Showing posts with label JPM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JPM. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Stocks Fail to Extend Rally; Oil Flat; JP Morgan, Wells Fargo Declare 1Q Earnings

Last week's furious rally failed to extend over into Monday's trading as news flow trended negatively.

Given the number of new cases and deaths worldwide from COVID-19, the pain and suffering of millions around the world out of work and isolated in their homes, it's surprising that Wall Street can even muster enough capital for any kind of rally.

Conditions have not changed from the onset of COVID-19's spread, only the Federal Reserve's commitment to suspend reality and boost stocks through various band-aids and stop gap measures has. The only reason stocks managed to gain any ground last week was due to trillions of dollars pumped into the hands of primary dealers via repos, debt purchases, foreign debt purchases, and promises from various Fed presidents to keep the currency spigots wide open.

The lunacy of these efforts is astounding. Desperate to save face and completely devoid of any tools to bring the economy back to their stated mandates of full employment and no inflation, the Fed has expanded its own balance sheet to the point at which it needed funding from the US treasury, a backhanded bailout of the central bank, using some $400-500 billion from Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund.

Oil prices barely budged after the hurried agreement by OPEC+ and other countries will slash production by as much as 10 million barrels a day, roughly 10 percent of global supply. WTI crude closed Monday at $22.41. Efforts to raise the price of oil worldwide were seen as mostly a publicity stunt, as the problem is more a lack of demand than of oversupply. Producers would be best served to stop pumping as storage facilities are near capacity already and the lockdowns in major countries remain weeks away.

Treasury yields rose on the long end, with the 30-year bond at 1.39% and the 10-year note rising three basis points to 0.76%. The curve steepened slightly to 122 basis points.

JP Morgan Chase (JPM) announced first quarter earnings prior to the opening bell Tuesday that were the lowest since 2013, warned of a fairly severe recession ahead and set aside $8.29 billion for bad loans, the biggest provision in at least a decade and more than double what some analysts expected.

The bank reported EPS of 78 cents on revenue of $29.07 billion. Net interest income was flat at $14.5 billion.

Wells Fargo (WFC) reported EPS of 1 cent per share on revenue of $17.7 billion as a $3.1 billion reserve build accounted for 56 cents per share and a $950 million impairment of securities accounted for 17 cents a share. Net interest income fell 8% to $11.3 billion. This bank is essentially insolvent, as is the Federal Reserve, the ECB, BOJ, PBOC and hundreds of other money center banks.

Other money center banks also report this week. Wednesday Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup release their reports. Morgan Stanley’s announcement is scheduled for Thursday.

(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday beat analysts' estimates for first-quarter profit on higher sales of its cancer drugs and consumer products including Tylenol, while slashing its full-year forecast due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

Shares of the company, which raised its dividend by 6.3% to $1.01 per share, rose 3% to $144 in trading before the bell.

The company now expects 2020 adjusted earnings per share of $7.50 to $7.90, compared with its prior estimate of $8.95 to $9.10.

Gold and silver posted modest gains on the day. In case anyone was skeptical over Money Daily's call for $100 silver and a 16:1 gold:silver ratio in Sunday's Weekend Wrap (below), perhaps a gander at Mike Maloney's call for $700 silver a few years ago at goldsilver.com, may be in order:



At the Close, Monday, April 13, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,390.77, -328.60 (-1.39%)
NASDAQ: 8,192.42, +38.85 (+0.48%)
S&P 500: 2,761.63, -28.19 (-1.01%)
NYSE: 10,949.53, -187.08 (-1.68%)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Turnaround Tuesday Wipes Out Massive Stock Gains; Oil Lower; Gold and Silver Nearly Unobtainable

Turnaround Tuesday certainly lived up to its advance billing as stocks performed a midday about-face, giving up expansive gains - the Dow gave up over 900 points from its intraday peak - to end near the flatline, only the NYSE Composite finishing in the black.

With a massive gap up at the open, equities were riding the crest of Monday's monstrous wave of buying, on the false hope that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind them. At 11:25 am ET, when New York City announced its death toll for the prior day as the highest one-day total to date with 731 fresh corpses, bringing the state total number of coronavirus fatalities to 5,489, surpassing those lost on 9/11, a wave of gloom descended on Wall Street and in trading offices worldwide. Once the news circulated, stocks embarked upon an afternoon of desperate selling.

Whatever it is that fuels the animal spirits of the investor class, it is misplaced and widely mis-pricing stocks presently, and has been for much of the past 11 years. Now that stock buybacks are no longer going to spike the punch in lower Manhattan, the Fed has stepped in with a variety show of programs and debt options, none of which will eventually be proven sufficient to stem the coming tide of lowered expectations, defaults, earnings misses and downright deplorable economic data.

All the Fed is doing is throwing more bad money atop a raging fire. They cannot print enough money globally to stop the coming self-inflicted Greater Depression, though they will surely blame everything on COVID-19, the convenient scapegoat.

Now that stocks have briefly recovered from the March selloff, all of the programs brought to light by the Federal Reserve will be viewed skeptically, as real values make their return to the former fantasy world of finance. Instead of the Dow resting comfortably above 22,000, the true value, when all is said and done will be much closer to 12,000 and likely far lower.

At current levels, the major indices are still higher than they were in 2007, before the Great Financial Crisis nearly wiped out the global economy. The ongoing crisis will assure that everybody loses, particularly the Baby Boomer generation, which was forced into stocks by the Fed's insistence on interest rates near zero for almost all of the current century.

Portfolios which were valued as retirement savings are going up in smoke and they will continue to do so as the crisis and antecedent solutions tear to shreds the dreams and aspirations of the enormous, aging generation. Unless one has already departed the stock market, anticipated losses will be catastrophic.

Elsewhere, bond yields ticked slightly higher on Tuesday. Gold and silver remain in a nascent bull market, as a global scramble for precious metals has left major dealers with dwindling or already depleted stock. Spot and futures prices are diverging in gold, but that's not even the real story, as premiums are going through the roof for gold and silver bars and coins. If one is fortunate enough to find a dealer with goods for sale, wait times for delivery are now averaging a month for silver in quantity, and five to 10 days for gold.

In times of panic, precious metals are desirous as a hedge against catastrophic circumstance, but, already, many have arrived at the decision to acquire such stock too late as prices have become unaffordable and physical delivery unobtainable.

On the oil front, the spasm of price hikes from last week has faded badly, with WTI crude down again, backing into a $24 handle per barrel. As they say in the trade, it's a fluid situation.

Finally, and this is not to be taken lightly, an astute commentator on a popular financial website posted the following cryptic message:

I don't think any bankers will go to jail, but I assure you they will meet with other, more horrible circumstances as this all plays out.

Citi, BofA, JPM Chase, Wells, Goldman Sachs, and others are all underwater, have already been bailed out (for the past 11 years), and will soon be insolvent when millions of Americans (and a host of foreigners) default on credit cards, car loans and leases, commercial leases, student loans, personal loans, business loans, and more.

There are a lot of biblical posters around here who quote Revelations and such, but they are off the mark. Judgement Day for the major commercial banks was delayed in 2008-09, but, when the full temper of anger from the American public is released - and that is not far off - their branches will be firebombed, their insurance cancelled, their stocks worth less than zero.

They've had it coming and whether they've calculated the enormity of unintended consequences or not, they're going to get skewered for good.

It will be a feast like no other, and a jubilee.

At the Close, Tuesday, April 7, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 22,653.86, -26.13 (-0.12%)
NASDAQ: 7,887.26, -25.98 (-0.33%)
S&P 500: 2,659.41, -4.27 (-0.16%)
NYSE: 10,537.04, +21.80 (+0.21%)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stocks Stumble After Mnuchin Trade Remarks; JPM, Citi Earnings Solid

After Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remarked that tariffs on many Chinese goods would remain in place until later in the eyar and possibly beyond, only the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to remain positive, as the major indices erased solid gains from earlier in the day, sending stocks sliding through the afternoon.

Mnuchin maintained that import tariffs would remain in place until the US and China agree on Phase 2 of their trade arrangement. His remarks came a day before the leaders of the world's two largest economies are set to sign a Phase 1 deal on Wednesday.

Washington and Beijing agreed to suspend tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese-made cellphones, laptop computers and other goods that were due to take effect on Dec. 15, and to cut in half existing tariffs on $120 billion of other goods to 7.5%. The Phase 1 deal keeps 25% tariffs on $250 billion of other Chinese goods in place. Mnuchin did not offer a timetable for when Phase 2 would be worked out, but the consensus believes such a deal would not be fully negotiated until after the November US elections.

A formal signing of Phase 1 documents is slated for 11:30 am ET, Wednesday at the White House.

Trade and tariffs continue to be the hot topic by which to move stocks and it seems likely that trend will continue through most of - if not all of - 2020, though with lesser impact. The Chinese representatives are sure to engage in some foot-dragging, hedging that President Trump may not be around for the completion of Phase 2. For its part, the administration will be busy with the politics of a presidential election, which will divert resources and attention away from trade dealings.

Those are positive developments in the larger scheme of things. The public is weary of Democrat attempts to weaken the president or impeach him. Business leaders largely view the entire political spectrum with jaded skepticism, believing that the poorly-managed impeachment proceedings initiated by the House of Representatives is a waste of time.

Right on cue, the House will debate and then vote on a resolution to advance articles of impeachment - which were passed nearly a month ago (December 18) - on Wednesday. Normally, no such vote is needed, though this impeachment process has been anything but normal. Another vote in the House gives Democrats another opportunity to bad-mouth the president while taking attention away from the signing of the trade accord. The measure is likely to sail through along party lines, with a Senate trial to begin on Tuesday of next week (January 21).

House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi's stalling of the process seems to have benefitted nobody except possibly President Trump. By not immediately handing over the articles of impeachment and naming managers, Pelosi comes off looking petty, conflicted, and frankly, ridiculous.

It is widely considered that President Trump will be acquitted by the Senate in short order, allowing democrat presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders to get back on the campaign trail before the Iowa caucuses the first week of February.

Until then, some market surprises could come in the form of earnings from various companies. Mega-banks JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup reported on Tuesday, with JPM showing EPS of $2.57, which smashed expectations for $1.98. Citi boosted revenues above consensus to over $18bn while EPS came at $1.90, beyond expectations for $1.83. Wells Fargo bucked the trend, reporting earnings below consensus. Share prices for JPM and Citi were up +1.17% and +1.56%, respectively, but Wells Fargo closed lower, down -5.39%.

Prior to the opening bell Wednesday morning, Bank of America said earnings for the fourth quarter were 74 cents per share, up 5.7% from the same period last year and better than the 68 cent consensus forecast.

Goldman Sachs (GS) reporting on Wednesday morning, showed quarterly earnings of $4.69 a share, trailing the $5.56 average of estimates from analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Net income tumbled 24 percent to $1.92 billion. Those results sent stock futures tumbling further into the red.

The FOMC is scheduled to meet the last week of January. Their meeting is scheduled for the 28th and 29th.

At the Close, Tuesday, January 14, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,939.67, +32.57 (+0.11%)
NASDAQ: 9,251.33, -22.60 (-0.24%)
S&P 500: 3,283.15, -4.98 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 14,037.13, -5.47 (-0.04%)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

JP Morgan and the Federal Reserve "Not QE" Money Spigot

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day...

So said the Mamas and Papas back in the 60s. We can still hear the echoes of their lament on the highways to work, in the coffee drive-throughs, and back seats of car pools (some people still do this).

Papers scattered over desks, it's time to get down to business, earn the paycheck, do whatever it is you do to keep yourself afloat.

Monday mornings are a grind, unless, that is, you happen to be a big bank, a global systemically important bank, otherwise known around financial circles as a G-SIB. Then, Monday is just another day to goose your bottom line. And this Monday was a good one.

Thanks to algo-spiking headlines suggesting - for about the 20th time in the past six months - that a China-US trade deal was on the way to becoming reality, stocks roared out of the gate at the opening bell, sending the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ to all-time closing highs. All-time highs are all well and good, mind you, except when they're built on the back of a drama that never ends, like the ongoing US-China trade deal.

Since the US and China have been engaged in this delicate dance markets have soared every time a possible breakthrough is mentioned and fallen whenever snags are discovered. It's what happens when computers run markets instead of people, even though the computer algorithms were programmed, supposedly, by humans (ahem).

More interesting, however, is the lack of news surrounding the ongoing implosion in repo markets that began in late September and continued through October, now extending into November. It's a real crisis, but now it appears that all of this was triggered by the good people at JP Morgan, yes, that G-SIB bank at the top of the list in the up-article link.

According to the usual somewhat reliable folks at Zero Hedge, JPM was going about its work to keep the economy humming along by selling loans and buying long-dated bonds, according to rules laid out by none other than the Federal Reserve.

How tidy, for Morgan and CEO, Jamie Dimon, to have the incredible good fortune to be able to make more money selling loans than making them (not making this up; it's what happens when interest rates are too low). But, because of JPM's massive portfolio, it cause a not-insignificant disruption in the overnight lending market (repo), that prompted the Fed - hearing the wailing of cash-poor clients - to offer up some emergency TOMO (Temporary Open Market Operations) overnight auctions and eventually cede to POMO (Permanent) and "not QE," to quiet the troubled sector at the heart of the global economy.

So far, it seems to be working, though the general public doesn't even notice, probably because of the fabulous Dodd-Frank legislation that allows the Fed to do essentially bailouts on an ongoing basis without having to go to congress, as was the case in 2008 with TARP.

Jimmy Dore, with help from Dylan Ratigan explain in the 12-minute video below (worth the watch):



John Pepin chines in with pithy commentary from his incapp.org blog:
If the demand for debt exceeds the banks ability to loan then one of several things must happen. Either the interest rate rises, (and we all know that is unacceptable), or the banks have to take hidden loans from the federal Reserve to cover that demand for debt.

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day. Worry not, the week is just getting started.

At the Close, Monday, November 4, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,462.11, +114.75 (+0.42%)
NASDAQ: 8,433.20, +46.80 (+0.56%)
S&P 500: 3,078.27, +11.36 (+0.37%)
NYSE Composite: 13,355.44, +55.14 (+0.41%)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Stocks Rise Despite Spate Of Bad News, Brexit No-Go Vote

Some are wondering whether the market is being run by computers or human operatives, or, worse yet, humans running computers front-running the market.

What may be happening is that humans are programming computer algorithms to react to fake news and the PPT is backstopping each and every tick lower by buying futures, resulting in the altos readjusting to buy more.

There was a good deal of bad news flow in the morning... and then just after 7:00 pm London time (2:00 pm ET), there was the Brexit vote.

Here's what passed across the wires prior to the opening bell and shortly thereafter:


  • Both Wells Fargo (WFC) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) missed on both earnings per share and revenue.
  • Netflix (NFLX) announced the largest price increase in its 12-year history.
  • China's economy grew by 6.4%, the slowest rate in over a decade.
  • PPI cane in at -0.2%, a deflationary reading.
  • Delta Airlines (DAL) beat, but warned that the partial government shutdown would negatively impact earnings in the current quarter.
  • The Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell to a reading of 3.9 in January from an upwardly revised reading of 11.5 in December.
  • Goodyear Tire (GT) lowered its fourth quarter outlook and full year (2018) guidance.

With all this in the cooker, stocks opened higher and took off from there. The Dow exploded to a gain of 190 points just before noon. The NASDAQ was up nearly 120 points.

After noon, the markets went into a wait-and-see mood as the Brexit vote approached. In what has to be the most convoluted, time-wasting exercise in government over-reach (possibly challenged by the partial shutdown in the US), Britain has been wrangling over just how to depart from the European Union after a referendum passed nearly two-and-a-half years ago (June 23, 2016).

With different constituents vying for complete Brexit, partial Brexit with a backstop, no Brexit, and other variants, the argument over how to implement what was voted upon by the constituency has been nothing short of a disaster and an indictment against the effectiveness of government everywhere.

Somebody should point out - we will - that with all the Brexit juggling, partial US shutdown jousting, and continuing French protesting, governments in developed nations are proving to be at least cracked, if not nearly completely broken. Besides the fact that none of them can manage to spend less than what they receive through their extreme, excessive, heavy-handed taxation - which is over the top - it seems all they're capable of doing at the highest levels is fight for positioning and power, all to the detriment of the people they're supposed to be representing. Collectively, they pass no new legislation that is of benefit to the people. Other than President Trump's efforts, government is a massive, obvious failure of human capacity.

If ever there was a time for a global revolution (not a new concept), it would be now, though nobody has any contingency plans for how to deal with the dystopian aftermath that would surely follow.

Experience teaches us that disposing of scoundrels, deposing tyrants, or overthrowing governments only makes matters seem better for a short period of time. At least in the original American revolution, the patriots were separated from their tyrannical rulers by a vast ocean which technology hadn't quite conquered.

Today's intertwined system is different, close at hand, and the scoundrels much better disguised. There isn't going to be any overthrow of anything except morals and values, people's faith and judgment, which seem to be going in the direction of all flesh. Anger, the most palpable manifestation of displeasure, is boiling over in all facets of urban life. People are becoming more and more ill-mannered, short-tempered, self-absorbed, and intolerant toward the views and objectives of others. All of this adds up to uncivil activities, flouting of the law, violence and strife. Essentially, when ordinary people lose faith in a government that they had become accustomed to relying upon, all that's left is chaos, and that seems to be the direction in which we're inexorably, sadly, headed.

... and then came the Brexit vote in Britain's Parliament. Prime Minister Teresa May's government proposal was rounded defeated by a 432-202 vote in the House of Commons. On the news, the Dow tanked... briefly, the other indices slumped shortly, and then shot back to from whence they came.

It's all fake, people. There are no more free markets. Face it. All the geese been thoroughly cooked.

Dow Jones Industrial Average January Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
1/2/19 23,346.24 +18.78 +18.78
1/3/19 22,686.22 -660.02 -641.24
1/4/19 23,433.16 +746.94 +105.70
1/7/19 23,531.35 +98.19 +203.89
1/8/19 23,787.45 +256.10 +459.99
1/9/19 23,879.12 +91.67 +551.66
1/10/19 24,001.92 +122.80 +674.46
1/11/19 23,995.95 -5.97 +669.49
1/14/19 23,909.84 -86.11 +583.38
1/15/19 24,065.59 +155.75 +739.13

At the Close, Tuesday, January 15, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,065.59, +155.75 (+0.65%)
NASDAQ: 7,023.83, +117.92 (+1.71%)
S&P 500: 2,610.30, +27.69 (+1.07%)
NYSE Composite: 11,868.68, +69.57 (+0.59%)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Stocks Gain, Dow Approaching Resistance Around 25,000

Stocks ramped higher on Thursday, taking back all of the losses from the prior day and advancing to its highest level since June 18. What lay ahead for the industrials is a trading areas that has proven to offer some resistance around and above 25,000.

In mid-June, at the tail end of a four-day rally, the Dow topped out at 25,322.31 (June 11), then stalled, sending the index tumbling more than 1200 points to 24,117.59 by June 27.

Will the pattern repeat? Obviously, it's too early to tell, but charts are suggesting that there will be some selling in this area. What may prompt any trading action are the emerging second quarter earnings reports, especially those on Friday from major banks.

Prior to Friday's open, the nation's largest bank by assets ($2.6 trillion), JP Morgan Chase (JPM) reported adjusted revenue of $28.39 billion, beating estimates of $27.34 billion and EPS of $2.29, also topping expectations of $2.2. Net income rose 18%, to $8.3 billion.

Citigroup (C) reported higher EPS, but missed on the revenue line. Shares were selling off slightly in pre-market trading.

Wells-Fargo (WFC) was down sharply prior to the opening bell after reporting a decline in net income applicable to common stock, which dipped to $4.79 billion, or 98 cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $5.45 billion, or $1.08 per share a year ago. Analysts expected $1.12 per share.

Mixed results from the financial sector come as no surprise. Squeezed margins from the flattening yield curve has put pressure on bank stocks for some months. The financial sector has been one of the weakest through the second quarter and the pressure does not appear to be relenting any time soon.

Friday should be full of fireworks.

Dow Jones Industrial Average July Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
7/2/18 24,307.18 +35.77 +35.77
7/3/18 24,174.82 -132.36 -96.59
7/5/18 24,345.44 +181.92 +85.33
7/6/18 24,456.48 +99.74 +185.07
7/9/18 24,776.59 +320.11 +505.18
7/10/18 24,919.66 +143.07 +648.25
7/11/18 24,700.45 -219.21 +429.04
7/12/18 24,924.89 +224.44 +653.48

At the Close, Thursday, July 12, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,924.89, +224.44 (+0.91%)
NASDAQ: 7,823.92, +107.30 (+1.39%)
S&P 500: 2,798.29, +24.27 (+0.87%)
NYSE Composite: 12,761.46, +79.87 (+0.63%)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stocks Continue Relentless Drive Toward New Highs; Mass Hysteria Cited

It's still April, so there's still a possibility that the ongoing rise in stock prices is the result of a wickedly good April Fool's prank. There may be better explanations for the phenomena, but fundamental valuations surely isn't one of them.

With today's close, the Dow Industrials crept back to within a mere 250 points intraday of all-time highs made in May of 2015, which begs the question, "what took it so long?"



Since the second half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 wasn't a recession, nor were there any earth-shattering geopolitical events which could have precluded an incessant rise to new all-time highs, those with more reason than most will just consider the long stalled out "recovery" something of a market hiccup, as opposed to a burp, or something stinky coming from somewhere else on the body of finance.

Surely, the financial world is still functioning at full tilt, with greater fools born into the market without interruption. The manic buying of shares representing companies whose earnings are smaller than last year's suggests a new - or newer - paradigm shift, from simple speculation to outright gambling, naturally, with other people's money, mind you.

Strangely enough, the stocks which have led the charge in the past seven trading days have been banks. The largest, including Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), JP Morgan Chase (JPM), and Wells Fargo (WFC), all reported last week and were less-than-encouraging, typically with marginal beats on lowered EPS expectations, and lower revenue overall, especially in their trading units.

Not to worry, stocks fell off their highs late in the day, ending with small gains. After all, since today is 4/20, there's incentive to chill out and eat Cheetos.

Wad up, Mon?
S&P 500: 2,102.40, +1.60 (0.08%)
Dow: 18,096.27, +42.67 (0.24%)
NASDAQ: 4,948.13, +7.80 (0.16%)

Crude Oil 43.92 +3.41% Gold 1,244.80 -0.76% EUR/USD 1.1299 -0.50% 10-Yr Bond 1.8540 +3.98% Corn 396.50 +1.80% Copper 2.23 +0.49% Silver 16.99 +0.08% Natural Gas 2.07 -0.81% Russell 2000 1,142.82 +0.23% VIX 13.29 +0.38% BATS 1000 20,682.61 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4339 -0.36% USD/JPY 109.77 +0.44%

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stocks Topped Out Again? Bank Earnings A Mixed Picture

After racking up impressive gains the first three days of the week, stocks took Thursday off, trading in a narrow range that may suggest to some that another topping pattern is forming.

The Dow, in particular, is retesting the highs from the end of October, when the index failed at a run to 18,000, and began a slow descent that accelerated in January to near full-blown panic.

As for the S&P, it remains just above water for the year, although analysts have repeatedly stressed the area of 2080-2090 as a key resistance level.

With another FOMC meeting in less than than two weeks (April 26-27), traders may be suffering from a case of frayed nerves, though considering the dovish tone coming from Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, any fears of a rate hike before June - at the earliest - seem unfounded.

Bank stocks have done well, with JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) both reporting earnings in line or above estimates, though revenues have fallen short for both firms.

Wells Fargo also reported before the open on Thursday, citing loan loss reserves in their energy portfolio putting a damper on first quarter profits. That was perhaps the souring tone the street did not expect nor want to hear.

Citigroup reports prior to the opening bell on Friday, looking for 1.03 per share for the quarter.

S&P 500: 2,082.78, +0.36 (0.02%)
Dow: 17,926.43, +18.15 (0.10%)
NASDAQ: 4,945.89, -1.53 (0.03%)

Crude Oil 41.43 -0.79% Gold 1,229.30 -1.52% EUR/USD 1.1265 -0.07% 10-Yr Bond 1.78 +1.08% Corn 373.50 0.00% Copper 2.17 0.00% Silver 16.18 -0.86% Natural Gas 1.96 -3.83% Russell 2000 1,128.59 -0.12% VIX 13.72 -0.87% BATS 1000 20,682.61 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4154 -0.37% USD/JPY 109.4000 +0.10%

Monday, April 11, 2016

Amid Economic Unease, Former Fed Chair Bernanke Proposes MFFP (aka Helicopter Money)

We must be nearing the end of the current monetary system, since there is no growth, no prospects, and the entirety of the future has been mortgaged to the tune of $19 Trillion in US debt, and much, much more in unfunded liabilities via entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

Adding to the belief that the end is nigh, former Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, now working for the Brookings Institute, penned a blog post today entitled, What tools does the Fed have left? Part 3: Helicopter money, wherein he openly advances the idea of direct money drops to the public. That would, ideally, include you, me, your poor uncle Tony, aunt Gracie, your neighbors, the weird guy in the run-down house on the corner, and everybody else who could use a few extra c-notes in the mail, ostensibly, tomorrow, and maybe, a few times a year, or month, or maybe even weekly...

You see where this is going, right? Bernanke is not convinced that US economic growth is kaput, yet he throws this out there for public consumption because, well, maybe he's grown weary of downloading porn, or he has to do something to make him seem relevant to the people paying his salary, or, perhaps he actually believes this is a realistic solution should the US economy completely stall out, or, heaven forbid, enter recession (like the one we've been in for the past eight years).

Not to make too much fun of the poor, old coot, but Bernanke was the Fed chairman during the last financial crisis, and his policies didn't do much to relieve anybody but the one percenters from economic repression, so it's unlikely that anything he suggests in his new role as wizened sage overseeing the global economy from some ivory tower will accomplish anything more than perverting the economy more than it already has been.

The most favored paragraph from Bernanke's flight of fancy is this one:
In more prosaic and realistic terms, a “helicopter drop” of money is an expansionary fiscal policy—an increase in public spending or a tax cut—financed by a permanent increase in the money stock. [4] To get away from the fanciful imagery, for the rest of this post I will call such a policy a Money-Financed Fiscal Program, or MFFP.

Yes, he coined a new acronym, MFFP, which I, Fearless Rick, a junior economist at best, reconfigured to mean Mother-(a vulgar word for copulating)-Foolish-Policy, and I think my naming makes more sense than anything any former Fed chairman could conjure. After all, I have been a writer for newspapers and blogs for many years, while Fed-heads only talk about money, interest rates, and other arcane foibles of economics. They're not very creative; I have to be (or I'll die, but that's another issue for another time).

So, choose whichever wording your little heart desires, I think Bernanke's just another old fart with a Ph.D., which these days are a dine a dozen. Being a doctor of anything these days isn't what it used to be. Doctors don't make that much, especially since the US has adopted a socialized system of medicine, which you all know and swear at when you receive your monthly health care statement, as Obamacare.

Being a doctor is over-rated. So is the Fed. What a bunch of morons. Seriously.

My point is simple. Handing out money, no matter to whom you bequest, or whatever you call it, or whatever cutesy acronym you paint on it, or whichever "mechanism" you use to do it, is just bad policy, and just plain stupid.

Moreover, Bernanke exposes himself as a completely dull ignoramus for even suggesting "money drops," not once, not twice, but now at least three times in his esteemed career as a monetary theorist. As Mark Twain once said,
It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.

I guess Bernanke never read that line, or worse, failed to understand it.

Geez. Just put your hand out. Somebody will magically fill it with cash. Yeah, and the queen of England is a babe.

CAUTIONARY NOTE. WARNING.

PAY ATTENTION TO TODAY'S MARKET RESULTS. MARKETS POPPED AND DROPPED, FINISHING IN THE RED, PRIOR TO THE KICKOFF OF EARNINGS SEASON. ALCOA ANNOUNCED AFTER THE CLOSE - 0.07/share; $4.95B Rev. - AND ALL THE MONEY CENTER BANKS - JP MORGAN CHASE (Wed), BANK OF AMERICA (Thurs), WELLS-FARGO (Thurs), CITIGROUP (Fri) - REPORT THIS WEEK.

BE ALERT FOR FALLING STOCK PRICES.

Today's market noise:
S&P 500: 2,041.99, -5.61 (0.27%)
Dow: 17,556.41, -20.55 (0.12%)
NASDAQ: 4,833.40, -17.29 (0.36%)

Crude Oil 40.38 +1.66% Gold 1,259.40 +1.25% EUR/USD 1.1408 +0.05% 10-Yr Bond 1.72 +0.23% Corn 356.75 -1.52% Copper 2.08 -0.19% Silver 15.93 +3.55% Natural Gas 1.93 -3.07% Russell 2000 1,094.34 -0.27% VIX 16.26 +5.86% BATS 1000 20,682.61 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4233 +0.77% USD/JPY 107.9395 -0.11%

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bank Stocks Lead Market Rout as Bond Yields Plummet; Gold, Silver Soar

If anyone critical of the US economy is - as the great and almighty economic genius, President Obama recently posited - "peddling fiction," then why is Wall Street peeling away from equity positions like it's the Tour de France?

Relentless selling was the order of the day, especially in financials, until the final hour, as specs stepped in or shorts covered, cutting losses by 1/3 to 1/2.

While fiction writers may not think the stock markets are the modern day equivalents of "Moby Dick," they do have something of a beached whale quality to them. Germany's DAX is already in a bear market, as is China's SSE and Japan's NIKKEI, and the US markets are catching down somewhat quickly, with all three major indices already in correction territory.

With no real catalyst to move stocks higher, the prognosis is for further losses through the first quarter.

Banks were particularly ugly today, with Deutschebank (DB, -8.00%) teetering on the brink of insolvency, and losses suffered by Bank of America (BAC, -5.25%), Goldman Sachs (GS, -4.61%), Citigroup (C, -5.14), Wells-Fargo (WFC, -2.84%), and JP Morgan Chase (JPM, -2.10%).

At issue, as usual with banks, is interest rates, which soared today, pushing the 10-year note to an 18-month low yield of 1.74%). Credit spreads also continued to narrow, forecasting a recession, if not this quarter (and possibly last quarter), then almost surely in Q2.

Underlying the banking sector are questions of general solvency, quality of collateral, and, the size of their respective derivative books. Deutsche has the largest, estimated to be a total exposure of $75 trillion, with the US banks heavily into the game. Derivatives - CDS and other "bad bets" are what nearly took the entire Western economic system down in 2008, and they haven't gone away. Bank balance sheets are larger now and filled with just as much, if not more, toxic derivative soup.

When the financials lead the market down, it's usually not a good sign. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citi are already in bear markets (down more than 20%), while Wells-Fargo and JPM are within one percent of being in the same sinking vote.

Following the underwhelming jobs report Friday, stocks have done nothing but decline and that trend doesn't look to be about to change anytime soon.

The world may be months - if not weeks - away from complete capitulation in stock markets, the precursor to a global depression.

Another telling sign is the rise of gold and silver, two of the top-performing assets (along with bonds) for 2016. Both were up smartly again today and have broken through strong points of resistance.

The day's damage:
S&P 500: 1,853.44, -26.61 (1.42%)
Dow: 16,027.05, -177.92 (1.10%)
NASDAQ: 4,283.75, -79.39 (1.82%)

Crude Oil 30.11 -2.53% Gold 1,191.40 +2.91% EUR/USD 1.1193 +0.30% 10-Yr Bond 1.74 -6.11% Corn 362.00 -1.03% Copper 2.09 -0.52% Silver 15.35 +3.90% Natural Gas 2.13 +3.30% Russell 2000 969.34 -1.65% VIX 26.00 +11.21% BATS 1000 20,045.01 -1.29% GBP/USD 1.4432 -0.47% USD/JPY 115.8500 -0.93%

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Why the Hyper-Inflationists Have Been Wrong, Are Still Wrong and Will Continue to be Wrong

The hyperinflation argument is completely worn out. The proponents of such nonsense have been pitching it for five years now and the Fed continues to print, print, print.

Why?

The deflation which began in earnest in 2008 is still staring them in the face.

Look at it this way: When the Fed prints, it creates debt. That's their job and they're working overtime. On the other side of the equation are the countless numbers of homes (millions of them) that went into foreclosure or are on their way to forclosure and all the mortgages that are still being paid down. That last bunch constitutes the bulk, and that is destroying debt.

The Fed is promoting bubbles in stocks and college loans, car loans and any other loans they can find because many, many consumers and businesses are paying down debt and not incurring any more.

If the Fed keeps its foot to the pedal at $75B or $100B or more per month, it's because there's at least that much debt being eradicated at the same time, so they're trying to keep up.

Remember, in our fiat debt-based system, if there is no debt, there is no money and that's why the Fed keeps printing. And if interest rates rise too much, that's game over because then nobody could afford debt and most debtors would, facing higher rates they cannot pay, default.

The Fed has itself backed nicely into a corner. They need to keep the US dollar strong, but at the same time, they'd like inflation at 2-3%, and GDP growth at 3-4%, which they consider equilibrium.

They've managed to keep the dollar stable, even higher lately, but that plays against their inflation and growth desires.

They can't have it all and deflation is winning and will keep winning as long as people have choices and there's no wage increases. If a loaf of bread doubles in price, people will eat half a loaf. Yep, some will starve, which lowers consumption, and thus, lowers again, the price of a loaf of bread.

The Fed is totally screwed with ZIRP and QE, which, the evidence is beginning to prove out, cannot exist at the same time, lest you get a result of zero growth (which is probably what we've really had the past five years in sum when you take out all of the BS hedonics and other magnificent calculations).

They're completely screwed. If I could borrow at 0.25%, like the banks, I'd do it all day long and pay it back just as quickly. So, what does the Fed gain from that? They created cheap money, and just as fast as it was borrowed, it was repaid.

Businesses are also self-funding, with stock buybacks and their own debt issuance, which, if you've read the Creature from Jekyll Island, the bankers hate, because corporate stock and debt is like having your own currency, and the banks make nothing off that.

The deflation will continue as long as interest rates remain low, like a 10-year under 3.5%, which is likely to remain that way for at least another year or two or three.

So, enjoy the deflation. Buy land, ammo, guns, vehicles, any reliable alternative energy source (wind, solar, deep cycle batteries, etc.), non-GMO seeds and opt out of the debt system. As long as the deflationary regime remains intact, you'll be fine. When it ends, you'll be prepared to survive without money.


TODAY'S MARKETS

Stocks did a serious about-face on Tuesday, based upon... hmmm, maybe the bogus retail sales data for December, which showed modest increases only by revising November sales down.

That's how it works in the present regime of making it up as the economy rolls along. While most retailers reported dismal holiday sales, we're supposed to believe the government's claim that everything was rosy in December. When the store, and later, entire malls, begin closing down, then what will they say? Go ahead, guess. They'll probably blame the weathre or threat of terrorist attacks or some other nonsense.

Also boosting stocks was, maybe, fourth quarter results from JP Morgan (JPM) and Wells-Fargo (WFC), two of the nation's mega-banks, which are supposedly flush with cash and making money hand over fist, even though their filings are so opaque and farcical, nobody really believes them at all, except those brokers and traders who make money by selling stocks to retail investors.

The banks aren't as unhealthy as they were in 2008, but, by no means are they the cash-cows we're led to believe.

Deflation, over-supply and an aging demographic will continue to erode the economy. And that ACA (Obamacare) isn't helping, either.

DOW 16,373.86, +115.92 (+0.71%)
NASDAQ 4,183.02, +69.71 (+1.69%)
S&P 1,838.88, +19.68 (+1.08%)
10-Yr Note 98.95, -0.15 (-0.15%) Yield: 2.87%
NASDAQ Volume 1.88 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.33 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4132-1568
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 255-35
WTI crude oil: 92.59, +0.79
Gold: 1,245.40, -5.70
Silver: 20.28, 0.103
Corn: 431.50, -3.00

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Syria Euphoria Sends Stocks Higher; Trading Volume Hits 15-Year Low

The Dow added more than 250 points over the past two days and the NASDAQ hit fresh 13-year highs, meaning only one thing: we're officially in vapor-land as S&P equity trading volume hits fresh 15-year lows.

Meanwhile, the Syria story gets more and more confusing and confounding, the President's address tonight at 9:00 pm EDT (we do hope he'll be on time for once) probably just adding more layers of confusion to this twisted international story presaging World War III, which is bound to happen anyway, one way or another, the crux of the argument being Iran's nuclear ambitions and the US (and Israel's) attempts to defuse them.

So, how's that 401K looking? Pretty peachy, huh? Well, that's until the authorities come to confiscate it as happened in Poland last week.

A major financial disruption is just weeks away, be it the default of Deutsche Bank on some of their massive, unregulated CDS, Italian bank defaults or maybe, just maybe a big resounding thud from the likes of JP Morgan, or, our favorite, Bank of America.

The system is completely stressed out, trading on razor-thin volume while Peace President O-Bomber gets an itchy finger over Syria and a false-flag operation that hasn't convinced anybody of anything. What could possibly go wrong?

Russia's Vladimir Putin is playing Obama like a banjo, plucking his strings with the talent of a virtuoso. Other outlets have compared the recent developments over Syria as Putin playing chess while OBozo struggles with checkers.

We think the analogy is apropos. The US government will soon be on its knees, begging forgiveness from a broken-hearted world and US population. There will be no mercy given to the betrayers of the constitution.

And, by the way, the NSA is FOS.

Dow 15,191.06, +127.94 (0.85%)
Nasdaq 3,729.02, +22.84 (0.62%)
S&P 500 1,683.99, +12.28 (0.73%)
10-Yr Bond 2.96%, +0.06
NYSE Volume 3,911,199,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,767,686,125
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4249-2265
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 403-52
WTI crude oil: 107.39, -2.13
Gold: 1,364.00, -22.70
Silver: 23.02, -0.701

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

For a Change, Some Gains; Stocks Nearly Recover Monday's Losses

Stocks shook off Monday's downdraft, nearly reversing all of Monday's losses, but not quite, and the effort was very half-hearted on low-to-average volume.

This was wholly expected, as markets seldom go straight up or down. Some buyers saw value in beaten-down names; banking stocks were particularly strong with names like Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) all sporting solid gains.

Stocks were buoyed by early-day catalysts in the form of fairly robust data on durable goods, the S&P/Case-Shiller residential real estate series and an exceptionally high level of consumer confidence of 81.4 from the Conference Board, the highest such reading since January of 2008, which is somewhat ironic, as that high confidence figure came just months before one of the worst stock market crashes in history and a lengthy, deep recession.

New home sales showed gains in May up from 466K in April, to 476K, though figures may be skewed somewhat as they are for signed contracts, not closings, and are for a reporting period prior to interest and mortgage rates rising.

The major indices are still in a dicey spot, well off the May 28 highs and showing losses for the month of June, historically the weakest month for stock returns. And, with August and September - also weak months by historical standards - just ahead, the stage is set for earnings to move the market one way or the other, though indications are that the second quarter will not be favorable for stocks. Pre-announcements are running 7-1 on the negative side, a chilling effect on taking positions in advance of earnings and perhaps an element of today's less-than-awe-inspiring one-day bounce.

Plenty of technical damage has been done to markets over the past 2 1/2 weeks and the Federal Reserve is employing the only pokicy tool it has remaining - jawboning the market by trotting out one Fed governor after another with carefully crafted speech-lines, jokingly referred to as the "other" FOMC, or Federal Open Mouth Committee.

The question of the day was whether good news on the economy is actually bad news for stocks, insofar as Bernanke has promised to taper bond purchases if the economy shows strength, a move that in all likelihood will continue the rise in rates and place bonds in a much better position, vis-a-vis stocks. If such is the case, the market should have turned lower, but the recent selling prevented that, though in the back of every traders mind, the new reality of a market without artificial stimulus from the Fed looms largely.

Dow 14,760.31, +100.75 (0.69%)
NASDAQ 3,347.89, +27.13 (0.82%)
S&P 500 1,588.03, +14.94 (0.95%)
NYSE Composite 8,996.01, +103.98 (1.17%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,556,236,875
NYSE Volume 3,720,042,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4983-1582
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 105-185
WTI crude oil: 95.32, +0.14
Gold: 1,275.10, -2.00
Silver: 19.53, +0.033

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gold, Silver Smashed; JP Morgan, Wells Fargo Beat, Sell Off

More questions than answers in the jumbled mess of trading today.

Stocks opened down rather sharply and stayed in the red the balance of the session, but, as usual, the bulls came back in the late stages to push the Dow from a 74-point loss to almost unchanged.

Both JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Wells-Fargo (WFC) posted positive first quarter results prior to the opening bell, but were sold off in the regular session.

Aside from the usual hijinks in stocks, the real story was in commodities, where gold and silver were battered, sending them to two-year lows.

The questions surrounding the gold trade are thus:
Did Goldman Sachs - which lowered their forecasts just days ago on gold - have anything to do with it or have advance knowledge? (Probably.)

Was the forced selling of gold from the Cyprus central bank the cause or an effect?

Understandable that gold was rocked down, but silver fell even more, by percentage. Why?

The best news of the day came from the oil pits, where crude traded just above $90 for a time today and closed down more than 2%. A cursory glance at oil prices over the past year show the downtrend fully in place. Consequently, gas at the pump is down 36 cents from a year ago, on average, and should drop even more in coming weeks with today's drop.

The commodities, along with the string of recent misses in US economic data (today, retail sales were a stinker), may be telling the market something which it does not wish to hear, setting up a correction that is long overdue. Leading that concept is the huge imbalance in the advance-decline line, given the smallish losses.

Of course, that's just the kind of thinking that leads to losses in this liquidity-fed environment, but, then again, how long can this bull run without a break and without breaking down? The current bull market is just over 48 months, and the general length of bull markets is somewhere between 44 and 62 weeks. Time may be running short, or , is this time different?

The word from the Fed is simple. Stay long. Stay strong.

Ah, conventional wisdom is so... simple.

Dow 14,865.06, -0.08 (0.00%)
NASDAQ 3,294.95, -5.21 (0.16%)
S&P 500 1,588.85, -4.52 (0.28%)
NYSE Composite 9,188.11, -45.91 (0.50%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,459,983,750
NYSE Volume 3,534,229,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2478-3940
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 260-53
WTI crude oil: 91.29, -2.22
Gold: 1,501.40, -63.50
Silver: 26.33, -1.366

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Markets Continue Dull Streak; Germany Slow Go on Gold Move

How dull is this market?

The Dow Jones Industrials hit their lows of the day just minutes into trading, losing 66 points, then rallied off that until stabilizing - though still in the red - around 11:00 am ET.

From that point until the close, the index traded in a range of just 25 points.

This is what happens when headline-scanning algos do 80% of the trading. When there's no news, nothing happens. So, if you're trading on fundamentals - things like price-earnings ratios, comparative advantage, free cash flow, etc. - you can just sit and wait until your particular stock of choice latches itself to a broad rally or makes some headline-grabbing news.

And, if that's what's become of our "free" markets, good luck, because the computers will beat you every time. They can find and scan a headline, react and trade in a matter of seconds, or, in much less the time an average web page takes to load.

Now, is there any reason at all for individual investors to trade stocks? One would believe no.

About all that was not moving the market today were a series of equally dull economic reports, like the CPI, at 0.0%. There's no inflation (really?) and no deflation, which, unless one knew better, would be defined as stagflation (or maybe lackflation).

The NAHB Housing Market Index remained steady at 47, whatever that means; industrial production bumped up 0.3%, which was down from last month's reading of an increase of 1.0%, and capacity utilization improved from 78.7% to 78.8%.

Outside of Goldman Sachs' (GS) huge earnings and revenue beat and JP Morgan's (JPM) narrow beat ex-one-time-charges (but of course), what may have put a pall over the session was the World Bank lowering its global growth (that's a joke, son) projection from 3.0% to 2.4%.

Seriously, the sloped-browed, slack-jawed dunces at the World Bank don't have a crystal ball, but, for some unholy reason, people believe they know what they're doing. Some of us are dubious. But, then again, some of us don't trust anything that comes out of the mouth of politicians or bankers or even stock analysts.

Ho-hum. It seems even the bright-minded Germans, who shook things up a little yesterday by wanting some of their gold back, really don't want it all that badly, after all. GATA reports that Germany will take all of seven years to repatriate some 300 tons of its gold from the Federal Reserve in New York. It will likely take a shorter period of time to remove all of its gold - 374 tons - from the vaults in Paris, but it plans on keeping whatever is in the London vaults there indefinitely, amounting of 13% of all its gold.

The plan is to hold 50% of its gold at home, the rest in London and New York. La-de-dah.

Dow 13,511.08, -23.81 (0.18%)
NASDAQ 3,117.54, +6.76 (0.22%)
S&P 500 1,472.57, +0.23 (0.02%)
NYSE Composite 8,710.22, -22.88 (0.26%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,648,059,375
NYSE Volume 3,198,232,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2775-3605
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 263-10
WTI crude oil: 94.24, +0.96
Gold: 1,683.20, -0.70
Silver: 31.54, +0.013

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama Wins; Stock Market Sinks on Tax Hike, Fiscal Cliff Fears, Europe

Tuesday was an early night in terms of presidential politics as President Barack Obama was elected overwhelmingly to a second term, whipping Republican challenger in almost every battleground state and winning the popular vote handily.

With the vote in Florida still being tallied (anybody surprised?), the Sunshine State turned out to be mostly inconsequential as the president swept the key states of Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania (which never really was in play), New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada. Romney's sole win in the so-called "swing states" was in North Carolina, a state which Obama took by a narrow 0.3% in 2008.

Once the midwest states of Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio were declared for Obama, the race was over, but it wasn't until after midnight in the East that Mitt Romney gave his concession speech and later, President Obama gave a ripping, rhetorical speech extolling the virtues of freedom of choice, tolerance and working together toward shared goals and the great creation of our founders, the United States of America, individual states bound together by social compact.

In the House and Senate races, the makeup of congress remained largely the same, with Republicans dominating the House and Democrats strengthening their grip on the senate, winning key races in Virginia, Florida, and, especially, Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren, the fiery consumer rights advocate, took the seat away from Republican incumbent Scott Brown, in a major setback for big banks.

Warren, who worked on TARP and other reforms in Washington, especially the implementation of a consumer protection division at the Federal Reserve, will likely end up on the Senate banking Committee, possibly winning the chairmanship.

Another critical Senate race was won in Connecticut by Christopher Murphy, who defeated Linda McMahon, who wrestling millionaire who spent $100 million on her own campaign.

Jon Tester retained his Senate seat from Montana in a close race with Republican challenger Denny Rehberg, keeping the balance of power firmly in their control with 55 seats, along with one independent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Democrats likely gained another ally when former governor, independent Angus King of Maine, won an open Senate seat that had been held by Republican Olympia Snowe. King has not indicated which party he would caucus with, though most believe it will be with Democrats. King won on the simple idea of making filibusters less of an effective measure in killing legislation, believing that excessive filibustering by Senate Republicans had blocked almost all significant legislation over the past four years.

There was little change in the House, as Reublicans retained control with 232 seats to 191 held by Democrats with a number of vacancies.

It wasn't long before other voices began to be heard, especially those on Wall Street who had been counting on a win by Republican Romney. Before the market opened, futures began a steep decline, though the catalyst may have nad more to do with comments by ECB president Mario Draghi and some dismal production figures from Germany, regarded as a stronghold in the recession-plagued continent.

Shortly after Germany's industrial production was reported to have fallen 1.2% in September, Draghi said that the crisis in Europe was beginning to take its toll on the industrial powerhouse that is the German economy.

Heading into the first post-election session, Dow futures were pointing toward a loss of more than 100 points at the open, and the result was worse, with the 132-point gain from Tuesday wiped out in the opening minute.

Stocks continued their descent until bottoming out just before noon, down 369 points, the biggest decline of the year, though some strengthening took all of the indices off their lows as the day progressed.

Still, the losses were dramatic and especially in the banking sector, where ank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and other big bank concerns were off more than five percent. All 10 S&P sectors finished in the red, the S&P could not defend the 1400 level and nearly bounced off its 200-day moving averages, the NASDAQ - aided by Apple's continued decline into bear market territory - broke down below its 200-DMA and the Dow closed below its 200-DMA for the first time since the beginning of June.

In Greece, rioters threw fire bombs at police in anticipation of another vote on austerity measures designed to pave the way for another round of financing from the troika of the IMF, EU and ECB. The vote, scheduled for midnight in Greece (5:00 pm ET), is expected to pass, though the populace has seemingly had enough of policies dictated by outsiders.

For Wall Street, the day presented a perfect storm of disappointment, fears of higher taxes on dividends, tighter regulations of banks, uncertainty over tax and spending policies heading into 2013, and renewed concerns over our trading partners in Europe.

The steep declines may have only been a beginning, however, as no policies have changed, and, actually, the political makeup in Washington remained the same as it had been the day before. The continued gridlock coming from the White House and Capitol Hill may be the most disconcerting factor of all.

Some internal damage was done to markets, with the advance-decline line showing a nearly 5-1 edge for losers and new highs being surpassed by new lows, 94-174.

With none of the important initiatives nearing resolution, there seems to be nowhere for the market to go but down, now that the election is over, earnings season is just about finished and the market must focus on fundamentals and locking in gains for the year. The remainder of 2012 may prove to be quite challenging to investors.

Dow 12,932.73, -312.95 (2.36%)
NASDAQ 2,937.29, -74.64 (2.48%)
S&P 500 1,394.53, -33.86 (2.37%)
NYSE Composite 8,138.80, -173.55 (2.09%)
NASDAQ Volume 4,322,112,500
NYSE Volume 2,059,028,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 961-4613
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 94-174
WTI crude oil: 84.44, -4.27
Gold: 1,714.00, -1.00
Silver: 31.66, -0.373

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stocks Erase Early Gains, Close Flat

Eerily similar to Thursday's trading pattern, stocks rode early gains until 10:00 am EDT, then quickly sold off, spent the rest of the session in the red and finished flat.

The drop in equities coincided neatly with the release of the University of Michigan's October Consumer Sentiment survey, which showed a reading of 83.1, after posting a 783 figure in September. Either the respondents to the survey have been enjoying some good life, or, like other economic data releases over the past month or so, the data is being rigged in advance of the November elections.

Such conspiracy theories have been gaining traction in recent days, and barely anyone would be surprised, at this point, if some of them were proven valid.

While the indices ended flat, the advance-decline line experienced serious deterioration, suggesting that there were few buyers in the market and those were very selective.

Otherwise, it was a lackluster day for equities. JP Morgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) both reported third quarter earnings prior to the opening bell and both beat on the earnings side, though Wells missed revenue projections. Both stocks sold off during the trading session, due, in part, to one of the unexpected consequences of ZIRP and QEternity by the Federal Reserve: with borrowing and lending rates so low, banks are finding it difficult to make money.

Put that in the Keynesian "I told you so" file and have a happy weekend.

Dow 13,328.85, +2.46 (0.02%)
NASDAQ 3,044.11, -5.30 (0.17%)
S&P 500 1,428.59, -4.25 (0.30%)
NYSE Composite 8,227.08, -29.51 (0.36%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,545,540,250
NYSE Volume 3,132,356,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1930-3489
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 109-61
WTI crude oil: 91.86, -0.21
Gold: 1,759.70, -10.90
Silver: 33.67, -0.413

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fed Minutes Leave Kleptocrats with Less Hope of QE3

There was so much in the news today affecting markets, just headlines (with links) seemed appropriate:


Against the backdrop of a constant stream of news that goes against the "all's well" narrative so enjoyed by the media elite and sheeple of the world, when the Fed's FOMC minutes from the June meeting appeared at 2:00 pm EDT, what was a sleepy, little decline became a bit more pronounced, with all of the major averages taking on losses.

Traders, zealots, cheaters and stock manipulators of all stripes were shocked and horrified that the super-secretive FOMC minutes did not offer any more insight into more easing by the Fed, despite the near-unanimous conclusion that the US economy was beginning to deteriorate in the prior months.

In other words, even though current economic conditions in the US stink, Wall Street wants things to get even uglier, so that they can continue to feed at the trough of the Federal Reserve's unlimited free money supply and speculate even greater amounts, with more leverage on overpriced equities.

At the lows, the Dow was down 119 points, the NASDAQ off 35, but, as is often the case in the Ponzi-schemed markets, the indices erased most of the declines in the final half hour of trading, actually pushing the S&P briefly back into positive territory and hiking the NYSE Composite to a small gain.

Volume was rather tame, but the Dow and S&P have traded lower for five straight sessions, the Dow having now given up all but two points of the massive June 29 gain spurred by the false "everything is fixed in Europe" summit statement.

Despite the continuing losses, the new highs-new lows indicator is still leaning heavily toward the bullish case, though the number of new highs is falling, while the new lows continue to build.

Markets continue to be uneasy, but the correct catalyst could produce a significant move in either direction, even though one would have to be deaf and blind to not see the inordinate pressures building around the world.

Dow 12,604.53, -48.59 (0.38%)
NASDAQ 2,887.98, -14.35 (0.49%)
S&P 500 1,341.45, -0.02 (0.00%)
NYSE Composite 7,685.32, +17.75 (0.23%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,543,879,125
NYSE Volume 3,391,219,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2869-2673
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 171-80
WTI crude oil: 85.81, +1.90
Gold: 1,575.70, -4.10
Silver: 27.02, -0.14

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stocks on Roller Coaster Ride with Greek Vote Looming; Greenspan Calls Euro a Failure

As mentioned in this space yesterday, the day-trading hedge funds and bank-owned brokerages (please, bring back Glass-Steagall) booked profits early in the day and went net short, their nifty algos doing the heavy lifting, as stocks drifted early and sank in the afternoon, making the market pulse for the week, down, up, down.

Today's action had all the earmarks of a seminal decline, with no oomph in the morning and a swift, brutal selloff which developed some serious downside momentum after 2:00 pm EDT.

While there was little to no news out of Europe to affect US stocks besides the downgrade of Spain from B to CCC+ by ratings firm Egan Jones, there was plenty right here on the home front.

JP Morgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon testified before the Senate Banking committee concerning his firm's $2 billion trading loss, though that made-for-TV event was little more than a dog-and-pony show, as most - if not all - of the committee members were recipients of sizable campaign contributions from the financial interests represented by the TBTF Wall Street banks, JPM a prominent donor to campaign slush funds of both parties.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, made some noise about the crisis in Euroland, saying that while the Euro was a "noble experiment" it is being proven ultimately a failure.

The consummate financial criminal enabler, Greenspan was an ardent advocate for repeal of Glass-Steagal beck in 1987, according to this flashback article by American Banker.

While market participants digested the day's disturbing headlines and news stories, stocks exhibited the kind of behavior befitting a system on the verge of breaking down, though outright panic still appears to be just a glimmer on the horizon.

Breadth was on the negative side for the day and new lows outpaced new highs for the second session consecutively. Oil continued its descent, continuing in bear territory following the absurd February run-up, while the fear trade in gold pressed higher, though silver continues to be suppressed, mostly by Blythe Masters, a protege of JPM's Dimon.

As the week progresses, however, a rebalancing of the S&P 500 and quadruple-witching of options and futures on Friday should determine the tenor of trading for the balance.

Dow 12,496.38, -77.42 (0.62%)
NASDAQ 2,818.61, -24.46 (0.86%)
S&P 500 1,314.88, -9.30 (0.70%)
NYSE Composite 7,506.29, -51.52 (0.68%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,528,772,500
NYSE Volume 3,363,560,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1747-3744
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 75-112
WTI crude oil: 82.62, -0.70
Gold: 1,619.40, +5.60
Silver: 28.94, -0.01

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dark Day for Wall Street as Financial System Stressed to Limit

Compared to the preceding twelve days of market meltdown, today's finish qualified as the worst on a number of different levels.

The paucity of buyers produced something of a free-fall right from the opening bell, which accelerated in the final hour of trading. There were a couple of attempts at rallies - at 10:00 am and again just after noon - but both failed horribly as there was no support and traders, many of whom have been in the "buy the dip" camp until recently, sold into the brief upticks.

Volume was also noticeably higher, an indication that the selling has more room to run over the next days and weeks. The causes of today's particular collapsing equity valuations were the same that have dominated the markets over the past three weeks and are no nearer resolution than they were at the beginning of the month.

Greece continues to slide into anarchy and chaos, taking the rest of the EU - and the world - along for the careening ride to oblivion, unemployment fears in the US remain high, global growth may be nearing stall-out speed and an inactive congress and Federal Reserve - both eerily quiet - are doing nothing to alleviate any of the political, tax and regulatory issues.

The 156-point loss on the Dow was the second worst since the slide began on May 2nd, beaten only by the 168-pont decline of Friday, May 4th, the day the BLS disappointed everybody with poor April jobs numbers. That such a massive decline would come nearly two weeks later, without a respite rally in between, displays clearly how weak and uncertain markets are at the present juncture.

Through today's close, the Dow has lost a stunning 837 points since the May 1 close; the NADSAQ, with a loss of more than two percent today alone, has been beaten back 246 points since May 2nd, while the S&P 500 has given back just over 100 points since May 1st, finishing just above the technically-insignificant 1300 mark, though emotionally, the number carries great sentiment weight.

Adding to the existing problems were a couple of key economic data points released today. Initial unemployment claims came in flat for the most recent reporting week at 370,000, still stubbornly high. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, which was supposed to ring up a slightly higher reading, to 8.8, from 8.5 in April, was a sorry disappointment when it printed at a devastating -5.8. And the index of leading indicators, which was expected to post a gain of 0.2%, actually fell by 0.1%, all of this adding up to excessive worry and a rush to get out of equities for the safety of bonds.

The 10-year benchmark bond closed at an historic low of 1.702, which is probably a solid number considering the level of deflation that is expected over the coming months. A yield approaching 2% against an environment of low to no growth - or even a recession or worse - is likely to be a pretty good hedging instrument.

JP Morgan Chase's (JPM) continuing drama with its $2 billion portfolio loss has expanded by another billion according to the NY Times, while the FBI and SEC have both opened inquiries into the trade and CEO Jaime Dimon has been called to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on the matter.

Mr. Dimon, whose firm also faces a number of shareholder lawsuits stemming from the trade, continues to maintain the position in the trade, attempting to slowly unwind the derivative bet from hell while counter-parties turn the screws tighter. It would not be a surprise to see eventual losses from this blunderbust approach the $5 or $6 billion figure, wiping out the entire quarter's profit for the bank with the supposed "fortress balance sheet."

Dimon will have to do some fancy tap-dancing when he appears before the Senate inquiry, because the trade, widely known as the "London Whale" was the furthest it could have been from an outright hedge, being a pure speculation trade, exacerbated by piling in deeper as the losses worsened.

On brighter notes, gold and silver did an abrupt about-face, despite the dollar index continuing to rise and the Euro settling nearly flat on Forex markets, while oil slid again, along with wholesale gasoline prices, which will eventually result in further price declines at the pump.

The widely-anticipated Facebook IPO, slated to hit the street Friday morning, priced at $38 per share, at the upper end of the expected range. While Mark Zuckerberg and others will become instant billionaires tomorrow, the timing for such a lucrative cash-out day could not have come at a worst time. Facebook will almost certainly reward early investors, but the story of one good stock will do little to alleviate long-term, long-standing economic issues that have plagued the markets for weeks.

Greek banks are seeing devastating outflows of capital, as are those in Spain. Europe's descent into economic hell has accelerated and the EU ministers and ECB economists have found now way out.

Widespread defaults, from sovereign nations, to banks, to businesses will be at the top of the news for at least the next six to 12 months.

It's been 41 years since then-president Richard M. Nixon closed the gold window and nations have been trading on pure fiat - backed only by promises - ever since. The promises now broken, the era of debt-money is quickly drawing to an unseemly and devastating end.

Real estate, precious metals and cash are all that stand between personal devastation for not millions, but billions of people worldwide. All paper assets, including stocks, bonds, letters of credit and contracts will be blown away by winds of economic chaos and change.

Dow 12,442.49, -156.06 (1.24%)
NASDAQ 2,813.69, -60.35 (2.10%)
S&P 500 1,304.86, -19.94 (1.51%)
NYSE Composite 7,480.75, -112.07 (1.48%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,915,098,500
NYSE Volume 4,597,205,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 915-4734
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 31-310 (1-10 on the wrong side; never good)
WTI crude oil: 92.56, -0.25
Gold: 1,574.90, +38.30
Silver: 28.02, +0.82