Friday, August 23, 2019

Hawkish Harker, George Bundesbank Comments, Fed Minutes Spill Stocks

Coincidence?

Just about the same time Germany's Bundesbank put the kibosh on stimulus, Philadelphia Fed President, Patrick Harker, and later, KC President, Esther George, indicated they would not be supportive of future rate cuts.

Notably, though Harker is not a voting FOMC member, there was a supposed "gag order" on Fed officials issued recently by Fed Chairman, Jay Powell. Apparently, not everybody got the memo, or, with Powell's Friday morning Jackson Hole speech in focus, it's open season on interest rate jawboning.

The hawkish commentary sent the two-year note soaring, plunging in yield below the 10-year. Inversion, again.

Later in the trading day, the Fed minutes from the July meeting were released, with a number of officials calling the 25 basis point rate cut a "mid-cycle adjustment," a laughable notion in the face of an expansion that has exceeded all others in US history, at 10 years, five months, and counting.

Since central bank commentary and interest rate movement in the bond market is just about the only thing Wall Street currently cares about, stocks sold off in afternoon trading.

We have entered bizarro-world.

At the Close, Thursday, August 22, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,252.24, +49.51 (+0.19%)
NASDAQ: 7,991.39, -28.82 (-0.36%)
S&P 500: 2,922.95, -1.48 (-0.05%)
NYSE Composite: 12,688.46, -8.55 (-0.07%)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Stocks Bounce As Germany Sells First Negative-Yielding 30-Year Bond

The "scary" thing - mentioned here yesterday - that sent traders rushing for the exits on Tuesday in major markets from Germany, to France, to the United States, was probably anxiety and anticipation of Germany pricing the first 30-year bond at a negative interest rate.

Germany was looking to sell $2 billion of the bonds, but managed to only sell $965 million of the debt, which eventually priced out at a yield of -0.11%. So, essentially, it was a failed auction, with the Bundesbank scooping up the rest, allegedly to be sold later on to other suckers, er, investors.

Now, that may not sound like a big deal at the outset, but losing a little more than a tenth of one percent on your money over 30 years can add right up. On $1 million, in the first year, it would be $1,100 that you'd just let go. Each year, the amount you'd lose would be lower, but it would still be 0.11%.

Just rounding it off, you'd lose about $30,000 of your money, leaving $970,000. If there was inflation during that period of time, the money would be worth much less in buying power at maturity in 2050.

There are some very bad implications surrounding negative interest rates. First, they are money destroyers. In the fiat money, fractional reserve banking system now in play worldwide, all money is debt. The Fed or other central banks create money (more accurately, "currency") by floating bonds, selling them to interested parties, at interest, creating a debt. The primary dealers, who are the principal buyers of the Fed's bonds (treasuries), create more debt by reselling the bonds or loaning money to companies or individuals.

However, bonds with negative interest rates cause negative debt, or, rather, a surplus, to the Fed, but this money extinguishes debt rather than creating it. If the supply of negative interest-bearing bonds becomes too large, it will cause a contraction in the money supply, which is what is happening in Germany and most of Europe presently. All of Germany's sovereign bonds are yielding negative returns, as are most of Europe's.

The continuation of such a program, especially if it catches on and sends yields further into the red, like one, two, or even three percent, would have the effect of choking off the money supply completely, destroying, once and for all, that currency.

The math is straightforward. If you have a million dollar bond with a -3.00% yield, you lose $30,000 the first year, and smaller amounts each consecutive year, since your principal is getting smaller year-over-year.

If that bond is for 10 years, it's going to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of its value, leaving you with $750,000 of your original million dollars. At three percent for 30 years, the result is the loss of up to 90% of your original investment, if the bond (at par), continues to pay -3% on one million dollars.

I may not have that exactly right, but the principle is correct and the money supply will be shrunk by negative yielding bonds. This is a very dangerous situation which bears close scrutiny because it very well may be the signal that global central banks are on the verge of forcing all sovereigns into default, destroying the money supply of many nations, and replacing national currencies with a worldwide unit of exchange.

It is, as the conspiracy theorists contend, what the globalists have had in mind for many years. With negative interest rates, they can slowly kill off the yen first, then the euro, then the US dollar. What will happen with the Chinese yuan or Russian ruble and other not-so-mainstream currencies remains to be seen, but a calamity of this proportion is likely to leave most other countries begging for some kind of solution, which the central banks will gladly supply.

At the Close, Wednesday, August 21, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,202.73, +240.29 (+0.93%)
NASDAQ: 8,020.21, +71.65 (+0.90%)
S&P 500: 2,924.43, +23.92 (+0.82%)
NYSE Composite: 12,697.01, +97.61 (+0.77%)


Just for fun, somebody posted this on Zero Hedge the other day:
Nostradamus: (Cent. 8 Quat. 28)

Les simulacres d'or & argent enflez,
Qu'apres le rapt au lac furent gettez
Au desouvert estaincts tous & troublez.
Au marbre script prescript intergetez.

Translates as:

The copies of gold and silver inflated,
which after the theft were thrown into the lake,
at the discovery that all is exhausted and dissipated by the debt.
All scripts and bonds will be wiped out.

or,

The simulacra of gold and silver swell,
After the lake rapture were gone
At the open all are overcome & trouble.
At the marble script prescript intergetez.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

US and European Markets All Suffer End-of-Session Dumping

The major indices - not just in the US, but it Europe as well - fell victim to late-day large scale stock dumping, with all US indices, along with Germany's DAX, France's CAC 40, Britain's FTSE, and the Euronext 100, closing at the low points of their respective sessions.

This can only indicate one of two things: a rebalancing was taking place in the indices, or, big moneys getting out of stocks before Wednesday's opening.

The first case is probably not feasible, since these various indices do not rebalance all on the same day. That would lead to serious dislocations and confusion. Thus, that leaves the second case, in which some large traders with inside information made a hasty exit in anticipation of something terrible on Wednesday. What that terrible thing may be is currently unfathomable, but will probably come to light when European markets open on the morrow.

Market conditions such as this cannot be viewed as one-offs, as they are occurring with too much regularity. There's far too much volatility and sudden reversals to be credited to randomness; it's much more likely that markets are being manipulated by a cartel of central banks and their agencies, the major brokerages, meaning that the average investor is once again left holding a bag of stocks worth less than they were the day before.

One can claim conspiracy often enough to attract attention, and then division, which is why the regulars in the financial media will never let loose with any opinion even tangentially touching upon a conspiratorial theme. Those outside the mainstream have no such binding authority as a job or a narrative, so it's left to bloggers and speculators to sort out the less-than-obvious maneuverings in the market.

While the losses were not large, they were uniform, which indicates at least some coordination.

At the Close, Tuesday, August 20, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,962.44, -173.35 (-0.66%)
NASDAQ: 7,948.56, -54.25 (-0.68%)
S&P 500: 2,900.51, -23.14 (-0.79%)
NYSE Composite: 12,599.41, -88.51 (-0.70%)

This Is A Short Squeeze

When stocks power ahead, especially after a severe downturn (such as last week's), there is normally a good amount of short squeezing going on, as individuals who borrow stock in an attempt to unload it at a lower price, thus raking in the difference (short sellers), are forced to cover (buy at a higher price than they anticipated).

The amount of money that short sellers can lose in conditions like this are unlimited, so there's a strong urge to limit losses. It's all very sophisticated, this short selling and short-squeezing, generally the province of high frequency traders at dealer hubs. Neither practice is recommended for the average 401K investor.

When short-squeezes occur, they are usually one-day events, after which the markets return to some semblance of normalcy, though "normal" is a highly suggestive description under current market conditions. Individual stocks and whole indices are being whipsawed daily by the cross-currents of currency devaluation, trade war rumors, economic data, and yes, even the occasional quarterly corporate report.

Thus, traders and analysts are well-advised to do some smoothing out of all the noise in the markets, focusing on moving averages and daily ranges, rather than final prices. In that regard, the major US indices are between their 50 and 200-day moving averages, which implies plenty of volatility, setting up both buying and selling opportunities over the near term for those with high risk tolerance (hint: probably not you).

Day-traders, otherwise known as major broker-dealers, will have a field day in such an environment, though history is rife with examples of traders being spectacularly wrong and losing billions in the process. That's likely to happen in the current environment, if only because people never, ever, ever learn from the mistakes of others.

Expect more volatility, with a tiny edge to upside trading, though different sectors and different stocks will move in different directions.

Choose wisely.

At the Close, Monday, August 19, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,135.79, +249.78 (+0.96%)
NASDAQ: 8,002.81, +106.82 (+1.35%)
S&P 500: 2,923.65, +34.97 (+1.21%)
NYSEComposite: 12,687.91, +107.50 (+0.85%)

Monday, August 19, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Lower Third Straight Week; Treasury Curve Inverts

Stocks took another turn for the worse, the third straight week in which the major averages shed points. That would constitute a trend, especially considering what happened on the Treasury yield curve, where the two-year note inverted against the 10-year-note, yielding - for a short time - one basis point more than its longer-term counterpart.

Additionally, bonds with negative yields globally moved beyond the $16 trillion mark, with Germany, among other EU countries, having its entire bond complex falling below zero yield.

Those two events in bond-land are going to prove to be crippling to global growth and the effects are already becoming apparent.

Negative interest rates destroy the time value of money. Debt is discarded. Without debt, there is no money, except for that which has no interest or counterparty. That would be gold, silver, hard assets. Gold and silver have been rallying while national central-bank fiat currencies fluctuate against each other in the desperate race to the bottom.

The idea that the country which can devalue its currency fastest and lowest will be the winner in the trade arena is offset by the fact that weak currencies - while great for exporters - are not necessarily good for that nation's consumers, because imports would necessarily become more dear.

The desire to send interest rates into negative territory - a concept launched by the Japanese and quickly taken up by Europe after the GFC - is a marker for the death of currencies, i.e., fiat money.

Negative rates are inherently deflationary, which is exactly what central banks wish to avoid, because it voids their franchise. Fiat money - which is in use globally - will die, not by hyperinflation, but by hyper-deflation.

That has been the working thesis at Money Daily since 2008, and it appears to finally be setting off into a new phase.

Facts must be faced. After the crash in 2008, banks became insolvent and were bailed out by trillions of dollars, yen and euros from central banks, which, by their very nature of money creation out of thin air, are also insolvent. Most governments are either deeply in debt or insolvent, with massive debts to their central banks offset by national resources (see Greece). Most people's finances are in a state of insolvent, with debt far outweighing assets. That leaves corporations, large and small, as the only solvent entities in the world, though many of those corporations are also insolvent, with more debt than equity, and much of their equity accounted for by stock buybacks. When the market takes a meaningful dive, many of these corporations will be prime bankruptcy targets, though the government would almost surely step in - as it did with the banks and General Motors during the crisis - with freshly-minted money to stave off creditors.

All roads lead back to the fiat money system and fractional reserve banking.

We have broken countries undertaking broken trade in broken markets. Mal-investments and wealth inequality are proliferating. Big government, running enormous deficits, carries on the fraud of counterfeiting by central banks. The currencies commonly used in exchange are worth nothing more than the ink and paper upon which are printed the pretty pictures and numbers. They are all debt instruments and negative interest rates extinguish debt. The world is headed for a radical reconfiguration of the monetary system.

At the Close, Friday, August 16, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,886.01, +306.61 (+1.20%)
NASDAQ: 7,895.99, +129.37 (+1.67%)
S&P 500: 2,888.68, +41.08 (+1.44%)
NYSE Composite: 12,580.41, +170.91 (+1.38%)

For the Week:
Dow: -401.43 (-1.53%)
NASDAQ: -63.15 (-0.79%)
S&P 500: -29.97 (-1.03%)
NYSE Composite: -168.01 (-1.32%)
Dow Transports: -239.89 (-2.35%)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ignore the Noise as Markets Grind Bond Yields Toward Zero

Thursday's trading saw more of the usual up-and-down twerking that usually accompanies large moves in either direction. After Wednesday's rout - the fourth-largest point decline on the Dow Industrials - some bounce was expected, and it did occur early, though markets slipped into the red midday before being rescued by apparently-optimistic investors (central banks, PPT) into the close.

Interesting is the idea that Wednesday's selloff was not met with more panic in the media and by the general public. Stocks have been volatile since October of last year, so the possibility that people are zoned out from the near-constant drubbing and recovery is real.

People should actually care that their college retirement funds are at so much risk in stocks, but that doesn't seem to be the case among the 401K crowd. Getting used to uncertainty is a kind of Stockholm syndrome that is inimitable to the Wall Street casino. The general public may get agitated more over mass shootings, tweets by the president, or a bad call in an NFL game, but when it comes to the money betting on their futures, they are sheepish.

Maybe that's a good thing when talking about market noise, but an 800-point drop on the Dow is something that shouldn't be ignored or overlooked. There are damn good reasons stocks get hammered, and even passive investors should express at least a modicum of concern.

Be that as it may, Thursday was more of the noisy variety, though most other markets - bonds, commodities, futures, FX - were being bounced around pretty vigorously, especially treasury bonds, where the 10-year-note continues to fall, reaching for all-time lows.

The 10-year is hovering in the 1.47 - 1.65 range. The all-time low yield on the benchmark 10-year was 1.375, on July 5, 2016. Anybody wearing a thinking cap clearly sees where this recent decline is headed. With now $16 trillion in bonds yielding negative returns globally, US treasuries stick out like sore thumbs. In the race to the bottom, the 10-year will fall below the record low yield. It's simply a matter of time. Eventually, US bonds will likely carry negative yields as the global financial system, rescued by central banks in 2008-09, completely falls apart over the next three to five years.

Money is dying. Fiat money will die quite painfully.

At the Close, Thursday, August 15, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,579.39, +99.97 (+0.39%)
NASDAQ: 7,766.62, -7.32 (-0.09%)
S&P 500: 2,847.60, +7.00 (+0.25%)
NYSE Composite: 12,409.54, +41.49 (+0.34%)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Stocks Crumble As Treasury Yield Curve Inverts; 30-year Tumbles Below 2%

It is certainly getting interesting in terms of global economics.

National currencies are in a race to the bottom, and Japan and the EU are winning.

With more than $14 trillion worth of bonds holding negative yields (you get back less than you invested), the world is looking like a place headed for disaster. European and Japanese bonds have the most negative yielding bonds. Their economies are not just heading for a recession, they're diving into depression territory.

There is no growth and that's not to blame on Trump's tariffs. In fact, the tariffs have little to nothing to do with the state of global trade. All economies are slowing. There's entirely too much uncertainty, piled atop too much malinvestment, coupled with an aging demographic, for which to promote any kind of meaningful growth.

By this time next year, expect to see at least six of the major developed nations in recession. The most likely candidates would be Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. Notably absent from the list are the US, Australia, Great Britain, and Canada. Since China claims to be still growing, they will admit only to slowing down, to about 3% growth, which might as well be a recession. India, which is not a developed nation (nor is China), is already a basket case.

These recessions will not end easily, and the US, Britain, and Canada will likely recede as well, but not quite as soon as the other nations, mostly European, because Brexit is going to change the dynamic to some degree. The EU is going to lose Britain as a trading partner come October 31. That is a near certainty and long overdue.

The US, Australia, and Canada will sign agreements with Britain to continue trade on a reasonable, fair basis. Europe will be shut out of any such agreement, due to their unwillingness to allow Britain an orderly exit for some three years running. The genii in the EU parliament have made their beds and will have to sleep in them. The populations of the EU countries should rightly riot since EU governance, in conjunction with their national leaders have sold them down the proverbial river via lax immigration standards and horrible economic policies.

In the end - though it may take some time - the EU will dissolve, disintegrate. It may take war, or it may take anger from the Greeks, Spanish, Irish or Italians to tip the EU contract overboard, but it will happen.

For the present, however, the world is focused on stocks and bonds, and stocks are not faring well. Wednesday's disaster was the worst trading day of 2019, rivaling some of the hours of last December.

With a global recession looming, investors may be rushing the exits at various stages over the coming months. Adding to the malaise is the upcoming US elections, whereby strident Democrats seek to unseat Mr. Trump. None have shown the qualities to lead or offer any reasonable path to a stable future. Trump should rightly win in a landslide.

With that, the 30-year bond became the latest victim of upside-down economics and the flight to safety, dipping below 2.00% in yield for the first time EVER. The entire treasury curve is now not only yielding less than two percent, it is inverted, and all of it is yielding lower returns than the effective overnight federal funds rate (2.11%).

We are witnessing the death of fiat money in real time. In the meantime, look for a short-lived relief rally which could extend through the rest of August. Real selling should commence after Labor Day.

At the Close, Wednesday, August 14, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,479.42, -800.49 (-3.05%)
NASDAQ: 7,773.94, -242.42 (-3.02%)
S&P 500: 2,840.60, -85.72 (-2.93%)
NYSE Composite: 12,368.05, -356.32 (-2.80%)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Stocks Rally On Trump Tariff Turnback; PMs Slammed, Bonds Not Buying It As Curve Inverts

Tuesday's miraculous stock market rally was fueled by the silliest of news.

The US Trade Representative (USTR), led by Robert E. Lighthizer, announced the delay of some of the proposed tariffs to be imposed upon China come September 1, rolling back the date on some consumer-sensitive items to December 15.

The government also mentioned that trade reps from both countries would speak by phone in the near future.

Thus, stocks were off to the races, having been given a big, fat one to knock out of the park.

Obviously, such news only makes for one-day wonders on Wall Street and an opportunity to smack down real money - gold and silver - in the process. Precious metals had extended their rallies and were soaring overnight. Traders in the futures complex felt best to sell, all at once, apparently.

Meanwhile, short-dated treasuries were being whipsawed, with the yield on the 2-year note rising from 1.58% to 1.66%, while the 10-year note gained a smaller amount, the yield rising from 1.65% to 1.68%.

Overnight, as Tuesday turned to Wednesday in the US, the two-year yield briefly surpassed that of the 10-year by one basis point. This marks the first time the 2s-10s have inverted since 2005. Because such an inversion almost always indicates imminent recession, this spurred headlines across the financial media, with Yahoo Finance screaming in all caps, YIELD CURVE INVERTS.

One shouldn't get too excited about this startling, yet widely-anticipated event. Each of the last seven recessions (dating back to 1969) were preceded by the 10-year falling below the 2-year, but in the most recent instance - December 27, 2005 - the recession didn't actually get underway until the third quarter of 2007, as precursor of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). The last time there was an inverted 2s-10s yield curve was May 2007.

Naturally, haters of President Donald J. Trump are enthusiastically cheering for a recession prior to the 2020 elections, and they may get their wish. Stocks have been running on fumes for about 18 months, a bear market indicated by Dow Theory as far back as April 9, 2018.

The onset of recession, after the first instance of the 2s-10s inversion, normally occurs eight to 24 months hence.

With the hopes of Democrats taking back the White House riding on anything from Russian election interference to trade wars with China to recession, the leftists are pushing on various strings, hoping for something - anything - to trip up the celebrity president.

They have a 15-month lead time on recession, so their chances are about 50/50. If the recession occurs after the election, which Donald J. Trump will almost surely win, they may conclude that having a recession in ones' second term is an impeachable offense.

This story is developing, so watch something else.

[sarcasm noted]

Monday, August 12, 2019

Far From Ordinary Times For National Economies

Empires rise and fall. Nations traverse through periods of feast and famine, disputes with other nations, sometimes wars, and economic booms and busts. History is rife with stories detailing the life and times of nations and their leaders.

The vast majority of nations today face conditions that are far from normal.

There are at least three major migrations taking place, Africans to Europe, Chinese to Africa, and South Americans to North America. These are disruptive events, not only for the individuals involved but for the entire populations of the nations affected. Changes are gradual, mostly, but the mundane can be cracked by atrocities, absurdities and maladjustments committed by migrants in the clash of cultures.

Such conditions are prevalent in Europe and the United States, with migration reaching epidemic proportions. Indeed, President Trump himself calls the illegal immigration at the southern US border an "invasion." He is not wrong. The United States was built on the back of immigrants - legal ones - whose individual efforts and respect for their fellows built the greatest nation on Earth.

Illegal immigration is challenging the normative behavior of well-established citizens. According to certain left-leaning politicians and a corrupted media, illegal immigrants should receive free health care, free schooling, and largely, freedom from gainful employment. Ordinary, established US citizens do not receive such largesse, nor should they. Nor should the illegal entrants, who have violated our borders, broken our laws and flaunted the lifestyles and even the national flags of whence they came.

Such activity is largely disruptive to the fine working condition of a nation and the United States has been building to this state of affairs for more than 40 years. Estimates of people living in the US illegally range from 11 million to as many as 60 million people. The higher end of that range is probably closest to the truth, which is why immigrants - mostly the illegal ones - disrespect US laws, commit crimes, and take advantage of an overly generous social framework and increasingly undisciplined judicial process.

The condition in many European countries is far worse, where theft, rape, and other human crimes are committed with impunity. Often, if an immigrant is accused of crime, there exists no punishment. The system feeds upon itself and eventually fails to protect the national culture.

That is not all. Every nation on earth is controlled economically by an unelected elite, otherwise know as a central bank. In Europe, where the financial condition is dire, all nations on the continent are controlled by one central bank, the ECB. Nations have usurped their right to issue currency, having been overwhelmed by the collectivist desires of the European Union. The ECB issues fiat currency, in the form of a counterfeit euro, bolstered most recently by negative interest rates because the system is a fraud and it imploded over 10 years ago, during the Great Financial Crisis. The global central banks added untold amounts of liquidity, but it will never be enough because the crisis is one not of liquidity, but of solvency. All central banks create currency out of thin air, charge interest for its use, and, via the magic of fractional reserve lending, multiply the amount of currency in circulation by ghastly amounts.

The system is broken and will remain broken until it is completely rejected by the various populaces which employ it. That moment in time is unknowable, but it is inevitable.

There is more.

Great Britain, wise enough to keep their currency - the pound - national in nature, is attempting to exit the EU, but has been met with resistance three years since a national referendum preferred exiting, or, in common parlance, Brexit.

This is a further disruption to the status quo, and the elites will have none of it.

President Donald J. Trump, of the United States, foments more radical departures, not the least of which being his penchant for fair trade via tariffs. For three decades, the globalists have promulgated their "free trade" jingoism, which is commonly broken, cheated upon, corrupted, deceitful, unequal, and decrepit. Global trade should well collapse, and if President Trump's tariffs are the agent of change, all the better.

Thus, these days are far from normal. Superficially, people go about their business as if nothing is brewing beneath the casual calm. There will be a shock, probably multiple shocks, similar to, and many of them larger than the events of 2007-2009.

How long the politicians, bankers, and the media can keep a lid on the calamity that is bubbling up below, is anyone's guess, but their time is running short. Currencies will collapse, nations will fall, there will be wars.

It would pay to keep a sharp eye on one's assets, hard and soft. Anything that is not well-protected can be stolen away in a flash. Consider the number of security breaches at financial institutions as warnings. The money is unsafe. Hard assets are safer, but must be protected, defended.

All of this is frighteningly real and happening at breakneck speed. The usual media sources will not tell you the truth. You must find it on your own.

Ten years is a long time for the central banks and their friends to keep the spinning plates of a corrupt, defunct global financial construct from experiencing inertia and crashing to the floor, shattering into millions of tiny, unrecoverable pieces.

The spinning will end. Everything will change.

At the Close, Monday, August 12, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,897.71, -389.73 (-1.48%)
NASDAQ: 7,863.41, -95.73 (-1.20%)
S&P 500: 2,883.09, -35.56 (-1.22%)
NYSE Composite: 12,586.24, -162.18 (-1.27%)

WEEKEND WRAP: Another Shaky Week for Stocks; Bond, Gold, Silver Rallies Extend

As the global ponzi turns, the week now left behind shares a trails of tears and cheers, sadness for equity holders, joyous celebrations in the bond pits as US rates re-approach the zero-bound (despite the Fed's reluctance).

While stocks bounced like a rubber ball on a string, the losses were limited by some mysterious dip-buying mid-week as news flow changed not just by the day, but seemingly by the hour.

At the same time, the bond market in the US was mimicking Japan and Europe, grinding yields lower, with the 10-year note closing out the week at 1.74%, which is lower than the 1,2,3,6-month and one-year yields, making the case for an already inverted yield curve. The 2-year continues to be resilient, though one has to wonder how much longer it can hold the narrow margin below the 10-year, which is currently a scant 11 basis points (1.63%).

Precious metals have also benefitted from global uncertainty, with gold hovering around $1500 and silver teasing the $17.00 mark. Both are significantly higher from lows spotted in late May. The ascent of the metals has been swift and without any major pullback. If the metals are in an overbought condition, they certainly aren't showing any signs of it. As usual, however, the persistence of central banks to keep "real money" on its heels is probably keeping PMs from going vertical. That story seems to have no end, except that a hyperbolic rise in gold and silver would signal the death of not just the US dollar, but probably all fiat currencies in use by every nation, developed or not. After fiat finds its proper value (ZERO), barter will follow. It's a natural progression. The central question, as has been for centuries, is, "what do you give for a live chicken?"

Though it may appear that the global economy is about to implode, it's useful to be reminded that the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) is well beyond its 10th anniversary, thanks to massive infusions of counterfeit fiat ladled out to the unwashed by the BOJ, FRS, BOE, SNB, PBOC, ECB. Spelling out the acronyms somehow yields negative interest rates and the death of money. Nobody knows when this will occur, but it will, and the effects will devastate many. Think billions of people, not just millions.

In the interim, as the world is roiled by international, geopolitical events, the wall of worry is being built upon the current crises (not in any particular order):

  • The Epstein "suicide"
  • Honk Hong protests
  • Brexit
  • Trade War and tariffs
  • Middle East tensions
  • Mass Shootings, Gun Control Legislation, Red Flaw Laws (won't happen)
  • 2020 presidential election hijinks
  • Ongoing migrations (Africa to Europe, South America to North America, China to Africa)

That's more than enough to keep traders up at night and on their collective toes during the days ahead.

Incidentally, all of this anguish has shielded the markets somewhat from a less-than-rousing second quarter earnings season, even as the corporates float through the third quarter. The Dow Transports re-entered correction territory two weeks past week and extended it last week with the worst showing of all the US indices, by far.

Recession is almost a certainly, though it needn't be particularly horrible for the US, since employment is still strong, despite weakening earnings in the large cap corporate sector. Since the US is a very big country, different areas will be affected in different ways. Areas of the country that have been growing (most of the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest) will continue to do so, albeit at a slower pace. Those areas in decline (Northeast cities, California, rural enclaves) will see conditions worsen. Those areas in decline will continue to do so through good times and bad and some may be exacerbated by outflows of high income individuals due to SALT taxes. It's a big country, a panacea for speculators with long time horizons.

At the Close, Friday, August 9:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,287.44, -90.76 (-0.34%)
NASDAQ: 7,959.14, -80.02 (-1.00%)
S&P 500: 2,918.65, -19.44 (-0.66%)
NYSE Composite: 12,748.42, -80.38 (-0.63%)

For the Week:
Dow Industrials: -197.57 (-0.75%)
Dow Jones Transports: -167.22 (-1.61%)
NASDAQ: -44.93 (-0.56%)
S&P 500: -13.40 (-0.46%)
NYSE Composite: -91.08 (-0.71%)

Friday, August 9, 2019

Stocks Jittery On Trade, Economies, Recession


Still on the road...

Watching the various global indices, it's obvious that the markets are quite jittery. A single headline can move stocks up or down, depending on the news. It's very knee-jerk right now and not a good time to be taking positions, unless you're short some China-US trade and well-hedged.

The US and China are to going to work out their differences right away, so it's a good bet that President Trump's promised 10% tariffs on a wider range of imports will come to bear on September 1, which is just three weeks away.

In the meantime, European economies are looking very weak, with some countries on the verge of recession. Britain already announced a second quarter slowdown and more should be forthcoming from various parts of the continent. If Germany falls into recession, there will be a bloodbath in stocks and bonds yields could collapse even further into the negative.

All this suggests a global rout in the not-so-distant future.

It's been a hellish two weeks and Friday, August 9, is shaping up to be deadly for the long side.

At the Close, Thursday, August 8, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,378.19, +371.09 (+1.43%)
NASDAQ: 8,039.16, +176.33 (+2.24%)
S&P 500: 2,938.09, +54.11 (+1.88%)
NYSE Composite: 12,828.82, +195.82 (+1.55%)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Panic Sets in as US-China Trade Spat Intensifies


On the road, so this will be a drive-by posting...

On Monday, stocks suffered their worst session of 2019 after China, without warning, devalued their currency, the yuan, in response to US demands for increased tariffs on imports.

President Trump announced that he would tack on a 10% tariff on a variety of Chinese goods - many of them consumer staples - on September first. The response from China was not entirely unexpected, though it took Wall Street and stock traders around the globe, mostly by surprise.

Intraday, the Dow was lower by more than 900 points, but rallied slightly into the close. It was still one of the worst days in recent memory for all US indices.

As Tuesday's trading approaches, US futures have turned positive as China pegged its currency at a higher level overnight, to everyone's relief.

While Monday's panic may appear to be a one-off, the trade war continues to roil markets on a regular basis. Until the two major trading partners agree to play nice and work out some kind of long-term deal, these kinds of shock events will continue to plague investors.

At the close, Monday, August 5, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,717.74, -767.27 (-2.90%)
NASDAQ: 7,726.04, -278.03 (-3.47%)
S&P 500: 2,844.74, -87.31 (-2.98%)
NYSE Composite: 12,497.31, -342.20 (-2.67%)

Monday, August 5, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Worst Week Of Year For Stocks

Stocks were pretty well hammered this week, as shown in the figures below.

What did them in was not that the FOMC eased for the first time since 2008, but that it was only 25 basis points. Everybody, including President Trump, was looking for a 50 basis point cut, and they didn't get it, so market participants, already concerned at the ongoing tariff war with China, sold the news (after buying the rumor).

The drop was hardly anything to get excited over as all markets were down less than four percent. The coming week may outdo this last one however, as China has upped the ante Monday by devaluing the yuan (further proof that the Chinese are currency manipulators, along with everything else we don't like about them) and halting US agricultural imports.

These developments are very bad for a jittery market and this one has a case of the DTs. Watch for either a cascading, waterfall type event or some intervention by our friends at the NY Fed, those hale and hearty fellows that saved the Dow with a 200-point boost in the final half hour of trading on Friday. They're likely to be quite busy buying stocks again this week.

Keep a close eye on the divergence between big caps and small-to-mid caps. The smaller stocks are in danger of entering correction or even bear markets for some. They're not supported by the funds nor the fed, so they may be the first dominoes to fall in a crisis, which is entirely possible at this juncture.

Since the federal government has already put in place a moratorium on the debt ceiling, don't expect a September swoon, as we've seen so often when the government can't agree on a budget. With the agreement signed last week, the Trump administration and the congress has committed to spending well beyond whatever is allocated or budgeted. A trillion dollar deficit has now become the norm, though tariff income may begin to whittle away at that (there is some silver lining to the tariffs).

Generally, markets are looking quite unstable and another 3-4% decline could be in the cards. There are few catalysts for upside development. Gold and silver are not going anywhere, despite the howls coming from the Goldbugs and Silver Surfers. The rally has topped out. There may be a little movement to the upside, but it won't be allowed to develop into anything outstanding. When gold goes past $1500 and silver sells for more than $18 an ounce, that may be the time to change one's outlook.

WTI crude is going to end up in the $40s per barrel price by October, if not sooner. There's a massive glut and the economy is by no means overheating. Besides, nobody in the oil business wants to correctly identify the impact of solar, wind, increased efficiency in auto engines, or conservation by US drivers (who are getting older by the day and thus drive less and less).

The world is not going to come to an end this week, but we may be treated to a preview of what it will look like. 2023 is the outlier.

BTW: The 10-year treasury note is likely to sink below 1.50% THIS YEAR. Good for bond sellers and debtors. There is no inflation than cannot be sidestepped with alternatives or smart shopping.

At the Close, Friday, August 2, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,485.01, -98.41 (-0.37%)
NASDAQ: 8,004.07, -107.05 (-1.32%)
S&P 500: 2,932.05, -21.51 (-0.73%)
NYSE COMPOSITE: 12,839.51, -81.31 (-0.63%)

For the Week:
Dow: -707.44 (-2.60%)
Dow Transports: -402.24 (-3.73%)
NASDAQ: -326.14 (-3.92%)
S&P 500: -93.81 (-3.10%)
NYSE COMPOSITE: -396.00 (-2.99%)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Stocks Slammed As Trump Targets Tariffs At China; Gold Bid; Payrolls, Unemployment Steady


Stocks swooned for the second straight session after President Trump announced that he would be adding a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports beginning September 1.

The president noted that China had backed down on previous commitments to purchase farm produce from US farmers and to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States.

Markets reacted with the usual disfavor, erasing earlier gains and slumping deep into negative territory. Apparently, nothing can help the market disengage from negativity. Wednesday's 1/4-point easing of the federal funds rate caused a mini-crash and Thursday's small tariff hike sent dealers to the sell buttons.

On the same news, gold caught a tailwind, rising from a low of $1400 to nearly $1448 in just over seven hours. Silver also gained, but not nearly in the manner of gold. Silver was around $16.30 an ounce as US trading closed and has been trending lower early Friday morning.

WTI crude oil took a nosedive on Thursday, recording its worst one-day performance in four years, with futures dipping below $54 per barrel in late Thursday trading.

As US markets prepare for the final session of the week, Asian and European indices headed lower, with most of the major bourses down more than two percent. After European PMIs all showed contraction - and with the outlook for a "no deal" Brexit a real possibility by the end of October - traders on the continent are voting with their feet, leaving behind a wake of battered stock prices. Europe is most definitely headed for a recession soon, though a US recession is still not an apparent reality.

While the rest of the world struggles to maintain their economies, under the leadership of Donald Trump, the US appears to have a real advantage, the dollar strengthening while the bond market rallies. The US 10-year treasury blasted through the two percent line on Thursday, currently holding with a yield around 1.89%.

In breaking news, July non-farm payrolls came mostly in line with expectations at 164,000 new jobs added during the month. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% and year-over-year wages increased at a 3.2% rate.

Us stock futures are trending off their lows as the opening bell approaches.

At the close, Thursday, August 1, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,583.42, -280.85 (-1.05%)
NASDAQ: 8,111.12, -64.30 (-0.79%)
S&P 500: 2,953.56, -26.82 (-0.90%)
NYSE COMPOSITE: 12,920.82, -145.78 (-1.12%)