Thursday, August 16, 2012

Speculators Step Up to End Dull Trade with a Bang

Think zero interest rate policy and money for virtually free doesn't have its upside?

Ask fund and managed account managers what they think of this trading environment and they'll likely respond in unanimity that it's never been better. After eight straight days of lackluster, low-volume trading, the wheeler-dealers went to work in concerted fashion, driving all risk assets higher on Thursday.

When the biggest banks and their trading arms can borrow money at 25 basis points or less overnight, what happens is trading like today, shutting off the noise about a sputtering, topped out market with a quick, one-day ramp up on strong volume for a nice turn of profit for the week.

The particular catalyst could be anything, from Angela Merkel's comments today about floating more bailout money to save the Euro, to benign initial claims figures (op a mere 2,000 from the prior week, to 366,000), to July housing starts dropping to 746,000 annualized from 754,000 or the Philadephia Fed's manufacturing index gaining to -7.1 in August from July's horrific -12.1. Well, forget those last two as they don't quite fit the hopium narrative.

Indeed, if conditions on Wall Street get any better, the feds may just cancel the November election and proclaim President Obama the winner by default. After all, the campaign money flows from Wall Street and other major investors, multi-millionaires and billionaires to the candidates or their PACs, and Wall Street has been having a rousing good time the past three-and-a-half years. Why end the party now?

At some point, analysts are going to poke around the numbers a bit and find that stocks are extremely overvalued, priced for perfection, at levels unsustainable for the long run unless corporations severely fudge their books to show better-than-expected results (oh, that's never been done before, not in America).

It doesn't matter what analysts or the best chartists in the business conclude, however. Stocks will continue to go up as long as markets continue to be manipulated by the central planners scattered around the globe in investment houses, central banks and government ivory towers.

What's that? You don't believe the US markets are not manipulated? Maybe you need a little convincing from experts in the field.

Take J.S. Kim, for example, who posits that potential gold and silver investors are continually fed disinformation about a market manipulated by contrived futures and trading patterns in a false, paper market

Perhaps one could take advice from Chris Martenson's commentary, headlined "What to Do When Every Market Is Manipulated?"

For a more general understanding, one could comb through the 29,800,000 results for the search term "market manipulation," and see what kind of gems are unearthed.

The control, rigging or manipulation of markets in the United States has been going on in a large manner ever since Ronald Reagan created, by executive order, the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (otherwise known as the PPT, or Plunge Protection Team) after the massive market crash in the wake of "Black Monday," when the Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 508 points Oct. 19, 1987 and was called into action again when Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) nearly brought down the house of cards in 1998.

After 9/11/2001, the PPT, as it became known, has been on keen alert to any signs of a meltdown in markets, but not even the heft and might of the underhanded, underground operatives of the government could deflect the market forces pushing against them in the fall of 2008.

Since then, the manipulation in equity markets has become almost overt, with the Fed guiding the way by the light of quantitative easing (QE) and ZIRP.

While here at Money Daily we deride the pimping and pumping of markets by insider forces, there comes a time when one must admit that investing in risk assets such as stocks and commodities over the past three years has never been easier. All one needs to do is hold a basket of stocks or index contracts long enough and they're sure to rise. It's become a permanent feature of US markets that they cannot fall for long and there is no end in sight to the manipulation.

It's just that easy for the rich to get richer and the rest of us to remain in a stupefied trance-like state of amazement and contentment.

Dow 13,250.11, +85.33 (0.65%)
NASDAQ 3,062.39, +31.46 (1.04%)
S&P 500 1,415.51, +9.98 (0.71%)
NYSE Composite 8,089.82, +60.81 (0.76%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,901,789,500
NYSE Volume 2,898,041,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3862-1572
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 230-30
WTI crude oil: 95.60, +1.27
Gold: 1,619.20, +12.60
Silver: 28.21, +0.40

No comments: