Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All Global Markets Feeling the Pinch; Jobs, Housing Apply Pressure

Maybe I was a bit too harsh in recent postings, calling US stock exchanges things like, "the laughing stock of the world," and "overtly manipulated."

This was the conclusion I came to after seeing this headline: Europe shares fall, ending 9-day rally; BP slides, as I had no idea that the European bourses had embarked upon such a ridiculous rally. Knowing they had been advancing in recent days, along with the Euro itself, seemed commonplace, until the headline shook me out of the doldrums and back to reality.

It makes a great deal of sense, realistically, that the Euro-zone nations would ply the same heavy-handed collusion that makes US markets zig, zag, sway to and fro on a moments notice, with or without news or even rumors, until after the fact. All of the European economies and those in North America are under the same gun: they must print money or die, as their currencies become more and more worthless pieces of paper. Accordingly, officials at the various central banks must look dutiful, despite knowing their vain efforts will eventually come to naught.

A nine-day rally across the continent is thus no surprise, merely an extension of the supra-market powers held by the major banks and financial institutions, blessed by the central banking cartel. Their only option is to inflate assets, create money and pray that they may liquidate their own assets and run to a developing nation before the populace comes for them with pitchforks in hand and torches ablaze.

This makes even more sense in light of Monday's faux rally, based entirely on hopes that China's revaluation of the Yuan might stimulate some economic activity for their beleaguered economies. Apparently, most of the insider financiers forgot that China is primarily an importer of raw materials and an exporter of finished goods, and that condition doesn't necessarily stack up to much of anything positive for the Euro-Anglo-American alliance, which has gone from Empire to empty over the past 60 years.

China continues on a powerful growth pathway, along with India, Brazil, Russia and many other previously-underdeveloped countries which now benefit from globalization without the excessive burden of decades worth of unfunded liabilities in health care and pensions. One can also throw Japan into the failing-developed world mix, since they began an accelerated path of destruction nearly twenty years ago and haven't been able to shake off persistent deflation in their internal economy.

Once it was clear that European markets were heading South, it didn't take long for the US to follow the lead on Tuesday. With the S&P and Dow crossing over the flat line throughout the morning and early afternoon, the NASDAQ finally succumbed and headed permanently into the red zone after 2:00 pm as stocks closed at or near session lows for the second straight day. Losses in all the major US indices accelerated through the closing hour of trade. The Dow and S&P closed below their respective 200-day moving averages, while the NASDAQ finished precariously hovering over its own 200-day MA.

Adding to the nightmarish scenario was more data suggesting another round of price declines in the US housing market, though much different in quality from the subprime bust of 2008-2009. The new paradigm is closely related to jobs, which still are not being created in the private sector and likely won't. No jobs means no mortgage payment and further defaults and foreclosures for the major banks.

The vicious deflationary cycle is gaining momentum on the back of deplorable employment and housing environments. Today's release of existing home sales for May by the NAR evidenced a 2.2% decline month-over-month. The weak housing market is being exacerbated by continued weakness in the jobs market and resetting of millions of adjustable rate mortgages sold from 2005-2006, most of which carry a balloon second loan set to expire - and need to be refinanced - this year and next.

With employment conditions as poor as they are, many homeowners in this condition will not be able to secure bridge financing and will fall into default and foreclosure, adding more of a glut to an already-over-saturated residential market. The result will be another breakdown in price by anywhere from 10-25%, depending on the market.

Dow 10,293.52, -148.89 (1.43%)
NASDAQ 2,261.80, -27.29 (1.19%)
S&P 500 1,095.31, -17.89 (1.61%)
NYSE Composite 6,858.95, -119.91 (1.72%)

Declining issues continued to dominate advancers, just as they had on Monday, 5054-1483, but the bearish camp had additional ammunition for their argument Tuesday as new lows nearly surpassed new highs, losing out narrowly, 105-93. Volume was decidedly thin, though velocity may not be an issue during what seems to be setting up as a long, hot summer of decline.

NYSE Volume 5,205,686,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,801,127,500

Commodities did little better than equities on the day. Oil lost 61 cents, to $77.21, while gold added a marginal gain of 20 cents to finish at $1,239.90. Silver added 9 cents in price, to $18.90.

Stocks continue to be highly speculative, volatile and risky in this environment and no place for retirement savings, which is, unfortunately, where most of Americans are invested, either through their own 401K plans or state-funded pensions. Another severe downturn in stocks could easily spark a panic similar to the one in 2008, though this time the consequences may be even more severe.

The doomsday scenario may take as long as another five to seven years in which to be played out, so many investors and hard-working middle class Americans may still have time to fortify their financial defenses.

Reiterating the advice of the past year and a half: Cash and equivalents, arable land and tools of trade are suitable long-term investments for financial survival.

A double dip in virtually all important measures of economic activity seems almost a certainty at this point. Stocks could tumble as much as 30% by year's end, if not more.

No comments: