Showing posts with label consumer confidence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label consumer confidence. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stocks End Losing Streak On Vix Fix Buying Spree

Apparently, somebody at the controls of the VIX machine, the one that supposedly measures market volatility, cranked the mechanism down on Tuesday, after the thing just ran off on its own Monday, spiking above 14 (14.85 at the open Monday morning) for the first time in what seems like eons.

Not that it mattered to anybody in particular, but there were some worries deep in the bowels of Wall Street's finest casinos, brokerages the the completely contrived and extremely overbought rally would not extend into year nine with gusto, so the eight-day losing streak for the Dow was dealt a swift, manipulated whipping, as stocks took off at the open and continued a steady ascent throughout the session.

According to various and supposed "expert analysts" in places like Yahoo Finance, Market Watch and Bloomberg, Tuesday's rally was the result of impressive consumer confidence, as though the average consumer has any truck with stocks, other than, of course, being roped and prodded into various pension and 401k schemes designed to enrich their advisors retirement portfolio.

As the case may be, consumer confidence is largely tied to Wall Street's excessive enthusiasm and outrageous fees, insofar as the supine congress and the brilliant politicians in the District of Columbia (that's D.C., for all you low information investors) have decided that financial advisors and retirement planners do not have to work in a fiduciary capacity, as was supposed to be required under part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. That's not an issue now, however, as these investment "pros" can once again lead the naive retail consumers into their own vehicles with their own sets of fees and refinements. It's a lovely arrangement... for the brokerages.

Just so nobody is confused, the casino always wins, and today was further proof. Now, wait until you're 57 1/2, or 59 1/2, or 62 or 65 or 70, to begin feeling the joy of getting roughly 5-10% less return on your hard earned money than if you had just invested it yourself in a no-load mutual fund or some safe bonds, or, perish the thought, gold or silver, the latter of which continues heading higher (over $18/ounce), despite the best efforts of the central bank cartel to suppress the price, as they did again today with gold.

Funny how the only real money (intrinsic value) in the world continues to be spat upon, denigrated, and by the elite supra-nationals in our midst.

King Midas is spinning in his crypt.

At the Close, 3/28/17:
Dow: 20,701.50, +150.52 (0.73%)
NASDAQ: 5,875.14, +34.77 (0.60%)
S&P 500: 2,358.57, +16.98 (0.73%)
NYSE Composite: 11,493.84, +79.51 (0.70%)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Stocks End Week on Super-Duper High Note as All Indicators Are Ignored

Other than options expiry, there was no good reason for stocks to go higher today, though this market doesn't need any reasons or rationale for any kind of movement. So, it was not surprising that, on a day in which the only relevant data came from the University of Michigan consumer sentiment and the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators - incidentally, the only two data points that were positive this week - that stocks would rise to new all-time highs on the Dow and S&P, while the NASDAQ continued its recent string of 12 1/2-year-highs.

Consumer sentiment catapulted from April's 76.4 to 83.7 in May, while the LEI came in with a gain for April of 0.6% on expectations of 0.3, after March's disappointing -0.2%, not that the prior reading mattered at all.

Stocks are raging, and to those who have invested and made money, congratulations. For those who have stayed on the sidelines, this is surely not an opportune time to invest, despite what all the financial pundits are saying, unless one believes it is wise to buy at all-time highs.

So ends another week in fantasy-land, aka, Wall Street.

Gold and silver were again taken out back and punished severely, but - big surprise - crude oil continued to march toward the $100/barrel level.

Happy motoring!

Dow 15,354.40, +121.18 (0.80%)
NASDAQ 3,498.97, +33.72 (0.97%)
S&P 500 1,667.47, +17.00 (1.03%)
NYSE Composite 9,576.41, +87.10 (0.92%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,820,408,750
NYSE Volume 3,736,158,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4518-1925
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 703-45
WTI crude oil: 96.02, +0.86
Gold: 1,364.70, -22.20
Silver: 22.35, +0.307

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Market Drops, Rallies on Fiscal Cliff Fears, Hopes

OK, now, this is getting interesting.

Stocks sold off severely in the early going, as Wall Street seems to be getting a little bit tired of waiting for the politicians to come to some kind of deal - any kind of deal - on the fiscal cliff issues.

Taking center stage today were Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, and minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Reid made some noises about the House not even being in session, and, late in the day, McConnell made comments about how the Republicans have been waiting months for the Democrats to meet with them, without success.

During the session, stocks were hit hard to the downside, with the Dow off by as many as 150 points, but, about 2:30 pm ET, when news broke that John Boehner was calling the House back into session on Sunday, stocks miraculously starting gaining ground, with all of the major indices eventually reaching positive territory before giving back a bit to close slightly negative, though the NYSE Composite ended with a gain of four points.

There was other news that may have caught the attention of traders, particularly, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence reading, which registered a disappointing 65.1, after last month's overly optimistic 73.7 was revised down to 71.5.

The number caught everyone off guard and triggered the initial sell-off.

As for negotiations on the fiscal cliff, there aren't any. Both sides have resorted to name-calling and jawboning precisely at a time both sides should be reaching compromise.

Having the House in session on Sunday, December 30, is a hopeful sign that there is some progress behind the scenes, even though nobody's reporting any.

The saga continues...

Dow 13,096.31, -18.28 (0.14%)
NASDAQ 2,985.91, -4.25 (0.14%)
S&P 500 1,418.09, -1.74 (0.12%)
NYSE Composite 8,399.84, -4.36 (0.05%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,314,243,625
NYSE Volume 2,816,814,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2473-3032
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 74-61
WTI crude oil: 90.87, -0.11
Gold: 1,663.70, +3.00
Silver: 30.24, +0.205

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Washington Gets Back to Work (Kinda); Stocks Slump Despite (Kinda) Positive Data

Tuesday began with a flurry of good news.

First, over in Bizzarro-world(aka Europe), EU ministers were glad-handing and slapping each other's backs for another successful bailout of Greece (really, is this the third, fourth or fifth? Who's counting?), then, at 8:30 am ET, durable goods orders came in better than expected.

At 9:00 am ET, the September Case-Shiller Housing Index showed another in a series of positive gains for housing. Better yet, consumer confidence hit a four-and-a-half-year high, reported at 10:00 am ET.

So, why were the markets in such a sour mood, why did they end lower, and why were they not even lower than where they finished?

Ah, grasshopper, so many questions...

First, that somewhat refreshing zero print on durables was, in fact, pretty ugly, once one ventured to peek under the hood. As Zero Hedge reports, a continued collapse in durable goods new orders virtually guarantees that we're already in a recession, fiscal cliff or not (more on that canard later).

The Case-Shiller data, which showed the average price of a home purchase up by 3.6% nationally, has to be faded a little, only because housing is not stocks, and, even though home-buying is a relevant statistic, it matters little in the broader scheme of things, especially when the banks are keeping massive numbers of homes off the market in what's known as "foreclosure stuffing." Those in the know, really, really do know.

As far as the consumer confidence number, well, anybody who allows themselves to be branded a consumer for purposes of a survey can't be all that bright, after all.

In the case of the nth installment of the Greek bailout, there were scant details, the IMF hasn't signed off on it yet, the "deal" has to be approved by each member (17) country, so, the Euro sold off, anathema to US markets.

And then, about 2:30 pm ET, US lawmakers (that's a joke, son) emerged from talks over the fiscal cliff (that's not a pun, son) and did what everyone thought they'd do, since their track record is so plain and clear on this point: point fingers at the other side for not playing fairly.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid: "...little progress with Republicans..."

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell: "...some difficulty turning off the campaign..."

Is it any surprise to anybody that working out a deal in DC was going to be a difficult, if not impossible, issue? After all, this whole "fiscal cliff" miasma started more than a year ago when the two sides failed to reach conciliatory postures on increasing the debt limit, and that puny increase of roughly $1.2 trillion is about to run out.

So, with no deal even remotely being discussed, the Titans of Wall Street started selling in earnest and continued selling into the close. They will probably still be selling when the opening bell rings on Wednesday and maybe even beyond that, because depending on Washington politicians to reach a concord on any matter of even insignificant importance is like getting cats and frogs to behave well together. It's just not going to happen.

Further, indispensable reading from the Wall Street Journal comes in the form of an editorial by Chris Cox and Bill Archer - respectively, former chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and the Securities and Exchange Commission and former chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee - explaining why the fiscal cliff of $600 billion is merely a puff of smoke compared to the conflagration that is the real unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security, refreshingly written in language even a protesting Wal-Mart worker could comprehend.

The saga continues to unfold tomorrow. Oh, by the way, so many people did their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and online on Cyber Monday this year, and, considering that since Turkey Day was so early this year that there's an extra week in the holiday shopping season, retail sales are going to be very slow for the one, two, three, four next weeks, until the last Saturday before Christmas (the 25th is a Tuesday), so, Happy Holidays! Free houses, Greek bailouts, durable goods and fiscal cliff-diving for everyone... including consumers!

Dow 12,878.13, -89.24 (0.69%)
Nasdaq 2,967.79, -8.99 (0.30%)
S&P 500 1,398.94, -7.35 (0.52%)
10-Yr Bond 1.65% -0.02
NYSE Volume 3,294,930,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,762,521,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2462-3041
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 154-40
WTI crude oil: 87.18, -0.56
Gold: 1,742.30, -7.30
Silver: 33.98, -0.156

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Another Great Session for Equity Day-Traders as January Posts Positive

Yesterday, a gap lower at the open. Today, a gap up.

This is all according to plan, which excludes individual investors to the great benefit to those in the know.

Imagine being an insider. On Monday, you buy shares of your particular stocks of the day at the lows of the day, around 10:00 to 10:30 am ET and all day long, you watch as they gain in value. Then, on Tuesday, you sell at some high point right before the dismal Chicago PMI and Conference Board's Consumer Confidence number (more on thses later). Naturally, you ignored the poor showing from the Case-Shiller 20-city index, because nobody cares about housing, right?

You're a winner, in all aspects except for honesty, integrity and fairness. Worry not, because you or your firm made massive money all through the month of January, as the Dow rose 3%, the S&P gained 4% and the NASDAQ was up 8%.

Smashing! Except that gold and silver trounced your paper-made profits. Gold finished the month of January with a 13.9% gain and silver was up 19% for the month. And there's no chance of the metals going to zero and no counter-party risk. Well, golly.

As for that Chicago PMI, the market was looking for a number of 62.8, after December's 62.2 print. The reality was a poor 60.2, the lowest number since August, 2011, another indication that the holiday season in particular was something of an over-hyped bust and that the recovery continues to be choppy and not well-anchored. Bummer!

According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence was measured at 64.8 in December, but flopped to 61.1 in January. Double bummer!

The aforementioned Case-Shiller data, albeit back-dated, showed that home prices fell 3.7% from November 2010 through November 2011. Prices fell 0.7% (adjusted) or 1.3% (unadjusted) in November from October, as 19 of 20 cities experienced price declines. Phoenix was the only city registering a positive figure.

Not to worry. January's window dressing is complete and there's nothing to worry about heading into February... except for that nagging European debt crisis, Greece, the utter collapse in the Baltic Dry Index, and the looming showdown in washington over whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts another 10 months, as congress, rather than deal with real issues, took the easy route in December and compromised to keep them intact through the end of February (they'll extend, as extending is part of their "extend and pretend" strategy).

No, no, nothing can go wrong. Let's just keep day-trading until...

By the way, volume continues to be dreadful, even though the Fed, through it's ZIRP to infinity policy, has forced fund managers into much more riskier trading scenarios than they normally would endeavor.

You can cite the January Barometer, which posits that "as goes January, so goes the rest of the year." except for last year, that is.

Well, keep trading stocks. They matter. Right?

Dow 12,632.91, -20.81 (0.16%)
NASDAQ 2,813.84, +1.90 (0.07%)
S&P 500 1,312.40, -0.61 (0.05%)
NYSE Composite 7,838.30, +3.89 (0.05%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,602,785,875
NYSE Volume 4,156,928,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3135-2441
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 276-22 (extreme, poised for reversal or breakout)
WTI crude oil: 98.48, -0.30
Gold: 1,737.80, +6.80
Silver: 33.26, -0.27

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American Airlines Goes Belly Up; Housing Slides, but Confidence is Up?

AMR, parent company of American Airlines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday morning in federal bankruptcy court in the Southern district of New York.

While it seems an inappropriate time for an airline to file for bankruptcy, the timing could prove beneficial to the airline, the last of the major carriers to undergo reorganization. The company, while it has over $4 bllion in unrestricted cash, has $9 to $12 billion in debts.

The company announced that flights would not be disrupted and no immediate layoffs were announced. AMR lost $162 million in the third quarter and has posted losses in 14 of the last 16 quarters.

A pre-packaged bankruptcy such as this sure sounds all bright and cheery on the surface, but these things have ripple effects, as some vendors and creditors are surely to get stiffed or be forced to take pennies or dimes on their dollars. American Airlines will survive, but unseen companies will be hurt down the line and many employees will likely lose their jobs. The American recovery lives on, but why didn't the government bail out AMR like they did General Motors? Maybe they've lost interest in business.

The current S&P/Case-Shiller 10-and-20-city indices both fell month-to-month and year-over-year, as housing continues to deteriorate Despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades, potential homeowners are largely shut out of the market by stringent underwriting standards and, more importantly, the lack of jobs needed to finance and support the payments on a home purchase.

Declining by 3.9% in the third quarter, the index showed a bit of relief from the second quarter's 5.8% decline, though there wasn't much hope in the report, which tracked sales through September. Only Detroit and Washington, DC reported gains during the period, of 3.7 and 1 percent, respectively. Home prices have fallen back to 2003 levels nationally.

Wall Street shrugged off the bad housing data and focused instead on the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence which rocketed up to 56 in October, from a revised 40.9 in September. It was the largest monthly gain in confidence since April 2003, though the current reading comes off a two-year low for the gauge.

Meanwhile, over in Euro-land, finance ministers kicked off a two-day summit designed to define a framework for the various entities - countries, the ECB and the ESFS - to deal with the ongoing debt crisis. Some of the ideas being floated around this time involve countries trading a bit of sovereignty for more bailout funding, and leveraging the ESFS roughly 2.5 times, to provide funding for stressed economies, mostly in the Southern part of the continent.

As usual, nothing concrete has - or will - come from these meetings, as European leaders inch closer to a complete currency collapse, which now, along with the breakup of the Euro currency partners, is rated by top economists as a 50/50 chance.

Here in America, the few traders still not completely scared away pushed stocks higher for a second straight day on the Dow and S&P, though the NASDAQ finished in the red. Trading volume was extremely thin. If there is to be a so-called Santa Claus Rally, it's not likely to awaken any sleeping children and will probably be sold off in a session or two, as the choppiness and extreme volatility is not likely to abate before the European crisis either is resolved or blows up completely.

Dow 11,555.63, +32.62 (0.28%)
NASDAQ 2,515.51, -11.83 (0.47%)
S&P 500 1,195.19, -2.64 (0.22%)
NYSE Composite 7,149.71, +29.16 (+0.41%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,621,070,500
NYSE Volume 3,951,292,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2486-3131
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 65-166
WTI crude oil: 99.79, +1.58
Gold: 1,713.40, +2.60
Silver: 31.85, -0.31

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Train Wreck Keeps a-Rollin'

Keeping one eye on the US economy and the other on US equity markets is something like watching two train wrecks in slow motion, wondering which will fall completely off the rails first. On any given day, stocks seem like the sure-fire winner, destined to send a signal to the broader economy. And when that occurs, ka-boom! Everything goes at once.

Today's stock action was actually quite silly and pointless. Down at the open, with a quick-strike rally up to the release of the Chicago PMI (down sharply from 62.3 in July 56.7 in August) and the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board (up to 53.5 in August after a reading of 51.0 in July). Both bits of data were buoyed by the pre-market announcement of the Case-Shiller 20-city Index, which showed a quite remarkable improvement of 4.23% in June.

Release of the August FOMC minutes at 2:00 pm apparently rattled the market, sending all indices lower after maintaining gains through most of the session. Odd, because most of what was contained in the minutes has already been hashed out and priced into stocks. Nothing in the report shed any new light on Fed policy or the health of the economy (which everyone, even the Fed, knows is bad).

What's really interesting about the movement of the stock market is that it spent the first half hour and the final 1 1/2 hours of trading in negative territory. Ongoing is a rather stout defense of three positions: 10,000 on the Dow, 2100 on the NASDAQ, and the furtive 1040 on the S&P 500, but today's action, and, the overall market dynamics of the past three weeks, having a dearth of upside momentum indicate that those levels will likely not hold, are mere temporary hope points for the ignorant, almost sure to be taken out by Wednesday morning's ADP private employment report for August and further downside when August non-farm payroll data is released on Friday.

Some unsightly buying in the final few minutes of trading brought the Dow and S&P back from the dead, but was not enough to move the NASDAQ above the unchanged mark. Imagine your entire net worth and future pension all riding on the market-closing whims of Wall Street robber barons who are interested only in perception of the market rather than reality. That's precisely the position most American workers find themselves in today, never questioning the soundness of their investments or the trustworthiness of the marketplace.

It shouldn't surprise anyone, as American workers subjected themselves to slavery long ago, by acceptance of the income and payroll tax system. A man or woman is paid wages for his or her work. Taxing that output is nothing more than state-sponsored slavery, unconstitutional and immoral, but accepted nationwide. The tax burden on Americans is the single most detrimental factor to prosperity. Add up "contributions" in the forms of Social Security, Medicare, payroll tax, state income tax, sales tax, hidden excise tax (gas, cigarettes, etc.) and real property tax and the burden is over 50% of earned income for many Americans.

The US stock market, like the government, is neither fair nor impartial. Those who toil for taxable wages and invest in unfathomable securities are bound to meet their rightful destiny at some point. For some, the stock market collapse of 2008 was enough, and they have exited the system. For every one of those, however, are 100 to 500 more who toil in utter ignorance and fear. Despite countless examples to the contrary, they still believe that state and federal governments and Wall Street can be trusted for their well-being and general welfare. And on welfare is where many of them will eventually retire.

The month of August turned out to be a bummer for holders of paper wealth in equities. The S&P led the way with a 6.80% decline, followed by the NASDAQ, with a 6.24% drop, and finally, the Dow, which shed a mere 4.32%. Ah, that $100,000 earmarked for retirement shrank to around $95,000, depending on your investment preferences. Lovely.

Dow 10,014.72, +4.99 (0.05%)
NASDAQ 2,114.03, -5.94 (0.28%)
S&P 500 1,049.33, +0.41 (0.04%)
NYSE Composite 6,704.15, +8.87 (0.13%)

Advancing issues held sway over decliners by a narrow margin, 3337-3027. New highs edged new lows, 256-254. Volume was a little better than the normal moribund average of the past four weeks.

NASDAQ Volume 1,839,803,500
NYSE Volume 5,044,525,000

Commodities told a much different story than the "no change" stance taken by stocks. Crude oil for October delivery fell by nearly 4%, losing $2.78, to close at $71.92. Precious metals, on the other hand, were priced substantially higher, as faith in fiat-based money continued to erode. Gold gained $11.20, to $1,248.30, and silver, which has been a star of late, gained 36 cents, to $19.40.

The world is not coming to an abrupt end, though American society is undergoing a radical transformation, from a spendthrift, credit-driven society to one concerned more with bare essentials. We have more today than ever before, but most of it is either mortgaged, financed or overvalued and those who fail to amend their profligate ways shall be burdened with unpayable debts and a life of squalor.

Our national condition may take years to unwind, but there's no doubt that more pain awaits us all. If avoidance of unpleasantness is the key to happiness, Americans have been forewarned. Partisan rhetoric notwithstanding, we face more uncertainty and calamity right now than at any time in the past 60 years.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Little Dose of Reality

As opposed to yesterday's PPT-inspired afternoon rally, the US equity markets today reflected something closer to the reality of the functional economy. Once again, the NASDAQ took the brunt of the blows, but the blue chips of the Dow weren't far behind on a percentage basis.

Dow 12,397.29 -71.78; NASDAQ 2,437.43 -18.20; S&P 500 1,429.61 -7.89; NYSE Composite 9,288.79 -52.57

Declining issues overwhelmed advancers by a more than 2-1 margin and the new highs were kept to a 4-session low of 221, while only 78 issues hit new lows. The markets are still mired in a trench between recent high and low marks, awaiting some kind of economic or political news to break out one way or another.

While only the bulliest of the bulls believe that another new top can be put on this market, the bears still seem to be in semi-hibernation. Neither the China chain-reaction nor the sub-prime blow-out seemed to be enough to ignite increased downside pressure. Volume has been particularly tame on days the indices have risen, so there's at least some indication that the perma-bull mentality has been partially put to rest in some quarters.

In an interesting note on market forces, the consumer confidence reading today from the Conference Board (107.2, down a full 4 points from February's 111.2) seemed to be the main driver. That a soft indicator that market movers should be out in front of makes one wonder who's really in charge on Wall Street and whether the traders actually know what they're doing.

Don't answer that until after earnings season is well underway (April 20th should do) and the market has moved past either February's highs or March's lows.

Maybe the real answer lies not so far from the self-service pump at any of the thousands of gas stations in the US, or in the millions of utility bill envelopes on the tail end of a brutally cold winter. No wonder consumers are feeling a little less warm about their economic futures, as property taxes, auto fuel and home utilities continue to eat away at disposable income.

At least oil prices spent the day dithering about the future, gaining only 2 cents to end at $62.93, still a solid $5 higher than where it should be. Perhaps tomorrow's crude inventory reading will dispel any notions of gouging the US population into $3.00 a gallon gas any time soon. Consumers have had just about enough of high energy prices and markets and market makers may be about to wake up to that factoid.

Gold and silver barely budged. They're in a precarious position, much like stocks, with nowhere to go but lower.