Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ice From The Sun; Who Was Bob White?

Fearless Rick, writing in the first person...

This is the first post from my new digs, actually just a $700 camper I purchased recently and added to my assets at Camp Alpha (the poor man's Trump Tower, but better in many ways).

I ran an extension cord from the camper outlet to my awesome Champion generator (runs on gasoline, whoda thunk it), fired it all up and got the refrigerator working, tested most of the outlets and lights, hooked up my $6.95 second-hand-store-bought SoundDesign dual cassette tape, AM/FM radio, record player and put on some old vinyl of 1930s and 40s jazz. It was a wonderful experience.

These markets are just crazy. Another day, another split decision. It's becoming quite annoying, so I'm trying not to pay much attention to it, since, after all, it's all funny money, conjured by the magicians at the Federal Reserve out of thin air.

Not all of us are taken in by the con. No siree!

At the Close, 7/20/17:
Dow: 21,611.78, -28.97 (-0.13%)
NASDAQ: 6,390.00, +4.96 (0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,473.45, -0.38 (-0.02%)
NYSE Composite: 11,944.50, +3.16 (0.03%)

The Dow is down, the NASDAQ is up, the S&P finishes with a fractional decline. Does anybody even care?

What interests me at the moment is the potential to make ice using solar power. It is doable, but, can it be profitable. I'm about to find out. Right at this moment, the generator has been running for about three hours on about two gallons of gas. This is not cost efficient because I've made three trays of ice cubes, re-frozen some chicken drumsticks and am in the process of freezing a trio of one liter plastic bottles filled with water (they're working).

The gas cost was about $6.00, because I use the good stuff (91+), but the solar solution is probably more cost-efficient. After the cost of the panels, batteries, connectors and the fridge/freezer, the sun does the heavy lifting, so to speak. I'll have more on this in upcoming, fantastic Money Daily posts, since the financial markets are giving me headaches.

Photos, too... but, listen to this piece by Benny Goodman from 1937, called Bob White. Nice, but, I have questions. Who was Bob White and why was the King of Swing giving him such a hard time?

Anybody?

BTW: the lilting vocals by Martha Tilton were her first recorded with Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.

Enjoy...



All-Time Highs on S&P, NASDAQ, Dow Industrials, NYSE Composite

Thanks to central banks, all the major averages made new closing highs on Wednesday.

This is not investing. This is centralized control.

Nothing about these markets should be believed, especially since the money represented is conjured out of thin air by central bankers. Thinking people should question this unusual feature of money and markets. Most of the world is asleep, lulled into a trance by the power of money.

It's difficult to comprehend that all of the money flows are complete fiction, but that is the truth, unfortunately.

At the Close, 7/19/17:
Dow: 21,640.75, +66.02 (0.31%)
NASDAQ: 6,385.04, +40.74 (0.64%)
S&P 500: 2,473.83, +13.22 (0.54%)
NYSE Composite: 11,941.34, +63.92 (0.54%)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mixed Markets are Sending Clear Message

As seems to be the norm lately, the major indices finished in mixed fashion Tuesday, with the NASDAQ and S&P finishing with gains, while the Dow and NYSE Composite took losses.

This repeating pattern may be confusing to some investors, but the trend seems pretty clear: there will be winners and losers on given days, often on the same days, and, while the general economy may have weak and strong sectors, the general trend is higher.

Nothing could be more obvious after chasing stocks since March of '09 has resulted in one of the greatest bull markets of any era. For the most part, it's been easy pickings for fund managers, hedgers (most of whom don't hedge at all), and even individuals investing in the market. An especially accommodative Federal Reserve has seen to that. Even today, with the federal funds rate at 1.00-1.25% - the highest in nine years - by historical standards it's still incredibly low.

Recent talk by Janet Yellen and other Fed members is leading the market to believe that this regime of low interest rates still has room to run. The FOMC has upped the federal funds rate twice already, but appears to be slowing its approach. Many believe they will only raise rates once more this year, likely in December.

Climbing the worry wall with the Fed, most of the Wall Street crowd seems convinced that the central bank has the stock market's back, despite political rhetoric and decades of denial. The Fed is supposed to control monetary policy, but, since the GFC, they certainly don't appear shy about meddling elsewhere, having sloshed bond and stock markets alike with wave after wave of fresh fiat.

Since the money is nothing more than paper with promises, it's what they can and will do. Until further notice, the Fed is in control of all money, yours, ours, theirs, and those of foreigners, dead people, and people not yet born.

It's probably a good thing that there's so much normalcy bias that hardly anyone cares that everything is completely fake.

Like the saying says, "fake it 'til you make it."

At The Close, 7/18/17:
Dow: 21,574.73, -54.99 (-0.25%)
NASDAQ: 6,344.31, +29.87 (0.47%)
S&P 500: 2,460.61, +1.47 (0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 11,877.42, -13.09 (-0.11%)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stocks Flat on Monday, BofA, Goldman Sachs Report Improved Earnings

Stocks finished flat in a very dull session, which is not surprising following the blockbuster that was last week. With scant economic news, traders are likely looking forward to the FOMC meeting next week (Tuesday and Wednesday), the last one before September.

Corporate earnings will be taking the spotlight over the next two weeks, as the majority of companies will be reporting second quarter results.

Prior to the open on Tuesday, a couple of major financial institutions reported, with excellent results.

Bank of America (BAC) posted $5.3 billion in net income, up 10% from a year ago. BofA’s earnings per share for the quarter increased 12% to 46 cents. Analysts expected the bank to earn 43 cents per share.

Goldman Sachs (GS) EPS: $3.95 vs. $3.39 expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue $7.89 billion vs. $7.521 billion expected by Reuters.

Despite those solid figures, futures on the main indices are drifting lower prior to Tuesday's opening bell.

At the close, 7/17/17:
Dow: 21,629.72, -8.02 (-0.04%)
NASDAQ: 6,314.43, +1.97 (0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,459.14, -0.13 (-0.01%)
NYSE Composite: 11,890.51, -6.80 (-0.06%)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

All Janet Yellen, All The Time Sends Stocks Soaring

“Because the neutral rate is currently quite low by historical standards, the federal funds rate would not have to rise all that much further to get to a neutral policy stance.”
-- Janet Yellen, in prepared remarks to House Financial Services Committee, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Since that statement, released prior to the opening bell on Wednesday, stocks have taken flight to new highs. For instance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Tuesday at 21,409.07, and closed Friday at 21,637.74. A couple hundred points isn't bad, but check out the NASDAQ:
NASDAQ close 7/11/17: 6,193.30
NASDAQ close 7/14/17: 6,312.47

119 points in three days is OK work if you can get it, and Wall Street perfectly got it, interpreting Yellen's statement that the Fed's controlled federal funds interest rate would not be rising very quickly this year, if at all. Good news! Buy!

The soft underbelly of that statement is that the US - and by extension, the global - economy is not growing, inflation is not roaring (June CPI was flat, as in 0.0%, and the Fed is desperate for inflation), wages are not rising and employment is still flagging. Additionally, the number of people out of the labor force is enormous, pension plans in states such as Illinois, Connecticut, California and elsewhere are imploding, putting additional pressure on the Fed, Wall Street and the PPT to keep asset prices rising. Otherwise, the entire financial system collapses.

Also, P/E ratios on the S&P 500 are hovering around 25%, which is about 40% higher than the norm. The market badly needs to correct, but, thanks to Yellen and her cohorts, central banks continue to purchase assets at exorbitant prices.

What could go wrong?

Have a great weekend.

At the Close, 7/14/17:
Dow: 21,637.74, +84.65 (0.39%)
NASDAQ: 6,312.47, +38.03 (0.61%)
S&P 500: 2,459.27, +11.44 (0.47%)
NYSE Composite: 11,897.31, +52.69 (0.44%)

For the week:
Dow: +223.40 (1.04%)
NASDAQ: +159.39 (1.59%)
S&P 500: +34.09 (1.41%)
NYSE Composite: +144.33 (1.23%)













Friday, July 14, 2017

Wall Street To Yellen: We Love You, Janet

Wall Street's reaction to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's appearance on Capitol Hill the past two days has been nothing short of a high school romance.

It's been impulsive, short and intense.

And now, with hope, it's over. Perhaps we'll all be spared the details of the jilting. Janet will probably say something about stocks being overvalued and the traders will quietly sulk away, probably over to the bond pits, where they know true love - albeit at low yields - can be found.

The idea that frumpy Janet Yellen can make the masters of industry and, say some, the universe, trip and fall over each other on their ways to buying stocks is as ludicrous as the entire idiocy of centralized financial planning by the Federal Reserve.

Since global finance and economics is vast and unpredictable, the power of the Fed to control it is diminished. Certainly, the Federal Reserve has tools at its disposal to direct policy actions which often translate into tangible results in the real world, but, more often than not, they cannot direct the actions of billions of individuals, millions of businesses, and trillions in currencies.

Those engaged in the business known as the financial industry would like to believe - and to pass that belief along to clients - that the Fed does have everything under control. The facts speak differently. In the fall of 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed, the Fed had lost control and they scrambled, along with their central banking brethren from other countries, to restore some sense of balance and sanity.

But, they were too late. Stocks crashed. Banks needed massive injections of liquidity (money) from taxpayers in the form of a $700 billion monstrosity known in the day as TARP. Strange as it may seem, TARP actually stood for Troubled Asset Relief Program. The troubled assets were mortgages. The relief was in the form of taxpayer money. Essentially, the crooked banking cabal tacked another $700 billion onto the trillions of debt already owed by the federal government, i.e., the citizens and businesses of the United States of America.

So, there's no wonder that Wall Street loves the Fed and the fair-haired Janet Yellen. They're assured that whatever numbskull trades or risky maneuvers the banks and financial institutions make will be promptly papered over by Janet and her gang of official-looking thieves.

The Federal Reserve has robbed Americans and the rest of the world since 1913. It has endured two World Wars, a massive global depression, countless smaller recessions, booms, busts, inflations, deflations, devaluations, the start and end of Bretton Woods, confiscation of gold, manipulation of silver and mostly, inflation that has devalued the US Dollar, the currency of the United States of America, by 97% over the past 104 years.

When the next financial crisis arrives - and it will, eventually - the Fed will be standing firm, looking cute and sweet, with a plan to revive the spirit and stability of the "system." When that time comes, Wall Street must be restrained by the public. They must be told, like the high school boys they imitate, "she's no good for you."

Investors and fund managers and pensioners must be told, "you're in an abusive relationship. You need to get out."

It's time to end the love affair with the Fed.

At the Close, 7/13/17:
Dow: 21,553.09, +20.95 (0.10%)
NASDAQ: 6,274.44, +13.27 (0.21%)
S&P 500: 2,447.83, +4.58 (0.19%)
NYSE Composite: 11,844.62, +18.73 (0.16%)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

What Janet Yellen Said To Congress...

Janet Yellen, Fed Chairwoman, blathered on about the economy, monetary and fiscal policy on Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee, at one point saying that chances for the economy to improve or decline were roughly equal.

Those words set off the market like a bottle rocket, essentially painting the Fed as "dovish," meaning that both interest rate hikes and the winding down of its enormous balance sheet were subject to adjustments.

In other words, easy money as far as the eyes can see, and Wall Street took up the baton and ran with it, sending the Dow to new all-time highs and the NASDAQ up sharply.

Janet Yellen obviously doesn't know squat about the economy. Anybody capable of fogging a mirror could have made a statement such as hers, as in, "oh, sure, the economy might improve, or maybe not."

It's amazing that people put so much faith (and money matters) into the hands of fools such as Yellen and her fellow central bankers, all of whom have as their primary interest, themselves, not you, not the consumer, not the economy of any nation.

On Thursday, Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee.

Cheers!

At the Close, 7/12/17:
Dow: 21,532.14, +123.07 (0.57%)
NASDAQ: 6,261.17, +67.87 (1.10%)
S&P 500: 2,443.25, +17.72 (0.73%)
NYSE Composite: 11,825.90, +81.13 (0.69%)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bull or Bear? By October, It Probably Won't Matter

Another day, another boring stock market supposedly awaiting Janet Yellen's annual testimony before the the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and the Senate Finance Committee, Thursday.

Big YAWN.

Janet Yellen's words are worthless. She mouths big words like macro-prudential, as though she actually practices it while heads spin and eyes glaze over trying to comprehend its meaning.

In reality, the term refers to policy actions designed to mitigate systemic risk. It's rubbish. It's Fed-speak. While it sounds good on the surface, everything is at risk, including the entire global financial system that nearly imploded in 2008. If enough companies, or, heaven forbid, banks, default on their obligations, the risk is interconnected, and probably more so than in 2008-09.

There are no safeguards. There are only bigger bets, known as derivatives, credit default swaps (CDS), leverage, and arbitrage.

The system is as fragile now as it was just prior to the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09, and probably, it is even more fragile, simply because the Fed does not have the tools to fight back against deflation and recession, the dual threats to capitalism.

So, Janet Yellen will testify to congress on Wednesday and nothing at all will change. Meanwhile, markets are stuck in neutral, which means, in these absurd times, a tilt toward slightly positive.

Another big YAWN.

The big moves will be in September, when the laid-back congress will be forced to raise the debt ceiling and come up with another annual budget. It's likely to be a wild time, even for this do-nothing congress. President Trump will be holding both Republican and Democrat feet to various fires.

If not September, then October should be another possible meltdown time frame. It always has been, and, with the markets and economy showing severe signs of fraud and stress, a market "event" is long, long overdue.

At the Close, 7/11/17:
Dow: 21,409.07, +0.55 (0.00%)
NASDAQ: 6,193.30, +16.91 (0.27%)
S&P 500: 2,425.53, -1.90 (-0.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,746.72, -5.07 (-0.04%)

Something To Do While Awaiting Speaking By Janet Yellen

Stocks were briefly lower, then higher, but finished split, almost even, for the day.

This is part of the effect of having globalists like Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve controlling global economics. ON Monday, all of Wall Street is apparently waiting for the Fed Chairwoman's speech before congress on Wednesday and Thursday, or the release of the Fed's Beige Book of economic conditions on Wednesday.

Or the market is waiting for something else. Earnings, CPI, Industrial Production. It's always something, and it seems that the market is always waiting.

Over the past eight years this strategy has worked out pretty well for stock investors. Waiting has resulted in massive market gains over time, even though data has been less-than-splendid and often outrightly bad. That's where the "bad news is good news" meme came about: even though economic conditions were seen as negative, it was good for stocks because interest rates would remain low (making sure that stocks were the only game in town) and the free money from the Fed fountainhead would continue to flow.

Seriously, nobody is actually waiting for anything, no matter how much the TV and newspaper financial pundits like to propound on the topic. Investment decisions aren't exactly made based on data, at least not since the GFC. Stocks, and to a large extent, central banks and the Federal Reserve, have become disconnected from reality.

By almost all generally-accepted measures, stocks are overvalued. However, they remain the principal product of the Wall Street hucksters in terms of return. Bonds are returning little, and, if there is any appreciable inflation, they will return nothing in nominal value.

Stocks go up. They also go down. Some do better than others, but, to believe that the entire market is making a conscious choice to wait until Janet Yellen drools and stutters her way through her annual congressional hearings, is a monumental fraud in thinking.

Those who are buying are buying. The sellers are selling. Mostly, it's computers doing all the work and there's no good reason, presently, to make any meaningful changes in any meaningful portfolio.

At least that's what it looks like, but we'll wait and see.

At the Close, 7/10/17:
Dow: 21,408.52, -5.82 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: 6,176.39, +23.31 (0.38%)
S&P 500 2,427.43, +2.25 (0.09%)
NYSE Composite: 11,751.79, -1.19 (-0.01%)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Stocks Finish Week With Gains, Remain Range-Bound

If one were to view Friday's market action in a vacuum, without context, one would think everything is just peachy in Wall Street wonderland. The NFP jobs report for June was solid and the major indices put up strong gains to close out the week.

But, nothing exists in isolation.

Taking a little bit broader view, over the shortened, four-day week, all that Friday's gains managed to do was life all the major indices from red to green for the week, with the exception of the NYSE Composite, which finished just nine points underwater, but, not to worry, nobody pays attention to the "comp" anymore, even though it is the most diverse, broadest of the majors.

Fraud, manipulation, massive central bank intervention?

Yes, sure, of course. Since central banks have been the primary drivers of the eight year recovery since the GFC, why would anybody believe they have stopped their high-stakes involvement. Lowering interest rates - even to negative - didn't work. Massive injections of funny fiat money didn't work. Talking about how the labor market and the general economy was doing so great (it isn't) didn't work, so, why not resort to outright purchasing of equities in a vain attempt to create a "wealth effect?"

Of course, the Fed will never admit to such activity, but Switzerland (SNB), Japan (BOJ), and the European Central Bank (ECB) have all openly been buying stocks for the past few years, at least, and probably longer.

Therefore, the entire week of trading was a nonsensical, uneventful kabuki play, designed to give the impression that all is well and there's no reason to sell... anything... even though many did. As they say in the current newsspeak nomenclature, a major league nothing-burger.

Balderdash. You're being culled, cuckolded, marinated, stuffed, and baked by people who control your baseless currency when you could be using that same valueless "money" to purchase goods, food, machinery of trade, gold, silver (currently on sale, as it has been for four years running), land, land and more land, some with actual buildings erected.

But, no. Americans (not to the exclusion of Canadiens, Japanese, and Euroland dwellers) instead purchase garbage college educations for garbage jobs, cell phones, 70-inch TVs, overpriced cars (mainly on leases), and run up enormous amounts of credit card and other debt for baseball tickets and extraordinary "experiences."

With the US government $19.965 trillion in debt, something along the lines of 10,000 seniors retiring every day, underfunded pensions galore, and monstrous debt and unfunded liabilities under-and-overhanging nearly every developed nation...

Good luck with that.

At the Close, 7/7/17:
Dow: 21,414.34, +94.30 (0.44%)
NASDAQ: 6,153.08, +63.61 (1.04%)
S&P 500: 2,425.18, +15.43 (0.64%)
NYSE Composite: 11,752.98, +50.55 (0.43%)

For the week:
Dow: +64.71 (0.30%)
NASDAQ: +12.66 (0.21%)
S&P 500: +1.77 (0.07%)
NYSE Composite: -8.72 (-0.07)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More NASDAQ Losses Cause For Concern

There are those in the financial hinterlands who believe that the latest bout of indigestion in equities is simply another round of petty games played by central bank elitists who continue to exert extreme control, especially at times when it seems a correction may be at hand.

There are others who believe that the entire eight years of QE-and-ZIRP-inspired gains have been the exclusive province of the central banks and that they are preparing to pull the proverbial rug out from under markets via interest rate hikes and a general cessation of currency creation.

Both parties may be right, insofar as the central banks have been the epicenter of all financial activity, surreptitiously aiding the money center banks and primary dealers closest to the Fed's largesse.

Thus, the declines on the NASDAQ - not just today, but for the past three weeks - are sending signals to smaller market participants and there has been the beginning of a realignment of asset allocations, from tech to cash, from consumer staples and cyclicals to dividend-payers and utilities.

The issue at present, as was the case in 2008-09 and most other major market corrections or reversals from bull to bear, is that nowhere is there a safe place to hide, though the usual standouts are cash, precious metals and treasuries. On the latter, the 10-year note continued its ascent, finishing the day at 2.37, a multi-month high. That's a notable move, signifying that money may be indeed becoming tighter, even though that is a relative term, heading north from a real rate approaching zero.

At this juncture, it's still too early to raise the alarm bells, though the heavily-leveraged may be getting margin calls in short order. The NAZ is closing in on a five percent decline from the June 9 high of 6341.70, currently at a level of -3.98%. The even one percent loss on the NASDAQ today was followed in close order by the other major indices.

Caution is advised. Do NOT buy this dip as there are far too many worrying factors in the mix.

At the Close, 7/6/17:
Dow: 21,320.04, -158.13 (-0.74%)
NASDAQ: 6,089.46, -61.39 (-1.00%)
S&P 500: 2,409.75, -22.79 (-0.94%)
NYSE Composite: 11,702.42, -107.07 (-0.91%)

Stocks Split, NASDAQ Gains, Dow Flat

There is a definite surreal feel to stocks these early days of summer. While the NASDAQ has generally been the whipping boy through the latter stages of June and into July, the reverse was true on Wednesday as traders returned from a truncated long weekend.

The NASDAQ tacked on 40 points, but the other broad measure, the NYSE Composite, fell 26. The Dow was off by one point, while the S&P added three-and-a-half.

While this appears to be sector rotation and stock picking, the unruly movements may portend something more sinister in the near future. It could be nothing, but split decisions on the major indices usually indicate market turmoil, not the calm, placid environment with low VIX which has been a feature of the long bull run since March of 2009.

The VIX has been elevated of late and spiked recently, but hovering around the 11-12 region is nothing alarming. Should the VIX begin to rise day-over-day, worries may emerge and turn reluctant buyers into outright sellers.

Whatever the financial pundits insist about the strength of the economy, there are troubles, as indicated by the FOMC minutes from June which were released on Wednesday. The members were split over inflation and increases in the federal funds rate, a strong indication that the Fed - which has been relied upon excessively to control the economy - may not have the tools with which to battle a recessionary environment, which many believe is overdue.

In any case, this shortened week may not be enough to develop any kind of trend, other than extending the weird trading patterns which are becoming more and more confounding to fundamental analysts.

At the Close, 7/5/17:
Dow: 21,478.17, -1.10 (-0.01%)
NASDAQ: 6,150.86, +40.80 (0.67%)
S&P 500: 2,432.54, +3.53 (0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 11,809.49, -26.23 (-0.22%)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NASDAQ Continues Short-Term Slide; Bond Yields Soar

Happy Independence Day!

While plenty of Americans were celebrating the founding of their nation, drinking cold ones and grilling hot ones, the elitist scum that wants to control everybody's lives couldn't take the hint - and a four-day weekend - returning to the trading desks Monday for another round of Sell That Tech Stock.

The major indices were all rising, with the notable exception of the NASDAQ, upon which the most speculative stocks are traded, closing down just shy of 1/2 percent on the day.

Closing below its 50-day moving average for the third straight session, the NASDAQ is exhibiting a unitary weakness, unshared by its cohorts. The last time the NASDAQ made such a breach was at the very end of December, 2016. Six months have passed since the end-of-year scare, so it is notable, but the index is only down 3.66% since the 6341.70 top on June 9.

The selling seems to not be abating any time soon. The NASDAQ has closed lower 11 of the last 17 sessions, inclusive of the June 9 FAANG debacle.

Obviously, a multi-day decline of less than four percent is alarming to almost nobody, though closer analysis does give one reason to pause and possibly for many to liquidate out of high-multiple, overpriced equities into the safety of dividend-paying plays such as those readily found on the Dow or within the higher echelons of the S&P.

Divergence of the NASDAQ from its close peers bears notice, as has been mentioned here at Money Daily on a number of occasions over the past few weeks. Since it is easily the most bloated of the indices, it is most vulnerable to sprees of selling, or, as may be the case, cyclical rotation.

With that in mind, it may be amusing to some that the Dow posted an all-time intra-day high on Monday, but closed below the record closing high, though that mark may be surpassed on Wednesday, with traders flush with renewed animal spirits.

Otherwise, the eight-year-old bull market seems to be running on fumes, badly in need of something other than fresh fiat from central banks, which has been the primary fuel for the record rise over the long span.

Also worthy of notice is the continued sell-off in the 10-year note, sending yields as high as 2.35. The condition has prevailed since just after the latest interest rate hike on June 14, putting the federal funds rate at a multi-year high of 1.00-1.25%. It's also a marvel that the FOMC of the Fed has changed the game somewhat, targeting the rate in a range rather than offering a solid number. It gives the fakery some wiggle room, though bond brokers seem to be reacting as the Fed would wish, even though rising rates in a declining economy - of which the signs of are lurking everywhere - is a classic misalignment.

Hang on, diversify, or get off. Those are the current choices, though for specs, the last of those choices seems to currently be the most favored plan.

At the Close, 7/3/17:
Dow: 21,479.27, +129.64 (0.61%)
NASDAQ: 6,110.06, -30.36 (-0.49%)
S&P 500: 2,429.01, +5.60 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite: 11,835.72, +74.02 (0.63%)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Maine, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey Run Out of Time and Money

Stocks managed to end the week, and the month, without a complete and total collapse, with the Dow actually posting a substantial gain.

However, a Friday turned to Saturday and June to July, at least four states have failed to pass budgets, facing enormous deficits, the worst of the bunch being Illinois, currently with $15 billion in overdue payments backlogged.

In New Jersey and Maine, state governments went into shutdown mode, while Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy took over control of the state's spending after the legislature failed to pass a budget on time.p

In New Jersey, state parks and other public areas were closed on Saturday, sending a painful message to citizens of government overreach on a four-day Independence Day weekend supposedly celebrating freedom.

Illinois was dealt another crushing blow when US District Court Judge Joan Lefkow ruled that the state must begin making larger payments to Medicare providers that are owed billions of dollars.

These developments have been years in the making, from bloated statehouses, county, and city offices which overpay employees, offer golden medical and pension packages that the citizenry pays for in the form of higher taxes, and promotes schools that provide delicious salaries benefits for teachers while providing substandard education to forced-enrolled students.

Cops and firefighters collecting $100,000+ pensions are not unusual in any of these states, and the pensions and medical benefits of government employees overall have caused fiscal crises that could have - and should have - been handled years ago. None of this comes as a surprise, but the outcomes will be different from state to state. Some may plead to the federal government for a bailout of sorts, with the implied proviso that they will give up some of their sovereignty in the process.

Others may choose to raise taxes, implement austerity measures, but eventually, all of them will have to default on over-generous pension promises made to prior government employees. Many will also have to cut pay to current employees, which will prompt reactions from the public service unions, which should be outlawed under federal law, and eventually, if there is any sanity remaining in government at all, will be.

Enjoy what there is of your Independence Day weekend, but bear in mind, the United States of America has reached a turning point, a breaking point. States are reeling from decades of uncontrolled spending and liberal policies and the taxpayers are fleeing or simply giving up.

The policies of overspending which began in Washington, DC, and has trickled down to the states have bled the nation dry and hard choices are already at hand. Whether or not the politicians can muster the courage to make the needed changes - a dubious prospect at best - the American people must respond with vigor.

At the Close, 6/30/17:
Dow: 21,349.63, +62.60 (0.29%)
NASDAQ: 6,140.42, -3.93 (-0.06%)
S&P 500: 2,423.41, +3.71 (0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 11,761.70, +21.72 (0.18%)