Monday, March 21, 2011

Meltdown in Japan, Melt-up in US Stocks

Absurdity has found a new home: the US equity markets.

Somebody wake me up when the nightmare is over, because I cannot find any good reason to buy stocks right now, so, I must be dreaming.

War planes fly over Libya and Israeli jets take out a Hammas stronghold in Gaza. So, that's the good news, right? R-r-r-r-i-g-h-t. The Japanese government is lying to its people about radioactivity levels. That must be the bad news. And AT&T is going to gobble up T-Mobile, so we'll have one fewer cell phone provider. Does anyone recall the day that AT&T was broken up because its business constituted a monopoly?

Don't worry, the hologram of Eric Holder will do nothing. Anti-trust? In trust we trust, I guess.

The following numbers mean nothing. It's all just a paper moon.

Dow 12,036.53, +178.01 (1.50%)
NASDAQ 2,692.09, +48.42 (1.83%)
S&P 500 1,298.38, +19.18 (1.50%)
NYSE Composite 8,256.36, +139.96 (1.72%)

Advancing issues absolutely slaughtered decliners, 5182-1379. Stocks shot up at the open and stayed afloat all day. NASDAQ registered 90 new highs and 30 new lows. The NYSE had 129 new highs and just 9 new lows. Pathetic. Volume was in an abyss, especially on the NASDAQ.

NASDAQ Volume 1,766,817,250
NYSE Volume 5,027,389,500

WTI hit $102.33 a barrel on the NYMEX, up $1.26 on the day. Gold soared $10.30, to $1,426.40. Silver was up 94 cents to an even $36.00. Both are approaching recent multi-year or record highs. But everything is just fine. Notice how the news media shifted focus away from Japan and towards Libya. Well, guns and rockets and missiles launched from warships is much more entertaining than those invisible radioactive isotopes being spewed continuously into the air and the sea in Japan. So, bang, bang, bang. It's good TV.

We have entered an age in our culture in which nothing really makes much sense any more. Spend $200,000 for your kid's education so he or she can get a $35,000 a year job and have to pay back a mountain of debt. Blow up a country for its oil. Don't report on uncontrolled radioactivity that will kill thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe more. Buy stocks because some broker who knows less about economics and money than you do told you it was a good deal. Sit back and relax, watch TV. This is March Madness, after all, and we're not talking basketball.

BTW: According to the Supreme Court, the Fed will have to release documents relating to loans taken out by banks from the discount window in April and May, 2008, before the stock market crash.

They knew. But they wouldn't tell you.

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