Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Brief Look at the Fall of the Roman Empire and Comparisons to America

This is simply priceless.

Just after the market open (9:45 am ET), Chicago PMI was reported at 55.2

U.S. Midwest factory activity index retreats in May - Chicago PMI
NEW YORK U.S. Midwest manufacturing activity fell more than forecast in May from its strongest level in more than two years, an index jointly developed by MNI Indicators and ISM-Chicago released on Wednesday showed.

A couple of hours later (after the Dow was down 87 points):
Updated: Chicago PMI Increases in May
Earlier, the Chicago PMI was reported at 55.2. That has now been corrected to 59.4. This was above the consensus forecast.

So, not only do US (and, by way of inference, all other equity markets, globally) equity markets have the backstopping mechanism of central banks buying stocks, and the Plunge Protection Team at work, but now routine data releases are changed when they don't exactly fit the narrative.

Fake news, fake money, fake boobs, fake everything. Better check your pulse. It may be fake and you are actually dead.

These's only one way to report on finances anymore, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

A major reset is coming. The sustainability of the current construct probably has a pretty short shelf life. However, in financial and historical terms, that could be months, years or decades. The fall of the Roman Empire was a slow-motion wreck that took over 300 years, roughly from 117 AD to 476.

Wikipedia has an interesting opening line on the Fall of the Western Roman Empire:
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called Fall of the Roman Empire or Fall of Rome) was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which it failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities.
-emphasis Money Daily

Note the wording, "failed to enforce its rule..." which would coincide roughly with the greatest fiasco related to the most recent election campaign, wherein FBI director James Comey laid out specific crimes by Hillary Clinton, but concluded that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges." Add to that the short meeting between former president Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport just a few days prior to Comey's televised statement and you have a textbook case of "failing to enforce its rule."

So, the fall of the American empire may be in its earliest days. You can breath a sigh of relief now.

Well, maybe not.

Looking at the decline of Rome another way would be to examine its currency, which was gold and silver. The devaluation of the currency predates the earlier given date of the beginning of the fall at 117, when Emperor Nero fiddled with the silver content in the denarius, reducing it from 100% silver to 85%, during his reign from 54-68 AD. By the time Emperor Severus ruled (193-211 AD), the coinage was down to 50% silver. Eventually, Roman coins would contain less than 1% silver or none at all.

From that perspective, we could be almost at an end. These days, life moves faster than it did in Roman times. Romans didn't have instant communications, computers, cell phones or any of the "essentials" which we today take for granted. Consequently, technology has made it possible for everything outside of nature (animals, climate, insects, geology, etc.) to move at a much faster pace.

Thus noted, the American empire may be collapsing much faster than mainstream economists are willing to admit. The US Mint stamped its last gold coin in 1932. It stopped 90% silver coinage in 1964. Nixon took the US off the gold standard in 1971. Since then, our money has had no backing beyond the "full faith and credit" of the federal government, which, as many are now aware, has overextended its credit, causing a severe loss of faith by its loyal subjects (eh, that would be us, homey).

It's probably close to a majority of people living today in the United States which are clueless concerning the value of their currency, which is basically the paper upon which is printed numbers, words, pictures of dead presidents, and other indicia of America's greatness. Anybody born in 1971 would be 46 or 47 now; anybody born after that date would be, obviously, younger. All of those people have been living in a world of fiat currency, backed by absolutely nothing except empty promises from a federal government which can't balance its own books.

Making matters worse, US currency (or legal tender, to be correct) may be technically unconstitutional. The arguments concerning the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve to print paper money - granted that right by Congress in 1913 - are vague, various, contentious, and too deep for this limited discussion. But, a great many people have and some still do believe that money not backed by gold or silver or some other base commodity is, well, garbage.

104 years of the Federal Reserve ruining our economy has devalued the US dollar by 98%. So, where are we headed?

On the other hand, perhaps modernity consists of allowing such counterfeiting and fakery by central bankers and the tacit approval of the populace. In other words, don't rock the boat, keep with the status quo; the modern mores and normalcy bias will prevail. In that regard, Americans are a pretty complacent bunch, like the traders, movers, and shakers of Wall Street. We all go along to get along, or, in the words of a Russian during the Soviet era, "we pretend to work, and the government pretends to pay us."

We're deep down the rabbit hole, folks, and it appears that we're going deeper.

BTW: No "window dressing" on the final day of the month. Also, hat tip to Zero Hedge for inspiring this article.

At the Close, 5/31/17:
Dow: 21,008.65, -20.82 (-0.10%)
NASDAQ: 6,198.52, -4.67 (-0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,411.80, -1.11 (-0.05%)
NYSE Composite: 11,598.03, -3.28 (-0.03%)

Stocks Gain, Bond Yields Continue Lower in Fed-inspired Environment

Opening the week with across-the-board losses, the major indices took a little off the top Tuesday, the penultimate trading day for the month of May.

The losses were limited in scope, however, as speculators seem reluctant to forego gains in a bull market that has shown few signs of slowing.

With optimism on Wall Street approaching a state irrational exuberance, the issue becomes one of not when the market will reverse course, but at what speed. A sharp downturn could expose many hedgers and options players, though the Fed and their cohorts at the ECB, BOJ, and the PPT would likely quash any rampant selling by putting an artificial floor on the market, a tactic they've employed over the last eight years of fake recovery.

Unlimited upside is the overarching theme of the decade, despite the Fed's promise to raise interest rates four times in 2017. Despite the threat of tighter money, the 10-year treasury note closed out the day at 2.22% and shows no sign of reacting negatively to any Fed jawboning nor actual policy directives.

While the bull market remains intact at eight years and running, the bond rally is at 30 years. Liquidity and solvency have been the main catalysts since 2009, with central banks coordinating bond (and equity) purchases in order to prevent a complete collapse of the global financial system, which almost fell apart in 2008-09.

Complete control of all markets being the ultimate goal of central banks, the money-printers are close to achieving just that. Even if economic data remains sluggish, weak, or troubling, the Fed and friends will be at the rescue. Stocks have been unable to extend any losing streak to frightful lengths, thanks to central bank intervention, fearing losing control.

Whatever the outcome of the June FOMC meeting, it's almost a slam-dunk that stocks will gain. It's simply the way the market is currently composed.

At the Close, 5/30/17:
Dow: 21,029.47, -50.81 (-0.24%)
NASDAQ: 6,203.19, -7.00 (-0.11%)
S&P 500: 2,412.91, -2.91 (-0.12%)
NYSE Composite: 11,601.31, -30.56 (-0.26%)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stocks Up for the Week; Murky Outlook Going Forward

The last full week of May was a solid one for stock pickers, with all the major averages posting excellent weekly gains, despite a somewhat subdued session Friday.

The NASDAQ and S&P notched new all-time highs a couple of times, though the question remains as to just how much higher stocks can ascend given the weakness in macro data and tension in geopolitics.

The start of June is generally a quiet time for markets, but, with central banks backstopping any selloff with unlimited funding, the fun may last some time longer. June's FOMC meeting has been heralded as one in which the Fed may raise the federal funds rate to 1.00-1.25%, which would be a high-water mark since the GFC of 2008-09.

Money Daily disputes to contention of many analysts - 83% of which see a June rate hike - that a rate hike is imminent, due to glaringly obvious poor results in housing, personal income and spending, and industrial production, to name just a few.

Futures are pointing to a negative open in this holiday-shortened week.

At The Close, 5/26/17:
Dow: 21,080.28, -2.67 (-0.01%)
NASDAQ 6,210.19, +4.94 (0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,415.82, +0.75 (0.03%)
NYSE Composite: 11,631.87, -7.43 (-0.06%)

For the week:
Dow: +275.44 (1.32%)
NASDAQ: +126.49 (2.08%)
S&P 500: +34.09 (1.43%)
NYSE Composite: +89.18 (0.77%)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Rally Continues; Assimilation Of Entire Global Economy By Central Bankers Is Nearly Complete

Just for the heck of it, look up a couple of things on your favorite search engine (ours is Bing; we've supplied the links):

The Crime of '73

Creature From Jekyl Island

President's Working Group on Financial Markets

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

If it's not already obvious, the international cartel of banking has been at this game a long, long, long, time.

Just for fun, here's an article from (Foundation For Economic Education) by Robert Higgs: Wartime Origins of Modern Income-Tax Withholding.

If you allow (and who hasn't?) the government to take your money before you ever see it, you're owned. Sure, your retirement fund looks good, but try adding up all the taxes you've paid the last ten years (spoiler alert:: you'll be shocked).

That's all for today, including new record closes for the S&P and NASDAQ.

At the Close, 5/25/17:
Dow: 21,082.95, +70.53 (0.34%)
S&P 500: 2,415.07, +10.68 (0.44%)
NASDAQ: 6,205.26, +42.23 (0.69%)
NYSE Composite: 11,640.73, +19.50 (0.17%)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stocks Rage into the Close; PPT Mentioned on CNBC

Good stuff on Zero Hedge, when Asher Edelman brought up the PPT (Plunge Protection Team) on CNBC's "Fast Money."

People really don't mention the Plunge Protection Team much anymore, ever since the Fed and their central bank cohorts began their financial asset buying spree in 2009. The Fed money-printing machine puts the PPT (otherwise known as the President's Working Group on Financial Markets) to shame.

The Federal Reserve added liquidity to markets by directly intervening through outright asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities and treasury bills and notes. Known as Qualitative Easing (QE), those in the know simply call it "money printing" or "creating money out of thin air." Both are correct, and, despite all the best intents of Keynesian economics, those actions are supposed to create inflation, which has occurred in stocks, housing and elsewhere, but not in the many and varied consumer staples and discretionary items.

Most consumer prices (and incomes) have somewhat stagnated since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09, and, with the Fed threatening another rate increase in June, they probably won't be moving soon. The dislocations in the housing market and the massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the very rich, however, have been direct results of Fed action.

So, it's somewhat funny that the commentator would single out the PPT, though he's probably spot on in his general assessment. The bigger issue would be the almost total control of the equity markets by key players, notably, central banks and large commercial firms, i.e., Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, et. al.

Whatever method was in play today, it certainly worked wonders as stocks levitated after 2:00 pm ET into the close.

At The Close, 5/24/17:
Dow: 21,012.42, +74.51 (0.36%)
NASDAQ: 6,163.02, +24.31 (0.40%)
S&P 500: 2,404.39, +5.97 (0.25%)
NYSE Composite: 11,621.23, +16.61 (0.14%)

Central Banks Have Schemed Markets To Unforeseen Heights

If you're 16, eight years seems like a long time.

It's different if you're in your 50s or 60s, because you've lived longer, so eight years might be just 1/7th of your lifetime, or 1/8th, or more. When you're 16, eight years is half of your current lifetime.

Eight years (and two+ months) is also the length of the current stock market rally, and whether that seems like a long time or not, it's significant, being that this bull market has run longer and higher than even the most optimistic people might have predicted.

Who knew, when the Dow was in the dumpster, closing at 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009, that the index would continue to rise, without so much as a 15% correction, uninterrupted, to its current level of 20,937.91, more than tripling in value since the Great Financial Crisis?

Even the engineers and planners behind the massive, central bank asset buying spree had no idea where this was heading, though they were fairly certain that their actions would take stocks much higher. And, it is also likely that the new genii at the Fed has no clue either. Global markets have indeed been in uncharted territory since at least March, 2009, but it's getting to the point - just like the current and ongoing spate of fake news - that nobody even cares anymore.

One might look at his or her quarterly or monthly pension portfolio or 401k and see that the money keeps rolling in and not give a second thought as to why. Life is good, one would assume, and retirement will be even better!

It's this kind of naive thinking that has led many a bull market or bullish stock picker to ruin, but, it does really seem different this time, because it truly is. Never before have the central banks from nearly every developed country coordinated in such a manner to produce such an ungodly financial bubble.

Bubbles eventually burst. Big ones make loud noises.

At the Close, 5/23/17:
Dow: 20,937.91, +43.08 (0.21%)
NASDAQ: 6,138.71, +5.09 (0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,398.42, +4.40 (0.18%)
NYSE Composite: 11,604.62, +19.41 (0.17%)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Markets Continue Boom; Dow Up Third Straight Day

Remember that 372-point drop last week? All gone. Well, almost.

On Tuesday, May 16, the Dow Jone Industrial Average closed at 20,979.75. The following day, the close was 20,606.93.


After three straight days of gains, however, the Dow closed Monday at 20,894.83. So, another 85 points and last week's fallout will be all but forgotten, the band-aid removed, only a small scab remaining.

Don't fight it. Even though you know stocks are overvalued, TINA (There Is No Alternative) says, "Love me."

At The Close, 5/22/17:
Dow: 20,894.83, +89.99 (0.43%)
NASDAQ: 6,133.62, +49.92 (0.82%)
S&P 500: 2,394.02, +12.29 (0.52%)
NYSE Composite: 11,585.21, +42.52 (0.37%)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Despite Friday's Gains, Stocks Finish Week Lower; About To Get A Wedgie?

Major US equity indices finished the week strong, with solid gains across all, but the weekly view gives another picture, despite the NASDAQ diverging radically from the others.

Looking especially at the NYSE Composite, the broadest index available (also the one nobody ever mentions) a rising wedge pattern appears from a May (11,254.87) 2015 top, to a bottom (8937.99) in January 2016, to this week's close at 11,542.69. Though the overall gain from the bottom last January is massive - more than 2100 points), the overall increase from the top in 2015 is fewer than 300 points, a return of less than three percent over a two-year span.

Apparently, this is why no self-serving analyst or financial news commentator ever speaks of the "Comp" in glowing terms because it reveals the truth behind this runaway bull market: that it has been concentrated among a few select stocks, leaving the bulk of issues behind, in much the same manner as wealth is distributed among individuals. Most of the money goes to the top 5%, the rest lag behind.

None of the other indices present such a pattern. They are all higher by double digits over the same period. Thus, the market shows a heavy weight toward highly speculative tech stocks in the NASDAQ, dividend-payers in the DOW, and, naturally, the 500 largest US-based companies (S&P 500).

Breadth being a hidden issue, this central bank campaign of feeding the leaders should continue as we head into what are traditionally the weakest months of trading (i.e., sell in May and go away). Internal squabbling among the FOMC board members may address this issue as the approach to an expected rate hike increase in June quickens.

The Fed has more or less signaled three rate hikes this year, though this second of the proposed three may have to hold off until September, after second quarter GDP and earnings are revealed in the latter half of July and into August. May non-farm employment - which will be announced prior to the FOMC June meeting - will also have significant impact.

After two consecutive down weeks in the S&P, Comp., and Dow, the Fed, and the markets, can ill afford another week of losses, so close attention is warranted. This week may mark a true turning point, if there ever is one to be had.

At the Close, 5/19/17:
Dow: 20,804.84, +141.82 (0.69%)
NASDAQ: 6,083.70, +28.57 (0.47%)
S&P 500: 2,381.73 +16.01 (0.68%)
NYSE Composite: 11,542.69, +108.62 (0.95%)

For the Week:
Dow: -91.77 (-0.44%)
NASDAQ: -37.53 (-0.61%)
S&P 500: -9.17 (-0.38%)
NYSE Composite: -4.57 (-0.04)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Market as The Matrix; Most People Took The Blue Pill

In case you’re not sure just what a “dead cat bounce” is, imagine taking a dead cat up to the top of a three-story building and dropping it to the ground.

It will bounce, but not much. This is precisely what occurred in US stocks on Thursday, the market getting a reprieve after Wednesday’s bloodbath.

One can try mightily to dissect the various moving parts of the market and arrive at pure conjecture as to what is happening any given day, but these days, reality has become stranger than fiction by massive degrees, even in such hallowed enclaves as financial markets, supposedly not prone to manipulation, fakery, or thievery, but that’s exactly what is on the table.

To say that the Fed, in conjunction with other central banks and their commercial bank proxies, own the market is likely a basic truth. To think that once owned, these players would not mold the narrative and the movement to exactly their liking, is the essence of naivety.

Since 2000, the markets have been owned, even more so since the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09. Based on fiat money and dictates from money printers, the stock markets are the complete tool of enslavement. Governments, pensions, retirement funds, school districts, and all other manner of group investment are tied to “the market,” controlled by the Fed to never stop climbing, lest the debt-slavery of the American public become known.

If markets collapse, so to the deep state system of inflation and skimming, so don’t count on anything changing soon, President Trump or no President Trump, which is exactly why the deep state and the current residents of congress so oppose Mr/ Trump’s every move. He’s a threat to their control of the system.

It’s right out of the film, “The Matrix.” Most people took the blue pill.

Here's a short clip of Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) explaining the Matrix to Keanu Reeves (Neo).

At The Close, 5/18/17:
Dow: 20,663.02, +56.09 (0.27%)
NASDAQ: 6,055.13, +43.89 (0.73%)
S&P 500: 2,365.72, +8.69 (0.37%)
NYSE Composite: 11,434.06, +10.53 (0.09%)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wall Street Tumbles Most This Year; Treasuries, Gold Rally

Sure enough, being the contrary indicator for which Money Daily has become legendary, as soon as this blog issued the "all clear," circa the past two days - citing that the Fed has Wall Street's back - then the bottom falls completely out of the market.

While today's massive declines could be nothing more than a case of jitters over the Washington establishment's fixation on making President Trump's life a living hell, or, a simple matter of profit taking, there's some indication that both may be partially true.

As usual, with everything related to stocks and finance since roughly the year 2000, there's insufficient information upon which to make a decisive call. One day's worth of declines by no means indicates anything fundamentally wrong, and it's likely that this current bout of market indigestion will blow over with the next data release.

Moreover, given that the mainstream media is chock full of creeps, fabricators and liars, it wouldn't be beyond the pale for financial media to be right in the middle of the "fake news" mix. To the point, the headline on Yahoo Finance at today's market close screams, "Stocks tumble as Trump worries Wall Street," as if it's the President himself causing consternation among international financiers, when in fact, it is the news media itself promulgating questionable narratives surrounding the President and his administration.

Thus, there may be something more compelling afoot. Perhaps some of the more recent data releases haven't been particularly rosy, or maybe somebody deep inside the global financial establishment knows something of which the general public isn't keenly aware. That insiders would know more than the public is undeniably true; whether or not there's something big about to occur - and this was just cover for a deeper dive - is a matter of great conjecture.

On the surface, that doesn't seem to be the case. Tuesday's releases showed that capacity utilization and industrial production both beat expectations, but housing starts and building permits missed the mark. Wednesday's release of crude inventories (a drawdown) and mortgage applications (off by 4.1%) shouldn't have catalyzed the market into this kind of paroxysm.

What we do know is that the dollar index (97.456) fell again today (fifth straight decline) and has been below 100 for a full month. That's sent gold soaring (up nearly two percent today), with silver tagging along, though without as much gusto (+0.73%, 16.87/oz.). A falling dollar should be good for US companies, though that correlation hasn't always held true, because US imports in other countries' currencies would cost less.

We also know that today's losses were the worst of the year for the major indices and Treasuries were rallying, with the 10-year yield falling to 2.22% and the two-year moving down to 1.24%.

Thus, the crystal ball remains cloudy. Thursday's market action may be more telling. It's never too late to take a profit, nor is it ever too early to cut losses. Maybe Wall Street has come to its senses.

At the Close, 5/17/17:
Dow: 20,606.93, -372.82 (-1.78%)
NASDAQ: 6,011.24, -158.63 (-2.57%)
S&P 500: 2,357.03, -43.64 (-1.82%)
NYSE Composite: 11,423.54, -182.95 (-1.58%)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Political Theater Weakening The Dollar; Silver, Gold Up

After setting new record all-time highs (again, and again, and again) yesterday, core investors in the S&P 500 took a back seat to the NASDAQ nutcases who pushed the index to another record close.

While this is beginning to be reminiscent of the 1999-2000 tech bubble and bust, we're still in the bubble stage, so hang on to whatever you're not trading. If you must, get some protection in cheap NASDAQ put options to protect your position.

In case you're not invested in stocks or are more interested in baseball, the NBA playoffs or the current political circus in Washington, a close eye on the dollar index might be a suggested tonic, which goes well with either gin or vodka.

Wiht the dollar index down, gold and silver registered nice gains on the day, but, as soon as the crooked dealers at the COMEX get wind of it, that will change. Gold and silver bugs keep hoping that the current fiat system implodes, which would likely enrich them, though that's an old conclusion not necessarily in order these days.

Taking close to a one percent hit on the day (could it possibly be because even Republicans are now openly in opposition to President Trump, along with the requisite fake outrage from Democrats?) the political climate in Washington is beginning to sour experienced traders and geo-political watchers, mostly because it doesn't take a break. The opposition to the current sitting president is outrageous and loud, and the fear is that something is going to break, if not the President's tweeting pattern, then maybe blood vessels on house minority leader Nancy Pelosi's forehead.

Then again, majority leader Paul Ryan's sound bites on the "Trump gave Russia top secret info" fake news has to make one wonder just what the deep state has on him. He looks like a square guy, but he acts like a Democrat, unless, of course, Trump pushes through a healthcare reform bill or something along those lines. Then he's all glad-handing and giddy. The guy has no political future, and, unless the press and the Democrats begin conducting themselves in more decorous manners, neither does the country.

At the Close, 5/16/17:
Dow: 20,979.75, -2.19 (-0.01%)
NASDAQ: 6,169.87, +20.20 (0.33%)
S&P 500: 2,400.67, -1.65 (-0.07%)
NYSE Composite: 11,606.49, -7.75 (-0.07%)

Monday, May 15, 2017

With the Fed Pledged to Complete Wall Street Backing, There's No Top In Sight

At the Close, 5/15/17:
Dow: 20,981.94, +85.33 (0.41%)
NASDAQ: 6,149.67, +28.44 (0.46%)
S&P 500: 2,402.32, +11.42 (0.48%)
NYSE Composite: 11,614.23, +67.18 (0.58%)

Welcome to the asylum.

Just for reference, a random look at stocks from a one-year perspective.

On May 16, 2016, here's where the major averages closed.
Dow: 17,500.94
NASDAQ: 4,769.56
S&P 500: 2,052.32
NYSE Composite: 10,250.49

OK, so those look like nice gains, right? How much, percentage-wise, through today's close:
Dow: 16.59%
NASDAQ: 22.45%
S&P 500: 14.58%
NYSE Composite: 11.75%

The obvious question is, how long, with the current bull market more than 8 years long (second longest in market history) can this continue?

Skeptics posit that the entire global financial structure is a massive Ponzi scheme based entirely on fiat money backed by nothing, while realists may refer the old "go with the flow" ideology.

With the Fed continuing to be accommodative via historically low interest rates and the continued buying of financial assets by central banks, there may be no better time to be in the market.

Whoever it was who coined the term, "don't fight the Fed," should be sainted immediately by Pope Francis. This bull market could last another two years or end in two weeks. For now, nearly the entire investment community (approaching 100%) is bullish on stocks, which typically signals a turn of fortune. However, this time truly is different. Never has there been the levels of accommodation and asset purchasing by central banks, who eventually, if current patterns play out, will own the entire market, at inflated prices.

Then what?

Global hyperinflation? It could happen, but that will take time.

Stay the course. This is the age of easy money.

Stocks Little Changed For Week With Tech Titans Continuing Leadership

Taken as a whole, the week on Wall Street was about as exciting as a Gheorghe Zamfir concert, without the music.

Stocks gyrated through very narrow ranges, extending a pattern that have prevailed - with only minor aberrations - since late March. In that span of time the major averages are roughly even on a daily and weekly basis, the major exception being the NASDAQ, which continues to climb without regard to fundamentals, driven largely on an odd combination of momentum, hope, faith, greed and a noticeable absence of fear, pricing out major tech companies, especially Alphabet (GOOG), parent of Google; Amazon (AMZN); Apple (AAPL); and Facebook (FB).

Those four companies have outperformed the broader market and carried the whole of Wall Street with it. In an investing environment largely devoid of critical analysis, these "no-brainers" of tech 2.0 or 3.0, or whatever moniker one wishes to place upon the rapid multiple expansion in this space, a few stocks make for giddy headlines.

The facts be damned; all of the investment money from funds and pension plans are routinely flowing into this small piece of the pie, crowding out smaller firms which operate without the largess of the Wall Street elite connected by the hip to the Federal Reserve.

It's a troubling scenario which bears watching closely as the bull market continues to run at its own pace. With the Fed and central bank cronies underwriting the entire market, there's a fakery here that is reminiscent of the tightly-held mainstream media.

Happy hunting!

At the Close, 5/12/17:
Dow: 20,896.61, -22.81 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 6,121.23, +5.27 (0.09%)
S&P 500: 2,390.90, -3.54 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 11,547.05, -16.55 (-0.14%)

For the week:
Dow: -110.33 (-0.53%)
NASDAQ: +20.47 (0.34%)
S&P 500: -3.54 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: -68.54 (-0.59%)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Retailers Post Losses, Send Stocks Reeling Before Late-Day Recovery

Stocks finished lower, but well off the lows set earlier in the day, as Macy's and other retailers continue to under-perform the broader market.

The retailer reported earnings well below expectations. Kohl's, Penny's, Sears, Nordstrom and Dillards were also big losers on the day. Macy's same-stare sales plummeted 5.2% in April.

The demise of brick-and-mortar retailing is a continuing trend that shows no sign of abating as Americans turn to online retailing as their preferred buying methodology. Store closing in malls and shopping centers around the country have only accelerated as company CEOs seek ways to cut costs and salvage what remains of a buggy-whip-type industry.

Alongside retail, cable companies and network broadcasters could be next, as consumers, enraged over continued increases in television subscription services, cut the cord and elect to go completely wireless.

These trends should continue until most of North America sees malls and cable and phone lines as mere remnants of a wired, consumer-driven past.

At the close, 5/11/17:
Dow: 20,919.42, -23.69 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 6,115.96, -13.18 (-0.22%)
S&P 500: 2,394.44, -5.19 (-0.22%)
NYSE Composite: 11,563.60, -35.38 (-0.31%)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Why Is The Internet Such A Pain In The Behind?

Why can't we get what we want from the internet?

Three things that are frustrating:

1. Yahoo Finance - all I wanted was an orderly listing of the Dow, S&P, NASDAQ and the NYSE Composite. I have it in my portfolio watchlist, but Yahoo Finance can't seem to understand that I want those items on the sidebar when I open the Finance home page. Instead I get "Recently Viewed," which is garbage, since I seldom look at stocks on their horrifically-slow, impossible-to-navigate website. I tried to customize my view - three &*@#$%@#) times - without success. Why did Verizon buy this price of junk? And for how much? They'll need 50 coders working full time for a year to unscramble this spaghetti code. ArgHHHH!

2. Cell plans - I broke down and went with an unlimited plan via a hotspot because I'm out in the sticks where theere is no cable. It's just over $100 a month, but, the kicker is that if I wanted to add my phone, it would have cost another $20 a month. Seriously? I hardly use my phone, so I kept my super-cheap pay-as-I-go plan, which costs me about $6 a month, since I have grown increasingly reluctant to talk to anyone unless absolutely necessary. I have a flip-phone.

3. Ebay, Amazon, and other online "marketplaces" - All I want is a place where I can list my items for sale and link back to my website, which is a price guide for what I sell. I'm not trying to circumvent paying fees; I'm just trying to get more traffic. There's no way to do it, anywhere, without paying through the nose, and even then, as in eBay's unbelievable terms of service (TOS) - which runs about 90 pages (no, really) - I might be fined, listings removed and/or banned. If the internet was built primarily to LINK information in an organized fashion, why do these enormous data=hogging public companies insist on restricting user access?

It's a mess, thanks to greedy, useless, overpaid CEOs and their mindless lackeys.

Otherwise, everything is rosy. Buy stocks.

At The Close, 5/10/17:
Dow: 20,943.11, -32.67 (-0.16%)
S&P 500: 2,399.63, +2.71 (0.11%)
NASDAQ: 6,129.14, +8.56 (0.14%)
NYSE Composite: 11,598.99, +31.47 (0.27%)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Apple Tops $800 Billion Market Cap; NASDAQ Closes At All-Time High

Stocks were basically flat on Tuesday, but the NASDAQ finished at a new record high, paced, in large part by Apple (AAPL), which topped $800 billion in market cap on the day's gains.

Apple's most recent rise is likely due to two major investors, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which has taken a major position in the world's richest company by market cap.

That's not surprising, given Buffett's record of success over the years, though it is hardly a genius pick. After all, if Buffet knows the Swiss National Bank is one of Apple's largest shareholders and continues to buy, why not join the party?

Buffet is well-connected and pretty bright, but owning Apple is pretty much a no-brainer in these days of central bank asset boosting.

At the Close, 5/9/17:
Dow: 20,975.78, -36.50 (-0.17%)
NASDAQ: 6,120.59, +17.93 (0.29%)
S&P 500: 2,396.92, -2.46 (-0.10%)
NYSE Composite: 11,567.52, -27.74 (-0.24%)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stocks Gain, But Nobody Should Be Surprised Thanks To The Swiss National Bank

Today's comment is going to be very brief, because, as stocks finished ever-so-slightly in positive territory (excepting the NYSE Comp.), that should not be news since central banks continue to purchase financial assets at a record pace, the latest paper-printer being the Swiss National Bank (SNB), one of Apple's (AAPL) major shareholders.


At the Close, 5/8/2017:
Dow: 21,012.28, +5.34 (0.03%)
NASDAQ: 6,102.66, +1.90 (0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,399.38, +0.09 (0.00%)
NYSE Composite: 11,595.26, -20.35 (-0.18%)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Stocks Rally Friday to End Week Positively

The reaction wasn't immediate, but Wall Street eventually responded to the April non-farm payroll result, registering solid gains into the close of trading Friday.

The BLS reported a gain of 211,000 jobs for the prior month, well above estimates which called for a figure of 180,000. Coupled with the Fed keeping interest rates on hold for the time being, stocks finished the week with solid gains, marking the third straight week that stocks finished positively.

Some skepticism remained as the March payroll numbers were downgraded further, from 98,000 to a disappointing 79,000.

Still, the solid showing on Friday put all the major indices into positive territory for the week, all closing near all-time highs.

How long the love-fest with stocks can continue is anybody's guess, but it appears nobody is giving up gains at this juncture.

At The Close, 5/5/17:
Dow: 21,006.94, +55.47 (0.26%)
NASDAQ: 6,100.76, +25.42 (0.42%)
S&P 500: 2,399.29, +9.77 (0.41%)
NYSE Composite: 11,615.61, +80.90 (0.70%)

For the Week:
Dow: +66.43 (0.32%)
NASDAQ: +53.15 (0.88%)
S&P 500: +15.09 (0.63%)
NYSE Composite: +79.51 (0.69%)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

FOMC Keeps Fed Funds Rate Unchanged; Stocks Look Elsewhere

As expected the FOMC of the Federal Reserve took no action on interest rates Wednesday, concluding their two-day May meeting.

The federal funds rate remained at 0.75-1.00% for now, though analysts expect the Fed to raise rates twice more this year, most likely at the June and September or December meetings.

While the Fed wants to raise rates in order to have some ammunition to stave off any chance of a recession, the thinking is somewhat backwards. One would normally raise rates in good times, to keep the economy from overheating. Increasing the cost of borrowing in a stable environment might produce exactly what the Fed is fighting - an economic downturn.

Skepticism is high over the Federal Reserve's actual control of the economy beyond their massive "investments" and liquidity injections over the past eight years since the GFC. Now that the Fed has done its job, the ECB and Bank of Japan have picked up the slack with hefty asset purchases. How these central bankers intend to wind down their bloated balance sheets without causing severe oversupply is a question that remains unanswered, thus the nervousness within what is, after all, the second-longest bull market in history.

At the end of the day, only the Dow finished positive. The other major markets were marginally on the downside.

At the close, 5/3/17:
Dow: 20,957.90, +8.01 (0.04%)
NASDAQ: 6,072.55, -22.82 (-0.37%)
S&P 500: 2,388.13, -3.04 (-0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 11,529.66, -21.64 (-0.19%)