Showing posts with label bonds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bonds. Show all posts

Sunday, April 5, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: COVID-19 Crisis Will Peak Within Three Weeks, but the Economic Crisis Will Continue for Years

(Simultaneously published at Downtown Magazine)

OK, this was a long week, and stocks got clobbered again, but it could have been, and should have been, worse. The main indices were down between two percent (S&P 500) and three percent (NYSE Composite). For most citizens of the world who are under forced quarantine, the week was a painful experience. The vast majority of people would just like to be back at work, earning a living to support their families. The partially-manufactured COVID-19 crisis is keeping most of the developed nations' economies and people in lockdowns, on purpose, to impose government will over everyday people.

It's a shame how many will be cowed by government and led to believe the many lies that have been perpetrated during this period.

The beginning effects of the Fed backstopping companies has already been noticed. Some dime-store variety stocks were being bid up as the rest of the market was heading lower through the week. Companies (no names, for now, until more than a few weeks data is collected) evidenced buying at stop loss triggers. Not many were allowed to fall to anywhere near the recent lows.

Stocks should get another taste of selling in the coming week, as most of the news will be about overloaded hospitals, stressed out medial workers, press conferences by the president and his "team." It will be interesting to note how hard the Fed works to stave off a return to 18,212 on the Dow and similar drops on the other indices. They will likely keep losses to a minimum. It would not surprise at all would stocks stage another rally.

The treasury yield curve is about as flat as it can be, signaling nothing good. 115 basis points, or, just more than one percent, covers the entire complex from one-month bills (0.09% yield) to 30-year bonds (1.24%). The 10-year note is flatlining at 0.62%. The Fed, via its SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) is desperately buying commercial paper, in addition to treasury bonds, agency mortgage-backed securities, ETF paper, and municipal bonds. They're busy buying up the world's debt with the only currency that matters, the US dollar, conjured up daily out of thin air. The Federal Reserve's balance sheet has ballooned to nearly $6 trillion in their attempt to blow the global credit bubble a lot larger.

Oil caught a huge bid after President Trump supposedly brokered a deal between the Saudis and the Russians, making a record gain on Thursday and another huge leap forward in price on Friday. While there is rampant skepticism over whether there is any kind of deal afoot (the Saudis denied it), the recent price jump - WTI crude went from $21.76 per barrel on Wednesday to a high of $26.35 Thursday, and closed out Friday at $28.34; Brent went from $26.90 to $34.11 over the same span - is unlikely to be long-lasting. Until the Saudis and Russians have eliminated 50-60% of the shale drillers in the US, there aren't going to be any concessions. Additionally, the rampant supply glut and limited demand should keep the price around $20-24 per barrel.

Gold and silver continue to decouple from the fraudulent futures prices. Gold settled out just below $1600 the ounce, silver about $14.00. For real prices on physical silver and gold, one must go to eBay of all places, where there is a wide-open market for coins, bars and assorted bullion. An ounce of gold is ranging between $1800-$2000, while silver cannot be had for under $22 per ounce. These are the real prices, and are heading up quickly because demand is through the roof, many miners are idled, reducing supply, hoarding is rampant, and delivery times from established dealers (30-45 days in some cases) cannot match the one-to-three day deliveries by independent eBay sellers, and those prices have built into them a 10% commission to eBay and do not include shipping, which only adds to the real prices.

There's a definite possibility that the COMEX and LBMA will soon be disregarded completely and a free, open, un-manipulated market will emerge at the world's biggest online bazaar and elsewhere on the internet as fiat currencies are inflated away and real money begins to take root at the consumer level.

Random Notes and Recommendations

JP Morgan put out a study which concluded that the world will be on the downside of the case infection rate curve in two months. Rubbish. Check out this site for the US:

The United States will be peaking and on the downslope of the curve within 2-3 WEEKS, not 2 months, and European nations are already on the downslope.

All the noise over ventilators, on which two-thirds of the people die anyhow, is just wasted time and money. The small business "loans" are garbage, full of loopholes and boondoggles for small business.

As usual, Wall Street got their trillions in the blink of an eye. American citizens will have to wait until the government gets around to figuring out how to pay them their $1200. Average time, from right now, 3-6 weeks.

Gee, thanks for helping us all out.

Open up MLB. It would be nice to see the some home runs, swings and misses, stolen bases, sign-stealing, and all that good stuff by May 15 at the latest. Even a shortened season would be acceptable. Americans, average Americans are the ones who deserve all the credit. They took social distancing and stay-at-home seriously, which was very helpful in slowing the spread of COVID. We should all get $10K, and Wall Street nothing, because those companies contributed nothing, and most of the companies getting bailout money do nothing. The people should revolt once this is over.

The government, local, state, and federal are the destroyers of liberty. All of them are worthless parasites and when this is all over they'll all pat themselves on the backs for doing such a bang-up job, when, in reality, it was mostly a big hoax.

Here is an exceptional interactive chart which shows the curve (the one we're actively flattening by social distancing and other mediations) in the United States and in every state individually, with figures for numbers of beds, ICU beds, and ventilators needed and available.

It clearly shows the curve peaking between April 15 and 21. The response curve will peak first, followed quickly by the number of COVID-19 cases curve. After that, it's all downhill for the dangerous pathogen that has disrupted lives and economies worldwide.

Brent Johnson's Dollar Milkshake Theory

Brent Johnson is CEO of Santiago Capital. He has been creating and managing comprehensive wealth management strategies for the personal portfolios of high-net-worth individuals and families since the late 1990s.

If you watch no other video on money, gold, or finance, this is the one you definitely should see.

Also, Mike Maloney's is an excellent resource. Recently, Mike has been doing pretty much daily videos with consolidated information from a wide variety of sources, funneled through his intuitive, calculating mind. Here is a recent entry with some revealing charts by the incredible analyst John Hussman, another number-crunching maniac who's been studying and disseminating information on the economy in a series of market commentaries at his Hussman Funds website.

Here is Mike Maloney's April 3rd video:

Make sure to get Mike's free e-book, Guide to Investing in Gold & Silver, the #1 All-Time Bestseller On Precious Metals Investing, available at his site.

At the Close, Friday, April 2, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 21,052.53, -360.87 (-1.69%)
NASDAQ: 7,373.08, -114.23 (-1.53%)
S&P 500: 2,488.65, -38.25 (-1.51%)
NYSE: 9,880.63, -181.77 (-1.81%)

For the Week:
Dow: -584.25 (-2.70%)
NASDAQ: -114.23 (-2.53%)
S&P 500: -52.82 (-2.08)
NYSE: -306.58 (-3.01%)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Wall Street Suffers Worst Week Since 2008; Economy in Shambles and Worsening; COVID-19 Wrecking Central Banks, Sovereign Governments

My, oh, my, what a week this was!

The numbers are sufficiently horrifying to speak for themselves, and they're speaking loudly.

Stocks suffered their worst week since 2008. Yes. The week just past was worse than anything since the Great Financial Crisis, and beyond that, the dramatic drop that kicked off the Great Depression in 1929, is comparable.

The three top indices had their worst weekly performances since October of 2008. The Dow dropped 17% for the week, the S&P 500 tumbled 15% and the NASDAQ lost more than 12%. Friday's losses were widespread, the biggest losers were utilities (-8.2%) and consumer staples (-6.5%).

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the main indices are down anywhere between 30% (NASDAQ) and 35% (Dow).

Here are the stark, raving-mad numbers from the peaks to Friday's close, with dates:

Dow Industrials: peak: 29,551.42 (2/12), close 3/20: 19,173.98, net: -35.12%
NASDAQ: peak: 9,817.18 (2/19), close 3/20: 6,879.52, net: -29.92%
S&P 500: peak: 3,386.15 (2/19), close 3/20: 2,304.92, net: -31.03%
NYSE Composite: peak: 14,136.98 (2/12), close 3/20: 9,133.16, net: -35.40%

Bear in mind, these numbers are all higher than they were prior to the collapse of 2008. For reference, here are figures from August 2008, followed by the bottoms, all recorded March 9, 2009.

Dow Industrials: 8/11/09: 11,782.35; 3/9/09: 6,926.49
NASDAQ: 8/14/09: 2,453.67; 3/9/09: 1,268.64
S&P 500: 8/11/08: 1,305.32; 3/9/09: 676.53
NYSE Composite 8/6/09: 8,501.44; 3/9/09: 4,226.31

What are the implications from these figures? Pretty simple, really. Since nothing was really fixed from 2008-09 (i.e., none of the major commercial banks - Lehman and Bear Stearns notwithstanding, as they were investment banks - failed), nobody went to jail, the GFC was mostly the deflation of a housing bubble, and all of the gains in stocks were the product of buybacks and/or massive infusions of cash by the Federal Reserve, it stands to reason that stocks will fall below their lowest levels of the GFC, or sub-prime crisis.

As almost all bear markets prove, there are steep losses in the initial phase, followed by a longer, slower, gradual decline, ending in complete capitulation wherein nobody wants to be holding equity shares at any price. Stocks go bidless. There are no buyers, and that is the condition to come.

The years 2009 through early 2020 can readily be construed as what's often referred to as the "everything bubble," in which all financial assets were inflated. In the simplest terms imaginable, gains in stocks during the past 11 years were a chimera, a figment of Wall Street's great imagination and greed.

An arguable point is that all of the major corporations who feasted on stock buybacks and easy money from the Fed are bankrupt. A corollary to that is the the commercial banks - Citi, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley - being either major shareholders of the Federal Reserve and/or many major corporations are also bankrupt, insolvent, as is the Fed, which, for all intents and purposes, just creates whatever money is needed out of thin air, with no backing other than the faith of the people and institutions using their fiat currency, and that faith is fading fast.

WTI crude oil concluded its worst week since the 1991 Gulf War, settling -11%, at $22.43/bbl as part of its 29% meltdown this week.

Precious metals continued to be under pressure, even though buyers of physical gold and silver are paying high premiums and silver buyers are waiting as long as a month for deliveries from major coin and bullion dealers. Many online outlets are out of stock on almost all silver items. Scottsdale Mint is advising buyers that silver purchases are 15-20 days behind. Spot silver was as low as $11.94 per ounce, ending the week at $12.59. Prices for coins and bars are ranging between $17.50 and $25.00.

Gold traded as low as $1471.40 on the paper markets. It finished up Friday at $14.98.80

Bonds were all over the map and ended with lower yields overall. Yield on the 30-year was as low as 1.34% and as high as 1.78%. It ended the week yielding 1.55%, crashing 23 basis points on Friday. The 10-year note yield ranged from 0.73% to 1.18%, closing at 0.92%. The curve steepened through the week to 151 basis points from the 1-month bill (0.04%) to the 30-year bond, though yields are lower than ever in history. Money has lost nearly all of its time-value, especially at the shorter end. The two-year is yielding a mere 0.37%.

The point is that the Federal Reserve, with ample assistance from other central banks around the world, particularly, the ECB, BOE, BOJ, and SNB (Swiss National Bank), blew an enormous stock bubble around the world, and, since it is deflating rapidly, are trying to blow an even bigger bubble. It will not work. Never has, never will. It might for a time, but in the end there will be massive defaults from individuals all the way to sovereign states and central banks themselves. There is a limit to how much fiat currency (not money, which would be currency backed by gold or silver or some other tangible, not-easily replenished asset) and how much complexity the world can handle. We are at those limits and hastily exceeding them.

What's worse is that the governments and central banks of planet Earth are doing this to themselves, or, rather, to their sovereign citizens, who will bear the brunt of rash decisions based on faulty economics and radical monetary and fiscal policies. The Fed will print trillions of dollars. The government will run debts to the tune of 20-25% of the gross national product, if there is any left after the shutdowns, slowdowns, quarantines, and eventual rationing.

Profligate spending and corruption at the highest levels of business, finance, and government has led to an inevitable dead end, ruining lives, destroying businesses, and deflating, then inflating bogus currencies.

This is the end of the fiat currency era, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. Money Daily has been warning its readers for more than a decade that this kind of economic carnage would eventually come, urging people to invest in hard assets, real estate, precious metals, machinery, food supplies, arable land and produce, and more.

There will be winners and losers in all of this, and it is the intention of Money Daily to provide information and instruction on how to win.

Some random links:

Gregory Mannarino says, in a very emotional and exasperating video, that it's OVER, just as Money Daily has been suggesting for weeks.

Here's a beach-loving Seeking Alpha commentator who thinks we've seen the worst.

Marketwatch notes that the Dow is on track for its worst month since the Great Depression.

Sending checks to every eligible American is being debated in congress. Treasury Secretary quipped early in the week that President Trump and he would like to get money into the hands of Americans within two weeks. The current proposals being argued in congress are looking at early April as a timeline to get money to needy citizens. That's a lot longer than two weeks, but, when the banks and hedge funds need billions and trillions of dollars from the Fed, they get it the next day, if not sooner. It's about as unfair as banks getting money at near zero interest and charging 17-29% interest on credit cards.

The house of cards (no pun intended) is tumbling down.

At the Close, Friday, March 20, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 19,173.98, -913.21 (-4.55%)
NASDAQ: 6,879.52, -271.06 (-3.79%)
S&P 500: 2,304.92, -104.47 (-4.34%)
NYSE: 9,133.16, -328.15 (-3.47%)

For the Week:
Dow: -4011.64 (-17.30%)
NASDAQ: -995.36 (-12.64%)
S&P 500: -406.10 (-14.98%)
NYSE: -1718.82 (-15.84%)

Monday, February 24, 2020

WEEKEND WRAP: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Providing Effective Cover For Profit Taking In Stocks; Bonds Rallying; Gold, Silver Flying

Making new all-time highs during the week were the NASDAQ and S&P, while the NYSE and Dow lagged, despite having reached a similar pinnacle earlier this year.

Market news is abuzz with coronavirus as the culprit for this week of losses, as stocks turned south mid-week. While the virus has yet to kill or infect significant numbers outside mainland China - less than 20 deaths worldwide, sans the red nation - it's the damage to supply chains and earnings that most bothers the money mavens of lower Manhattan.

Seriously, the people working the computers, phones, tickers, and squawk boxes could care less about 75,000 sick Chinese people or even the 2500 dead from the virus. They're much more concerned that critical parts in a just-in-time (JIT) production process won't be arriving from across the Pacific. The wheels of enterprise and consumerism need to be kept turning, and essential parts not being delivered puts a severe kink in those plans.

While much of China is under quarantine, some segments have gotten back to work, though the timeline continues to shift. Originally, communities under quarantine were supposed to get back to work in early February. As the virus spread and the severity of the situation sank in, those dates continued to be moved back later and later. Presently, many companies in China won't be getting back to full production before the second week of March.

Stocks haven't really suffered amid all the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), but they are likely to in the immediate future. As of Monday morning of February 24, a global blood-letting is underway. Asian stocks were down in a range of one to two percent, but Europe is taking it harder, with indices in Germany, France, England, and elsewhere down more than three percent, making for one of the biggest one-day drops this century.

The US markets, set to open within the hour, are showing futures off by staggering amounts, indicating a serious decline at the opening bell. Indications are that the Dow could be down nearly 1000 points, while the NASDAQ may shed more than 300. Both would qualify as among the largest declines in history.

If markets panic, which appears to be what they're setting up for, a mixed message is going to be sent. While the money managers are concerned primarily with business disruption, the general population will read the message quite differently, assuming from the massive drops on Wall Street that the virus is a killer and is coming to a neighborhood or household near you, and soon.

This is the height of cognitive dissonance and what anyone with half a wit would like to avoid. Widespread public panic over a virus that has claimed ZERO deaths in the United States and far less infections than the ordinary flu is not a condition conducive to a functioning society. Further fears could be stoked by officials at the WHO and CDC, who readily dropped the ball on the virus from the start and are now becoming the leading cheerleaders for what is likely to be largely unwarranted despair.

What the virus represents is more a threat to sanity than one's physical health. Even taking the total number of cases including those in China, the chances of contracting COVID-19 are not even as good as getting into a traffic accident. People in America are more likely to suffer injury from slipping in a bathtub, falling off a ladder, or cutting themselves with a kitchen knife than catching Wuhan Flu.

So, when stocks crash on Monday, bear in mind that they were wildly overvalued and COVID-19 and its associated panic is providing a friendly cover for profit-taking. A rout is what this market is badly in need of, and, if stocks head into bear territory (a place they're not even close to approaching at this time), it's not likely to last much longer than the time it takes for coronavirus to spread worldwide, inflict disease and death, and finally peter out by June.

First quarter results for China are going to be horrendous, with GDP growth probably plummeting by 35-50 percent. In Europe, a quarter that avoids a negative number would be a surprise, while the US is likely to print something on the order of a onesie, in the range of 0.6 to 1.5 percent gain.

It's far too early to predict how the second quarter shapes up, but there's plenty of evidence that the first quarter is going to come in positive. Feeding that data into the political landscape, it suggests that even if the US does fall into a recession, it's not going to be confirmed until near the end of October, just in time to have an effect on US elections, as GDP would have to decline for two consecutive quarters.

There's a risk that the second quarter will be in the red, but prospects for the third are better if the virus carries along the same pathway as other similar infectious strains such as SARS and MERS. Warm weather and humidity are virus-killers.

It's getting interesting, though the fears of widespread infections are currently oversold.

Bonds have been and continue to take the situation with all due seriousness. The 30-year bond ripped lower on Friday to an all-time low yield of 1.90% and the 10-year is chasing it down, closing out the week at 1.45%, perilously close to its all-time low. The 10-year note yielded 1.37 on 07/05/16, and again on 07/08/16. That level could be tested this week and a sustained drop into the 1.15 to 1.25% range would not be unwarranted during a panic condition.

The curve, however, remains nearly flat for the 2s-10s, which are holding up a 12-basis point difference (2s at 1.34%), but the shortest duration paper, 1, 2, 3, and 6-month bills are all sporting yields higher than 10-year, so concern is evident that the US economy is vulnerable to a major shock.

Gold and silver made significant gains over the course of the week, as the flight to true safety accelerated. Gold ended at a seven-year high, at 1643.00 the ounce. Silver closed out on Friday at 18.45 per ounce. A good start to a real rally, but far away from a breakout point. Both are up sharply early Monday morning.

Crude oil had a relatively good week, though the price for WTI crude in Monday morning's futures are looking rather grim, down more than three percent and approaching the Maginot line of $50 per barrel. It's unlikely to hold that level. Speculators are currently eyeing the $45-48 range and the next support level.

All of this points to a near-term washout in stocks. While there's currently not any markers being set down for a sustained rout, it is possible, though considered unlikely, as is the case for what some call "the great reset" where markets crumble like in 2008 and the entire global financial edifice is blown asunder.

No serious person is calling for anything more than a short-term correction, though markets have a unique way of making everybody look like fools.

Stay informed, stay calm, prepare.

At the Close, Friday, February 21, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,992.41, -227.59 (-0.78%)
NASDAQ: 9,576.59, -174.37 (-1.79%)
S&P 500: 3,337.75, -35.48 (-1.05%)
NYSE: 13,975.78, -85.72 (-0.61%)

For the Week:
Dow: -405.67 (-1.38%)
NASDAQ: -174.38 (-1.79%)
S&P 500: -42.41 (-1.25%)
NYSE: -121.56 (-0.86%)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Current Predictions On COVID-19's Market Effects Are Probably Unreliable

Predicting the future is a fool's errand.

There are some things about the future - depending upon the time span we're using - that are likely, probable, and some, almost certain to happen. The sun will rise and set, your car will start in the morning, sporting events will be played as scheduled, trains, boats, and planes will arrive and depart more or less on time, and so on with the more mundane, routine activities of day-to-day living.

What we're talking about are the more obtuse and difficult expectations and predictions about stocks rising or falling, which teams are going to make the playoffs, who's going to win certain political contests. Those kinds of events and occurrences are subject to more variables, some known, more unknown.

Six months ago, nobody was predicting that China would quarantine half of its population due to an outbreak of an infectious virus, such as COVID-19. Without factoring in the knock-on effects due to sickness, disease, and the Chinese government's efforts to contain it, prognostications concerning what is happening or will happen in coming days, weeks, and months will almost certainly be far off the mark.

Even today, with advanced predictive tools and advancements in medical understanding, extrapolation from the known has been made more difficult by questioning the veracity of data, the intentions of the people keeping score, and other factors that haven't even emerged as of yet.

Adding to the confusion is the quickened flow of information, much of which is nothing more than idle hyperbole or nothing less than outright lies. even less is known about where the virus started (still under investigation and likely to be never verified 100%), how fast and haw far it will spread and to what degree it will affect people's lives in countries and cultures as distinct as night and day. Information from various scientific sources still range across the spectrum in terms of the transmission rate, mortality rate, makeup of the virus, and potential for vaccines or cures.

All of this is making it difficult for investors and fund managers to gauge the downstream. Variables, upon which predictions could be made, aren't even in place, so most of what's being bantered about is just so much hot air and steam. Some people are scared to death of the virus; others believe that it's only about as harmful as the ordinary flu.

Enter the human condition. Rationality and emotion are playing tug-of-war in the macro as well as the micro sense. Nobody can be much more than 50% certain about anything a month, two months, six months or a year out.

What we've been able to discern already is a sense that the virus is not going to cause widespread disease and death of the magnitude of a Spanish Flu, Bubonic Plague or any other major pandemic. While there's widespread consensus that COVID-19 is unlikely to bloom into a massive killer, that does not mean that it won't, nor does it factor in other outside influences which are presently not apparent.

Thus far, merely a month into the coronavirus event, stocks have shown an incredible ability to withstand downside pressure while bonds have catalyzed into the safety play. The 10-year-note has rallied. From January 17 to February 18, the yield has fallen from 1.84% to 1.55%, a decline of 15.76 percent, a pretty good move under any circumstances.

Gold and silver had been less uniform in their price movement, with notable ups and downs. Spot gold has increased from 1557.60 on 1/17 to 15.89.85 on the 2/18. Silver, on the same span of time, began at 18.06 and finished at 17.89. Those are spot prices; action on the paper exchanges has been more volatile, though not significantly aroused.

On the surface, the market effect from COVID-19 appears to be not very eventful, but there are sure to be other variables coming into play which may make for an uneven ride into and through the future.

At the Close, Tuesday, February 18, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 29,232.19, -165.91 (-0.56%)
NASDAQ: 9,732.74, +1.56 (+0.02%)
S&P 500: 3,370.29, -9.87 (-0.29%)
NYSE: 14,039.01, -58.29 (-0.41%)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Bridgewater's Ray Dalio Thinks Coronavirus Fears Exaggerated; China Likely To Suffer Recession

Led by the NASDAQ's 1.13% rise, stocks on US indices ramped higher to open the week as fears of the spreading Wuhan Flu seemed diminished, at least in the Western Hemisphere.

Ray Dalio, founder of the world's biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, told an audience at a conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday that the impact from coronavirus (aka Wuhan Flu, WuFlu) is likely to be short-lived and won't have a lasting impact on the global economy.

Sorry, but Mr. Dalio sounds a little retarded here, telling people to be more concerned about wealth gaps and political gaps when most of China - the world's second-largest economy - has been shut down now for almost a month and will be for even longer. China is taking a huge gamble if they're going to send people back to work under these conditions, as the virus has yet to peak. All they'd need is an outbreak at an active factory and that would shut everything down for another month at least. Dalio is right to be concerned about gaps, like the ones in his thought process and the one between his ears. He's way off base here, probably talking this way to discourage a mass exodus out of his fund.

Dalio's fund lost money for the first time since 2000 last year, ironic, since US markets were up broadly, with the S&P sporting a 29% gain.

Let's try some math on Mr. Dalio's thesis. China is currently - how shall we put it - "screwed," which is probably the least-offensive descriptor. Consider that their GDP is probably going to come in at a zero at best for the first quarter of 2020, and probably come in as a negative number.

A third of the country is shut down and has been for more than two weeks, including all of Hubei province, a manufacturing hub. It's likely to remain that way for another month, with other cities and provinces falling under quarantine orders from now until April. That's going to put a severe dent in first quarter GDP. For instructional purposes, let's just say China's GDP for the first quarter of 2020 is going to be cut by a quarter, and that may be a generous assessment. That's a growth rate of -25%. Yes, that's right, minus twenty-five percent.

Let's assume they produce a miracle of some kind and get back to business in the second quarter. Will it be positive, compared to 2019. Unlikely, unless, as the Chinese are wont to do, they double and triple up production and totally kick butt. Let's give them a zero for the second quarter and an optimistic 5% gain in the third and 8% in the fourth, as they recover.

Add those up - -25, 0, +5, +8 - and you're still at -12, divided by four gives China a 2020 GDP growth rate of minus three percent (-3.0%). Again, that's just an example. Reality is likely to be worse than that. China will have a recession and a disruption of anywhere from two weeks to three months (maybe longer) in the global supply chain is going to produce adverse effects elsewhere. Some countries will be crushed, others just bruised, but, the overall picture is one with significant downside, not the roses and champagne scenario outlined by Ray Dalio.

Tracking other markets, crude oil futures continue their long descent as an outgrowth from reduced demand due to coronavirus in China. WTI crude fell below $50 per barrel on Monday. Despite renewed calls for production cuts from the OPEC+ nations, there seems to be little to stem the tide unless China gets a handle on their problem within days or weeks, a scenario that seems unlikely. If the virus spread in China is replicated elsewhere, oil, along with stocks and every other asset class, is likely to crater. Oil at anywhere from $45 to $35 a barrel is not out of the question.

Interest rates are also sounding an alarm, in deference to the sustained giddiness in stocks. The 10-year note dropped to 1.56% yield on Monday, just five basis points from its 2020 low of 1.51% (January 31), while the shortest-maturing bills all were higher, inverting the 1, 2, 3, and 6-month bills against the 10-year note. The 30-year bond is yielding 2.03%. Generally speaking, the yield curve is flat to inverted and looks like a complete, untamed disaster waiting to happen.

What looks to be a panacea for precious metals investors could be developing. Fear is rising, traders at JP Morgan Chase have been charged with rigging the gold and silver markets, and the effect from coronavirus is still unknown.

According to an article on FXStreet, not only have JP Morgan's traders been indicted, but the company itself is being probed, and the Justice Department is treating it as a criminal investigation, using RICO laws to investigate the bank as a criminal enterprise.

Coming days, weeks, and months appear to be headed toward more confusion, consternation, and discontent. The Democrat primary season is just heating up, and despite President Trump having just been cleared from impeachment by the Senate, there's little doubt Democrats in congress and even inside Trump's White House are still scheming against him.

Fed Chairman Powell is slated for a pair of engagements on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, he will face the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committees on Wednesday.

And, BTW, the words "retard" and "retarded" have been flagged in Yahoo Finance as unacceptable, despite one definition of the word retard is "to slow, delay." Peak Stupid has been achieved, again.

At the Close, Monday, February 10, 2020:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 29,276.82, +174.31 (+0.60%)
NASDAQ: 9,628.39, +107.88 (+1.13%)
S&P 500: 3,352.09, +24.38 (+0.73%)
NYSE: 13,984.48, +52.56 (+0.38%)

Monday, December 30, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP HOLIDAY EDITION: Recapping: Stocks Up, Bonds Fluctuate; PMs Stable

Thank goodness, 2019 is nearly over and done. It's been a crazy 12 months, hasn't it?

With Washington in turmoil (think impeachment), Wall Street stepped up to the plate and hit stocks out of the park. It was a banner year for equity investors, one of the top three of the new century, and, with two trading days left, it has a chance to be the best year since 1997 on the S&P 500.

The NASDAQ has shown weekly gains in 11 of the last 13 weeks and the S&P has finished on the upside in 11 of the last 12 weeks.

Fresh all-time highs were attained by the major indices as early as April (NASDAQ), May (S&P), July (Dow), and as late as December for the NYSE Composite.

Bonds were up-and-down as the Fed began lowering the federal funds rate after raising it. Yield on the 10-year note was as high as 2.79% (January) and as low as 1.47 (August, September), but have steadied into a fairly tight range of 1.75% to 1.93%, the latter, higher figure reached just days ago.

Precious metals, have, for the ninth consecutive year, failed to break out of their doldrums. Holders of gold or silver have had a rough go of it this second decade of the 21st century. Silver continues to be stuck in a range between $17 and $18 per ounce, while gold presses up against resistance at $1500. Neither has been able to make any substantial progress other than sporadic, spasmodic moves in either direction.

Housing in the US continues to become more and more unaffordable for most people as wages can't keep pace with rising costs. Wealth inequality and the pauperization of the middle class is becoming a major issue that could balloon into campaign sloganism in 2020. Other than that, no predictions for next year, except to remark that the stock rally shows few signs of slowing any time soon.

If you're looking for predictions, go see a palm reader. What will happen in 2020 is fluctuation in all markets, some balkanization, especially in real estate and globally, in commodities.

Only two trading days remaining in 2019. Happy New Year!

At the close, Friday, December 27, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 28,645.26, +23.86 (+0.08%)
NASDAQ: 9,006.62, -15.77 (-0.17%)
S&P 500: 3,240.02, +0.11 (+0.00%)
NYSE Composite: 13,944.14, +3.74 (+0.03%)

For the Week:
Dow: +190.17 (+0.67%)
NASDAQ: +81.66 (+0.91%)
S&P 500: +18.80 (+0.58%)
NYSE Composite: +54.89 (+0.40%)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Stocks Reverse Course, But Do Not Recover Recent Losses; ADP Jobs Misses Target

After three days of losses, stocks bounced back on Wednesday, though they did not recover all of the ground lost.

Since the close Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, the Dow is down over 500 points, the NASDAQ has shed 140 points, and the S&P 500 is off 40 points. The bounce on Wednesday, December 4, recovered less than half of the recent declines. Though the losses are nothing serious in the larger scheme of things, they are signaling that at least some of the investment community are not convinced the US economy, or US corporations, are in the best of ways. Thus, profits are being taken off the table. Further declines will feed into more year-end profit-taking and further loss prevention.

Recent movement in bonds also suggests that a countertrend is developing, with money shifting from risk assets into the bond market, where returns are low but widely accepted as safer than stocks. When money flows out of dividend-producing equities into treasuries or corporate debt, it's a sure sign that investors are nervous about the future direction. Last December witnessed massive declines, bordering on sending the stock market into bearish conditions, though at decline was stopped short by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose message to the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (AKA the Plunge Protection Team, or PPT) was clearly designed to rescue the stock market from rampant year-end selling.

Actions taken by the Working Group served to stem the tide of sellers and produce robust gains though the better part of 2019. With the year nearing an end, stocks are once again close to all-time highs, though recent data does not support such lofty valuations. From ISM manufacturing coming in below expectations, to Wednesday's ADP private sector jobs report for November, which reported an increase of just 67,000 jobs. The payroll number was well below the expected 150,000, and was the slowest growth since May.

Analysts are warning that the ADP number may be in stark contrast to what the BLS reports in Friday's non-farm payroll data, because the ADP report did not include General Motors workers returning from strike, whereas the BLS data will include those returning workers as "jobs added." The non-farm report for November is expected to show job gains in the range of 180,000 to 187,000 on Friday, up from 128,000 in October.

It makes reading the tea leaves of market sentiment and data just a little more confusing than it already is, given the daily up-and-down movements prompted by the changing signals regarding a US trade deal with China. The trade war has been and will continue to be the main directional driver of the stock market, probably for longer than most people would entertain. The Chinese appear intent on waiting out President Trump until the 2016 election in November, and it also appears that mr. Trump is fine with that.

A non-deal on trade can only cause more consternation for investors wishing to get a real perspective on the macro side of things, though one doesn't have to look far to see that global trade has been and continues to slip and slide away. Overall, global conditions are not suitable to induce a stock market rally, though they are also not severe enough to cause a crash. A slow grind down may be the path of least resistance, with days and weeks of gains and losses speckling the index charts.

At the Close, Wednesday, December 4, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,649.78, +146.97 (+0.53%)
NASDAQ: 8,566.67, +46.03 (+0.54%)
S&P 500: 3,112.76, +19.56 (+0.63%)
NYSE Composite: 13,457.97, +91.88 (+0.69%)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Precious Metals Scrapped; Bonds Sold; Stocks Flat

Prospects for a breakthrough and potential finality to phase one of the US-China trade negotiations did little to move markets Tuesday. By midday, most of the hope and all of the hype had been wrung out of headlines, stocks staged a half-hearted rally, and slumped into the close.

The days activity in stocks was best described as sluggish, or possibly uneventful. The Dow Jones industrials were in the green all day but never higher by more than 100 points. Other indices were equally quiet. A mixed bag of earnings reports for the third quarter from mostly mid-cap companies did little to inspire confidence on the heels of fresh record closes on Monday.

Bonds were generally sold, with yield on the benchmark 10-year note rising six basis points, to 1.86%, the highest they've been since September 13. In stark contrast to the the Fed's recent rate cut, the long end was whipped, with yield on the 30-year bond reaching 2.34%. The short-dated end of the curve was well-behaved, with everything from one-month to two years yielding in a range from 1.56 to 1.63, extremely flat.

As yields were rising on less risky fixed income, precious metals were hammered lower, with silver dripped under $18/ounce to end New York trading at $17.58. Gold, too, was kicked to the curb, falling from $1505 to 1483 by the end of the day.

The entire day seemed to be one of selling just about anything that may have had value. That sentiment stood in sharp distinction to the ongoing narrative. It's likely that markets overall had been overbought and due for a letdown. The potential for continued upside still exists, though mixed messages are coming through the data.

Still, with holidays just a few weeks ahead and money conditions so easy, the possibility of a breakout rally prior to and/or inclusive of Black Friday is very strong. There remains a convincing argument for the ownership of stocks over all other asset classes and there is significant force - and money - behind that argument.

At the Close, Tuesday, November 6, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,492.63, +30.53 (+0.11%)
NASDAQ: 8,434.68, +1.48 (+0.02%)
S&P 500: 3,074.62, -3.65 (-0.12%)
NYSE Composite: 13,339.59, -15.81 (-0.12%)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Stocks Sluggish As Bonds Offer Nearly Risk-Free Money Making

Markets churned through another day of earnings hits and misses.

Nothing really to see here as the investing community awaits the penultimate FOMC meeting of 2019, slated for October 29 and 30. Another 25 basis point reduction in the federal funds rate is expected at that time.

While cuts such as is expected in October used to be good for a good pop in stocks, lately, Wall Street has been less-than-enthusiastic when interest rates are slashed. This is clear from the current yield on the 10-year note, which refuses to budge, hovering in the 1.70-1.80 range.

That's not supposed to happen. Bond traders, however, are not being herded into low-yielding offerings at the behest of the Fed. There are certainly other ways to spread risk, into corporates or even shorter-maturity treasuries, and the bond vigilantes are taking them. There's a certain logic to taking 1.74% on a one-month bill rather than locking up money for 10 years for a yield that is only marginally higher. Having cash on hand to seize upon opportunity is smart investing.

With the yield curve so flat, there's little reason to probe the longer end, though, for safety's sake, the 30-year bond is now yielding a healthy 2.25%, nearly the best since rates were clobbered in August.

Earnings may be taking center stage for now, but the heart of the market is clearly in fixed income. Too much speculation, over-valuation, and memories of 2008 in stocks has sent money scurrying to safer places.

At the Close, Wednesday, October 23, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,833.95, +45.85 (+0.17%)
NASDAQ: 8,119.79, +15.50 (+0.19%)
S&P 500: 3,004.52, +8.53 (+0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 13,114.39, +42.53 (+0.33%)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Impeachment, Liquidity Concerns Don't Slow Equity Traders, For Now

On Wednesday, he Fed conducted another in a series of overnight repurchase auctions (REPO) which was oversubscribed by the most since the operations began to be a daily fixture last week. Wednesday's overnight funding fiasco was for a maximum of $75 billion, but offers were up to $92 billion, meaning somebody didn't get ready cash for operations.

This is becoming more and more of a liquidity crisis, which, as learned from the Lehman crash of 2008, can readily become a solvency crisis, as Lehman and Bear Stearns before them both were forced into liquidation.

With the oversubscribed condition seemingly becoming worse by the day, the NY Fed quietly announced that the operations proposed last week - daily $75 billion overnight until October 10 and three $30 billion two-week terms - were to be raised to $100 billion overnight and $60 billion in the two-week auctions.

Markets seemed more concerned with making money quickly rather than focus on a looming issue or the impeachment farce currently making the rounds in Washington. For what it's worth, Wall Street either doesn't want to look or considers these events inconsequential. In the case of impeachment, they may be right, since the Democrats are pushing on a string in their flimsy argument that President Trump committed some kind of crime by discussing with the president of Ukraine some possibly-underhanded dealings by former vice president Joe Biden.

It's nonsense, as the White House has released the complete transcript of the two leaders' phone conversation and there is no quid pro quo element to it and the Bidens (Joe and his son, Hunter) were brought up by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

As far as the Fed's actions are concerned, traders are normally blind to the much larger world of bonds and credit. Doug Noland, a reputable bond and credit analyst (possibly the world's best) writes in his most recent credit bubble bulletin that the Fed's actions are a response to excessive speculative leverage, mainly in the bond markets, which have been whipsawed of late, but spilling over into equities and currencies - especially China - as well.

While the street may have its focus on near term profits and end-of-quarter positioning, real experts see nothing good from the Fed's reach for substantial amounts of liquidity and expect volatility to continue over the next month or more.

At the Close, Wednesday, September 25, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,970.71, +162.94 (+0.61%)
NASDAQ: 8,077.38, +83.76 (+1.05%)
S&P 500: 2,984.87, +18.27 (+0.62%)
NYSE Composite: 13,037.61, +45.35 (+0.35%)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Stocks Flat on Eurozone Recession Fears; Fed Committed to $1 Trillion Liquidity Injection

Stocks gained early and faded late as poor economic data from Europe dampened the mood on Wall Street at the start of the last week of the third quarter.

Eurozone manufacturing PMI fell to 45.6 on Monday, the worst reading in nearly seven years, with the German manufacturing PMI falling to 41.4 in September from 43.5, the worst number since the fall of Lehman Brothers sparked the global financial crisis.

The poor figures sent European stocks reeling, fearing recession, especially in Germany, Europe's powerhouse, could be right around the corner. US indices were less-affected, though the Dow Industrials was the only index to post a positive close.

At the same time, the US banking system was being monitored, as the Fed continued its series of repo auctions. In this statement from the New York Federal Reserve, the central bank committed to 1.05 trillion in overnight repo auctions through October 10, and at least an additional $90 billion in two-week term repo auctions.

The sudden appearance of repo auctions, with the Fed buying back treasuries or MBS in exchange for ready cash from (supposedly) primary dealers has economists on edge, especially considering the huge amount of excess reserves clogging up the system.

Those not so alarmed point out that these extraordinary repo auctions are the result of a highly-predictable cash crunch for banks as corporations tax payments are due at the end of the quarter. This causes a drain on the system overall, though there was no need for such measures since the Lehman debacle a decade ago.

What happens next in markets is probably more volatility and sideways trading due to uncertainty. Recession fears in the Eurozone are probably real, though the US may actually be in good enough shape to avoid a significant downturn through 2020. The Fed has cut rates twice this year after raising them by decidedly too much. Political forces are bound to keep the Fed honest and operating largely at the behest of the markets and President Trump, who has loudly criticized the Fed's step-behind operations.

At the Close, Monday, September 23, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,949.99, +14.92 (+0.06%)
NASDAQ: 8,112.46, -5.21 (-0.06%)
S&P 500: 2,991.78, -0.29 (-0.01%)
NYSE Composite: 13,085.33, -8.47 (-0.06%)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Anticipating Federal Funds Rate Slash, Fed Conducts Repo for Cash-Strapped Banks

In case you missed it, on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve conducted a repurchasing event - known in the business as a "repo" - to inject cash into the system, which had run low on reserves.

Essentially, the primary dealers, among them the nation's largest banks, found themselves a little short on cash and needed to sell some bonds back to the Fed. In all, the Fed took back $53 billion and the system survived a rare liquidity crunch. It was the first repo auction since the great Financial Crisis of 2008.

This kind of activity may not be so rare going forward. The Financial Times reports that the Fed is holding another repo auction on Wednesday morning, offering up $75 billion in cash in exchange for various types of bonds, most typically, Treasuries or Mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

What triggered the double-dip into repo-land is the unusually high volatility in bond markets, which have been whipsawed of late. The benchmark 10-year-note, for instance, has yielded as low as 1.46% and as high as 1.90% just this month, and currently sits at a yield of 1.81%. The high rate at which bonds are turned over by the primary dealers and others may have left some banks upside down, or wrong-footed, this week.

The second repo has taken place, ending before 8:30 am, Wednesday morning.

The results were less-than-encouraging going forward. The auction was oversubscribed by $5 billion, meaning somebody has a short-term cash flow problem. The Fed offered up $75 billion and $80 was bid, so somebody didn't get what they were seeking. $5 billion is a lot of money, no matter how you slice it. This is going to show up somewhere and it won't be pretty. Prepare for bank failures at an increasing rate.

Otherwise, the markets stay relatively calm on the surface, with futures modestly in the red. At 2:00 pm ET Wednesday, the FOMC will announce their policy directive, ending a two-day meeting. They are widely expected to decrease the federal funds rate by 25 basis points, from 2.00-2.25 to 1.75-2.00.

If the idea of a range, rather than a distinct point for the federal funds rate seems different, it is. The Fed used to just set the rate at a distinct point, like 2.50%, but now they issue a range. That change occurred in 2008, when they dropped the rate to zero, or actually, 0.00 to 0.25. The Fed didn't like the rate being exactly zero bacuse that would have sent a bad signal, so they changed to a range.

What really happened is that the global fiat currency economy broke in 2008. ZIRP and the various forms of QE were bandages when a splint and a cast were needed. The system is still broken, moreso than in 2008 and the injury, once a break, is now amplified with a fever, an infection, and the hospital is out of meds.


At the Close, Tuesday, September 17, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,110.80, +33.98 (+0.13%)
NASDAQ: 8,186.02, +32.47 (+0.40%)
S&P 500: 3,005.70, +7.74 (+0.26%)
NYSE Composite: 13,131.41, +23.43 (+0.18%)

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%)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Stocks Slide As Economic Realities Continue to Worsen; Gold, Silver Soar

September didn't start out very well as stocks lost ground on all indices. Perhaps more concerning was the level to which yield on the 10-year note plunged, dipping to a low of 1.46% before closing out at 1.47%.

Low yields are indicative of demand, and, with some $19 trillion of government bonds globally yielding negative numbers, US bonds are attractive by comparison. This dynamic is not going to end soon, as Japan and the Euro area - the two economies with the most negative yields - are in no-win conditions, with inflation impossible to produce and a swirling drain of deflation threatening the confidence of their currencies.

If low yields are intriguing, consider the gains in gold and silver to be nothing short of demanding attention. Both metals have been on a hyperbolic flight path since May. On Tuesday, silver rocketed through the $19/ounce level, with a gain of more than 8 cents per ounce. Gold topped $1550, and is trading at record levels in most of the world. Only the super-strong dollar is keeping gold's level down, but only in the United States.

Stocks are going to continue a fluctuation with emphasis on the downside for the foreseeable future due to deteriorating economic conditions globally.

Cash is becoming king-like in many countries, with a focus on US dollars, but that dynamic will play out to flatten the wallets of nearly everyone holding hope in fiat currency. Central bankers have reached the proverbial brick wall, with nothing to save economies from crashing headlong into a solvency crisis, an immovable force from which there is no return, literally, as there will not only be no return on capital, but, in many regards - as is the case with negative rates - no return OF capital.

At the Close, Tuesday, September 3, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,118.02, -285.26 (-1.08%)
NASDAQ: 7,874.16, -88.72 (-1.11%)
S&P 500: 2,906.27, -20.19 (-0.69%)
NYSE Composite: 12,663.40, -73.48 (-0.58%)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Amid Turmoil, Stocks Jump to Open Week

Despite Friday's stock slide and confused rhetoric from the G7, investors appeared unconcerned as trading opened the week, with all the major averages up sharply on the day.

Bounces such as the one witnessed on Monday are normal in times of high volatility and anxiety. They can be generally disregarded as more noise than anything meaningful. The gains only half erased Friday's losses, leaving the Dow, NASDAQ, S&P, and Composite all hanging between their 50 and 200-day moving averages, a sign of indecision among market makers.

Gold and silver held onto gains, bonds continued to rally, with the two-year and 10-year notes even, with yields of 2.54% at the end of the day.

With trade talks stalled, traders may be seeking more information on the economy. The Conference Board's gauge of consumer sentiment is due out shortly after the markets open at 10:00 am ET.

At the Close, Monday, August 26, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,898.83, +269.93 (+1.05%)
NASDAQ: 7,853.74, +101.97 (+1.32%)
S&P 500: 2,878.38, +31.27 (+1.10%)
NYSE Composite: 12,519.62, +103.17 (+0.83%)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Weekend Wrap: Trade, Recession, Currency Fears Stoke Week-Ending Sell-Off

These days, it doesn't take much to spook markets.

That stands to reason, with all of the US major indices near all-time highs conjoined with a divisive political environment, global trade tensions, and a corrupted financial system run by central bankers bent on the globalization of currencies and nations.

Thus, on Friday, after Fed Chairman, Jay Powell, spoke to the assembled cognoscenti at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and President Trump doubled down on his tariff mandate towards China, the runners, scalpers, and money-changers on Wall Street were so spooked that one might have assumed they'd seen the ghost of legendary China short-seller, Jim Chanos, stalking the trading floor, even though - as far as is known - Mr. Chanos is still alive and kicking the shorts out of the Chinese market.

Stocks had opened only marginally in the red on Friday and were improving into the eleven o'clock hour before suddenly reversing course, heading into the abyss, the Dow shedding more than 400 points in a matter of minutes.

With Wall Street struggling to regain some semblance of balance and propriety, stocks drifted lower, cratering in the final hour with the Dow Industrials down nearly 750 points before gaining back another hundred into the closing bell.

It was ugly. It was impressive. At the end of the day, it seemed completely appropriate.

The fuel for growth was fading fast and has been since well before Friday's melt-down. All of the fancy tricks the Fed and their central banking buddies had employed to goose equities skyward over the past decade were being exposed as fraudulent, artificial, unnecessary, and eventually harmful to the operation of what previously had been free markets.

Wall Street has lost confidence in the Fed's forward guidance, which, according to Mr. Powell, is decidedly negative. The Trump tariffs are a sideshow to the already-failing economies of the developed nations, slowing precipitously and taking down the emerging giants of China and India with them.

Over the weekend, while the leaders of the G7 powerhouse nations debate and will likely confirm that globalization is a crumbling edifice of one-percenter greed and that the world needs to be adjusted toward something that serves people other than just the mega-corporate interests and the skimming habits of the ultra-wealthy.

As has been of considerable mention here the past few days, negative interest-bearing sovereign debt instruments - those wildly popular $19 trillion worth of bonds - are ringing the death-knell of fiat currencies and central bank interference with the normal operation of capitalist design.

For now, the shock waves of fading confidence in the global Ponzi and counterfeit schemes of stock buybacks, quantitative easing, and negative interest rates is contained largely to the Wall Street crowd, but, it is spreading and the uproar will increase as stocks fall, ordinary people worry about their jobs and their futures, and the central bankers moan and cajole and mumble and stumble and fall.

Remnants of the global economic structure previously known as Bretton Woods are being shredded on a daily basis. A new world order is on the way, but any transition - like the one which dashed national currencies into one euro a few decades past - is going to be painful and consequential.

Sadly, when all the smoke is blown away and the dust settled, the planet will still largely be governed by the same morons and their predecessors who brought all of this upon us and their economic agents of destruction. The new currency regiment will be talked about as more fair, more balanced, more equitable, but those in the know will have already understood that it will be more of the same, damaging to the middle classes while barely scraping off a scintilla of the assets held by the rich and powerful.

Americans, Europeans, Japanese and all citizens are being shafted, and it's going to hurt.

The long-delayed reckoning from the global crisis of 2008 is about to be unleashed. Unless one holds hard assets such as precious metals, real estate, and/or income-producing assets like a productive business or needed service, one is likely to feel more pain than would otherwise be prescribed by the lords of finance.

At the Close, Friday, August 23, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,628.90, -623.34 (-2.37%)
NASDAQ: 7,751.77, -239.62 (-3.00%)
S&P 500: 2,847.11, -75.84 (-2.59%)
NYSE Composite: 12,416.45, -272.01 (-2.14%)

For the Week:
Dow: -257.11 (-0.99%)
NASDAQ: -144.23 (-1.83%)
S&P 500: -41.57 (-1.44%)
NYSE Composite: -163.96 (-1.30%)
Dow Transports: -227.58 (-2.28%)

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.

Monday, August 12, 2019

WEEKEND WRAP: Another Shaky Week for Stocks; Bond, Gold, Silver Rallies Extend

As the global ponzi turns, the week now left behind shares a trails of tears and cheers, sadness for equity holders, joyous celebrations in the bond pits as US rates re-approach the zero-bound (despite the Fed's reluctance).

While stocks bounced like a rubber ball on a string, the losses were limited by some mysterious dip-buying mid-week as news flow changed not just by the day, but seemingly by the hour.

At the same time, the bond market in the US was mimicking Japan and Europe, grinding yields lower, with the 10-year note closing out the week at 1.74%, which is lower than the 1,2,3,6-month and one-year yields, making the case for an already inverted yield curve. The 2-year continues to be resilient, though one has to wonder how much longer it can hold the narrow margin below the 10-year, which is currently a scant 11 basis points (1.63%).

Precious metals have also benefitted from global uncertainty, with gold hovering around $1500 and silver teasing the $17.00 mark. Both are significantly higher from lows spotted in late May. The ascent of the metals has been swift and without any major pullback. If the metals are in an overbought condition, they certainly aren't showing any signs of it. As usual, however, the persistence of central banks to keep "real money" on its heels is probably keeping PMs from going vertical. That story seems to have no end, except that a hyperbolic rise in gold and silver would signal the death of not just the US dollar, but probably all fiat currencies in use by every nation, developed or not. After fiat finds its proper value (ZERO), barter will follow. It's a natural progression. The central question, as has been for centuries, is, "what do you give for a live chicken?"

Though it may appear that the global economy is about to implode, it's useful to be reminded that the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) is well beyond its 10th anniversary, thanks to massive infusions of counterfeit fiat ladled out to the unwashed by the BOJ, FRS, BOE, SNB, PBOC, ECB. Spelling out the acronyms somehow yields negative interest rates and the death of money. Nobody knows when this will occur, but it will, and the effects will devastate many. Think billions of people, not just millions.

In the interim, as the world is roiled by international, geopolitical events, the wall of worry is being built upon the current crises (not in any particular order):

  • The Epstein "suicide"
  • Honk Hong protests
  • Brexit
  • Trade War and tariffs
  • Middle East tensions
  • Mass Shootings, Gun Control Legislation, Red Flaw Laws (won't happen)
  • 2020 presidential election hijinks
  • Ongoing migrations (Africa to Europe, South America to North America, China to Africa)

That's more than enough to keep traders up at night and on their collective toes during the days ahead.

Incidentally, all of this anguish has shielded the markets somewhat from a less-than-rousing second quarter earnings season, even as the corporates float through the third quarter. The Dow Transports re-entered correction territory two weeks past week and extended it last week with the worst showing of all the US indices, by far.

Recession is almost a certainly, though it needn't be particularly horrible for the US, since employment is still strong, despite weakening earnings in the large cap corporate sector. Since the US is a very big country, different areas will be affected in different ways. Areas of the country that have been growing (most of the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest) will continue to do so, albeit at a slower pace. Those areas in decline (Northeast cities, California, rural enclaves) will see conditions worsen. Those areas in decline will continue to do so through good times and bad and some may be exacerbated by outflows of high income individuals due to SALT taxes. It's a big country, a panacea for speculators with long time horizons.

At the Close, Friday, August 9:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,287.44, -90.76 (-0.34%)
NASDAQ: 7,959.14, -80.02 (-1.00%)
S&P 500: 2,918.65, -19.44 (-0.66%)
NYSE Composite: 12,748.42, -80.38 (-0.63%)

For the Week:
Dow Industrials: -197.57 (-0.75%)
Dow Jones Transports: -167.22 (-1.61%)
NASDAQ: -44.93 (-0.56%)
S&P 500: -13.40 (-0.46%)
NYSE Composite: -91.08 (-0.71%)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

WEEKEND WRAP: With Continued Volatility In Stocks, Is It Time To Consider Alternative Investment Asset Classes?

To say the least, this was one wild week.

Monday opened with word that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had phoned six major banks and the Plunge Protection Team to assure that the banks had adequate liquidity to survive a significant downturn. There were two problem with Mnuchin making these calls and then making them public. First, nobody was thinking about bank liquidity. Second, alerting the PPT suggests that there are significant economic issues facing the market.

Mnuchin initiated a panic, good for -653 points on the Dow, on a day in which markets closed at 1:00 pm. That was Christmas Eve.

The day after Christmas, Wednesday, the Dow set a record for points gained in one session. It was a spectacular day for anybody in the bullish camp. All the other indices were up more than four percent, another first.

On Thursday, stocks were slumping badly again, but then, the rally from nowhere produced a positive finish, boosting the Dow more than 600 points from 2:15 pm into the close, for a net gain on the day of 260 points.

On Friday, the opposite occurred. The Dow Industrials were up 240 points at three o'clock, but closed down 76.

Volatility. It's what's for Christmas, it appears.

When it was all over the week turned out to be a winner, the first in four weeks of December. Since the start of October, there have been nine weekly losses on the Dow, with just five weekly gains. The net result of this wicked roller-coaster of a market is a Dow Jones Industrial Average that's down nearly 2500 points in December and 3766 points from October 3.

While the week's heavy lifting (most likely done by our friends at the PPT) kept the Dow out of bear market territory, it - and the other major indices - are still deep in the correction zone, and all indices are down for the year. Since there's only one trading day left in 2018, this year is a good bet to end up a loser, despite the best efforts of the pumpers, panderers, shills, and jokers in the financial field to separate you from your money with promises of outstanding gains.

Every stock pumper in the world mouths the word "diversification" as a key element leading to positive investment results. The problem with their kind of diversification is that it normally references one, maybe two asset classes: stocks, and then, maybe, bonds.

Such short-sighted thinking obscures all the other asset classes, broadly, real estate, commodities, currencies, art, collectibles, precious metals and gemstones, vehicles, business equipment, private equity, cash, cash equivalents, and human capital.

There are plenty of opportunities in small business development, where ownership can be hands-on or hands-free, with the potential to grow a local business within a community. President Donald Trump (and many other private businessmen) is one good example of how much money can be made in real estate investment and privately-owned businesses.

People who held on to their Spiderman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four comic books are smiling broadly. So too, those who kept baseball and football cards for more than 50 years. The value of a Mickey Mantle rookie card today is astronomical compared to its original cost (less than a penny).

With the recent volatility in stocks, people may be considering diversifying out of stocks and into other asset classes. In the coming year and beyond, presentation of alternative money-making and investment opportunities will be a focus of Money Daily.

Here's to looking forward at a year of diversifying out of strictly stocks in a portfolio.

In advance: Happy New Year!

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22
12/12/18 24,527.27 +157.03 -1011.19
12/13/18 24,597.38 +70.11 -941.08
12/14/18 24,100.51 -496.87 -1437.95
12/17/18 23,592.98 -507.53 -1945.58
12/18/18 23,675.64 +82.66 -1862.92
12/19/18 23,323.66 -351.98 -2214.90
12/20/18 22,859.60 -464.06 -2678.96
12/21/18 22,445.37 -414.23 -3093.19
12/24/18 21,792.20 -653.17 -3746.36
12/26/18 22,878.45 +1086.25 -2660.11
12/27/18 23,138.82 +260.37 -2399.74
12/28/18 23,062.40 -76.42 -2476.16

At the Close, Friday, December 28, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,062.40, -76.42 (-0.33%)
NASDAQ: 6,584.52, +5.03 (+0.08%)
S&P 500: 2,485.74, -3.09 (-0.12%)
NYSE Composite: 11,290.95, +5.64 (+0.05%)

For the Week:
Dow: +617.03 (+2.75%)
NASDAQ: +251.53 (+3.97%)
S&P 500: +69.12 (+2.86%)
NYSE Composite: +254.11 (+2.30%)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Federal Reserve Loses $66 Billion; Volatility Meets Fibonacci Sequence As Sucker Rally Extends

Here's a fun headline:

Fed piles up $66 billion in debt.

Now, since the Federal Reserve System has been known to conjure up money out of thin air, how can they incur losses, and, if they somehow manage that feat of economic alchemy, do they even matter. The author of the article says no, but the reality is that our fiat money system - and, with it hose of the rest of the world - are fantasies. The money created is all debt. Nothing but debt. Most of it is incurred when the US treasury - or the treasury of some other nation - issues a bond. It's debt, and it's bought by the Fed or one of their agents, and, viola! instant money is created.

Most of government-issued debt is never paid off, which is why the United States has a $21 trillion - and growing - debt. Some of it is owed to other countries, some to private investors (like the Fed), and some of it is owed elsewhere.

Getting back to the Fed and their debt, how they managed to get into debt themselves is pretty simple. They bought a ton of near-worthless paper called Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) back in the halcyon days of sub-prime lending (2006-2011), and that paper is worth today, as some of it is maturing, worth less than what they paid. They did so to bail out their friends, the big banks, and now the piper is being paid. This will continue for some time, as theses MBS mature at different times. Like most mortgages, some won't mature for 30 years, so think 2036-2041 before they're all exhausted, though some will mature well before those dates.

The Fed wants to shrink its balance sheet, so this is how they're doing it, retiring debt. Do they care? Not particularly. To them, gains and losses are ledger entires and nothing more. They exist in a parallel universe from the rest of us who can't just roll over our debts indefinitely. The Fed will outlast all of us, and they know it.

As far as the impact this will have on the economy and markets and currencies, it's likely not good, but it isn't something to lose sleep over either. The Fed's money machine is massive and they'll just print more if they run into problems. However, for the rest of us, that may be inflationary, though that wasn't a huge issue all the time they were engaged in QE, printing to their heart's content to save the world from economic ruin.

As long as everyone keeps using their money, it's fine. If other countries shy away from the glorious dollar - something that some countries already are doing - it could get a bit rough in the international trade venues. Until very many people, businesses, and nations lose faith in the almighty greenback, we're all good, however. But the Fed will still be losing money for the foreseeable future. Nothing to worry about. They can - and will - make more.

As far as the stock markets are concerned, today was day two of the Mother of all Sucker Rallies which was presented yesterday. Stocks were once again bid higher, with the Dow up more than 450 points. Once again, the afternoon was telling, as sellers took control, leaving the Dow and other indices with reasonable gains.

With the rally ongoing, it might be instructive to concern ourselves with Fibonacci levels, as detailed below.

Fibonacci numbers are often used in technical analysis to determine support and resistance levels for stock price movement. Analysts find the two most extreme points (peak and trough) on a stock chart and divide by the Fibonacci ratios of 23.6 percent, 38.2 percent, 50 percent, 61.8 percent and 100 percent.

Using Fibonacci numbers to exploit the current rally - using intra-day numbers on the Dow - maths out like this:

December 3 high: 25,980.21
December 10 low: 23,881.37

Difference: -2,098.84

First resistance (23.6%): 495.33 points = 24,376.70 (Dow closed at 24,370.24 on Tuesday, December 11; Close enough!)
Second resistance (38.2%): 801.76 points = 24,683.13 (the Dow exceeded this level today, but pulled back below it at the close. Watch for direction on Thursday.
Third resistance (50%): 1,049.42 = 24,930.79
Fourth resistance (61.8%): 1,297.08 = 25,178.45 (this is usually the key, where resistance is very high and a pullback can be expected. If the Dow powers through this level, expect it to go all the way back to where it started, i.e., 25,980.21 (100% retracement).

This should give a signal of when the current sucker rally is about to expire. After that, the resistance points will become support, and if the Dow plummets through them, get ready for another round of massive losing days.

Happy Holidays.

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20
12/11/18 24,370.24 -53.02 -1168.22
12/12/18 24,527.27 +157.03 -1011.19

At the Close, Wednesday, December 12, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,527.27, +157.03 (+0.64%)
NASDAQ: 7,098.31, +66.48 (+0.95%)
S&P 500: 2,651.07, +14.29 (+0.54%)
NYSE Composite: 11,943.29, +82.64 (+0.70%)