Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Stock Rally Sizzles, Fizzles As COVID-19 Fear Spreads Globally Sell. Everything. Now.

From the outset, it looked like US stock investors were going to shed the fear of coronavirus effects and get back to the greed side of the equation, as all major indices roared back after a string of losses.

By midday, however, the rally lost steam as news from around the world indicated that the virus was continuing to spread, inflicting people in far-away lands as well as within the borders of the United States. When President Trump announced he was giving a press briefing at 6:00 pm ET (later moved to 6:30 pm ET) on the government's response to the virus, stocks faltered badly, as all but the NASDAQ gave up gains and ended in the red.
"Sell. Everything. Now. You may curse me today, tomorrow, and even next week, but a couple of months down the road, you'll see why I am telling you to get out of stocks now."
At the press briefing, the president appeared confident, though cautious, appointing Vice President Mike Pence to spearhead the federal government's response.

So much for hope, false hope, bravado, and confidence. COVID-19 already is worse than MERS or SARS in the number of inflictions and deaths, and there seems to be no stopping it. Even employing extreme measures such as travel bans and quarantines, is unlikely to completely halt the spread of this pathogen; governments are hoping at least to contain it and prevent it from becoming an overwhelming medical crisis as it already has become in China, and soon, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and elsewhere.

Underpinning the obvious threat to health and well-being, Wall Street and investment centers around the world are focused on the after-effects. Idled workers, slowing production, chinks in the supply chain, and slack demand are all tied to efforts to contain the virus and will certainly have adverse effects on the bottom lines of many companies.

Now, almost two months since the crisis began in China, fears of a near-global shutdown of financial and business activity is becoming a frightful scenario.

As one pundit wrote to friends yesterday, "Sell. Everything. Now. You may curse me today, tomorrow, and even next week, but a couple of months down the road, you'll see why I am telling you to get out of stocks now."

This is precisely the sentiment Wall Street hopes would never surface, but it's becoming more and more evident to more and more people that COVID-19 presents an existential threat to global commerce.

Oil was down sharply on the day, as WTI crude futures broke below $50 per barrel and fell into the $47 price range Thursday morning. The treasury yield curve continued its flat-to-inverted pathway, the yield on the 10-year note losing another two basis points before returning to its prior level at 1.33%, the lowest level in history.

At the Close, Wednesday, February 26, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,957.59, -123.77 (-0.46%)
NASDAQ: 8,980.77, +15.16 (+0.17%)
S&P 500: 3,116.39, -11.82 (-0.38%)
NYSE: 13,046.62, -97.10 (-0.74%)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Coronavirus Spread Now Affecting Markets Globally Along With Individual Stocks, Bonds

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread internationally from its epicenter in Wuhan, the capitol of Hubei province, China, expect markets to respond as they did on Wednesday, where US gains at the opening bell were quickly wiped out. The Dow Industrials, in particular, soared more than 200 points at the open, only to be torn down to nearly unchanged within the first half hour of trading.

All of the major indices experienced similar patterns, and all were goosed higher by a phantom bid as they approached session lows. There was likely intervention behind the scenes which kept stocks from falling off the shelf into the abyss, as was the case on Monday.

With just three days of real data relatable to coronavirus, the infectious virus is undoubtably a market event. As has already been demonstrated, oil was the first casualty as crude prices have cratered since the Chinese government quarantined the entire Wuhan province last week and began issuing travel warnings.

Others are emerging. Starbucks (SBUX), which announced it was shutting down 2000 locations in China on Wednesday - about half of its stores in China - has seen its share price reduced from 93.75 on January 23 to 86.72 as of Wednesday's close. While the losses on Starbucks may be more attributable to the release of their fiscal first quarter (US fourth quarter) results on Tuesday, there are other chains which may be affected soon, Among those that have large presences in China are McDonald's (MCD), YUM Brands (YUM), owners of Pizza Hut and KFC, among other popular brands, and Dairy Queen, which is privately owned. Share of McDonald's and YUM Brands have been spared thus far, but the are definitely on many traders' short lists.

Also being affected are bond prices and yields, as the treasury curve has flattened out over the past week and the 10-year note has been knocked to to a yield of 1.58% as of this writing, the lowest since October 8 of last year. All yields on short term bills are currently inverted vis-a-vis the five-year note, with yields on 1, 2, 3, 6-month and one-year bills all higher than the five-year. The scramble to safety seems to be favoring shorter duration, a knock-on effect of a wait-and-see approach to the spread of the deadly virus.

As of Wednesday night (ET), Chinese authorities upped the death toll from the virus to 170, though experts in the field strongly suspect that China's officials are purposely skewing the numbers lower - reporting many deaths as caused by pneumonia or not reporting deaths at all in some cases - in order to not cause a widespread panic. Nevertheless, both the number of cases reported and deaths reported - in China and internationally - continue to rise, and person-to-person transmission of the disease has now been reported in South Korea, Germany, Thailand, and Japan. With an incubation period that can last up to 14 days before symptoms develop, it may take more time for numbers to rise dramatically.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is scheduled to make an announcement Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland at 7.30 pm local time (1830 GMT), which would coincide with the middle of the US market session. Expect fireworks to the downside if the organization deems the coronavirus a global pandemic situation, something it decided not to do when it met a week ago (January 23).

Elsewhere, the impeachment trial of president Trump is winding down quickly and it appears that the Republicans have enough votes to shut down any attempt by the Democrats to extend the process by calling more witnesses. With a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, the Republicans are expected to defeat any measure calling for anything that might extend the trial past Friday, when the vote on witnesses is set to occur.

Once the vote for witnesses is defeated, the Senate can move immediately to decide the trial either in favor of acquittal of the president or guilty, which would carry the penalty of removal from office and bar him from running for any other high office. With a two-thirds vote needed for a finding of guilt, it is widely expected that the president will be acquitted.

The prosecution managers and administration lawyers will field another day of questions from the Senators on Thursday, then proceed to voting on other trial matters Friday.

At the Close, Wednesday, January 29, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,734.45, +11.60 (+0.04%)
NASDAQ: 9,275.16, +5.48 (+0.06%)
S&P 500: 3,273.40, -2.84 (-0.09%)
NYSE: 13,843.81, -33.80 (-0.24%)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sweden Done With Negative Rates; How Does The World Reverse Course?

From the land that gave us the Volvo and Greta Thunberg, comes news that the nation of Sweden has abandoned its five-year-long experiment with negative interest rates.

The news is actually about a week old, but, being that there was so much going on between the impeachment of President Trump, the China trade deal, and the public's general disinterest with anything not related to either the NFL or Christmas, that the Riksbank raising its overnight repo interest rate from -0.25% to 0.0% hardly warranted notice.

Nonetheless, the global response was as expected from the groupthink of the central bank community. Rates instantly rose, and a chorus of seemingly smart-sounding people recited verses calling for fiscal measures to be undertaken immediately, to counteract the anti-stimulative effect of cancelling out the negative rates that are, in turn, cancelling out currencies around the globe.

According to the central banking community, debt and spending must be promoted by governments as the bankers have done all they could do to alter the flow of goods and services and money in a positive direction. The Swedes have failed, and with that, so too the central banks of the Europe Union nations, Japan, Denmark, Hungary, and Switzerland.

What comes now is general consensus on the direction of economies and globalized financial repression. More spending must be undertaken by governments, on infrastructure, military hardware, green initiatives, social programs and anything else the politicians can get behind and garner more votes for themselves, virtue-signaling that they are the saviors of the free and not-so-free world.

Such a plan could not be concocted by a more smarmy gaggle of decrepit geezers and their enabling political hacks. The worldwide crackdown on savings was not efficient enough to erase decades of excess and misanthropic misadventures into economic dystopia. Now the banking and political community will expose the world to even more egregious profligate spending that will no doubt benefit few, mostly politicians and bankers.

While the Riksbank ponders life in the frozen wasteland formerly recognizable as a stable nation, the rest of the world trudges dangerously close to the financial abyss that negative interest rates have created. Reversing interest rates to a standard resembling something almost normal might prove a costly enterprise. After all, most corporations have been feasting upon low rates for so long, buying back their own stock and artificially raising equity share prices by a process of market starvation, a change that will ultimately cost more could very likely corrupt the process and actually foment a global recession.

Not to worry. The central bankers will no doubt have a solution for that as well while pointing their gnarly fingers the way of their political cronies as world economies lurch from bad policies to worse. With Christine Lagarde recently replacing Mario Draghi as president of the ECB, there's little doubt that the failed policies of her predecessor will be enhanced by more high-sounding rhetorical nonsense that will help speed the spiraling down of society into an inescapable morass.

Well, how about that. It's Christmas!

At the Close, Monday, December 23, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,551.53, +96.44 (+0.34%)
NASDAQ: 8,945.65, +20.69 (+0.23%)
S&P 500: 3,224.01, +2.79 (+0.09%)
NYSE Composite: 13,899.99, +10.74 (+0.08%)

Monday, November 25, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Stocks Slide As Economic Realities Continue to Worsen; Gold, Silver Soar

September didn't start out very well as stocks lost ground on all indices. Perhaps more concerning was the level to which yield on the 10-year note plunged, dipping to a low of 1.46% before closing out at 1.47%.

Low yields are indicative of demand, and, with some $19 trillion of government bonds globally yielding negative numbers, US bonds are attractive by comparison. This dynamic is not going to end soon, as Japan and the Euro area - the two economies with the most negative yields - are in no-win conditions, with inflation impossible to produce and a swirling drain of deflation threatening the confidence of their currencies.

If low yields are intriguing, consider the gains in gold and silver to be nothing short of demanding attention. Both metals have been on a hyperbolic flight path since May. On Tuesday, silver rocketed through the $19/ounce level, with a gain of more than 8 cents per ounce. Gold topped $1550, and is trading at record levels in most of the world. Only the super-strong dollar is keeping gold's level down, but only in the United States.

Stocks are going to continue a fluctuation with emphasis on the downside for the foreseeable future due to deteriorating economic conditions globally.

Cash is becoming king-like in many countries, with a focus on US dollars, but that dynamic will play out to flatten the wallets of nearly everyone holding hope in fiat currency. Central bankers have reached the proverbial brick wall, with nothing to save economies from crashing headlong into a solvency crisis, an immovable force from which there is no return, literally, as there will not only be no return on capital, but, in many regards - as is the case with negative rates - no return OF capital.

At the Close, Tuesday, September 3, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,118.02, -285.26 (-1.08%)
NASDAQ: 7,874.16, -88.72 (-1.11%)
S&P 500: 2,906.27, -20.19 (-0.69%)
NYSE Composite: 12,663.40, -73.48 (-0.58%)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Stocks Keep Rising, But Major Speed Bumps Are Dead Ahead

Bored yet?

Since bottoming out the day before Christmas (December 24), the major US indices have gained in eight of the last ten sessions, including today's smallish gains.

While going eight for ten to the upside certainly sounds impressive, there is a small problem. The NASDAQ. S&P 500, Dow Industrials, and NYSE Composite are all trading below their 50-and-200-day moving averages. What's more troubling is that those averages are inverted, with the 50 below the 200, as all of the charts show the so-called "death cross" occurring variously between late November and mid-December.

This is troubling to chartists because the rallies have produced some ill-placed optimism in the minds of some investors, mostly affecting those passive types with 401k, retirement, IRA and other "hands off" accounts.

So, while everybody is cheering the fantastic performance of stocks in the new year, there are major speed bumps dead ahead. Turning around inverted moving averages is the kind of heavy lifting for which the PPT was created and how the Fed came up with various forms of money creation, such as QE, QE2, Operation Twist, and other variants of magical fiat money.

Earnings season is about to kick into high gear next week, and expectations are not all that rosy, though, if one tracks home builders, like Lennar (LEN), which missed expectations but still managed a gain today of nearly eight percent. Of course, the stock is just off its 52-week low, so there's an outside chance that everybody, all at once decided it was too cheap to pass up.

So, the question is whether the PPT or the Fed or the Bank of Japan or the ECB, or all of them are of like mind and will buy with open arms every stock that looks like a sure loser over the next four to five weeks.

There's an old adage in the investing world, that posits, "don't fight the Fed." This time it appears to be for real and the Fed, from the speeches and off-the-cuff quotes by some of the regional presidents, is in a fighting mood.

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

At the Close, Wednesday, January 9, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,879.12, +91.67 (+0.39%)
NASDAQ: 6,957.08, +60.08 (+0.87%)
S&P 500: 2,584.96, +10.55 (+0.41%)
NYSE Composite: 11,778.42, +62.19 (+0.53%)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Global Stock Rout Deepens; Dow Loses Another 500 Points; NASDAQ Down 16.7% Since August

The pain is spreading, and it doesn't seem to be about to abate any time soon.

According to Dow Jones Market Data, the S&P 500 closed at its lowest level since October of 2017, the NASDAQ finished at its lowest since November of 2017, while the Dow closed at lowest level since March 23. Only a rally in the final 15 minutes of trading kept the Dow from closing at its lowest level of the year.

The Dow had plunged as low as 23,456.8 with just minutes to the closing bell, but short-covering boosted the industrials more than 100 points in the final minutes of trading. Not that it matters very much, but the closing low for the year was 23,533.20. Prior to that, the Dow closed at a low of 23,271.28 on November 15, 2017.

Both of those levels are likely to be subsumed, as the stock rout about to be hit with another dose of reality. Trumping anticipation, the Fed meeting which ends Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET, is almost certain to include a 25 basis point raise to the federal funds rate. On Friday, the federal government, unable to reach a suitable compromise on President Trump's border wall, will go into a partial shutdown.

Neither event - especially the federal shutdown - is of the earth-shattering variety, but they come at a very inopportune time for the market, which is struggling to find any good news upon which to hang a rally.

Europe is either in flames (France), in a bear market (Germany), or about to enter a recession thanks to the end of the ECB's brand of QE. Beyond that, there's the uncertainty of an orderly departure from the EU by Great Britain. The official date for Britain to separate itself from the EU is March, but there have been rumblings of an extension and more than just a little unrest from the island nation to the continent concerning what effect a member country departing will have on the solidarity of remaining members.

In China and Japan, an economic slowdown is already well underway, so it appears that the sellers have reason enough to move away from stocks, and rapidly. There are just too many negatives floating around geopolitical and financial circles for all of them to be resolved in the near term. Rather, these worries turn into realities which the market doesn't appreciate, such as the actual imposition of tariffs rather than mere rumors and threats of them. The same goes for the Fed's upcoming rate hike and the government shutdown. It's become a market that's twisted the old saw into "sell the rumor, sell the news." Everything is on sale and buyers have been heading to the sidelines beginning in February. Since October, the pace has picked up noticeably, but December threatens to be the worst month of the year for the Dow, at least.

For perspective, February's loss on the Dow was 1120.19 points.

March saw a decline of 926.09.

In October the Dow lost 1341.55 points.

So far this month, the Dow is lower by 1945.58 points, making the October through December (November's gain was 426.12 points) period worse than the February-March spasm.

The NASDAQ is down 16.7% since August 29. WTI Crude was seen at $49.45 per barrel, the lowest price since September, 2017.

Throughout the years of experimental financial chicanery of QE and ZIRP, and NIRP (negative interest rate policy) by the Federal Reserve and fellow central bankers following the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-09, the question was always, "how is this all going to end?"

Now, we have the answer, firsthand, and, as many predicted, it's not pretty and likely to get worse.

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22
12/12/18 24,527.27 +157.03 -1011.19
12/13/18 24,597.38 +70.11 -941.08
12/14/18 24,100.51 -496.87 -1437.95
12/17/18 23,592.98 -507.53 -1945.58

At the Close, Monday, December 17, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,592.98, -507.53 (-2.11%)
NASDAQ: 6,753.73, -156.93 (-2.27%)
S&P 500: 2,545.94, -54.01 (-2.08%)
NYSE Composite: 11,532.12, -223.27 (-1.90%)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Buyers Emerge, Sending Stock Rally To Third Straight Day Of Gains; World Markets Higher

Experts had been saying that once the earnings reporting blackout ended, many companies would begin share repurchases, and that seems to be exactly what has occurred, as stocks extended their rally to three days, opening the month of November with a rip higher on all the major exchanges.

This factoid does nothing to explain the rise in stocks around the world, other than perhaps they are following the US lead. Overnight the Hang Seng jumped by more than four percent in Hong Kong and Japan's NIKKEI posted a 2.50% gain, boosting the index by 556 points.

Early trading in Europe has all the major indices higher as well, with Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 leading the move.

With non-farm payroll data due to roll out at 8:30 am ET, stocks are poised for another big move up at the open. Expectations are for a jobs gain of more than 200,000 in October.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98

At there Close, Thursday, November 1, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,380.74, +264.98 (+1.06%)
NASDAQ: 7,434.06, +128.16 (+1.75%)
S&P 500: 2,740.37, +28.63 (+1.06%)
NYSE Composite: 12,356.50, +148.44 (+1.22%)

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, October 11, 2018

Global Rout Continues; All 30 Dow Components Lower; China A 50% Loser Since 2015

Stocks took another beating on Thursday, though not quite as extensively on the tech side as was the case in Wednesday's rout. The Dow Industrials took another two percent hit, sending the 30 blue chips down another 546 points. The combined losses in the six sessions following the all-time high close of 26,828.39 on October 3rd at 1,775.56 or 6.69%, a figure that should not, in and of itself, inspire much fear, though the rapidity, persistency, and consistency of the losses are not exactly inspiring much in the way of investor confidence.

All 30 Dow stocks finished in the red. Spared from most of the carnage was Microsoft, which closed at 105.91, down a mere 0.25 points, or 0.24%. No other Dow issue reported a decline of less than one half percent. Leading the way down was Phizer, with a 3.82% loss. Other stocks finishing down three percent or more included JP Morgan Chase (3.00%), Traveler's (3.01%), Proctor and Gamble (3.16%), McDonald's (3.21%), Cisco Systems (3.31%), Chevron (3.40%) and Exxon Mobil (3.45%). The Dow's gain year-to-date is a now a mere 333 points, or less than two percent. There was nothing even approaching good news as third quarter reporting approaches.

The NASDAQ fared much better than the three percent decline it made on Wednesday, dropping less than 100 points, though that was hardly cause for optimism. Having reached a peak of 8102.04 on October 1, the index has shed some 673 points, putting it close to correction (-10%). NASDAQ shares are down a cumulative 8.3%.

On the S&P 500, the percentage decline was almost identical to that of the Dow, losing 57.31 points, down 2.06 percent. The losing streak of the S&P has now reached six straight days. It also closed at an all-time record of 2947.25 on October 1, but has since fallen 219 points, a 7.4% loss in just eight sessions.

Year-to-date, the S&P is up by only 55 points, a gain of just over two precent.

Stocks were also being sold off in droves on foreign exchanges. In Germany, the DAX continued its descent with a loss of 173.15, another 1.48% drop, sending it further into correction. Joining the DAX in the down 10 percent or more club was Britain's FTSE, losing 138.81 points (-1.94%). France's CAC 40 is teetering on the brink, down more than nine percent off recent highs.

On Pacific Rim exchanges, Japan's NIKKEI was down 3.89%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 3.54%, but both were outdone by China, where the SSE Composite Index closed down 5.22%. China's stock market is the world's basket case, down a full 50% from its all-time high of 5,166.35 in June of 2015, the chart bearing a striking resemblance to the NASDAQ's dotcom bust of 2000. The SSE closed Thursday at 2,583.46.

What comes next for markets is anybody's guess. Analysts and economists range from complacency to panic and everything in between. The losses this week rival those from February of this year, when major US indices touched briefly into correction.

Bonds firmed on the day, with the 10-year note finishing with a yield of 3.13%. Oil was hit hard again, with WTI crude losing nearly three percent, closing just a shade under $71/barrel.

The only bright spots were in precious metals. Gold had its best day in months, gaining $34 to $1,227.70 per troy ounce. Silver followed along dutifully, picking up 28 cents per troy ounce, at $14.61.

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 -1405.48

At the Close, Thursday, October 11, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,052.83, -545.91 (-2.13%)
NASDAQ: 7,329.06, -92.99 (-1.25%)
S&P 500: 2,728.37, -57.31 (-2.06%)
NYSE Composite: 12,349.53, -272.61 (-2.16%)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

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

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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Change of Sentiment; Something Bad In Tech-land

As of a week ago, the leading index was the NASDAQ, up more than 11 percent on the year, as opposed to the Dow Industrials, which had been lagging. Prior to this week, the Dow was up less than four percent and it was down for the year much of the time between February and early July.

Something snapped in the minds of investors this week. Maybe it was the high valuations on some of the more speculative stocks sporting the NASDAQ. Perhaps, in the search for yield, investors sought the safety of dividend producers on the Dow. Whatever the case, the Dow, this past week, was up 1.41%, while the NASDAQ shed 0.29%. It was a radical shift that appeared, magically, Wednesday morning, when the Dow was trading below 24,000.

In a matter of less than three trading session, the Dow tacked on a whopping 687 points, much of it at the open on Thursday, when the Dow popped higher and stayed well into the green the rest of the day.

Skeptics of the market will point to the radical rise on Wednesday and Thursday as proof of manipulation, or even - everybody's favorite word this season - collusion, by central banks and their ancillary brokers, to boost the share prices of the staid and steady heavy industrials. Such speculation cannot be bought off easily in this environment. It's apparent to just about everybody that the Federal Reserve and their counterparts in Japan, China, and the European Union will not stomach a severe downturn, at least not at this time. The bull market is just a few trading days from becoming the longest in American history, something the head honchos at the Fed wish to pin on their beanies before they ride triumphantly into some economic sunset.

The shifting sentiment was stunning, however. As the Dow soared, the NASDAQ soured. Many of the grand tech bonanza stocks like Netflix (NFLX) and Telsa (TSLA) were down hard for the week. Netflix dropped nearly 10%, from 345 per share to 316 at the close of business Friday. From its peak just a month ago (July 11), Netflix is down more than 100 points.

Tesla is another story altogether. The darling little electric engine that could is rapidly approaching bear territory, down to 305 at the close Friday from 379 on August 7, a span of just nine trading sessions.

Facebook, everybody's favorite ranting and raving lunatic asylum, is already in bear territory, dropping from a high of 217.50 on July 25, to a close of 173.80 Friday afternoon. That's precisely a 20.1% decline. Be sure to post to your friends, family, and anybody who gives a hoot, rat's behind, or beaver dam.

None dare call is collusion, so maybe collision is the correct word for what happened on Wall Street this week. It was nothing short of a collision of rational thinking and emotional yield-chasing.

Next week may be more or less intriguing, but after Labor Day, this market is going to become very interesting indeed.

Dow Jones Industrial Average August Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
8/1/18 25,333.82 -81.37 -81.37
8/2/18 25,326.16 -7.66 -89.03
8/3/18 25,462.58 +136.42 +55.05
8/6/18 25,502.18 +39.60 +94.65
8/7/18 25,628.91 +126.73 +221.38
8/8/18 25,583.75 -45.16 +176.22
8/9/18 25,509.23 -74.52 +101.70
8/10/18 25,313.14 -196.09 -94.39
8/13/18 25,187.70 -125.44 -219.83
8/14/18 25,299.92 +112.22 -107.61
8/15/18 25,162.41 -137.51 -245.12
8/16/18 25,558.73 +396.32 +151.20
8/17/18 25,669.32 +110.59 +261.79

At the Close, Friday, August 17, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,669.32, +110.59 (+0.43%)
NASDAQ: 7,816.33, +9.81 (+0.13%)
S&P 500: 2,850.13, +9.44 (+0.33%)
NYSE Composite: 12,908.26, +66.98 (+0.52%)

For the Week:
Dow: +356.18 (+1.41%)
NASDAQ: -22.78 (-0.29%)
S&P 500: +16.85 (+0.59%)
NYSE Composite: +64.77 (+0.50%)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dow Sheds Record 1,175 Points, Global Markets in Panic Mode

Anybody already not convinced that stocks have been relentlessly pumped by buybacks and central bank interventions over the past nine years may have had a rude awakening over the past few days and especially on Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a record 1,175 points in the week-opening session.

While the percentage loss was nowhere near record-setting, it still managed to crack the top 20 of all-time percentage losses for a single trading day. Combined with Friday's collapse, the Dow is down over seven percent in just the past two sessions, wiping out all the gains from an over-exuberant January.

What happened?

Interest rates exploded. That was the first salvo from massively intertwined markets. The ten-year note, which has been comfortably below 2.5% for most of the last nine years of "recovery" following the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) from 2008-09, smashed through 2.80% on Friday and continued its ascent Monday before some odd force pushed US treasury rates lower across the curve. The 10-year note ended at 2.79, still higher than anybody expected, but not at a level that would cause a panic.

Other than the obvious villain in the bond pits, the other dynamic at play is the obvious overvaluation of stocks, and that is a global problem. By artificially keeping interest rates too low for too long (avoid the pain that should be measured across the board), boosting asset prices in stocks alone, the Fed, ECB, BOJ, PBOC and Swiss National Bank (SNB) created a market structure with one sure feature: failure.

Because borrowing money was such an easy proposition, many of the major corporations on the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P took to buying back their own shares, enriching only major shareholders and especially top executives with cushy compensation plans. That gambit appears to be over, and it's troubling, because when companies buy their own stock at inflated prices, they own it at those prices. Selling it back into the market at reduced prices causes a loss, which in turn causes earning to collapse. That is the expected conclusion, already evident in some recent quarterly filings. More carnage - much more - is to come.

It has been reported that 84% of all wealth created in 2017 went to the top one percent globally. That's an unsustainable level of wealth inequality largely gone unreported by the news-speakers, analysts and squawkers on Wall Street and the economists in the government. The one percent at the top of the wealth ladder will only be marginally affected by losses, largely because they have more money than they need and probably have been doing most of the trimming over recent days. Who will be harmed? Pension funds, which are already massively underfunded and cannot maintain any measure of credibility in a market crash currently gaining momentum.

Those who have been derided for warning about just this kind of occurrence are now being proven to have seen the most obvious overvaluation and manipulation of markets early. Being early and being wrong are two different animals, but anybody who isn't invested at the moment is - at long last - looking fairly smart.

The global economy has been sputtering and stuttering ever since the crash of 2008. Nothing that caused the problems then has been fixed. In fact, credit has been extended even further than the levels seen prior to that singular solvency event.

Claims (especially those by President Trump, who has unfortunately embraced the massive gains and now will bear the brunt of blame for the losses) that the economy is strong and growing are largely a smoke screen hiding mountains of debt and poor financial management in government. The US Treasury is more than $20 trillion in the hole. Other major governments, especially Japan, are over-leveraged and broke.

The continuing narrative that the economy is strong - which will be heard repeatedly as the market correction (or slow motion crash) extends - is complete garbage, shoveled to an unsuspecting public that desperately wants to hear only good news. The federal government is broke. State governments are broke. Pension plans cannot deliver on the promises made to employees and retirees. Households are deeply in debt and businesses have enriched only their shareholders in recent years. The recipe for collapse has been ripe and the meal is now on the table.

As Wall Street prepares for another onslaught of selling, markets in the East have already taken the low road. In Japan, the NIKKEI was down over 1,000 points. The Hang Song dropped 1,600, or five percent.

This is not over by a long shot. Instead of an end of the bull market, this should be characterized as the beginning of the end for globally-induced monetary madness and an epochal message to believers in what were once known as "free" markets.

Nothing is safe.

At the Close, Monday, February 5, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,345.75, -1,175.21 (-4.60%)
NASDAQ: 6,967.53, -273.42 (-3.78%)
S&P 500: 2,648.94, -113.19 (-4.10%)
NYSE Composite: 12,572.93, -512.42 (-3.92%)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Central Bank Resolve To Be Tested If China, Japan Break Ranks

In yesterday's post, reference was made to the backstopping of stock markets by the global cartel of central banks and how the aforementioned banks would not allow even the slightest decline on the main US indices.

True to form, Tuesday's trading was a textbook example of the central banking gambit, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 making new all-time records, the NASDAQ and NYSE Composite tagging along.

About to be tested is central bank resolve and unity. Overnight, Japan has apparently decided to cut back on the purchase of long-dated treasury securities, and China has - according to unnamed sources (the preference of manipulators, provocateurs, and liars) - likewise decided to cut purchases of US treasuries by as much as five percent.

Being that Japan and China are he largest holders of US treasuries and at the same time partners in the global central bank ponzi scheme to keep fiat currency floating and stock brokers gloating, these developments - if found out to be the truth - could be inflammatory and possibly devastating to the value of stocks.

With the US markets set to open, futures are forecasting a negative open, though that alone will not ensure anything other than alerting the main buyers of equities - central banks - to be at the bid early and often.

At the Close, Tuesday, January 9, 2018:
Dow: 25,385.80, +102.80 (+0.41%)
NASDAQ: 7,163.58, +6.19 (+0.09%)
S&P 500: 2,751.29, +3.58 (+0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 13,120.84, +6.49 (+0.05%)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stocks Make Third Weekly Gain In Last Seven; Government Shutdown Looms; Central Banks On Buying Spree

Stocks fell softly to close out the week, but ended with the third weekly gain in the past seven, the major averages having hit something of a speed bump of late what with the wranglings and do-nothings in Washington DC, heightened military potentialities in the Mideast and Pacific Rim (North Korea), sloppy economic data, the passing of the income tax filing deadline, and the non-stop media parade of fake news mostly designed to undermine the presidency of one Mr. Donald J. Trump.

While the overall tone of the market is nothing to get aroused over, the upcoming week could bring some more sobering developments as congress returns from a two-week vacation (a vacation from doing nothing) coinciding with Spring Break. One wishes the congresspeople well enough, but actually doing something to benefit the American public for a change would be welcome. While President Trump is trying his level best, the Democrats and their trainers in the media complex are simply playing in an alternate universe and at times coming close to treasonous actions by working against the best interests of the Republic and focusing solely on what they consider the primary interest of their party.

As the coming week progresses, the level of rancor and obtuseness could reach a fever pitch as the government faces a deadline on April 28 for some kind of budget agreement, or, more likely, another in a too long series of continuing resolutions. Both sides of the debate over what to overspend upon are already well-suited in their peculiar ideological jumpsuits, the Democrats desperate to hold onto the last vestiges of failed socialism (called progressive by the liberal left and ultra-left media), the Republicans - in congress at least - looking to cement their dicey majorities in both houses.

At the outside looking in is the current administration, bent on keeping at least some of the promises Mr. Trump made during the campaign, though reneging against the American people has become so common in the post-Vietnam era that it's almost laughable that anyone would believe a word coming from the lips of any politician in Washington.

Thus, a government shutdown looms a real possibility, though more likely a dramatic, last-gasp, late-into-the-night-made-for-TV deal is probably what's driving the phony debate. As the politicians pose and posture, many American citizens are becoming keenly aware that federal government budgets are a laughable charade, being that deficits continue on and beyond the horizon, the national debt already within $16 billion of $20 trillion, a condition only humans could have created and something only a government with all the fiscal discipline of a 12-year-old with dad's credit card could continue.

At the end of the debate, shutdown, or partial farce, the world will continue spinning, Americans will be the bag-holders of the century and the central bank ponzi will continue.

Holders of stocks should worry the least, since the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the European Central Bank (ECB) "invested" over ONE TRILLION US DOLLARS in global financial instruments in the first four months of the year, a record amount. Certainly, the Fed and Bank of England - not to mention the Swiss National Bank - are quietly doing their part to keep the liquidity flowing in the background, using all manner of underhanded tactics to undermine every national currency available.

The policy of central bank asset-grabbing is unprecedented in financial history, though rather a common theme since the meltdown of 2008-09.

In the end, 98% of the world's population will own almost none of the assets, the central banks having snatched up anything that hasn't already been bolted down, and they're sure to use wrenches and sledgehammers to take whatever remains as well.

Though the times are trying, central bankers continue buying.

At the Close, Friday, April 21, 2017:
Dow: 20,547.76 -30.95 (-0.15%)
NASDAQ: 5,910.52, -6.26 (-0.11%)
S&P 500: 2,348.69, +-7.15 (-0.30%)
NYSE Composite: 11,389.13, -37.78 (-0.33%)

For the week:
Dow: +94.51 (0.46%)
NASDAQ: +105.37 (1.82%)
S&P 500: +19.74 (0.85%)
NYSE Composite: +65.60 (0.57%)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fed Minutes Put March Rate Hike In Play

Editor's Note: With the luck of some extremely mild weather in Upstate New York (temps in the 60s today and expected the same for Thursday and Friday), the Money Daily team (Fearless Rick) has headed out to open up spring and summer camp a little early. That means the usual posting of Money Daily will not be the normal after the market close summary, but will be more sporadic for probably the next three to four weeks and may not be "daily" at all. Better weather brings on more responsibilities and a relaxed time frame.

Fearless Rick

Let's not beat around the bush. The Federal Reserve is intent on raising rates, which should surprise nobody, as the federal funds rate has been at or below one percent for the better part of 16 years.

Currently set at 0.50-0.75%, the key overnight rate has been largely responsible for a great deal of irresponsibility, not the least of which was the subprime disaster of 2008 and the resultant Great Financial Crisis which sent the global economy into one of the worst tailspins since the Great Depression of 1929-1938.

So, with the release today of the minutes from last month's FOMC meeting, it's compelling to think that a rate increase would be on the agenda at the next meeting, mid-March.

After all, the latest hike, in December of last year, hardly caused a ripple at all. Most experienced investors and money managers are aware of the need to "normalize" policy by the Fed and have preparing for such an event (or series of hikes, which is completely probable) since December of 2015.

With President Trump promising a fiscal stimulus plan, the Fed's belief that inflation will be the end result is a bit of a cockeyed argument, but, as always, the hyper-politicized Federal Reserve Board of Governors will say anything to get to their desired result. If the hikes come too quickly - they promised four this year - they can lay the blame on everybody's favorite political punching bag, Mr. Trump. Should things work out, the Fed will claim all the credit for "saving the financial system as we know it."

Either way, the Fed will come out smelling like the proverbial rose, even though they come closer to the stench of burning paper currency than that of a pretty flower.

March is now a "live" month for the Fed, though it should not go unnoticed that the Fed has and will likely continue to do not what they say, as in the case of last year's promise of three rate hikes, when in fact they actually performed just one (December).

With the stock indices hitting all-time highs on just about a daily basis, March would be as good a time as any to get rates another notch closer to one percent. In fact, a 50 basis point hike, to 1.00-1.25% wouldn't be such a bad idea. The stock markets are about to go belly up, despite being wildly overvalued.

Wall Street suffers from the absolute worst form of normalcy bias and that alone should prevent even a correction. Financial markets are in as weird a place as they've ever been, but expect the next crashing sounds to come from overseas, either to the West, as in Japan (or even China), or looking East at the failed experiment that is the European Union and the coming parity of the euro to the US dollar.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pre-FOMC Forecast: Stocks Steady, Sell Bonds, Buy Silver And Gold

There's an interesting set-up to today's expected FOMC 25 basis point (0.25%) hike in the federal funds rate.

The Yen has collapsed 19% in the last few months, the $USD is now at a 13-year high and stocks are at one of their most overbought levels in 100 years.

If that last statement about stocks being wildly overvalued doesn't give one pause, consider the situation the last time the Fed raised interest rates. It was a year ago, last December. On the day of the rate increase, December 16, the Dow Industrial Average closed at 17,749.09. The index dipped and dodged for two weeks, re-rallying back to close at 17,720.98, December 29, never quite getting back to previous highs.

But, when the new year dawned, the floodgates opened as sellers emerged from the shadows, many of them likely taking advantage of tax rules on profitable trades, mostly allowing those profits from 2015 to float tax-free until April of 2017 (the future) if sold in 2016. Tricky, allowable, rational and fully legal was this tactic which in effect dropped the Dow by a shade over 11 percent to a closing quote of 15,766.74 on January 20.

That was officially correction territory, and, while the rest of the trading community was wondering if this was going to be a 2008 redux, the Fed and its central banking brethren quietly began undermining market fundamentals (again, surprise!) by surreptitiously buying equities through proxies, particularly, the Bank of Japan, notorious for market meddling in everything from auto parts to currencies to yes, Virginia, stocks.

As it turned out, the trade was a worthwhile one for those central banking and insider trading folks. The Dow is now hurtling headlong towards 20,000, so, depending on which stocks the proxies were buying, they may have profited upwards of 25%.

Is the market rigged, or is it ready to face the awful reality of a federal funds rate at 0.50-0.75% The horror! One is amazed at not only the audacity of the central banking cartel, but also its awesome good fortune on all matters regarding their (your) money.

Getting back to the set-up from last year, the yen was down only 10% from September through December of 2015, about half of its decline this year. Can history repeat, and with even better results? That's one heck of a bet, if one is so inclined. For the rest of us, it looks like sitting on the sidelines for the rest of 2016 might turn out to be a profitable move.

It's of dubious probability that stocks are going to stage any kind of dramatic rally, so, what's the play, and when.

It's not often that Money Daily offers specific investment advice, but, taking a gander at what's happened to gold and silver the past few months (gold dropping from above $1300 to below $1160 and silver dipping from near $20 per ounce to around $17 currently), the opportunity is available to not necessarily make a killing, but to preserve some wealth in precious metals, you know, those things that have been considered money for thousands of years, gold and silver.

Being that Money Daily is more of a silver surfer than a gold bug, the recommendation is for silver at any price below $16.00. The market will not likely tolerate downside below $14.50, and the potential is there for a fabulous move upside, without the prerequisite dip.

So, here's the scenario. Stocks will remain steady or turn upwards for the remainder of December. After all, what's Christmas without a Santa Claus rally? Remember, stocks are wildly overpriced and overdue for some corrective medicine. The dollar should get a good, hard beating, but it probably won't because other major economies are in much worse shape.

It gets more complicated, because a strong dollar makes US goods more expensive overseas, and, if our newly-elected president has his way, imports are going to be heavily taxed, and soon. A trade war is likely to erupt by mid-2017.

Bond yields should benefit from rising interest rates, whereas gold and silver should see further price deterioration.

The wild cards are many, but the obvious one is inflation. If the Fed continues resolutely on course to foment inflation above two percent (impossible, say some, though the PPI came in today with a surprising gain of 0.4% for November, at the same time industrial production dipped 0.4% and capacity utilization also fell, to a six-month low of 75.0%.

While the majority of mainstream idiot economists pay scant attention to the latter two data points, CEOs and real economists take these numbers seriously. How is there going to be inflation when industrial production is slowing or stagnant and utilization is only 75% when the norm for growing economies is closer to 85%? Yet, there it is, with producer prices advancing at an annualized rate of 4.8%. Tomorrow's release of CPI for November will be the final nail in the coffin of controlled destruction economics engineered by the Fed and foreign central bank proxies.

Sorry if there's hardly anything positive in this report, but the era of central bank meddling, manipulating and needling intervention is in need of departure. They've managed to create an economy that benefits only those in the know, at the expense of taxpayers and citizens worldwide. It's like a giant plantation, with a healthy portion of worker paychecks - via taxes, fees, inflation and other theft - as the harvest.

You're being fattened and groomed for the slaughter or shearing, in a world which allows most to gain marginally but not substantially. Those without an escape hatch like a side business or secret gold vault are victims of mediocrity, though most will never notice and hardly ever complain.

So, off we go to FOMC land, with the big announcement (that's sarcasm, friend) fewer than two hours away.

Reiterating the call for silver surfing, WAIT. It's difficult with silver at such bargain levels, but it's almost sure to go lower, especialy if it goes a little higher. The central bankers - who hate competition from other forms of money - simply won't have it, and, since they have complete control over the paper silver market, they'll crush the price. If silver spikes above $19, it's a missed opportunity, but, bonus, your holdings are now worth more of those teeny-weeny Federal Reserve Notes.

The best timing may be the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, when nobody is paying much attention, or within the first three weeks of January. After the inauguration on the 20th, it's possible that markets will experience some serious turmoil, so there may be more time available to stock up on the stuff that powers solar panels and is the best electrical conductor in the universe, besides being the money of gentlemen.

“Gold is the money of kings; silver is the money of gentlemen; barter is the money of peasants; but debt is the money of slaves.”
-- Norm Franz in his book Money and Wealth in the New Millennium (2001).

More after the market close.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stocks Continue Surging Into Year-End; Fed Rate Hike Baked In, Unsubstantial

He said, "Call the doctor. I think I'm gonna crash."
"The doctor say he's comin', but you gotta pay him cash."
They went rushin' down that freeway,
messed around and got lost
They didn't care they were just dyin' to get off

--Life in the Fast Lane, Eagles, 1976

Stocks careened higher on Friday, finishing off a week that saw increased investor buying virtually across the board. It was the best week for stocks, especially on the Dow, since the week immediately following the US elections, an odd scenario for analysts and talking media heads who predicted turmoil and collapse if anybody but Hillary Clinton was elected president.

Since the election of Donald Trump, we now know that what emerges from the mouths of Wall Street psychopaths and media slaves is usually incorrect, politically driven and nine times out of ten wrong. What we still don't understand is why the same people are relied upon for their opinions, having been proven completely wrong over and over again, the best examples of this kind of nepotistic following being seen regularly on the financial networks, Bloomberg, Fox, and notoriously, CNBC, which has its own designated cheerleader, Jim Cramer.

How could all of these pundits and overpaid professionals have gotten it so wrong? Easy. The chances of stocks advancing or declining is almost always a 50/50 proposition, but, anybody reading the tea leaves from leftover elections would have known that a Republican president following a lame duck incumbent makes for a major bull market (that's made up, but it's probably true anyhow, and, in the age of "fake news" all one needs is a headline and story, right?).

Maybe people with money think Donald Trump's various positions on trade, immigration, wages, borders and culture will usher in another gilded age of American exceptionalism. For the most part, anybody with half a brain still in working order would welcome such a change. More than likely, following the initial post-election stock surge the rest of the advances have been driven largely by herd behavior.

It should be widely accepted, though it isn't, that stocks are valued extremely high, but the right thing is that bonds have been collapsing over the past five weeks, at the same time stocks have been rising. That's not your run-of-the-mill pair trade, but it is imaginative. As bonds fall, yields rise, making them more attractive as safety plays. In the meantime, with interest rates largely remaining at bargain basement levels, stocks have continued to be the investment de jour.

If there's a cloudy lining inside the silver cloud of stocks, it's that a correction is long overdue. However, bears and shorts have been saying that for the better part of the past four years and it hasn't happened. Instead, we happen to be in the midst of a massive valuation expansion. Whether or not individual stocks are good or bad investments presently does not seem to matter. There's an explosion of cash coming into the market, the same cash that was being hoarded pre-election. Once that money is exploited and exposed, the intensity of the rally should subside, but probably not until the calendar turn to 2017, the attractiveness and continual pimping of the "Santa Claus Rally" expected to be the main driver over the remaining weeks of 2016.

So, if a crash is coming, January's your huckleberry, or, right after the Fed raises the federal funds rate next week, which has evolved from a possibility to a near-certainty. The Fed and their one quarter of one percent hike in overnight lending is more a canard than a reality. Only the monumentally stupid or disconnected will suffer on a small rate increase. It's so tiny that almost nobody will notice. Certainly, it's not the kind of event that will cause a run, a panic, a rout, so the best action for next week is probably inaction.

Crashes and sudden downturns in the market normally come from out of the blue, caused by forces to which nobody (or only a select, ridiculed few) had been paying attention. If there's going to be a turn, the most likely causes are going to come from Japan or China or Europe, possibly even Brazil or another major portion of Latin America. More likely is that after Mr. Trump is inaugurated, US markets stabilize and places such as those mentioned above suffer. Such is the way of the world. There will be winners and losers. If America is going to be "great again" other countries are going to be not so great. The market is economics in motion and the chances for a crash in America are minimal over the short term. Longer term, dependent on too many factors to delineate here, corrections and crashes are bound to occur. The truth of the matter, is that the usually-wrong analysis from Wall Street is actually right on this account: if your time horizon is 20 or more years, crashes and corrections are buying opportunities and nothing more. The world won't end tomorrow or the next day, or the next month or the next year.

Thus, the outlook for stocks remains fairly solid, albeit a bit on the high side right now. Since the election, the Dow is more than 1400 points higher, a gain of nearly eight percent. That's a pretty healthy gain for five weeks and something that should be taken into account whatever investment decision one is making or about to make.

Friday's Closing Quotes:
Dow: 19,756.85, +142.04 (0.72%)
S&P 500: 2,259.53. +13.34 (0.59%)
NASDAQ: 5,444.50, +27.14 (0.50%)
NYSE Composite: 11,191.79, +41.83 (0.38%)

For the Week Ending 12/09/16:
Dow: +586.43 (+3.06%)
S&P 500: +67.58 (+3.08%)
NASDAQ: +188.85 (+3.59%)
NYSE Composite: +353.21 (+3.26%)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Tough Times For People Are Beginning To Appear

See-saw trading marked the first day of August, traditionally one of the quietest times for traders, so excuse your author for not offering a great deal of commentary as the "dog days" wear on through the hot month.

Stocks were up and down without direction. Japan's fiscal stimulus, largely expected to consist of some form of "helicopter money" (i.e., central bank largess via government spending and/or handouts), and, while there were some measures designed to prop up the poor and stimulate spending, it's more likely that - like everything else the BOJ has attempted the past 25 years - the plan will backfire because Japanese people are more concerned with squirreling away cash for rainy days than spending to keep the government promise of prosperity and growth.

It's the same all over the world. Governments and central banks have themselves painted into a not-so-agreeable corner, flanked by negative interest rates on one side, stagnant growth prospects on another, and a phalanx of QE, ficsal irresponsibility, crony capitalism, global income insecurity, and political instability dropping from the ceiling and oozing up through cracks in the floor.

While the political and business hoi poloi continue preaching the narrative of rosy economic successes, the average people have had enough of being lied to, cajoled and insulted by appeals by the financial authorities to their better interests, which, in truth are in nobody's good interest.

A couple of possible scenarios might emerge from the continuing diddling by the Fed and their crony central banker kin. One is that extreme lawlessness reigns, as laws are multiplied beyond the system's ability to prosecute them, or, political forces morph into ugly totalitarianism.

A good bet might be a hedge between the two, as both are already emerging in various forms, everywhere from dictatorships like the one evolving in Turkey, right down to the tin-horn generals at local levels who attempt to enforce zoning and municipal codes on wary citizens.

If there appears to be unease in every neighborhood, it's because below a calm surface is a boiling pot of anger, resentment, fear, and distrust.

Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,404.51, -27.73 (-0.15%)

5,184.20, +22.06 (0.43%)

S&P 500
2,170.84, -2.76 (-0.13%)

NYSE Composite
10,730.20, -55.31 (-0.51%)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dow, S&P Post New Highs Again, But, Who's Doing The Buying?

In a market that more often resembles a three-ring circus than an amalgamation of the best corporate entities vying for favoritism among investors via increased earnings, revenue and expectations, the recent melt-up in US equities has more than just a few analysts scratching their quickly-balding heads.

It's widely known that equity mutual fund outflows have been more or less continuous for the better part of the past four months, a trend that doesn't seem to be abating, despite the recent runaway rally.

So, with mutuals (institutional investors) out of the picture - and they're a huge part of the landscape - and individuals mostly too scared to tread too deeply into the Wall Street morass since the devastation of the 2008 washout, there aren't many places from which the money to buy up all these loose assets can come, except, of course, if you're the operator of a central bank, such as the Bank of Japan, the ECB or the almighty Fed.

For verification of the central bank buying conspiracy theory (now fact), we turn to the erudite and educated Zero Hedge, which puts the matter to rest in no uncertain terms in his recent post, "Mystery Of Surging Stocks Solved—-It’s The Central Banks, Stupid!"

The Hedge cites Citi's Matt King, who publishes a must-see chart of rolling central bank asset purchases, and there for all the world to see are egregiously large buys by Japan and the ECB.

Yep! Those shifty Asians and super-smart Europeans are buying up US equities at valuations measured at a median rate of 24X. Good for them! When they awaken from their Keynesian stupor somebody must announce to them - they being economists, not investors - that the goal is to buy low and sell high, not the other way around.

Their rude awakening will coincide with the complete financial and societal implosion of their economies and their sovereignty, which, in the case of Europe, has been questionable for at least a couple of decades, and, for Japan, is only a matter of time before demographics and deflation tear the country to shreds.

What the world is witnessing (or not, depending upon how many people are playing Pokemon Go at present) is the beginning of the final phase of complete totalitarian financialization by central banks and their appointed henchmen, which will result in hemorrhaged debt defaults by individuals, corporations, and eventually (but maybe initially) governments.

Unlike people and companies, governments have a unique advantage in that they can run deficits and debt in piles as high as the moon without recourse for the most part, until, that is, the general public and business people have enough of higher taxes, worsening living conditions and runaway inflation.

Central banks are even better off, being the enabler of all debt and fiat folly via their ability to print endless scads of fiat money literally out of thin air.

Both groups, the money-makers and the politicians, are parasites, and they are killing the host, that being the good-will and capital of citizens and businesses, burying them in debt that will never be repaid.

Hope for a debt jubilee has reached new heights with the latest round of stupidity, but it is far from over.

The shackles which bind the citizenry and businesses to debt and drudgery, taxes and regulations, will tighten before they are broken.

New all-time highs are great when people and funds are doing the buying. That's a sign of a growing, robust economy. When it's central banks doing the heavy lifting, it reeks of desperation and failure.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

-- Fearless Rick

New Highs! Get 'em while you can!
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,506.41, +134.29 (0.73%)

5,034.06, +28.33 (0.57%)

S&P 500
2,163.75, +11.32 (0.53%)

NYSE Composite
10,786.63, +52.43 (0.49%)