Showing posts with label Dow Jones Industrial Average. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dow Jones Industrial Average. Show all posts

Sunday, May 17, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Split, Dow Suffers; Gold, Silver May Be Headed For Record Prices

The week just past was not a particularly enthralling one for stock investors, as the Dow and NYSE Composite took it on the chin while the S&P and NASDAQ put up fractional, unsubstantial gains.

As economic and COVID-19 developments were concerned, it was mostly politicking over substance, as President Trump backhanded Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the CDC, over predictions related to states' reopening their economies and the potential for a second wave of the virus in the coming fall or winter.

For the most part, stocks refrained from further insane advances, though the gains toward the back end of the week reeked of malingering by the Federal Reserve, moving stocks off their lows into green territory in both Thursday and Friday's sessions. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average forming a pretty obvious short-term head-and-shoulders pattern, the equity markets are set up for a breakout either higher or lower, though the least resistant path may be down another six to eight percent over the next week to two weeks. With the traditional third Friday of the month options expiry in the rear view mirror (May 15), the markets will need some kind of catalyst to move forward. Otherwise, expect the Dow and NYSE Composite to both head back below the bear market defined level of -20 percent.

If that were to happen, the NASDAQ, already ridiculously valued, and S&P should fall in sympathy with the Blue Chips.

The week was a very solid one for oil, though the June contract is set to expire on Tuesday (May 18). Producers do not want to see a repeat of the May futures expiration when the price went negative and buyers were being paid to haul oil off to the tune of $41 a barrel.

June futures closed last Friday (May 8) at $24.61 a barrel and this week at $29.43. Monday will likely give a signal as to whether another collapse is imminent, though with US states and most of Europe reopening their economies, it would appear that the massive glut has at least partially abated and demand is rising. There is still no open air for the futures to fly in, however, as the spread between the current month all the way out to the December 2021 contract is pretty slim. 35.78 is the last quoted price for December 2021.

Yields on treasuries continued lower through the week and are presumptuously headed below zero, into the brave new world of negative rates. With the two-year yielding 0.16% and the five-year at 0.31, it would seem only a matter of when, not if rates go underwater. With deflationary forces at work, the low yields on short-dates bills and notes may be attractive as a hedge against asset price declines. Yields cannot fall much more from these levels before going negative in real terms. Those seeing inflation ahead could easily be urged into paying to hold capital.

Gold and silver absolutely exploded this week on eBay, a market where true price discovery can be ascertained.

For the first time since Money Daily began tracking prices a month ago for one troy ounce gold and silver coins and bars, one ounce gold coins sold for more than the all-time record closing spot price ($1895.00, September 5 and 6, 2011) on an average and median basis. The average price for a one ounce gold coin on eBay was $1,917.41, and for a one ounce bar, $1,898.62. Buyers are looking at a premium of over $150 for either coins or bars. Notably, smaller denominations of gold coins and bars (1/10 ounce to 1/2 ounce) are routinely selling at prices that relate to over $225 per ounce.

These actual sale prices are in stark contrast to the easily-corrupted gold COMEX prices where gold closed with a bid of $1742.20 on Friday afternoon.

Silver also showed enormous gains over last week as the average price of a one ounce coin gained from $30.50 on May 10 to $33.71 this Sunday. Price appreciation for silver bars was even more dramatic, gaining from last week's average price of $26.77 to $34.57 this week. That is more than double the COMEX paper silver price bid of $16.61 as of Friday's close.

We employ the same methodology, looking at the most recently-closed sales on eBay, eliminating any coins or bars that may have numismatic or collectible value as best as possible to come up with a standard, reliable price tracking model.

Here are the most recent prices:

Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 20.51 / 47.00 / 33.71 / 32.42
1 oz silver bar: 26.25 / 44.50 / 34.57 / 34.50
1 oz gold coin: 1,833.08 / 2,030.50 / 1,917.41 / 1,907.02
1 oz gold bar: 1,845.37 / 2,035.00 / 1,898.62 / 1,874.09

Parts of Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent viewing some very interesting and important videos.

Mike Maloney's narrative over charts from offers an historic perspective of the American condition.

Refinitiv shares a wide-ranging interview with Real Vision’s CEO and co-founder, Raoul Pal, who provides distinct trading strategies and a serious view of what's ahead for the world's economies.

Gregory Mannarino supplies a look ahead for Stocks, Bitcoin, Gold and Silver.

Something to make note of as the world cascades through the covid crisis and beyond is that all of the important videos on youtube and various websites are being made by people who are generally shunned by mainstream media.'s Mike Maloney, Adam Taggert and Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity, Real Vision's Raoul Pal, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert of the Kaiser Report, and, to a lesser extent, various guests of Keith McCullough's Hedgeye can be seen only on the internet, while Fed officials, government bigwigs like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and old line investors like Warren Buffett are the staple of mainstream TV media.

It's quite a contrast when you view it from that perspective and realize that the stories being told and the predictions being made about the future of the crisis and of the world are radically different. There's a choice to be made. Just which narrative are you going to believe? Who's advice will you follow, and where will you end up, socially, politically, and financially.

At the Close, Friday, May 15, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,685.42, +60.12 (+0.25%)
NASDAQ: 9,014.56, +70.84 (+0.79%)
S&P 500: 2,863.70, +11.20 (+0.39%)
NYSE: 10,947.32, +19.92 (+0.18%)

For the Week:
Dow: -645.90 (-2.65%)
NASDAQ: +70.84 (+0.79%)
S&P 500: +11.20 (+0.39%)
NYSE: -407.02 (-3.58%)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Stocks Triggered By Federal Reserve EFT Buys, Negative Interest Rate Fears; PTJ Buys Bitcoin

Once more, the Dow Jones Industrial Average failed to break above a key level, giving up morning gains after President Trump reiterated his desire for the Fed to entertain negative interest rates. Bank stocks were especially hard hit as the belief is that rates below zero would further hamper their ability to control the spread and turn profits despite the ability to skim directly from deposit accounts via the minus sign on yields.

Alongside the president's tweeting, the Federal Reserve began purchasing corporate debt ETFs, beginning with investment grade bonds but eventually swinging down the ladder to high yield, among the most dodgy and riskiest of fixed income products. The intent was announced on March 23, as a response to the coronavirus epidemic, and put into practice during Tuesday's session, with investment firm, BlackRock, as the intermediary, using funds from the Fed and US Treasury.

Seen as the ultimate backstop for stocks and the debt market, the scheme is one of nine separate facilities the Fed is employing to help stabilize - or in most cases, pump higher - markets.

The various backstops being deployed by the Fed, in conjunction with the currency-killing qualities of negative interest rates should eventually result in a gigantic bubble in the Fed's balance sheet, holding investment vehicles that are headed straight to the fiat scrapyard, another sign that the world is heading toward a currency crisis and a new monetary regime.

The attempt to vault beyond the 50% retrace of the March collapse was the third in the past month. The Dow peaked on April 17 when it closed at 24,633.86. After Tuesday's selloff, the head-and-shoulders chart pattern is clearly defined, a strong signal that a major decline is likely.

In recent days, and just prior to its halving, Paul Tudor Jones has bought into Bitcoin, expressing his view that the cryptocurrency will act as a hedge against the inflation he sees coming from central bank money-printing, telling clients it reminds him of the role gold played in the 1970s.

In a quote that is certain to become his trademark, Jones, founder and CEO of Tudor Investment Corp., said:
“The best profit-maximizing strategy is to own the fastest horse.”

Unabashedly, Jones believes Bitcoin will win the investment race over the coming years, along with gold, silver and other hard assets.

Jones' entry into the crypto-market stands in stark contrast to famed investor Warren Buffet and his holding company Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet has openly stated that he would never invest in gold or Bitcoin. After selling off his positions in the airlines at a sizable loss, Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway is sitting on some $150 billion in cash, loathing the concept that he finds nothing of compelling value to purchase presently.

Obviously, one of these investing titans is going to be proven wrong. It appears that at the present time, Jones may be holding the winning hand, or, in racing parlance, the live long shot.

At the Close, Tuesday, May 12, 2020:
Dow: 23,764.78, -457.21 (-1.89%)
NASDAQ: 9,002.55, -189.79 (-2.06%)
S&P 500: 2,870.12, -60.20 (-2.05%)
NYSE: 11,055.58, -225.78 (-2.00%)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

As Senate Seeks $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package, Stocks Roar to Record Gains; Gold, Silver Rebound

When Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that negotiations over a $2 trillion national bailout were "on the five-yard line," minority leader Chuck Schumer one-upped him, quipping that negotiations were on the two-yard line as he met and wrangled over details with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Presumptuously a bi-partisan effort, the back-and-forth between the administration and Senate leaders managed to lift spirts in lower Manhattan, sending stocks to record one-day gains as hope for financial relief appeared to be within reach.

The 2,113.01-point, 11.37 percent gain on the Dow Industrials was not only the greatest one-day point rise in market history, it was also the fourth-best percentage rise, following a 12.34 percent advance on October 30, 1929, when the market was just entering the Great Depression. At the time, the Industrial Average stood at 258.47, with its gain of 28.40 points.

Whether that comparison is fair or apocryphal remains to be seen, though it's a well-known fact that the greatest stock market gains occur during bear markets. Of the top seven one-day percentage gains, four were during the Great Depression, the other two occurring in the Great Financial Crisis, on October 13 and 28 of 2008. It would indeed be wise for market participants to pay heed to Tuesday's inclusion in this suspicious list.

The NASDAQ's 557.19-point rip was the second-most ever, following a 672.43-point advance on March 13, 2020, less than two-weeks ago. The 8.12 percent increase tied for seventh all-time with a similar percentage gain on April 18, 2001. At that time, the NASDAQ was well into the throes of the dot-com bust. The tech-laden index was then trading just above 2000, when a month prior it had reached all-time highs, breaking above 5000.

The story was the same for the S&P 500, which recorded the eighth-best percentage gain. The seven higher percentage gains were all made either during the Great Depression (five of them), while two happened in October, 2008. The S&P's 209.93-point rise stands second only to the 230.38-point advance on March 13 of this year.

While the Senate dithered over details, bulls were greatly relieved as they took it to the bears throughout the session. Led by Chevron (CVX) with a 22.74% increase, some of the top performers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average included American Express (AXP, +21.88%), beleaguered Boeing (BA, +20.89%), McDonald's (MCD, +18.13%), Goldman Sachs (GS, +13.80%), and 3M (MMM, +12.60%).

The outpouring of money and joy didn't stop at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway. The money flows extended into gold and silver, the two precious metals having recently been pounded below sensible levels. With one of its best one-day performances ever, gold advanced by some $84.80, finishing up at $1636.00 the ounce after a close at $1551.20 on Monday.

Silver rose from a close of 13.27 on Monday to end trading in New York at 14.36, a gain of 8.21 percent.

Oil was stable to higher, with WTI crude advancing from $23.36 per barrel to $24.01 on the day.

Generally, bonds sold off, led by treasuries with durations between one and 10 years. Yield on the 10-year note advanced eight basis points, from 0.76% to 0.84%. The largest gain of yield was found on the five-year note, which rose from 0.38% to 0.52%. The curve is still relatively flat, with yields in a narrow band of 138 basis points. The one, two, and three month bills all stand at 0.01%, with the 30-year bond checking in at 1.39%

While the Senate never did get to a cloture vote on Tuesday, the deal was eventually struck just before 1:00 am ET on Wednesday, when White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland exited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office saying, according to CNN. “We have a deal.”

The full Senate is poised to vote on the package midday Wednesday. The House is expected to approve the bill by unanimous consent, sending it to the White House for President Trump's signature. The president is reportedly eager to sign the bill, sending money to individuals, families and businesses affected by events surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

It is expected to advance direct payments of $1200 per citizen ($2400 for married couples) earning less than $75,000 a year. It is the largest stimulus bill ever made into law. With markets prepared to open shortly, futures are less-than-enthusiastic, as all of the major indices indicate a lower opening though Asian markets were up sharply overnight and European indices are mixed.

At the Close, Tuesday, March 24, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 20,704.91, +2,113.01 (+11.37%)
NASDAQ: 7,417.86, +557.19 (+8.12%)
S&P 500: 2,447.33, +209.93 (+9.38%)
NYSE: 9,658.32, +880.94 (+10.04%)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Record Rise on NASDAQ; Big Gains on Dow, S&P Relieve Bear Market Fears... for Now

(Simultaneously published at Downtown Magazine)

In case anybody is growing weary of the recent volatility that has sent stocks soaring and diving over the past three to four weeks, prepare for more of the same. There will be no respite in daily swings of two percent, three percent or more, as yesterday proved, as stocks staged a monumental rally in the latter part of the the session, the Dow rising more than 1000 points in the final two hours.

At the end of the day, all major indices were approaching gains of five percent. Keeping with the trend of record-breaking sessions, the Dow's rise was the third largest point gain in market history. The other two occurred earlier this month. On March 2nd, the Industrials set the mark with a gain of 1,293.96 points. Tow days later, it came close to breaking that, up by 1,173.45 points.

With an eye toward the VIX - the market's preferred measure of volatility - this kind of roller coaster ride should continue until there's resolution to the downside. The VIX has recently hovered in the 40-50 range, ripping as high as 55. Normal volatility is usually measured in the teens.

The NASDAQ and S&P also experienced massive upside Tuesday afternoon, resulting in a record point gain on the NASDAQ, up 393.58 points, surpassing the record set just over a week ago, on March 2nd (+384.80). The S&P's gain of 135.67 points fell just shy of the record mark, also recorded on March 2nd, at +136.01.

In this regime of wild swings, it's probable that some traders are going to make massive profits while others fail miserably. It's all about timing and nerves. Anybody with poor timing and a thin appetite for risk is likely to be wiped out in short order. Those who relish the thrill of the hunt and have money to burn should come out ahead in the end, varying trades between long and short, at least until the market overseers ban short sales or profiting on put options.

It may not be obvious to the general public, but where this is head seems pretty clear. The coronavirus, COVID-19, has wreaked havoc on human society, thus disrupting the normal flow of business, a trend that's only just begun. Businesses are only beginning to feel the effects of breaks in the supply chain from China, and soon enough the entire planet's trade will be paralyzed by delays, outages, work stoppages, quarantines, deaths, and all the assorted maladies that accompany global pandemics, the likes of which have not presented themselves in the lifetimes of anybody alive today.

Estimates from medical experts are frightening, which is why the numbers being released by the CDC in the United States are nothing short of a bad joke. Over the past week, the CDC has "officially" recorded anywhere between 2 and 19 new cases of COVID-19 daily, this in a country with a projected population of 333,546,000.

Actual incidence of infection is orders of magnitude higher; that can be safely assumed. With the aid of the CDC, the US government has chosen to protect the economy rather than the people, a strategy doomed to fail. Without effective measures for controlling and containing the spread of the disease - as has been accomplished to a relatively high degree in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea - via testing, contact tracking, and quarantine - it will spread virtually unchecked through a population. The evidence from the epicenter in Wuhan, China is compelling in this regard. Akin to what happened there, the US approach is dangerously close to causing a widespread outbreak in any number of cities by ignoring simple precautions and putting money ahead of human health.

What would an economy look like with 200 deaths per day, hospitals overwhelmed and people forced to stay indoors and away from others for weeks at a time? We, and some European nations are about to find out. With a population spoiled by the luxuries of freedom, it's not going to be much fun watching entitled populations melt down under the imposition of travel bans, quarantines, and other draconian measures.

As for stocks, well, their pathway will be all but assured. The Dow Jones Industrials bounced off a mark of declination on Tuesday when it bottomed out at 23,690.34. It was down 19.88% from the intraday high of 29,568.57, recorded on February 12 of this year. It was about to fall into bear market territory. The day's gains may have staved off capitulation for now, but it's coming, and soon. The end of the 11-year bull market and the beginning of what could be a prolonged bear market is at hand.

At the Close, Tuesday, March 10, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,018.16, +1,167.14 (+4.89%)
NASDAQ: 8,344.25, +393.58 (+4.95%)
S&P 500: 2,882.23, +135.67 (+4.94%)
NYSE: 11,793.27, +494.84 (+4.38%)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Mother of All Relief Rallies Sets Records For Wall Street

Whether it was animal spirits, a concerted effort by the PPT, or simply a matter of the market being temporarily oversold, Monday's rally on Wall Street was one for the record books.

Not only was the Dow's gain a record in terms of points, it's 5.09% rip was also the best percentage gain since the bottoming out from the the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) on March 23, 2009 (2009-03-23, 7,775.86, +497.48, +6.84). Readers should be informed that the two greatest percentage gains on the Dow Industrials came in the midst of a massive market meltdown in October, 2008. On the 13th the Dow gained 936.42 points for a percentage gain of +11.08% Just two weeks later, on the 28th, an 889.35-point rip to the upside produced a rise of 10.88 percent. The point is that the largest point and percentage gains usually are accompanied by the same on the other side of the ledger, and vice versa. No, this time is no different.

The gains follow what was the worst point loss in market history as the prior week produced the largest point loss along with the fourth and fifth largest.

Ditto for the NASDAQ, with a record point gain of +384.80, surpassing the prior mark of +361.44, from December 26, 2018, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had purportedly made a number of calls to various members of the Fed and the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, aka, the PPT.

The S&P 500 also registered a record point gain, surpassing the +116.60 upside burst also marked on December 26, 2018. Reliable data was unavailable for the NYSE, though it can safely be assumed that if Monday wasn't a record point gain, it was certainly close.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the number of Americans to die from complications (generally pneumonia) attributable to coronavirus reached six, four of them victims at a nursing home in Washington state. Health officials and other commentators have been sounding the alarm over outbreaks in clusters, and it appears that Washington, and possibly Oregon and California are about to experience clusters of cases arising at the community level.

COVID-19 is not going to slow down on its own, nor are government officials going to give the public the straight story (they almost never do in any crisis situation). In China, the government is variously telling its people that the virus came from outside the country (which it definitely did NOT) and that it has been defeated. Oddly enough, most Chinese citizens are not back to work, three to four weeks after the government began mass quarantines.

In the US and many European countries, including France and Germany, the issue is testing. The health departments of developed nations apparently see little need to test for the virus, which has the effect of showing the public vary few cases. Regardless, more testing is about to take place in the United States and elsewhere, and the number of new cases could skyrocket by the weekend.

In the interim, there will be much jawboning over what are effective measures to take against the virus but much of the focus will be on the expanding spread of the disease.

Bonds weren't completely buying into the rally. After dipping as low as 1.03%, the yield on the 10-year note closed out the session at 1.10%, another record low. The curve is inverted at the very low end. There is just 15 basis points separating the yield on a 1-month bill (1.41%) and the 30-year bond (1.66%). Figure that one out.

The low point is at the 2-year (0.84%), making the whole trip across the treasury complex a voyage of just 82 basis points, or 0.82%. It's not a pretty sight for bankers, yet interest rates on credit cards are still averaging around 14-18%, while mortgage rates have dropped to fresh lows. A 30-year fixed rate is hovering in a range of 3.15% to 3.40%, while a 15-year fixed can be had at under three percent generally across the country.

With the huge relief rally now comfortably on the books, Wall Street and the world must brace for the next shock from COVID-19. This isn't over. Not by a long shot. In many ways, in various countries around the world, it's just getting started.

At the Close, Monday, March 2, 2002:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,703.32, +1,293.96 (+5.09%)
NASDAQ: 8,952.17, +384.80 (+4.49%)
S&P 500: 3,090.23, +136.01 (+4.60%)
NYSE: 12,827.99, +447.02 (+3.61%)

Friday, February 28, 2020

All Major US Indices Post Record Losses On Coronavirus (COVID-19) Shocks

This is how it always ends. A pileup on the interstate. Panic at the disco.

And this is only the beginning of the end of a bull market that's survived long past its sell-by date, the final six months being kept upright by oodles of fake bucks from the Fed via the repo market.

Prior to that it was stock buybacks and more Fed printing. It's over. Get used to it.

A couple of friends yesterday were in the first stage of he Kubler-Ross five levels of grief, denial, saying that the stock market would come back. This, despite evidence right in front of their faces of massive losses and still they won't move their money to a safer place.

Smart money will be making more all the way down. Most money will simply disappear.

All of the major indices suffered yesterday their worst point losses in stock market history. That's right, the worst ever.

The Dow Jones Industrials managed to dispose of 1,190.96 points, edging out the 1,175.21 trashing on February 5, 2018. The NASDAQ put down a marker that is likely to stand for a long time (if it's not broken sometime during the next few months), dropping 414 points, bettering the former record of -355.49 from April 4, 2000, by some 59 points. That's a lot.

The S&P 500 also crushed its previous record, ripping off 137.63 points, topping the old mark of -113.19 from February 5, 2018.

It's been a bad week for stocks as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the globe.

Oddly enough, but with some historical precedence, precious metals have been bashed down over the past few days as well, just as they were at the height of the global meltdown of 2008. Everything lost value then. Same now.

Crude oil took another bump lower, with WTI crude as low as $45.25 pr barrel. Yield on the ten-year note fell to yet another record low, checking in at 1.30% at the end of the day. The 30-year was at 1.79%.

With the final trading day of the week on deck, there isn't much more to say than glad it's over, but the tide has turned, with all the major indices already - in the span of just five days - in correction territory, donw by more than 10%. Unless something changes quickly, there's a bear market staring investors in the face.

Cant say that it hasn't been apparent. This is no surprise. All the market needed was a good scapegoat and it found one in coronavirus and its aftereffects.

At the Close, Thursday, February 27, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,766.64, -1,190.96 (-4.42%)
NASDAQ: 8,566.48, -414.29 (-4.61%)
S&P 500: 2,978.76, -137.63 (-4.42%)
NYSE: 12,547.25, -499.35 (-3.83%)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Bloodbath Continues As Stocks Respond To Coronavirus Fears; Bond Yields Achieve Fresh Lows; A Black Swan Moment?

So, is this "the big one?"

Is this the beginning of the inevitable late-stage bull market crash?

It very well could be, with the coronavirus taking up residence in market perceptions as the black swan, the mythical entity so eloquently devised and demonstrably argued in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book by the same name in 2007.
Talib's tome is on the mark.

To those unfamiliar with the concept, black swans are rare, some say even non-existent, and Talib posits that rare, unpredictable events do happen, and their appearance can manifest itself in positive or negative ways.

Thus, the coronavirus (COVID-19) qualifies as a black swan event, as it appeared almost from nowhere, without warning, without announcement, and without restraint. It could be said that the virus itself is not the black swan, but what turned it into a major event for markets and economies was the fumbled handling of it and attempts to contain it in its early days of spread in China.

Had the virus been less contagious, less virulent, better contained, it might have had little to no effect on markets, but, as has been seen over the past two months, it managed to spread across almost all of mainland China, escaped its borders and eventually has been contracted in now forty countries, as far-flung as Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Finland, and the United States.

It is out there, it is virulent, it is deadly in some cases. Invisible, untouchable, it is an ideal psy-op by which the mainstream and financial media can whip up fear into a tornado of emotion, to whirl about Wall Street and global financial centers and create a panic.

The truth - and there have been more than enough variants of that to render objective opinion nearly moot - is that the virus is apparently not as deadly as other natural disasters might be. It is not even keeping pace with deaths by accident or from the more common flu, but the media coverage and government response to it has been nothing short of ghastly and draconian. Mass quarantines are not something most people alive today have ever experienced, but the world is getting a first-hand view - albeit somewhat clouded by China's command - of entire cities and provinces on lockdown, now followed by similar experience in South Korea and Italy and elsewhere, and possibly, we have been warned, coming to a neighborhood near you.

So, while fear is stoked in the general populace over the chance of catching the disease, possibly dying from it and possibly having to live isolated for weeks, the financial world sees disruption to the normal conduct of business, anathema of the first order.

Starting with the supply lines for parts to finished products out of China and ending with entire huge swaths of populations unable to transact in an orderly manner, the spread of the virus has the potential of putting the entire planet on hold, unable to work, pay bills, advance production, build, grow. COVID-19 is the potion, media and government the ice and the straw that sirs the drink (hat tip to Mr. October, Reggie Jackson for the apropos analogy), and it is all connected.

Whether or not the spread of the virus, its immediate health effects and reaction to it will be enough to send economies into reverse is still unknown, though it's looking more and more likely that whatever carnage it is producing is not about to stop soon and will continue until either it mutates itself out of existence or is contained to a level at which people can work, travel, and interact freely without fear.

So far, it has not been contained to any satisfactory level and appears to be spreading further into the general population in many countries.

With what we know, and the reaction thus far - by China first and the rest of the world after that - COVID-19 may not decimate the world's population, but the fear of it, the media coverage of it, and various government responses to it have the potential to crash markets around the world.

Note the variance between the rise in price (up) and the bottom panel.
That is the correlation with the S&P 500, which the Dow
underperformed all through 2019 and into 2020.
The financial environment has quickly shifted from greed over to fear and fear is not backing down. Investors are seeking safety rather than profit. Companies are reviewing disaster plans and procedures rather than seeking expansion and growth. These conditions will likely prevail for months, long enough to send stocks spiraling into a death trap, bonds soaring, and eventually gold and silver to unforeseen levels (though precious metals took a thumping on Tuesday thanks to the unseen hands of interlopers in the paper markets).

On Tuesday, the Dow took another huge step down, as did the NASDAQ, S&P, and other indices around the world, especially in Europe, which after China, looms the most precarious. Europe was already been on edge, close to recession, prior to the emergence of the coronavirus threat and they may be reeling uncontrollable into an abyss should the population experience widespread or even minor contraction.

In the United States, the slowdown has begun, with automakers concerned about parts en route from China and whether such essential production parts will arrive in an orderly manner. It's probable that they will not. Other industries have a similar connection to China and elsewhere, and anecdotal evidence suggests that slowdowns and possible layoffs lie straight ahead.

Bond yields have cratered like a failed bundt cake. Yield on the 10-year note crashed through its all-time low, stopping finally at 1.33%, two basis points below the prior low from July 5th and 8th of 2016 (1.37%). The 30-year bond dipped to 1.80%. The three and five-year notes mark the bottom of the treasury curve at 1.16, dangerous levels for capital markets.

In conclusion, unless events somehow take a radical turn for the better, conditions exist in spades for massive market turmoil to the downside. Beyond the idea that most liquid equity markets and individual securities have been extremely overbought and propped up by Fed injections and corporate buybacks, the effect from coronavirus and reaction to it should continue to offer nothing good in terms of upside impetus for the foreseeable future, though the first quarter and well into the second.

Global recession or worse is a viable consideration.

At the Close, Tuesday, February 25, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,081.36, -879.44 (-3.15%)
NASDAQ: 8,965.61, -255.67 (-2.77%)
S&P 500: 3,128.21, -97.68 (-3.03%)
NYSE: 13,143.73, -390.37 (-2.88%)

If all this is too much for you to bear, then sit back, relax, and enjoy music from a better time, the Beatles' Revolver album.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Takes a Bite Out of Europe and Wall Street

COVID-19 continues to rage, and on Monday, it took a bite out of global markets, especially in Europe and the Americas, with stock indices falling in a range around 3.5% on the day.

For the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it was the biggest decline in two years and the third biggest point drop in the history of the index, closing just short of the #2 all-time drop, −1,032.89 on February 8, 2018 a decline of 4.15%. Monday's rip was a 3.65% decline.

The S&P's 111.89-point loss was the second-worst ever on that index, nearly topping a 113.19 loss, also from February 8, 2018. The NASDAQ's 355.31-point decline was the second biggest on record. The worst day for the NASDAQ was on April 14, 2000, when the index plummeted nine percent, posting a loss of 355.49, kicking off what would be known as the dotcom bust.

There's a general theme around these kinds of outsized losses. Usually, there's follow-up, but it doesn't always come the very next day. It's usually another day later. That's likely because investors have become so accustomed to "buying the dip" that any major loss is seen as a buying opportunity, and this may well be, but it's probably going to be better to sit and watch on Tuesday and be ready to jump in (or out) on Wednesday or Thursday.

Another wave will come, and it's not going to be pretty. as pointed out in our Weekend Wrap, investors aren't concerned with the spread of the coronavirus per se, they're worried about the effect it is going to have on businesses, particularly, in this case, those with supply chains emanating out of mainland China, and there are plenty of them in addition to the airlines and cruise ship companies which have already been hard hit by the tail of the virus.

The after-effects from COVID-19 aren't going to emerge for months. Less than two months into the pandemic, the virus has yet to unleash its most virulent strain upon a host of countries outside China, but the list of countries seeing the number of new infections growing is getting larger. Italy, South Korea, Iran, Hong Kong, and Japan are the current hotspots, with cases doubling every day or two.

It will take some months for this to slow down and eventually be contained, but it's going to be very disruptive to the normal flow of business for some time. This is definitely not a time to be bullish, though the second half of the year may be.

With stocks battered around the world, bonds rallied, with yield on the 10-year note dropping eight basis points, from 1.46% to 1.38%. The 30-year bond hit another all-time low yield at 1.84%.

The yield curve remains inverted at the short to middle, with 1, 2, 3, and 6-month bills all posting yields higher than the 10-year, though the 2s-10s remained constant at a 12 basis point difference, the 2-year ending the day at 1.26. The curve is nearly flat, with 1.60% at one end (1-month) and 1.84% at the other, on the 30-year. A soft underbelly in the middle, with a 1.21% yield on the 3s and 5s, makes the entire trip one of just 63 basis points, or just more than one half of a percent. That's FLAT!

Oil hit the skids, with WTI dropping to 51.43 per barrel, though that's still higher than what is likely coming in months ahead, especially if widespread quarantines become fashionable in developed countries, particularly speaking of Europe and the USA.

Gold and silver were well bid, but smashed down at the end of the day. It's not yet the time for the almighty dollar to suffer. The yen and euro must submit first, along with China's yuan. When these fiat currencies are exposed, when negative interest rates are more an essential element than an experimental one, then the metals will soar. The world isn't there yet and nobody will be adequately prepared when that eventuality occurs, which could be six months from now or six years. It's looking like it may be closer to the latter, as the global machinery of finance isn't as fragile as it may appear on the surface.

Keeping a sharp eye out for emerging hotspots and especially on the US mainland, stocks ripe for shorting may be in the entertainment, hospitality, and dining segments.

At the Close, Monday, February 24, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,960.80, -1,031.61 (-3.56%)
NASDAQ: 9,221.28, -355.31, (-3.71%)
S&P 500: 3,225.89, -111.86 (-3.35%)
NYSE: 13,534.12, -441.66 (-3.16%)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Confluence Of Impeachment, Virginia State Of Emergency, Peter Schweizer Book Could Damage Stocks

With stocks soaring to even higher new record highs again on Thursday, there's little doubt over the levles of irrationality and exuberance being displayed by the hoi poloi investing elite, their magic money spigot at the Fed and their marvelous algorithms which interpret all news as positive for stocks.

It is precisely in conditions such as these (the Dow Jones Industrial Average has vaulted over 29,000 with ease and is up a stunning 3,219 points since October 3rd, a 12.3% gain in just three-and-a-half months. The time period in question coincides neatly with the Federal Reserve's stoking engagement into the repo market, pumping, by some estimates, over $1.5 trillion into the hands of primary dealers and hedge funds, ramping the Fed's own balance sheet by more than $413.7 billion since the end of August.

The Fed's particular brand of irrational exuberance is at a pace reminiscent of prior bouts of QE in 2009, 2010-11, and 2012-14, even though the Fed cutely insists this is "not QE." Balderdash.

Normally, nobody gets alarmed over gigantic gains in stocks, giving their overall pleasant scent (go ahead, you know you want to sniff your currency) and beneficial purchasing power, but this severe repricing of stocks is beginning to look Weimar-like, when stocks in 1920s Weimar Germany rose by obscene percentages, but cashing in hundreds of shares could only purchase a day's worth of food due to the overarching hyperinflation of the currency.

Not to say that the same is or will be happening in the United States, though signs of runaway inflation are prevalent, but something may go wrong at some point that tears the social construct and eventually affects stocks and currency.

Consider that a confluence of events are about to take place between now and Tuesday, January 21. Equity and security markets will be closed over the weekend and on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday. In the meantime, there's already a state of emergency declared in Richmond, Virginia with concern over the gun rights rally set up for Lobby Day on Monday.

On Tuesday, the impeachment trial of President Trump begins in the Senate.

Also on Tuesday, Peter Schweizer's new book, Profiles in Corruption drops. On the book's cover are the faces of Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and others. Uh, Oh, it's already at #3 on Amazon's Best Sellers list.

Tuesday may be too late to get out of positions, so if there's some quiet pullback on Friday, it could be a tell.

At the Close, Thursday, January 16, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 29,297.64, +267.44 (+0.92%)
NASDAQ: 9,357.13, +98.43 (+1.06%)
S&P 500: 3,316.81, +27.52 (+0.84%)
NYSE Composite: 14,141.78, +88.58 (+0.63%)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Making Money Investing Should Not Be This Easy (or maybe it should be)

Since the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-09, the performance of the major indices have been nothing short of miraculous.

At the nadir of the crisis, the bottom, on March 9, 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 6,547.05. It closed Wednesday at 28,745.09, an tidy increase of 439%. Nearly 11 years later, that's an average annual return of 39.9%, or, for the rounders amongst us, 40 percent per year, on average.

Imagine, a $100,000 investment right at the bottom of the market would be worth $439,000, and that's just on 30 stocks that comprise the Industrials, without adding in dividends, which could have been reinvested and made even more money. It's absolutely ludicrous that such an easy investment strategy - buying and holding an index fund, for instance - could generate such awe-inspiring returns. That gain of $339,000, or, $30,818, non-compounded, is more than most Americans make in a year. Incredible.

What this shows is that anyone who had a retirement fund and didn't touch it during the crash of 2008, is probably pretty smug and comfortable right about now. Such people would be mostly Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1965, who were, in 2008, as old as 62 or as young as 43 and are now between the ages of 54 and 73.

Many from this age group have already retired. Some are headed that way, and, if the market holds up, many will take early retirement at age 62, if not sooner (59 1/2 for those with IRAs or 401k plans). This is an enormous portion of the population, about 23% of all the people (legally) living in America.

Now, not every Baby Boomer had 100,000 in their investment account in 2008. Some had more, some had less, some had none, but, without a doubt, there are some very fat and sassy old folks out there, hoarding their gains, figuring out how long their money will last if they start withdrawing a little here, a little there, mostly more or less on a plan to live until they are 85 or 90, because that's the general life expectancy these days.

All of these people will also collect Social Security, adding anywhere from $400 (slackers) to $2,788 a month to their income. There's a lot of money out there, much of it still being invested.

While this all sounds like economic Nirvana, there is one no-so-small caveat. In a word, it's inflation. In more words, it's the cost of living. Everything is more expensive today than when the Baby Boomers began investing, so it's eroding their profits, though they're still pretty well off, because, as young people will learn and older folks already know, costs of living (outside of severe medical expenses) are lower when you're older. You eat less, go out less, need less of everyday items because you already own them. You drive less, and, probably, you save more.

Even discounting the effects of inflation (a new car in 1970 could be purchased for less than $2000; today's it's generally more then $20,000, often much more), these Baby Boomer retirees are going to be pretty well off, even if Social Security runs out of money and is forced to reduce benefits.

As much as people today bemoan the great inequality of incomes and wealth, this one group, Baby Boomers, were born into and continue to live in a pretty sweet spot, when the economy was good, if not great, and life in the United States of America was one of general peace and tranquility. America is still a very solid country in the grand scheme of things, and maybe the complainers and nay-sayers could do themselves and everybody else a favor by working just a little bit harder, saving just a little bit more, complaining just a little bit less.

Nobody can predict the future, but who knew, 11 years ago, that American stocks would provide so well?

Millennial food for thought.

At the Close, Wednesday, January 8, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,745.09, +161.41 (+0.56%)
NASDAQ: 9,129.24, +60.66 (+0.67%)
S&P 500: 3,253.05, +15.87 (+0.49%)
NYSE Composite: 13,934.44, +36.00 (+0.26%)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Stalled Out: Dow Finishes Unchanged; NASDAQ, S&P Flat Following Trump Speech

After President Donald J. Trump's speech before the Economic Club of New York, stocks retreated, wiping out gains made earlier in the session. Trump spoke during the noon hour, maintaining a hard line on negotiations with China and the European Union.

The president reiterated the need for fair and reciprocal trade, addressing the unfairness in trading with China and praising his administration for raising tariffs on Chinese imports. As is his style, the president called out the Chinese for stealing intellectual property, subsidizing their own industries at the expense of the US, and dumping products on our shores at under-competitive prices.

Critical of the president's tough approach with the Chinese, the media produced enough negative headlines to send the algorithms into a spasmodic tailspin, selling stocks with abandon. The Dow was up nearly 80 points in early trading, but sold off in the afternoon, eventually finishing unchanged.

It was the first time the Dow had closed unchanged since 2014, and the third time since 2000. According to the Motley Fool, the chance that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would close unchanged for a single day became more difficult when the index adopted decimalization in 2001. Prior to that, advances and declines were measured in eights of a point, a much larger denominator than today's, which is one cent. The article points out that the Dow finished unchanged ten times in the 1990s and four times in just one year: 1979.

With the Dow flattened out for the day along with the other major indices, interest turned to global markets which uniformly reacted with negativity. All Asian markets were lower overnight and European exchanges were also showing declines, though the losses were less than spectacular. Other than Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index - which is a separate case altogether due to the ongoing protests and disruptions - none of the major indices were down more than one percent.

As daylight broke over America's Eastern shores, stock futures were pointing to a negative open. Dow futures were off more than 100 points.

At the Close, Tuesday, November 12, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,691.49, 0.00 (0.00%)
NASDAQ: 8,486.09, +21.81 (+0.26%)
S&P 500: 3,091.84, +4.83 (+0.16%)
NYSE Composite: 13,387.62, -0.49 (-0.00%)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Set Records; Bonds, Precious Metals Battered

The three major averages - Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500 - all reached record territory this week, and, despite some give-back on Wednesday, closed out the week with all-time high closing prices. The lone laggard was the NYSE Composite, which hasn't yet managed to get back to January 2018 levels, but it is close, within 250 points.

Catalysts for the massive run-up through October and into November were supposed breakthroughs in the ongoing US-China trade deadlock and the Fed's 25 basis point cut in the federal funds rate last Wednesday (October 30). Positive news, or even the hint of such, was enough to ignite stocks in the US while Europe tetters on the verge of recession.

Gains made during the past five or six weeks look to be locked in for year-end, but there's barely a sniff of selling among the investment crowd. New records could be set in the indices through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and beyond, especially if indications of renewed vigor in manufacturing develops. It's been dragging lately, but the sector is wide and varied. Some states are doing well as opposed to ones like New York, which has lost 10,000 manufacturing jobs this year, and some sub-sectors are outperforming. Metal tooling is seeing a revival thanks to tariffs on steel, while semiconductors are slumping.

While stocks continued on their merry way to equity nirvana, fixed investment took a beating, especially in the case of the benchmark 10-year note, which appears headed back above two percent, closing out this week with a yield of 1.94%, the highest since July 31 (2.02%). The long end of the curve is certainly steepening, and in a hurry. The 30-year bond checked out on Friday with a yield of 2.43, just a basis point below the closing on August 1 (2.44%).

The short end of the treasury yield curve is still flat, with the difference between 1-month bills and the 5-year note a mere 18 basis points (1.56-1.74%). The curve has maintained an un-inverted posture for nearly three months now, since the 2s-10s crossed for three days in August of this year. That brief period of inversion did engender some recession fears at the time, but they have been allayed by the curve settling into a more orderly regimen.

Recession still being a possibility, always, chances of it occurring anytime soon were quelled when third quarter GDP came in hotter than expected, at 1.9%. Not a good number, the fact that it was above most estimates (1.6%) was enough to hold off the bears. If the measurement holds for the next two estimates of third quarter GDP, the absolute earliest recession bells could ring would be after the first quarter of 2020, if both the fourth quarter of 2019 and first of 2020 were negative, and those are some pretty big ifs.

Thus, it's unlikely that the US will encounter a recession - or at least have one reported - until after the second quarter of 2020, but the economy is looking like it will continue to grow, albeit modestly, until at least the elections in November, good news for President Trump and Republicans in general, and not-so-good for Democrats who wail about everything, even when nothing is amiss in any major way.

Also hammered were precious metals, with silver falling below the Maginot line of $17/ounce late in the week to close out at $16.77. Gold fell from right around $1500/ounce to end the week at its lowest level since the start of October, at $1458.80.

If interest rates continue to climb, it could exacerbate the bearish tone already developing in the metals. To holders, it may not be such a big deal, but more of an opportunity to buy more on the supposed cheap. Precious metals have been out of favor since their massive run-up from 1999 to 2011, and there seems to be no end in sight for the overall bear regime that has taken hold.

One has to consider the rationale for gold or silver as one of protection, so, from a buyer's standpoint there's absolutely nothing wrong with holding or storing some of the shiny stuff. It still maintains value, though it has been fluctuating greatly over the past 20 years, but what hasn't. Gold and silver still provide peace of mind and a store of value that is better, over the longest of terms, than any other investment, save possibly real estate, the difference being that no taxes have to be paid on the shiny metals.

Outlooking for the next seven weeks through Christmas is decidedly positive for stocks, which is all anybody really seems to care about these days. Pension funds are all in, as many have to be, in hopes that there will not be massive underfunding for the retiring baby boomers.

In the most simplistic of ways, stocks may be overvalued, but the rising yields on bonds may tempt some of the less-daring speculators to dive into a safety play. Worse things have happened, but, for now, there seems to be a nice balancing act between the Fed, the government, business, and heavily-indebted consumers, the latter group buoying and buying into the great money scheme of the longest bull market in history.

Some day, it will all come to a screeching halt. By most measures, it's not stopping any time soon.

At the Close, Friday, November 8, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,681.24, +6.44 (+0.02%)
NASDAQ: 8,475.31, +40.80 (+0.48%)
S&P 500: 3,093.08, +7.90 (+0.26%)
NYSE Composite: 13,407.80, +12.26 (+0.09%)

For the Week:
Dow: +333.88 (+1.22%)
NASDAQ: +88.92 (+1.06%)
S&P 500: +26.17 (+0.85%)
NYSE Composite: +107.54 (+0.81%)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

US and European Markets All Suffer End-of-Session Dumping

The major indices - not just in the US, but it Europe as well - fell victim to late-day large scale stock dumping, with all US indices, along with Germany's DAX, France's CAC 40, Britain's FTSE, and the Euronext 100, closing at the low points of their respective sessions.

This can only indicate one of two things: a rebalancing was taking place in the indices, or, big moneys getting out of stocks before Wednesday's opening.

The first case is probably not feasible, since these various indices do not rebalance all on the same day. That would lead to serious dislocations and confusion. Thus, that leaves the second case, in which some large traders with inside information made a hasty exit in anticipation of something terrible on Wednesday. What that terrible thing may be is currently unfathomable, but will probably come to light when European markets open on the morrow.

Market conditions such as this cannot be viewed as one-offs, as they are occurring with too much regularity. There's far too much volatility and sudden reversals to be credited to randomness; it's much more likely that markets are being manipulated by a cartel of central banks and their agencies, the major brokerages, meaning that the average investor is once again left holding a bag of stocks worth less than they were the day before.

One can claim conspiracy often enough to attract attention, and then division, which is why the regulars in the financial media will never let loose with any opinion even tangentially touching upon a conspiratorial theme. Those outside the mainstream have no such binding authority as a job or a narrative, so it's left to bloggers and speculators to sort out the less-than-obvious maneuverings in the market.

While the losses were not large, they were uniform, which indicates at least some coordination.

At the Close, Tuesday, August 20, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,962.44, -173.35 (-0.66%)
NASDAQ: 7,948.56, -54.25 (-0.68%)
S&P 500: 2,900.51, -23.14 (-0.79%)
NYSE Composite: 12,599.41, -88.51 (-0.70%)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Blood on the Tracks: Transportation Average in Correction

It's been a rough month for transportation stocks and Monday's tumble sent the Dow Jones Transportation Average back into correction territory, a condition unnoticed by financial pundits who are supposed to be on top of such events.

Maybe it's because the transports - and the rest of the stock universe - has had a happy 2019 thus far, but the previous high referenced by the ^DJT dates back to September 14.

The S&P and NASDAQ set new all-time highs earlier this month, but the Industrials, like the Trannys, harken back to 2018. October 3 to be precise.

While the other indices took sizable hits on Monday, they are each down around five to six percent, but the transports have been taking it on the chin of late, their pronounced decline due, no doubt, to ongoing trade tensions with China. Since trade and transportation are so heavily intertwined, it doesn't take a mastermind to figure why the transports have been treated so harshly.

With the trade scenario likely to continue devolving, expect no relief in the transport sector. The next key points for the average is around 9900 (the October lows) and 8637 (late December). Should the transports continue their descent from here, expect the other indices to follow suit, which means the peals of panic will be loud and sustained.

This entire exercise in trade trolling will eventually work itself out and the Chinese are likely to end up on the losing side. As President Trump never fails to highlight, they've been winning for decades, and it's time to turn the tables, at least a little bit. It's not like the Chinese empire will return to the 18th century, though, because they've got trade tentacles everywhere. The US is seeking better terms, and they're almost certain to get them because China will be pragmatic. They will not risk losing power control over trade with just one country, even though that country is their biggest customer.

China will politely bow, the president will rightly claim a victory, stocks will be lower, but they will spring back, like they always do. President Trump's trade policies are disruptive, but, they will benefit US business interests in the long term. They're nothing to be panicked about and certainly aren't going to threaten the US economy in any grand fashion.

In the meantime, however, the transports and industrials are probably going to take a significant hit. Figure another 15-20% on the trannys and 10-15% downside for the indys.

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,324.99, -617.38 (-2.38%)
NASDAQ: 7,647.02, -269.92 (-3.41%)
S&P 500: 2,811.87, -69.53 (-2.41%)
NYSE Composite: 12,526.71, -261.43 -2.04%
Dow Jones Transportation Average: 10,305.85, -296.34 (-2.80%)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dow Theory: Primary Bear Market with Reactionary Bull in Effect

Dow Theory has been around for more than 100 years and even in today's lightning-fast markets, Fed interventions, multiple tasing platforms and indices, it still serves investors well in determining primary and secondary trends over medium and longer-term horizons.

Even as the NASDAQ and S&P 500 made new highs on Tuesday, April 23 - and scampered back from them on Wednesday, the 24th - the Dow Jones Industrial Average remains technically in a bear market which began in October of 2018 and was confirmed by the Dow Jones Transports later in the month when the Trannys slipped below 10,000, bounced back from there but were clobbered all of December (as were the Industrials), putting in a low right around Christmas.

Since then, stocks have been on a tear, but the Transports and Industrials have stubbornly resisted making new all-time highs dating back to September of 2018 for the Trannys and the first week of October for the Industrials.

As the momentum of the new year and the "Trump economy," with an able assist from the Federal Reserve - which stopped its insistence on hiking the federal funds rate 25 basis points every quarter and also suspended its balance sheet roll-off - both indices are within hailing distance of all-time highs once again. They are tantalizingly close to extending what many consider to be the longest bull market in US history, despite Dow Theory standing in the way, saying, "no, the primary trend has changed."

The issue for investors and chart-watchers is whether the Bear that emerged late last year will persist in the face of solid economic data and healthy performances by individual stocks or fall victim to excessive speculation and high valuations. The Shiller CAPE ratio remains elevated, above levels seen in 1929 and 2008, though below the spasmodic bubble highs of 2000.

Neither proposition - new all-time highs or another retreat - offers particular pleasure. New highs would confirm that the bubble economics put in place following the 08-09 financial crisis are still in play, and there's ample evidence to support that view. A systemic breakdown - first a correction (10%), followed by a massive sell-off similar to what was witnessed in December of last year - would please nobody other than the most ardent short-sellers (and maybe the Democrat party, Trump haters and the mainstream media).

Of course, the Industrial and Transportation indices are exceedingly narrow, though they are far from being outdated. The 30 stocks on the Industrial Average and the 20 on the Transportation Index still manage to provide a compelling snapshot of the US big business economy. Understanding their primary and secondary trends goes a long way towards gauging the overall health of the US economy.

This is a time to pay them extra attention, as the next major move should provide timely insight to the years ahead. Friday's first estimate of first quarter GDP may spur a move in one direction or another as estimates have ranged as low as +0.9 to +2.8.

Anything over +2.2 is likely to be viewed positively in the current risk-happy environment. a reading under +1.6 would fan the flames of the bear campfire. The estimate is due out on Friday, April 26, at 8:30 am ET.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Stocks Slammed, Bonds Rally As Global Slowdown Fears Rise

Apple computer, maker of the iconic iPhone, was the cause of much of today's equity angst, as the tech giant warned that fourth quarter sales were likely to come in under revenue estimates.

Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter late Wednesday to investors advising that a slowdown in China sales would cause fourth quarter revenue to decline 4.8% year over year to $84 billion, well below analyst estimates. It's not that Apple is losing money - far from that - it's just not making as much as expected. Shares of Apple (AAPL) were down nearly 10% on the news, the largest one-day loss in six years.

Combined with a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) that had December's PMI fall by the most since the financial crisis of 2008, stocks were on the defensive all day long. The report concluded that December PMI fell from 59.3 to 54.1, a descent of 5.4%. While anything over 50 is considered expansion, the falloff is considered to be a harbinger of worse data to come, as many participants in the survey blamed trade tensions with China as a leading cause for the slowdown.

Thus, the 1000+ point gain from December 26 was cut down by two-thirds on Thursday, just a week later, sending the Dow and other major indices closer to bear market territory once again.

January has gotten off to a horrible start, as though December's rout hadn't ended, which, of course, would be correct. Losses on stocks are only just beginning. By March of this year, expect stocks to be another 10-15% lower than where they stand today, and, even then, with signs of a global slowdown flashing red, a bottom won't likely be put in until the market has flushed out all of the weak hands and sent fund managers scurrying in even greater numbers to cash and bonds.

Presently, the treasuries are telling an interesting story about the economy. While the Federal Reserve insisted on raising rates four times in 2019, the bond market has expressed extreme displeasure, sending the yield on the 10-year note to 2.56%, down ten basis points just today, marking the lowest yield since January of last year. Additionally, short-maturity bills spiked (thanks to Fed hikes at the low end) with the one-year yielding 2.50%, as compared to 2.39% for the 2-year and 2.37% for the five-year note. Inversion in accelerating at the short end of the curve.

While this is traditionally not the pairs that signal recession, that distinction belonging to the 2s-10s spread, it is highly unusual. Bond traders are saying they don't want to issue longer-term, for fear that the economy will weaken as time progresses. The 30-year also was slammed lower, yielding 2.92%, down five basis points from yesterday.

2019 is looking to be an even worse year for equity investors, and a rout in the stock market could cause panic to spread to many diverse levels of economic activity. A recession within the next three to twelve months is looking more a certainty with each passing day.

Dow Jones Industrial Average January Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
1/2/19 23,346.24 +18.78 +18.78
1/3/19 22,686.22 -660.02 -641.24

At the Close, Thursday, January 3, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 22,686.22, -660.02 (-2.83%)
NASDAQ: 6,463.50, -202.43 (-3.04%)
S&P 500: 2,447.89, -62.14 (-2.48%)
NYSE Composite: 11,190.44, -193.09 (-1.70%)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Stocks Stumble In New Year; Fantastic Four #4 12-Cent Comic Book, Now $4489

Stocks tumbled, then stumbled to an unimpressive finish on the first trading day of 2019, leaving doubt in the minds of many after the rout that was December, 2018.

What's more impressive than chasing stocks are the devotees of Marvel comics, especially the 12-cent variety from the early 60s. If you're in your 60s or older, you may remember this one from your youth. If you gave it away or trashed it, as many of us did, you might be sick to see what it's worth today.

In a recent ebay auction, the #4 issue of Fantastic Four sold for $4,489.00, in very fine condition.

Wow! Who knew that 12 cents could turn into four grand?

Just consider, if one had saved 100 comic books from the early 60s - the ones our parents and teachers said were just a waste of time and money - and kept them in good condition, you might have a nest egg of nearly half a million dollars sitting in a box about two feet high. Ounce for ounce and pound for pound, these early comics are worth in weight more than gold.

Amazing... Spider-Man tomorrow.

Dow Jones Industrial Average January Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
1/2/19 23,346.24 +18.78 +18.78

At the Close, Wednesday, January 2, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,346.24, +18.78 (+0.08%)
NASDAQ: 6,665.94, +30.66 (+0.46%)
S&P 500: 2,510.03, +3.18 (+0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 11,383.53, +9.14 (+0.08%)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Santa Claus Delivers A Relief Rally For The Ages; Largest Point Gain On Dow In Market History

The extended holiday season - thanks to an additional week for shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas - was exceptionally kind to retailers, who reported the best holiday season in six years, so Wall Street finally got the news that the economy was apparently not on the verge of imminent collapse, sending stocks soaring throughout the session.

How much of the gains were attributable to short-covering buyers and strict momentum chasers is unknowable, though it was likely a large percentage. Risk appetites have been under assault for months, so this one-day wonder might not be as impressive as bullish traders would have one believe. It was more a technical advance after waves of selling created a severely short-term oversold condition.

To put it in perspective, the nearly five percent gain on the Dow, in point value, was equal to only about one-fifth of the most recent decline. The Dow had lost more than 5000 points since October, so Wednesday's buying spree pales in comparison and sets up the market for further speculation as far as directional trades are concerned.

If this nascent rally is to continue - which is also likely - there has to be some catalyst to carry it forward, though it might simply run until it is exhausted. Since the gains put only a minor dent in the recent losses, momentum should carry it forward, possibly another 1500-1800 points on the Dow.

While that might seem like a huge number, it wouldn't even wipe out the losses already sustained in December (as on Monday, that was -3746.36), so investors may get something of a stock sugar rush to close out the year and maybe some fun in the first days of the new year.

This pump was long overdue, and there's also the possibility that the call Treasury Secretary Mnuchin made to the Plunge Protection Team on Sunday had some impact.

Santa has come and gone, leaving plenty of presents behind.

Ho, ho, ho.

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22
12/12/18 24,527.27 +157.03 -1011.19
12/13/18 24,597.38 +70.11 -941.08
12/14/18 24,100.51 -496.87 -1437.95
12/17/18 23,592.98 -507.53 -1945.58
12/18/18 23,675.64 +82.66 -1862.92
12/19/18 23,323.66 -351.98 -2214.90
12/20/18 22,859.60 -464.06 -2678.96
12/21/18 22,445.37 -414.23 -3093.19
12/24/18 21,792.20 -653.17 -3746.36
12/26/18 22,878.45 +1086.25 -2660.11

At the Close, Wednesday, December 26, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 22,878.45, +1,086.25 (+4.98%)
NASDAQ: 6,554.35, +361.44 (+5.84%)
S&P 500: 2,467.70, +116.60 (+4.96%)
NYSE Composite: 11,204.09, +434.26 (+4.03%)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sluggish Trading, Late-Day Rally Lifts Dow

A late-session rally moved the Dow into positive territory into the close, and pared losses on the other major averages. The entire trading day was spent with the Dow criss-crossing the unchanged line. Trading was spotty, sporadic and inconsistent.

This was a bit of a change from the volatility seen recently, though there are still enough jittery global events and data points to make traders nervous heading down the home stretch of the holiday season.

Using Fibonacci numbers to exploit the current rally - using intra-day numbers on the Dow - maths out like this:

December 3 high: 25,980.21
December 10 low: 23,881.37

Difference: -2,098.84

First resistance (23.6%): 495.33 points = 24,376.70 (Dow closed at 24,370.24 on Tuesday, December 11; Close enough!)
Second resistance (38.2%): 801.76 points = 24,683.13 (the Dow exceeded this level on Wednesday, but pulled back below it at the close. On Thursday, the Dow approached this level but could not exceed it, signaling a possible breakdown to end the week.)
Third resistance (50%): 1,049.42 = 24,930.79
Fourth resistance (61.8%): 1,297.08 = 25,178.45 (this is usually the key, where resistance is very high and a pullback can be expected. If the Dow powers through this level, expect it to go all the way back to where it started, i.e., 25,980.21 (100% retracement).

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22
12/12/18 24,527.27 +157.03 -1011.19
12/13/18 24,597.38 +70.11 -941.08

At the Close, Thursday, December 13, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,597.38, +70.11 (+0.29%)
NASDAQ: 7,070.33, -27.98 (-0.39%)
S&P 500: 2,650.54, -0.53 (-0.02%)
NYSE Composite: 11,936.16, -7.13 (-0.06%)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Mother Of All Sucker Rallies

The Miracle Monday Rally has been encored by a follow-up, Terrific Tuesday, which pushed stocks further into a positive realm, though despite Herculean efforts, it didn't end that way.

Making the high of the day just minutes into the session, the Dow was up more than 350 points. Apparently thinking their work was done for the day, whoever was hitting the BUY button went out for coffee, a stroll, and lunch, because the Dow spent the next four-and-a-half hours leaking lower, to a point at which it was 200 points down by 2:00 pm ET.

Back at the controls, the clandestine clerk for the Federal Reserve got back to bidding up stocks, sending the Dow - and with it the rest of the indices - back into the green zone over the next hour.

The entire convulsion involved some seriously heavy lifting and an equally resolute effort by the sellers. From the low point on Monday to the early Tuesday high, the Dow rocketed 910 points, but then came back down another 570 before rocketing higher by 300 points. In the end it was all for naught, with the Dow losing 53 points by the closing bell.

Boo-hoo-hoo. It may be Christmas, but January's 401k statements are likely to be carrying a load of coal.

Whatever unnatural force is preventing a complete crash, it has friends in far-away places. All other indices around the world were sucked into the mother of all sucker rallies on Tuesday, saving the world from a long-overdue asset re-pricing that will, as sure as the sun rises in the East, continue to wreak havoc on the investing universe for the foreseeable - and equally, the unforeseen - future.

Bah, humbug.

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22

At the Close, Tuesday, December 11, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,370.24, -53.02 (-0.22%)
NASDAQ: 7,031.83, +11.31 (+0.16%)
S&P 500: 2,636.78, -0.94 (-0.04%)
NYSE Composite: 11,860.65, -28.64 (-0.24%)