Showing posts with label SEC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SEC. Show all posts

Friday, September 28, 2018

Stocks Gain On Positive Economic Data; Elon Musk, Tesla Sued By SEC

The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a three-day losing streak and the S&P ended its own four-day skein as positive economic numbers boosted confidence, leading to spirited buying early in the session.

Euphoria faded as the day wore on, however. The Dow was up nearly 170 points close to 1:00 pm EDT, but sold off through the afternoon into the close, losing two-thirds of the day's gains. Similar patters were noted on the S&P and the NYSE Composite. The NASDAQ lost some value, though the afternoon swoon was not nearly as severe as on other indices.

The good news came prior to the opening bell. The third estimate of second quarter GDP held steady at 4.2% and durable goods orders for August soared by 4.5%. Upon further review, the durable goods number appeared much weaker than the headline, as much of the increase was supplied by non-defense aircraft orders, which were up 69% and defense capital goods order were up 44%.

Late in the day, word circulated that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors (TSLA) was being sued for fraud by the SEC.

The SEC alleged that Musk made "false and misleading statements" when he casually stated and tweeted that he could take the company private at $420 a share and also alleged that Musk's tweets caused market chaos, harming investors.

If the SEC's claims hold water, Musk could be stripped of his position and barred from ever running a publicly-traded company. He would also face stiff fines.

The news came too late in the day to affect trading on Thursday, though the stock was down between 10 and 13 percent in pre-market trading Friday morning.

Musk has been a controversial leader of the company he founded, but seems to be beset by psychological demons and may be bi-polar. In addition to his frequent affronts to sensibility, the company has never turned a profit and is deeply in debt. Additionally, Tesla autos have been known to burst into flames upon impact and its auto-pilot feature has been cited by some as a cause for lack of control, leading to a high rate of accidents.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17
9/6/18 25,995.87 +20.88 +31.05
9/7/18 25,916.54 -79.33 -48.28
9/10/18 25,857.07 -59.47 -107.75
9/11/18 25,971.06 +113.99 +6.24
9/12/18 25,998.92 +27.86 +34.10
9/13/18 26,145.99 +147.07 +181.17
9/14/18 26,154.67 +8.68 +189.85
9/17/18 26,062.12 -92.55 +97.30
9/18/18 26,246.96 +184.84 +282.14
9/19/18 26,405.76 +158.80 +440.94
9/20/18 26,656.98 +251.22 +692.16
9/21/18 26,743.50 +86.52 +778.68
9/24/18 26,562.05 -181.45 +597.23
9/25/18 26,492.21 -69.84 +527.39
9/26/18 26,385.28 -106.93 +420.46
9/27/18 26,439.93 +54.65 +475.11

At the Close, Thursday, September 27, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,439.93, +54.65 (+0.21%)
NASDAQ: 8,041.97, +51.60 (+0.65%)
S&P 500: 2,914.00, +8.03 (+0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 13,105.72, +3.77 (+0.03%)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bennie Talks, Angelo Walks, BofA Balks

Our markets are indeed funny creatures. After the Fed issued a $4.7 billion POMO, all the cumputers went out and bought shares of Apple (AAPL), the darling of the tech sector and the one stock - according to some estimates - that makes up 20% of the entire NASDAQ every day in volume.

Apple was up more than 4% on the day in anticipation of earnings which come out on Monday, Oct. 18.

Share of Google were catapulted into the stratosphere, up 60 points (11%) to just over $600 per share after the company reported earnings that beat aggressive estimates for the third quarter.

Otherwise, the rest of the market wasn't very impressed with Ben Bernanke's speech in which he almost gushed openly about QE2 and the need to re-inflate the economy. In other words, Ben simply can't wait to print up more money and debase the currency further.

One little problem - well, two - with Ben's strategy is that interest rates are already at record low levels and people are still reluctant to spend, and, that second little annoyance: unemployment continues to hang around the 10% level and isn't seen improving until sometime in... well, make your best guess.

So, besides the ultra-bubbly-looking NASDAQ stocks, the rest of the market drifted below the unchanged mark for almost the entire session. The Dow ended lower, the NASDAQ was on a launch pad and the S&P barely budged. What all of this is saying is that there's a great deal of dislocation between the stocks, the indices and investors. Divergence is usually a good harbinger for an impending crash, to which we alerted the world yesterday. We're still on that tack, but POMO, QE2, elections and jerry-rigging the markets aren't going to help achieve the desired unwind.

Angelo Mozilo, former head of former Countrywide Financial, settled his SEC case for $67 million, along with two of his henchmen, Eric Sieracki and David Sambol. The coverup and deceit of the federal agencies continues. There is still an open DOJ criminal investigation, but with the invisible man, Eric Holder, not particularly interested in prosecuting anybody for anything, the chances of it being dropped are approaching 100%.

As usual, nobody admitted any guilt and the odd twist is that Bank of America, which bought the company in 2007, will pay a good deal of the disgorgement and fines.

Prior to the Mozilo deal, BofA had already been downgraded by Standard and Poors, from a buy to a hold. The stock skidded all day, along with other bank stocks associated to the foreclosure fraud issues which continue to be played out, talked about and eventually likely will be extensively litigated.

Dow 11,062.78, -31.79 (0.29%)
NASDAQ 2,468.77, +33.39 (1.37%)
S&P 500 1,176.19, +2.38 (0.20%)
NYSE Composite 7,520.60, -25.99 (0.34%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,246,778,000
NYSE Volume 6,512,256,500

Despite the split decision in the indices, declining issues led advancers by an unhealthy amount, 3625-2778. New highs continued to dominate new lows, 607-65, though it is notable that the number of new lows is beginning to rise off absurd lows in the 20s, now up two straight days. Volume was very strong, though this being an options expiration day on top of the fat fiat money sent through on the POMO, that's not unexpected.

For a change, the major commodities were all lower. Oil lost $1.44, to $81.25. Gold fell $5.60, to $1,372.00. Even silver, which has been on a tremendous tear, shed 15 cents, to $24.29, still mighty pricey.

With elections just twelve trading days away, we anxiously await the essential "October surprise" moment. Will it be in the form of a market crash, a terror event or a political gaffe.

Ladies and gents, place your bets and have a nice weekend. Take the Jets!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stocks Higher Six of Seven Days in September

Even though stocks seem to have shaken off the summer blahs, two issues continue to dog the market for equities.

First, the major averages are still stuck below their 200-day moving averages. Just today, the Dow reached that level, and a breakout above 10,500 could drag the other indices along with it. That's for next week, however, when a number of key economic reports are due out, including Capacity Utilization, Industrial Production, CPI, PPI, Retail Sales and the Michigan Consumer Sentiment gauge for September.

Seeing as how these data sets have been playing an increasingly larger role in the direction of stocks, next week's movement should be tied directly to those various readings.

The second - and probably more worrisome - facet of the current range-bound movement is the continuing saga of slack volume. Like seemingly everything else in the US economy, there's an overabundance of equities but a serious lack of demand. We have commented on the low volume data ad nauseam, but the issue keeps dogging the market like a bad rash.

Until there's some semblance of confidence in stocks from individual investors, no rally will be trusted, no quoted price believed.

On the topics of trust and confidence, the SEC investigation of the May "flash crash" surely isn't instilling any of either into the hearts and minds of investors. In typical bureaucratic fashion, the SEC has performed an admirable job of foot-dragging, jaw-boning and bush-beating around the actual causes of the sudden drop which sent the Dow plummeting more than 700 points and quickly recovering, all in the span of 20 minutes.

The agency has ruled out some causes, including quote stuffing (the process of flooding an exchange with orders, along the lines of an internet "denial of service" attack), which actually seem to be at the heart of what happened. The agency expects to issue a final report - which will, no doubt, come to no conclusion - by the end of September, a full four months after an event which took less than half an hour from start to finish.

Regardless, the flash crash and overwhelming suspicion that the market is rigged by insiders has kept investors away for months. Average daily volume is off by more than 30% from previous "normal" levels.

Still, investors seemed content to push prices a little higher each day this week after Monday's selloff, the net result having the indices closing marginally higher than last week's finish.

Dow 10,462.77, +47.53 (0.46%)
NASDAQ 2,242.48, +6.28 (0.28%)
S&P 500 1,109.55, +5.37 (0.49%)
NYSE Composite 7,067.51, +33.14 (0.47%)

For the third straight session, winners topped losers, though again by a diminishing margin, 3405-2232. New highs: 297; New lows: 55. Volume: Pathetic.

NASDAQ Volume 1,630,413,750
NYSE Volume 3,165,025,000

Oil got a significant boost on news of a Canadian pipeline leak, gaining $2.20, to $76.45. The metals continued to stall out, with gold losing $4.40, to $1,244.50, and silver off a penny, at $19.80

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Triple Top or More Room to Roam?

Stocks just keep bounding up and down, but mostly up, though the activity since Thursday of last week (April 15) is suggesting that the top may be already set, or set up.

The Dow hit an intra-day high of 11,190.22 on Tuesday, after making stops at 11,189.61 on Thursday (4/15) and 11,186.82 on Friday (4/16). That appears to be the formation of some fairly significant resistance, especially considering today's close of 11,124.92, well below those lofty levels.

It's far too early to tell if that the 11,190 area will actually be the top, though the Transportation Index is signaling somewhat the same signs of waning interest, settling today some 124 points below its own intra-day high from April 15. Of course, more bad news for either Greece or Goldman Sachs will send the stock-pumping moles in the PPT scurrying into action with their billions of dollars of untraceable trades to keep stocks soaring and the public none the wiser.

If one is inclined to listen to financial news via the mainstream media (re: CNBC), the constant howling over "improving conditions", "V-shaped recovery" and similar bombast can be deafening, but make no doubt, dirty little secrets are being kept far from public view.

In that regard, the SC charges against Goldman Sachs are probably more of a decoy than anything else. If something critical were to occur - and break the collusion between the federal government and Wall Street - the Department of Justice would have filed criminal charges. The chances of anything like that actually happening are remote, though those of us who believe that the housing bubble and subsequent crash, bailouts and breakdowns were indeed high crimes remain hopeful.

Beating back the onrushing forces of government and big money at the same time is an uphill fight, one the American people seem ill-inclined to undertake. Tea parties have been largely a ploy of the right wing, do-nothing Republican party, which sees obstruction as a perfectly good alternative to actually legislating on the behalf of the American people.

Those days are long gone, and the folks occupying the high offices in Washington and Wall Street hope they will be soon forgotten as well. Politicians listen only for the sound of crisp bils being peeled off of large wads from well-heeled supporters, like oil companies, pharmas and banking interests. Nobody will go to jail after the banks literally stole billions of dollars in real estate assets through phony documentation, phony appraisals, phony credit reports and phony income statements.

The wizards of Wall Street are truthfully not wizards of high finance at all, but rather, masters of finagling every last dollar out of the pockets of the middle class. To them, working men and women are rabble, peons to be fleeced by their powerful financial acumen and lengthy over-worded documents. The government complies by not regulating and the courts further the fraud by failing to prosecute even when they have good actions with solid arguments in front of them.

Witness Federal Court Judge Virginia Phillips dismissing 8 separate class actions on the same pretext: that the banks and builders weren't responsible for the calamity which has put millions out of their homes, but that the "economy" or the "recession" was to blame. With judges like Phillips front-running litigation for the bank fraudsters, is there really any reason to believe in democratic principles like justice, fairness, or even due process any more?

The obvious answer is no, and that bodes ill for all of us, present and future. Baby boomers should face facts: our parents were probably the most prosperous generation ever in America, but we are less fortunate, with every excess dollar seemingly earmarked for either utility rate hikes, tax increases or supplements to the wildly out-of-control and under-funded entitlement programs. The baby-boomer generation will be lucky to retire with any kind of benefits, as the Social Security fund is already running current-account deficits. The government will have to either borrow or tax to pay the millions who will be retiring in the next decade, and borrow in enormous sums.

In the meantime, Americans mostly continue to work and try to save, though for many, that has become an increasingly difficult task. Unemployment is expected to remain stubbornly high for at least another three years, with 8% now being hailed as a benchmark, though in reality, the current 9.7% rate is actually closer to 18% when all the conditional arguments are removed from the government's calculations.

Wall Street could care less, though their rapacious greed could turn out to be their own worst enemy. Without a spending public, many of the major enterprises will crumble for lack of new suckers (funding). It cannot happen too soon, for only then will there be a reckoning and justice for all.

Dow 11,124.92, +7.86 (0.07%)
NASDAQ 2,504.61, +4.30 (0.17%)
S&P 500 1,205.93, -1.24 (0.10%)
NYSE Composite 7,644.67, -24.44 (0.32%)

Once again, the indices rendered a split decision, with two up and two down, indicating that a turn is approaching. Advancing issues led decliners, 3534-2957. 767 new highs overshadowed the mere 47 new lows. Volume was back up again, though it's likely due more to position trades than anything else, i.e., keeping the markets on an even keel by manipulating a range of stocks.

NYSE Volume 6,301,928,500
NASDAQ Volume 2,644,937,250

Oil was down, gold and silver, up, all three stuck in trading ranges they have occupies for months. Those prices are deliberately being manipulated to keep order in the global economy. Central banks fear gold because their currencies are backed by nothing but empty promises, and the oil sheiks and oligopolies can maintain production without social unrest at abysmally high prices.

Its a sad world condition, in which the rich now control a larger concentration of wealth than at any other time in history, except for maybe the Middle Ages or the Roman Empire.

Friday, April 16, 2010

SEC Sues Goldman Sachs; Is the Tide Turning?

There was only one piece of news today that mattered and it was the enormous disclosure that the SEC has initiated a civil lawsuit against the leading investment bank in America: Goldman Sachs.

The case alleges fraud by Goldman Sachs in the marketing and selling of certain mortgage-backed securities selected by hedge fund Paulson & Co. Investors lost $1 billion, though Paulson, allegedly aided by Goldman Sachs, made bets (credit defaults swaps or CDS) against the securities and made $1 billion by being on the opposite side of the transaction.

Obviously, the SEC has targeted only one instance of alleged fraud in the marketing of mortgage-backed securities which consisted primarily of sub-prime mortgages, though the case may serve as a test for many more lawsuits to follow. What's apparent from the government's position is that Goldman Sachs will be brought under severe scrutiny in the arcane area of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), at last seeking to pull back the veil of secrecy surrounding the financial instruments which eventually resulted in a massive collapse of the financial industry and the larger economy.

Should the government prevail against Goldman, the implications could be severe. It's not as though Goldman's marketers were the only Wall Street big wheels who were involved in the sale of such securities. Other banks and financial institutions may find themselves on the receiving end of the government's wrath, notably Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, while JP Morgan Chase may receive something of a pass. Bank of America may be culpable after its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2008, while Citigroup and Morgan Stanley merged their brokerage units in January, 2009 under the Smith Barney moniker.

With all of this potential litigation weighing in the background, investors scurried out of Goldman Sachs and other financial stocks en masse on Friday. Goldman Sachs (GS) closed at 160.70, down 23.57 points (12.79%). Other financial stocks suffered declines ranging between 5 and 10%, but the broader market was noticeably spooked, sending all the major indices tumbling into the red. As such, investors were granted the perfect opportunity to bail out and head to the sidelines for the time being, though these lawsuits could take years in which to unravel.

It is worth noting that today's tumble nearly wiped out all of the gains for the week. The news could not have come at a worse time, right in the midst of earnings season. The potential for billions of dollars being vaporized is once again front and center as scandalous lawsuits will almost surely put a lid on further advances and may actually serve to focus investors on other less-than-satisfactory economic news.

Dow 11,018.66, -125.91 (1.13%)
NASDAQ 2,481.26, -34.43 (1.37%)
S&P 500 1,192.13, -19.54 (1.61%)
NYSE Composite 7,584.62, -135.04 (1.75%

The extraordinary nature of todays trade was evident in the internals. Declining issues trumped advancers, 4991-1524. New highs slipped back to 464, though there were only 39 new lows. Volume was at the highest level in months, nearly double the normal volume on the NYSE alone.

NYSE Volume 9,108,087,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,878,199,000

The Goldman news spared no markets. Crude oil dropped $2.27, to $83.24. Gold was hammered, losing $23.40, to $1,136.30. Silver was battered down 76 cents, closing at $17.67 per ounce.

One can only wonder about the timing of the SEC suit and its effect on the markets. Was it mere coincidence that stocks had become ridiculously overbought in recent days or was this yet another well-timed assault on the senses by the money moguls?

Only time will tell, but this is certainly not a time to be very confident in buying stocks. Again.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The PPT Plans to Save the Nation

They did it again.

It wasn't as dramatic as yesterday's 200-point move in 35 minutes, but there it was again, our guardians of the economy, the guiding hand of the Treasury, Federal Reserve, SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, acting in concert, pumped the Dow Jones Industrial Average another 120 points between 3:00 and 3:30 pm. They then allowed the market to readjust and close with another 100-point gain.

This time they took the NASDAQ along for the ride and left the S&P and the poor sister NYSE Composite behind; up, but by a lesser percentage than their favored 30 Dow stocks. The tally today was 25 gainers and just five losers within the Dow component stocks. Nice. Healthy. Bullscoot.

Dow 13,463.33 +100.96; NASDAQ 2,575.98 +22.11; S&P 500 1,472.20 +6.39; NYSE Composite 9,619.33 +46.28

The market internals were somewhat improved today, with advancers actually outdoing decliners by better than a 3-2 margin. New lows continued to lead new highs, however, 417-133. The markets are coming back toward equilibrium, but it's not going to last - the underlying forces of the sub-prime meltdown are simply too powerful.

Oil traded 33 cents to the upside, closing at $76.86. Gold and silver were up marginally, with silver right at $13.00 per ounce.

There are compelling reasons to buy into the metals, though those markets seem to be as manipulated - lower - as the Dow Jones. With Rupert Murdoch set to take the reins at the Wall Street Journal - a sad day for us all - the FOX is actually going to be in the hen house.

Make no mistake, the powers that be are in no mood to allow the Dow and other indices to drift lower. That said, it needs to be pointed out that the chances of making new highs are also quite remote. The credit markets are busting and the worst is still to come, right about time for a nice little election in the US, so the blame can be laid at the feet of the party soon to be (or already) in charge. History will be rewritten. It is every day, and it's all absolutely rubbish.