Showing posts with label bankruptcy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bankruptcy. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Profiteering Politicians, Slick Money Managers Make Hay on Possible COVID-19 Vaccine Headlines

Two headlines:

JCPenney says it will close about 240 stores after filing for bankruptcy

Moderna says test results for possible COVID19 vaccine 'positive'

Only one mattered. Moderna's positive spin over fairly insignificant early stage trials for a vaccine against COVID-19 sent stocks into orbit. Actually, sending stocks skyward was more the work of the Federal Reserve's relentless currency printing press, running full speed since late March. The Fed has created so much liquidity - for nothing, out of thin air - that there's a global glut, just like oil, and it has to find somewhere to go, and that place is usually in risk assets, like stocks, because, well, it's just extra money.

It's kind of like this: Suppose you went to the race track with some friends and hit a superfecta for $15,000. You'd probably splurge over a night on the town, treating your friends to dinner at a great restaurant and endless drinks at some club. In other words, you'd basically just blow some of it because it was an unexpectedly large sum of dough.

Getting back to the cover story from Moderna, never mind that the company has been working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD), headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, since January, or that Moncef Slaoui resigned from Moderna's board of directors just last week when he was tapped by the Trump administration to head up Operation Warp Speed, the president's fast-track search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Slaoui is reportedly going to divest all of his stock options for 156,000 shares of Moderna, which shot up nearly 20% (MRNA, 80.00, +13.31 (+19.96%) At close: May 18 4:00PM EDT) on the news.

Coincidence? Perhaps. Insider trading? Definitely, though nobody wants to talk about that.

Between the Fed's meddling and the White House's understanding of the situation (surely, anybody who is anybody in Washington, DC was aware that this news would break Monday morning), the whole COVID-19 racket is beginning to look like another major scandal to be piled atop all the other government scandals over the past 40 years. Nobody will be charged with anything. Nobody will go to jail. There probably won't even be an investigation, and, even if there is, it will reveal nothing. Business as usual for the rich and infamous in DC and on Wall Street.

Apparently, it wasn't enough to enrich politicians and send stocks to the moon. The Federal Meddlers made sure that the massive gains in gold and silver were squelched, quickly, and with undue force.

Gold was cruising along around $1762, up $20 just prior to the opening of the NYMEX (8:15 EDT). Over the course of the day, it reversed and fell, finally closing in New York at $1732, down $10 on the day.

Since it is so wickedly undervalued, it stood to reason that silver fared a little better, up nearly a dollar just before the NYMEX open, at $17.50. It was hammered back down to $16.97 at the close. Still a gain, but hardly of the magnitude that was building before the maligners became involved.

Money Daily has said this before, multiple times, in many ways: the elitist politicians and Wall Street insiders are among the most corrupt connivers in history. The levels of dishonesty, self-dealing, and bad faith practices are at extremes and they commit their financial and societal crimes in full view, without remorse. We're all just along for the show.

This show should have been cancelled long ago.

Let's not forget, unemployment, with more than 36 million out of work, is well over 20% and second quarter GDP is expected to post a 42 percent decline, numbers not seen since the Great Depression.

At the Close, Monday, May 18, 2020:
Dow: 24,597.37, +911.95 (+3.85%)
NASDAQ: 9,234.83, +220.27 (+2.44%)
S&P 500: 2,953.91, +90.21 (+3.15%)
NYSE: 11,402.23, +454.91 (+4.16%)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Following Massive Declines, Wall Street, Global Markets Brace For Recessions, Bankruptcies, Deficits

With most of America and parts of the rest of the world on lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, international markets and Wall Street investors suffered stunning losses even with the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates essentially to zero and promoting a heavy dose of quantitative easing Sunday night.

The world awoke to a different place on Monday, one in which social distancing was preferred over social networks, toilet paper was more valued that commercial paper, and sheltering in place triumphed over going anyplace.

US indices encountered the worst point losses ever and the largest percentage declines since the 1987 crash which sent stocks reeling by 22 percent. Back then, there were no "circuit breakers" as are in place today, so the waves of selling were allowed to just continue until trading ended.

Monday's journey into the depths of despair began with futures going limit down (-5%) prior to the opening bell, after the Fed panicked and sent the federal funds to 0.00-0.25%, and launched a massive bond-buying binge, otherwise known as QE. None of that helped. In fact, the Fed's emergency actions, coming right before a planned FOMC meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, sent a signal that all was not well and that liquidity was at the top of the Fed's agenda.

Having credit markets seize up, as they did in the 2008 rout, would be an economic disaster in itself, exacerbated by the effects of trying to tame the coronavirus, people out of work, events cancelled, life, as it used to be known, utterly changed, but for how long, nobody knows.

When the opening bell rang on Wall Street, trading was halted almost instantaneously, with the S&P 500 declining seven percent, setting off the first circuit breaker for the third time in the past two weeks. After a fifteen minute pause, stocks reopened, collapsed below the seven percent mark, but never made their way to the next circuit breaker, at -13%, until after 3:30, when the circuit breakers are effectively "turned off" in the final 25 minutes of trading.

As President Trump spoke at the White House, stocks continued to tumble into the close, saved by some spirited short-covering minutes before 4:00 pm ET.

Elsewhere, markets in Europe and Asia were likewise battered, with just about the entire world's markets already in bear markets and likely to fall further. The dangers for stocks are varied, but essentially fall into three areas. First, supply chain disruptions stemming from China and elsewhere grinding production to a halt. Second, even if corporations have goods or services to sell, the virtual lockdown of more than half the global population is causing a demand shock. Third, having employees working from home or furloughed will wreak havoc on underlying corporate structures and the general economy.

If the severe measures being taken now don't contain the spread of the virus in two to three weeks - in itself a damaging amount of time - and quarantines are put in place for longer, the economic effect could be devastating, no matter how much money the government wants to throw the way of the corporate class. It is individuals that are being most adversely affected. Federal government plans don't include any relief for the people who contribute 70% of GDP. The government will instead seek to bail out large corporations, figuring that if they are kept afloat, jobs will be saved, which is, of course, hogwash, because there will be nothing to stop cash-strapped corporations from laying off employees by the thousands.

With bars, restaurants, night clubs, and casinos being ordered to shut down, layoffs have already begun. On Monday, New York State's unemployment website crashed as thousands rushed to apply for benefits. Americans have been living hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck for decades and now they're expected to ride out an economic shutdown at home, with their kids and spouses and no income for weeks, maybe months. The federal government should be making plans to offer relief to individuals in the form of direct payments, forbearance on loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Giving money to businesses is not the most efficient way to ease the pain and suffering of families and individuals. Direct assistance would be more beneficial, but, from the squabbling already firing up on capitol hill over the federal government's relief package, it's unlikely that any significant money will find its way down to the family or individual level.

So, with markets due to open Tuesday (up slightly) within minutes, looking ahead for any positive news is a fool's errand. The Fed meeting Tuesday and Wednesday is now a non-event, and Thursday's first look at new unemployment claims could be an eye-opener, though next week's will probably be more impactful.

There's a good chance for a bounce today, but all rallies should be sold into at this point. No sense in catching falling knives nor beating dead horses.

At the Close, Monday, March 16, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 20,188.52, -2,997.10 (-12.93%)
NASDAQ: 6,904.59, -970.28 (-12.32%)
S&P 500: 2,386.13, -324.89 (-11.98%)
NYSE: 9,567.53, -1,284.45 (-11.84%)

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Big Reset Has Begun; Prepare Accordingly; Stocks Skid to 2-Month Lows


Try these events from the past three days:

Kerry meets with Putin, says Assad can stay as ruler of Syria. US policy neutered.

Biden calls off Turkey, tells them to stop violating Iraq's borders. US policy neutered.

Fed raised Fed funds rate, banks raise prime rate.

Putin publicly backs Trump.

Ukraine defaults on Russian debt. While this may appear bad for Russia, it's worse for Ukraine, and even worse for US policy.

Today, the plug will be pulled on over a trillion$ in SPY options. Winners and losers, lots of both.

The world has changed radically in the past week. Trump is now the de facto US President. Obama can go to Hawaii and stay there for all the world leaders care. Kerry had no power; now he has even less, if that's possible.

Just watch: terrorism will be a non-starter for 2016. US intel has been found out (by Putin) and he's putting an end to it all.

Will truth and justice return to America? Just like bankruptcy, gradually, then all of a sudden.

h/t to Ernest Hemingway

Then, there's this cryptic note - citing Jim Willie's Hat Trick Letter - found in the comments section on a Zero Hedge article.


The Voice gives an urgent warning that finally the breakdown is accelerating, the damage profound, the effects unmistakable, the plug pulled. The officials have not undertaken any remedy for several years. His message is clear and stark, the first time such a communication has been given to the Jackass and colleagues. It was given just a few days before the USFed rate hike decision was made. "Guys, the plug has been pulled. Let the show begin. Our organization has been alerted accordingly to that effect this morning at 4am, that the deed is done. The battle trigger code has been chosen. It will get incredibly ugly, as real casualties will result. The annihilation of entire groups of people within the corrupt and criminal systems will be unimaginable to normal humanoids. These systems will be totally dismembered and crushed, never to be resurrected. The cabal is being caught in a grand dragnet, with the outcome certain to be their extermination, along with all their agents and collaborators. [1] The effects of this event driven scenario will become visible to the ordinary people in early 2016 and forward. Once the dust settles, it is clear to me that the human population will be noticeably lower, with fewer people roaming this planet." The Voice is referring to the Satanist Bank Cabal groups. We mere mortals hope that reason prevails, that remedy is agreed upon, that transition is orderly, so that a billion people do not needlessly perish. But the Anglo-Americans have their favorite nuclear and virus toys. We have seen ample evidence of their chemical plant explosions as a warm-up to main events.

Our organization has been alerted accordingly...

At 11:00 am ET, the S&P already dumped 2030 and 2020. Getting closer to the magic mark of 2000.

Don't actually think it matters if it happens today, tomorrow, next week or next year. The crash has been underway since late May, the last time the NAZ, S&P and Dow all set new all time highs.

The trash is being taken to the dumpster. Watch terrorism disappear as a major story. The meme for 2016 will be economic security, and Trump will win easily.

In fact, since Putin's endorsement yesterday, some would wager that in the minds of most world leaders, Trump is already the US de facto president. Obummer is so over. Hillary is a non-starter. Change is good; best to be out in front of it. The elections will be all for show, since Trump is self-financed. The money machine(s) is/are grinding to a halt.

Americans are going to see the fruits of what the Fed and the federal government, state governments, and local governments have sewn: TRASH. Loads of TRASH, piled high, heaped upon more loads of TRASH.

Bankruptcies should absolutely soar in 2016. Corporate failures and bond defaults will accelerate. Pensions will default on payments. The US will slowly, painfully, resort to honest money. GOLD AND SILVER WILL SOAR.


David Stockman really nailed it in his post at Contra Corner Blog.

And, while the economy slowly crumbles, congress (which obviously didn't get the memo that they're fired) conveniently passed a $1.15 trillion omnibus budget bill with the notorious CISA government spying act included.

At the end of the week (the last full week of 2015), the figures for the major averages look pretty stupid.

The Dow was smacked down a whipping 367 points, closing at 17,128.59, the lowest closing price since mid-October. For the week, the DJI was off nearly one percent, down 136.62 points.

The S&P nearly got to the 2000 mark, closing down 36.43, at 2005.46 on the day, but lost just 6.95 for the week. On the NASDAQ, it was a 1.59% loss, down 79.47, at 4973.08. On a weekly basis, it doesn't look bad on the surface, as the NAZ lost a mere 10 points.

However, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were all up days for the major indices. Thursday and Friday were down, and down big, erasing all of the early-week gains. From the highs after the FOMC meeting, on Wednesday's close, the losses portend further losses next week. a cleansing of bad assets is well underway, and there are plenty of bad ones in all markets.

Also, the entire treasury curve flattened. The 10-year yield, in particular, dropped 10 basis points from 2:00 pm ET on Wednesday, the moment of the FMOC rate hike announcement, ending the week at 2.20%. If the Fed's master plan was working, shouldn't all bond yields - especially those of shorter durations - have gone up? This is a classic example of the market rejecting the Fed, with more to come, as the Fed thinks it's going to raise rates four more times in 2016, a recipe for economic cataclysm.

Lastly, keep a close eye on the banks (JPM, BAC, C, GS, WFC, MS) as they were all lower by 2-3% on the day.

David Bowie's Changes should suffice as an appropriate song for a truly epic week:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Struggling Retail Sector, Darlene Love Baby Please Come Home

Today, somebody suggested a few ways to "run a few big retailers into bankruptcy."

Don't worry, they don't need any help. They are doing a smash-up job of it all by themselves. JCP will be the first to go; I have a choice parking spot already picked out for the "EVERYTHING MUST GO, CLOSING OUR DOORS, ALL SALES FINAL" going out of business sale at JC Pennys at the local mall (I need some new pants). But, just to be safe, don't bet the house on JCP taking down any banks. Goldman Sucks already has the real estate under many JCP stores locked and loaded.

Actually, Blockbuster already started the trend. There's a huge yellow sign on the Blockbuster near me. Can't miss it. Too bad nobody wants DVDs at anything over $2-4. There are some ebay sellers ready to swoop down and purchase all their remaining inventory for actual pennies on the dollar. 2014 will see numerous large bankruptcies, led by retailers, IMO.

Now, when these retailers start dropping like flies, the media will crow that it's because of the success of the internet (Obamacare web site not included). Net result is moar deflation... err, I mean, disinflation.

And Old Yellen will, as quietly as possible, probably by surreptitious means, increase QE to well over $100k per month, maybe buying up something like securitized student loans gone bad (video out soon).

The government will no longer want the shirts off your backs, because the shirts - sewn in Southeast Asian sweatshops by brown and yellow people who do not matter - aren't worth anything.

Usually, I'm not big on making predictions, as they're difficult to get right and most people will maim you more on your errors, rather than praise your correct calls, but I do believe bankruptcies are in order for 2014 in the retail sector, at least, and spreading to other consumer discretionary companies, maybe a couple of REITs or large mall owners (could be one and the same). More layoffs, more welfare, more SNAP, more phony government statistics, more lame excuses, more liberal apologists, and, as usual, the banks will profiteer like never before.

America has this coming, because it has ignored, squandered and/or pillaged the true wealth of the country - its land, its labor, its accumulated wealth and its populace - to save its fraudulent banking and political system.

As for the markets, the annual year-end ramping continued in Tuesday's short session.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, here's a treat from the David Letterman Show: Darlene Love singing, "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home." If this doesn't bring a tear to your eye, well, then you're either the Grinch or another old Scrooge.

Merry Christmas, and may we all survive the coming New Year!

-- Fearless Rick

DOW 16,357.55, +62.94 (+0.39%)
NASDAQ 4,155.42, +6.51 (+0.16%)
S&P 1,833.32, +5.33 (+0.29%)
10-Yr Note 98.03, -0.11 (-0.11%) Yield: 2.98%
NASDAQ Volume 763.66 Mil
NYSE Volume 1.30 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3550-2028
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 587-41
WTI crude oil: 99.15, +0.24
Gold: 1,203.60, +6.60
Silver: 19.48, +0.071
Corn: 434.75, +0.50

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fed Minutes Leave Kleptocrats with Less Hope of QE3

There was so much in the news today affecting markets, just headlines (with links) seemed appropriate:

Against the backdrop of a constant stream of news that goes against the "all's well" narrative so enjoyed by the media elite and sheeple of the world, when the Fed's FOMC minutes from the June meeting appeared at 2:00 pm EDT, what was a sleepy, little decline became a bit more pronounced, with all of the major averages taking on losses.

Traders, zealots, cheaters and stock manipulators of all stripes were shocked and horrified that the super-secretive FOMC minutes did not offer any more insight into more easing by the Fed, despite the near-unanimous conclusion that the US economy was beginning to deteriorate in the prior months.

In other words, even though current economic conditions in the US stink, Wall Street wants things to get even uglier, so that they can continue to feed at the trough of the Federal Reserve's unlimited free money supply and speculate even greater amounts, with more leverage on overpriced equities.

At the lows, the Dow was down 119 points, the NASDAQ off 35, but, as is often the case in the Ponzi-schemed markets, the indices erased most of the declines in the final half hour of trading, actually pushing the S&P briefly back into positive territory and hiking the NYSE Composite to a small gain.

Volume was rather tame, but the Dow and S&P have traded lower for five straight sessions, the Dow having now given up all but two points of the massive June 29 gain spurred by the false "everything is fixed in Europe" summit statement.

Despite the continuing losses, the new highs-new lows indicator is still leaning heavily toward the bullish case, though the number of new highs is falling, while the new lows continue to build.

Markets continue to be uneasy, but the correct catalyst could produce a significant move in either direction, even though one would have to be deaf and blind to not see the inordinate pressures building around the world.

Dow 12,604.53, -48.59 (0.38%)
NASDAQ 2,887.98, -14.35 (0.49%)
S&P 500 1,341.45, -0.02 (0.00%)
NYSE Composite 7,685.32, +17.75 (0.23%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,543,879,125
NYSE Volume 3,391,219,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2869-2673
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 171-80
WTI crude oil: 85.81, +1.90
Gold: 1,575.70, -4.10
Silver: 27.02, -0.14

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stocks Continue Relentless March Higher Despite Poor Economic Data

Once again, US equities finished the day on an upbeat tone, though data hardly suggests that the economy is either robust or growing rapidly. In fact, two releases prior to the market open were depressing enough to send stocks to morning lows out of the open.

Retail Sales for December were nothing short of a disaster, rising a mere 0.1% on expectations of a 0.4% boost, putting an end to the fiction that was widely spouted around financial circles, that holiday sales were brisk and consumers had their wallets wide open during the festive season.

Ex-autos, retail sales were even worse, down 0.2% (maybe those annoying Lexus Christmas commercials were good for something after all) on epectations of a 0.3% gain.

Business inventories were tighter, growing at a modest 0.3% in December after being up 0.8% in November. The drawdown during Christmas season will have consequences, especially involving calculations of 4th quarter 2011 GDP, and, if it continues, 1st quarter 2012 figures as well.

Perhaps the scariest number of the morning came from the wholly-discredited BLS, with their weekly report on initial unemployment claims, which came in much higher than the expected 375,000, bumping up to 399,000, which no doubt will be revised upward above 400,000 next week. From the data, it certainly seems to make sense that the BLS numbers are not properly seasonally-adjusted, and that many of those holiday season jobs were just that, seasonal, as in not permanent.

The uptake on the data is that American retailers are in deep trouble, consumers aren't about to rush out and buy just because they have a few extra dollars in their wallets or purses, and good, well-paying jobs are still on the horizon of imagination.

All of those assumptions did not deter Wall Street from boosting stock prices for the fifth time in eight trading sessions this new year. The reason would most likely be in the belief that Europe's debt crisis is all but solved, following an ECB announcement of no movement in interest rates and better-than-expected results in Spanish and Italian bond auctions. As usual, traders will hang their collective hats on any data that supports the cause of endless money printing and higher and higher stock prices, in the belief that a strong stock market is a good reflection of the overall economic picture, which is pure folly.

Large bankruptcies are on the rise, indicating a resumption of the financial fallout from 2008. With Kodak already on the ropes and possibly days away from a formal bankruptcy announcement, Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, Ding-Dongs and other high fructose snacks, filed bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The next victim is likely to be Sears Holdings. Lender CIT, the firm now headed by the nefarious John Thain, has made it clear that vendors to Sears and K-Mart will no longer receive financing or payment guarantees. Thain, who was the last CEO of Merrill Lynch before it was forced upon Bank of America, was one of the leading banking figures responsible for much of the 2008 financial crash.

Apparently, Thain has found new life as a vulture, now circling the bond holdings and other assets of Sears.

On the real estate front, all the buzz is over the government plan - first suggested by the Federal Reserve, which is holding reams and reams of near-worthless RMBS - to turn Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foreclosures into rental properties. The two failed GSEs became the lenders of last resort and have back-handedly bailed out the nation's biggest banks by buying back much of the worthless mortgages still sitting somewhere off the books of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells-Fargo.

Many of the same firms who caused the financial and mortgage miasma in the first place are now lining up to buy the foreclosed properties at rock-bottom prices and turn America into a nation of renters. Deustche Bank, Fortress Capital, Barclays Capital, Neuberger Berman Group, Ranieri Partners and UBS are among firms interested in becoming property owners and managers. Good luck with that. Like all other attempts to inject new life into the failed housing market this program will be the subject of great scrutiny and consternation from American citizens, many of whom were forced out of their homes during the late 2000s.

Naturally, these vulture capitalists will get to cherry pick the foreclosures, largely at the expense of the US taxpayer. Outrage should begin forming from groups like the Occupy movement and others within weeks. The government will likely present the program as a jobs-building incentive when in reality it is nothing less than a well-conceived plan to fleece Americans as renters since virtually nobody can qualify for a mortgage these days.

Dow 12,471.02, +21.57 (0.17%)
NASDAQ 2,724.70, +13.94 (0.51%)
S&P 500 1,295.50, +3.02 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite 7,681.26, +19.28 (0.25%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,662,562,500
NYSE Volume 3,939,928,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3397-2175
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 166-40
WTI crude oil: 99.10, -1.77
Gold: 1,647.70, +8.10
Silver: 30.12, +0.23

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Correlation Trades Breaking Down: Decoupling, Distress or Distribution?; Kodak Prepares for Bankruptcy

There have been, for many months, certainties in global markets from which investors and speculators could readily rely upon and profit from. The most obvious of these is the straightforward relationship of the Euro and US stocks.

Whenever the Euro was positive against the US Dollar, stocks would post gains as well. Euro down, stocks down. A simple trade for those speculators adroit enough to move money quickly in and out of currencies and stocks. It also created a very nice hedge for monied investors with a keen sense for geo-politics and the movement of money.

Another of these correlation trades has been in effect for years, even decades. when the Dollar Index (^DXY) moved higher, the price of a barrel of oil would go lower, since oil and almost all other major commodities are priced in dollars. A stronger dollar would thus buy more oil, or wheat, or soybeans, for instance.

Today, however, these two stalwarts of the inner, holistic trade deviated from their seemingly-predetermined paths. The Euro was off sharply, but stocks finished with modest gains or were flat, nonetheless. And the Dollar Index was up nicely, (80.097 +0.434 0.54%), but oil marched higher despite the obvious overpricing and general lack of demand over the past two weeks.

The oil moves could be partially blamed on the Iranians and Europeans. Europe has set the parameters for a complete embargo of Iranian oil. For its part, Iran says it doesn't need to sell oil to europe as it has many other trading partners, China being the largest. The Iranians also say they can effectively shut down shipments of oil from other countries by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, disrupting the free flow of energy from the region to Western nations.

While that's all well and not-so-good, it still doesn't explain the dislocation of the Dollars-for-oil trade and is entirely based upon speculation.

As for the Euro and US stocks, it wasn't a large move away from the direct correlation, but notable. Then there's silver and gold, the two precious metals that should always move in tandem, as they have for maybe thousands of years. Gold was up, silver down on the day, making silver, already a cheap cousin, even cheaper and wildly undervalued compared to gold, where the standard gold-silver ratio has traditionally been somewhere between 12:1 and 16:1, now stands at a stunning 55:1. It has been higher over recent years as gold shot up much faster than silver, but, if global tensions are accelerating, both metals should become good bets short term, though it stands to reason that silver would appreciate at a much faster rate, as it did in the first four months of 2011.

All of that implies that both the gold and silver (and not to mention stocks, commodities and currencies) markets aren't rigged, a condition that reams of evidence over many years say is so.

OK, then what's up with these markets if correlation trades, usually among the most reliable and steady, continue to break down? Is it decoupling for Europe, global distress or some technical distribution which the markets haven't anticipated from a zero interest rate policy and massive money printing (in shady but effective forms) by central banks around the globe? If oil goes up as the Dollar Index improves, so will stocks, and the precious metals will do whatever the manipulators deem necessary. It's not yet a trend, but bears watching, because decoupling often is a harbinger of even more fractured conditions in markets, which would make perfect sense in this mad world.

Something else bearing watching is the anticipated disappearance of the Kodak moment. The film maker has been on the ropes for years as the company failed to develop a strategy shifting from film cameras to digital photography, and the stock has suffered badly, losing almost all value over the past decade. A Wall Street Journal report today that the company was preparing to file a chapter 11 bankruptcy either this month or by early February should they not find buyers for their digital patents - valued, dubiously, at over $1 billion - sent shares plummeting.

Shares of Eastman Kodak (EK) finished the day down 0.18, to 0.47, a 28% decline. The company has also received a delisting notice from the NYSE, as the price of the stock has traded below $1 for more than a month, in violation of exchange rules.

That the company would eventually commit corporate hari-kari should come as no surprise. The stock traded as high as the low 80s in the late 1990s, and dropped permanently below 60 when the dotcom boom went bust in 2000-2001. Since then, the losses have mounted and the share price decline has been precipitous. This is a dead company without a product or strategy, which has wiped out its dividend, shareholders, and soon, pensioners, sure to be shuffled off to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, another backhanded bailout by the US taxpayer.

Dow 12,418.42, +21.04 (0.17%)
NASDAQ 2,648.36, -0.36 (0.01%)
S&P 500 1,277.30, +0.24 (0.02%)
NYSE Composite 7,612.15, -12.17 (0.16%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,654,986,250
NYSE Volume 3,553,585,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2475-3130
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 102-34
WTI crude oil: 103.22, +0.26
Gold: 1,612.70, +12.20
Silver: 29.10, -0.48

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Euro/Equities Correlation In Play; Largest US Municipal Bankruptcy in Alabama; Foreclosures Rise

As has been noted here recently, the correlation between the Euro and US stocks is operating in perfect harmony. Today, with the Italian 10-year note dipping below the magic 7% yield line, the euro gained in strength against other currencies, most notably the US dollar, which sent - as it always does - US stocks upward.

There's really no further analysis to the US stock market needed, so long as Europe remains in crisis and the unannounced policy of the Fed and Treasury is to keep the US dollar weak. Whenever the Euro is rising, so too US stocks, and when the Euro is down, so are equities across the pond. It's a losing strategy in the big picture view, but that doesn't prevent Wall Street's masters of the universe from making bank on both sides of the trade.

One could suggest that the entire global economy is now tied to the fates of Greece and Italy, though in reality, it's the Fed and the major US banks that are pulling most of the strings. Just as fundamentals no longer matter for stock-picking, so too the daily drumbeat of Euro-craziness that manifests itself in speeches, statements and the occasional turnover of a sovereign government.

Keeping the dollar week and the Euro strong is all that matters, even though the Euro should, realistically, be trading at par with the dollar or lower. Eventually, this is a failing policy that will flatten everything: stocks, currencies, politicians and their weakened governments.

The correlation is not perfect, however, as our New highs - New lows indicator below demonstrates in perfect fashion. Today was a "risk on" event, though more of a momentum play than a true rally.

On the domestic front, Jefferson County, Alabama, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday after defaulting on a sewer project that plagued the county for nearly two decades. The county, which is home to Alabama's largest city, Birmingham, filed for $4 billion, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in US history.

The story behind the bankruptcy is a pantheon of the the ills plaguing the once-great United States, involving the EPA - which ordered the county to upgrade its sewer system - corrupt local officials, who were offered and took sweetheart deals from - you guessed it - Wall Street speculators. There's blame and shame aplenty to go around, as 22 local officials were indicted and convicted for their roles in the corruption.

The federal government has bailed out banks, insurance companies and automakers, but when it comes to cites where Americans actually live and work, no dice. The county goes belly-up, leaving creditors holding worthless paper. It's an American tragedy brought to you by the crony capitalists spanning the nation.

Also making domestic headlines, RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings rose seven percent in October from the previous month, as lenders got back to work after the robo-signing scandal had derailed their efforts for a year. While Nevada remained atop the foreclosure rate for the 58th straight month, California took over as the top dog for October with a 17% spike in default notices. The top ten states for foreclosure activity (these are the places worth considering moving to in the next 3-5 years because housing prices will be ridiculously low) are Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Oregon and Colorado.

God bless America. We've been in a depression for three years but nobody will admit it. It's a shame, because this is a good country with some very wonderful people, but our political leaders and Wall Street bankers have bastardized the entire financial system.

Tomorrow being Veteran's Day, be sure to honor our living and fallen military men and women, and, maybe, save a little bit of wrath for those who made them fight, and die, for causes that benefitted a few at the expense of the many.

Dow 11,893.86, +112.92 (0.96%)
NASDAQ 2,625.15, +3.50 (0.13%)
S&P 500 1,239.70, +10.60 (0.86%)
NYSE Composite 7,423.64, +70.19 (0.95%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,908,959,750
NYSE Volume 4,015,058,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3629-1866
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 36-104
WTI crude oil: 97.78, +2.04 (WTI is becoming WTF. Oil up more than $20 in the past six weeks.)
Gold: 1,759.60, -32.00
Silver: 34.11, -0.26

Monday, October 3, 2011

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

The Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bankruptcy Can Happen to Good People

In today's economic environment, it's difficult for average Americans to make ends meet, no matter what line of work you're in or how frugal your home life has become. Prices for essentials, such as food, heat and utilities, gas and rent have either stayed high or gone higher during the current three-year financial meltdown.

Sometimes, people try their best, but still can't pay all their bills, either because of the lack of employment, divorce or health issues (one of the leading causes of financial stress) and have to take the last resort, bankruptcy.

If you've never been through the bankruptcy process, it can be frightening and embarrassing, though it doesn't have to be either. Bankruptcy laws were put on the books in America many years ago, with the intention of giving people a fresh start.

The first step - after you've determined that your current condition isn't sustainable - is to find good representation, like a solid Omaha Bankruptcy Attorney, who can guide you through the myriad of rules and explain the different types of personal or business bankruptcies.

A competent Nebraska Bankruptcy Lawyer can help you understand your rights under Chapter 7, 9, or 11 of the bankruptcy code without making you feel as though you've failed or done something wrong with your life.

Bad things happen to good people all the time, and lawyers who understand life and the bankruptcy code can guide you to a better situation with the knowledge and skill only trained professionals can provide.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fed Plans Not Going So Smoothly; Harrisburg, PA on the Edge

Since the Federal Reserve announced last Wednesday that they would be injecting $600-900 billion into the monetary system through outright purchases of Treasury bond issuance, the cacophony of protest and derision has been boisterous and unrelenting. Chairman Ben Bernanke's purposeful nuking of the value of the world's reserve currency, the US Dollar, has raised eyebrows and voices from Shanghai to Sao Paulo as global finance leaders attempt to adjust their currencies to meet the expected influx of freshly-printed greenbacks.

Along with complaints from the global financial community, voices inside the United States have also weighed in, mostly condemning the action as unneeded, unwanted and eventually, inflationary.

What's worse, it doesn't seem to be working very well, as evidenced by today's 30-year bond auction, which saw lowered levels of participation and the highest yield in five months, exactly the opposite of what the liquidity tsunami was supposed to accomplish.

It's likely too early to tell, as the Fed has only today set down their Tentative Outright Treasury Operation Schedule, or TOTO, which as we all know, was the name of Dorothy's little dog in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," an appropriate, if not slightly cynical metaphor for Mr. Bernanke standing behind a curtain pulling the levels and strings of the global economy.

Interested investors may want to print out the Fed's schedule as it should provide some guidance into which days would be better to buy or sell (warning: the Fed does not want you to sell) stocks. Those days with "operations" should be the prime selling days, and those without, opportunities to buy as the market will, no doubt, be on hold or falling. So much for free, fair and open markets. The Fed's interventionist policies have made Wall Street even more of a casino than it already was, and now they're using stocked decks and loaded die.

Things got off to another bad start for Bennie and his buddies this morning, as stocks backslid right out of the open, with the Dow falling 91 points, to its low of the day, shortly after 10:00 am. After that, however, with the banks holding firmly to the silver shorts which torpedoed a wicked rally in the precious metals late yesterday, it was once again off to the races, though the markets' pace more resembled that of a snail than a thoroughbred.

After two days of losses, the markets shrugged off middling new unemployment claims at 435,000 (below estimates, but sure to be revised higher next week), and, having convinced the sixteen suckers still trading via their e-trade accounts that the direction was negative, began the process of fleecing the sheep, all led to slaughter by the Fed-Wall Street money crunching machine.

Dow 11,357.04, +10.29 (0.09%)
NASDAQ 2,578.78, +15.80 (0.62%)
S&P 500 1,218.71, +5.31 (0.44%)
NYSE Composite 7,747.46, +45.15 (0.59%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,023,686,125
NYSE Volume 5,268,140,500

Advancing issues turned the tide on decliners, 4158-2329. New highs numbered only 362, a notable change from the kinds of numbers reported over the past three weeks. Only 49 stocks made new lows. Volume was right about average on a day in which the dollar was up against most other currencies.

So, the Fed may be getting what it wants when it turns on the money spigot on Friday with the first of 18 monetary injections. They'll keep at it every day except the days immediately before and after Thanksgiving, for a total of about $105 billion, through December 9. If that doesn't get stocks flying higher than a redneck on meth, nothing will, and that's just the Fed's point, to make asset values climb, staving off the dastardly deflation, a condition that would suit most Americans just fine. A big THANK YOU VERY MUCH to Mr. Bernanke from the middle class.

Most commodity prices are already much higher than they were just two months ago, when Bernanke first began to whisper loudly about the now-imminent liquidity push. Cotton, corn, wheat and almost all foodstuffs have been on a tear, so much so that the exchanges have been slapping on tighter margin requirements for many.

Crude oil was up $1.09 on the day, to a 2010 high of $87.81. Just in time for Christmas, the Fed's policies are about to send gas prices through the roof. Thanks again, Mr. Ben! After yesterday's drubbing, gold gained $10.70, to $1403.40 at last print. Silver also caught a bid, trading at $27.14, up 19 cents on the day.

Meanwhile in the aftermath of mortgage insurer Ambac's bankruptcy filing Monday (and delisting as of today),the city of Harrisburg, PA, the state capitol, hired the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore to advise on a potential municipal bankruptcy, which has been rumored for many months. with the fall of Ambac, the dominoes may begin tumbling, first among other mortgage insurers, then to municipalities and into credit default swaps mostly in the hands of the nation's largest banks.

Considering the timing of the Fed's dramatic money creation scheme, might these funds be nothing more than a backdoor backstop to the banks again? They certainly were aware of Ambac's condition and that of the handful of other illiquid mortgage insurers. If this were the case, then all bets are off concerning market gains, as the money will never see the light of day. It will be parceled out among the nation's greatest criminals to cover their corrosive and rapidly depreciating swaps and guarantees between each other.

While Ambac's portfolio may be only a few billion short, the forward effect is to cause other defaults along the chain, and once the genie gets out of the unregulated CDS bottle, there's likely no putting her back in. The cascading effect of illiquid assets turning enterprises wholly insolvent could happen within split seconds, without warning, and it's already apparent that the band-aids applied to the insolvent banks thus far have not proved remedial.

Higher interest rates on Treasuries going forward will be a sure sign that the financial structure is about to topple, with over $600 TRILLION of notional exposure ready to come crashing down. This is the conditions under which we watch our financial markets these final days of 2010. If Bernanke's plan does not cause stocks to rise, interest rates to fall and general inflation (bad enough), it's a safe bet that financial reckoning day may come sooner rather than later.

Tracing out the scenario, the Fed would probably not allow everything to simply collapse in a heap. After a few days of severe declines in the stock markets, highlighted by drops in financial stocks, the president would likely call a bank holiday stretching anywhere from a week to a month in an effort toward calmness. Unfortunately, the effect of that would be wide-eyed panic, as most people would be without cash and maybe denied access to credit cards as well.

After that, who knows? Emergency powers? Martial law? A complete overhaul of the Fed and Treasury? The ripples would be worldwide.

It's the nightmare scenario, but in the current climate, the possibility of a massive failure is possible and palpable.

Friday, September 3, 2010

August Jobs -54,000; Stocks Soar. Can Anything Be Trusted?

Total Nonfarm Birth/Death Adjustment +115

Why is that the most important number in this month's Non-farm Payroll Report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)?

It's because the Birth/Death adjustmentis employed by the BLS to estimate the number of business openings (births) and the number of business failures (deaths) and is imputed into their formulas to come up with their monthly estimate of total US employment, better known as the monthly Non-Farm Payroll report.

Accordingly, when the BLS believes that there are more businesses opening than closing, the number is positive, boosting the overall employment picture, and the opposite when more businesses are failing.

From the charts provided by the BLS themselves, the birth/death model is accounting for a rapidly-expanding number of new businesses in the US (predominantly small businesses) as compared to businesses closing their doors. Should we be inclined to believe this fantasy, we would think the US economy, specifically small business, is booming and hiring new workers, though we know this is not even remotely the case.

We can make some comparisons and use other data to demystify the claims of the BLS. Specifically, we can look at the number of businesses filing for bankruptcy in 2010, and magically, we find a WSJ report that gives us a glowing headline - in support of the BLS birth-death model - though the devil, as usual, lies in the details.

The article states that while Chapter 11 reorganizations were down 17% in the first half of 2010 as compared to 2009, but Chapter 7 filings remained flat. So, what does this really tell us? Since Chapter 11 keeps a business's doors open, while probably reducing to some extent either wages or workers or both, that's positive, since fewer businesses are jumping through the Chapter 11 hoops and thus laying off fewer workers. But, when it comes to Chapter 7, which is liquidation, and was flat as compared to 2009, we should evidence no upside benefit to the birth-death model.

Now, let's check on new business startups, which is the "birth" part of the equation.

Here's an article which postulates that the average new business is hiring fewer employees now than in the past, which makes sense, as regulations and required filings have increased the small business burden while technology has allowed workers to be more productive. Add in the quest for outsourcing and you get the perfect scenario for new businesses not putting on as many employees as they used to, so when the BLS imputes the data for business births, they should consider that any new business will likely add fewer jobs than previously encountered.

On the positive side, the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation reports that 2009 was a banner year for entrepreneurship, making the claim that, on average, 558,000 new businesses were started EACH MONTH in the year.

That is a monumental claim, postulating that 6,669,000 new businesses were formed in he year. Were that number even close to being true, the gains from new businesses should have almost completely eclipsed the losses from 2007-2008.

In contrast to the claims made by Kaufmann, which uses BLS data for baseline methodology, the WSJ posits that the number of new businesses fell by 24% in 2009, and 2008, though reportedly strong, was no banner year.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas find that new business creation has fallen precipitously in the first half of 2010:
CHICAGO, July 19, 2010 – A new survey shows that start- up activity plummeted in the first half of 2010 as would-be entrepreneurs were either scooped up by employers or scared off by fragile economic conditions, a tight lending market and uncertainty over the sustainability of the recovery.

The Challenger study puts the figure at 3.7% of surveyed job-seekers, the lowest two-quarter average on record. The firm began collecting data in 1986.

The World Bank chimes in with a study of their own, stating:
We find that firm births contribute substantially to gross and net job creation. New firms tend to be small and thus the finding of a systematic inverse relationship between firm size and net growth rates is entirely attributable to most new firms being classified in small size classes.

Going back to the BLS birth/death charts, we note that in 2009, when business births were supposedly on the upswing, the BLS shows the model producing sizable gains in March, April and May, but then becoming pretty static for the remainder of the year. In 2010, the model number falls off a cliff in January, at -427,000, but then rebounds and posts gains in each proceeding month, eliminating and overshadowing the January losses.

In conclusion, there are simply too many numbers being thrown around in opposing directions for all of them to be right or to draw any conclusion except that the BLS birth/death model is structurally inconsistent, at times in opposition to competing data and more than likely employed to massage or move the overall non-farm payroll data month to month in whatever direction is politically palatable at the given moment.

Simply put, the birth/death model, on top of or imputed into raw estimates and seasonal adjustments, shrouds the entire non-farm payroll data in layers of stealthy and obscure adjustments.

Finally, here's a 2009 story from Bloomberg that screams, U.S. Job Losses May Be Even Larger, Model Breaks Down. That is about as close as one can come to saying that the government figures are useless and probably should not be trusted without actually saying it.

With the joyous news that August non-farm payrolls decreased by only 54,000 - beating expectations - stocks were off to the races, gapping once more at the open to lock in as many short sellers as possible. The markets maintained their positive bias throughout the remainder of the session, finishing close to their highs.

Investors looked past a terrible ISM Services index reading of 51.5 in August after showing 54.3 in July. Not surprisingly, bank stocks were among the leaders.

Dow 10,447.93, +127.83 (1.24%)
NASDAQ 2,233.75, +33.74 (1.53%)
S&P 500 1,104.51, +14.41 (1.32%)
NYSE Composite 7,055.03, +88.78 (1.27%)

Advancers clobbered declining issues, 4934-1488. New highs overwhelmed new lows, 415-49. Volume was non-existent, yet another signal that the rally is made on nothing but desire to trade, and is probably being directed by a small number of insiders.

NASDAQ Volume 1,512,487,250
NYSE Volume 4,127,134,500

Of the commodities we track, silver was the only winner, cementing a lengthy rally with a 28 cent gain, closing at 19.92. Gold slipped $2.30, to $1,249.20, while crude oil fell 42 cents, to $74.60.

It was quite a remarkable week for stocks. The Dow, which closed at 9985 just last Thursday, has managed a gain of 462 points in the last six sessions. There is likely more upside, though it may be limited in size and duration, as resistance begins around 10,600 on the Dow and 1125-35 on the S7P 500.

Enjoy the Labor Day holiday by not laboring. Get out and have some fun. Life is too short not to.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Regs for Financials; TARP Repayment Sparks Midday Rally

The Obama administration announced a number of proposed regulatory changes which, if enacted, would materially impact the overall functioning of the US economy. The Office of Thrift Supervision would be replaced by a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve would have a larger role in the supervision of the US economy.

To some - including myself - giving the Federal Reserve any more control of the economy is a step in the wrong direction. The Federal Reserve, far beyond any other government or commercial body, bears the brunt of any blame for current economic conditions. After all, they are the issuers of the currency.

Requiring banks and mortgage brokers to offer simplified, clear, concise mortgage documentation is a step in the right direction. Imposition of a national usury law would be even more helpful. The recommendations now fall into the lap of congress to debate.

On the markets, Dan Gallagher has an excellent piece on the record-breaking supply of new issuance in May and speculative analysis of the condition.

S&P lowered credit ratings on 18 banks including Wells Fargo and Capital One, among some of the largest. The first banks began to repay TARP money to Treasury and began negotiating terms to purchase warrants from the government. 10 banks are reportedly repaying $68 billion. While this is truly good news, it is dilutive to the banks. That understanding sent financials to substantial losses on the day.

Stocks began to hit their best stride in late morning, reaching highs of the day shortly before 2:00 pm, but the advances were spare and not broadly-based with only 5 of 12 sectors sporting gains. By day's end, only the NASDAQ ended in positive territory. As far as snap-back rallies are concerned, this had to rank as one of the more disappointing. Besides the NASDAQ, this is the third straight day of losses for major indices. Not only was the midday rally cut short, but the usual late-day bounce failed to materialize approaching the close.

Dow 8,497.18, -7.49 (0.09%)
NASDAQ 1,808.06, +11.88 (0.66%)
S&P 500 910.71, -1.26 (0.14%)
NYSE Composite 5,864.55, -22.21 (0.38%)

Advancing and declining issues were nearly even, with losers leading winners, 3292-3003. New lows surpassed new highs for the 4th straight day, 70-32. Interestingly, volume was at its highest level in the past 8 sessions, suggesting that there's more dumping of stocks than would be apparent and that most of the buying was concentrated in tech and health care.

NYSE Volume 1,316,102,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,561,073,000

Commodities spent the day without much direction, but eventually ended mostly higher. Crude oil gained 56 cents, to $71.03, while gas prices in the US increased for the 50th straight day. Gold finished $3.90 higher, to $936.00. Silver gained another 15 cents, closing at $14.28 the ounce.

May CPI showed an increase of just 0.1%, a far slighter rise than analysts expected, furthering the deflationary argument. Stripping out the gains for gasoline and adjusting for the margin of error, consumer prices were net negative for the month.

Another sign of the times is today's bankruptcy filing by retailer Eddie Bauer (EBHI) and bid agreement to sell the remaining assets to a private equity firm.

For the optimistic crowd, here's Charles Schwab Chief Investment Advisor Liz Ann Sonders declaring that the recession is over. We'd like to believe her, but isn't she really longing to say that the worst of the recession may be over? See for yourself.