Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stocks Rage into the Close; PPT Mentioned on CNBC

Good stuff on Zero Hedge, when Asher Edelman brought up the PPT (Plunge Protection Team) on CNBC's "Fast Money."

People really don't mention the Plunge Protection Team much anymore, ever since the Fed and their central bank cohorts began their financial asset buying spree in 2009. The Fed money-printing machine puts the PPT (otherwise known as the President's Working Group on Financial Markets) to shame.

The Federal Reserve added liquidity to markets by directly intervening through outright asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities and treasury bills and notes. Known as Qualitative Easing (QE), those in the know simply call it "money printing" or "creating money out of thin air." Both are correct, and, despite all the best intents of Keynesian economics, those actions are supposed to create inflation, which has occurred in stocks, housing and elsewhere, but not in the many and varied consumer staples and discretionary items.

Most consumer prices (and incomes) have somewhat stagnated since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09, and, with the Fed threatening another rate increase in June, they probably won't be moving soon. The dislocations in the housing market and the massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the very rich, however, have been direct results of Fed action.

So, it's somewhat funny that the commentator would single out the PPT, though he's probably spot on in his general assessment. The bigger issue would be the almost total control of the equity markets by key players, notably, central banks and large commercial firms, i.e., Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, et. al.

Whatever method was in play today, it certainly worked wonders as stocks levitated after 2:00 pm ET into the close.

At The Close, 5/24/17:
Dow: 21,012.42, +74.51 (0.36%)
NASDAQ: 6,163.02, +24.31 (0.40%)
S&P 500: 2,404.39, +5.97 (0.25%)
NYSE Composite: 11,621.23, +16.61 (0.14%)

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