Monday, March 17, 2008

Bear Stearns Fire Sale; PPT Goes Into Overdrive

US stock markets get stranger and stranger every day. On Monday, the strangeness just went completely off the charts into new areas of weirdness.

Prior to the markets opening on Monday, the Federal Reserve took some specific actions. First, they lent tacit approval to the fire sale of Bear Stearns (BSC) to JP Morgan for $2 per share by announcing that the Fed would guarantee up to $30 billion in Bears' debt. Second, they lowered the discount rate a quarter point (25 basis points) to 3.25%; third, they extended the term of "discount window" lendings from 30 to 90 days, and fourth, they opened the discount window to brokerages and securities dealers.

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This last maneuver was the real cake-taker. The discount window has always been reserved to borrowing by member banks. All others were excluded. By opening the discount window to brokerages, the Fed has now become not just the lender of last resort, but the ultimate bailout arbiter for all the corrupt practitioners in the brokerage business.

With that, the Fed is telling the American public that the health and welfare of Wall Street is more important than the actual value of the currency.

In other words, Americans can kiss their dollars good bye. Already worth less than half of what they were 10 years ago, US greenbacks will soon be worth almost nothing in comparison to other established currencies such as the Euro, Yen, Yuan and Swiss Franc. Anyone close to the Canadian border would be well advised to convert all US treasury notes into Loonies, and soon.

Essentially, the Fed has no plan to save the nation from falling into recession other than to prop up failed Wall Street brokerages. We should all be reminded that the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, issues nothing but scrip, or fiat money, backed by nothing more than good will and blind faith.

The Fed has acted as the nation's bank since 1913, before the Great Depression, and since it wasn't summarily discarded during that fiasco, the Fed has been allowed to act illegally as the main minter of money ever since.

The US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 clearly defines the powers of Congress (not the Federal Reserve): "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;"

The dollar fell to historic lows against the Euro and the Yen. Officials from Japan and at major banking interests called the dollar's decline "concerning, dangerous and unwelcome."

Foreign markets were battered well before the US stock exchanges opened, and when the US exchanges did open, they collapsed immediately. The Dow tumbled nearly 200 points within the first ten minutes, marking the last "normal" move of the day.

By 11:00 am the Dow was at the unchanged mark and it crisscrossed the break even line until finally closing positively.

Dow 11,972.25 +21.16; NASDAQ 2,177.01 -35.48; S&P 500 1,276.60 -11.54; NYSE Composite 8,489.38 -146.54

No matter how you slice and dice the news, when the NYSE Composite is down nearly 150 points, there's no way the Dow should be up at all. It's completely ludicrous and suggestive of more manipulation by the Fed and their clandestine agents to prevent what we all know is imminent: a crash.

Volume raged today as declining issues submerged advancers, 4993-1300. New lows swamped new highs, 1183-57. Just about one in five stocks hit a new 52-week low today. But those 30 Dow stocks are still safe bets, right? Sure.

With so much negative news concerning global economics, oil finally began selling off on demand concerns, losing $4.53 to $105.68. The distress only bolstered gold's price, which gained $3.10 to another new record close of $1002.60. Silver, which had been rising at an unprecedented pace, was slowed due to its use in industry, falling 36 cents to $20.30, still a remarkable figure.

After today's flamboyant Dow Jones display by the Wall Street crowd, stocks should be expected to fly tomorrow when the Fed announces yet another cut in the federal funds rate of anywhere from 50 to 100 basis points, which will lower that key rate from 3% to 2.50 or even a flat 2%.

The Fed is trying to borrow its way out of a credit crisis, which is like saving drowning victims by pouring more water upon them. It's a complete and utter mess, and sadly enough, the very same people who created the problems are now being called upon to right it. They can't, they won't and they are living and working on borrowed time and borrowed money. All of this is going to end very, very badly, and sooner rather than later.

NYSE Volume 5,783,798,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,381,058,250

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