Showing posts with label New lows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New lows. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Flush: Stocks Pounded As Worst Month Since January 2016 Ends

The Dow Industrials lost a total of just more than 1000 points for the month of February, which, on the surface, may sound like a big deal, but, in reality, it amounts to merely a four percent loss.

In other words, if one had $100,000 at the start of the month, it would be only $96,000 at the end. Not much to worry about, right?

Maybe so, but this month-long fall, rise, and fall had a number of interesting characteristics, and the supporting (or non-supporting) data is suggesting that whatever has shaken markets is not yet over, especially when the losses on the final day of the month were the fourth largest of the month and the biggest since the 1000+ point washout on February 8.

The entire month was marked by voracious levels of volatility. Out of 19 trading days, 15 featured closes more than 150 points higher or lower than in the previous session. Breadth continues to erode; Wednesday's advance-decline line showed losers outpacing gainers by a 5:2 margin. New 52-week lows are beginning to pile up while new highs are on the wane.

Economic data hasn't been very encouraging. Today's second revision of 4th quarter 2017 GDP came in at 2.5%, slightly lower than the 2.6% reported in January. New and existing home sales have slumped for two consecutive months, and today's Chicago's PMI reading of 61.9, was a six-month low, down from 65.7 in January.

Inflation appears to be picking up steam in some areas, slipping in others, and bond yields remain elevated in the near term. With the Fed set to raise the federal funds rate in March, there's little to make the case for a sustained continuation of the aging bull market, now approaching nine years since the Great Financial Crisis.

Wednesday's losses left the Dow down 4.6% from it's January all-time highs. It's not exactly a huge obstacle to overcome, but it's beginning to look more like a mountain than a molehill.

Dow Jones Industrial Average February Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
2/1/18 26,186.71 +37.32 +37.32
2/2/18 25,520.96 -665.75 -628.43
2/5/18 24,345.75 -1,175.21 -1,803.64
2/6/18 24,912.77 +567.02 -1,236.62
2/7/18 24,893.35 -19.42 -1,256.04
2/8/18 23,860.46 -1,032.89 -2288.93
2/9/18 24,190.90 +330.44 -1958.49
2/12/18 24,601.27 +410.37 -1548.12
2/13/18 24,640.45 +39.18 -1508.94
2/14/18 24,893.49 +253.04 -1255.90
2/15/18 25,200.37 +306.88 -949.02
2/16/18 25,219.38 +19.01 -930.01
2/20/18 24,964.75 -254.63 -1184.64
2/21/18 24,797.78 -166.97 -1351.61
2/22/18 24,962.48 +164.70 -1186.91
2/23/18 25,309.99 +347.51 -839.40
2/26/18 25,709.27 +399.28 -440.12
2/27/18 25,410.03 -299.24 -739.36
2/28/18 25,029.20 -380.83 -1120.19

At the Close, Wednesday, February 28, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,029.20, -380.83 (-1.50%)
NASDAQ: 7,273.01, -57.35 (-0.78%)
S&P 500: 2,713.83, -30.45 (-1.11%)
NYSE Composite: 12,657.31, -161.91 (-1.26%)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stocks Finish Flat, But Internals Signal Something Is Seriously Wrong

US Stocks closed today marginally on the downside, though appearances can be deceiving, as there was outright catastrophe in Japan which spilled over into worried European markets.

With Chinese markets (including the SSE and Hang Seng) the Nikkei took a magnificent beating on Tuesday, losing 918 points, a 5.40% loss on the day, sending the main index of Japan further into bear market territory. Perhaps even more significant, the JCB 10-year note yield fell to a negative number, under ZERO, for the first time in history. This marks Japan and Switzerland as the only countries in the world with negative yields out to ten years, though other countries are rapidly approaching that benchmark, in particular, Germany.

European bourses all finished their session with losses of one percent or more, and, at the open in the US, the situation appeared dire, with Dow futures down more than 150 points. Stocks quickly gained traction, turned positive near midday, flirted with the unchanged line throughout the session until finally giving it up late in the day.

But, the story is not the minor loss the major indices took, but the skew of all manner of metrics toward the negative. Bond yields continued to collapse, with the ten-year down to 1.71%. The spread between the ten and two-year note compressed down to 1.04, something of a danger zone, as the two-year actually rose two bits, to yield 0.67%.

Bank stocks were unhappy spots, with Bank of America (BAC) closing at 12.20, a new 52-week and multi-year low.

Advancers were also far behind declining stocks by a margin of more than 2-to-1. Also of note, the number of new lows (NASDAQ and NYSE combined) dwarfed new highs, 812-70, with only six of those new highs on the Naz. The central planners at the central banks can pin their hats on the day as they successfully halted the manic rallies in silver and gold, for a day, anyway.

Additionally, oil was sent back well below the $30 mark, finishing in New York at $28.38 a barrel.

The VIX is also signaling more turbulence, hanging steadily in the mid-20s range.

The rout in stocks, however, like the gains for the metals, is far from over. Consensus view on Wall Street is still concerned, but not yet panicked. Stocks are still about 5-7% away from official bear market territory, though a few bad days could send the indices reeling in the wrong direction.

In a story by Bernard Condon (AP) about how much money companies have lost doing stock buybacks, we find that the stock buybacks which goosed the market and individual stocks higher over the past six to seven years has been nothing short of a colossal flop and threatens to become an even heavier weight stopped to the stock market.

What stock buybacks did accomplish was to allow executives to boost their companies' earnings without devoting capital to expansion, while at the same time justifying their extraordinary salaries and cashing out their outrageous stock options and/or bonuses.

Investors should be outraged, and righteously so, because these companies should have been either expanding their capital base or market share or distributing dividends to their shareholders. What these stock buyback kings have done is nothing short of a fiduciary failure, which in other industries would be cause for criminal indictments.

Of course, since this all occurred within the cozy regulatory environment that is Wall Street, nothing even close to that will happen. The executives who personally profited from corporate paper profits will walk away with their cash after hollowing out scores of once-healthy companies. It may turn out to be good overall, if a few of the giant multi-nationals like Wal-Mart, Yum Brands and ExxonMobil get cut down to more reasonable sizes and markets open up for more nimble - and honest - competitors.

Tuesday's Cracker-jack pot:
S&P 500: 1,852.21, -1.23 (0.07%)
Dow: 16,014.38, -12.67 (0.08%)
NASDAQ: 4,268.76, -14.99 (0.35%)

Crude Oil 28.38 -4.41% Gold 1,189.20 -0.73% EUR/USD 1.1294 +0.86% 10-Yr Bond 1.7290 -0.35% Corn 360.50 -0.48% Copper 2.04 -2.61% Silver 15.23 -1.30% Natural Gas 2.10 -2.01% Russell 2000 964.17 -0.53% VIX 26.71 +2.73% BATS 1000 20,030.11 -0.07% GBP/USD 1.4468 +0.29% USD/JPY 115.0020 -0.51%

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Brings Out Just a Few Bottom Fishers in Flat Market

There was a bit of moderation on Friday, at the end of a week which saw the major averages give up plenty of downside.

With a dearth of data and corporate news, there were probably more than a few active traders taking the early train out of town during the lackluster session. Some bottom fishing did occur - though not much - as belied by the A-D line, which favored advancing issues, for a change and very low volume.

For the week, the Dow lost 264.84 points (1.65%); the S&P gave up 29.77 (1.65%); the NASDAQ fell 61,54 points (1.51%); and, the NYSE Composite declined by 176.38 (1.74%).

A telling sign of overall weakness is represented by the broadest index (NYSE Comp.) being the worst performer for the week in percentage terms. Notably, the composite average broke through its 50-day moving average yesterday and stabilized below it today. Each of the other indices have room to spare above their respective 50-day lines.

New lows continued their dominance over new highs for the third straight session, 147-114. While that is by no means a trend, experience suggests that it could be marking a market top if new lows exceed the number of new highs for an extended period of eight or more consecutive sessions. More likely would be a back-and-forth between the daily highs and lows in a sideways trading pattern as a precedent to the market direction being decided.

The week was the worst for stocks since October, but by no means indicative of anything other than some late-year selling, fears of Fed tapering and the usual yin and yang between buyers and sellers.

More time and data need to be collected before calling for a change in direction, though the measured belief is that it is overdue, at least in the medium term. Strong support was tested and bounced off of at the lows of the day on the Dow, around 15,723.

DOW 15,755.36, +15.93 (+0.10%)
NASDAQ 4,000.98, +2.57 (+0.06%)
S&P 1,775.32, -0.18 (-0.01%)
10-Yr Note 99.02 +0.75 (+0.77%)
NASDAQ Volume 1.49 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.05 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3257-2361
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 114-147
WTI crude oil: 96.60, -0.90
Gold: 1,234.60, +9.70
Silver: 19.60, +0.151
Corn: 425.50, -8.75

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stocks Pounded Lower Again; December a Month of Not-so-Happy Holidays

Declines in equity prices are beginning to get a little bit serious, with the Dow Jones Industrials taking another 100+ point hit on Thursday after retail sales for November came in strong, but were unable to inspire confidence in the consumer sector, and unemployment claims shot up beyond expectations, to 368,000, not the kind of number expected during what is supposed to be the "busy" holiday shopping season.

Since the peak of 16,097.33, reached the day before Thanksgiving (November 27), the Dow is off 357 points, putting in a new interim low today. Still, that's a loss of just over two percent, not anything to get excited over, but the trend since Black Friday has been pronounced, with just two up days in the past 10 sessions.

Worse, new lows have taken a huge edge over new highs as of today, portending further losses should the trend extend.

The selling spilled over into precious metals, with gold and silver reversing gains made yesterday. Selling off of the metals may be a precursor of more asset depreciation, or, it could be just more of the constant discrediting of gold and silver as stores of value. It's a preposterous argument, made manifest by the fact that precious metal prices are derived from paper trading, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the intrinsic value proposition which only physical objects hold.

Overall, it's just getting a little too ugly for speculators with the year-end arriving in just 12 trading days.

DOW 15,739.43, -104.10 (-0.66%)
NASDAQ 3,998.40, -5.41 (-0.14%)
S&P 1,775.50, -6.72 (-0.38%)
10-Yr Note 98.86 -0.15 (-0.15%) Yield: 2.88%
NASDAQ Volume 1.75 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.28 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2513-3135
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 66-314
WTI crude oil: 97.50, +0.06
Gold: 1,224.90, -32.30
Silver: 19.45, -0.903
Corn: 434.25, -5.00

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stocks Suffer Heavy Losses in Biggest Two-Day Selloff in Two Months

Not since the uncertainty surrounding the government shutdown in October have stocks suffered through a two-day period such as the one ended Wednesday afternoon.

Stocks were lower at the open and never gained positive ground for the entirety of the session.

Besides the usual fears of Federal Reserve tapering in December (or soon thereafter, as everybody knows it's coming), the latest buzz comes from the far East, where talk of China's overcapacity in an enormous number of industries is fueling speculation of a slowdown in the growth rate of the world's most populous nation.

Another way of expressing overcapacity concerns is slack demand in consumer countries from the USA to the various Eurozone nations and Great Britain. All taken together, a slowdown could be coming at exactly the wrong time for the resident intellectuals at the Fed, who may see their hand forced to curtail - at least to some extent - their bond purchases.

The three-headed monster of slowing industrial growth, slack consumer demand and a pullback of stimulus appears ready to launch an attack on wary equity investors who have been mostly riding a liquidity gravy train for nearly the past five years.

While the two-day selling event may portend even more selling heading through December - usually one of the strongest months for stocks - the fact that the major averages have been down seven of the last nine sessions, belies the false move presented last Friday on November's blowout non-farm jobs data when the Dow was up nearly 200 points. Monday's five-point gain on the Dow was nothing more than a rounding error. Today and yesterday's losses have nearly given all of last Friday's gains back. The Dow is just 22 points above last Thursday's close, setting up this Thursday (tomorrow) as a potential mini-correction if the Dow closes below 15,821.51.

Technical damage has been done recently, both to blue chips and more speculative issues. The NASDAQ suffered the brunt of the selling today, losing nearly 1 1/2 percent on the day. Declining issues outnumbered advancers by more than a four to one margin.

Another concern is volume, which picked up in today's downside trading. Making matters even more bearish were the new lows, which completely subsumed today's new highs, 208-104, a key indicator for direction, and, if it holds, a sure signal for a market correction or outright bear market, something which is probably long overdue.

Happy Holidays? Depends upon which side of the trade you're on.

DOW 15,843.53, -129.60 (-0.81%)
NASDAQ 4,003.81, -56.68, (-1.40%)
S&P 1,782.22, -20.40 (-1.13%)
10-Yr Note 99.46 +0.30 (+0.30%) Yield 2.84%
NASDAQ Volume 1.78 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.46 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1096-4603
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 104-208
WTI crude oil: 97.44, -1.07
Gold: 1,257.20, -3.90
Silver: 20.36, +0.041
Corn: 439.25, +3.25

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dow, S&P Post Fifth Straight Losing Session; Fed Tapering Fears to Blame

Stcks took another turn lower on Thursday after the government reported its second estimate of GDP for the third quarter grew at a rate of 3.6%, far ahed of even the most bullish estimates and a dramatic revision from the first estimate of 2.8% growth.

Inside the numbers, more than half of the GDP push was due to inventory builds, the consumer spending portion of the calculation lower than previous quarters. Additionally, the govenment changed the way it calculates GD per the second quarter, so the adjusted figures include intangible assets (normally treated as liabilities on any corporate balance sheet, but as growth assets according to the infamous trick economists the government employs). All estimates of GDP from the second quarter of 2013 onward, and especially during the initial quarters through the second quarter of 2014, should be viewed as more mark-to-fantasy accounting by the government, designed to make the economy look better than it actually is.

The new calculus of GDP is a double-edged sword going forward, as higher GDP emotes thoughts of Fed tapering of bond purchases, currently the lifeblood of the stock markets. While it looks good on the surface, the net effect in stocks is negative, for now.

In some glorious, imagined future world, higher GDP, based on various faulty assumptions, will produce a happiness effect or contentment, which, along with the Fed's highly-dubious but nonetheless heavily-touted "wealth effect" will be hailed as the outcome of successful Fed policies or some other rubbish, and, which the lazy, out-of-touch politicians in congress and the White House can somehow claim credit.

Sadly, or perhaps happily, in this good-news-is-bad-news regime, the headline-munching algos controlling the stock market can't read between the lines and are programmed to sell on economic improvement, whether the data is flawed or pristine. The Wall Street herd (and it is nothing other than herd mentality dictating direction) is equally deficient by buying into flawed data, but those are the cards issued by the underhanded Fed bottom-card-dealing Fed. The choice to raise, hold or fold is entirely up to the traders, though at this juncture, they're collecting their profits and running from the gaming tables in advance of november non-farm payrolls, due out Friday at 8:30 am ET.

The other number issued today was courtesy of the BLS in weekly initial jobless claims, coming in at 298,000, a six-year low, the good news just adding more melancholy to traders who have brought the Dow and S&P indices lower for the fifth straight session.

Those paying attention to internals will note that the advance-decline line continues to erode, and that new lows finally overtook new highs today, for the first time since early October. Those two indicators will be supplying signals beyond the November non-farm payroll data tomorrow and should be viewed as the least-abused and most reliable signs for market direction.

Precius metals were hammered lower once again, though nary a gold or silver bug can be heard complaining, considering the lowered prices to be akin to a pre-Christmas sale on the metals.

DOW 15,821.51, -68.26 (-0.43%)
NASDAQ 4,033.16, -4.84 (-0.12%)
S&P 1,785.03, -7.78 (-0.43%)
10-Yr Note 99.08 0.00 (0.00%)
NASDAQ Volume 1.79 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.30 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2217-3433
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 127-164
WTI crude oil: 97.38, -0.18
Gold: 1,231.90, -15.30
Silver: 19.57, -0.26
Corn: 433.50, -3.00

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Day After: Stocks take Biggest Losses of Year; Gold, Silver Smashed

There was no place to hide for investors of any stripe on the day after the Fed's dramatic announcement on Wednesday that it planned to reduce asset purchases later this year.

Stocks, bonds, and commodities were all priced lower, reflecting the possible reality that the world's economy would not be propped up indefinitely by the Federal reserve's money-printing schemes of quantitative easing (QE) and zero percent interest rate policy (ZIRP).

Following Wednesday afternoon's sharp selloff, Thursday quickly turned into a blood bath, with all of the major averages breaking through support at 50-day moving averages and precious metals dropping to levels not seen in roughly three years.

Godl was down nearly $100/ounce at 4:00 pm EDT, with traffic shifting from the Comex and Globex to Asian markets which are sure to feel the after-effects of the West's massive breakdown.

Despite the huge moves in equities, the major indices are still only down less than five percent from all-time closing highs made late in May, but the abruptness of the moves in all markets was an unexpected shock to portfolios everywhere.

The 10-year note hit a three-year high yield, but pulled back slightly to end the day at 2.39. The five-year also closed at multi-year highs of 1.26% and the 30-year bond finished at 3.48%, 33 basis points higher than a month ago.

Fallout from today's moves in the markets will be far-reaching and should be considered the beginning of a new paradigm, one in which interest rates will continue to rise as (and if) the economy continues to improve, a scenario not fully bought into by everyone. While housing has shown strength in recent months, higher interest rates can only slow the growth potential as home-buyers will be able to afford less for their money or may delay purchases altogether.

Gold and silver were especially hard hit, with gold finishing below the $1300 level and silver under $20 per ounce.

With no real economic data of note and earnings still two to three weeks away, the markets will have to find some kind of stabilizing catalyst in the final week of June or heading into the Independence Day holiday the first week of July, investors will find themselves truly independent... of profits, assets and good trading ideas.

Everybody knew this day of reckoning was coming, though few thought it would be so soon and appear with such ferocity. Trading volume was at the highest level of the year, significant in that tomorrow's quarterly options expirations may have been closed out earlier than most had planned, rendering tomorrow's triple-or-quadruple-witching day moot.

Advancing issues were dwarfed by decliners, which outpaced them 9-to-1. New lows exceeded new highs, 436-59.

The losses on major indices were the worst since November 7, 2012, the day after the re-election of Barack Obama. It's not just coincidence that stocks would take their biggest tumbles on the day after electing the worst president in American history (he's easily outdone GW Bush, already) and the day following the tactical blundering of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. We are a nation of sheep led by abject morons.

Dow 14,758.32, -353.87 (2.34%)
NASDAQ 3,364.64, -78.57 (2.28%)
S&P 500 1,588.19, -40.74 (2.50%)
NYSE Composite 8,996.35, -259.36 (2.80%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,961,153,875
NYSE Volume 5,276,584,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 685-5966
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 59-436
WTI crude oil: 94.94, -3.30
Gold: 1,278.00, -96.00
Silver: 19.56, -2.063

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stocks Erase Early Gains; Dow Down Three Straight for First Time in 2013

Equities took another shot to the ribs on Tuesday as bears took control of the trading.

After an initial gain of 119 points on the Dow, sentiment turned radically negative for really no apparent reason, as selling into strength became the preferred strategy after months of buying dips.

The Dow posted its first three-day losing streak of 2013, with the other major averages following suit. Today's closing numbers put the S&P and the Dow dangerously close to their 50-day moving averages: 1610 for the S&P; 14970 on the Dow, and, any troubling signs from Thursday's initial unemployment claims could shoot the averages right through support and into a proverbial no-man's land.

Trading volume was rather tepid, but losers outnumbered gainers again, by a roughly 3:1 margin. The major indices now have entered an area that is decisively below the midpoint between recent highs and lows, trending lower, as has been the mantra for most of the month of June.

The dark lining inside the silver cloud came in the form of WTI crude oil prices, which hit a three-week high.

Bias remains bearish short-term, as new lows outpaced new highs for the second straight session and are deteriorating.

Where this goes from here is anyone's guess, though most are placing their wagers toward continued weakness in stocks as interest rates bumped up slightly again today, the 10-year closing at 2.23%, but that's what makes gambling investing so interesting.

Dow 14,995.23, -126.79 (0.84%)
NASDAQ 3,400.43, -36.52 (1.06%)
S&P 500 1,612.52, -13.61 (0.84%)
NYSE Composite 9,189.42, -66.06 (0.71%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,501,521,500
NYSE Volume 3,677,878,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1675-4828
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 129-428
WTI crude oil: 95.88, +0.50
Gold: 1,392.00, +15.00
Silver: 21.80, +0.15

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wall Street is Becoming a Falling Stock Zone

Is anyone other than the Fed governors and CNBC hosts convinced that ZIRP and QE aren't exactly working?

For the second day out of the past three, stocks suffered severe, across-the-board losses, extending the pullback that began on Friday.

The worst performing index has been the NASDAQ, which has dropped nearly 100 points since the close on Thursday (1300.18).

Dow stocks, predominated by high-yielding, dividend-producing income companies - the creme de la creme - have fared better, though the index is still down 247 points and there are still two days remaining in the trading week.

While the recent moves may be described as a precursor of the time-honored tradition of "sell in May and stay away," the directionality is troubling, because the US is supposed to be in a recovery.

Not helping matters much are the oddities coming out of Boston in the aftermath of Monday's bomb strikes, and Washington, where packages containing ricin have been showing up with increasing frequency.

Larger issues loom in Europe, where data continues to deteriorate, even in Germany, thought to be the bastion of strength.

Corporate earnings have been less-than-encouraging as well. Today's numbers from Bank of America (BAC) were notably weak, spurring the drop at the opening bell.

Still, the losses have not reached even three percent, so it may well be too early to make a call that direction has changed, though, as has been pointed out repeatedly here and elsewhere, bull markets do not last forever, and this one is heading into its 50th month.

Key data this week has included a wicked drop in the Empire State manufacturing index, from 9.2 to 3.1, a negative reading (-0.2) on CPI for March and a drop-off in building permits, suggesting that the housing sector may not be quite as healthy as the pundits have been preaching.

Volume on the day was particularly heavy, a signal not lost on both bulls and bears; decliners outpaced advancing issues four-to-one; new lows, for the first time this year, superseded new highs, and by a rather large amount, another key metric.

After the bell, both American Express (AXP) and eBay (EBAY) missed gross revenue targets and just barely beat (each by a penny) the per share earnings forecasts.

Commodities continue to be beaten down as deflationary forces appear to be winning at the present time. Depending upon which side you butter your bread, that may be good or bad news.

There is good news in oil, which hit a multi-month low. If prices for crude continue to depress and remain so, it won't be long before driving Americans finally get a break at the gas pump.

Gold and silver continue to be on sale, though shortages in physical metal are widespread and premiums over spot prices are ranging anywhere from 16 to 35 percent. If that condition persists, forget the gold and silver ETFs, they will eventually break down as the backers are unable to deliver physical metal on contracts.

LATE BREAKING: Senate votes down gun control "compromise" measure. Long live the 2nd amendment!
Europe's leading parliamentarian, Nigel Farage:

Dow 14,618.59, -138.19 (0.94%)
NASDAQ 3,204.67, -59.96 (1.84%)
S&P 500 1,552.01, -22.56 (1.43%)
NYSE Composite 8,955.47, -130.96 (1.44%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,889,783,125
NYSE Volume 4,579,846,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1382-5083
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 87-178 (this could be huge!)
WTI crude oil: 86.68, -2.04
Gold: 1,373.10, -14.30
Silver: 23.24, -0.383

Friday, March 1, 2013

Stocks Reverse Early Losses, Close Near All-Time Highs

Does it really matter why?

The Dow was down 116 points in early trading (9:45 am ET) after the monthly report on personal income and spending showed a modest (.02%) increase in spending but a 3.6% decline in income, the worst such loss in 20 years.

Futures markets had been pointing to a lower open to the first day of March, and the data exacerbated the condition.

However, stocks began to grind higher, eventually staying positive after turning into the green at noon. The remainder of the session was fairly undramatic, with traders speculating on just when the new all-time highs would be breached.

It's inevitable, no matter how bad the news is.

Meanwhile, the top clowns in Washington - Obama, Boehner, McConnell, Reid and Pelosi (the Fumbling Five) agreed to disagree about the sequester and allowed the cuts to happen, the president taking to the podium to announce the foolishness just before the lunch hour.

The it was off to the golf course for a quick round and afterward, martinis with the "in" crowd.

Ugh. Really, it's that bad.

On the bright side, the number of new 52-week lows has been slowly but steadily rising. Nothing close to parity yet, but it is a trend worth watching. One could make a case that the Dow and S&P might make new all-time highs just in time for a market reversal. After all, the current bull market is entering its 49th week with only one correction of more than 10% (August 2001), and as bulls go, this one's getting a bit long on the hoof.

Additionally, oil finished at its lowest price of the year, hovering just above $90 per barrel. Now, if that trend continues and translates into lower fuel prices, this sequestration idea might just turn out to be OK after all.

At the end of the week, a colleague pointed out this well-researched article which points up the real US debt. And you thought it was just $16.6 trillion.

Dow 14,089.66, +35.17 (0.25%)
NASDAQ 3,169.74, +9.55 (0.30%)
S&P 500 1,518.20, +3.52 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite 8,874.19, +5.48 (0.06%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,869,785,125
NYSE Volume 4,125,383,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3447-2852
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 250-78
WTI crude oil: 90.68, -1.37
Gold: 1,572.30, -5.80
Silver: 28.49, +0.058

Friday, November 16, 2012

John Boehner Rescues Markets... for Today

Stocks were slip-sliding away again on Friday until Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, emerged from a meeting with the president sounding very conciliatory and committed to a deal on the fiscal cliff issues facing the federal government.

Boehner spoke to the press just before noon, as stocks reached their lows of the day. Following his remarks that there was a "framework" in the negotiations - which include fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, Nancy Peolsi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid - stocks took off on a tear, with all the major indices quickly erasing losses and turing positive, where they remained, for the most part, into the close.

The Dow, which had been sporting a loss of 71 points, rallied 120 points in a matter of twenty minutes.

Boehner has a tricky path to navigate, between playing hard ball with Democrats while keeping his fellow Republicans - especially those of the Tea Party denomination - from mutiny and potentially blowing up negotiations, but for today, at least, he played the part of a Wall Street superhero.

A couple of other salient points on which to close out the week:

October industrial production dropped 0.4% and capacity utilization fell from 78.2 to 77.8, a significant decline, suggesting that the economy may not be just limping along, but actually slipping.

The advance-decline line was positive for the first time this week, though new lows were once again ahead of new highs, for the eighth consecutive session, or, for those cynics in our midst, since the re-election of President Obama.

It was a real downer of a week for the bulls, especially being options expiry on Friday, a day usually reserved for back-slapping and rounds of drinks over big scores. There was probably more crying into beers late this afternoon than glad-handing fellow insiders.

That's a wrap, and don't expect much next week, as the market faces a short week with a half-day session on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Additionally, President Obama will be visiting the Far East during the week, so no meaningful negotiations are likely until his return and after the weekend, leaving the politicians just about four weeks before Christmas to work things out.

Good luck with that.

Dow 12,588.31, +45.93 (0.37%)
NASDAQ 2,853.13, +16.19 (0.57%)
S&P 500 1,359.88, +6.55 (0.48%)
NYSE Composite 7,931.55, +34.67 (0.44%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,191,482,500
NYSE Volume 3,991,566,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3638-1796
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 28-329
WTI crude oil: 86.67, +1.22
Gold: 1,714.70, +0.90
Silver: 32.37, -0.304

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stocks Stabilize, Still End Lower as More Trouble Looms

After Wednesday's wicked downdraft, cooler heads prevailed in Thursday's trading, keeping losses to a minimum as bargain-hunters swooped in to snatch up some shares of stocks which look to be marked down for a pre-Christmas sale.

Whether or not these so-called "bargains" will turn into winners is anybody's guess, though the real experts in market dynamics see more trouble ahead as Washington tries to come to a deal before January 1 of 2013, when mandatory spending cuts and tax increases are set to take place.

Placing one's hope - and one's money - on politicians in Washington actually accomplishing anything of such importance is akin to betting on a cheap claimer in a stakes race: the odds are very much against it.

As was the case with the battle over raising the debt limit last August, the DC crowd has shown no willingness to compromise on much of anything and the "fiscal cliff" issue is right up drama alley for our clownish elected leaders.

Eventually, the adult in the room seems to be the president, Barack Obama, who must navigate the press and the pressure of dealing with an intractable house of representatives, whose sole mission seems to be to spare the wealthiest two percent of earners any tax increases, even at the peril of the nation.

How this tableau will eventually play out is somewhat predictable. It will be taken out to the last possible moment, and quite possibly beyond. Word is that the legislators have until mid-February to actually come to their senses and a deal if the United States is to avoid an utterly avoidable recession, caused entirely by public policy.

This play has certainly caught Wall Street's attention, as evidenced by the sharp declines over the past month and especially since the election, just over a week ago.

What some market participants fail to realize - or won't say publicly - is that the market may well have already run out of gas, almost all of it supplied by the magnanimous Federal Reserve, whose QE policies have injected trillions into the hands of the banking cartel.

The Dow and S&P made double tops in mid-September and early October, then failed to surpass those highs later in the month, a classic chart pattern signaling a primary trend change and a bearish one, similar to the breakdown in the fall of 2007.

As for the NASDAQ, it didn't even bother to retrace the highs of September, simply capitulating in October and continuing a cascading fall, closing in quickly on the June lows.

If this is the beginning of a bear market, the foolery in Washington will be nothing more than a sideshow. The economy - both here and globally - is in a weakened condition already and may not be able to sustain even a medium shock, much less one that raises taxes and trims budgets, reducing head-count, and thus, overall spending.

Add to that the double-dip recession now official in the Eurozone and growing tensions in the Middle East and the recipe for disaster is laid bare.

Wall Street and its brokerage houses should emblazon their entrances with a warning sign: Beware Falling Stocks.

Today's minor decline could be seen as somewhat remarkable in the face of some disturbing economic events. Initial unemployment claims rose dramatically, from 361K to 439K this week, due partly to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey laid an egg as well, posting a reading of negative 10.7 on expectations of a fat zero.

Besides the internal damage done to markets, all of the major indices are now firmly moored below their 200-day moving averages, not a pretty sight until some catalyst comes along to change the dynamic, and none appears to be on the horizon.

The advance-decline line was still severely negative and new lows exceeded new highs for the sixth day in a row.

All signs point to further weakness, though a technical bounce could send stocks up briefly, but the holiday season, thus far, isn't shaping up to be a very jolly time.

Dow 12,542.38, -28.57 (0.23%)
NASDAQ 2,836.94, -9.87 (0.35%)
S&P 500 1,353.32, -2.17 (0.16%)
NYSE Composite 7,896.87, -6.56 (0.08%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,975,168,625
NYSE Volume 3,892,497,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1954-3591
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 25-456 (this is extreme!)
WTI crude oil: 85.45, -0.87
Gold: 1,713.80, -16.30
Silver: 32.67, -0.206

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stocks Take Another Beating; Dow Off 185, NASDAQ in Correction

All the issues and problems facing the US and global economies are coming home to roost in a perfect storm of excessive debt, fiscal intransigence, monetary experimentation, overpriced equities, general distrust of leadership, lack of growth, geopolitical tension and poor earnings prospects for corporations.

The selloff today was a continuation of what's been occurring since before the election, but has accelerated dramatically since. Wall Street is quite unhappy with prospects that President Obama will not budge from his position to eliminate the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest two percent of Americans, as emphatically spelled out in an early afternoon press conference.

The president was cool, calm and collected, fielding questions on a variety of topics, but, even though he mentioned compromise frequently, he did not waver in his commitment to tax the wealthy at more than their current rates, including gains on investments, particularly - Wall Street fears - regular income and dividends.

Taking their cue from the president's message, stocks, which opened briefly higher, but quickly fell deep into the red, made new lows nearing the end of his remarks and continued lower into the close, the Dow suffering a 185-point loss and the NASDAQ reaching levels 10% below their recent highs, crashing into correction territory.

With all of the major indices, including even the Russell 2000 of mostly small cap stocks, continuing their descent below their respective 200-day moving averages, bottoms were sought out, though none could be found.

The massive run-up which began in March of 2009 is being unwound, with most of the blame being laid upon the politicians in Washington, DC, though there are more than a few more scapegoats, notably the greed and feed crowd that started the entire mess - the irresponsible banking community and their masters of control, the Federal Reserve.

With the dual policies of ZIRP and massive monetization, the Fed enabled much of Wall Street's excess and continues to do so even today. The neo-Keynesian policies of Ben Bernanke and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, has spawned a debt bubble deflation crisis that they cannot - as much as they try - spend their way out of.

Most individual investors have been fleeing the market or have already taken their seats on the sidelines, so the damage being done to stocks is going to impact the middle and upper classes the most, with 401k, investment and pension plans taking the brunt of the declines.

In particular, Dow stocks, seen by many as representing the core of American industrialism, have lost more than 1100 points since their highs in early October, erasing most of the gains made throughout the year.

While Washington politicians dither over negotiations to avoid massive tax increases and huge budget cuts (which some say are needed), investors are worried that whatever solution they arrive at will be too little, too late and more of a can-kicking exercise than real reform.

With the holidays fast approaching, Americans are not in a mood for more business as usual from either Wall Street or Washington, and the anger is growing, even on Main Street, where small businesses continue to suffer or skirt taxation completely.

The next few days and weeks could easily turn into a crisis more severe than that of 2008, since none of the improprieties produced by that financial peer into the abyss have yet to be resolved, and now there are fewer measures the Fed or the Treasury can employ to keep the economy afloat.

If anyone thought that the crisis in America was over - to say nothing of the even worse conditions in Europe - they should pay close attention to what happens over the next sixty to ninety days, because they will surely be replete with wild market swings, irony and recriminations from all sides against each other.

Surviving into and beyond 2013 will be a major test of not only the American spirit but of Americans' willingness to accept leadership. President Obama's election to a second term was probably the correct choice, but he alone cannot fix the mess others created.

After today, the bankers and the wizard genii of Wall Street should be running for cover they should have sought out years ago.

Today was a truly dark day, though, from the looks of things, there are many more to come.

Grow some crops if you can, stay close to home and loved ones, and remember our motto: FREE HOUSES FOR EVERYONE!

Dow 12,570.95, -185.23 (1.45%)
NASDAQ 2,846.81, -37.08 (1.29%)
S&P 500 1,355.49, -19.04 (1.39%)
NYSE Composite 7,903.42, -119.81 (1.49%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,103,531,000
NYSE Volume 4,062,878,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 822-4741
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 39-333 (WoW!)
WTI crude oil: 86.32, +0.94
Gold: 1,730.10, +5.30
Silver: 32.88, +0.393

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Slipping Over the Fiscal Cliff? Stocks Dumped at End of Day

Today's late day action isn't what has been the norm for this artificially-pumped-up market for the last three-and-a-half years. Normally, at the end of the session, the markets stage a "miracle" rally out of the blue, then send futures soaring into the next day's trading.

Today was a little bit different and investors better get used to it or get out, go short or just suffer losses.

Fear of the US going over the fiscal cliff and sending the economy into a tailspin recession would be an unabashed disaster, but that seems to be more on the mind of traders than anything else these days. The problem is that the issues facing the US government aren't going away soon and aren't likely to be solved by a president who's done little in four years and a congress that's done nothing good for the American public for the past 12.

So, after taking on a 67-point loss on the Dow in early trading, stocks regained their momentum (what little there was), based largely on results from Home Depot (HD) which beat third quarter estimates and was traded up to a 12-year high on the day. As has been the pattern recently, however, the rally which took the Dow up 83 points was quickly sold off, and, in the final hour of trading, stocks took the beating they so richly deserved in the morning.

If not for the bogus midday rally (which, remarkably, was a pan-Atlantic event, taking all European stock indices up sharply at the closes of their sessions), the Dow may well have suffered a 100+ loss, but the day-trading crowd that controls all buying and selling with their wickedly fast HFT computer algos couldn't have that, so, the small loss is what got cooked into the day.

With no economic news and very few significant companies reporting third quarter earnings, the markets are stuck with waiting on the government for solutions, and, from what we've seen here and in Europe and Japan, that can be a long and painful wait.

The action continues tomorrow, with just two days left before options expiration on Friday. This current round hasn't been pretty nor profitable for many.

It was the fifth straight day in which new lows topped new highs (and by a widening margin) and the same for the A-D line being negative. all of the major indices are trading below their 200-day moving averages, with no relief in sight.

Dow 12,756.18, -58.90 (0.46%)
NASDAQ 2,883.89, -20.37 (0.70%)
S&P 500 1,374.53, -5.50 (0.40%)
NYSE Composite 8,023.23, -30.83 (0.38%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,814,780,250
NYSE Volume 3,427,123,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1773-3741
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 56-249
WTI crude oil: 85.38, -0.19
Gold: 1,724.80, -6.10
Silver: 32.49, 0.035

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wall Street Peers Over Fiscal Cliff, Likes the View, Maybe

Only in the Wall Street casino can such madness prevail.

When the S&P 500 index closes almost exactly on its 200-day moving average on a day in which it was down, then up sharply, then down, then up again and finally closing almost where it started, one has a sense of the level of manipulation designed to produce the maximum level of uncertainty.

It's working.

The day started with stocks down sharply, but slowly advancing in anticipation of Rep. John Boehner's brief news conference shortly after 11:00 am ET, during which it sold off slightly before rising - after his very abrupt departure - to what would turn out to be the highs of the day, up 78 points on the Dow, just before President Obama made prepared remarks at 1:07 pm. During and just after the president's appearance, the Dow lost all of its gains and fell briefly into negative territory, a move of 103 points in just under an hour.

Stocks spent the rest of the afternoon folling along the line of unchange, with a couple of sharp rises just to keep things interesting.

Naturally, the final hour turned into a circus microcosm of the day, with the Dow up, down, up, down and eventually closing with a gain of four points.

So much for resolution.

The dueling parties in Washington preened and postured for the cameras and microphones while the wise guys in New York pushed buy and sell buttons with just enough pressure to keep markets in suspended animation for the full session, miraculously ending with gains of less than 10 points on all exchanges (four or less excluding the NASDAQ).

It was politico-socio-psycho-econo theater at its best.

There's surely more to come from the recently-re-anointed crowd in Washington and the usual suspects in New York as we end our way through the final seven weeks of 2012.

While the news and financial networks scramble and flail about trying to explain the undesirable effects of falling over the "fiscal cliff," though Wall Streeters seem perfectly at ease tip-toeing along the precipice. One gets the distinct feeling that the deal has already been struck and the rest is just for show.

How to trade it? Well, one can take the virtuous route and ignore it all, or play along with the pros and prepare to be beaten by their wickedly swift HFT algos which scan and skim every trade.

Bottom line is that there is no actual bottom line, so long as Ben Bernanke sits quietly in the background, his finger poised to punch up another couple hundred billion dollars as needed, along with his counterpart, Mario Draghi, in Europe.

Did somebody mention Europe? That place where equally nothing matters? Yes, they're still out there, kicking their own can further down the road to perdition.

With the elections in the US over and done with, it's back to business as usual, wherein neither the politicians nor the bankers can lose.

For all you poker fans, the market did leave a couple of "tells." Gold and silver notched nice gains again, and, for the third day in a row, new lows slaughtered new highs, 231-76.

That's a pretty fat slice of salami laying out there, Wall Street. Some of us actually notice... and our appetite is good.

Dow 12,815.39, +4.07(0.03%)
NASDAQ 2,904.87, +9.29(0.32%)
S&P 500 1,379.85, +2.34(0.17%)
NYSE Composite 8,053.56, +2.74(0.03%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,802,865,630
NYSE Volume 3,572,545.750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2707-2778
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 76-231
WTI crude oil: 86.07, +0.98
Gold: 1,730.90, +4.90
Silver: 32.60, +0.359

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dead Cats Don't Bounce; No Joy in Fraudville; Stocks Continue Slide

Maybe, as the movie title suggests, white men can't jump, but Wall Street proved today that dead cats don't bounce... at least not very high.

Stocks got a little bit of a boost from futures pumping prior to the opening bell, but the dismal nature of earnings for the third quarter made any gains transitory, fleeting and utterly disappointing (much like a lot of people in this author's life).

It is as it should be, perhaps. Fed policies do not a market make, so the major indices are now well below the levels encountered when the Chairman, the pseudo-salubrious Ben Bernanke, announced QE3, or, rather, QEtc. or QEternity on September 13.

The prescription the good doctor of economics gave the markets was unlimited buying of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), those ubiquitous instruments of mass financial destruction that essentially started the whole financial and economic mess in the first place, and which will, almost without doubt, end up worth less than what the Federal Reserve pays for them.

With any luck, the Fed's foray into economic wonderland, replete with diamond-farting unicorns and frogs that belch profits, will end in tears and anguish for not only the lower and middle classes, but the rich and self-appointed masters of the universe as well. We wish them no luck, because tactically, they have erred in their assessment of the global economy, not once or twice, but repeatedly since the advent of the crisis in 2007 or 2008, take your pick.

Today's FOMC rate policy decision was another non-event, the Fed reiterating that it would stick to its plans until 2015, which would be long after the chairman has departed, ostensibly in early 2014, should he even last that long.

The market is more interested these day in politics and earnings, each of which offering a mixed bag of blessings or banes, so precarious is the global outlook. Fears are rising that President Obama will win re-election, though the real fears are over the poor earnings reports pouring into the street like so many viperous snakes ready to bite the legs of impudent investors standing still.

Layoff announcements from Ford, Dow Chemical and Volkswagen were only whispered on Wall Street today. In the coming months, workforce reductions will be major headlines as all attempts to revive the economy the banks destroyed will ultimately fail. Europe is sinking steadily deeper into a black hole of debt and deflation, with Asia following soon, and the US - the last bastion of relief in a sea of declining opportunity - to join them in the hell of destroyed currencies and wrecked economies within short order.

Stocks have levitated for months, but the handwriting is clearly written and the game is nearly up. The US elections of November 6 mark a turning, a reckoning that will be absolute and without reprieve. All of the Merkels, Bernankes, Legardes and Draghis of the world cannot resurrect that which was already dead when they first took notice.

While there may be a few days of brightness ahead in the near future for stocks, to outlook continues to deteriorate and today's market action verifies the quietly-held beliefs of the skeptics: all is lost.

There is no joy in Fraudville; mighty Bernanke has struck out.

Dow 13,077.34, -25.19 (0.19%)
NASDAQ 2,981.70, -8.76 (0.29%)
S&P 500 1,408.75, -4.36 (0.31%)
NYSE Composite 8,179.26, -16.05 (0.20%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,965,715,000
NYSE Volume 3,346,029,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2404-3120
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 97-94
WTI crude oil: 85.73, -0.94
Gold: 1,701.60, -7.80
Silver: 31.62, -0.173

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Germany's Merkel Jeered in Athens; Liars, Cheaters, Swindlers and Psychopaths

Markets around the globe took a bit of a beating on Tuesday, just as earnings season is about to get underway in the United States.

The catalyst for today's decline is unknown, though the first major drop in US markets coincided neatly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Athens, Greece, where she was jeered by thousands, including some dressed in Nazi uniforms, brandishing swastika flags, and gave the Heil, Hitler straight-armed salute that signified the reign of terror that Germany inflicted upon Europe some 70 years ago.

Greeks, their children, and others who fell under Nazi influence have not forgotten. There are still many unhealed wounds in Europe stemming from Nazi occupation of most of the continent and the lives lost during the deadliest of wars.

The demonstration by the Greeks was isolated, but still calls to mind the devastation that befell Europe under Adolf Hitler and his hordes of merciless killers. Of course, America's entry into the World War II signaled the beginning of the end of Hitler's reign of terror. Like all psychopaths, he was exposed and defeated, freeing the continent from the grip of fascism.

Seeing the sarcastic rendering of neo-Naziism could prove a heartening reminder that nearly all liars, cheaters, swindlers and psychopaths are eventually brought to some form of justice, either exposing themselves by their own foolish deeds or brought out from the shadows by those who choose to confront them, deny them and defeat them.

It would be refreshing to think that all the liars and cheaters of the world would be found out and demonstrably punished, though reality teaches that that is not the case. From the scandalous likes of mega-bankers to the small-minded, petty fools who concoct flimsy excuses by which to break deals, or the equally stupid types who hear only what they want to hear and make up stories, put words in other people's mouths and are general abusers, these all should be found out and made to pay dearly for their transgressions.

Failing the exposure of frauds and liars, the best the righteous can hold in their hearts is the thought that the prevaricators, manipulators and others of their ilk have to live with themselves, unforgivable and not forgiven. Their puny lives consist of their own little hell, an isolated, brutal existence that stains the soul and darkens the mind. The psychopaths among us cannot love, cannot feel the pain of others but can only inflict it, fool themselves with false pride, believing that they are somehow better, privileged, never at fault and unapologetic. They are sick, depraved and truly despicable human beings.

To these pariahs, the upstanding, the honest, the happy people of the world say, good riddance. Your personal torment is payback enough for your evil transgressions.

As for the markets, some interesting developments in the A-D line, which was 7-2 in favor of the losers and the new highs - new lows indicator, which flipped over to negative, 49-39 on the NASDAQ, though remained in favor of new highs on the NYSE, 97-26, a much narrower gap than in recent days. Paying close attention to both of these indicators may be investing 101, but they are among the most reliable metrics when change is in the wind, and a correction has been and still is, long overdue.

As earnings season heats up, we'll find out whether the market can sustain itself on the wings of Bernanke's put, unlimited MBS bond purchases, ZIRP and other Keynesian-like manipulations.

Dow 13,473.53, -110.12 (0.81%)
NASDAQ 3,065.02, -47.33 (1.52%)
S&P 500 1,441.48, -14.40 (0.99%)
NYSE Composite 8,279.11, -80.02 (0.96%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,646,239,125
NYSE Volume 3,187,523,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1244-4293
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 146-65
WTI crude oil: 92.39, +3.06
Gold: 1,765.00, -10.70
Silver: 33.98, -0.032

Monday, June 25, 2012

Europe's Pain Keeps World Markets in Red as Week Begins Badly

Back in the headlines again, Europe's continuing woes took front and center position in Monday's investment landscape.

Spain kicked off the festivities with a formal request for aid of up to 100 billion euros for their busted banking sector as they await a ratings cut from Moody's on all Spanish banks, expected to be delivered after the close of US equity markets.

The reality of another bank bailout by the EU and the rumors of the Moody's downgrade was enough to send all European indices lower, lead by the Athens Index Composite, which fell 6.84%. The Swiss Market was harmed the least, down on 0.75%, while the French and German bourses fell by more than two percent.

Greece added to the downside momentum as newly-appointed Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos resigned his post due to ill health. The tiny island nation of Cyprus became the latest victim, telling the EU that it needs a bailout for its banks - heavily exposed to Greece - and its public sector economy. Estimates call for immediate funds of between 5-10 billion Euros to keep the nation banks and government operating.

US markets fell out of bed like a drunk with a bad hangover, down right from the opening bell through to the close, with the NASDAQ leading the way lower, followed closely by the S&P 500.

Stocks staged a small, uninspired rally near the end of the day, but there was little support to the buying. The evidence that the world is on the brink of a catastrophic global depression are simply too obvious to mask further. Investors are running scared money into the meat-grinder that is otherwise known as the capital markets in hopes that the European leaders will offer some kind of plan to end the crisis, one which has already spread across the nations on the southern periphery.

Internals suggested that today's moves could be a turing point for US markets as losers led gainers by a more than 3:1 margin and new lows outnumbered new highs by nearly 2:1.

The new highs to new lows reading, which has been consistent over the years as an early indicator of bullish and bearish trends has recently vacillated between positive and negative, so a sustained period in which new lows exceed new highs would point toward a more severe downturn and a return to bear market conditions.

As of today's close, the Dow is resting at 6% below the May 1 highs, so a move below 11,000 would have to be reached before true bear market conditions (-20%) would prevail. With the situation in Europe continuing to unravel and conditions in the US not gathering any momentum and actually, according to the latest data, already showing signs of stress and weakness, a downturn of that severity cannot be ruled out through the summer months, which are traditionally a slow period for stocks.

Whether the pain comes in the form of a sudden event or as a slow, painful, prolonged ordeal depends greatly upon how panicked investors become. With news and events so highly unpredictable, but bordering on crisis levels, a major happenstance could come from any quarter, be it Syria's upheavals, Germany contentious position or the collapse of Greece or Spain or even the unthinkable, Italy or France.

Once again, it cannot be stressed too much that events may be politically manipulated to coincide with the US presidential election in November, so great caution is urged, especially into the latter stages of the election cycle, late September into October.

Of course, media control being practically omnipresent, the outbreak of war or economic apocalypse could be spun into a positive, though that kind of propagandizing would only satisfy the controllers wishing to make a quick killing as it would likely be unsustainable in light of the true picture.

Following Friday's phony fermentation to the upside on global banks' repudiation of Moody's massive, across-the-board downgrades, it's a very good possibility that the manufactured rally was nothing more than another scam on the public to the profit of the banking cartel, who went long and then short, winning on both sides of the trade.

With that kind of perfidious behavior prevailing in nearly all capital markets, day-to-day movements should be greatly discounted and longer term trends the focus of greater scrutiny.

Dow 12,502.66, -138.12 (1.09%)
Nasdaq 2,836.16, -56.26 (1.95%)
S&P 500 1,313.72, -21.30 (1.60%)
NYSE Composite 7,491.90, -124.69 (1.64%)
NYSE Volume 3,433,923,250
Nasdaq Volume 1,432,183,125
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1362-4261
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 87-163
WTI crude oil: 79.21, -0.55
Gold: 1,588.40, +21.50
Silver: 27.52, +0.86

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Equities Continue Retreat on Greece, Euro Breakup Fears

Sooner or later, the deniers will realize that the global economy is coming apart at the seams and that holding any kind of asset that isn't tangible, liquid or immediately tradable may not be worth the risk.

Almost daily, there are signs that the euro experiment is imploding, with Greece and France now at the forefront, but Italy, Spain and Portugal not far behind in terms of insolvency, anarchy and chaos.

The issues are the same: governments promised too much, spent too much and now don't have the funds to continue operating as they were during boom times. The specific trouble for nations using the Euro as currency is that they cannot print their way out of their messes, a la the United States, and must rely on the continued support of their neighboring nations and the ECB and IMF to fund their operations.

In Greece, the leader of Greece's Left Coalition party, Alexis Tsipras, began to start forming a coalition government, calling for repudiation of the bailout measures forced upon the nation and an investigation into whether the bailouts were even legal.

As Greece moved closer and closer to anarchy, chaos, and the eventual default upon its debts, it is becoming more clear that Greece will not long remain a member of the Eurozone, it's fate sealed by decades of underfunding pensions, loose tax policies and general corruption at high levels of the government.

France's new president, Francois Hollande, has promised voters to curtail the austerity measures that have cut jobs and pensions and has crippled the nation's economy.

European stocks were, by and large, down on the day, while in the US, the major indices suffered heavy losses early on, but rallied in the afternoon on nothing but vapors and in defiance of the reality offered by a collapsing European Union and general sluggishness in the global economy.

The Dow was down as many as 198 points before the afternoon rally cut those losses in half. The same was true on the NASDAQ and S&P, the latter down 22 points before shaving them to a marginal decline.

Despite the completely bogus and likely foolhardy buying into the dip mentality that is pervasive in these day-traded, momentum markets, the smartest of the smart money has probably already headed for the hills, seeking safe havens in treasuries or other hard assets, though one could not tell that from the action in gold, which, along with silver, was battered down and did not experience relief.

Central banks have been buying gold with both hands recently, all the better for them is their ability to dictate price to the market, swooping in to buy at bargain prices. However, today's activity was reminiscent of early 2008, before the great collapse that took all assets lower, though gold and silver began rebounding months before equities. Today's trade was more than likely the result of margin calls on stocks, being paid off by selling gold and silver, another foolhardy strategy.

While the utter collapse of the Euro and the global economy is by no means a certainty, signs of slowing and antecedent deflation are emerging, the real question being how far the US Federal Reserve, the ECB and other central banks will go with more policy easing and money printing before the game engulfs them completely.

The late-day rally on wall Street may have eased some nerves and cooled some of the fear, but the trend is surely in place, as stocks have fallen in four of the past five sessions (five for five for the Dow).

Also notable was the heavy volume, another sign that investors who want out are getting out, albeit not at the prices they may have wanted. Additionally, new highs - new lows has been negative for three consecutive sessions.

Dow 12,932.09, -76.44 (0.59%)
NASDAQ 2,946.27, -11.49 (0.39%)
S&P 500 1,363.72, -5.86 (0.43%)
NYSE Composite 7,887.26, -61.50 (0.77%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,169,278,000
NYSE Volume 4,215,958,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2403-3181
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 110-178
WTI crude oil: 97.01, -0.93
Gold: 1,604.50, -34.60
Silver: 29.46, -0.66

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stocks in Panic Mode; Bankruptcy Lines Forming: High-Low Indicator at Extreme; Social Fabric Shredding

The Markets

Stocks began the fourth quarter the same way they ended the third, with waves of selling on fears of a Greek default and recession in the US and Europe.

After an initial lift from fair economic data, especially the ISM index posting a 51.6 number after a 50.6 reading in August and August construction spending showing a 1.4% gain, US stocks drifted lower throughout the day, with the final onslaught taking the S&P 500 to a close of 1099.21, the first time the widely-watched index closed below 1100 since September 8, 2010 (1098.87) and well below the recent low of 1120.76 (August 10). The S&P now stands (or slouches, as the case may be) less than nine points from official bear market territory, which would commence at 1090.89. The S&P is down 12.6% for the year.

The other major indices are also closing in on bear market territory. Another day like today would send the NASDAQ down more than 20% from its April 29 highs. The Dow Jones Industrials are faring best of the bad lot, though still just 375 points from marking a bear market.

Losses began overnight in Asian markets and cascaded through Europe and into the Americas. Most European bourses have been in bear markets for more than a few months.

News flows from Europe were not encouraging as the 17 countries which are backing Greek bailout funds met again on Monday but failed to come to an agreement on the second tranche of aid to the failing EU member.

That sent stocks into negative territory for the remainder of the session, closing at the lows of the day on very heavy volume in a broad decline. All 12 sectors were lower on the day, led by capital goods, financials and energy. WTI crude oil closed at its lowest price in over a year, fueling speculation that lower gas prices are on the way as weather cools and demand falls.

Dow 10,655.30, -258.08 (2.36%)
NASDAQ 2,335.83, -79.57 (3.29%)
S&P 500 1,099.23, -32.19 (2.85%)
NYSE Compos 6,571.45, -220.20 (3.24%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,523,549,250
NYSE Volume 6,714,723,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 772-5877
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 19-1405
WTI crude oil: 77.61, -1.59
Gold: 1654.40, +29.60
Silver: 30.33, +0.36

After the bankruptcy filing of Swedish automaker Saab last month signaled the coming onrush of large corporate bankruptcies, three companies have been making news on that front.

Eastman Kodak (EK), which has hired the law firm of Jones Day to explore "reorganization" possibilities, rallied back strongly after Friday's stock collapse. The company's shares are at a bargain-basement level of 1.34, a 77% gain on the day. Reports that creditors and investors are speaking to advisors have surfaced as the company continues to burn through $600-700 million annually off their broken business model, negatively impacted by the advent of digital photography.

Shares of American Airlines (AMR) were halted today amid rumors of bankruptcy filing. The oldest US legacy carrier lost 33% today, closing at 1.98.

The banking sector continues to be rocked by the continuing mortgage morass, new regulations and now, computer glitches. Bank of America's website and online banking functions were unavailable to millions of customers for a long time over the past few days, frustrating and infuriating its customer base just days after announcing that debit card users would face a five-dollar-per-month fee beginning in January for the privilege of spending their own money. Shares of the nation's largest bank closed down 59 cents, at 5.53, the lowest price since the depths of the financial crisis, when the stock closed at 3.12 on March 6, 2009.

Along with the S&P 500 breaking below 1100, the number of new lows today was a screaming signal to "get out of Dodge" as quickly as possible. Those 1405 new lows are at a level not seen since autumn of 2008, when the entire financial system was on its knees and needed a $700 billion "fiX" courtesy of a deal ripped from US taxpayers by then-Treasury Secretary (thief) Hank Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. No other indicator has been as reliable or accurate in picking crashes than the New high - New low indicator. According to the indication that has been flashing for weeks, a major down-leg is about to commence, especially with the NYSE, Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all closing below support levels during the recent two-month slide.

This is a potentially world-shattering situation that has been developing for not just the past two months, but over the past three years. Stocks could free-fall as financial institutions in Europe, Asia and in the US face severe liquidity and solvency issues and sovereigns are unable to save them this time, concerned, rightfully so, with their own continued existence. The level of public distrust has risen to unprecedented levels. Over 700 people were arrested in New York, trapped on the Brooklyn Bridge (see video below) by New York City police funded by JP Morgan Chase.

This is only the tip of the news iceberg the mainstream media doesn't want the US public to see, hear or read. Peaceful protests in Boston, New York, St. Louis and Kansas City have taken on new life, resulted in mass arrests and are a threat to the ruling elite.

The entire human population of the planet is teetering on the brink of mass rioting and localized anarchy.