Yesterday, Money Daily extolled the virtues of ignoring intra-day movement on the major indices and pointed out that the last time the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed below the magic mark at 17,500, was nearly two months ago, on March 18 (17,481.89).
The waterfall decline on Dow stocks Friday put an exclamation mark on that post, as stocks fell to within a whisper of the bottom end of the tight range with 18,000 as the top and 17,500 as the bottom.
Friday's trading also assured that US indices would end the week in the red for the third straight week and fourth time in the past seven, suggesting the five closes above 18,000 in mid-April were aberrations rather than normative market behavior.
Thus, despite a completely phony report from the US Census that saw sales by U.S. retailers leap 1.3% in April, marking the biggest month-over-month gain in a year, the exodus from stocks continued unabated. While the indices have regained all of their losses from January and early February, institutional money has been selling all along, leaving the market largely in the hands of small investors and... please be seated, because this is a shocker... central banks.
It's widely understood that the Bank of Japan, that country's central bank, is heavily invested in its own stock market, propping up prices on the Nikkei, apparently to no avail, since the benchmark index is down sharply this year, and, unlike its counterpart in the US, has not rallied back to glory.
The Nikkei made a triple top last summer with peak closes in the 20,860 range. On Friday, the Nikkei closed at 16,412.21 and is down sharply on the year (it closed out 2015 at 19,033). Make no mistake, off its highs from June through August of last year, the Nikkei has fallen into bear market territory, even though the Bank of Japan has been furiously buying shares in the largest companies, as explained in this article by none other than the Wall Street Journal.
It was reported just the other day that the Swiss National Bank was wisely using some of its money to buy shares of Apple (AAPL) as Carl Icahn was liquidating his holdings in the company and the stock was slumping to two-year lows.
Is there any wonder that people have little faith in their governments and are rapidly losing faith in other institutions, especially those which conjure money out of thin air. When central banks are actively bidding in markets of all sorts - from precious metals to oil to stocks and bonds - how can there be any rational approach to investing or any kind of reasonable price discovery. Everything is subject to the inane whims of people in ivory towers who think they know more than anybody else about how the world should operate. In truth, they are destroying the system that spewed out their jobs and paychecks.
When people finally awaken to the massive misallocation of capital and enormous malinvestments by the issuers of paper money it's going to be too late. Central banks cannot - at least not in a rational world - buy up shares of everything in order to keep the global economy humming along while at the same time issuing critical mountains of debt in the form of digital deposits and bonds (which they are, in effect, also buying from themselves).
There will be a crash, a day of reckoning, probably multiple ones, when the cnetral bank global ponzi scheme is finally exposed, and that could happen at any time.
If the stock markets begin breaking down, it should be seen as a sign that the final chapter of extraordinary central bank policy which began with the financial crisis in 2008, is underway. The endgame is likely to resemble 50-70% declines in major stock indices, 10-year interest rates at zero of less (already there in some countries) and massive disruptions of businesses, bank closures, or worse, outright confiscation of deposits by the banks holding trillions of dollars, yen, yuan, euros and pounds.
This is not fiction, but the reality of the past eight years of nightmare economics spawned by the Federal Reserve and their brethren central bankers.
But, as it has been since the collapse of the global economy in 2008, when central banks have endless supplies of fictional fiat to spend, crashes like Friday's can be aborted, as was this one, right at 3:00 pm, with just an hour left in the trading day. Agents of the Fed stepped in at the most dangerous moment to hold the line at 17,500.
André Maginot would be impressed.
The only problem is that this kind of madness cannot go on forever without incredibly dangerous distortions and serious, lasting repercussions.
For the week:
DOW: -205.31 (-1.16%)
S&P 500: -10.53 (-0.51%)
NASDAQ: -18.48 (-0.39)
S&P 500: 2,046.61, -17.50 (0.85%)
Dow: 17,535.32, -185.18 (1.05%)
NASDAQ: 4,717.68, -19.66 (0.41%)
Crude Oil 46.32 -0.81% Gold 1,274.80 +0.28% EUR/USD 1.1308 -0.58% 10-Yr Bond 1.70 -2.96% Corn 390.50 +0.39% Copper 2.08 +0.14% Silver 17.16 +0.30% Natural Gas 2.10 -2.55% Russell 2000 1,102.44 -0.56% VIX 15.04 +4.37% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4359 -0.61% USD/JPY 108.6400 -0.40%