Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2020

Trump Ramps Up Social Media Battle; Argentina Continues Defaulting; Gold, Silver Premiums Persist

Not that anybody should be concerned, but Argentina defaulted on a $500 million interest payment a week ago, on May 22nd. Money Daily had been covering the story but slipped up and missed the breaking news over the Memorial Day Weekend. No excuse. We blew it. 20 lashes.

Anyhow, it's not over down Buenos Aires way, as representatives from both sides - the Argentine government and a gaggle of international creditors - continue to seek a solution, setting a June 2nd date for a plan to restructure $66 billion of the country's debt. Realistically, this being the ninth time Argentina has defaulted on its obligations and the third time this century, hopes of reaching any kind of deal that satisfies both the creditor and debtor seems well removed from the realm of the possible.

President Trump issued another executive order Thursday afternoon, this one coming after Twitter tagged a couple of his tweets with fact-checks.

The order calls for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act "to make it so that social media companies that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield," Trump said.

The tweets in question concerned Trump's opposition to mail-in ballots in the upcoming November election, which he believes would result in a cascade of fraud. Twitter added some fact-checking language stating that fraud isn't an issue with absentee ballots.

That, and his announcement of a press conference Friday to address growing concerns over China's dispute with Hong Kong (and now India), sent markets tumbling into the red after making small gains in Thursday's session.

Escalating the situation, early Friday morning, Trump tweeted about the ongoing violence in Minneapolis and elsewhere:

Accessing the President's tweet on the Twitter platform brings up the following message: This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible. Beside it is a button that gives the user the option to display the tweet or keep it hidden. That seems to be an exercise in futility on Twitter's part, possibly drawing even more attention to the tweet in question than had they just left it alone and allowed the public to decide and debate its appropriateness.

Twitter continues to dig its own grave because the President certainly isn't going to back down when he has the complete arsenal of the Department of Justice at his disposal. It's become rather obvious to just about everybody that Twitter, along with their social media counterparts, Google, Facebook, and others, that these companies have abused their free reign over what gets published and where on the internet for a long time without any oversight. Having set up their own rules and guidelines they've often trampled on first amendment rights of users, citing their status as private companies as cover for their subjective agenda.

It would appear that President Trump is serious about limiting their ability to shape opinion. It's certain that the issue will end up in the courts and may take years to resolve. Meanwhile, the mainstream TV networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox, and newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post continue to spread half-truths, fake news, and outright lies on a regular basis. Whether the president's wrath extends to limitations or punishments for biased reporting in other areas of the media remains to be seen, but there is sure to be intense focus on the media leading up to the November elections.

Elsewhere, confusion reigns supreme in the precious metals space. Since mid-March there has been a schism between the futures price of gold and the spot price, with the gap sometimes great enough to encourage arbitrage in a relatively risk-free trade. Usually, the spot price is a few dollars below the futures bid, but the spread has widened and exhibited volatile behavior recently. Silver has also joined the party, with spot and futures prices deviating sporadically.

Of course, the spot and futures prices are little more than bookmarks these days compared to the premium prices being paid for actual physical metal on eBay. Gold and silver are both sporting heavy premiums, with gold selling at the one ounce level at $120-180 over spot and one ounce silver going for $23-30 when the spot price has been hovering in the $16-17 range. Silver, probably the most undervalued commodity in the world, has approached 100% premiums in recent days.

As more people become aware of the fraudulent nature of futures trading where major players such as JP Morgan Chase are allowed to flaunt size limits and engage in spoofing, naked shorting, and are never forced to stand for delivery, physical markets are becoming the go-to for investors with serious intentions of protecting their wealth with precious metals.

Yields in the treasury space rose across the curve on Thursday, with the 30-year bond hitting 1.47%, a two-month high. The spread between the 2-year note (0.17%) and the 30 is now 130 basis points, 10 points higher than a week ago. Tighter lending conditions may not be in the Fed's best interests at this time, but the present issue is likely one of supply. The Fed has been begging fiscal authorities (congress and the president) to unleash more stimulus spending so as to facilitate the Fed's monetizing of the debt, spreading its largesse to equity market participants.

If the government isn't going to ramp up deficit spending, the Fed will be looking over its shoulder at rising rates with too little supply coming to market. This is just one of the unintended consequences of massive money printing on a global scale. At some point, with all hands outstretched, there's not enough to go around and a struggle is engaged for the scraps thrown to the market. The Fed is committed to buying everything, but if there's not enough everything around, they risk severe impairment of credit markets.

Congress needs to get on the bandwagon with all due alacrity lest the Fed run out of debt to monetize, jeopardizing the massive stock rally they have recently engendered.

Finally, in spite of the price of oil (once again, on the futures market) having roughly doubled over the past month, and with it, rising gas prices at the pump, there's still a massive glut on the supply side and slack demand against it. WTI crude in the $32-36 range is a resistance level the market will find difficult to overcome. Economies aren't roaring back to life following the global lockdowns, rather, they're reengaging in fits and starts, and not nearly at capacity. The major oil producers have done their level best to halt the price decline, but there's only so much production that can be cut from counties whose very existence relies upon regular selling of crude oil.

The summer, if authorities allow free movement, should be affordable, at least as concerns automotive touring.

Friday's trading session opens in a little more than an hour from this posting. With the Dow ahead by nearly 1000 points this week, unless there's a major pullback on Friday, Wall Street will shove another fat week of gains into America's face.

At the Close, Thursday, May 28, 2020:
Dow: 25,400.64, -147.63 (-0.58%)
NASDAQ: 9,368.99, -43.37 (-0.46%)
S&P 500: 3,029.73, -6.40 (-0.21%)
NYSE: 11,804.91, -32.62 (-0.28%)

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, December 3, 2019

Trade Uncertainty Tempers Markets on First Full Day of Holiday Trading

The first week of the final month of 2019 was a deviation from the general theme of 2019. Stocks were sold with reckless abandon, as were bonds, with the 10-year note bounding back to yield 1.83% - though higher during the day - a level not visited since mid-November.

The bond market felt more like churning than the start of actual long-term selling, but stocks had a different sense about them. Bad news on the US-China trade situation has the financial world in a near-panic as the deadline approaches for added tariffs to be applied on Chinese exports to the US. Additionally, President Trump reimposed tariffs on steel from Argentina and Brazil, citing the two South American countries' recent currency devaluations as reason for slapping on the tariffs "immediately."

While the steel tariffs boosted shares of US steel producers, it only exacerbated the unease surrounding the wider Chinese issue and sent stocks into a day-long tailspin. Selling was the order of the day globally, as bourses from Japan, China, Europe and the Americas all suffered declines with the sourness continuing into Tuesday as trade resumed Tuesday in international markets.

While the focus may currently be on trade and tariffs, there appears to be more to the sudden swing from buying to selling than just the movement of goods around the planet. Recall that Friday (ubiquitously know as Black Friday in the US) also witnessed declines, not the usual euphoria associated with the start of the holiday shopping season. Other concerns are various recent populist uprising in places as diverse as Hong Kong, Iran, Lebanon, India and elsewhere. Besides, it is December, so one can safely assume that any concerted selling is going to be enhanced by year-end profit-taking.

While the mainstream (now nearly completely fake) media will focus on the stock markets' generous advances during the year, they will also conveniently gloss over the dual declines from October and December of 2018, which, taken in such context, renders gains from September 2018 as practically nil.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for instance, is up only 1000 points since mid-September of 2018, accounting for a gain of less than a half percent. The NASDAQ has tacked on about 450 points since August of last year, while the S&P 500, at current levels, has added just 183 points over the past 15 months, the point being that stocks, though they've recently made new all-time highs, are really not much further ahead than they were more than a year ago, but the media will remind us only of what's happened in the current calendar year, which might be a tad misleading.

In any case, internationally, stocks are being whacked again Tuesday morning and US futures are looking pretty dismal, with Dow futures down nearly 300 points less than an hour prior to the opening bell.

Corporate profits have been underwhelming, to say the least, for the past few quarters, so some fundamental shift may be underway. If a flight into the safely of bonds develops, that will be a sign that the stock market is going to finish off the year on a negative note, though there's always the possibility of a Sant Calus rally the week between Christmas and New Year to save everybody's bacon.

At the Close, Monday, December 2, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,783.04, -268.37 (-0.96%)
NASDAQ: 8,567.99, -97.48 (-1.12%)
S&P 500: 3,113.87, -27.11 (-0.86%)
NYSE Composite: 13,448.26, -96.95 (-0.72%)

Friday, November 29, 2019

China Balks At US Legislation; Consumers Gear Up for Black Friday, Holiday Shopping

Wednesday saw new all-time highs all around, except the lagging NYSE Composite, which finished the day just 30 points below its record close of 13,637.02, marked on January 26, 2018.

Undeterred by potential blowback on trade negotiations due to President Trump's signing of two bills passed almost unanimously by both houses of congress, investors held steady. The bills were aimed at China's leadership, citing US support for the protesters in Hong Kong and making reference to "human rights."

China's official reaction was slow at first, but escalated on Thursday, when the US ambassador was summoned to lodge official protest by China's government and throngs of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong to give thanks to the United States.

Since US markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, China's sharp rebuke will be felt on Friday's trading. Futures point to a modestly lower open as the bumpy ride toward ending the trade war between China and the US continues.

Friday's session will be shorted, with markets closing at 1:00 pm ET.

Meanwhile, shoppers have been snapping up deals online and at various retailers who sought to get the jump on Black Friday by offering deals on popular electronics, toys, and clothing as early as Wednesday. Stores may be under pressure to log high sales volumes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (next week) since the calendar this year has allowed for the shortest possible holiday shopping season, a mere 26 days.

Since the first of November was a Friday, and Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday of November, this year's shopping season will be much shorter than last year's, when Thanksgiving was at its earliest possible date, the 22nd of November. A full six days shorter, this holiday shopping spree may make same store sales on a year over year basis are likely to fall short of targets for many retailers unless door-busting deals and heavy advertising can draw shoppers into stores.

Complicating matters further is Christmas falling on a Wednesday, making the last two shopping days a Monday and Tuesday, normally working days for most Americans.

With the economy in excellent shape, the short shopping season may not be much of an issue for adroit retailers, as spending per consumer is expected to be higher than last year. It remains to be seen whether consumers, the bulwark of the US economy, will respond with record-setting spending or whether relentless talk of a coming recession or the pending impeachment of President Trump will have a negative effect.

One thing is certain: Americans love to shop. It's practically the national pastime.

At the Close, Wednesday, November 27, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,164.00, +42.32 (+0.15%)
NASDAQ: 8,705.17, +57.24 (+0.66%)
S&P 500: 3,153.63, +13.11 (+0.42%)
NYSE Composite: 13,607.62, +47.91 (+0.35%)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

This Is About As Dull A Market As There Ever Has Been

It's been a slow week.

"How slow is it," the crowd chants, Johnny Carson style.

Well, the Dow is up 102 points as of Wednesday's close. That's the good news, and it's about as good as it gets. The NASDAQ, in three sessions, has gained six points, the S&P just under one point, and the NYSE Composite is down 22.75 points.

That's how slow it is.

As for the causes, anybody's guess will do, but the most likely candidates are uncertainty over just about everything, from impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives, to ongoing and increasingly-violent protests in Hong Kong, to backtracking in US-China trade relations, to just plain old vanilla market overbought conditions. It's not like the economy is booming (1.9% 3rd quarter GDP), or that most of the fuel has been courtesy of the Federal Reserve (another $200 billion added to their balance sheet in just the past two months), or that stock buybacks have been responsible for more than 60% of the gains over the past five years (maybe).

There are ample reasons for people to take a look-and-see stance. Just in case nobody's noticed, it's almost the end of 2019, allocations have already been made and funds are sitting on their hands, lest they get burned hitting the BUY button before year end.

If the New York stock exchange shut down for a day or two, or even a week or two, would it matter to anybody but the ultra-wealthy? Probably not, and, since the ultra-wealthy are, ahem, ultra-wealthy, why should they be buying stocks at nosebleed levels anyhow? They're waiting for the next greater fool, so they can sell some of their holdings at nice profits.

Thus, it's a simple assumption to make that if there are few buyers, and ample sellers who are holding out for the best prices, not much is going to happen, and that's why this week has been so slow. Whether that translates into a major downdraft, as many have been predicting once new highs were made last week, or another step up the ladder of success depends largely on news flow, and that hasn't been particularly encouraging of late (see above).

There's an old adage that reads something like, "never short a dull market," which falls a bit short in the logic department. If a market is dull, it obviously is in need of a catalyst to move ahead, move quicker, move at all. Will selling short bring out buyers? Maybe that's the idea, but there's no proof that a dull market is any more prone to melt up than a volatile market. If things are hot, people are buying and selling, brokers are making commissions (well, that's how it used to be), and stocks are going somewhere, up or down, that would seem to be a more dangerous place into which to sell.

There will be short sellers, but, at the present, there doesn't seem to be many eager buyers out there.

This is what happens when nothing happens. You have to write about nothing happening as if there is actually something happening.

Nothing is happening.

At the Close, Wednesday, November 13, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,783.59, +92.10 (+0.33%)
NASDAQ: 8,482.10, -3.99 (-0.05%)
S&P 500: 3,094.04, +2.20 (+0.07%)
NYSE Composite: 13,385.05, -2.57 (-0.02%)

Monday, August 12, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Another Shaky Week for Stocks; Bond, Gold, Silver Rallies Extend

As the global ponzi turns, the week now left behind shares a trails of tears and cheers, sadness for equity holders, joyous celebrations in the bond pits as US rates re-approach the zero-bound (despite the Fed's reluctance).

While stocks bounced like a rubber ball on a string, the losses were limited by some mysterious dip-buying mid-week as news flow changed not just by the day, but seemingly by the hour.

At the same time, the bond market in the US was mimicking Japan and Europe, grinding yields lower, with the 10-year note closing out the week at 1.74%, which is lower than the 1,2,3,6-month and one-year yields, making the case for an already inverted yield curve. The 2-year continues to be resilient, though one has to wonder how much longer it can hold the narrow margin below the 10-year, which is currently a scant 11 basis points (1.63%).

Precious metals have also benefitted from global uncertainty, with gold hovering around $1500 and silver teasing the $17.00 mark. Both are significantly higher from lows spotted in late May. The ascent of the metals has been swift and without any major pullback. If the metals are in an overbought condition, they certainly aren't showing any signs of it. As usual, however, the persistence of central banks to keep "real money" on its heels is probably keeping PMs from going vertical. That story seems to have no end, except that a hyperbolic rise in gold and silver would signal the death of not just the US dollar, but probably all fiat currencies in use by every nation, developed or not. After fiat finds its proper value (ZERO), barter will follow. It's a natural progression. The central question, as has been for centuries, is, "what do you give for a live chicken?"

Though it may appear that the global economy is about to implode, it's useful to be reminded that the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) is well beyond its 10th anniversary, thanks to massive infusions of counterfeit fiat ladled out to the unwashed by the BOJ, FRS, BOE, SNB, PBOC, ECB. Spelling out the acronyms somehow yields negative interest rates and the death of money. Nobody knows when this will occur, but it will, and the effects will devastate many. Think billions of people, not just millions.

In the interim, as the world is roiled by international, geopolitical events, the wall of worry is being built upon the current crises (not in any particular order):

  • The Epstein "suicide"
  • Honk Hong protests
  • Brexit
  • Trade War and tariffs
  • Middle East tensions
  • Mass Shootings, Gun Control Legislation, Red Flaw Laws (won't happen)
  • 2020 presidential election hijinks
  • Ongoing migrations (Africa to Europe, South America to North America, China to Africa)

That's more than enough to keep traders up at night and on their collective toes during the days ahead.

Incidentally, all of this anguish has shielded the markets somewhat from a less-than-rousing second quarter earnings season, even as the corporates float through the third quarter. The Dow Transports re-entered correction territory two weeks past week and extended it last week with the worst showing of all the US indices, by far.

Recession is almost a certainly, though it needn't be particularly horrible for the US, since employment is still strong, despite weakening earnings in the large cap corporate sector. Since the US is a very big country, different areas will be affected in different ways. Areas of the country that have been growing (most of the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest) will continue to do so, albeit at a slower pace. Those areas in decline (Northeast cities, California, rural enclaves) will see conditions worsen. Those areas in decline will continue to do so through good times and bad and some may be exacerbated by outflows of high income individuals due to SALT taxes. It's a big country, a panacea for speculators with long time horizons.

At the Close, Friday, August 9:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,287.44, -90.76 (-0.34%)
NASDAQ: 7,959.14, -80.02 (-1.00%)
S&P 500: 2,918.65, -19.44 (-0.66%)
NYSE Composite: 12,748.42, -80.38 (-0.63%)

For the Week:
Dow Industrials: -197.57 (-0.75%)
Dow Jones Transports: -167.22 (-1.61%)
NASDAQ: -44.93 (-0.56%)
S&P 500: -13.40 (-0.46%)
NYSE Composite: -91.08 (-0.71%)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Stocks Rebound, 11 Major Stock Indices In Correction, Down 10% Or More

Knee-jerk. That's all today's trading was. It evolved as an opportunity to see how many trades could be made on the assumption that stocks will continue to rise, that they are still good values, that despite the fact that major indices of at least 10 different important countries are in correction (down 10%), the US is still the best dirty shirt in the laundry, or something like that.

Just to placate the unbelievers, here is a partial list of stock indices already in correction or worse:

  • DAX, Germany
  • FTSE, Great Britain
  • CAC 40, France
  • Nikkei 225, Japan
  • Hang Seng, Hong Kong
  • SSE Composite, China
  • SENSEX, India
  • KOSPI, South Korea
  • Jakarta Composite, Indonesia
  • MERVAL, Argentina
  • IPC, Mexico

Ummm, that's 11, but who's counting?

Bear in mind, some of the biggest gains are made during periods of volatility and the beginnings of bear markets. For proof of that, just go back to the NASDAQ in 2000, or the Dow in October of 2008. There were plenty of big days to the upside. Unfortunately, for those taking positions in stocks during those periods, the downside prevailed, and in vey large ways.

Put in perspective, today's broad gains covered about 2/3rds of yesterday's losses. That's not enough, and there is absolutely no guarantee that tomorrow is going to be a repeat performance.

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
10/10/18 25,598.74 -831.83 -859.57
10/11/18 25,052.83 -545.91 -1,405.48
10/12/18 25,339.99 +287.16 -1,118.32
10/15/18 25,250.55 -89.44 -1,207.76
10/16/18 25,798.42 +547.87 -659.89
10/17/18 25,706.68 -91.74 -751.63
10/18/18 25,379.45 -327.23 -1,078.86
10/19/18 25,444.34 +64.89 -1,013.97
10/22/18 25,317.41 -126.93 -1,140.90
10/23/18 25,191.43 -125.98 -1,265.88
10/24/18 24,583.42 -608.01 -1,873.89
10/25/18 24,984.55 +401.13 -1,472.76

At the Close, Thursday, October 25, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,984.55, +401.13 (+1.63%)
NASDAQ: 7,318.34, +209.94 (+2.95%)
S&P 500: 2,705.57, +49.47 (+1.86%)
NYSE Composite: 12,118.85, +149.11 (+1.25%)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Correlation Trade, Weak Dollar, Hot Air Boost Stocks

About the only thing hotter than stocks on this 21st of July, 2011, was the weather, with temperatures hovering around the 100-degree mark in much of the nation, but especially in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and East coast. But the correlation trade - short dollars, long stocks - was in effect throughout the session, which meant that stocks had to soar... and they did, closing in on the nearly three-year highs set back in late April.

Coming off a string of recent earnings report beats by the likes of Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL) and IBM, one would have expected the NASDAQ to lead the way, but it was the S&P and Dow Industrials which showed the greatest percentage gains of the day.

It's obvious to anyone with more than a passing interest that the banks have been at their manipulative best of late as financial stocks have led the way each of the past two sessions, even as these very banks put in quarterly earnings showing losses, pay no dividends, are largely insolvent and the nation lurches ever closer to a debt default and ratings downgrade, the latter being all but inevitable after the well-rehearsed clown show in Washington, DC.

One can hardly blame the elitist banking class for boosting their own portfolios at this juncture. After all, its been proven that whatever risks they take will be guaranteed to win, since the US government is back-stopping the whole TBTF crowd. They might as well take while the taking is good. It may not be the same in a fortnight or so.

For the rest of us, the alternative for the day was to find air-conditioning, drink plenty of fluids and watch the circus from afar. The risks of trading in stocks is far too high for the average plebeian. And so it goes, that the rich get richer. The poor, and, especially those stuck in the middle, may get the ultimate revenge as more and more people turn their backs on the world's most corrupt system of governance and finance and default in record numbers on school loans, car loans, mortgages, credit cards and all manner of financial obligations.

The end to this grand farce of fiat money is coming, regardless of the degree of normalcy bias built into us all from TV and the media. The waiting, admittedly, is a royal pain. Either way, it's death by deflation or inflation (which seems to be winning lately), or both.

Dow 12,724.41, +152.50 (1.21%)
NASDAQ 2,834.43, +20.20 (0.72%)
S&P 500 1,343.80, +17.96 (1.35%)
NYSE Composite 8,411.45, +129.62 (1.57%)

As one would expect, advancing stocks beat back decliners in a big way, 4901-1692. On the NASDAQ new highs reached 88, while new lows came in at 25. The NYSE had even more of a pronounced bias, with 154 new highs and 20 new lows. The combined total of 242 new highs and 45 new lows would seem to suggest that the rally has legs, though one never knows when or if Europe will fall completely apart at the seams, sending the Euro lower, the dollar higher and stocks down. Volume was actually quite fantastic. Perhaps some new suckers (investors) were brought into the foray.

NASDAQ Volume 2,253,718,500
NYSE Volume 4,812,432,500

As goes the dollar, so - in the opposite direction - goes oil, and with the dollar down, WTI crude leapt back over the $100/barrel mark in the early part of the session, but backed off to close up only 73 cents, at $99.13.

Naturally, gold and silver were hammered to death, with gold losing $9.90, to $1,587.00, and silver falling 61 cents, to $38.95 per ounce.

The conditions are about to change - for silver, at least - as the Hong Kong Exchange will introduce a silver futures trading mechanism at the open of business on Friday, which will be shortly after 8:00 pm EDT. By this time tomorrow, the price in Hong Kong may be $44 per ounce and quite a bit lower here in the states.

We shall see soon enough.