Showing posts with label bond yields. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bond yields. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2020

Stocks Post Weak Gains Ahead of April Retail; Gold, Silver Bid, Approaching Breakout Levels

Following a weak open, which looked to see stocks extend their losing streak to a third straight session in the red, stocks pivoted, gradually rising off the lows (the Dow down more than 400 points early on) to eventually finish with fair, though hardly secure gains, the advance prompted right at the Dow Jones Industrials' 50-day moving average.

For the seventh time in the past eight weeks, the major averages put on gains in the face of staggering employment losses, as new unemployment claims came in hotter than anticipated, with 2.98 million fresh filings, bringing the two-month total over 36 million out of work.

Equity moves were likely not correlated well to the unemployment data, as the gains all appeared after the news had been known for hours. The more likely scenario was one which has been playing out since the Federal Reserve stepped up its bond-buying activity, but quantitatively and qualitatively. Flush with cash, primary dealers and cohorts ramped into stocks, erasing some of the losses from the prior two sessions.

The move, which is mostly market noise rather than anything substantial, is likely to have been in vain. With investors eyeing what are certain to be horrific April retail sales figures Friday morning, futures are pointing down two hours prior to the opening bell.

Sensing weakness in equities, precious metals caught a long-overdue bid, with gold bounding as high as $1732.70, and silver breaking out to a high in early Friday morning trading of $16.48 per troy ounce.

Premiums on both gold and silver remain high, with popular one-ounce silver bars and coins selling in a range of $23-30, while gold fetches well above $1840 routinely for one ounce coins, rounds, or bars. Despite whatever nonsense the mainstream financial media is throwing out as justification for stocks over real money, demand for precious metals is, and has been, at extremely high levels since early March with no abatement seen on the horizon. The outsized demand has created a supply shortage and has miners and smelting operations working at breakneck speed to maintain at least some modicum of reliability.

With input costs around $1250 for gold miners, exploration and excavation should continue at a strong pace as prices rise and demand continues strong. Undervalued for the past seven years at least, gold and silver mining companies may be looking at solid, if not spectacular, profits in coming quarters.

Bond traders were also able to capitalize on the recent weakness in stocks. The yield on the 10-year note has fallen from a May high yield of 0.73% on Monday to close at 0.63% on Thursday. The 30-year closed Monday at 1.43%, its highest level since March 25, but finished Thursday yielding 1.30% and under pressure.

Oil continues to be a favorite plaything of the speculative class, making a two-month high at $28.25 on hopes that some pickup in demand has occurred since states began getting back to business from May 1 forward. Despite an enormous glut on the supply side, specs and oil company execs are latching onto any rumor or fantasy to get the price off the recent decades-deep lows.

The world continues in a state of shock and despair over the coronavirus debacle and various government attempts to both stem its advance and keep their economies on life support. Indications are that some of it's working, but not very well, overall.

Stocks will need a three percent gain on Friday to avoid a negative print for the week. Only the rosiest prognosis would believe that even remotely possible, though the Fed's heft has overcome dire predictions more than once during the current crisis.

Stay liquid. Next posting will be Sunday's WEEKEND WRAP. Life on Wall Street may be not so sweet if all the currency thrown into markets doesn't produce anything more than a 50% spike off the lows, but that head-and-shoulders pattern on the Dow - now with a sloping right shoulder - is beginning to appear ominous.

At the Close, Thursday, May 14, 2020:
Dow: 23,625.34, +377.37 (+1.62%)
NASDAQ: 8,943.72, +80.56 (+0.91%)
S&P 500: 2,852.50, +32.50 (+1.15%)
NYSE: 10,927.41, +97.97 (+0.90%)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Bloodbath Continues As Stocks Respond To Coronavirus Fears; Bond Yields Achieve Fresh Lows; A Black Swan Moment?

So, is this "the big one?"

Is this the beginning of the inevitable late-stage bull market crash?

It very well could be, with the coronavirus taking up residence in market perceptions as the black swan, the mythical entity so eloquently devised and demonstrably argued in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book by the same name in 2007.
Talib's tome is on the mark.

To those unfamiliar with the concept, black swans are rare, some say even non-existent, and Talib posits that rare, unpredictable events do happen, and their appearance can manifest itself in positive or negative ways.

Thus, the coronavirus (COVID-19) qualifies as a black swan event, as it appeared almost from nowhere, without warning, without announcement, and without restraint. It could be said that the virus itself is not the black swan, but what turned it into a major event for markets and economies was the fumbled handling of it and attempts to contain it in its early days of spread in China.

Had the virus been less contagious, less virulent, better contained, it might have had little to no effect on markets, but, as has been seen over the past two months, it managed to spread across almost all of mainland China, escaped its borders and eventually has been contracted in now forty countries, as far-flung as Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Finland, and the United States.

It is out there, it is virulent, it is deadly in some cases. Invisible, untouchable, it is an ideal psy-op by which the mainstream and financial media can whip up fear into a tornado of emotion, to whirl about Wall Street and global financial centers and create a panic.

The truth - and there have been more than enough variants of that to render objective opinion nearly moot - is that the virus is apparently not as deadly as other natural disasters might be. It is not even keeping pace with deaths by accident or from the more common flu, but the media coverage and government response to it has been nothing short of ghastly and draconian. Mass quarantines are not something most people alive today have ever experienced, but the world is getting a first-hand view - albeit somewhat clouded by China's command - of entire cities and provinces on lockdown, now followed by similar experience in South Korea and Italy and elsewhere, and possibly, we have been warned, coming to a neighborhood near you.

So, while fear is stoked in the general populace over the chance of catching the disease, possibly dying from it and possibly having to live isolated for weeks, the financial world sees disruption to the normal conduct of business, anathema of the first order.

Starting with the supply lines for parts to finished products out of China and ending with entire huge swaths of populations unable to transact in an orderly manner, the spread of the virus has the potential of putting the entire planet on hold, unable to work, pay bills, advance production, build, grow. COVID-19 is the potion, media and government the ice and the straw that sirs the drink (hat tip to Mr. October, Reggie Jackson for the apropos analogy), and it is all connected.

Whether or not the spread of the virus, its immediate health effects and reaction to it will be enough to send economies into reverse is still unknown, though it's looking more and more likely that whatever carnage it is producing is not about to stop soon and will continue until either it mutates itself out of existence or is contained to a level at which people can work, travel, and interact freely without fear.

So far, it has not been contained to any satisfactory level and appears to be spreading further into the general population in many countries.

With what we know, and the reaction thus far - by China first and the rest of the world after that - COVID-19 may not decimate the world's population, but the fear of it, the media coverage of it, and various government responses to it have the potential to crash markets around the world.

Note the variance between the rise in price (up) and the bottom panel.
That is the correlation with the S&P 500, which the Dow
underperformed all through 2019 and into 2020.
The financial environment has quickly shifted from greed over to fear and fear is not backing down. Investors are seeking safety rather than profit. Companies are reviewing disaster plans and procedures rather than seeking expansion and growth. These conditions will likely prevail for months, long enough to send stocks spiraling into a death trap, bonds soaring, and eventually gold and silver to unforeseen levels (though precious metals took a thumping on Tuesday thanks to the unseen hands of interlopers in the paper markets).

On Tuesday, the Dow took another huge step down, as did the NASDAQ, S&P, and other indices around the world, especially in Europe, which after China, looms the most precarious. Europe was already been on edge, close to recession, prior to the emergence of the coronavirus threat and they may be reeling uncontrollable into an abyss should the population experience widespread or even minor contraction.

In the United States, the slowdown has begun, with automakers concerned about parts en route from China and whether such essential production parts will arrive in an orderly manner. It's probable that they will not. Other industries have a similar connection to China and elsewhere, and anecdotal evidence suggests that slowdowns and possible layoffs lie straight ahead.

Bond yields have cratered like a failed bundt cake. Yield on the 10-year note crashed through its all-time low, stopping finally at 1.33%, two basis points below the prior low from July 5th and 8th of 2016 (1.37%). The 30-year bond dipped to 1.80%. The three and five-year notes mark the bottom of the treasury curve at 1.16, dangerous levels for capital markets.

In conclusion, unless events somehow take a radical turn for the better, conditions exist in spades for massive market turmoil to the downside. Beyond the idea that most liquid equity markets and individual securities have been extremely overbought and propped up by Fed injections and corporate buybacks, the effect from coronavirus and reaction to it should continue to offer nothing good in terms of upside impetus for the foreseeable future, though the first quarter and well into the second.

Global recession or worse is a viable consideration.

At the Close, Tuesday, February 25, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,081.36, -879.44 (-3.15%)
NASDAQ: 8,965.61, -255.67 (-2.77%)
S&P 500: 3,128.21, -97.68 (-3.03%)
NYSE: 13,143.73, -390.37 (-2.88%)

If all this is too much for you to bear, then sit back, relax, and enjoy music from a better time, the Beatles' Revolver album.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Bounce Badly, Bonds Rally In Charged Political, Economic Environment

Stocks ripped higher on Friday after September non-farm payrolls missed estimates, stoking expectations of another 25 basis point rate cut by the FOMC in their upcoming, October 29-30, meeting.

All US indices posted gains over one percent, offsetting about half of the losses made during Tuesday and Wednesday sessions. Despite the huge Friday gains, three of the four major indices finished in the red for a third straight weekly decline as fears of an upcoming recession, continued parlor games in Washington fueling fears of an impeachment of President Trump, and ongoing fits and starts in trade negotiations with China outweighed monetary politics and policy direction.

The NASDAQ was the lone survivor, with a gain of just over 1/2 percent.

Jittery as it has been, US equity markets continue to show signs of weakness but not of breaking down in a capitulating move. With third quarter earnings about a week away, there's optimism that corporate America still has not lost its profitable manner, meanwhile, the flight to US treasuries and corporate bonds continued apace throughout the week, with the yield on the 10-year note dropping 17 basis points - from 1.69 to 1.52% - for the week, and losing 38 basis points since the recent bond selloff sent to 10-year yield to a high of 1.90 on September 13.

Friday's closing bond price for the benchmark 10-year is nearing the lows made in late August and early September of 1.47%.

There seems to be little standing in the way of the 10-year note heading below its historic low yield made on July 5, 2016, of 1.37%, as comparable notes in developed nations - Germany, Japan, Switzerland - are all offering negative yields.

How long the treasury complex can withstand the onslaught of buying worldwide is a minor concern since the Fed has already signaled to markets that they were willing and able to offer negative yields, like the rest of the world's developed nations.

The specter of negative yielding bonds looms closer in the US, but is probably at least two years away, if it develops at all. A recession, such as has been predicted for 2020 (and also was predicted for 2019), could push the 10-year below one percent, but it's a long way down to zero for the world's most popular bond and the world's largest economy.

Unless Democrats succeed in unseating President Trump through impeachment or other means, the onus of recession remains, though it could very well be short-lived, since the US has plenty of untapped capital and productivity.

For the present time, it would be prudent to keep a close eye on the impeachment fiasco underway in congress. There's a strong likelihood that push-back by the Trump administration could send the entire bag of nonsense and dubious Democrat claims into the courts, pushing the narrative through the Democrat primaries in Spring 2020 all the way to November's presidential and congressional elections.

That actually could be the plan for Democrats, since they have made some very spurious allegations about the president, but, the mainstream media loves a circus and promotes the impeachment mantra in an unalterable, monotonous, fallacious chorus.

The American public has grown tired of the repeated attempts to besmirch the duly elected chief executive and the result could be an historic landslide victory for Republicans in the fall of 2020. The alternative, should the Democrats and their obedient lackeys in the media succeed is more than likely to cause a rift in the populace - generally between urban liberals and rural conservatives - that could foment tremendous civil unrest and lawlessness. That is the disruption Wall Street - and most of the civilized world - fears most.

Bumpy will be the ride for the economy, politics, and society over then next 12 to 16 months unless the Democrats are exposed and soundly defeated.

At the Close, Friday, October 4, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,573.72, +372.68 (+1.42%)
NASDAQ: 7,982.47, +110.21 (+1.40%)
S&P 500 2,952.01, +41.38 (+1.42%)
NYSE Composite: 12,831.54, +145.78 (+1.15%)

For the Week:
Dow: -246.53 (-0.92%)
NASDAQ: +42.85 (+0.54%)
S&P 500: -9.78 (-0.33%)
NYSE Composite: -140.43 (-1.08%)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Stocks Rise on Jobs Data, Fed Backing

Chalk up Thursday's stock gains to massive intervention by the Fed and/or their agents.

Not only did stocks go ballistic at the opening bell, but the day was marked by huge moves in bonds and precious metals.

Notably, the yield on the 10-year note rose by more than a full 10 basis points, bouncing off a low of 1.46% to clamber higher to a 1.57% close. That yield is the highest since August 22, and the 2s-10s settled non-inverted, with the two-year bouncing from 1.43% to 1.55%. However, all of the short-maturity bonds - 1 month through 1 year - are higher than the 10-year, suggesting that whatever magic was produced in markets will likely be short-lived.

As far as gold and silver are concerned, the central bankers - who hate competing currencies - slammed them both into the ground. Silver was treated with special disdain, the metal dropping from $19.57 per ounce to $18.64 during the day and the battering continued overnight. Silver, as of this writing, is quickly approaching $18.00.

Gold closed out trading in New York at $1552.00 per ounce on Wednesday, but, as of Thursday's close, was down more than $33, ending at $1518.70. It's still sliding, with the current bid at at $1505.00.

With August non-farm payroll data due out at 8:30 am ET, stocks are poised to whip higher if the numbers are solid. ADP reported on Thursday that private payrolls added 195,000 jobs in the month, a number well above estimates of 145,000.

As the US and China propose to resume talks, a good payroll report should help stocks continue their journey higher, heading back toward record highs. With the Fed surreptitiously backing stocks - because that's the only way they can save themselves from being completely discredited - it's plain and obvious where the money is going.

At the Close, Thursday, September 5, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,728.15, +372.68 (+1.41%)
NASDAQ: 8,116.83, +139.95 (+1.75%)
S&P 500: 2,976.00, +38.22 (+1.30%)
NYSE Composite: 12,917.76, +121.45 (+0.95%)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Stocks Bounce As Germany Sells First Negative-Yielding 30-Year Bond

The "scary" thing - mentioned here yesterday - that sent traders rushing for the exits on Tuesday in major markets from Germany, to France, to the United States, was probably anxiety and anticipation of Germany pricing the first 30-year bond at a negative interest rate.

Germany was looking to sell $2 billion of the bonds, but managed to only sell $965 million of the debt, which eventually priced out at a yield of -0.11%. So, essentially, it was a failed auction, with the Bundesbank scooping up the rest, allegedly to be sold later on to other suckers, er, investors.

Now, that may not sound like a big deal at the outset, but losing a little more than a tenth of one percent on your money over 30 years can add right up. On $1 million, in the first year, it would be $1,100 that you'd just let go. Each year, the amount you'd lose would be lower, but it would still be 0.11%.

Just rounding it off, you'd lose about $30,000 of your money, leaving $970,000. If there was inflation during that period of time, the money would be worth much less in buying power at maturity in 2050.

There are some very bad implications surrounding negative interest rates. First, they are money destroyers. In the fiat money, fractional reserve banking system now in play worldwide, all money is debt. The Fed or other central banks create money (more accurately, "currency") by floating bonds, selling them to interested parties, at interest, creating a debt. The primary dealers, who are the principal buyers of the Fed's bonds (treasuries), create more debt by reselling the bonds or loaning money to companies or individuals.

However, bonds with negative interest rates cause negative debt, or, rather, a surplus, to the Fed, but this money extinguishes debt rather than creating it. If the supply of negative interest-bearing bonds becomes too large, it will cause a contraction in the money supply, which is what is happening in Germany and most of Europe presently. All of Germany's sovereign bonds are yielding negative returns, as are most of Europe's.

The continuation of such a program, especially if it catches on and sends yields further into the red, like one, two, or even three percent, would have the effect of choking off the money supply completely, destroying, once and for all, that currency.

The math is straightforward. If you have a million dollar bond with a -3.00% yield, you lose $30,000 the first year, and smaller amounts each consecutive year, since your principal is getting smaller year-over-year.

If that bond is for 10 years, it's going to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of its value, leaving you with $750,000 of your original million dollars. At three percent for 30 years, the result is the loss of up to 90% of your original investment, if the bond (at par), continues to pay -3% on one million dollars.

I may not have that exactly right, but the principle is correct and the money supply will be shrunk by negative yielding bonds. This is a very dangerous situation which bears close scrutiny because it very well may be the signal that global central banks are on the verge of forcing all sovereigns into default, destroying the money supply of many nations, and replacing national currencies with a worldwide unit of exchange.

It is, as the conspiracy theorists contend, what the globalists have had in mind for many years. With negative interest rates, they can slowly kill off the yen first, then the euro, then the US dollar. What will happen with the Chinese yuan or Russian ruble and other not-so-mainstream currencies remains to be seen, but a calamity of this proportion is likely to leave most other countries begging for some kind of solution, which the central banks will gladly supply.

At the Close, Wednesday, August 21, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,202.73, +240.29 (+0.93%)
NASDAQ: 8,020.21, +71.65 (+0.90%)
S&P 500: 2,924.43, +23.92 (+0.82%)
NYSE Composite: 12,697.01, +97.61 (+0.77%)

Just for fun, somebody posted this on Zero Hedge the other day:
Nostradamus: (Cent. 8 Quat. 28)

Les simulacres d'or & argent enflez,
Qu'apres le rapt au lac furent gettez
Au desouvert estaincts tous & troublez.
Au marbre script prescript intergetez.

Translates as:

The copies of gold and silver inflated,
which after the theft were thrown into the lake,
at the discovery that all is exhausted and dissipated by the debt.
All scripts and bonds will be wiped out.


The simulacra of gold and silver swell,
After the lake rapture were gone
At the open all are overcome & trouble.
At the marble script prescript intergetez.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekend Wrap: The Fed Never Had Control, And What They Now Have Is As Fake As Fake News

What a week it was for equity holders and speculators!

Friday's very minor declines snapped five-day winning streaks for the major indices, with the exception of the NYSE Composite, which continued gaining for a sixth straight session.

Solid for the past three weeks, the current rally has managed to relieve the stress from steep losses incurred in December though the majors still have plenty of distance to travel. For instance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 4034.23 from December 4 through Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), and has since gained 2203.75, nearly half of that amount regained the day after Christmas (Dec. 26), setting a one-day record by picking up 1086.25 points.

The other indices have exhibited similar patterns, with sudden acceleration in the final trading days of December and continuing smaller, albeit significant, positive closes on nine of the twelve sessions from December 26 through January 11.

Catalysts for the post-holiday rally continue to be diverse, the most significant strong data point coming from the BLS, which showed the economy adding 312,000 jobs for December in the most recent non-farm payroll report, released last Friday. So far beyond expectations was that number that it appeared to have kept sentiment positive for a full week after its release.

The week's most important data release was Friday's CPI number, which - thanks largely to the price of gasoline - declined 0.1% in December, and slowed to 1.9% in year-over-year measure. Core was +0.2% (mom) and +2.2% (yoy).

Slowing inflation, or perhaps, outright deflation, is anathema to the Federal Reserve, despite their all-too-frequent suggestions that they exist to keep inflation under check. The entire monetary scheme of the Fed and the global economy would disintegrate without inflation, thus the Fed will be diligent in regards to interest rates going forward. After hiking the federal funds rate at a pace of 25 basis points per quarter for the past two years, the Fed has received warnings aplenty, first from the cascading declines in the stock market, and second, from a squashing of inflation.

That CPI data, for all intents and purposes, killed any idea of a March rate hike, just as the market drop caused Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to frantically call in the Plunge Protection Team just before Christmas. The results from that plea for help have been grossly evident the past three weeks.

While the Fed believes it can control the economy, the truth is that it absolutely cannot. Bond prices and yields point that out in spades. The benchmark 10-year note yield dropped as low as 2.54% (1/3) in the face of all the recent rate hikes. As of Friday, the 2s-10s spread fell to 16 basis points. Already inverted are the 1-year and 2-year notes as related to the 5s. The 1-year closed on Friday with a yield of 2.58%; the 2-year at 2.55%; the 5-year at 2.52%, the 7-year at 2.60, and the 10-year at 2.60%.

The 2s-10s spread is the most cited and closely watched, but the 1s-7s are just two basis points from inversion, the cause, undeniably, the Fed's incessant pimping of the overnight rate.

If bond traders are acting in such a manner that they prefer short-dated maturities over the longer run, the signal is danger just ahead. Talk of an impending recession has tapered off in recent days, but the bond market's insistent buying patterns suggest that the Fed did indeed go too far, too fast with the rate hikes, spurring disinvestment and eventually, a recession.

What the Fed cannot control are human decisions. Noting the sentiment in bonds, the latest stock market gains have been contrived from the start and are certain to reverse course. As has been stated here countless times, bull markets do not last forever and Dow Theory has already signaled primary trend change twice in 2018 (in March-April and October).

The major indices have not escaped correction territory and all are trading below both their 50-and-200-day moving averages. Further those averages are upside-down, with the 200-day below the 50-day. The death crosses having already occurred, stocks will resume their reversion to the mean in the very near future.

Dow Jones Industrial Average January Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
1/2/19 23,346.24 +18.78 +18.78
1/3/19 22,686.22 -660.02 -641.24
1/4/19 23,433.16 +746.94 +105.70
1/7/19 23,531.35 +98.19 +203.89
1/8/19 23,787.45 +256.10 +459.99
1/9/19 23,879.12 +91.67 +551.66
1/10/19 24,001.92 +122.80 +674.46
1/11/19 23,995.95 -5.97 +669.49

At the Close, Friday, January 11, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,995.95, -5.97 (-0.02%)
NASDAQ: 6,971.48, -14.59 (-0.21%)
S&P 500: 2,596.26, -0.38 (-0.01%)
NYSE Composite: 11,848.01, +8.70 (+0.07%)

For the Week:
Dow: +562.79 (+2.40%)
NASDAQ: +232.62 (+3.45%)
S&P 500: +64.32 (+2.54%)
NYSE Composite: +314.67 (+2.73%)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Dow Closes With Losses; Is This 2007 All Over Again?

The Dow spent the day criss-crossing the unchanged line - 20 times to be exact - before finally capitulating late in the day, closing lower for the third time in four days, the losing sessions outweighing the sole winner by a margin of some 398 points.

Among the various reasons for the recent declines are the usual suspects: trade and tariffs, emerging market weakness, soaring bond yields, and widespread political unrest, not only in the United States, but elsewhere in the world, particularly Europe, where nationalism is on the rise in opposition to hard-line European Union bureaucracy and technocrats.

Italy is the most recent focal point, where the latest government consists of parties warring within themselves, with each other, and with the political apparatus that overarches all things European from Brussels. The Italian government, like most modern nations, is saddled with largely unplayable debt, seeking solutions that preclude involvement from either the ECB or the IMF, a task for only the brave or the foolhardy.

As much as can be said for the political turmoil within the Eurozone, it remains cobbled together by an overtaxed citizenry, ripe for revolt from the constraints upon income and general freedom. As was the case with Greece a few years back, the EU intends imposition of austerity upon the Italians and is facing stiff resistance from the general population and government officials alike.

Political sentiment aside, the canary in the US equity coal mine is the downfall of the treasury market, which has seen rising yields almost on a daily basis since the last FOMC meeting concluded September 26, the well-placed fear that the Fed has reached too far in implementing its own brand of monetary austerity by flooding markets with their own overpriced securities. The resultant condition is the most basic of economics: oversupply causes prices to fall, yields to rise.

Adding to investor skittishness are upcoming third quarter corporate reports, which promise to be a bagful of not-well-hidden disappointment, given the strength of the dollar versus other currencies and corporate struggles to balance their domestic books with those outside the US. Any corporation with large exposure to China or other emerging markets is likely to have felt some currency pressure during a third quarter which saw rapid acceleration in the dollar complex. Most corporations are simply not nimble enough to adjust to quick changes in currency valuations, leading to losses on the international side of the ledger book.

Valuations could also matter once again. Since the economy in the US is seen as quite robust and strong at the present, investors may want to question their portfolio allocations. Good things do not last forever, and while the current rally under President Trump has been impressive, it has come at the end of a long, albeit often sluggish, recovery period.

All of this brings up the point of today's headline, the eerie similarity to the market of 2007, which presaged not only a massive recession, but a stock market collapse of mammoth proportions, a real estate bust, and vocal recriminations directed at the banking cartel, which, as we all know, came to naught.

In 2007, the Dow peaked on July 11, closing at 14,000.41, but was promptly beaten down to 12,845.78 at the close on August 16. It bounced all the way back to 14,164.53, on October 16, but was spent. By November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, the industrials closed at 12,743.44 and continued to flounder from there until the final catastrophic month of October 2008.

The chart reads similarly, though more compressed in 2018. The Dow made a fresh all-time high on September 20 (26,656.98) and closed higher the following day. On October 3, a new record close was put in, at 26,828.39, but the index has come off that number by nearly 400 points as of Tuesday's close.

It is surely too soon to call for a trend change, but, if 2018 is anything like 2007, the most recent highs could be all she wrote, the proof not available for maybe another month or two, but the Dow bears watching if it cannot continue the long bull run.

Dow Jones Industrial Average October Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
10/1/18 26,651.21 +192.90 +192.90
10/2/18 26,773.94 +122.73 +315.63
10/3/18 26,828.39 +54.45 +370.08
10/4/18 26,627.48 -200.91 +169.17
10/5/18 26,447.05 -180.43 -11.26
10/8/18 26,486.78 +39.73 +28.47
10/9/18 26,430.57 -56.21 -27.74

At the Close, Tuesday, October 9, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,430.57, -56.21 (-0.21%)
NASDAQ: 7,738.02, +2.07 (+0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,880.34, -4.09 (-0.14%)
NYSE Composite: 12,960.57, -39.56 (-0.30%)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Dow Soars Past Rivals; Upcoming: Trump Talks, Fed Rate Decision (Weekend Wrap & Monday Briefing)

Ripping past rival indices, the Dow Jones Industrial Average scored its biggest point increase since January, adding 681 points while boosting its June increase to 900 points, also the best monthly gain since January.

Whether the bullish sentiment will prevail through the remaining 15 trading days of June may be addressed in the week ahead, one which will witness President Trump's negotiating skills at work when he meets with North Korea's Kim Jong-un in Singapore, an epic event that looks to end nearly seven decades of armed confrontation on the Korean peninsula.

Since taking the oath of office in January, 2016, Trump has made North Korea a significant priority, alternating between insulting tweets (calling Jong-un "Little Rocket Boy," for instance), displays of military force, and back-room preliminary negotiations through surrogates from China, Japan, South Korea and US diplomats.

Official negotiations begin Tuesday, 9:00 am Singapore time, which translates nicely to 9:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time, assuring that late-night political junkies will have their plates full for the better part of the week.

Also on the agenda for the upcoming week is the Tuesday-Wednesday FOMC policy rate meeting, in which the Federal Reserve will likely hike the federal funds rate another 25 basis points, an action which is likely to have great impact on stocks as well as bonds. After hiking rates earlier this year, Fed officials have gone to great lengths to keep their rate increase policy in front of investors and the general public, with various officials parroting the themes that the economy is strong and that now is the right time to increase lending rates.

As opposed to normal Fed operations being somewhat behind the curve, the current roster seeks to appear out in front of the economic realities, though critics maintain that all the Fed is doing is preparing for a looming recession, arming themselves with enough interest rate ammunition to staunch an eventual downturn.

If the Fed does as expected it will hike rates from 0.00 to 0.25 to 1.75% to 2%. This will be the second rate hike this year and the seventh move since the start of the tightening cycle which began in December 2015.

While the small increases have been well-spaced, it's assumed that the Fed will continue to increase rates every three months, meaning that they will hike again in September and once more in December.

The trouble with such an optimistic outlook is that an increase in their base rate to 2.25-2.50 by year-end would put increased pressure on the stock market, as treasury yields would likely rise to levels above and beyond those of many dividend-paying stocks, without the associated risk.

Another anticipated action this coming week is the response from G7 members following their weekend meeting in which President Trump insulted the leaders of other nations in person and via Twitter. Trump's claim that G7 countries like France, Canada, Germany, and Italy have long been taking advantage of the US via unfair trade practices. The US president has been slapping tariffs on friends and foes alike and the backlash in tit-for-tat tariffs has already been forwarded by Canada, with the EU nations likely to impose their own retaliatory trade taxes on US goods.

While the trade wars have been building, the financial media has routinely blamed the tension for declines in the stock market. However, as trade talk went ballistic in the past week, stocks continued their ascent without interruption, proving once again that snap analysis of stock market moves are nothing other than pure fakery by an inept, disingenuous media elite. Trading decisions are largely not the result of current events, but rather, are outward-looking, with longer-term event horizons than a few days or weeks.

The effects of trade interruptions, tariffs and retaliation are unlikely to be felt in any meaningful way for many months, making the premature effusions of guilt by presidential association by the financial and mainstream press a rather large canard.

So, the first full week of trading in June went spectacularly for stocks, with the NASDAQ breaking to new all-time highs on Wednesday, before profit-taking took it back down on Thursday. Friday's 10-point gain on the NAZ left it roughly 50 points off the new closing high.

As for the benchmark Dow Industrials, they are cumulatively 1300 points behind the January record high of 26,616.71. There is a great deal of ground to be made up in any effort to convince investors that the bull market will continue, while those of the bearish camp point to the range-bound cycle of the past three months following the cascading February fall.

June may turn out to be a watershed month for stock pickers, as tech stocks have regained much of their luster while financials have languished. Due to the somewhat incestuous nature of Wall Street trading, all boats may rise or fall in coming days as the second quarter draws to a close and fed managers square their books in anticipation of second quarter reports.

While the prior week may have been a banner for bulls, the week ahead promises to be full of surprises, intrigue and potential pitfalls for investors.

Dow Jones Industrial Average June Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
6/1/18 24,635.21 +219.37 +219.37
6/4/18 24,813.69 +178.48 +397.85
6/5/18 24,799.98 -13.71 +384.14
6/6/18 25,146.39 +346.41 +730.55
6/7/18 25,241.41 +95.02 +825.57
6/8/18 25,316.53 +75.12 +900.69

At the Close, Friday, June 8, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,316.53, +75.12 (+0.30%)
NASDAQ: 7,645.51, +10.44 (+0.14%)
S&P 500: 2,779.03, +8.66 (+0.31%)
NYSE Composite: 12,832.07, +43.56 (+0.34%)

For the Week:
Dow: +681.22 (+2.77%)
NASDAQ: +91.18 (+1.21%)
S&P 500: +44.41 (1.62%)
NYSE Composite: +211.24 (+1.67%)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekend Wrap: If This Isn't A Bear Market, Then What Is It?

Is this a bear market?

Nobody wants to admit it, but the patterns are clear on the charts.

In the most recent week, all of the four major averages displayed the same kind of market action throughout, all ending in the red, from the Dow's 0.62% loss to the S&P's narrow, 0.01% decline.

All four are currently trading between their 50 and 200-day moving averages.

It's been three months since the averages made new highs, which just happened to be all-time highs, occurring more than nine years into the second-longest expansion in market history.

Even though the indices are not at correction levels (-10%), they are close, and the argument that a bear market is defined as a 20% drop is begging the question to a large degree. In the case that investors want to wait until stocks are another 10% lower, it will mean that the smartest investors got out early and those remaining will be eventual bag-holders, losing anywhere from 35-60% of their investments as the bear matriculates to lower and lower levels.

Since Dow Theory has confirmed bear market conditions, only the most hopeful or ignorant traders will cling to the belief that those all-time highs made three months ago will be surpassed somewhere down the road. The closing high on the Dow is 26,616.71, made on January 26. A rally of more than 2300 points would be needed to get back to that level.

Does anybody in their right mind see that happening?

Presidents of the various Federal Reserve System regional banks may try to make a case that the economy is strong and still growing, despite evidence to the contrary and their overwhelming desire to raise rates in the face of obviously weakening data.

Friday's first estimate of third quarter GDP might have been the straw that broke the back of the Fed's narrative, coming in below consensus guesses at a depressing 2.3%. When one backs out inflation and considers that almost all of the contributions to GDP - consumer, business, and government - are based on borrowed money, i.e., debt, the real GDP figure might be somewhere closer to -2.3%, consumer and business debt beginning to grow beyond sustainable levels, while government debt is already well past that point at $21 trillion.

There is little doubt that this is indeed a bear market and the flattening of the treasury interest rate curve is more evidence that a recession is just around the corner. Raising rates at this juncture - which the Fed plans on doing again in June - will only exacerbate an already stretched situation and actually contribute to causing the very recession the Fed wishes, publicly, to avoid. In truth, behind closed doors, the Fed presidents and governors of the FOMC know full well that a slowdown is coming, not just for stocks, but for the general economy. That's why they are in such a rush to raise rates: because they need the additional ammunition of being able to reduce rates when the recession comes.

Investors have had sufficient time to reallocate funds to safe havens. Sadly, the bulk of investments are held by pension and other funds, and the bag-holders are going to eventually be the millions of working people whose investments and livelihoods are inextricably tied to the market with little opportunity to allocate funds correctly nor the ability to leave the market completely.

Life has its ups and downs, and its fair share of joy and pain. The joy of the past nine years is about to be eclipsed by the pain of 2019-2022, a bear market and deep recession that will reveal - to some - the true state of the US and global economy, one that has been built on debt, low interest rates, non-stop issuance of fiat currency, stock buybacks, manipulation, and shady practices by the world's central banks.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Dow Jones Industrial Average April Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
4/2/18 23,644.19 -458.92 -458.92
4/3/18 24,033.36 +389.17 -69.75
4/4/18 24,264.30 +230.94 +161.19
4/5/18 24,505.22 +240.92 +402.11
4/6/18 23,932.76 -572.46 -170.35
4/9/18 23,979.10 +46.34 -134.01
4/10/18 24,407.86 +428.76 +294.66
4/11/18 24,189.45 -218.55 +76.11
4/12/18 24,483.05 +293.60 +369.71
4/13/18 24,360.14 -122.91 +247.80
4/16/18 24,573.04 +212.90 +460.70
4/17/18 24,786.63 +213.59 +674.29
4/18/18 24,748.07 -38.56 +635.73
4/19/18 24,664.89 -83.18 +552.55
4/20/18 24,462.94 -201.95 +350.60
4/23/18 24,448.69 -14.25 +336.35
4/24/18 24,024.13 -424.56 -88.21
4/25/18 24,083.83 +59.70 -28.51
4/26/18 24,322.34 +238.51 +210.00
4/27/18 24,311.19 -11.15 +198.85

At the Close, Friday, April 27, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,311.19, -11.15 (-0.05%)
NASDAQ: 7,119.80, +1.12 (+0.02%)
S&P 500: 2,669.91, +2.97 (+0.11%)
NYSE Composite: 12,594.02, +11.12 (+0.09%)

For the Week:
Dow: -151.75 (-0.62)
NASDAQ: -26.33 (-0.37%)
S&P 500: -0.23 (-0.01%)
NYSE Composite: -13.13 (-0.10%)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Stocks Struggle Against Higher Bond Yields

Stocks may have had a wondrous January, but February is shaping up to be a story of a different kind.

Not only have yields on all manner of bonds risen with alacrity over the past three weeks, they show no signs of slowing, especially since the Federal Reserve has sent a signal to markets that the federal funds rate is going to be upped at last three times this year, the first hike scheduled at the next FOMC meeting in March.

Higher bond yields make stocks look less attractive by comparison, being that they are virtually without risk, as opposed to stocks, which can rise or fall on whims, trends, poor performance of the underlying companies, or without cause, simply because a company or a sector is "out of favor."

As the 10-year note created above 2.70% earlier in the week, stocks suddenly became not so much of a bargain, especially since valuations have been egregiously stretched as the nine-year-long rally in equities has exceeded all reasonable valuation metrics.

Countering the argument are the voices from the Trump train touting the meteoric rise in stock prices over the past year, and, certainly, the economy is in better condition than it was 12 months ago.

But, a strengthening economy has headwinds, such as higher wages and costs due to inflation, and that's being caused by the endless printing of fiat and buying of securities outright by central banks, which has distorted the landscape of global economics.

The rush to safety has begun, and, once started, such a trend is not easily pushed back. Investors should prepare for a sea change which will wipe out gains that have been largely the result of central bank intervention and stock buybacks by inefficient corporate managers.

At the Close, Thursday, February 1, 2018:
Dow: 26,186.71, +37.32 (+0.14%)
NASDAQ: 7,385.86, -25.62 (-0.35%)
S&P 500: 2,821.98, -1.83 (-0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 13,381.97, +14.01 (+0.10%)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tech Rout Spreads to Other Sectors; Bonds Signaling Slowdown

We have seen this show before.

Jittery markets, just off fresh all-time highs, make dramatic swings to the downside.

For the past nine years running, such activity has typically been followed by aggressive "dip-buying" and soon thereafter, new all-time highs on all the major indices.

Is this time different?

It's tempting to say that it is, especially for analysts who have been consistently wrong about market corrections during the grand recovery, but, it's probably nothing, unless...

... one considers the US treasury bond complex and its fast-collapsing curve, which currently has the spread between between a 2-year bill (1.80%) and the 10-year-note (2.34%) at a mere 54 basis points. The 2/30 spread is a minuscule 92 basis points (1.80%-2.72%), but perhaps most troubling is the tiny, 21 basis points between the 5-year and 10-year note.

The five-year note is yielding 2.13%.

Why does this matter? There are a number of good reasons, primarily, because in banking, one typically buys short-duration and lends long duration, making money on the spread. But, if there is no spread, there's scant money to be made and only a relative few defaults on long loans (such as occurred during the sub-prime crisis) can cause calamity for the lenders.

Also, the danger of inversion is weighty, occurring when a shorter-duration bond yields higher than a longer-duration. Such inversion might occur between the fives and tens, where the spread is - as mentioned above - only 21 basis points (0.21%).

Inversion matters because it signals that investors have no appetite for anything of long duration (loss of confidence) and are attempting to get all the yield on the short end, as quickly as possible. Every time bond yields have inverted in the past 90 years of market history, a significant inversion has been followed by a recession.

So, while Wall Street is enjoying salad days in stocks, the bond market is worrying, as Main Street finds difficulty in borrowing for the future.

The tide in stocks may also be turning, as evidenced yesterday as the Dow took over the lead in the relentless decline experienced in the NASDAQ. At this point, all stocks are at risk, probably due to the threat of yet another government shutdown, looming close at December 8. The November non-farm payroll report Friday could be the catalyst to send stocks even lower and bond spreads tighter. Extreme caution is advised the remainder of the week, noting that holiday season stock routs are extremely rare events. They usually happen in January.

In conclusion, this time is not different. It's the same as it always has been. Periods of stock euphoria are usually followed by recession. Boom-bust. Nothing lasts forever. To think so is pure tom-foolery.

At the Close, Tuesday, December 5, 2017:
Dow: 24,180.64, -109.41 (-0.45%)
NASDAQ: 6,762.21, -13.15 (-0.19%)
S&P 500: 2,629.57, -9.87 (-0.37%)
NYSE Composite: 12,567.16, -67.73 (-0.54%)