Friday, February 14, 2014

So, This is Good-bye; Good Luck with Janet Yellen

After 1828 posts, spanning nine years (started in 2006), this may be the last post for Money Daily - at least in its current form. Perhaps at some point I will change the name to Finance Weekly or Rick's Occasional Posts on the Economy or something like that, but the effort involved in producing a relevant post every day (as opposed to the ridiculous ranting often seen here) seems to be not worth the effort anymore.

Since the economic collapse of 2008-09, the global financial system has been wildly distorted by the actions of central banks, primarily by the US Federal Reserve, via their Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) and Quantitative Easing (QE) mechanisms.

While Wall Street regulars laud praise upon former Chairman Ben Bernanke, and surely they will do the same with Janet Yellen, the Fed policies of the past six years have benefitted only banks and speculators, often those two disparate entities being one and the same. Surely, anybody who receives money at close to zero percent interest can make a buck, and it's even easier when you're in collusion with other bankers or speculators, as is the case with our current system.

Nothing other than the Fed matters when it comes to stocks, bonds, or even money in general. The Fed creates it out of thin air in copious amounts, and, even though they've recently cut back on their rampant printing - from $85 billion to a mere $65 billion per month - it's still a hugely distorting factor in all markets.

There is no stopping it, and any kind of qualitative analysis of financial markets must factor this element in as a major bulwark.

Thus, there is little to discuss on a day-to-day ongoing basis, because, in the end, nothing else matters or makes perfect sense, and, in economics, as in any "science," perfection is demanded, though all too often it is lacking, covered up by innuendo and a false sense of security supplied by the Fed and their lackeys in the financial media and Wall Street hack talkers, disguised as "analysts" for public consumption.

Since a more balanced, sustainable approach is preferred by your humble author, it's time to move on to other creative pursuits. I may, from time to time, pen a financial piece and post it here, but the numbing daily schedule will be no more.

It's been fun, for the most part, and I wish anyone and everyone who has gained from this the best in their investment and financial decisions. For my money, I prefer to keep stacking silver (which made an enormous move today), learn more about and engage in sustainable farming and leave the financial gimmickry to those better suited (pun intended) to that kind of soulless lying.

In closing, since we are engaged in a world that often makes little sense, a few lines from George Orwell's 1984:


Via con Dios, mis amigos!


DOW 16,154.39, +126.80 (+0.79%)
NASDAQ 4,244.03, +3.35 (+0.08%)
S&P 1,838.63, +8.80 (+0.48%)
10-Yr Note 100.06, +0.02 (+0.02%) Yield: 2.74%
NASDAQ Volume 1.73 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.10 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3417-2261
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 278-24
WTI crude oil: 100.30, -0.05
Gold: 1,318.60, +18.50
Silver: 21.42, +1.026
Corn: 445.25, +4.75

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yellen Testimony Delayed; Markets Rise Despite Lack of Noise

Was anybody not connected to the Wall Street/Washington Ponzi scheme really impressed with Janet Yellen?

The woman sounds like she's been speech-and-brain-impaired since childhood. Sure, she may be among the "best and brightest" but her answers to the softball questions proffered by the House Financial Services Committee didn't raise the bar of professional standards one centimeter, nor did they offer anything other than the usual, plodding "we-will-continue-to-print-until-we-don't" message the Fed's been spouting for the past three to four years.

Sorry, but it's boring, and Janet Yellen may be the "Chair" of the Fed, but she surely doesn't have the backs of regular American citizens. She works for banks, period.

So, paraphrasing our illustrious president, "if you like your Fed Chair, you can keep your Fed Chair."

A snowstorm pushed Yellen's scheduled Thursday testimony before the Senate Banking Committee back to next week. The markets, not wanting to wait until then, rallied anyway, on poor retail sales and unemployment data.

What a scheme. The markets are so distorted, it makes writing about them a difficult, annoying chore, almost not worth doing. This may be the final week of Money Daily.

DOW 16,027.59, +63.65 (+0.40%)
NASDAQ 4,240.67, +39.38 (+0.94%)
S&P 1,829.83, +10.57 (+0.58%)
10-Yr Note 100.05, +0.85 (+0.85%) Yield: 2.73%
NASDAQ Volume 2.08 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.25 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4143-1528
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 275-41
WTI crude oil: 100.35, -0.02
Gold: 1,300.10, +5.10
Silver: 20.40, +0.054
Corn: 440.50 , +0.50

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quiet Yellen, Dow's a'Sellin'

Since Fed Chair Janet Yellen wasn't stuttering... er, um, speaking today, stocks pretty much ran in place.

That's all there is to this market, for now, but, stick around, the game will change at some point.

We do note that gold has been tearing it up lately, silver a little less so (though it made up some ground today), and don't we all love crude oil over $100 per barrel?

One can also buy more corn toady with the same amount or less silver than yesterday, so that's the deflationary argument.

DOW 15,963.94, -30.83 (-0.19%)
NASDAQ 4,201.29, +10.24 (+0.24%)
S&P 1,819.26, -0.49 (-0.03%)
10-Yr Note 99.94, -0.13 (-0.13%) Yield: 2.76%
NASDAQ Volume 1.88 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.30 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2995-2698
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 232-36
WTI crude oil: 100.37, +0.43
Gold: 1,295.00, +5.20
Silver: 20.34, +0.188
Corn: 440.00, -1.50

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wall Street Goes Ga-Ga Over Fed Chair, Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen's testimony to congress and the subsequent question-answer period was a rather revolting display of crony capitalism in its most blatant form. Legislators swooned over the new Fed Chair (as she is now to be known), and Wall Street sent stocks to the moon, again.

Yellen's prepared testimony to the House Financial Services Committee:

Yellen Speech Feb 11

Bear in mind, these are the people/drones/robots elected/appointed to rule/run/govern the country/world/universe.

Hedge accordingly... or, just kill yourself now.

DOW 15,994.77, +192.98 (+1.22%)
NASDAQ 4,191.05, +42.87 (+1.03%)
S&P 1,819.75, +19.91 (+1.11%)
10-Yr Note 100.23, +0.01 (+0.01%) Yield: 2.72%
NASDAQ Volume 1.86 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.68 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3228-1494
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 190-32
WTI crude oil: 99.94, -0.12
Gold: 1,289.80, +15.10
Silver: 20.15, +0.041
Corn: 441.50, -1.50

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Follow Through After Phony Friday Rally

Following Friday's dismal non-farm payroll data for January, the subsequent scream higher in equity markets (stocks) and the Money Daily contention that the market was rigged and traditional valuation metrics useless, Monday brought some confirmation of our position, in that markets barely budged.

The generally-accepted theory - for today - is that markets and investors are awaiting Janet Yellen's testimony before congress Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, the newest -and first - Fed chairwoman will appear before the House Financial Services Committee. On Thursday, she addresses and takes questions from the Senate Banking Committee.

We'll take a different approach: BULL-PUCKEY! The reason markets didn't do much today is because they have nowhere to go after the massive ramping Thursday and Friday, on nothing but bad news, and the insiders are awaiting the influx of suckers to keep the rally going, so said insiders can SELL, SELL, SELL the stocks bought (at the behest of the NY Fed and the PPT) they bought last week that kept the market from entering a 10% correction.

Now, those suckers will surely appear at some point, soon after which the insiders will be selling, though not all at once, so as not to produce a self-reinforcing selling loop. No the selling will be niggling, nibbling, small amounts, though large enough to keep stock prices moderately higher or lower, for a while.

The key question at this juncture is not whether the market is manipulated - as it has been clearly demonstrated that all financial markets are manipulated - because, if the Fed isn't manipulating markets by its dual policy of ZIRP and QE, then what should we call it? No, the key question is how long it will take for the major indices to return to and exceed their recent all-time highs?

A month? Two? Six? It matters little, unless stocks tumble below their recent lows, because then, the fraud will be crystal clear and a correction will be in force, followed by a primary bear market.

The numbers to watch are these:
Dow: High: 16,576.66; Low: 15,372.80
S&P 500: High: 1,848.36' Low: 1,741.89
NASDAQ: High: 4,176.59; Low: 3,996.96

All of these figures are closing highs and lows and they all occurred on the same dates, the highs on December 31, 2013, the lows on February 3, 2014. Everything else in between is nothing but noise, but, it should be pointed out that the Dow, in particular, is a long way from those all-time highs, about 775 points away, and that matters.

So, what will the sociopaths of Wall Street and the crony capitalists in Washington DC dream up to achieve the facade of "recovery" this time? Or will they fight to the death over the debt ceiling all month long, only to resolve it in a late-night session, and then have the markets zoom forward? Any way they slice it, it's still one big stick of baloney, and not a choice cut, to boot.

A couple of other indications that support the theory that Thursday and, especially, Friday's rally was fake, are the slump in yield on the 10-year note, back down to 2.67% and stellar movement in gold and silver. If everything is supposed to be so fine and dandy, why then were investors rushing to safe haven assets on Monday?

There are more questions than answers, but, when dealing with fraud and fixing at such a high and clandestine level, there is much that is unknown and unseen, but, we've seen enough to know not to buy the sizzle nor the steak at this juncture.

DOW 15,801.79, +7.71 (+0.05%)
NASDAQ 4,148.17, +22.31 (+0.54%)
S&P 1,799.84, +2.82 (+0.16%)
10-Yr Note 100.65, +0.47 (+0.47%) Yield: 2.67%
NASDAQ Volume 1.68 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.30 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3338-2348
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 129-29
WTI crude oil: 100.06, +0.18
Gold: 1,274.70, +11.80
Silver: 20.11, +0.176
Corn: 443.00, -1.25

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fake, Fake, Fake Rally After Non-Farm Payroll Jobs Disappointment

With baited breath, the world awaits the January non-farm payroll report, and, when it is released, and it is far worse, far weaker than expected, stocks go straight up.

Yes, that's exactly what happened. Yes, it defies logic. NO, we're not buying it.

Just in case anybody hasn't noticed, banks, brokers and high government officials have variously been accused - and some even admitted (though untried and none convicted) - of manipulating Libor rates, FX markets, precious metals, mortgages, commodities, municipal bonds and probably every other financial asset where a market is made.

So, should it surprise anyone if stocks are manipulated, rigged, fixed, flogged, whipped and played to the whims of the rentier class?

No, it certainly should not.

While the handwriting is plain as day on the Wall Street walls, scrolled in the signature style of the PPT.

When the announcement was made at 8:30 am ET Friday morning, that the US created a mere 113,000 jobs in January - after posting a horrifying 74,000 (upgraded to 75,000 this morning) for December - stock futures headed due south, sending the implied opens for the major indices to morning lows.

However, within minutes, those losses in the futures markets were wiped away, as the futures galloped up, up and away, pointing to a counterintuitive higher open for US markets.

The Dow, together with Thursday's vapor ramp, put in the best two-day performance since October, and US markets still haven't had a 10% correction since August of 2011.

Apparently, one should believe that the lower jobs numbers are somehow good for the economy, in that the Fed may begin to "un-taper" their recent tapering of bond purchases and bring the legendary punch bowl back to the Wall Street jubilee, where the connected truly do get "money for nothing" and the chicks (and coke) for free.

Apparently, one should believe that $100-per-barrel crude oil and $3.50-4.00-a-gallon gas are good for the economy.

We wisened investors should also believe that gold is permanently priced at $1250 per ounce, silver at $20, all mortgage-backed securities are worth 100% of their par value, real estate never goes down, Janet Yellen and the rest of her Fed brethren have the best interests of the US citizenry at heart, pigs fly and flying unicorns that poop rainbows are real and are stabled in the basement of the Mariner-Eccles building.

We should embrace a president who openly lies, a congress which will not impeach, a spy agency who reads this, knows you are reading it, listens in on everything, everywhere, all the time, a steadily-declining median household income even in the face of the top 10% making more than ever, part-time jobs replacing full-time ones, taxes that only go up, regulations on everything and penalties for anything not covered by regulations.

It's all good, all the time, even if you're losing your home, having your kids taken from you and starving to death. At this pace, as the US economy plunges even deeper into depression than it already has, stocks should set all-time highs endlessly, without pause, forever.

For the record, Money Daily will stick to its call made days ago, that the market has turned from bull to bear, be proven wrong, but understand that nothing is really as it seems. As conditions in the real world worsen, they'll only get better on Wall Street, in Washington and on the paper facade that is CNBC and Bloomberg. Buy it, own it, be it.

Good is evil. War is peace. Love is hate. Stay short and get slaughtered. After all, if Wall Street doesn't take your phony paper money, Washington will.

Emerging market economies will always be emerging, and never become "developed" even if their GDP is larger than that of all the developed nations combined. And, besides, they don't matter.

George Orwell would be proud.

We have always been at war with Eastasia... or Eurasia.

DOW 15,794.08, +165.55 (+1.06%)
NASDAQ 4,125.86, +68.74 (+1.69%)
S&P 1,797.02, +23.59 (+1.33%)
10-Yr Note 100.57, +0.44 (+0.44%) Yield: 2.68%
NASDAQ Volume 1.92 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.75 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4216-1466
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 141-44
WTI crude oil: 99.88, +2.04
Gold: 1,262.90, +5.70
Silver: 19.94, +0.008
Corn: 444.25, +1.25

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stocks March Higher Despite NFP Uncertainty

Stocks staged an enormous rally Thursday, just a day before crucial non-farm payroll data from January is to be released.

Friday's employment numbers - expected to be in the range of 185,000 - stand in stark contradiction to December's paltry 74,000 jobs created. While weather has been roundly blamed for everything from auto sales to bond rallies, it may turn out that the weather will not affect payroll data, as the survey week was one that did not contain a severe weather event.

Investors may be gaming the number, figuring that December's figures will almost certainly be upgraded and the potential for two straight disappointments are slim.

On the other hand, since there was little in the way of news or earnings releases to juice today's rally, the huge run-up in stocks may have been due primarily to short-covering, as the bears - fairly fat and sassy of late - may want to be out of the way of such a volatile data set on Friday morning.

In the meantime, nothing much has changed on a global outlook. In fact, a failed bond auction in Ukraine set off some alarm bells and currency issues remain from India to Brazil to Turkey to Argentina to Indonesia. In essence, the Fed's decision to trim $20 billion in total from their monthly bond-purchasing program over the past two months is affecting everyone, everywhere.

That message did not seem to reach the ears of the bulls, at least for one day. Stocks had fallen pretty far in a short period of time, so the old "oversold" rationale has been trotted out as an explanation. For the record, the S&P had fallen about 100 points in just over a month, so, some giveback was to be expected. Same with the Dow, which had surrendered over 1000 points before gaining back about 250 this week.

On the day, volume was light, the advance-decline line was nearly 3:1 positive, but new highs just barely edged new lows, despite the huge, broad-based ramp in stocks. It appeared to be more of a "risk-off" kind of day rather than a serious, fundamental-based rally.

The 10-year note was sold off, registering a yield of 2.70, the highest in over a week. The troubling trend in short-dated maturities remained unresolved, with 3-month and 6-month bills matching up with identical 0.07% yields.

DOW 15,628.53, +188.30 (+1.22%)
NASDAQ 4,057.12, +45.57 (+1.14%)
S&P 1,773.43, +21.79 (+1.24%)
10-Yr Note 100.41, +0.20 (+0.20%) Yield: 2.70%
NASDAQ Volume 1.78 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.77 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4003-1691
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 86-70
WTI crude oil: 97.84, +0.46
Gold: 1,257.20, +0.30
Silver: 19.93, +0.123
Corn: 443.00, -0.25

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stocks Flat to Lower After Disappointing ADP Employment Report

Stocks could not extend Tuesday's relief rally after hearing the ADP January Employment Report, which assumed US private sector job growth of 175,000, when estimates were for 185,000.

Note the use of the word "assumes" in the foregoing paragraph, because ADP does not rely upon hard data, but extrapolates and models from sampling, thus their estimates are often far afield from reality, as displayed clearly last month, when the private firm called 238,000 job growth (revised down to 227,000) and two days later, the BLS offered 74,000 in their monthly non-farm payroll data series.

Who's right and who's wrong is not the question. The question is who can be trusted, and clearly, with the goal-sought nature of economic data reports in the "Fed era" of economics in which we currently reside, the answer is, nobody.

Anecdotal and real-life experience may be more instructive than government or private data releases at this juncture, and, by most accounts, in most areas of the United States, there are few hirings and the jobs offered are either part-time or menial or both. The job market is definitely not what one could in any way, shape or form, call robust.

Stocks took a bumpy ride - mostly on the downside - to get to generally unchanged on the day. Being that the ADP numbers have long been deemed untrustworthy, most speculators are attempting to hang in the market until Friday, when the BLS releases January jobs numbers, which, if the weather is any guide, figure to be uninspiring.

The good news came in the form of gold and silver gains on the day, though, as has been noted, cannot be met with much enthusiasm, since the precious metals have been largely range-bound for the past three months and show no signs of breaking out. Still, those investing in hard assets have to be sleeping better than their counterparts in equities, since they can at least claim some degree of stability during the past six weeks of general market declines.

Reporting after the bell was Twitter (TWTR), showing a gain of two cents (ex-items) for the fourth quarter, against estimates of a two cent loss. User growth was around eight million for the quarter, below estimates, which sent the stock down 10-15% in after-hours trading. Regarding Twitter's valuation of 57-58 dollars per share, assuming they make ten cents in all of 2014, puts their price-earnings ration somewhere in the ionosphere, around 570-580. They don't call it speculation for nothing, folks.

Despite the small losses in the headline numbers, internals were rather nasty. The A-D line was nearly 2-1 in favor of losers and new 52-week lows were triple the number of new highs, an indicator which is trending very negatively.

Bonds sold off, sending the 10-year note to 2.67% yield, and the 3-month and 6-month bills matched up at at yield of 0.06, not an encouraging trend either, as, if they invert, history tells us conclusively that recessions follow, and a recession is not anything the economy can withstand right now.

DOW 15,440.23, -5.01 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ 4,011.55, -19.97 (-0.50%)
S&P 1,751.64, -3.56 (-0.20%)
10-Yr Note 100.67, -0.33 (-0.33%) Yield: 2.67
NYSE Volume 3.97 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2065-3617
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 51-154
WTI crude oil: 97.38, +0.19
Gold: 1,256.90, +5.70
Silver: 19.80, +0.383
Corn: 443.25, +1.50

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Markets Pause After Monday's Pummeling; Stocks Bounce Is Feeble

When markets get roiled like they did on Monday, especially following four weeks in January of steady declines, the usual reaction is for investors to nibble at the edges, like rats who have been spooked by sprung traps on their coveted cheese.

The only data drop worth noting on the day was Factory Orders, which fell 1.5% in December, the most since July. Inventories of manufactured durable goods reached an all-time high for the series in December, to $387.9 billion, marking the fastest year-over-year inventory build in 6 months.

That same inventory build has been responsible in part for much of the two past GDP figures, from the third and fourth quarters of 2013, and, unless consumers come out of hiding soon, those inventories are going to sit and eventually be marked down, further stifling the Fed's efforts to re-inflate the economy, which continues to stall out at a moribund inflation rate well below two percent.

While lower costs for manufactured and consumer goods comes as pleasant news for individuals and small business, it works against the Fed's perverse mandate of "stable prices," which, in actuality, is defined in Fedspeak as "stably-increasing prices at a rate of at least two percent and preferably higher, stealing purchasing power from people, everywhere, all the time, while debasing the currency."

Since 2008, the Fed's playbook has been redesigned to include trick plays like ZIRP, QE, reverse-repos, re-hypothecation and other arcane financing stylings, most of which have had limited success. Now, with their implicit desire to end QE this year, the fruits of their laborious injections of trillions of dollars into the global economy are proving impotent as first, emerging markets are crushed, soon to be followed by developed markets, already occurring in Japan, where the Nikkei fell by more than 600 points overnight, and is clearly into "correction" territory.

While today's pause offered some relief for the bulls, the bears seem to be still in charge. Advances in early trading on the major indices were pared back throughout the session, the closing prices barely denting the declines of just Monday, to say nothing of the drops from January.

Everybody is going to get something of a clue Wednesday morning, when ADP releases its January private jobs report, a precursor to Friday's non-farm payroll data for January. Expectations are high that the US created 185,000 jobs in January, which would be a masterstroke of statistical wizardry, after the December reading of 74,000 jobs, sure to be revised higher.

Unless this January was both a statistical marvel and a reality-defying month in which auto sales and retail sales were well below estimates and blamed on the weather, the take-away is that while people were discouraged to brave the elements to shop, the very same weather encouraged job creation and the seeking of employment. The math does not match the reality. The truth is probable that while the weather was poor in some areas of the country, it was fine elsewhere, so the localized Northeast mindset likely has everything calculated improperly.

Whenever weather is blamed for anything - unless it's a localized event like a hurricane, flood or fires - one can be nearly certain the assumption is at least partially false, as will be proven in this case. Therefore, if Friday's jobs report blows the doors off estimates, one can assume the economy, based on auto and retail sales, is much weaker than propagandized, and that the BLS modeling, their birth/death assumptions and general massaging of data is flawed and should be disregarded.

Of course, a good-feeling jobs report will boost stocks, just as a continuation of the trend from December will send them even lower. Along with the weather as a culprit, other terms being bandied about include "correction" (a 10% decline off recent highs) and "bottom" (where stocks stop declining). Most of the analysts are saying the recent action is expected, following the massive gains of 2013, but that it is also temporary and investors should be looking at this as a buying opportunity.

Others have differing opinions, believing the US and global economy are contracting instead of expanding, that inflation is nowhere to be found and all of those corporate stock buybacks from the past three to four years are going to be painful to unwind. With corporations buying back their own stock at high prices, reducing the flow while increasing the price, what happens when they want to sell back into the market, at lower prices? The internal damage done to balance sheets will be dramatic and will only accelerate any downward pressure.

That's what investors have to look forward to in coming months, unless some economic miracle occurs. And, as we all are well aware, miracles don't usually just come along as needed.

Particularly telling, considering today's advance, was the new high-new low metric, which heavily favored new lows, indicating that today's advance was not broad-based nor technically supported. Additionally, late in the day, S&P downgraded Puerto Rico's debt to junk status, a move that was widely expected, but still a huge negative.

A disturbing trend is the slight rise in commodity prices. Corn, soybeans, wheat, crude oil and natural gas have been bid up recently, as money, needing a safe place to rest, may find a home in such staples, artificially raising prices, though the gains may (and probably should) prove to be arbitrary and temporary, a certain sign of naked speculation.

DOW 15,445.24, +72.44 (+0.47%)
NASDAQ 4,031.52, +34.56 (+0.86%)
S&P 1,755.20, +13.31 (+0.76%)
10-Yr Note 101.05, -0.10 (-0.10%) Yield: 2.63%
NASDAQ Volume 2.00 Bil
NYSE Volume 4.05 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3738-1977
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 49-111
WTI crude oil: 97.19, +0.76
Gold: 1,251.20, -8.70
Silver: 19.42, +0.013
Corn: 441.75, +6.00

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wall Street Has a Problem, So Everybody Will Suffer; Stocks Smashed on Yellen's 1st Day

Fed Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, is just about to head home from her first day as head of the US Federal Reserve System. Judging by what happened on Wall Street, she's probably not going to cook herself a wholesome meal, but rather will order out, Chinese the most likely choice.

Stocks went absolutely South on the first day of February, largely in response to the Fed's decision to continue their asset purchase tapering, but moreso on US and China economic weakness.

China's PMI for January edged down to 50.5, the lowest level in six months, not exactly the kind of news Ms. Yellen was seeking. Making matters worse for the new Fed head, US ISM fell from 56.5 to 51.3, sending stocks, already down on the session, into a tailspin after their release at 10:00 am ET.

The lethal combination of the Fed cutting back on bond purchases, in the face of weakening data from the world's two largest economies, set the stage for a massive selloff on Wall Street and a flight to the safety of US treasury bonds, which closed at their lowest yield level - on the benchmark 10-year note - in three months.

The carnage on Wall Street was not isolated to just today, however. Stocks have been performing poorly all year, and the level of fear is perceptibly rising, with the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all closing down more than 2%, after the Nikkei fell 295 points and officially into a correction, down 10% off the recent highs.

The losses on Wall Street were monumental. For the Dow, it was the worst start to a month since 1982; for the NASDAQ, the losses were the worst since the inception of the index (1972).

Auto sales were down for January, with weather blamed for sluggish sales. Bond funds saw 20-30 time normal volume of inflows. The VIX has gone from the mid-12s to over 21 in a month, a 70%-plus rise in risk perception. Not only were stocks down, but volume was large, and has been throughout the slide which began in January.

The reaction in bond markets - sending the 10-year down to a yield of 2.58% - was perfectly rational. As risk assets (stocks) deteriorate, safety is sought, and there's nothing safer than US treasuries, or, maybe, German bunds, also lower during the past month and today.

Looking forward, Ms. Yellen should have expected this, or worse. After all, history tells us that all new Fed chairs inherit crises. as did Volker, Greenspan and Bernanke before her. Surely, the shared wisdom of decades of Federal Reserve actions will guide Ms. Yellen to a logical solution, stopping the slide in stocks while keeping the US economy growing.

Or will it?

Yellen is trapped. QE tapering is already the de facto standard policy. To reverse it would be to admit defeat, and possibly undermine any confidence left in the institution of the Federal Reserve, which, admittedly, isn't much. The true solution is for the Fed to stand back, watch the markets deteriorate, witness the destruction of the US and global economy over the near term and hope that people, individuals and businesses, will have enough of their wits remaining to muddle through a few years of truly hard times.

The Fed has no choice. Interest rates are already at zero and QE has had limited effect. It's time for the Fed to turn its back on the economy and the markets and let chips fall where they may. Any other action will only result in more asset dislocations, of which there are already too many.

For those of us who are not heavily invested in stocks (that leaves out anybody depending upon a pension, either now or in the future), SHORT AT WILL. This downward thrust will eventually manifest itself into a correction (the Dow is less than 500 points from it) and, by May or June or July, at the latest, a fully-blown bear market.

Bull markets do not last forever, and this current bull, which began in March, 2009, has reached its end. If proof is needed, check the highs on the indices from December and see how long it takes to get back to those levels. A reasonable guess, at this juncture, would be seven to ten years, maybe as long as 20.

The globalization experiment, as it always does, is failing. Economies must begin to fend for themselves and become more localized. Faith in Wall Street, which took a severe blow in 2008-09, will lose all credibility in coming months. Already, there are hordes of individuals who do not trust the wizards of Wall Street, as it was in the 1930s, during the Great Depression.

Wall Street will not respond well. Stocks will fall. Bond yields and mortgages will be even lower than in recent years. While those who have bought into the system - government employees, pensioners of many stripes, plain idiots and "investors" - will suffer, the prudent, the goldbugs, silverbugs and savers will eventually be rewarded for their patience and their frugality.

Put one's faith not in the data and derivatives of Wall Street, but in the strength of individuals, work ethic and survivability. That's a trade which has stood the test of time.

Note to Dan K (who may or may not be interested), and Adam Smith theorists, corn was up 0.40% today; silver gained 1.51%. Deflation.

DOW 15,372.80, -326.05 (-2.08%)
NASDAQ 3,996.96, -106.92 (-2.61%)
S&P 1,741.89, -40.70 (-2.28%)
10-Yr Note 101.48, +1.21 (+1.21%) Yield: 2.58%
NASDAQ Volume 2.41 Bil
NYSE Volume 4.72 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 839-4976 (extreme)
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 83-197 (trending)
WTI crude oil: 96.43, -1.06
Gold: 1,259.90, +20.10
Silver: 19.41, +0.289
Corn: 435.75, +1.75