Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Stocks Lose Record Amounts, Treasury Bond Yields Smashed As COVID-19 Begins Taking Its Toll

All of the major US indices posted record losses as coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rage through 115 countries, with 114,595 confirmed cases and a death toll now over 4,000 (4,028).

Adding to market grief, Saudi Arabia, in an effort to harm other oil producers sent crude futures plunging as it unilaterally slashed prices and raised production output. WTI crude fell below $30 a barrel, recovering slightly to above $34.00 a barrel prior to Tuesday's opening bell. Still, the price cut was mammoth, on the order of a 24.6% decline. WTI closed at $41.28 Friday, finishing at $31.13 on Monday.

The Dow, S&P, NASDAQ, and NYSE all recorded record point losses, blowing away earlier marks. The Dow's 2,013.76 loss nearly doubled the previous record from February 27 of this year (−1,190.95). On The NASDAQ, the 624.94-point loss topped the list, easily surpassing the February 9 drop of −414.30.

Losing 225,81, the S&P vaulted over its previous mark of −137.63, also on February 27 of this year, less than two weeks ago.

The treasury bond complex was not spared, with yields falling across the entire curve by enormous amounts. The 30-year bond finished at 0.99% yield, the first time ever it has been below one percent. The day's decline was an unprecedented 26 basis points. At the other end, one-month bills dropped 22 basis points, from 0.79 to 0.57%.

Offering the lowest yield is the six-month bill, at 0.27%. The 10-year note was absolutely shattered, down 20 basis points, from 0.74 to 0.54%. In terms of curve, the complex is exceedingly flat, with just 72 basis points between the top and bottom yields.

Gold and silver both were higher initially, but were beaten down over the course of the day.

In the United States, the number of new, confirmed cases are rising rapidly as tests from the CDC begin arriving in massive quantities to state and local hospitals and labs. There are now 755 cases of coronavirus in the US, and 26 deaths.

After China, the US ranks 8th overall. Italy has reported 9,172 cases with 463 deaths. Italy's death figures are the highest outside mainland China, as are the number of cases. The Italian government closed its borders completely on Monday after efforts to contain the virus to the northern provinces failed.

The other countries topping the list of most infected are, in order, South Korea, Iran, France, Spain, and Germany, after which comes the United States. All of the aforementioned countries are reporting more than 1,000 cases. Confirmed cases outside China has exceeded those inside China for nearly the past week and are doubling every three to four days.

In addition to the human tragedy, large events are being canceled worldwide. Ireland has canceled all St. Patrick's Day parades, and around the world sporting events, concerts and other large-crowd gatherings are being put on hold or canceled, including the huge South-by-Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. The NCAA basketball tournament, commonly known as March Madness, which begins in a week, NBA basketball, and Major League Baseball, which opens its regular season on March 26, are all mulling the idea of playing games with no fans in the stands.

Businesses are gearing down due to the crisis, with many major firms instructing employees to work from home. School cancelations are on the rise globally, and will be widespread in the US in coming days and weeks.

The after-effects of the virus on the business community and the economy are just beginning to be felt according to many in finance, including hedge fund manager Kyle Bass, who believes the crisi will peak in about a month.

Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) is reluctant to call the worldwide spread of the pathogen a pandemic, it is surely one. The WHO does not want to use the world pandemic as it would trigger the default of "pandemic bonds," designed to provide $500 million to the organization should a pandemic be declared.

With less than an hour before the opening bell in the US, stocks seem to have caught a bid. Japan's NIKKEI was lower for most of the day but finished marginally higher on Tuesday. Other Pacific Rim bourses finished with gains of one to one-and-a-half percent, while European indices are currently sporting gains of around 2.5%.

US stock futures point to a higher open, as traders prepare for another stressful session. The so-called "dead cat bounce" applies, as the markets don't seem to have actually bottomed out. When all is said and done, many countries are going to report GDP losses for the first and likely, second quarters, plunging the world into what may be a prolonged recession.

At the Close, Monday, March 9, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,851.02, -2,013.76 (-7.79%)
NASDAQ: 7,950.68, -624.94 (-7.29%)
S&P 500: 2,746.56, -225.81 (-7.60%)
NYSE: 11,298.43, -1,053.60 (-8.53%)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Day Without Coronavirus Headlines Produces Massive Rally, But It's Probably False Hope

With much of the news focus on the results from Super Tuesday's Democrat primaries and the Fed's 50 basis point cut to the federal funds rate, for a day, market participants had their heads turned toward something other than the evolving coronavirus crisis.

That little bit of relief allowed stocks to rise by roughly four percent across the major indices. The gains were not record-breaking, but they were close. The NASDAQ's 334-point rise was the third-best on record; the Dow's gain exceeded only by the 1,293.96 rip on Monday. The S&P's number was also the second-best day ever.

These kinds of wild swings, to both the upside and down, have become a trademark for not just US markets but many international stock indices since the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, but especially so since the virus has spread beyond the borders of the world's most populous nation. Most developed nations are currently flirting with 10 percent drops off recent highs, crossing the point of correction level at various times, above and below it.

Following Wednesday's romp, news on the coronavirus front just got worse and worse as the day turned to night and night to Thursday morning. A health screener at LA-X in Los Angeles tested positive for the virus; in New York, six more cases emerged. Seattle is quickly becoming an epicenter for an outbreak, and by morning, California had declared an emergency due to the treat from the spreading infection. 1000 people in New York are being screened for possible infection.

Schools are closing in various places across the country, Amazon and Microsoft employees are being advised to work from home, soccer games in Europe are being played in stadia devoid of fans, Italy has urged anyone over the age of 60 to stay home as much as possible to avoid contracting the virus. Despite the WHO's failure to officially declare a pandemic, COVID-19 has swept around the planet and is showing no signs of abating.

As for the World Health Organization failing to label the current condition a pandemic (it is, even according to their own standards), the reason may lie more in the ghastly world of finance rather than health. Unconfirmed reports say there are "pandemic bonds," which are bets against a pandemic outbreak declaration. If the WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic, it will trigger bets made on a pandemic, as credit default swaps (CDS), along the lines of those which paid off magnificently when the sub-prime crisis blew up, will explode, blowing up the underpinnings of global finance.

If true, it would prove not only that bankers and financiers on Wall Street and elsewhere learned nothing from prior default events, but that they continue to make sickening, revolting wagers on extreme events. When coronavirus destroys the economy, the usual suspects will be found in lower Manhattan, probably toasting their bonuses, as they have in previous episodes of moral bankruptcy.

That said, anybody who has not taken action to remove their investments from the stock market casino over the past few weeks (if not sooner) is likely to suffer in the most severe economic manner possible over the next six to 12 months. There is no evidence of containing the virus and only the hope that its viability will be reduced with the advent of warmer and more humid weather. Unfortunately, it's only March. Warm mid-Spring weather is still months away in much of the developed world.

According to the painfully-slow-to-react CDC, there are 13 states that have identified persons infected. Those are New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. Add Rhode Island, New Jersey and Utah as of today, making it 16 with more to come. Already an even 1/3 of mainland states, there are no physical barriers to where the virus can spread. Eventually, it's likely that there will be high incidence of the virus in every state, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, due to their unique locations, far from mainland populations.

News on COVID-19 is developing quickly and reported cases are mounting now nearly by the hour. According to John Hopkins, there are 159 cases in the United States. A week ago there were fewer than 25. The same pattern of doubling every two to three days - as was the case in China early on - is becoming evident in European countries, especially Italy, followed by France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Norway. South Korea and Iran have become epicenter outbreak areas with the number of cases exploding higher every day.

As the disease progresses, the news is likely to be substantially worse before it gets even slightly better. While it is possible that the health outcomes may not be as severe as predicted, the economic pain is almost certain to be severe.

It was more than a week ago that Money Daily advised to Sell. Everything. Now. Wednesday's upswing provided a late get-out-of-jail-free card for procrastinators or non-believers. After Thursday, it may be too late. A 2000-point decline Thursday is more than a passing possibility.

Late edit: With so much happening, let's not forget that gold is rising, silver also, but not to any great degree, oil demand has plunged and will slide further. WTI crude oil prices are at $46 and change per barrel. Treasury yields were stable on long-dated maturities with yields on the 2-year through 30-year issues all rising or falling four basis points or fewer. The 10-year note stabilized at 1.02%, but is again below 1.00% (0.95%) prior to the opening bell (1/2 hour). The short end of the curve, 1, 2, 3, 6-month and one-year bills cratered, the one-year sporting the lowest yield on the entire complex, dropping for 0.73 to 0.59 on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended Feb. 29, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised.

At the Close, Wednesday, March 4, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,090.86, +1,173.45 (+4.53%)
NASDAQ: 9,018.09, +334.00 (+3.85%)
S&P 500: 3,130.12, +126.75 (+4.22%)
NYSE: 13,009.96, +467.22 (+3.73%)

Monday, February 24, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Providing Effective Cover For Profit Taking In Stocks; Bonds Rallying; Gold, Silver Flying

Making new all-time highs during the week were the NASDAQ and S&P, while the NYSE and Dow lagged, despite having reached a similar pinnacle earlier this year.

Market news is abuzz with coronavirus as the culprit for this week of losses, as stocks turned south mid-week. While the virus has yet to kill or infect significant numbers outside mainland China - less than 20 deaths worldwide, sans the red nation - it's the damage to supply chains and earnings that most bothers the money mavens of lower Manhattan.

Seriously, the people working the computers, phones, tickers, and squawk boxes could care less about 75,000 sick Chinese people or even the 2500 dead from the virus. They're much more concerned that critical parts in a just-in-time (JIT) production process won't be arriving from across the Pacific. The wheels of enterprise and consumerism need to be kept turning, and essential parts not being delivered puts a severe kink in those plans.

While much of China is under quarantine, some segments have gotten back to work, though the timeline continues to shift. Originally, communities under quarantine were supposed to get back to work in early February. As the virus spread and the severity of the situation sank in, those dates continued to be moved back later and later. Presently, many companies in China won't be getting back to full production before the second week of March.

Stocks haven't really suffered amid all the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), but they are likely to in the immediate future. As of Monday morning of February 24, a global blood-letting is underway. Asian stocks were down in a range of one to two percent, but Europe is taking it harder, with indices in Germany, France, England, and elsewhere down more than three percent, making for one of the biggest one-day drops this century.

The US markets, set to open within the hour, are showing futures off by staggering amounts, indicating a serious decline at the opening bell. Indications are that the Dow could be down nearly 1000 points, while the NASDAQ may shed more than 300. Both would qualify as among the largest declines in history.

If markets panic, which appears to be what they're setting up for, a mixed message is going to be sent. While the money managers are concerned primarily with business disruption, the general population will read the message quite differently, assuming from the massive drops on Wall Street that the virus is a killer and is coming to a neighborhood or household near you, and soon.

This is the height of cognitive dissonance and what anyone with half a wit would like to avoid. Widespread public panic over a virus that has claimed ZERO deaths in the United States and far less infections than the ordinary flu is not a condition conducive to a functioning society. Further fears could be stoked by officials at the WHO and CDC, who readily dropped the ball on the virus from the start and are now becoming the leading cheerleaders for what is likely to be largely unwarranted despair.

What the virus represents is more a threat to sanity than one's physical health. Even taking the total number of cases including those in China, the chances of contracting COVID-19 are not even as good as getting into a traffic accident. People in America are more likely to suffer injury from slipping in a bathtub, falling off a ladder, or cutting themselves with a kitchen knife than catching Wuhan Flu.

So, when stocks crash on Monday, bear in mind that they were wildly overvalued and COVID-19 and its associated panic is providing a friendly cover for profit-taking. A rout is what this market is badly in need of, and, if stocks head into bear territory (a place they're not even close to approaching at this time), it's not likely to last much longer than the time it takes for coronavirus to spread worldwide, inflict disease and death, and finally peter out by June.

First quarter results for China are going to be horrendous, with GDP growth probably plummeting by 35-50 percent. In Europe, a quarter that avoids a negative number would be a surprise, while the US is likely to print something on the order of a onesie, in the range of 0.6 to 1.5 percent gain.

It's far too early to predict how the second quarter shapes up, but there's plenty of evidence that the first quarter is going to come in positive. Feeding that data into the political landscape, it suggests that even if the US does fall into a recession, it's not going to be confirmed until near the end of October, just in time to have an effect on US elections, as GDP would have to decline for two consecutive quarters.

There's a risk that the second quarter will be in the red, but prospects for the third are better if the virus carries along the same pathway as other similar infectious strains such as SARS and MERS. Warm weather and humidity are virus-killers.

It's getting interesting, though the fears of widespread infections are currently oversold.

Bonds have been and continue to take the situation with all due seriousness. The 30-year bond ripped lower on Friday to an all-time low yield of 1.90% and the 10-year is chasing it down, closing out the week at 1.45%, perilously close to its all-time low. The 10-year note yielded 1.37 on 07/05/16, and again on 07/08/16. That level could be tested this week and a sustained drop into the 1.15 to 1.25% range would not be unwarranted during a panic condition.

The curve, however, remains nearly flat for the 2s-10s, which are holding up a 12-basis point difference (2s at 1.34%), but the shortest duration paper, 1, 2, 3, and 6-month bills are all sporting yields higher than 10-year, so concern is evident that the US economy is vulnerable to a major shock.

Gold and silver made significant gains over the course of the week, as the flight to true safety accelerated. Gold ended at a seven-year high, at 1643.00 the ounce. Silver closed out on Friday at 18.45 per ounce. A good start to a real rally, but far away from a breakout point. Both are up sharply early Monday morning.

Crude oil had a relatively good week, though the price for WTI crude in Monday morning's futures are looking rather grim, down more than three percent and approaching the Maginot line of $50 per barrel. It's unlikely to hold that level. Speculators are currently eyeing the $45-48 range and the next support level.

All of this points to a near-term washout in stocks. While there's currently not any markers being set down for a sustained rout, it is possible, though considered unlikely, as is the case for what some call "the great reset" where markets crumble like in 2008 and the entire global financial edifice is blown asunder.

No serious person is calling for anything more than a short-term correction, though markets have a unique way of making everybody look like fools.

Stay informed, stay calm, prepare.

At the Close, Friday, February 21, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,992.41, -227.59 (-0.78%)
NASDAQ: 9,576.59, -174.37 (-1.79%)
S&P 500: 3,337.75, -35.48 (-1.05%)
NYSE: 13,975.78, -85.72 (-0.61%)

For the Week:
Dow: -405.67 (-1.38%)
NASDAQ: -174.38 (-1.79%)
S&P 500: -42.41 (-1.25%)
NYSE: -121.56 (-0.86%)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Europe Is Sick and Dying

Coronavirus notwithstanding, investors appear confident about the US economy going forward, approaching record highs on a near-daily basis.

Over in Europe, however, the attitude is not the same. Following the nearly three-year Brexit disaster, the euro has fallen in value against the mighty US dollar, which, despite protestations from the Middle and Far East, continues to be the dominant currency of the planet.

Now featuring a 1.07+ handle in relation to the dollar, the euro has lost ground since the start of 2020, especially after Great Britain formally left the EU on January 31. The currency is at a 34 month low, ad is approaching its five-year low from December 2016 of 1.04. Dollar strength combined with euro weakness is making the two currencies approach parity, an unwelcome condition for millions within the EU, as the buying power of their currency declines.

This is a condition that was probably inevitable, and one that doesn't necessarily halt at an even exchange of euros for dollars. It's very likely that the euro could continue to decline in value against the dollar and other currencies, to a point at which the populations of the various countries in the EU will demand a better representation from their self-appointed overlords in Brussels.

As a political body, the European Commission is a poor representation of the will of the people of Europe. Armed with vast powers to legislate any manner of outrageous, capital-destroying laws, rules, and regulations, the Commission oversees a union that is disintegrating right before their jaded eyes.

Ruling over countries that have been battered by negative interest rates, migrant immigration that has overturned the values of the native countries, and a restive population that is ready for change and actively seeking a better way forward.

Europe is failing in many ways, but it will continue to fail so long as nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats rule over once-free populations.

At the Close, Wednesday, February 19, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 29,348.03, +115.84 (+0.40%)
NASDAQ: 9,817.18, +84.44 (+0.87%)
S&P 500: 3,386.15, +15.86 (+0.47%)
NYSE: 14,087.13, +48.11 (+0.34%)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Stocks Slide As IMF Revises Global Growth Projections Lower... Again

In the Senate, the impeachment trial of President Trump is well underway, though some Senators are wondering how the House managers can keep up their opening statement for another 16 hours without being laughed out of the chamber.

Adam Schiff, Gerold Nadler and their associates dithered and danced around the same tired narrative that's been their staple for the past six months and nobody is really buying it. Perhaps that's why stocks slumped late in the day, due to overwhelming boredom.

Impeachment aside, stocks were off to a solid start on Wednesday, but failed to make much progress, with the Dow actually ending in the red after being up 124 points early in the session.

There are be a plethora of reasons to be selling stocks at this juncture, main among them valuation, but the continuing slowdown in global trade and potential for most of Europe to fall into a recession are probably the most "top of mind" as winter winds blow cold across the Northern Hemisphere.

Lowering its 2019 forecast (a little late) for the sixth straight time, the IMF dropped expectations for global growth to 2.9%, down 0.1 from it's previous 3.0% expectation. Most of the data is already in place. The IMF, like everyone else, is monitoring fourth quarter results from corporations around the world.

In what has to be regarded as somewhat on the cheeky side, the IMF also lowered its 2020 forecast, from 3.4% to 3.3%. It's ludicrous to believe that the amalgamated egoistic economists at the IMF can get any prediction right, especially one calling for improvement when the early evidence is clearly favoring decline. Within a few months, these brainiacs will be revising their crystal ball projections and tea leaf readings to something more aligned with reality.

Considering that the US, at least, is at the far end of an 11-year bull market, some slowdown would be expected and it's notable that the brain-dead at the IMF cannot fathom the declining birth rate effects of demographics in developed countries, most of which have fallen below replacement figures.

With cheerleaders like those at the IMF and the relentless money creation by the Fed, there's little wonder the rich get richer as fake predictions are afforded the most credence.

At some point, the Fed will stop printing or the dollar will hyper-inflate. At that point, the IMF can revise upward and still find itself woefully behind the curve.

At the Close, Wednesday, January 22, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 29,186.27, -9.77 (-0.03%)
NASDAQ: 9,383.77, +12.96 (+0.14%)
S&P 500: 3,321.75, +0.96 (+0.03%)
NYSE: 14,110.24, +0.26 (+0.00%)

Monday, November 25, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks End Long Weekly Win Streaks; Negative Interest Rates Will Destroy Advanced Economies

Oh, Snap! Weekly winning steaks were ended with the first down week in the last eight on the NASDAQ. The S&P 500 and NYSE Composite saw their winning streaks ended at six weeks, while the Dow saw the underside of the unchanged line after four straight positives.

That US stock indices were all lower by less than one-half of one percent points up the resiliency and absurdity of the markets. Eminently malleable, stocks have been guided higher seemingly by Adam Smith's invisible hand, the one that keeps pension plans from imploding, sovereign governments from defaulting, and fiat currencies from the ruinous effects of unacceptability.

Putting into focus the NASDAQ, its seven-week upside move was the second-longest of the year. It began 2019 with an eight-week short-crushing rally on the heels of the final two weeks of 2018, which saw the index rise from the December ashes of a 6,190 low. While that 10-week advance boosted the index by some 1400 points, the most recent weekly gains accounted for only 800 additional points, although it recorded a new high in the week prior to the most recent and has backed down only slightly.

Anyone wise enough to have put all their money into the NASDAQ at the start of this year would be up a whopping 25% with just over a month remaining to add onto those lush profits. For ordinary folks locked into a buy and hold fund strategy, the gains since the highs of August-September 2018 to the present add up to only five percent. That's a more realistic figure for the real world and one which fits like a glove with the slowing pace of GDP and the generally dull data drops over these past 14 months.

While the stock markets may have the appearance of being big, bold, large and in charge, the truth is a somewhat more sobering landscape. Recovering so quickly from 20% losses has kept the investing public soothed and subdued, the politics of passive investing intact, and the wheels of industry churning, albeit at a lower crunch rate.

While stocks took this brief pre-holiday pause, interest rates were moving in the same direction, only with quickened pace. Negative interest rates rode across the plain of developed nations (Europe, Japan), suggesting that US treasuries were underpriced. Indeed, the long end of the curve was where most of the drama occurred, with the 30-year bond trimmed 21 basis points - from 2.41% to 2.22% - since November 8 (10 trading days). The 10-year note shed 17 basis points, slumping from 1.84% to 1.77% over the same period.

That's a trend sure to continue, as it represents a massive carry trade for investors outside the US. With yields in their native nations prefaced with minus signs, your bold-thinking French, German, Swiss, or Japanese investor is afforded a nearly risk-free two percent or more on money that otherwise would be eroded over time if held in sovereign securities. It's a neat trick that only the biggest and richest can perform. The rest of the population is unwittingly blinded by the stagnation and destruction ongoing behind the scenes.

Only a savvy few see negative interest rates for what they really are: a devious central bank device designed to wind down the fiat currency regime. In thirty to fifty years, the euro, yen, pound and even the dollar will be remnants of the industrial and information ages, replaced by something, we hope. while that may sound like a distant projection into the future, anybody in their 20s, 30s, or 40s might be best to be scared to death, because currency death-watches and funerals are morbid events played out over long periods of time.

Those of advanced age may better survive the utterly deflationary effects of negative interest rates and the impending currency decapitation in lower prices on everyday goods, but saving for retirement might best be measured in canned goods and precious metals instead of scraps of paper with important people on them or digitized numerical amounts on smart phone screens.

For many, the future is going to be destroyed before it arrives.

That's right. The world as it is now known will be a vastly different place in 2050 and it's unlikely to be prettier unless one has made the proper preparations into hard assets that will maintain value over harder times. Keeping up with the Joneses will be replaced by outrunning the Zombies. Fuel, food, water, shelter, and arable land - which, by the way, can be had on the cheap in some areas - are life-sustaining. Debt will be repudiated and rejected by a class of people similar to those of the depression era, whose lives were ruined by the influence of a currency they did not control, one which held neither value nor promise for a generation after 1929.

In case one is unconvinced of the effects of negative interest rates, just consider the math. Most pension plans in developed nations are already underfunded and have targets of six or seven percent annual gains written into their accountancy. If the best one can expect is two percent or less, a long-term shortfall is not only inevitable, it is assured.

All of this occurs over a long period of time, not all at once, but the effects on economies will nevertheless be devastating. Pension plans will not fail nor will sovereign debt default outright, but like rows of dominoes falling in super-slow motion, major currencies and first-world economies will gradually, inexorably decline and self-destruct.

Ah, but you say, these are negative thoughts marring the cheery landscape of the holidays.

Nay, if you get coal in your stockings this Christmas, consider yourself lucky. At least you will stay warm over the coming long winter.

At the Close, Friday, November 22, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,875.62, +109.32 (+0.39%)
NASDAQ: 8,519.88, +13.67 (+0.16%)
S&P 500: 3,110.29, +6.75 (+0.22%0
NYSE Composite: 13,440.95, +34.55 (+0.26%)

For the week:
Dow: -129.27 (-0.46%)
NASDAQ: -20.94 (-0.25%)
S&P 500: -10.17 (-0.335)
NYSE Composite: -52.01 (-0.39%)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Disturbance in the Force? Stocks Suffer Losses

Dow Components Apple (AAPL) and Home Depot (HD) sent the Dow Industrials lower, dragging the tech sector, NASDAQ and S&P 500 down with it.

With third quarter results not as good as expectations, there's pressure on US stocks, especially now that China has balked again at phase one of the proposed on-again, off-again trade deal between the globe's two largest economies.

Also weighing on equites are repeated stories of recession fears from Europe, especially in the major economies: Germany, France, and Italy. Brexit is still not resolved and there's renewed optimism among remainers that the result of the 2016 referendum might still be overturned. As Europe is one of the major US trading powers, what happens over the pond affects many companies in the US.

Bond yields dipped again, especially at the long end of the treasury curve, with the 10-year note falling to a yield of 1.74%. With the Fed now officially on hold, bond vigilantes may have their day in the sun, pushing yields down to near record levels if the holiday season doesn't produce a bounty of stock buys.

Markets are at an unusual crossroads with many swirling stories that have the potential to send equities flying in either direction. What looks like a sideways trading regimen may hold sway the remainder of the year, though more and more economists and predictors are saying that a recession in the United States is not a foregone conclusion for 2020.

Third quarter results from a plethora of companies are now in the books and though most beat expectations, such were lowered and cannot be counted on to produce a buying frenzy. A repeat of last year's monumental losses in December could reoccur, though the Fed and nefarious forces behind the scenes have the power to deflect losses and turn indices around on various dimes.

Control is in the hands of the algorithms and central bankers. Don't expect much downside as long as hope for a trade deal remains present.

At the Close, Wednesday, November 20, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,821.09, -112.93 (-0.40%)
NASDAQ: 8,526.73, -43.93 (-0.51%)
S&P 500: 3,108.46, -11.72 (-0.38%)
NYSE Composite: 13,419.30, -47.05 (-0.35%)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Follow Through for Stocks Beyond New Highs; European Pensions In Deep Trouble

After Friday's epic melt-up brought last week to a positive conclusion, traders on Monday though the diea of higher asset prices a good one, so pushed stocks to even higher all-time highs, a trend that could easily accelerate as the holiday season of irrational goodness begins.

At the bottom of rising equity valuations is the need to keep economies afloat for as long as humanly possible. By enhancing the price of stocks, asset values create the perception of wealth, though the main beneficiaries of higher asset values happen to be the top 10% of the income spread, mostly focused in the top one percent, who own the majority of equities. For the bottom 90% of the population, the effect of increased stock prices is negligible at best.

A corollary to stock market gains being the only game in town (or, There Is No Alternative, TINA) is the pain felt by savers, both individual and institutional. Pension funds have been under stress to keep assets growing. As employees retire and become not contributors, but receivers as pensioners, funds need to increase their asset base, a task made more difficult by lower and negative interest rates.

Funds have charters that require they purchase certain types of investments, making their job even more difficult, as they are forced into negative-yielding government bonds, especially in Europe, but also in the US, where the pain has yet to be felt in any real way outside of places like Detroit, which cut pension benefits massively in order to rebalance the city's finances.

Europe is already in the throes of a crisis, the latest victims being Dutch pensioners in the Netherlands, where cuts are planned or already in the works. Europe's fascination with negative interest rates have wreaked havoc in the pension universe.

A one percentage point fall in long-term interest rates will increase liabilities of a typical pension scheme by around 20 per cent, but the value of their assets would only go up by about 10 per cent, estimates Ros Altmann, a former UK pensions minister.

The current condition is nothing compared to what is coming if the ECB and member nations of the EU don't reverse course on interest rates. They are clearly having more negative consequences than anticipated when the Dutch first entertained negative yields in 2009, to be followed quickly by Japan and a slew of other European nations.

Pension problems haven't happened overnight. Money Daily was warning about them as early as 2006, and conditions have deteriorated exceedingly since then.

Don't expect the politicians and bankers to change their tune, however. As Money Daily has repeatedly noted, negative interest rates are currency killers, and they are quickly becoming much more of a destructive force than initially imagined.

As investing and economies become more and more intertwined, complex and convoluted, don't look for concrete solutions from politicians, bankers, or financial advisors. They created these problems and should not be relied upon to provide solutions. They will offer blankets for the cold, soup for the hungry, and limited shelter for the homeless. In other words, they will only be able to limit the suffering, not eliminate it.

To accentuate the level of madness permeating through the financial class consider this:

“In 20 years we may find ourselves with a real global crisis where we haven’t saved enough money for retirement,” says Calstrs’ Mr Ailman. “Returns can fluctuate, but longevity has been extended dramatically . . . We just have to explain to millennials that their parents might have to move back in with them.”

Somebody needs to point out to Mr. Ailman that many millennials are already living in their parents' basements!

At the Close, Monday, November 18, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,036.22, +31.33 (+0.11%)
NASDAQ: 8,549.94, +9.11 (+0.11%)
S&P 500: 3,122.03, +1.57 (+0.05%)
NYSE Composite: 13,483.81, -9.15 (-0.07%)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

How Deep Will Stocks Dive In October?

On the second day of the fourth quarter, US stocks took a fairly big hit, with the most widely-watches indices each dropping nearly two percent on the day. The current downdraft comes on the heels of two consecutive down weeks in the US markets, but the damage has been relatively mild.

Prior to Tuesday and Wednesday's heavy declines, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down just over 300 points, a little more than a one percent drop. Combined, the Dow fell over 800 points on Monday and Tuesday, making the entire dip about 1100 points, or just over four percent.

This is nothing to be concerned with, for now, though a repeat of 2018, when stocks ripped lower in October and December, should not be ruled out. By many measures, a slew of US equites are significantly overvalued, thanks in large part to the long-running bull market fueled by excess money printing by central banks and corporate buybacks. These are the two major components of the heady bull market and it is readily apparent that neither of these policies are going to end anytime soon.

The Fed is planning another 25 basis point cut in the federal funds rate at their next FOMC meeting, October 29-30 and corporate stock buybacks are still close to all-time high levels. With the pair policies funding all manner of excess, it would not be surprising to see any sharp decline - such as a 10% correction - countered with more easy money policy.

If there is going to be a recession, Europe will undoubtably encounter one before the United States. The EU is being battered by Brexit fears and poor economic data at the same time and its own measures of QE are barely making a dent in the declining economic conditions on the Continent. Thus, investors in the US will likely have advance warning of any GDP suffering.

Bear in mind that an official recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Therefore, a recession doesn't even become apparent until it is well underway. If third quarter GDP returns a positive number, that would indicate that a recession is still at least three months ahead. The world would find out if the US is headed into recession if fourth quarter GDP came in as a negative number, and that would only be reported by late January 2020.

Finally, a recession is not the end of the world for commerce nor stock investing. There will be a general malaise, as the low tide would affect all stocks in some manner, but there will still be winners, most likely in consumer staples, utilities, and dividend plays. If and when dividend-yielding stocks start taking on heavy water, that would be a time for more focused concern.

For now, caution, not panic, is advisable.

At the Close, Wednesday, October 2, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,078.62, -494.42 (-1.86%)
NASDAQ: 7,785.25, -123.44 (-1.56%)
S&P 500: 2,887.61, -52.64 (-1.79%)
NYSE Composite: 12,608.43, -226.92 (-1.77%)

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%)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Far From Ordinary Times For National Economies

Empires rise and fall. Nations traverse through periods of feast and famine, disputes with other nations, sometimes wars, and economic booms and busts. History is rife with stories detailing the life and times of nations and their leaders.

The vast majority of nations today face conditions that are far from normal.

There are at least three major migrations taking place, Africans to Europe, Chinese to Africa, and South Americans to North America. These are disruptive events, not only for the individuals involved but for the entire populations of the nations affected. Changes are gradual, mostly, but the mundane can be cracked by atrocities, absurdities and maladjustments committed by migrants in the clash of cultures.

Such conditions are prevalent in Europe and the United States, with migration reaching epidemic proportions. Indeed, President Trump himself calls the illegal immigration at the southern US border an "invasion." He is not wrong. The United States was built on the back of immigrants - legal ones - whose individual efforts and respect for their fellows built the greatest nation on Earth.

Illegal immigration is challenging the normative behavior of well-established citizens. According to certain left-leaning politicians and a corrupted media, illegal immigrants should receive free health care, free schooling, and largely, freedom from gainful employment. Ordinary, established US citizens do not receive such largesse, nor should they. Nor should the illegal entrants, who have violated our borders, broken our laws and flaunted the lifestyles and even the national flags of whence they came.

Such activity is largely disruptive to the fine working condition of a nation and the United States has been building to this state of affairs for more than 40 years. Estimates of people living in the US illegally range from 11 million to as many as 60 million people. The higher end of that range is probably closest to the truth, which is why immigrants - mostly the illegal ones - disrespect US laws, commit crimes, and take advantage of an overly generous social framework and increasingly undisciplined judicial process.

The condition in many European countries is far worse, where theft, rape, and other human crimes are committed with impunity. Often, if an immigrant is accused of crime, there exists no punishment. The system feeds upon itself and eventually fails to protect the national culture.

That is not all. Every nation on earth is controlled economically by an unelected elite, otherwise know as a central bank. In Europe, where the financial condition is dire, all nations on the continent are controlled by one central bank, the ECB. Nations have usurped their right to issue currency, having been overwhelmed by the collectivist desires of the European Union. The ECB issues fiat currency, in the form of a counterfeit euro, bolstered most recently by negative interest rates because the system is a fraud and it imploded over 10 years ago, during the Great Financial Crisis. The global central banks added untold amounts of liquidity, but it will never be enough because the crisis is one not of liquidity, but of solvency. All central banks create currency out of thin air, charge interest for its use, and, via the magic of fractional reserve lending, multiply the amount of currency in circulation by ghastly amounts.

The system is broken and will remain broken until it is completely rejected by the various populaces which employ it. That moment in time is unknowable, but it is inevitable.

There is more.

Great Britain, wise enough to keep their currency - the pound - national in nature, is attempting to exit the EU, but has been met with resistance three years since a national referendum preferred exiting, or, in common parlance, Brexit.

This is a further disruption to the status quo, and the elites will have none of it.

President Donald J. Trump, of the United States, foments more radical departures, not the least of which being his penchant for fair trade via tariffs. For three decades, the globalists have promulgated their "free trade" jingoism, which is commonly broken, cheated upon, corrupted, deceitful, unequal, and decrepit. Global trade should well collapse, and if President Trump's tariffs are the agent of change, all the better.

Thus, these days are far from normal. Superficially, people go about their business as if nothing is brewing beneath the casual calm. There will be a shock, probably multiple shocks, similar to, and many of them larger than the events of 2007-2009.

How long the politicians, bankers, and the media can keep a lid on the calamity that is bubbling up below, is anyone's guess, but their time is running short. Currencies will collapse, nations will fall, there will be wars.

It would pay to keep a sharp eye on one's assets, hard and soft. Anything that is not well-protected can be stolen away in a flash. Consider the number of security breaches at financial institutions as warnings. The money is unsafe. Hard assets are safer, but must be protected, defended.

All of this is frighteningly real and happening at breakneck speed. The usual media sources will not tell you the truth. You must find it on your own.

Ten years is a long time for the central banks and their friends to keep the spinning plates of a corrupt, defunct global financial construct from experiencing inertia and crashing to the floor, shattering into millions of tiny, unrecoverable pieces.

The spinning will end. Everything will change.

At the Close, Monday, August 12, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,897.71, -389.73 (-1.48%)
NASDAQ: 7,863.41, -95.73 (-1.20%)
S&P 500: 2,883.09, -35.56 (-1.22%)
NYSE Composite: 12,586.24, -162.18 (-1.27%)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Stocks Slammed As Trump Targets Tariffs At China; Gold Bid; Payrolls, Unemployment Steady

Stocks swooned for the second straight session after President Trump announced that he would be adding a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports beginning September 1.

The president noted that China had backed down on previous commitments to purchase farm produce from US farmers and to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States.

Markets reacted with the usual disfavor, erasing earlier gains and slumping deep into negative territory. Apparently, nothing can help the market disengage from negativity. Wednesday's 1/4-point easing of the federal funds rate caused a mini-crash and Thursday's small tariff hike sent dealers to the sell buttons.

On the same news, gold caught a tailwind, rising from a low of $1400 to nearly $1448 in just over seven hours. Silver also gained, but not nearly in the manner of gold. Silver was around $16.30 an ounce as US trading closed and has been trending lower early Friday morning.

WTI crude oil took a nosedive on Thursday, recording its worst one-day performance in four years, with futures dipping below $54 per barrel in late Thursday trading.

As US markets prepare for the final session of the week, Asian and European indices headed lower, with most of the major bourses down more than two percent. After European PMIs all showed contraction - and with the outlook for a "no deal" Brexit a real possibility by the end of October - traders on the continent are voting with their feet, leaving behind a wake of battered stock prices. Europe is most definitely headed for a recession soon, though a US recession is still not an apparent reality.

While the rest of the world struggles to maintain their economies, under the leadership of Donald Trump, the US appears to have a real advantage, the dollar strengthening while the bond market rallies. The US 10-year treasury blasted through the two percent line on Thursday, currently holding with a yield around 1.89%.

In breaking news, July non-farm payrolls came mostly in line with expectations at 164,000 new jobs added during the month. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% and year-over-year wages increased at a 3.2% rate.

Us stock futures are trending off their lows as the opening bell approaches.

At the close, Thursday, August 1, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,583.42, -280.85 (-1.05%)
NASDAQ: 8,111.12, -64.30 (-0.79%)
S&P 500: 2,953.56, -26.82 (-0.90%)
NYSE COMPOSITE: 12,920.82, -145.78 (-1.12%)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

MidDay Digest: Global Rout Underway; Asia, Europe Down Big, US Stocks Plunge

This is a Money Daily update on the churning volatility in stocks, which has taken on prodigious proportions as of Tuesday and extended - after an unusual break due to President Trump ordering all federal offices (and with it the stock market) closed in mourning for the late George H.W. Bush, 41st president - into Thursday's trading.

Asian stocks were wracked as the sun rose from the Pacific. Japan's NIKKEI was down nearly two percent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.47%. European markets opened lower and the selling accelerated throughout the day. Of particular note was Germany's Dax, which stood at 10,810.98 by the close, down 389.26 points (-3.48%). The DAX is now down 19% from its October 30, 2017 high. Another 100-point decline will put it officially into a bear market.

Other European bourses were hit hard, with losses of three to three-and-a-half percent on all major exchanges.

When stocks opened in New York, the rout had reached critical velocity. The ow opened down more than 400 points and continued selling off. At one point, the Dow was down more than 700 points, but has recovered somewhat as of this writing. With the NASDAQ already in correction territory, the Dow and S&P are close, both down roughly nine percent from recent highs.

There will be another post here after the market closes. Look for a full recap about 7:00 pm ET.

Heads Up! Stocks Selling Off Worldwide; US Open Looking Ugly; Germany's DAX Nearing Bear Market

After an unscheduled day off for the Kumbayah TV presentation of George HW Bush's funeral Wednesday, the rest of the world's equity bourses took the day to vacillate, but Thursday looks to be a bloodbath of magnificent proportions.

Asian stocks were down broadly in Japan, Hong Won, China, and elsewhere, and European stocks opened lower and continued to descend. The DAX, Germany's main stock exchange, is approaching bear market status, down 19% from an all-time high of 13,478.86, reached on October 30, 2017. The DAX is currently trading around 10,940.

At this writing, Dow futures are off more than 450 points, S&P futures have fallen nearly 50, and NASDAQ futures are 115 points lower.

Money Daily will be monitoring events throughout the US session, as this current downdraft appears to be one without a bottom.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Stocks Rocked As Europe Burns, Political Skepticism Soars; Globalism Grips As Populism Rises

With all the good news that's been spreading of late, the magnitude of this most recent setback was, for some, a little overdone. Others, who see the planet for what it is, see populism on the rise and globalism fading into history.

Prepare for some over-the-top hyperbole in 3...2...1...

Besides wealth inequality reaching heights heretofore unseen, taxation of the general populace in developed nations has reached catastrophic proportions. As seen in the European protests, the civility of the average man and woman, having been grossly abused, has been stretched beyond the limits of many whose toils seem to barely keep pace with the endless panoply of regulations, fees, fines, taxes and penalties. This is how epochs end.

In France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy and elsewhere, the citizenry has had enough of misrepresentation by so-called officials, elected, selected, or otherwise, and they are seeking economic and social freedom. The forces of globalism have been resolute in obfuscating reality and distorting the obvious all the while raking in the spoils of their pernicious policies and decietful politics.

In the United States, the working class has seen through the flash narrative surrounding the demonization of the popularly-elected President Trump. Americans no longer want illegal migration across their borders, handouts to the poor or the rich, nor policies that do them no good. The entire planet is on the verge of an emotional and psychological breaking point. It has been many years in the making, but, every day that goes by is rife with lies, innuendo, untruths, double-talk. Within the next year or two, everything is going to go sideways. The politics have simply outpaced the usefulness of the ruling class. It's apparent to just about anybody who give a damn and the wisest of the monied class on Wall Street are running for the proverbial hills.

Who knows what causes stocks to zig-zag on a day-to-day basis, for the Dow to pick up 600 points one day and drop nearly 800 the next?

In any case, the point drop on the Dow was the fourth-largest in market history. The other three larger also occurred this year. For the NASDAQ, it was the sixth largest. All of the 11 largest point declines on the NASDAQ occurred in either 2000 or 2018.

The Dow transports (DJT, -4.39%) tumbled 476.37 points, or 4.4%, with all 20 components closing lower. The previous biggest-ever point decline was 445.16 points on Oct. 10. At its intraday worst, the index was down as much as 565.23 points, or 5.2%.

Analysis of the recent volatility is sure to take on obscene forms from a parade of wizened economists, generalists, and hobbyists. None of them will have it exactly right. One day, all the world's full of unicorns and honey. The next, it's going to hell in a hand basket.

Whatever your particular niche or trading style, the current offers a uniquely volatile and confounding proposition for traders, speculators, or even the casual investor.

For the coming months, expect more of the same.

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

At the Close, Tuesday, December 4, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,027.07, -799.36 (-3.10%)
NASDAQ: 7,158.43, -283.09 (-3.80%)
S&P 500: 2,700.06, -90.31 (-3.24%)
NYSE Composite: 12,221.98, -355.56 (-2.83%)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Weekend Wrap: Myopic Markets Ignoring Broader, Global Issues

Extending declines from last Friday, stocks took a severe nose-dive on Monday and the carnage continued through to Wednesday, with the first three days of the week wiping out most, if not all market gains from earlier in the month.

The Dow Industrials were hit hardest. Even with winning sessions on Thursday and Friday to close out the week, the blue chips ended with one of the more serious declines of the year, a solid 2.22% rip. Though tech stocks were blamed for most of the drop, the price declines in oil and most of the other components contributed to send Dow stocks lower, as the price of WTI crude hit a year-old bottom on Wednesday before recovering the final two days of the trading week.

Chevron (CVX) and ExxonMobil (XOM), the two energy components in the Dow 30, took it on the chin early in the week, but Chevron actually finished the week about where it started and ExxonMobil ended the week down just two points, or, about 2.5%.

Apple (AAPL) was a big driver to the downside, down nearly five percent at week's end, though it was off about nine percent at the close on Wednesday. The early part of the week saw selling contributions from most of the component stocks and slight recoveries in the latter stages.

Once again, volatility was notable and seems not to be slacking. The widely-watched VIX popped well over 20 as the week progressed, but settled back in the high teems, closing at 18.14 on Friday. That is still an elevated level over the complacency of the past few years, which saw the VIX hanging solidly in the 10-13 range for extended periods.

On the international front, the usual knee-jerking on every utterance, press release, or rumor surrounding a trade deal-or-no-deal between the US and China continued. It's being set up as a foil to be used by the financial press to explain every up-and-down in markets, when in fact, trade with China is much less an issue than say, the Fed's relentless interest rate increases or the possibility of a looming Eurozone-wide recession.

Industrial production in Europe was anemic in the third quarter, with increases of 0.3, 1.1, and 0.9 for July, August and September. As compared to the same quarter in the prior year, the average of 0.77 is dwarfed by 2017's average of four percent. Such a huge decline cannot be taken lightly, though it is rarely - if ever - mentioned in US financial coverage. Contributing to the growing concerns in Europe is the recent Brexit proposal put up by Prime Minister Theresa May's administration. The deal was met with considerable resistance in the House of Commons and prompted some high-level resignations from May's cabinet. Chances of a deal being worked out for an orderly exit from the European Union are being viewed as iffy at best.

While Europe will live or die largely by its own restrictive and stifling internal policies, China and the United States should continue to roll right along, regardless of whether a deal is struck between the two countries. The next meeting between President Trump and china's president, Xi Jinping, is upcoming soon. The two leaders are reportedly planning to discuss trade as a side event at the next G20 meeting in Buenos Aires on November 30, but the two largest national economies in the world aren't about to be sidetracked by tariffs. China's growth is already slowing, but they have broad international initiatives beyond the United States. Ditto for the US, as President Trump extricates the country from one-sided trade deals that were the result of globalization efforts from previous administrations.

Putting the week into perspective, US equity markets are still generally myopic, ignorant of issues elsewhere in the world, though that may be changing. Many US companies are dynamic and have global footprints, so that, if other parts of the planet are suffering, the US, while somewhat insulated, is not completely immune. US expansion has been long, though not deep, but the housing market has peaked and is slowing and unemployment cannot stay at its current sweet spot indefinitely. Tech appears the weakest link presently, though its weakness is not pronounced. Stocks continue to vacillate, but are closer to recent lows than highs.

Recent trends have seen selling into rallies and quick rises off obvious inflection points. Even with what are still somewhat easy credit conditions and stock buybacks at elevated levels, stocks are failing to reach higher, the condition looking more like exhaustion rather than capitulation. Such a condition may take more than a few weeks or months to resolve. In the meantime, traders aren't seriously committed to positions.

Sentiment remains neutral with a slight downside bias.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42
11/13/18 25,286.49 -100.69 +170.27
11/14/18 25,080.50 -205.99 -35.72
11/15/18 25,289.27 +208.77 +173.05
11/16/18 25,413.22 +123.95 +297.00

At the Close, Friday, November 16, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,413.22, +123.95 (+0.49%)
NASDAQ: 7,247.87, -11.16 (-0.15%)
S&P 500: 2,736.27, +6.07 (+0.22%)
NYSE Composite: 12,400.28, +38.76 (+0.31%)

For the Week:
Dow: -576.08 (-2.22%)
NASDAQ: -159.03 (-2.15%)
S&P 500: -44.74 (-1.61%)
NYSE Composite: -137.25 (-1.09%)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Dow Closes With Losses; Is This 2007 All Over Again?

The Dow spent the day criss-crossing the unchanged line - 20 times to be exact - before finally capitulating late in the day, closing lower for the third time in four days, the losing sessions outweighing the sole winner by a margin of some 398 points.

Among the various reasons for the recent declines are the usual suspects: trade and tariffs, emerging market weakness, soaring bond yields, and widespread political unrest, not only in the United States, but elsewhere in the world, particularly Europe, where nationalism is on the rise in opposition to hard-line European Union bureaucracy and technocrats.

Italy is the most recent focal point, where the latest government consists of parties warring within themselves, with each other, and with the political apparatus that overarches all things European from Brussels. The Italian government, like most modern nations, is saddled with largely unplayable debt, seeking solutions that preclude involvement from either the ECB or the IMF, a task for only the brave or the foolhardy.

As much as can be said for the political turmoil within the Eurozone, it remains cobbled together by an overtaxed citizenry, ripe for revolt from the constraints upon income and general freedom. As was the case with Greece a few years back, the EU intends imposition of austerity upon the Italians and is facing stiff resistance from the general population and government officials alike.

Political sentiment aside, the canary in the US equity coal mine is the downfall of the treasury market, which has seen rising yields almost on a daily basis since the last FOMC meeting concluded September 26, the well-placed fear that the Fed has reached too far in implementing its own brand of monetary austerity by flooding markets with their own overpriced securities. The resultant condition is the most basic of economics: oversupply causes prices to fall, yields to rise.

Adding to investor skittishness are upcoming third quarter corporate reports, which promise to be a bagful of not-well-hidden disappointment, given the strength of the dollar versus other currencies and corporate struggles to balance their domestic books with those outside the US. Any corporation with large exposure to China or other emerging markets is likely to have felt some currency pressure during a third quarter which saw rapid acceleration in the dollar complex. Most corporations are simply not nimble enough to adjust to quick changes in currency valuations, leading to losses on the international side of the ledger book.

Valuations could also matter once again. Since the economy in the US is seen as quite robust and strong at the present, investors may want to question their portfolio allocations. Good things do not last forever, and while the current rally under President Trump has been impressive, it has come at the end of a long, albeit often sluggish, recovery period.

All of this brings up the point of today's headline, the eerie similarity to the market of 2007, which presaged not only a massive recession, but a stock market collapse of mammoth proportions, a real estate bust, and vocal recriminations directed at the banking cartel, which, as we all know, came to naught.

In 2007, the Dow peaked on July 11, closing at 14,000.41, but was promptly beaten down to 12,845.78 at the close on August 16. It bounced all the way back to 14,164.53, on October 16, but was spent. By November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, the industrials closed at 12,743.44 and continued to flounder from there until the final catastrophic month of October 2008.

The chart reads similarly, though more compressed in 2018. The Dow made a fresh all-time high on September 20 (26,656.98) and closed higher the following day. On October 3, a new record close was put in, at 26,828.39, but the index has come off that number by nearly 400 points as of Tuesday's close.

It is surely too soon to call for a trend change, but, if 2018 is anything like 2007, the most recent highs could be all she wrote, the proof not available for maybe another month or two, but the Dow bears watching if it cannot continue the long bull run.

Dow Jones Industrial Average October Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
10/1/18 26,651.21 +192.90 +192.90
10/2/18 26,773.94 +122.73 +315.63
10/3/18 26,828.39 +54.45 +370.08
10/4/18 26,627.48 -200.91 +169.17
10/5/18 26,447.05 -180.43 -11.26
10/8/18 26,486.78 +39.73 +28.47
10/9/18 26,430.57 -56.21 -27.74

At the Close, Tuesday, October 9, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,430.57, -56.21 (-0.21%)
NASDAQ: 7,738.02, +2.07 (+0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,880.34, -4.09 (-0.14%)
NYSE Composite: 12,960.57, -39.56 (-0.30%)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Stocks Start September Slowly As Trade Wars Widen, Currencies Collapse In Emerging Markets

The late-summer rally that saw fresh record highs on the NASDAQ and S&P, adding 1600 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, may be coming to an abrupt end in September.

As the dollar has soared against emerging market currencies, US markets have become a favorite of foreign money, lifting individual stocks and entire indices from already-high valuations. However, blowback from collapsing economies in emerging markets such and Turkey, Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, India, and China may become severe if market participants decide its time to repatriate their gains.

With President Trump on a tariff crusade, imports from foreign shores are rapidly becoming less valuable to the source exporters and governments are taking note of the erosion in not just their currencies but in their trade balances.

Stock markets in South American countries are being wrecked, with Argentina and Brazil already in bear markets. Exchanges in Japan, China, and most of Europe - especially the powerhouse Dax of Germany - are already in correction territory and not far from becoming full-blown panicked bear markets.

Thus far, the US has been the beneficiary of other nations' pain, but, there's no free lunch and companies with heavy investment outside the US may soonest profits declining in what were recently solid, growing markets for their goods and services.

How the combination of trade warfare and declining currency valuations will play out may prove to be disastrous to all participants. A great decline in international trade was partially responsible for the global Great Depression of the 1930s. History may soon be repeating if countries don't heed the warnings from prior episodes of trade antagonism.

Casualties are beginning to mount with the precious metals complex already heading past the correction phase and closer to bear market conditions. Gold has been trading in the $1190 per troy ounce range after reaching close to $1360 in March. Silver has collapsed from from a high above $18/ounce to $14.15 at the close on Tuesday. That is already in a bear market.

Reminiscent of September 2008, when investors dumped gold and silver holdings to meet margin requirements and governments scrambled to meet current obligations, the precious metals decline may be a harbinger of things to come for the broader markets.

Insofar as US stocks have performed brilliantly since the brief February correction, there exists a danger that stocks have reached a climax and are overdue for a massive selloff.

Speculation and conjecture being worth exactly nothing until real money is put into play, market participants may soon find out just how far a rally can go before everyone runs for the exits at once, desiring to not be left holding a bag half full.

Tuesday, the first trading day of September started with a steep decline at the open. Stocks gained ground gradually throughout the session, eventually posting minor losses. It could have been worse and it's likely not yet over. The rest of the week and the weeks heading toward the next FOMC meeting on September 25 and 26 will be volatile and potentially damaging to heavily-leveraged, diverse portfolios.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34

At the Close, Tuesday, September 4, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,952.48, -12.34 (-0.05%)
NASDAQ: 8,091.25, -18.29 (-0.23%)
S&P 500: 2,896.72, -4.80 (-0.17%)
NYSE Composite: 12,969.86, -47.03 (-0.36%)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Will May End With A Bang Or A Thud? Italy And Tommy Robinson Creating European Chaos

Following a three-day weekend, US markets caught up to the panic that was gripping Europe, adding onto the global rout in stocks by sending the Dow Jones Industrials lower by nearly 400 points.

Tuesday's big fallout left the Dow's gains for the month at great risk. The Industrial Average was close to erasing all of May's gains before a late-stage rally brought the index back up by 147 points into the close.

With only two trading days left in the month, May looks to follow April with a gain of less than one percent. April's total gain was a mere 50 points, following massive losses in February (-1120.19) and March (-926.09). With Europe's problems far from over (Italy being the main culprit), selling in May could turn out to be the most prudent - if not cliched - advice as global events are continuing to tarnish the shine on America's nascent economic rebirth.

Italians, struggling with immigration issues, have seen their government devolve into autocracy, as president Sergio Mattarella unilaterally quashed the creation of a right-leaning government coalition.

Chaos in Italy has sparked a run on bonds and European banks, spreading to stocks. On Tuesday, most of the major national exchanges saw losses in excess of one percent, adding onto previous declines.

News out of Britain also contributed to the sea of madness, as authorities arrested activist Tommy Robinson and immediately sentenced him to 13 months in prison, adding a media ban on his arrest and the pedophile grooming trial on which he was attempting to report. The unjustified jailing of Robinson has sparked outrage and rallies for his release throughout Britain and some European capitals.

Overarching political events are merely masking the underlying weakness in global markets which still seem incapable of forgetting the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and Europe's own mini-crisis in 2011. Since little to nothing was done to correct the issues which plagued the world's largest economies, the past appears to have risen from the crypt and threatens to plunge economics and nations into another depressing episode.

With the Dow taking its worst loss in over a month, January 23rd's all-time high of 26,616.71 is now four months off in the fading distance. Bear market dynamics continue to drive a stake into the heart of the "recovery" narrative.

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
5/1/18 24,099.05 -64.10 -64.10
5/2/18 23,924.98 -174.07 -238.17
5/3/18 23,930.15 +5.17 -233.00
5/4/18 24,262.51 +332.36 +99.36
5/7/18 24,357.32 +94.81 +194.17
5/8/18 24,360.21 +2.89 +197.06
5/9/18 24,542.54 +182.33 +379.39
5/10/18 24,739.53 +196.99 +576.38
5/11/18 24,831.17 +91.64 +668.02
5/14/18 24,899.41 +68.24 +736.26
5/15/18 24,706.41 -193.00 +543.26
5/16/18 24,768.93 +62.52 +605.78
5/17/18 24,713.98 -54.95 +550.73
5/18/18 24,715.09 +1.11 +551.84
5/21/18 25,013.29 +298.20 +850.04
5/22/18 24,834.41 -178.88 +671.16
5/23/18 24,886.81 +52.40 +723.56
5/24/18 24,811.76 -75.05 +648.51
5/25/18 24,753.09 -58.67 +589.84
5/29/18 24,361.45 -391.64 +198.20

At the Close, Tuesday, May 29, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,361.45, -391.64 (-1.58%)
NASDAQ: 7,396.59, -37.26 (-0.50%)
S&P 500: 2,689.86, -31.47 (-1.16%)
NYSE Composite: 12,442.69, -192.25 (-1.52%)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

First Red Day of 2018 is Laughable

Major US indices had their first negative day of the year on Wednesday, but the losses amounted to nothing more than rounding errors.

Stocks were off early in the day after reports that Japan and China were reducing their purchases of US treasury bonds, but the notion was simply shrugged off by the equity captains as buyers emerged to limit the losses.

Stocks have gain six of the first seven trading days of 2018, a trend that is likely to continue until central banks cease buying stocks outright. This story is getting rather stale, even though most Americans fail to realize that their pensions and 401k profits are being fueled by cash injections from the Bank of Japan, European Central Bank, Swiss National Bank, Bank of England, People's Bank of China, and, the US Federal Reserve.

To believe that the Fed, being the world's most influential central bank, is not engaged in the purchase of stocks - either outright through their trading desk at the NY Fed or through member banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and others - is to suspend reality.

Global markets have neither seen nor experienced anything like this unprecedented and outrageous activity by financial sources which create money at will, the ramifications of which are likely to result in a massive, destructive inflationary hyper-spiral.

Here in the US and across the pond in Europe, central bankers openly wring their hands and express concern that inflation is too low, when in fact the worldwide money supply - the lone reliable barometer of excess liquidity - has been increased by trillions of dollars during the post-crisis era which began in March of 2009.

Nearly nine years have passed since the great financial crisis and the excesses have only grown, reaching monstrous proportions. For what other reason would gold and silver be suppressed so virulently other than to eliminate their standing as real money? Why are governments so intent on clamping down on cryptocurrencies? Central banks do not want competition in currencies.

It is clear that the central banks of the world have pulled the global economy into a fully fiat regime, printing money backed by nothing at an unprecedented pace.

Future historians and economists - if there is indeed a future at the end of this madness - will look upon this era as one of rampant money creation by policy-makers whose only aim is to keep the failed economies of developed nations in endless debt.

The idea that the Federal Reserve wishes to "normalize" interest rates is a laughable concept. Doing so would only facilitate the ballooning of debt everywhere, to utterly unplayable levels.

Enjoy the ride.

At the Close, Wednesday, January 10, 2018:
Dow: 25,369.13, -16.67 (-0.07%)
NASDAQ: 7,153.57, -10.01 (-0.14%)
S&P 500: 2,748.23, -3.06 (-0.11%)
NYSE Composite: 13,106.60, -14.24 (-0.11%)