Showing posts with label President Obama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Obama. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

WARNING: Congressional Democrats Are Detrimental To The Health Of The Stock Market

Just in case anybody's keeping score, Monday marked the eighth straight day of losses for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Only the buoyant NASDAQ finished with gains, a sign that there are still plenty of speculative players plying "animal spirits" despite evidence to the contrary, i.e., the VIX spiked above 13, stocks cannot maintain momentum. The eight straight losing sessions is the longest for the Dow since August 2011.

Primary drivers for the recent about face from all-time highs are politicians in Washington, now about to erupt into all-out war between the two parties over everything from the fake "Russians hacked the election" story, to blocking the confirmation of Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, to walking back and away from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R). Claiming he is unfit for the job, Democrats are calling for him to step down, amid accusations that he met secretly with President Trump over concerns that the incoming president was bugged by outgoing president Barack Obama's administration in November, December and January.

The Kafkaesque nature of recent developments in congress can only help make Wall Street even more jittery than it already is. Democrats have been bolstered by the stumbling attempt by Republicans in the House to overturn Obamacare, as Speak of the House, Paul Ryan, cancelled a vote on the proposed measure, which was hastily prepared and loaded with amendments and proposals that left the bill dead on arrival.

It has become crystal clear that Democrats in congress are still upset of losing the presidential election last November and trying to obstruct and delay any attempts by the current administration to fix what is wrong with the country. The new delaying tactics are designed to extend to the next recess, on April 7, at which point the Democrats can return to their districts and/or devise new tactics to thwart the smooth operation of government over a two-week span. Congress won't reconvene until the 25th of April once the recess is called.

The obvious battle being waged in Washington is not good for anyone investing in anything (except safe havens: bonds silver, gold), until one side emerges victorious and a path forward can be envisioned. Since there's little to no chance of either side claiming a decisive victory, investors should be aware and prepared for a long period of indecision and therefore, wild swings in markets and individual stocks. Nothing is safe within an environment of stealth, obfuscation, denial, lies, and feigned surprise as exists in the halls of congress leading the political sphere.

A well-defined move of funds to cash, bonds, and precious metals will offer a signal that a bear market is dead ahead, something which should be expected to occur in any case, as the current bull run is overextended and built upon mountains of debt and stock buybacks.

Developments to come - both from Washington and Wall Street - may prove deadly to bullish sentiment and frightening to anyone who still has a memory of what "normal" should look like.


At The Close 3.27.17:
Dow: 20,550.98, -45.74 (-0.22%)
NASDAQ: 5,840.37, +11.64 (0.20%)
S&P 500: 2,341.59, -2.39 (-0.10%)
NYSE Composite: 11,414.33, -4.56 (-0.04%)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Best Wishes To President Trump; The Wall, Obamacare, Education

It's Official!

Donald J. Trump is the 45th president of the United States of America.

And the markets apparently loved it. The Dow was up. The NASDAQ was up. The S&P 500 was up. So was the Composite, the Nikkei, Gold, Silver, Oil, the dollar. Call it a relief rally. Market participants were relieved that the uncertainties of the past two years of electioneering, mudslinging, maligning, and campaigning were at long last, over. At least now some people can get to work, least of all the new president, like him, loathe him, or feign indifference, he's safely ensconced within the White House walls, with nary a cut, scrape, bruise, or wound.

At least that's what we're seeing through the prism of the news media. There were more than a few bruised egos at the swearing in ceremony on the West steps of the Capitol, facing the Washington and Lincoln monuments, but, some of the more expansive egos were soon swept off the stage and sent packing. The Clintons and the Obamas were whisked into obscurity by the forces of change.

As for our new president, Mr. Trump promises to be, at the very least, entertaining, if not outrageous. While such antics as late-night tweeting and calling people names may not sit well with his establishment critics, the American public will likely relish the shift from the obfuscation, misinformation, and underhandedness which typified the last 16 years of presidential conduct to a more - on the surface - open, progressive (that's a real word, meaning a real effort toward getting things done, not the fancy adversarial adjective applied over the last two decades by liberals), and positive approach to government policy.

It is obviously too early to tell whether President Trump will usher in a new age of American exceptionalism, but there is little doubt that he will try his best to keep his promises and work untiringly toward restoration of traditional American vales. There's also little doubt that he will face significant opposition from the left, the right, his own party, the Democrat party, liberal wingnuts who will protest anything at the drop of a hat, foreign leaders, the Twitterati, Facebook foes, and just about anybody who has an opinion on anything, many of whom will appear regularly on the vicious, unencumbered media whores doing their dirty work for the forces of their paymasters.

That's just how it goes when you rise to the top of the heap as Donald Trump has done. There's always somebody looking to knock you off your mighty throne, literally or figuratively. As for our sentiments here at the Money Daily headquarters, we wish him all the best and will continue to support him - as we did throughout the election process - as best we can. If he can deliver on even half of his campaign promises that would be quite an accomplishment, but we'll settle for three big items:

1. Build the damn wall.
2. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (it does not have to be replaced; we already have too many insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and government involved in health care and would like to see much of that overhead removed)
3. Send education back to the states. The nation is too large and diverse (sorry, but the word does have its place) for a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Besides, the federal intrusion into education has been about as successful as the war on drugs or the war on poverty. Cut the Department of Education in half, or by two thirds, or, preferably, obliterate it.

In the meantime, Money Daily will try to stay out of politics and into money and economics, but, seeing the President and his staffers occasionally and regularly knee-cap the media whores wouldn't meet with any resistance from these parts.

Let the politicians do the dirty work. We'll aim to interpret the effects.

Let's start with a look down below at the weekly results. All four of the major indices were lower on the week, and that may be significant, but will be more so if that becomes a trend. The next two weeks are almost certain to be wild ones in terms of politicking and figurative bomb-throwing from the left, the right, and everywhere in between, but, if stocks continue to deteriorate (which happens to be our best guess for now), it's going to put more pressure on the new president. Not that he should do anything about it since he has no control of financial markets, but the media will crow endlessly about how the economy is going into the tank under the Trump administration.

We'll leave it there, for now. It's going to get a whole lot more interesting in coming weeks and months.

At The Close 1.20.17:
Dow: 19,827.25, +94.85 (0.48%)
NASDAQ: 5,555.33, +15.25 (0.28%)
S&P 500: 2,271.31, +7.62 (0.34%)
NYSE Composite: 11,192.79, +43.94 (0.39%)

For the Week Ended 1.20.17:
Dow: -58.48 (-0.29%)
NASDAQ: -18.78 (-0.34%)
S&P 500: -3.33 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: -34.38 (-0.31)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Weak Jobs Number; Worst In Six Years Rattles Market

At the end of the day, the weakest jobs number since 2010 didn't deter stock traders much, though the damage was more severe earlier in the session, another carbon copy of the previous two, with a deep drop at the open, followed by relentless pumping towards the positive.

While Friday's effort left much to be desired, it has now become all-too-obvious that there is no such thing as a fair and open market in US stocks, especially in the face of negative economic data. The federal government and agents of the Fed are adamant about painting a rosy picture of the economy, even though the metrics - especially manufacturing and non-farm payrolls this week - are using a strikingly different palette.

The 38,000 new jobs created in May, as reported by the BLS, was miles below the consensus estimate of 164,000 and gives the Fed much more thinking material as concerns a rate hike, which now appears to be off the table for June, at the very least.

What the number suggests is that despite all the howls from the president, his advisors and others on TV, the economy is in a precarious state, not one in which overheating is even a remote possibility. This would be no time to raise interest rates.

While stocks held their own during a tumultuous week, Friday saw gold and silver rally back, perhaps an indication that all is really not well in the kingdom of Obama.

On The Week:
Dow: -66.16, (-0.37%)
S&P 500: +0.07 (0.00)
NASDAQ: +9.01 (+0.18)

For the Day:
S&P 500: 2,099.13, -6.13 (0.29%)
Dow: 17,807.06, -31.50 (0.18%)
NASDAQ: 4,942.52, -28.85 (0.58%)

Crude Oil 48.90 -0.55% Gold 1,246.50 +2.80% EUR/USD 1.1366 0.00% 10-Yr Bond 1.70 -5.91% Corn 418.25 +0.72% Copper 2.12 +2.42% Silver 16.44 +2.59% Natural Gas 2.76 -0.54% Russell 2000 1,164.14 -0.55% VIX 13.47 -1.17% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4515 0.00% USD/JPY 106.5450 0.00%

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SOTU 2015 Recap: Drink, Drink, Chug, Vomit; Oscar Wilde For The Win

Money Daily stopped being a daily post blog in March, 2014. While the name remains the same, the posts are now on an intermittent basis, as conditions warrant, though it is advised to read the archives (from 2006-2014) regularly, even daily, for insights and historical perspective.

Just to be fair, we didn't exactly keep pace with the president in our SOTU drinking game.

Having chosen the top four words from our Top Ten list - taxes, jobs, Middle Class, and, economy - President Obama brought down the house on the jobs number, using that specific word (either in the singular or plural form) 24 times before we stopped counting. Smartly, he only said "tax" or "taxes" five times, used the term, "Middle Class" four times, "economy" 13 times and never once used the word "rich."

Where the president excelled, however, actually overwhelming even our rosiest expectations, was in the bonus chugs segment, in which he mentioned ten countries specifically, not including the United States (or America), which technically didn't count, and was, obviously, one of the more frequently used words in his hour-long speech to the nation.

Obama got off early with mentions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and, though it took a while for him to come up with the third county, Japan, he took charge with a quick rattling off of Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, Israel and China in short order.

What took the whole drinking effort to new levels was the president's expert rendering of the terrorist naming bonus, in which we instructed that the mention of three terrorist groups would constitute a chug command. Though Obama specifically named only one group by name, he nailed the ISIS-ISIL bonus at 9:45 pm, 35 minutes into the speech, calling his favorite Mideast thugs by their pet name, ISIL, invoking the rule of our game to promptly end in a spellbinding, chug-til-you-puke crescendo.

So intent was the president on getting the nation massively inebriated that he intoned "ISIL" again just one minute later. Strangely enough, his wording was actually foreshadowed by Mrs. Alan Greenspan (aka, Andrea Mitchell), who mentioned ISIL just minutes before the president made his way to the podium. We applaud the otherwise droll Mrs. Greenspan for her literary bravado.

Aside from yet another successful SOTU drinking panacea - Obama's sixth - the president's rhetoric was little more than a rehash of his last two SOTU addresses, replete with promises that will be broken and high-minded principles to which congress and the administration will find difficult, if not impossible, to personalize.

Generally, while we agree in principle with a good deal of Obama's vision of America (though free community college and health care coverage for everyone are a bit too far out on the socialist agenda for our tastes), we have grown tired of waiting for either the president or the congress to come through with specific actions. Empty rhetoric becomes tiresome in short time. Repetition of such tends to be unbearable.

On the humorous, if not tragic, side, the president made the bold claim that inflation was at its lowest level in 50 years, at the precise time that the Federal Reserve is in a death match to avert outright deflation. While the president wishes to point out that low inflation is a grand intention - and it is - the pedals of public policy are being pimped and pumped by the pervicacious pedants at the Fed in exactly the opposite direction, with, thankfully, limited success.

Perhaps, in a perverse and fateful way, the wisdom and wit of Oscar Wilde is prescient:

"There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

By all appearances, neither the Fed, the president, nor the American public's aspirations will be satiated.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

State of the Union Drinking Game 2015: Multiple Choice, Top Ten Version, with Bonus Chug Words

Money Daily stopped being a daily post blog in March, 2014. While the name remains the same, the posts are now on an intermittent basis, as conditions warrant, though it is advised to read the archives (from 2006-2014) regularly, even daily, for insights and historical perspective.

By now, most of you know the rules about State of the Union Drinking Games, but, to briefly recap, it goes something like this:

We stole this image, but,
we liked it, so we kept it.
1. Prepare your favorite adult beverage, be it beer, wine, or a mixed concoction. Keep refills close at hand.

2. Settle into a comfortable chair or on your couch and get ready for the annual ritual monologue from whomever it is that has been selected (recall that elections are so 20th century, done away with the Supreme Court's decision in Gore v. Bush, circa 2000; now it's all managed by your black box friends at Diebold et. al.) to give the State of the Union speech, always this is the president, so we get Mr. Obama for the sixth or seventh time this year. Honestly, we've lost count because we've been so drunk most of the time.

3. Choose a word (or words) you think the speaker will utter a number of times, and prepare to take a swig or (dangerous, unless you're swilling peach brandy or some other fru-fru-umbrella-type drink) do a shot when the word (or words) is uttered. Those of you pounding 151 Rum or Rumplemintz, you are our heroes.

4. Turn on TV. Prepare to be bored, then angry, then drunk, and probably angrier.

For this year, we decided to list the top ten words we think will be the most popular ones to come off the teleprompter and then the lips of the President, and, no, we did not get an advance copy of the speech, though there have been leaks about the direction the president will be taking the speech.

Now, we are disappointed that the speech will be televised live on the major networks beginning at 9:00 pm ET, which is a little late for those of us in the working class or past middle age (seniors). As for the latter group, seniors, you should plan on eating a little later this evening, say, waiting until maybe 6:30 instead of the usual early-bird 4:25 pm.

If you're a working guy or gal who has to be up at 5:00 am or earlier, well, welcome to 21st century slavery. There are alternatives, you know, but, most of you are suffering from a severe case of normalcy bias, so we'll just let you alone, for now. In any case, many of you may want to warm up with a few cold ones or mixed ones or straight ones or neat ones beforehand. Whatever blows your hair back is fine by us. Warm-up drinks are advised, but just don't overdo it. President Obama is a verified crowd-pleaser when it comes to drinking games.

OK, here's the recommended Top Ten list, from what we* here at Money Daily think the president will toss out of his mouth, in descending order, from the most frequent to the least. We've also included some bonus chugs for those of you who wish to get completely inebriated or fall into a deep trance or become comatized before bedtime.

  • 1. Taxes
  • 2. Jobs
  • 3. Middle Class (since it's two words and doesn't really exist anymore, we suggest taking two drinks whenever this term is used)
  • 4. Economy
  • 5. Russia
  • 6. Terror or terrorism
  • 7. Child or children
  • 8. Congress
  • 9. Education (always popular, but, in reality, a massive charade)
  • 10. Stocks or Stock Market

It's suggested that if you really want to get your swerve on, you use all these words, but, for the majority of us, picking three or four should be sufficient.

For bonus chugging we're throwing in a couple of caveat words. If the president mentions the "rich," in a negative connotation, as in, "the rich need to be taxed heavily because they've glommed up more than half of everything in the world..." then it's a bonus chug. Also, if the president names three  or more specific countries during his speech, that's a bonus chug on the third country mentioned and another bonus chug for each subsequent country mentioned (no cheating rule: if he says the same country over and over, as in, "Iran must not get nukes, Iran must not sell oil, Iran must not mess up our planned obsolescence in Syria, Iran must be bombed into submission, like Ukraine..." that (Iran) only counts as one country, not three or four, but, since he mentioned two other countries there, chug.).

So, if the president says, in one part of his speech, "I love Canada," then follows up later with "Syria's president, Assad, must be droned," and then goes on to say, "Russia, is, has been and always will be, our mortal enemy," that's three and you chug. If he goes onto say something like, "members of the European Union, France, Germany, Spain, etc.," well, we can only suspect that Mr. Obama has read this blog and is just trying to get everybody in America hammered before he gets to the really good lying about how "exceptional" America is and how he's going to work with congress and all that.

And, if he mentions any terrorist groups by name, like Hezbolla, or Boko Haram, and especially ISIS, which will no doubt get mentioned, one chug per group, per mention.

And, for the killer bonus, if the president calls ISIS by their favorite name, ISIL, it's game over, drink until you puke.

OK, make your choices carefully, and remember, drink, but don't drive, or, for that matter, use power tools, for God's sake.

And don't even think of posting your results in our comment section. We literally don't care.

*Actually, it's just me, Fearless Rick, but "we" sounds so much more officious and monumental and, well, bigger.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Government Shutdown Day 10: Boehner, Republicans Cave to Scare Pressure?; Stocks Rally

After Treasury Secretary Jack Lew scared the begeezus out of congress and the public this morning in his congressional testimony, Speaker of the house, John Boehner went back to his caucus and outlined a compromise to be presented to senate Democrats and the president.

It goes something like this: Republicans will agree to an extension (raise) of the debt limit for six weeks. whether or not the government re-opens is still an open question. Republican leaders meet at the White House at 4:30 pm EDT (note: after markets are closed).

Essentially, the Republicans will propose a six-week extension of the debt ceiling, in order to avoid "default," which is nothing but a scarecrow argument since the US government never was and probably never will be anywhere close to defaulting on any of its outstanding debt, otherwise known as treasury obligations, bonds. bills and notes, because the government takes in 10 times the amount of money that it owes in interest. Paying down the principal may be another thing altogether, but that's not part and parcel of the "default" argument.

Stocks had their second-best session of the year, eclipsing the gains from the first full session of 2013, on January 2nd, but, these gains were based on speculation that the politicians would reach a compromise solution on the debt ceiling and a cntinuing resolution to fund the government. At this writing, neither condition has been met.

Why the timing of today's meeting at the White House is important is because If John Boehner emerges with a scowl and says that they still have differences to iron out, stocks could erase some, all or more of today's gains on Friday. So, the various balls being juggled by the House, Senate and the White House are still very up in the air, which is why playing stocks is sometimes called "investing," and more often defined as "speculation." Today is all speculation.

This brief summary of a portion of Goethe's Faust underscores the nature of today's Western government dilemma:

Accompanied by Mephistopheles, Faust attends the court of a ruler whose empire is facing financial ruin because of profligate government spending. Rather than urging the emperor to be more fiscally responsible, Mephistopheles—disguised, revealingly, as a court jester—suggests a different approach, one with disturbing parallels to our own age.

Noting that the empire’s currency is gold, Mephistopheles maintains there is surely plenty of undiscovered gold underneath the earth belonging to the emperor. Thus, he argues, the emperor can issue promissory notes for the value of this yet-to-be-found gold, thereby generating fresh monetary resources for the government and solving its debt problems.

Not surprisingly, the emperor and his treasurer are delighted with this idea. It means the monarch can avoid making hard economic choices while simultaneously providing the empire with desperately needed currency. Mephistopheles subsequently deluges the court with paper money, and Faust is praised by emperor and commoner alike.

The results, however, are not what are expected. First, the issuance of paper money does not solve the emperor’s spending problems. Instead the ruler and his court become even more extravagant, knowing they can always print more paper money to cover their ever-growing expenses. Second, the devil has subtly but fundamentally changed the basis of the empire’s currency. Instead of being rooted in the solidity offered by a tangible and valued asset, the currency is now based on flimsy paper promises. Thus long-term monetary stability and powerful restraints on extravagant government spending are sacrificed for short-term gain.

Goethe finished writing the second part of Faust in 1832.

In other, national security, news, this report, "$2 Billion NSA Spy Center is Going Up in Flames," caught our attention. Maybe there is a god that punishes evil-doers. Or, maybe karma has a nasty cumulative side=effect?

Dow 15,126.07, +323.09 (2.18%)
Nasdaq 3,760.75, +82.97 (2.26%)
S&P 500 1,692.56, +36.16 (2.18%)
10-Yr Bond 2.69%, +0.04
NYSE Volume 3,368,936,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,814,198,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4773-857
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 204-34
WTI crude oil: 103.01, +1.40
Gold: 1,296.90, -10.30
Silver: 21.90, +0.005
Corn: 438.25, -5.25

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Government Shutdown Day 8: Overcoming Fears and Tears

Are average Americans ready for the fight of their lives, one which could, quite literally be for their lives?

Surely, many are unprepared. Most have little or no savings, don't have basic survival skills, wouldn't know a dandelion (good food) from a jimson (poisonous) and many rely heavily on the federal government as their lifeline.


Read that again, you disability recipients, welfare check hoarders, farm subsidy leeches, overpaid government employees, social security dependents, corporate tax cheaters, food stamps suckers, members of the House of Representatives, Senators and Mr. President.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come not to bury Obama, but to praise him.

Clear out the biases already developed over his illegitimacy, stupidity, narcissism, etc., for a moment and hear me out. Mr. President is doing the best thing that we, holders of gold and silver with stores of guns, ammo and food, could have ever hoped for by refusing to negotiate over either the shutdown or the debt ceiling, holding the strawman Obamacare over everyone's heads.

Isn't a severe downsizing of the US government and destruction of the Federal Reserve what we have longed for these past five, six years? Obama is bringing it to us, albeit in a haphazard manner, although one might suspect that such earth-shaking events don't happen neatly, anyway.

By refusing to negotiate on anything, in addition to having unblinking adversaries in the House of Representatives (our beloved Tea Partiers), the president, with an assist from congress, has already partially shut down the government and has paved the way for a no-win condition over the debt ceiling. The genii in the White House (aka Jack Lew and his buddies) and at the Fed have no doubt already figured out the next moves. When the debt ceiling debate fails to produce a responsible result, the government will begin to prioritize spending, paying off creditors first (interest on the debt), and probably Social Security and military pay (not necessarily in that order) next, and so on down the line.

The US federal government can, and will, proceed in this manner for quite some time, slimming down, shutting agencies, cutting budgets by blunt force and actually becoming somewhat fiscally responsible. During this period, there will be considerable chaos, available to be exploited by none other than those of us smart enough to do so. Price discovery, for everything from real estate to peaches, will be a matter of making the best deal available, and many of us are adept at deal-making. Government employees may be furloughed, laid off or permanently disenfranchised, their pensions slashed, and other government programs (can you spell FARM SUBSIDIES?) will have to be eliminated in order to cut wasteful spending and/or increase revenue.

At the same time, the government will become more and more dysfunctional, having lost its most basic trapping of power, the consent of the governed, in many places, particularly large urban centers and deep rural communities. If martial law becomes the norm, how long and how well will that be enforced in a country chock-full of gun-toting, liberty-loving individualistic patriots and their new-to-the-party brethren?

There will be chaos. But eventually, there will be peace and a new understanding that the federal government is powerless over the needs of individual states, and even counties and other municipalities. A new form of feudalism or tribalism may be the result, but the bottom line is that the federal government will be a shadow of its former self, individuals and communities will forge new leaderships, apart and away from government, which will (and in many cases, already is) be viewed as not the solution, but the problem.

People will become more self-reliant, industrious and unburdened by regulations and authority. A new America will emerge, one that is less-centralized, more progressive (I know that's a dirty word to some), less encumbered by regulation and overall, more free, and freedom is what America is all about.

Let's get behind our president. NO NEGOTIATIONS. Keep chanting. Keep the government closed. Begin the process of downsizing and prioritizing spending. Stop borrowing. How will the Fed issue new debt-money if the Treasury can't borrow? There will be progress against the Federal Reserve, but not victory, until we rise up and smite them, refuse their fiat and return to a gold standard or gold/silver standard.

Real money. And all because the politicians played a game of chicken which neither can win.

We all have reasons to doubt or criticize the president, but, maybe, just maybe, he's willing to risk his reputation and his life in order to be the transformational figure he promised. I know it's a stretch, but maybe he's a wickedly wise politician and playing the banksters for all they're worth, willing to shut down the government and destroy the economy in order to save it all. What comes out the other side is largely up to him, but also well within our grasp.

THIS is OUR MOMENT. Carpe Diem!

Both Obama and House Speaker Boehner took to the podium today and made courtesy remarks, but still haven't met. Short-attention span theater continues. The markets began to worry in earnest, the major indices closing at the lows of the session. The A-D line continued to deteriorate, with losers outpacing gainers by a 9-2 margin and new lows exceeded new highs for the first time since mid-August.

The market is beginning to roll over. The phony leaders are running out of time. The world won't end, but the obtrusive, invasive, bloated, absurd federal government is creaking, cracking and about to fall over.

Good times, indeed.

Dow 14,776.53, -159.71 (1.07%)
Nasdaq 3,694.83, -75.54 (2.00%)
S&P 500 1,655.45, -20.67 (1.23%)
10-Yr Bond 2.64% 0.00
NYSE Volume 3,546,719,000
Nasdaq Volume 2,037,821,875
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1085-4474
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 95-101
WTI crude oil: 103.49, +0.46
Gold: 1,324.60, 0.50
Silver: 22.44, +0.057
Corn: 441.75, -7.50

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Day After: Buyer's Remorse and the Tea Party Gambit

One day after the Fed did the unexpected - which really should have been expected, after all, since the Fed is so good at doing nothing - and kept its asset purchase program intact, stocks on Wall Street were shaken, not stirred, with the Dow and S&P posting modest losses and only the NASDAQ ahead at the close.

Since yesterday's post-announcement feeding frenzy was done at such a rapid pace, there was a feeling today that the party was great, but some may have overdone it, so positions were squared in front of tomorrow's quadruple-witching options expiry, locking in profits.

There was also a bit of nastiness coming out of Washington, DC, in the form of forty or so House Republicans promoting a bill that would fund the federal government, but only if a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was included.

While that measure could survive a House vote, and well might, the chances of it making its way through the Senate are a different-striped animal altogether. And the chances of Obama signing it into law are absolutely zero.

If the House Republicans have their way, this stalemate could produce a partial shutdown of the federal government (please save your applause for the end of the performance) on October 1, which is just 12 days hence, so traders may have been taking a few chips off the table in advance of those ugly consequences.

Certain members of the House, known widely as Tea Partiers, would like to find a way to accomplish one of two goals: stopping ObamaCare before it is fully implemented, or, the more popular alternative, stopping the federal government from borrowing the Treasury into debt hell, a course which is already well-trodden. If the government cannot borrow any more, it stops the Federal Reserve's treasury purchases dead in its tracks and generally ends the economy as we know it, which, come to think of it, might be a brilliant idea, since the economy has strayed far from free market economics and is wholly controlled by the Federal Reserve and its vassals, the mega-bank primary dealers. Gains of all kind are generally flowing only to the top 3% or even the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans, with the rest of the populace nothing more than debt slaves.

If the Republicans in the House can stand their ground, force the government to pay its bills without further borrowing (a seeming impossibility), it could be the best thing that's happened in this country since Benny Goodman played Carnegie Hall in 1938, and that's a long time coming.

Sure, there will be dislocations and a massive depression, but on the other side would be prosperity and a more even playing field for entrepreneurs and citizens without the overarching dictates of an out-of-control oligarchy.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Let's see how this plays out, though nobody is betting that the House Tea Partiers could destroy the global economy with just one, grandiose, spectacular move.

Dow 15,636.55, -40.39 (0.26%)
Nasdaq 3,789.38, +5.74 (0.15%)
S&P 500 1,722.34, -3.18 (0.18%)
10-Yr Bond 2.75%, +0.04
NYSE Volume 4,047,428,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,742,718,375
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2837-3763
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 564-34
WTI crude oil: 106.39, -1.68
Gold: 1,366.20, -3.10
Silver: 23.10, -0.192

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

President Backs Cautiously Away from Syria; Markets Exultant

Tuesday night's address to the nation was - for lack of a better term - illusory.

While President Obummer tried his best to appear calm and in control, he was anything but. Russia's Vladimir Putin had outmaneuvered him on the Syria strike issue by proposing that Syria put its chemical weapons under supervision of international parties.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives was backing far, far away from the unpopular choice to attack Syria, "in a measured way," as Secretary of State John Kerry might put it. A no vote on whether to give the president the authority to attack Syria was all but certain in the House and might have faltered in the Senate as well.

Thus, laughably, the president advised congress to delay its vote on authorization for use of military force for two weeks. Issue settled. Syria will not be assaulted by US arms, the president saves some face and congress gets off the hook as well. There probably will never be a vote on authorization. The Syria chemical attacks, which the administration so vociferously denounced as brutal, heinous, inhume and so outside the realm of civilized conduct that the Syrian government needed to be punished for them, will be back page news by the end of tomorrow so that congress and the president can move onto what they were trying to cover up with a war strike: the budget and debt ceiling twin fiascos.

Those will come soon enough and command daily, screechy headlines from the breathless media whores, but before them, the Federal Reserve's FOMC meets next Tuesday and Wednesday, after which it will purportedly announce the great tapering, or, as it's being called on Wall Street, taper-lite, suggesting that the Fed will reduce its monthly bond purchases from $85 billion a month to somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 billion. Ho-hum. One supposes that the world can survive without an additional $10 billion of monthly liquidity. Somehow, we'll all find a way to survive.

With all these grand developments, Wall Street pros took the opportunity to ramp up stocks in advance of the next options expiry, in hopes that can can make another quick buck before the Fed pulls away the punch bowl.

The Dow was up another 135 points on the day, the third straight session in which the blue chip average was higher by more than 100 points, giving it a gain for the week, thus far, of 404 points. The NASDAQ and S&P were weighed down by Apple (AAPL), whose latest "earth-shaking" announcement was not any new products but merely enhancements and new pricing for existing ones. The stock was punished severely, down 26.93 points on the day.

Back at the Dow Industrials, the index will be reshuffled after the close of trade on September 20. Being kicked out are Bank of America (BAC), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Alcoa (AA), replaced by Nike (NKE), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Visa (V). Because of the way the index weights stocks, giving more weight to high-priced ones than low-priced ones, Goldman Sachs will become the third most-important stock on the Dow, with Visa becoming the second most-important.

In other words, with five financial firms now represented in the 30-stock index, get ready for Dow 20,000. There's no stopping it now, especially when the index can arbitrarily kick out losers and replace them with their favorite pump primers.

There is no honor, nor shame, amongst thieves.

Dow 15,326.60, +135.54 (0.89%)
Nasdaq 3,725.01, -4.01 (0.11%)
S&P 500 1,689.13, +5.14 (0.31%)
10-Yr Bond 2.92%, -0.04
NYSE Volume 3,341,576,250
Nasdaq Volume 1,679,120,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3573-2957
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 344-80
WTI crude oil: 107.56, +0.17
Gold: 1,363.80, -0.20
Silver: 23.17, +0.156

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, by the way, the NSA is FOS.

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

Friday, September 6, 2013

NFP Jobs Data Disappoints; Fed-Taper in Question; Liesman's Big Lie

Following an early-session smack-down and a subsequent rally, stocks came right back to terra firma at the close, ending the session essentially flat.

Non-farm payroll data and Middle east posturing were the main catalysts for the early decline, the rally had little catalyst othe than empty reassurances from the president, or Bomber-in-Chief, who, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his nation would support and defend Syria in the face of any attacks, promised, once again, that strikes against Syria would be measured and brief.

Mr. Obama speaks as if he's planning a family outing of some sort rather than an act of war against a sovereign nation and his posturing and promising is nauseating, misguided and insincere. While the congress dithers over whether to grant him authority - as it must under the War Powers Act - to bomb Syria, a nation that poses no imminent threat to US interests, the president continues to tiptoe toward conflict, one which is likely to inflame parties in an already-tense region.

Market reactions to the president and congress are equally superfluous and without much forethought. To date, the US has done nothing but threaten Syria. If it ever comes to actual bombing, then the market will make up its mind as to whether such actions have consequences for stocks and bonds.

The other contributing factor to today's rocky trade was the August Non-Farm Payroll report which showed the US gaining 169,000 new jobs, well below consensus, and revising June and July data lower. The BLS also advised that the labor force participation rate had fallen again, to 63.2%, a number not seen since 1978, thirty-five years ago.

This item in the BLS calculus continues to plunge, and many, including CNBC's Chief Economist, Steve Liesman, cite the aging baby-boomers retiring as the main culprit, though other economists disagree, and heartily so. The number usually thrown about is that 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day, though, if that were true, there would be something on the order of 300,000 jobs available every month and the labor condition would be booming, but those numbers are not showing up in the NFP reports.

A few of the prominent factors contributing to the lower participation rate are: 1) the coming of Obamacare, which is prompting more and more employers to hire only part-time workers; 2) a reluctance by companies large and small to replace workers lost through attrition or layoffs due to uncertainty in the economy or outright slowdown; 3) the ease by which individuals can qualify for public relief programs such as unemployment insurance, welfare or disability and the generosity of those programs, and; 4) a thriving underground economy of self-employed or off-the-books workers who simply aren't part of the statistical sample. It's been long known that government statistics are wildly faulty and unreliable, and the labor stats simply don't account for the literally millions of Americans who are making ends meet by working around, though or otherwise outside the system, a system which sucks the lifeblood, via taxation and regulation, out of both employers and workers.

The government's statistics may be relied upon by Wall Street investors, but the logic and realism of their assumptions is faulty at best and downright improper at worst. Americans have always found means to an end, and, when the government - all all levels - exerts undue, stifling restrictions upon the citizenry, the people quietly move on without them. Beating back the government by hook or by crook is an American tradition and it will remain that way, so long as people in power feel the necessity to invade every aspect of a citizen's life.

Dow 14,922.50, -14.98 (0.10%)
NASDAQ 3,660.01, +1.23 (0.03%)
S&P 500 1,655.17, +0.09 (0.01%)
NYSE Composite 9,439.66, +19.31 (0.20%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,668,595,250
NYSE Volume 3,384,952,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3718-2834
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 206-54
WTI crude oil: 110.53, +2.16
Gold: 1,386.50, +13.50
Silver: 23.89, +0.636

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Boehner, Pelosi Side with O'Bomber, Tank Markets

This past Friday, nearly the entire civilized world believed that US bombs would be falling on Syria over the weekend.

Abruptly, n Saturday, the president, in a true CYA moment, decided to get authorization from congress, which, according to our constitution (remember, we still have one, if in name only), is a necessity in order to attack any entity that does not pose a serious, immediate threat to the nation, and Syria easily qualifies.

With the congress winding down its month-long vacation (somebody remind us why are we paying them), a vote on the matter of whether or not to use offensive weapons against Syria couldn't occur much before September 9, the date upon which congress will officially resume to be in session. Thus, the inevitable bombing and unofficial start to World War III would have to wait.

On Tuesday, the house leadership of both parties - Nancy Peolosi and John Boehner - were back on the Hill, each making statements in support of the Bomber-in-Chief's proposal to use force against Syria.

So, if one is to believe in what the tea-leaves tell us, the president will get his authorization, despite some grandstanding by Tea Party members on the right and anti-war types on the left. Never mind that only nine percent of Americans support any kind of military action against Syria. The one-party rulers in Washington will have their way and theirs is the way of war.

Wall Street didn't take the news kindly. Up sharply early on, thinking that maybe, possibly, congress would not give the president the green light, markets did an about-face after the Boehner/Pelosi comments and stayed down for the remainder of the session. Everybody put away their "Dow 15,000!" hats and got back to thinking about how spiked oil and gas prices might negatively affect the economy, how bombing a nation essentially tearing itself apart in a civil war would benefit US interests, and how this might weigh on decisions surrounding the budget, the debt ceiling and whether the Fed would taper its bond-buying at its next meeting (Sept. 17-18).

With that, traders wiped 100 points off the Dow, albeit on volume that was hardly indicative of a back-to-work mentality. Come to think of it, since Obamacare is making work in America largely a part-time experience, maybe lower volume and shorter trading sessions might be just the ticket.

Dow 14,833.96, +23.65 (0.16%)
NASDAQ 3,612.61, +22.74 (0.63%)
S&P 500 1,639.77, +6.80 (0.42%)
NYSE Composite 9,333.50, +62.84 (0.68%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,568,192,750.00
NYSE Volume 4,111,344,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4025-2691
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 130-89
WTI crude oil: 108.54, +0.89
Gold: 1,412.00, +15.90
Silver: 24.43, +0.916

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fed Clarifies Position on Bond Purchases; Markets Hate It

The widely-anticipated June FOMC meeting was worth the wait, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his merry bank of economic soothsayers proved once and for all that they haven't got a clue what they're doing and that the market controls their actions, not the other way around.

Key take-aways from the policy decision (unchanged) and Bernanke's press conference were that the Fed saw downside risks to the economy "diminished," and that asset purchases - given improved economic conditions (pipe dream) - the Fed would begin to unwind, or, taper, those purchases from the current monthly level of $85 billion a month by the end of this year and end them completely by the middle of 2014.

This, of course, will never happen, as economic conditions are not improving, and, even if they are, are not improving quickly enough to warrant removal of the Fed's substantial monetary stimulus.

Market reaction was a bit slow to coalesce, but when it finally got the drift of what Bernanke was saying, sold off hard, with both stocks and bonds going into the tank. The Dow suffered one of its worst days of the year, off more than 200 points, while bond yields rose to 14-month highs on the ten-year note, at 2.33% and two-year highs on the five (1.26%).

What Bernanke didn't say was almost as intriguing as what he did, refusing to comment on why he is not going to attend the annual summit at Jackson Hole, sponsored by the Kansas City Fed, or whether or not he had plans to retire when his term expires early next year, though it appears, especially after President Obama's off-the-cuff remarks to Charlie Rose two nights ago, that the Chairman's tenure is at an end.

Bernanke did make one other clarification of note, that the Fed would hold its mortgage-backed securities to maturity, rather than sell them into the secondary market. Again, what he didn't say may be notable, as the decision to hold to maturity may be predicated on these securities (some of which are toxic to some degree or another) may not have the value at which the Fed is holding, or, since the Fed is pretty much 60% or more of the entire MBS market, maybe there is no secondary market of value.

Overall, it was a constructive session on the markets, but one which, unfortunately for bulls, appears to be in furtherance of the downward trend in equities.

With today's selloff, the bias has returned to the sell side and it seems as if the smart money is getting out while the getting is good.

Dow 15,112.19, -206.04 (1.35%)
NASDAQ 3,443.20, -38.98 (1.12%)
S&P 500 1,628.93, -22.88 (1.39%)
NYSE Composite 9,255.71, -143.93 (1.53%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,698,203,375
NYSE Volume 4,021,718,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1357-5161
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 254-125
WTI crude oil: 97.97, -0.47
Gold: 1,350.20, -16.70
Silver: 21.25, -0.427

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stocks Advance on St. Louis Fed Chief's Comments

Question: How do you know when St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is advocating for the Fed to continue buying MBS and Treasuries?

Answer: When his lips are moving.

Bullard, one of the most dovish characters in the history of monetary policy, would probably advocate buying swampland if he thought it would goose the economy a bit, but let's not give him any ideas.

His lips moved today, and so did the markets, though in a suitably sheepish kind of way, off the highs, with the Dow far outpacing the other indices.

That was all one needed to know today about the doings on Wall Street. The real show continued down in that other viper's den - Washington, DC - where the IRS scandal widened and deepened. It's really not worth commenting upon at this stage of the game, but, a la Watergate, the number of lies are mounting, the stories are getting twisted, the number of guilty-looking witnesses growing and the conspiracy theorists are having a field day.

With any luck, President Obama will be dragged in by Labor Day, or before he and congress are supposed to get serious about the debt ceiling... again.

The sooner the trash is removed from the nation's capital (suggest starting with the Attorney General), the better.

Dow 15,387.58, +52.30 (0.34%)
NASDAQ 3,502.12, +5.69 (0.16%)
S&P 500 1,669.16, +2.87 (0.17%)
NYSE Composite 9,598.26, +10.72 (0.11%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,745,513,375
NYSE Volume 3,777,275,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3504-2926
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 629-25
WTI crude oil: 96.16, -0.55
Gold: 1,377.60, -6.50
Silver: 22.46, -0.127

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

POMO Is Back; Obama Considering Executive Order on Gun Control

There wasn't much happening on stock markets today other than the constancy of computers trading with other computers, but there was excitement on the political front, including a rabble-rousing utterance (intentional or otherwise) from the foot-in-mouth VP, Joe Biden, who dropped a hint that the president was considering using an executive order to somehow effect more rigid gun control.

This got gun-holders and freedom-lovers of all stripes worked up into a hot lather, as just the mere perception that the second amendment might be somehow circumvented by the totalitarian-in-chief was cause for calls of rebellion, secession and other assorted ranting and raving.

In America, the Founders designed the second amendment, which reads,
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
was designed specifically to keep potential tyrants from having thoughts of subjugating the masses and to protect the nation as a whole. The supposed threat of being shot at from all sides by a well-armed citizenry is the final protection of our liberties, and, since the Constitution has been trampled upon pretty severely over the past 236 years (but mostly in the last 12), people have every right to be alarmed and angry.

The current debate over gun ownership, caused in large part by the mass murder in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and now widely propagated by the left-leaning media, is just another attempt by a government that has outgrown its usefulness to further infringe upon the rights of the citizenry. The thought that President Obama might go the executive order route is almost ludicrous, considering the potential downside and difficulties (I'm being kind here) in implementing any kind of weapons ban would entail.

It's time the American public knew the truth. The kid at Sandy Hook and the moron who shot up the theater in Colorado were both on psychotropic drugs of some kind - Prozac, Ritalin, or any of a dozen others - that cause a few individuals to do insane things. If there's any sense at all left in Washington (there isn't), there should be a law that anyone who has ever taken any of these medications or been under the care of a psychiatrist (obviously, the author has done neither) should ever be able to own a firearm.

Now, not to sound cynical, but such a ban would never even get a hearing in DC, simply because the drugs in question are manufactured by one of the big pharmaceutical companies, and they pay plenty in graft and hush money (AKA: campaign contributions) that any senator or house member proposing such a deal would be laughed out of town.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is back doing POMO (Permanent Open Market Operations) in earnest, today actually buying up $300 million worth of 30-year bonds that hadn't even been issued!!!! (Note, four exclamation points means this is really exciting.)

The Fed has POMOs set up for every day the markets are open this month except January 30.

While $300 million is a piddling amount, let's not forget that the Fed Chairman, Mr. Bernanke, has explicitly said he would not monetize the debt, which is exactly what he's been doing for the past four years, but this move, grabbing up the auction before it's even available, can only mean one thing: somebody (read: the federal government) needed money in a hurry and couldn't wait until tomorrow.

Yes, our slick Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, who has not received nearly the amount of press he deserves, has been employing extraordinary measures to keep the country from defaulting on its obligations since January 1, and maybe he ran into a little snag. In any case, even with the soon-to-be-departed Mr. Geithner pulling all the strings he can, the government will run out of money and options on February 15, if not sooner. So why are people all lathered up about gun control when the entire government is about to implode in about a month?

Yeah, really.

As for the stock markets, the Dow was up 61 points today, after losing 55 yesterday and 50 the day before. Is there a pattern emerging? Yes, and it's called the sideways two-step. Its a delicate dance that encourages partners to go nowhere, slowly.

Dow 13,390.51, +61.66 (0.46%)
NASDAQ 3,105.81, +14.00 (0.45%)
S&P 500 1,461.02, +3.87 (0.27%)
NYSE Composite 8,636.10, +31.71 (0.37%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,731,655,000
NYSE Volume 3,857,859,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3337-2113
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 426-9 (amazing!)
WTI crude oil: 93.10, -0.05
Gold: 1,655.50, -6.70
Silver: 30.25, -0.216

Friday, December 28, 2012

America, Land of the Handout, Home of the Loser, by the Millions

Face it Americans, you've been suckered.

There's not going to be any "grand bargain," that's for sure, and any deal that gets done either over the weekend or on Monday, December 31, at the last possible minute, is going to fall well short of even the most pessimistic possible outcomes.

Money Daily has been saying all along that the deal always was to have no deal. The President, John Boehner, and all the other "leaders" in congress have been acting through this entire sickening tableau.

When and if some kind of resolution is arrived at, there will be very few happy about it. Almost everybody's taxes are going to rise, along with the 2% contribution to Social Security that was conveniently "excused" in 2012.

Washington is a complete clown show. If the American public had any kind of guts, the protests would surround the entirety of the mall, the thieves would be summarily kicked down the steps of the capitol and bankers would be hung from the nearest lampposts.

But that's not going to happen. Americans are too easily bought off (the number of people collecting food stamps, social security and other entitlements are numb and only want the checks and freebies to keep rolling in. Some day, those will stop because the government - at the behest of the international cartel of bankers (central and otherwise) - holds all the cards.

This is a sorry way to end the week. Wall Street has only begun to express their displeasure and discontent, with markets selling off for the fourth consecutive session, today's being the largest, after President Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House and once again did NOTHING.


If this is what you want, you've gotten it, in spades, and deservedly so, especially the baby boomers, some of whom fought the establishment in the 60s, more of whom stood idly by and did nothing, other than joining the status quo as adults.These are the fruits of apathy and "let the other guy do it" mentality.

2013 will be the year of every man, woman and child to fend for oneself.

Dow 12,938.11, -158.20 (1.21%)
NASDAQ 2,960.31, -25.60 (0.86%)
S&P 500 1,402.43, -15.67 (1.10%)
NYSE Composite 8,316.17, -83.66 (1.00%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,120,378,875
NYSE Volume 2,407,416,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1794-3750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 63-51
WTI crude oil: 90.80, -0.07
Gold: 1,655.90, -7.80
Silver: 29.98, -0.265

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fiscal Cliff: Wall Street Waits While Washington Waffles

Everybody knew that the politicians in the nation's capitol wouldn't get a deal on taxes and spending until the very last possible minute, right?

That certainly seems to be the case, as there are now only five days left in 2012, and most of congress is out of town, though President Obama has made arrangements to return to the White House from Hawaii on Thursday.

Whether or not there will be anyone for him to negotiate with in another question. And what exactly will they be discussing? A very, very, short term deal, most likely extending unemployment benefits and maybe keeping the Bush tax cuts intact for those earning under $250,000, for maybe a couple of months.

The real problem which is beginning to emerge is the upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling (again), and the Tea Party Republicans in the house still seem hell-bent on making that an issue by which they can twist the president's arm.

The debt ceiling will need to be raised before March, at the very latest, or the federal government will shut down, which, at this juncture, seems to be the best option. Just do away with all of it and let chaos reign. Why not? The solutions being bantered about by the half-crazed Republicans and Democrats aren't going to solve anything except to dole out a few more Obama bucks to those already with their hands out and keep marginal rates in pretty much the same range without meaningful changes to spending or structural reform to entitlement programs or defense.

Wall Street has displayed iron nerves throughout this entire fiscal fiasco, with stocks up for the month of December. The bankster criminals on the Street are probably in on what already is looking like the biggest tax increase in American history, so they're likely well-positioned to benefit from a market decline.

If they aren't, they soon will be, if that's how this is going to go down.

It's gotten well past ridiculous, especially in light of the report from Mastercard Advisors Spending Pulse today that saw retail sales up just 0.7% versus 2011. The report tracked sales from October 28 to December 24.

Happy Holidays. Not.

Dow 13,114.59, -24.49 (0.19%)
NASDAQ 2,990.16, -22.44 (0.74%)
S&P 500 1,419.83, -6.83 (0.48%)
NYSE Composite 8,395.49, -25.06 (0.30%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,059,561,875
NYSE Volume 2,273,327,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1959-3537
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 96-40
WTI crude oil: 90.98, +2.37
Gold: 1,660.70, +1.20
Silver: 30.04, +0.138

Friday, December 21, 2012

John Boehner's Political Apocalypse; the Secret of Oz

As far as one can tell, the Mayans were incorrect. With less than eight hours left in this winter solstice 21st day of December in the year 2012 (actually, it's already the 22nd in some parts of the world across the international time line), it's a safe bet that planet earth isn't going to meet up with a death star, tilt over on its axis or flip its poles in a magnetic firestorm.

Incidentally, in numerology, today's date is significant. The digits in 12/21/2012 reduce to 11, both a prime number and a master number in numerology, 11 is representative of great spiritual energy and a linking between mortal and immortal states. The Mayans may have been - according to their calendar supposedly ending on this date - predicting the end of an epoch, and the beginning of a great enlightenment.

Whether or not there's even a shred of believability in all of this Mayan "end of world" hysteria, simply the hope for change - to a more peaceful, spiritual existence -should suffice to empower some to good and better achievements.

For those who decry numerology as mere nonsense, one should be apprised that the most popular and widely-employed system was originated by none other than Pythagoras, who knew a bit about numbers, meaning and their relationship to our known existence.

In any case, life goes on unabated, though one could make a case that the evening of the 20th and the day of the 21st marked a personal political apocalypse for one John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, when he could not muster enough support from his caucus to pass his proposed Plan B spending and tax proposal last night in the US House of Representatives.

Around 7:30 pm Thursday night, a raucous meeting of the Republicans in the house adjourned with a lack of consensus on the Speaker's proposal and the measure was shelved, much to the dismay of Mr. Boehner, who has gotten nowhere in either negotiations with the president or within his own party.

The tightrope Mr. Boehner has been treading has developed either a knot or a twang, depending on one's own political outlook. In any case, Boehner's future as Speaker appears to be as much in doubt as his ability to harness his members to an agreement with the president on avoiding the fiscal cliff, the deadline for a solution now a mere ten days away.

So, while the world may not have ended today, in John Boehner's insular little world of Washington politics, it may seem like the end of the political road. That's how apocalypse usually works: bad for some, but not for all.

When the news hit that the Plan B measure would not come up for a vote in the House, along with a telling smirk on the face of Eric Cantor, the Marcus Junius Brutus to Boehner's status as Julius Caesar, futures took a nose-dive, Dow futures plummeting to more than -200 in a matter of minutes.

Cantor, incidentally, the House Majority Leader, has eyes on the Speaker's office, and while modern day politics may be more civilized than what took place in Roman forums, political assassinations can be easily more painful than actual ones. The knife is turned more slowly in the modern world.

Markets were not pleased when they opened this morning, though after the initial selloff, the decline was very limited, with stocks trading in a tight lower range throughout the day. There was little of the expected quadruple-witching volatility after the initial thrust lower, probably something to be expected with the algo-crunching computers in charge of the bulk of trading.

While volume was elevated, it was not outstanding and the end results of the trading day were hardly cognizant of the turmoil on Capitol Hill. Wall Street still appears to be holding out hope for a happy ending to 2012 and a solution to the nation's fiscal issues. Good luck with that.

As this week comes to a melodramatic close, Monday will be a half day, with markets closing at 1:00 pm ET. Money daily will not post on that day, taking some needed time off for the holiday, unless there is some event worthy of memorializing.

One bit of business to attend to is contained in the video posted below, the exceptional, award-winning documentary exposing the secrets of L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz," which, though a best-selling children's book, years later adapted for the big screen starring July Garland as Dorothy, the story was a scathing riposte of the banking system and a searing critique of the frailty of government.

Well worth the viewing time, if you do nothing else at all to educate yourself on the truth about fractional reserve banking and politics, this is must viewing.

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Dow 13,190.84, -120.88 (0.91%)
NASDAQ 3,021.01, -29.38 (0.96%)
S&P 500 1,430.15, -13.54 (0.94%)
NYSE Composite 8,443.15, -73.28 (0.86%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,825,451,750
NYSE Volume 4,834,776,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1823-3704
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 118-45
WTI crude oil: 88.66, -1.47
Gold: 1,660.10, +14.20
Silver: 30.20, +0.525

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tip-toeing Along the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff (a melodrama)

This fiscal cliff nonsense is getting a little thick.

Just yesterday, it appeared that the president and John Boehner were coming together on a deal. Today, Boehner steps up to a mic in the Capitol and blurts out something about the president needing to get serious, which is exactly what he said two weeks ago.

Money Daily continues to cling to its creepy, cynical prediction that there will be no deal, never was going to be one, because the parties had already agreed to raise taxes on everybody (why not?) and blame each other.

At this point, all signals should be indicating that there will be no deal prior to the official deadline of midnight on December 31, and beginning with the first tick of the clock in 2013, we begin to slowly dip over the cliff.

The effect of going over the cliff will not be a sudden, recognizable event, but rather a series of widely distributed government outreaches directed straight at the wallets of American citizens. It's a horrible policy decision, but, seriously, could we have expected less from this particular gang of clowns.

Regular wage earners will be hardest hit, as both regular income tax rates will increase, but the government will put pack the 1/3 of the trust fund deductions (SSI) that they so generously didn't deduct from everyone's paychecks in 2012, which was part of last year.

This inconsistency in tax policy, government bickering and annual changes in rates, deductions, spending cuts and increases, et. al., is not anything any stable nation would entertain, the USA having proven to be anything other than stable the past four or five or twelve years as concerns fiscal and monetary policy, though the FED has been trying (ZIRP and QE1, 2, 3, infinity, 4, and likely, beyond... yessh, good luck).

Congress will be departing for the holidays en masse tomorrow and Friday, so who really among us still believes anybody in the Capitol is serious about making a deal, finding common ground (remember that quaint concept of "common good?") and relieving the American people from so much uncertainty, doubt and outright confusion.

These are questionable times with a questionable cast of characters, something along the line of the soap operas, but without doctors who return from the dead or schmaltzy, scheming middle-aged marionettes living in some alternate universe, even though Washington seems to be spinning in an orbit all its own.

So, if there's no deal by tomorrow, because the individual members in the congress have to read whatever bill is presented, no? And then they have to vote on it, pass it or turn it down. If its passed, the President's signature is a quick finish and on to more misadventures.

Whether the congress and the president agree to anything before New Year's Eve becomes New Year's Day is probably immaterial at this point. If they miss any deadlines, they'll just claim the law to be retroactive and everything will be fine. But a couple of things are virtual slam dunks. Whatever they come up with it will not be enough to revive the economy, which, after all, is the point of this exercise. Also, somebody's - and possibly everybody's - taxes will be going up and some government programs will not be funded or appropriated for as generously as before.

The Dow was off nearly 100 points today, which isn't much, in light of recent moves higher. A deal on the fiscal cliff has been priced into stocks. Today's action was a little bit of recognition that all may not be well in deal-land.

Denial. It's what's for New Year.

Dow 13,251.97, -98.99 (0.74%)
NASDAQ 3,044.36, -10.17 (0.33%)
S&P 500 1,435.81, -10.98 (0.76%)
NYSE Composite 8,463.82, -35.53 (0.42%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,938,485,625
NYSE Volume 3,838,595,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2752-2748
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 278-39
WTI crude oil: 89.51, +1.58
Gold: 1,667.70, -3.00
Silver: 31.12, -0.553

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boehner, Obama Closer on Fiscal Cliff Negotiations, Prompting Exultant Wall Street Rally

In a piece of somewhat shocking news, considering the participants are both career politicians of the highest grade, it appeared today that President Obama and House Speaker, John Boehner, were getting much closer to reaching a compromise to end the fears of going over the fiscal cliff on January 1, 2013.

Essentially, Boehner has agreed to some tax cuts for wealthier individuals while Obama is making headway in spending cuts, bringing the two sides closer to an agreement that would, at the very least, provide a level of certainty about tax and spending policies for the near future.

While the roughly $1 trillion in tax increases and another $1 trillion in spending cuts is phased over 10 years, it represents some easing of the tense gridlock between the two parties that have plagued Washington for years.

Compromise being the key to negotiation on these issues, it appears both sides are ready to give a little as the December 31 deadline approaches.

Cynics might say that the politicians are closing in on a deal only because their party members don't want to stay in Washington or have to return to the capitol between Christmas and New Year to hammer out details of a deal.

Most indications are that the President and the Speaker are within a few hundred billion dollars of each other's targets and a bill could be brought to the House and Senate by Thursday, allowing time for votes, a few minor changes and all escaping back to their districts (and families) in plenty of time for the holidays.

What was for certain was Wall Street's enthusiastic response, sending stocks sharply higher on strong volume. The rally - despite fears stemming from the fiscal debate - over the past four-and-a-half weeks has been nothing short of remarkable with the Dow Jones Industrials advancing more than 800 points since the closing low on November 15 (15,542.38) and the S&P tacking on 94 points over the same time span.

Whether or not the politicians arrive at a compromise deal, shorting this market - coincident with the real potential for a blow-off Santa Claus rally - before year's end would not be a wise move right about now.

The Wall Street crowd can best be compared to college kids on Spring Break, where just about anything is ample cause for a party.

Dow 13,350.96, +115.57(0.87%)
NASDAQ 3,054.53, +43.93(1.46%)
S&P 500 1,446.79, +16.43(1.15%)
NYSE Composite 8,499.35, +92.34(1.10%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,017,737,875
NYSE Volume 4,116,356,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4078-1520
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 284-41
WTI crude oil: 87.93, +0.73
Gold: 1,670.70, -27.50
Silver: 31.67, -0.611