Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Show all posts

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Stocks Bounce Higher, Shrugging Off Global Funding and Recession Issues

Apologies for the brevity, on the road once again.

Suffice to say that equity investors shrugged off all concerns on the day and bid stocks higher against a backdrop of daily and weekly losses. The NASDAQ was hardest hit, as traders shunned the high tech sector.

Crude oil has been an interesting story. Since the mid-September attack on the Saudi production facility, oil prices had surged, but now have retreated to prior levels, with WTI crude hovering in the $52/barrel.

Apparently, a two-week shutdown of five percent of global production does not warrant a 15% increase in price, as the perpetrators of the obvious false flag attack had hoped.

Well, at least we can all rest assured that massive fraud and manipulation of markets isn't the sole province of central banks and politicians.

Enjoy the day. Smile through the angst. Go Cardinals!

At the Close, Wednesday, October 9, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,346.01, +181.97 (+0.70%)
NASDAQ: 7,903.74, +79.96 (+1.02%)
S&P 500: 2,919.40, +26.34 (+0.91%)
NYSE Composite: 12,691.16, +100.25 (+0.80%)

Monday, September 30, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Despite Impeachment Overhang, Wall Street Is Oddly Calm

By midweek, political events had overtaken actual financial news and numbers as House Democrats turned up the heat on yet another attempt to impeach President Trump.

People with intact frontal lobes understand that the Democrats have once again fabricated the "crime" committed by President Trump. Still, the mainstream mass media complex cannot help itself from flailing about furiously at the behest of their liberal handlers. Would the media actually be impartial, this farcical drama - and the Mueller investigation that yielded nothing - would never even see the light of day.

It's further proof that most Democrats in the House have nothing constructive to add to the national debate other than outsized hatred for President Trump and all of his millions of supporters. If there is justice in this insane world, the Democrats will be outed, joe Biden's son, Hunter, will be tried, convicted and imprisoned, and the Democrat party will implode entirely in the aftermath of a massive Trump landslide.

That's for the future to tell. For the present, Wall Street would rather focus on facts, reality, data, and numbers. Third quarter results for traded corporations will begin rolling out next week. Prior to that, September non-farm payroll data will be released on Friday of this week. Whether traders and speculators can divorce themselves from the kabuki theater that is Washington DC long enough to focus on true economic data is the big question. Fast-moving headlines pushing the impeachment narrative will be difficult to ignore in coming days.

For whatever it's worth, the US economy may not be exactly a juggernaut of capitalist endeavor, it is, however, firing on all cylinders, albeit at a slow pace. By the end of October the world will have the first estimate of third quarter GDP, a number that should make headlines, whether it is good (above 2.5%) or bad (below 2.0%). Anything in the range of 2.2-3.0% will be considered a win for the economy (and President Trump), while across the pond, Europe teeters on the brink of recession.

Also on the horizon is quietude from the Federal Reserve, as the next FOMC meeting is scheduled for October 29-30. Thus, the next possible federal funds rate cut will only be under consideration and newsworthy the last two weeks of the coming month. Should economic data and corporate third quarter earnings reports come in positively there would be a rationale for the Fed to just keep rates where they are. The economy isn't struggling, jobs seem to be still plentiful and inflation fears have been kept in check. The few scenarios under which a rate cut could be considered are, at this juncture, unlikely, including a banking blowup, or taking the impeachment folly as serious.

With all that could go wrong, the world continued to turn following the attack on Saudi oil installments a few weeks back. President Trump tactfully pulled the United States back from the brink of escalation against Iran, instead opting for increased sanctions and a peaceful resolution to never-ending mid-East fanaticism and the associated war-mongering by elements in the US and Israel.

Oil, the lifeblood of the global economy, retreated as the situation de-escalated, and may actually fall below $50 per barrel as winter season looms.

Bonds seem to have found a sweet spot, despite the continued inversion of the 3-month:10-year pair, with the 10-year settling into a range between 1.55 and 1.75%. Should that range prevail over the coming weeks and months, clear sailing for the US economy may be a prudent call. While stocks, still somewhat overvalued, continue to flirt with all-time levels, the NASDAQ notably took the brunt of the selling from last week. That's probably a positive, since the NASDAQ contains some of the more pricey shares of tech companies that may need to be tamped down.

Conclusively, the week was far short of either a disaster or a rousing rally. Could it be, for a change, that the most sane place on the planet was lower Manhattan?

These are indeed strange days.

At the Close, Friday, September 27, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,820.25, -70.85 (-0.26%)
NASDAQ: 7,939.63, -91.03 (-1.13%)
S&P 500: 2,961.79, -15.83 (-0.53%)
NYSE Composite: 12,971.98, -56.72 (-0.44%)

For the Week:
Dow: -114.82 (-0.43%)
NASDAQ: -178.05 (-2.19%)
S&P 500: -30.28 (-1.01%)
NYSE Composite: -121.82 (-0.93%)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Oil and Gas Price Hikes Are a Central Banker Scam

Reiterating what was posted here Sunday in the Weekend Wrap, a recent article by Lance Roberts at Real Investment Advice, brings home the bacon in detail, of how the bottom 80% of all US workers, i.e., earners, is carrying a high debt burden that today cannot even cover basic necessities.

The consumer squeeze is in focus after the attacks on a Saudi oilfield and the Abqaiq refinery, which, according to most sources, will affect five percent of global oil supply. Somehow, cutting off five percent of global supply magically raises oil prices 15 percent.

Without anybody knowing exactly who is behind the attacks, many fingers are being pointed toward Iran, naturally, since the Iranians are fighting a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. has a solid account with photos of how the attack might have been staged, who was behind it and future implications.

From a central banker's perspective, the attack and subsequent rise in the global price of oil could not be more opportune on a number of fronts. First, in desperate need of inflation, the bankers get the gift of core inflation in both PPI and CPI. Second, the rise in the price of oil, translated to gas at the pump and some home heating fuel, will show up in the convoluted GDP calculations, just in time for the third quarter and also adding a boost to the fourth if high prices persist.

Further down the road, high input prices and consumer prices for oil and gas should put the brakes on the economy eventually, putting a dent in discretionary spending which could spark a recession in 2020, just in time for the November US elections. Sure, higher prices and profits are good for some, for a while, but eventually, high gas prices act effectively as a tax on all consumers.

If you happen to be a central banker, this sounds great, doesn't it?

There are also political and financial aspects to the story. The attacks come right on the heels of President Trump's firing of John Bolton, the infamous neocon whose penchant for war with Iran was no secret. Conspiracy theorists believe this was long-ago planned, but Bolton's removal as National Security Advisor to the president was the trigger.

There's also the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco to consider. Initially, following the attack, the Saudis hinted that they would delay their long-awaited IPO, but now, a day beyond, they say they will forge ahead as planned. At issue is valuation. The Saudis believe the company should be worth $2 trillion at IPO, while the consensus among bankers handling the deal have the figure closer to $1.5 trillion. A lasting boost in the price of oil would naturally add to the valuation, bringing it closer to the level desired by the Saudis, who, after all, have control of the flow of oil, but not the price.

With no culprit positively identified, the entire affair looks to be highly organized - from the accuracy of the missiles and/or drones employed in the attack to the coordinated record trading in the oil futures pits - and the work of people or nations with an agenda. While this may appear far fetched to some, the power of the globalist banking cartel is well-known and could be pulling all the strings behind the scenes. It is not outside the realm of possibility that deep state globalists staged the attacks and price surge. It's also possible the the attacks were completely faked, just to get the price of oil higher.

There has been a glut of global oil supply since the US embarked on its fracking and shale output, becoming the world leader a few years ago. Russia is also pumping like mad, as are most of the OPEC nations. The amount of oil on world markets is so large that even small disruptions should not affect price - which has been falling for over a year - very much, but, in this case, it did.

While there isn't much the general population as a whole can do about higher gas prices outside of mass protests (a likelihood in Europe), there are a few actions the average motorist can take.
  • Plan driving trips - organize your schedule to include multiple stops, thus reducing the amount of gas used rather than making individual trips for each task
  • Seek lower prices - use online resources like to find the lowest prices in your area.
  • Ride-sharing - organize with neighbors, friends and co-workers to share rides heading in similar directions.
  • Drive smarter - slower speeds, properly inflated tires, and good driving habits can significantly reduce your fuel usage.
  • Avoid wasted trips - deciding whether or not a trip is an absolute necessity can cut your overall fuel consumption considerably.
You don't have to buy into the price panic the global banking cartel seeks to impose upon you. As an end-user, you have to power of decision and information at your fingertips to help make wise choices. Share information with your friends, relatives and co-workers. A loose band of informed citizens can thwart the intentions the central bankers. Reduced demand should result in lower prices, eventually.

Most of all, don't buy into the media hype over gas prices, recession or any other narrative (like climate change) that the media water-carriers throw at you.

At the Close, Monday, September 16, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,076.82, -142.70 (-0.52%)
NASDAQ: 8,156.40, +2.86 (+0.04%)
S&P 500: 2,994.17, -3.79 (-0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 13,107.98, -16.36 (-0.12%)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Sliding Oil, Spanish Crisis, Mid-Week Ramp-Fest May Produce A Dizzying Friday Plunge

Just for the heck of it, let's look at the markets from a trader's perspective as the entire US population prepares to end the work week and head off for a three-day, fun-in-the-sun weekend.

Now, this trader, call him Bob, yeah, Trader Bob, has to be looking at the charts from Wednesday and Thursday, seeing that the Dow took a deep dive on both days before recovering, but also that Thursday's dive was deeper than Wednesday's and the closing level significantly lower as well. So, Trader Bob may be thinking, "This looks suspiciously like the work of the PPT or maybe even short-covering."

Scanning the headlines for Friday morning on his Bloomberg terminal, Trader Bob takes interest in a story out of Spain that is saying Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is facing a vote of no confidence in that country's parliament, meaning that an entire country could be soon plunged into a chaotic situation. Bob also recalls that part of Spain - Catalonia - tried, unsuccessfully, to secede from the nation last year.

Then, Trader Bob sees the price of oil dropping off the chart, and notes that Saudi and Russian oil officials are stating that crude supply increases are likely in the near future.

Trader Bob, considering how much he's made for clients by going long oil futures, produces the following thought bubble:

Amazing, isn't it, that even Saudi government people and those pesky Russians understand some of the principles of economics?

Whoda thunk that if gas prices go up from about $2.30 a gallon to roughly $3.00 a gallon (a 30% increase), some people might not have as much disposable income?

And, if that lessened amount of disposable income is not spent on consumer goods, then whole industries might suffer?

And, if whole industries suffer, that might affect the greater economy?

It's not rocket science, it's the dismal science called economics.

So, what's Trader Bob likely to do Friday morning when the opening bell rings?

Well, for one thing, since he has 24-7 access to the futures market, he's dumping all his WTI crude futures calls. Fast. When the market opens, he's probably going to sell some stocks, just to get out in front of the herd, where he won't be trampled by the rush to the exits.

But, Trader Bob isn't actually convinced that a selloff is a done deal, so he's not going to get too far out in front, just enough to trim some of his more speculative positions. He doesn't want to be, as surfers call it, "hanging ten."

Trader Bob will be patient, with one eye on oil but a more focused eye on the US equity markets. If things go from bad to worse, he'll consider whether or not it's time to bail. 200 points down on the Dow would be a test of Thursday's low (24,605.40). Breaching that level might produce the stampede everyone on Wall Street fears.

An hour prior to the opening bell, at 8:30, Bob sees the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ futures plunging into the red. He sells more oil futures. He looks around the trading floor. Some of the younger traders are looking a little queasy, green in the face. The older, more experienced guys are handling it better, having coffee and donuts while taking up substantial short positions is selected stocks, some of them whacking away at oil companies, others focused on Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL).

Trader Bob's hands are getting sweaty. He knows that he's prone to panic attacks, but so is all of Wall Street. He's not thinking about a three-day weekend. He's thinking about selling everything and moving to Maine.

Dow Jones Industrial Average May Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
5/1/18 24,099.05 -64.10 -64.10
5/2/18 23,924.98 -174.07 -238.17
5/3/18 23,930.15 +5.17 -233.00
5/4/18 24,262.51 +332.36 +99.36
5/7/18 24,357.32 +94.81 +194.17
5/8/18 24,360.21 +2.89 +197.06
5/9/18 24,542.54 +182.33 +379.39
5/10/18 24,739.53 +196.99 +576.38
5/11/18 24,831.17 +91.64 +668.02
5/14/18 24,899.41 +68.24 +736.26
5/15/18 24,706.41 -193.00 +543.26
5/16/18 24,768.93 +62.52 +605.78
5/17/18 24,713.98 -54.95 +550.73
5/18/18 24,715.09 +1.11 +551.84
5/21/18 25,013.29 +298.20 +850.04
5/22/18 24,834.41 -178.88 +671.16
5/23/18 24,886.81 +52.40 +723.56
5/24/18 24,811.76 -75.05 +648.51

At the Close, Thursday, May 24, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,811.76, -75.05 (-0.30%)
NASDAQ: 7,424.43, -1.53 (-0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,727.76, -5.53 (-0.20%)
NYSE Composite: 12,696.69, -46.71 (-0.37%)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Saudi Purge Prompts Higher Prices for Oil, Precious Metals

Midday Monday, the commodity complex (especially gold, silver and WTI crude oil) took off to the upside, and, by the end of the day, had maintained their newfound levels, oil hitting a nearly three-year high.

This dramatic rise in the price of oil coincides with tumultuous incidents in Saudi Arabia, wherein 11 princes, four ministers and several former ministers have been detained. Some prominent businessman have also been placed on a so-called "no fly" list, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman purges his enemies in an overt effort to considerate power in the kingdom.

Oil rising and Saudi unrest are not isolated events, as neither is the incidental visit by President Trump some months ago and the more recent visit by Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The Saudis have seen their profits collapse as oil has languished under $50 for years, but the political shakeup may have more to do with overall foreign interests, primarily focused on investments in US companies such as Citibank and Twitter, via the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund.

Silver and gold also rising at the same time during the day as oil confirms that there was coordinated buying of commodities in the futures market. The move was far from insignificant and was presaged by a similar move to the downside in the complex on Friday, prior to the Saudi purge, which went public on Sunday.

With President Trump safely traveling in the Pacific, the intrigue is high that something major is afoot globally, recalling Trump's cryptic tweet a few weeks ago, "the calm before the storm."

It seems that the storm has arrived, at least in the middle East. Whether it continues to lash out across Europe and the United States is, at this time, still conjecture.

As has been demonstrated periodically in the past, commodity futures can be highly volatile and can have profound effects further into the supply and demand chain. If oil continues to rise, it may be time to take any number of protective measures, from purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle, to selling the dollar, to buying precious metal in anticipation of a major - and long overdue - breakout.

While nothing in the interconnected world of finance operates in a vacuum, stocks could also feel some heat, though the markets have more than ample protection on the downside via central bank stealth and overt (Swiss National Bank) purchases.

It is apparent, however, that given the Saudi purge and the rise in the price of oil, something big is happening.

At the Close, Monday, November 6, 2017:
Dow: 23,548.42, +9.23 (+0.04%)
NASDAQ: 6,786.44, +22.00 (+0.33%)
S&P 500: 2,591.13, +3.29 (+0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 12,400.93, +27.87 (+0.23%)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Individual Investors Should Not Be Confused About Volatility and Market Noise

Famously, John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan, financier, banker, philanthropist and art collector who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation, when asked what the market would do, wistfully answered, "It will fluctuate," and that is the kind of sage advice by which individual investors should be guided.

Markets, whether they be stocks, bonds, commodities or baseball cards are continually in a condition of fluctuation, buffeted about by popular opinion, spin doctors, general sentiment, analyst opinions and the prevailing economic conditions of the time, and this time, like any other, is subject to the same market forces.

Volatility in markets generally is of benefit only to a small, elite group of active traders who are rabid in their pursuit of true value propositions and correct assumptions of price discovery. While the current regime of Fed-induced interest rate and bubble-manic equity markets might be confusing to some, they need not be to the astute, patient and prudent individual investor.

Today's events were dominated by turmoil in the Arabian peninsula - specifically, the fall of order in Yemen and subsequent armed invasion by the Saudis and Egyptians - which first sent stocks down, then up, then down again, etc., and the price of oil up, and only up. However, these knee-jerk reactions are meaningless in the larger scheme of things. A two-dollar rise in the price of WTI crude oil isn't going to affect the purchasing habits of millions of motorists, just as a one or two percent move in major averages like the Dow Jones Industrials or S&P 500 will influence investment decisions.

Military action today will likely be replaced by peace tomorrow, or, at some later date, and prices and markets will return to some semblance of normalcy. Enthusiastic journalists and commentators on CNBC and/or Bloomberg TV might have panic in their voice and fear in their eyes, but they are largely for entertainment purposes only and should never be considered when actual money and investment decisions are at hand.

In a world far away and long ago, that being prior to televised financial nonsense and noise, stocks were relatively calm and decent places in which to park excess cash. Today's monumental stupidity caused by too many people paying attention to talking heads on television and exacerbated by headline-scanning algorithms employed by HFT firms makes for markets that are irrational in the short term and less-than-reliable on a short-term basis, but, when viewed from a six-month or longer perspective, all the bumps and grinds of fast money (and yes, that is a swipe at CNBC's show by the same name) get smoothed out and wrung dry of volatility.

Unless and until there is a major market-moving event like the liquidity and solvency melt-down in 2008 and 2009, or the housing boom and bust that preceded it and extended beyond it, markets will behave in somewhat of a normal fashion. Looking at stocks over the past six years, starting with the bottom in March 2009, they've done nothing but perform brilliantly, and anyone who had simply bought and held the major indices correctly would have handsome profits today.

Oil and other commodities have behaved rather radically over the same time period, but what can be said about some may be applied to all. They are more volatile and subject to price swings. And, when one considers currency - because, honestly, parking all your cash in a single currency could be a bad idea - diversity is the key, though anyone considering a safe play might want to take a serious look at gold, and an even deeper peerage into the value of silver.

Both of the popular precious metals are really nothing more than alternative currencies, and, though they may not be quite as liquid as a stock of $100 bills, they also bear no counter-party risk and have been relatively stable over the near term, residing mostly near bottoms. That both gold and silver are bouncing around low levels is worthy of further consideration, because, beyond being currency, they can also be collateral and they may even offer some gain in terms of rising price. At the worst, either metal may suffer a small decline from current levels of maybe 10-15%, but in no way will they ever be worthless.

They are useful hedges and alternative currencies and not nearly enough investors and individuals have taken advantage of their purposefulness, though the fact that they are tightly held may be a part of their charm.

Overall, days like today and weeks and months in which one has to be subject to the whims and fantasies of speculators, newscasters, pundits, analysts and fools, aren't worth wasting one's time upon. It's far easier to make a few strident choices and be done with it. Life is indeed too short to worry about money, or even about the value of it. The world today seems preoccupied with it, though it should be remembered that it is only a means to an end, and not the end itself.

Dow 17,678.23, -40.31 (-0.23%)
S&P 500 2,056.15, -4.90 (-0.24%)
NASDAQ 4,863.36, -13.16 (-0.27%)

P.S.: If you did absolutely nothing today, i.e., made no trades, you out-performed 70% of the day-or-day-to-day-traders. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Housing Not So Rousing, Saudis Naughty on Oil

How's that recovery coming along?

In housing, not so well, it turns out.

Housing starts fell from 705K in January to 698K, annualized, in February, with much of the new construction boosted in the multi-family, "5 units or more" category (apartments), which implies a couple of things. First, investors seem to believe that single-family home construction is a fading business, and, second, most of lower and middle class Americans cannot meet the current, stringent lending requirements needed to qualify for mortgages, so they will rent instead of own.

That's something of a setback for the "American dream of home ownership" crowd that watches in horror as each month more and more existing homes sell for less than their listed price, even more become vacant eyesores due to bank and tax foreclosures as the economy stumbles along at maybe two percent growth.

Building permits rose to 717K in February from 682K in January, probably due to the unusually warm weather across most of the country, though the apparent contrariness in that metric may be merely stealing from the future and is also the very first step in construction - a long way from completion, which, as people in Las Vegas and elsewhere will contend, often never happens.

With those numbers released before the open as a backdrop, stocks opened sharply lower and remained in the red throughout the session, though the NASDAQ and S&P 500 had interesting intra-day rallies that took them well off their lows into the close.

Oil got shocked down as the Saudis pledged to pump more crude, Iran assured its neighbors that the Strait of Hormuz would remain open and more signs that the Chinese economy is slowing emerged.

Overall, it was a good day for consumers and not such a great one for oil barons and one-percenters, though financial stocks were among the leaders. As usual, volume was weak and maybe just a mirage. Silver continues to slump, now down into a great buying range below support at $32/ounce.

Dow 13,170.19, -68.94 (0.52%)
NASDAQ 3,074.15, -4.17 (0.14%)
S&P 500 1,405.52, -4.23 (0.30%)
NYSE Composite 8,241.27, -56.20 (0.68%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,508,268,500
NYSE Volume 3,656,522,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1753-3806
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 116-40
WTI crude oil: 105.61, -2.48
Gold: 1,647.00, -20.30
Silver: 31.83, -1.12

Monday, April 18, 2011

S&P Shocks Markets, Downgrades US Outlook to Negative

Us markets barely shrugged when Japan's nuclear reactors exploded, Egypt's government was overthrown, Ireland and Portugal needed bailouts and the entire nation of Libya was turned upside down in a violent civil war.

But it was something not destructive, threatening or otherwise physically damaging - a downgrade of the economic outlook from neutral to negative for the United States from ratings agency Standard & Poors (S&P) - that caught everyone's attention on Wall Street and in Washington.

The agency - the very same one which rated hundreds of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as AAA when they clearly were not - verified what practically everyone on the planet already knew: that the USA was spending well beyond its means and that the federal government needs to fix its financial affairs in short order.

While shying away from actually downgrading the rating, the outlook downgrade comes as a kind of warning to politicians on both sides of the aisle. S&P is concerned that long-term high deficits could lead to dire consequences if not reined in soon. Concerned that Democrats and Republicans will be unable to come to terms with glaring deficits and reach a spending and revenue compromise, S&P said, "The negative outlook on our rating on the U.S. sovereign signals that we believe there is at least a one-in-three likelihood that we could lower our long-term rating on the U.S. within two years."

An actual ratings cut could impact the government spending and borrowing programs in a nyriad of ways, making new and old debt alike more expensive to service due to higher interest rates.

Of course, the United States is not just any country. It still enjoys the best rating possible AAA on long term debt and A-1+ on short term borrowings. Nonetheless, Wall Street stood up and took notice, with across-the-board selling right from the opening bell.

The Dow was down as much as 247 points early on, but managed to pull itself higher in the afternoon, shaving off 2/5ths of the decline.

Dow 12,201.59, -140.24 (1.14%)
NASDAQ 2,735.38, -29.27 (1.06%)
S&P 500 1,305.14, -14.54 (1.10%)
NYSE Composite 8,277.11, -123.20 (1.47%)

Declining issues soared over gainers, 5219-1370. New lows exceeded new highs on the NASDAQ, 50-42, and rolled over on the NYSE as well, with 30 new lows and just 22 new highs. Volume was not impressive, though overall breadth was somewhat stunning, with all sectors ending in the red, led by energy, capital goods, basic materials and financials.

The lack of volume is more ominous than it may appear at first glance, significant in that not all investors took this warning seriously and continue to not only hold stocks, but were buying in the afternoon. With the Fed's QE2 program drawing to a close in just two months time, a tough fight for certain in Washington over raising the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget and an economy still not flourishing a full two years after the banking crisis, there are more than enough potential causes for a rapid - and lasting - decline in stocks.

NASDAQ Volume 1,817,444,625
NYSE Volume 5,013,312,500

Besides the potential S&P downgrade, corporate earnings thus far have been short on results. Bank of America's miss on Friday was widely overlooked, but today after the bell, Texas Instruments (TI) also missed, and revised 2nd quarter estimates. Before the bell tomorrow, Goldman Sachs (GS) is due to announce their results for the first quarter, which, if all goes according to plan for the company that supposes to be doing "God's work," then this downdraft will be quickly forgotten and a new era of prosperity proclaimed.

That's another bet on which we're not taking sides.

Once again, commodities and the consumer were the winners of the day as crude oil slipped $2.54, to $107.12 at the NYMEX close, while gold flirted with the $1500 mark, closing the day at $1,492.90, a gain of $6.90. Silver continued to set new 31-year highs, finishing at 42.96, on a gain of 39 cents, though it was well above the $43 mark through most of the day.

In what had to be the least-appreciated news item of the day, Saudi Arabia cut its oil production by 800,000 barrels a day due to - get this - oversupply.

Now, if only somebody can explain to the millions of drivers worldwide just how that supply-demand dynamic works again maybe we can eliminate some of the obvious gouging that's gone on over the past two months. If the Saudis are cutting production due to oversupply, then oil should be more like $40 a barrel, not over $100, and gas should be a heck of a lot closer to $2.00 a gallon than it is to $4.00.

Trust nobody. It's obvious that our own government could care less about the general welfare of its own people. And for those who paid their income taxes today, too bad, because you just threw your money right down the memory hole.

What's in store from here is anybody's guess, but you can count on a number of things: the politicians will continue to bicker and fight like little girls and accomplish next to nothing; the bankers will continue to evade prosecution for their frauds and receive bigger bonuses; and the American people - sheep that they are - will not protest but will still want their iPads, food stamps and football.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not as Good as They're Saying; Lows-Highs Flip

To anyone who follows capital markets and the world of high finance closely, the material deficiencies in the US and global "growth" stories are glaring and have been for many months. While the financial press - CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg - and the spokespeople for the various central governments around the world continue to feed the public the "recovery" fable, the facts, now beginning to see the light of day, contend that the global economy is still, two-and-a-half years after the grand cascading crash of 2008, in precarious straits.

Five separate stories sealed the fate for global markets today, beginning with China's announcement late Wednesday night (in America) that their trade balance was negative for the month of February.

About the same time, RealtyTrac delivered news that foreclosures had come to nearly a halt in the United States, with their numbers for February dropping 14 percent from the previous month and a 27 percent decrease from February 2010. Normally, that would be good news, but in the current environment of illegal and unethical actions by large, foreclosing banks, it meant that the mess that began in October, 2010 with the robo-signing scandal, was keeping banks from courthouses and clogging up the real estate market in a worsening manner.

Prior to the market opening, two more news items spooked the investment community. First, Moody's downgraded Spain's debt (about time for that!) to Aa2 and then, at 8:30 am on the East coast, the double whammy of new unemployment claims (397,000) and the US trade deficit, which expanded to -$46.3 billion in January.

Then, in mid-afternoon, as if the market had not received enough bad news, a story out of Saudi Arabia said that protesters had been fired upon by government troops.

That final bit of news sent the major indices - which had recovered somewhat off the day's lows - down once more, and stocks finished the session breaking into new depths.

The Dow and S&P broke through various levels of support, with the Dow finishing under the 12,000 mark for the first time in two months and the S&P crashing through it's 55-DMA. The NASDAQ and NYSE Composite each suffered similar pain.

It's becoming plain and clear to everybody living in the real world - not the fantasy land of fund managers, politicians and central bankers - that things are not going so well. Housing is an absolute catastrophe, global trade is grinding down due to higher imput costs and soaring energy prices, Europe is a full-blown basket case on the brink of dissolving, and US stocks are so wickedly overvalued that the path of least resistance is to sell them all, hurriedly, on the first sign of negative news, and there certainly was plenty of that to go around today.

Dow 11,984.61, -228.48 (1.87%)
NASDAQ 2,701.02, -50.70 (1.84%)
S&P 500 1,295.11, -24.91 (1.89%)
NYSE Composite 8,200.07, -179.37 (2.14%)

Declining issues led advancers, 5501-1072, a ratio of better than 5:1. New highs on the NASDAQ were just 33, overtaken by 68 new lows. On the NYSE, just 27 new highs and 31 new lows. This is a critical juncture for the markets, because if the number of new lows remain higher than new highs on a daily basis for long, say, six to eight trading days, it would confirm a hard change of direction, which has been in the cards since the double-engulfing session last Tuesday.

Volume was elevated as is the usual case when sellers outnumber buyers.

NASDAQ Volume 2,374,073,000
NYSE Volume 5,320,324,500

Commodities also took it on the chin, though in not such a dramatic fashion as stocks. Crude oil futures on the NYMEX fell $1.68, to $102.70, due to massive oversupply in the US of unrefined crude. Gold slipped $17.10, but remained below the psychologically-important $1400 level, ending the day at $1,412.50. Silver also was sold off, losing $98 cents, to finish at $35.07, though it should be noted that on days of hard reversals, a lot of precious metals are liquidated by speculators to cover margin calls.

A final note should not be ignored. Bill Gross' PIMCO, the world's largest fixed income family of funds, has slashed its holdings of Treasuries to ZERO. This news, first reported by the avant garde financial blog,, holds unknown, but potentially damaging conditions. Gross and PIMCO have more or less registered a vote of "no confidence" on the policies of the US government and the Federal Reserve Corporation.

With stocks hammered down repeatedly over the past two weeks, the highs of February 18 look like specs on the horizon and the truth about the real conditions in the global and US markets is finally coming out. The cataclysm begun by the Wall Street banks in 2003-2006 and accelerated by then-Treasury Secretary's $700 billion holdup of the US mint in October, 2008, has many more acts still to be played out.

The rush for the exits began a week ago and the passageway out is beginning to get quite crowded.