)
S&P 500 1,278.04, -32.29 (2.46%)
NYSE Composite 7,292.25, -171.71 (2.30%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,875,578,750
NYSE Volume 4,605,786,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 853-4802
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 34-307
WTI crude oil: 83.23, -3:30
Gold: 1,622.10, +57.90
Silver: 28.51, +0.76