Showing posts with label crash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crash. Show all posts

Sunday, December 23, 2018

WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Wrecked, Bull Market Finished; Bears' Claws Are Out

If the week prior to last was characterized as one in which "the wheels fell off" (Money Daily, 12/16/18), the most recent week was nothing short of a full-blown train wreck.

Everything was on sale, but especially stocks, as the Fed raised rates, the US federal government ground to a halt over a $5 billion border wall, and investors were spooked by collapsing long-term interest rates and the specter of a recession in coming months.

More than anything else, however, stocks were on sale mostly because they were being perceived as overpriced, and by most accounts they were and still are. According to Robert Shiller's CAPE index, the week ended with the Shiller PE ratio for the S&P 500 at 26.75, down from the peak of 30 two weeks ago, but still well above the mean (16.59) and the median (15.69) levels.

Shiller PE ratio is based on average inflation-adjusted earnings from the previous 10 years, known as the Cyclically Adjusted PE Ratio (CAPE Ratio), Shiller PE Ratio, or PE 10

This is how bubbles are pricked, and, as Doug Noland candidly attests, "There is never a good time to pierce a Bubble." More from Noland:

"Expiration for the aged “Fed put” was long past due. For too long it has been integral to precarious Bubble Dynamics. It has promoted speculation and speculative leverage. It is indispensable to a derivatives complex that too often distorts, exacerbates and redirects risk. The “Fed put” has been integral to momentous market misperceptions, distortions and structural maladjustment. It has been fundamental to the precarious “moneyness of risk assets,” the momentous misconception key to Trillions flowing freely into ETFs and other passive “investment” products and strategies. It was central to a prolonged financial Bubble that over time imparted major structural impairment upon the U.S. Bubble Economy."

Noland's entire Credit Bubble Bulletin commentary can be seen here.

If Noland's perception is accurate (and there's little reason to doubt it), this week's cascading declines are merely the end of the first act in what is likely a three-act drama to be played out over the next 12-18 months. Surely, the tremors from February and March were early warnings that the persistent bull market was coming to a conclusion.

October's declines were blamed by some analysts - incorrectly - on the lack of stock buybacks during the "quiet period," and were nothing about which to be worried. Obviously, that analysis was short-sigthed and based upon the bubble hypocrisy that has guided markets since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09.

December's nosedive was pretty predictable. Stocks hadn't shown any inclination toward the upside for months and there wasn't a good catalyst for investors, nothing even remotely resemblant of a buying opportunity. Of course, some too the "buy the dip" bait a few times this year and have been destroyed. That concept is a dead doornail for the time being. Selling into any strength is likely to be the prevailing rear-guard action.

Once 2018 comes to an end - in just five more trading days - there will be some regrouping, repositioning, but until there's resolution of some basic issues (the Wall, Brexit, China, tariffs), there isn't going to be any kind of rally. Gains will be hard-fought, and sellers will be eager on short-term wins. The second phase of the selloff will last well past January, into the summer and possibly the fall before the endgame commences, with sellers capitulating en masse. By this time next year it may be nearing a bottom some 40-60 percent below the all-time highs. Investor confidence will have been at first shaken, then eroded, and finally, shattered. Wall Street will have a crisis of its own making, and the economy will be embarking into recession.

Markets have come full circle. Central banks have decided that the experiments of QE, ZIRP, and NIRP which propelled stocks to dizzying heights, are over, their purpose achieved, and now comes the hard work of withdrawing some level of liquidity from markets in an attempt to normalize markets.

The problems lie in execution. It's not going to be easy to take corporations off the baby bottle of leveraged stock buybacks which blew up expectations and prices but caused serious long-term harm to capital structures. This current crisis may turn out to be worse than the sub-price fiasco or the dotcom malaise simply because it involves so many companies that have gutted their balance sheets and will have no other recourse than to slash production, wages, jobs, capital expenditures or all of the above.

This week was a full stop.

There aren't going to be any more bailouts, white knights, back-room deals or "Fed Put." The coming regime is going to be one of hard and cold capitalism, where the strong get stronger and the weak are slaughtered. Wall Street brokerages are sure to be among the most celebrated casualties when everybody realizes these heroes of the past ten years aren't all that bright and that there aren't that many good stock pickers in down markets. The financial industry, already under siege, is about to be breached and downsized to more human and humane proportions.

There's only so much one can say about stock routs. The numbers are there for perusal and they are horrifying enough all by themselves. Hashing over the events of the week, as stocks slid, then rallied and slid more, and finally crashed on a Friday afternoon would be little more than overkill.

It was a very, very bad week, the worst since 2008, and some say, since the Great Depression. It may not have been the worst we will witness however, as this is only the beginning of the bear market.

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

At the Close, Friday, December 21, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 22,445.37, -414.23 (-1.81%)
NASDAQ: 6,332.99, -195.42 (-2.99%)
S&P 500: 2,416.62, -50.80 (-2.06%)
NYSE Composite: 11,036.84, -185.96 (-1.66%)

For the Week:
Dow: -1655.14 (-6.87%)
NASDAQ: -577.67 (-8.36%)
S&P 500: -183.33 (-7.05%)
NYSE Composite: -718.54 (-6.11%)

Everything was not gloom and doom, however. Here's Darlene Love, in one of her many appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, performing "Chirstmas (Baby Please Come Home)." This is one of her best.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

WEEKEND WRAP: Black Friday or Blue Friday? Oil Down 34%, S&P, NASDAQ, NYSE In Correction

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

While the exact origin of the above phrase is clouded, it certainly applies to the current stock trading regimen that has sent world markets spinning downward and US stocks to levels comparable to nearly a year ago.

The sad situation for stocks continued even into the holiday season, when the traditionally upbeat and optimistic Black Friday half-day session turned into a savage selloff that lasted right through to the 1:00 pm ET close.

Following a brief respite on Wednesday that saw the Dow end down less than one point, and the Thanksgiving Day holiday, investors took their cues from overseas markets, which were sold off on Thursday, extending the dour moods in Europe and the Pacific Rim. Friday's trading in foreign markets was mixed, though the outlier was Brazil, where the Bovespa lost 1,247.21 points (-1.43%), confirming the theme of a global, rolling, slow-motion crash in equity values.

According to respected sources (ZeroHedge and ETF Daily News), the Dow suffered its worst Black Friday loss since 2010 and the S&P saw its worst performance for the day after Thanksgiving since the mid-1930s.

While the Dow has not yet caught down to its deepest depths of 2018, it is approaching the 2018 bottom from March 23 (23,533.20), promoting the idea that the worst of this round o selling is not quite over.

Friday's session concluded another in a series of poor performances for stocks, nearly equalling the declines seen in the week of October 8-12, sending all of the major indices below their respective 50, 200, and 40-week moving averages.

While shoppers in the US were out buying electronics, toys, appliances, clothes, and assorted trinkets, Wall Street traders were selling off assets, not an encouraging start to the holiday season. All of the major averages ended the week below where they started 2018. Without a significant Santa Claus rally, 2018 looks to be one of the worst for traders since 2008, when the S&P 500 lost 38.49%. Since then, only twice - in 2011 and 2015 - has the S&P closed lower than the close from the previous year. Currently, the S&P is down less than two percent on the year.

Friday's losses sent there S&P 500 into correction territory, ending down 10.17% from the September 20 all-time high (2930.75). The NASDAQ sank further into correction, and is approaching an outright bear market. The NASDAQ is down 14,44% from its August 29 high (8109.69).

On October 3rd, the Dow Industrials closed at an all-time high of 26,828.39. On Friday, it closed down 9.48% from that level.

The NYSE Composite, which peaked on January 25 at 13,637.02, is down 11.74%, and the Dow Jones Transportation Index is down 10.39 since closing at 11,570.84 on September 14.

Finally, the big loser for the week - which will eventually be a boon to consumers - was oil, which was once again crushed, as WTI crude lost more than seven percent, to $50.42/barrel. On October 3rd, coincidentally the game day the Dow peaked, WTI crude sold for $76.41 per barrel. That's a decline of 34.02% in just over seven weeks. Now, that's a crash.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42
11/13/18 25,286.49 -100.69 +170.27
11/14/18 25,080.50 -205.99 -35.72
11/15/18 25,289.27 +208.77 +173.05
11/16/18 25,413.22 +123.95 +297.00
11/19/18 25,017.44 -395.78 -98.78
11/20/18 24,465.64 -551.80 -650.58
11/21/18 24,464.69 -0.95 -651.53
11/23/18 24,285.95 -178.74 -830.27

At the Close, Friday, November 23, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,285.95, -178.74 (-0.73%)
NASDAQ: 6,938.98, -33.27 (-0.48%)
S&P 500: 2,632.56, -17.37 (-0.66%)
NYSE Composite: 12,036.24, -87.10 (-0.72%)

For the Week:
Dow: -1,127.27 (-4.44%)
NASDAQ: -308.89 (-4.26%)
S&P 500: -103.71 (-3.79%)
NYSE Composite: -364.04 (-2.94%)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Crash Much? All 2018 Gains Wiped Out In Global Stock Rout

Where to begin?

Today's stock market rout was worldwide, starting in Japan, as the NIKKEI fell 238 points, the Hong Kong's Hang Sent slid 531 points and China's SSE Composite Index closed at 2,645.85, down 57.66 points, or -2.13%.

Europe was next up on the hit list, as the Germany's DAX was off 178.13 points (-1.58%), closing in on a 20% decline for the year. Other European stock indices were down between one and one-and-a-half percent.

As markets opened in the Western Hemisphere, the selling accelerated, sending the Dow down more than 400 points at the open and other North and South American indices falling sharply. By the end of the day, it was absolute carnage, a veritable sea of red. Every equity index on Yahoo's Major World Indices page was lower, save Malaysia's KLCI, which managed a 4-point, 0.25% gain.

Seriously, though, today's crash began in the fall of 2008, when stocks were wiped out in the face of the Lehman Brothers collapse and the sub-prime housing crisis, and also had roots from April 9, 2009, when stocks finally bottomed out as the FASB loosened accounting rules, issuing an official update to rule 157, allowing companies to deviate from standard mark-to-market principles in valuing assets.

The Fed and its central bank cohorts had their dirty little fingers in the dikes as well, conjuring up trillions of dollars in liquidity, effectively bailing out financial institutions that were, essentially, bankrupt. That's what brought us here today, ten years and trillions of dollars later. The everything bubble has finally popped.

This is a rolling crash, not a hard one, like on Black Tuesday in 1929. There have been - in just the past eight trading days - losses on the Dow of 201, 602, 100, 206, 395 points and today's 552. There were gains of 201 and 124 points on Thursday and Friday of last week, but the cumulative effect comes to a loss of 1731 points since November 8, roughly a seven percent dribble.

Tuesday's losses sent the S&P 500 hurtling toward correction territory. From the close of 2,930.75 on September 20 to today's finish at 2,641.89 is a 9.86% loss. For those in the rounding up-or-down crowd, that's 10 percent, or, close enough for horseshoes or hand grenades.

For those keeping score, the Dow is down 8.81% from it's closing high on October 3 (26,828.39). The NASDAQ, which has been in and out and back into correction since October 24, is still up on the year... a whopping five points and change. The index is down 14.82% since August 29. Albeit marginally, the Dow Industrials, S&P, NYSE Composite and the Dow Transports are all lower for the year.

The NYSE Composite which peaked at 13,637.02 on January 26 and never regained that height, is down 11.61%, reaching down to correction levels today, though, like the NASDAQ, it had breached the 10% down level on October 24 and since recovered.

Lastly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished today with a loss of 321.52 (-3.05%), at 10,212.94. That's an 11.74% drop from the all-time high close of 11,570.84, September 14.

In the commodity space, oil was crushed again today, as WTI crude futures ended at 53.22, down $3.98 per barrel (-6.94%). According to, that's the lowest price since mid-October of 2017.

Where do stocks go from here? That question almost answers itself.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42
11/13/18 25,286.49 -100.69 +170.27
11/14/18 25,080.50 -205.99 -35.72
11/15/18 25,289.27 +208.77 +173.05
11/16/18 25,413.22 +123.95 +297.00
11/19/18 25,017.44 -395.78 -98.78
11/20/18 24,465.64 -551.80 -650.58

At the Close, Tuesday, November 20, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,465.64, -551.80 (-2.21%)
NASDAQ: 6,908.82, -119.65 (-1.70%)
S&P 500: 2,641.89, -48.84 (-1.82%)
NYSE Composite: 12,054.17, -226.74 (-1.85%)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Massive Market Crash Sends Dow Into Correction Before Last-Minute Save

Monday's rapid rise at the opening bell turned to a massive selloff as the session progressed, prompted by a self-fulfilling note from Morgan Stanley chief strategist, Michael Wilson, that emerged around 1:00 pm ET, calling the current market turmoil more secular in nature rather than the "cyclical" call that most Wall Street analysts have been making.

The Dow and other major averages were sent off like fireworks at the open, but stalled in early trading, beginning their descent just after 10:00 am ET. The Dow topped off at 25,040.58 and continued lower, finally bottoming out at 24,122.23, an intra-day loss of more than 900 points, top to bottom. With just 15 minutes left in the trading session, short-covering took the Dow up more than 300 points, eviscerating more than half of the day's losses.

As for percentages, the Dow today actually was sent down just over 10% on both a closing and intra-day basis form the October 3rd all-time high. Intra-day, the Dow topped out at 26,951.81 before closing at 26,828.39. That puts the 10% correction mark at 24,256.63, intra-day, and 24,145.55 on a closing basis, both of which were exceeded today, though the closing number avoided a clear-cut entry into correction.

As for the benchmark S&P 500, today's close was 9.8% lower than the September 20 closing high of 2930.75. For those who like round numbers, that would qualify as being close enough, especially since the S&P bottomed out at 2,603.54, well below the number necessary to call it a correction. That index was down more than 55 points prior to the late-day rescue, finishing with a modest 17-point decline.

The NASDAQ and Dow Jones Transportation Index, both already well into correction territory, suffered even more losses on the day.

In agreement with Morgan Stanley's Wilson, there's growing evidence that what stocks are undergoing is anything but cyclical in nature, despite Friday's advance reading of third quarter GDP coming in at a rosy 3.5%. It's worth noting that the most recent quarter's growth was less than the second quarter's 4.2%, and that the first estimate is often revised lower in subsequent months, as data becomes more well-defined. Additionally, the third quarter figures were goosed higher primarily by consumer spending rather than business capital expenditures (CapEx), which were moribund.

For those of bullish sentiment, one has to consider just where markets are supposed to go when unemployment is at historic lows and the stock market is at historic highs, more than nine years into the longest bull market expansion in stock market history.

Proponents of Dow Theory (and the Elliott Wave) need only to look at a one or three-month chart to surmise that the Dow and the Transports have signaled a primary trend change - bullish to bearish. The Dow fell sharply from October 3rd to the 11th, rallied meekly through the 16th and puked it all up (or down, as the case may be) to current levels. The transports had already completed the four-step top-bottom-recovery-lower bottom prior to today's disaster, although it's all-time high was back on August 29.

The not-so-wild cards in the current scenario are the Fed's relentless assault on the federal funds rate, furiously raising a quarter point per quarter, inflation fueling via Trump's trade tariffs, and the stubbornness of wages to do anything but stagnate. It's a potpourri of potential pitfalls that are hard to ignore.

Like housing prices prior to the sub-prime crash, stock valuations do not always go up. This time is not different, and, judging by the frantic closing activity today, tomorrow could be a fully-loaded house of pain.

Unless the Dow rallies over the next two days, Octobers cumulative loss is looking to exceed the February and March losses combined.

And so it goes. Markets are cyclical and sometimes, secular. The latest days of trading feel like sometime has arrived.

Incidentally, today is the anniversary of Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929. Could that wicked buying in the final fifteen minutes have been an attempt to prevent history repeating?

Dow Jones Industrial Average October Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
10/1/18 26,651.21 +192.90 +192.90
10/2/18 26,773.94 +122.73 +315.63
10/3/18 26,828.39 +54.45 +370.08
10/4/18 26,627.48 -200.91 +169.17
10/5/18 26,447.05 -180.43 -11.26
10/8/18 26,486.78 +39.73 +28.47
10/9/18 26,430.57 -56.21 -27.74
10/10/18 25,598.74 -831.83 -859.57
10/11/18 25,052.83 -545.91 -1,405.48
10/12/18 25,339.99 +287.16 -1,118.32
10/15/18 25,250.55 -89.44 -1,207.76
10/16/18 25,798.42 +547.87 -659.89
10/17/18 25,706.68 -91.74 -751.63
10/18/18 25,379.45 -327.23 -1,078.86
10/19/18 25,444.34 +64.89 -1,013.97
10/22/18 25,317.41 -126.93 -1,140.90
10/23/18 25,191.43 -125.98 -1,265.88
10/24/18 24,583.42 -608.01 -1,873.89
10/25/18 24,984.55 +401.13 -1,472.76
10/26/18 24,688.31 -296.24 -1,769.00
10/29/18 24,442.92 -245.39 -2,014.39

At the Close, Monday, October 29, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,442.92, -245.39 (-0.99%)
NASDAQ: 7,050.29, -116.92 (-1.63%)
S&P 500: 2,641.25, -17.44 (-0.66%)
NYSE Composite: 11,942.15, -34.79 (-0.29%)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ka-Boom, Stocks Crash, Key Support Levels Shattered; NASDAQ Enters Correction

Stocks turned in an ugly performance on Wednesday, unfortunately, it wasn't even as bad as the declines of just two weeks ago, on October 10. Apparently, traders don't like buying stocks on Wednesdays. Either that, or they like selling them on Wednesdays.

In any case the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 2,250 points in the last three weeks, the NASDAQ posted it's third-worst single day point drop in history and the S&P 500 has closed lower 13 of the last 15 sessions and the last six straight.

For the NASDAQ, the 329-point loss today eclipsed the 315 points shed on October 10. Four of the six, and five of the ten biggest single day point losses on the NASDAQ have occurred this year.

All of this is happening in the face of solid economic data, record low unemployment and moderate inflation. It's also happening in the middle of third quarter earnings reporting season, a time that many analysts had predicted would be challenging, which, at this point, seems an understatement.

The carnage today on Wall Street was unconfined and accelerated into the close, as opposed to yesterday's miracle rally off fresh lows. Well, today's bottoms were deeper and more pronounced than the levels breached on Tuesday, and they are signaling that this is only the beginning of a deeper dive, as the major indices are reaching or already have exceeded a correction of 10 percent.

At today's closing bell, the S&P 500 is down 9.2% from its October 3 all-time high. The NASDAQ is now down 12.4% from the August 29 all-time high of 8109.69. The Dow, which peaked on October 3rd at 26,828.39 is down 8.4%. The NYSE Composite is down 9.6%.

The Dow Jones Transportation Index, which was already off more than 10 percent, lost another 330 points today and is down 14.4% from its all-time high of 11,570.84 from September 14.

All of the majors have breached their 200-day moving averages, indicating that these losses are not technical, but more of a fundamental nature. Earnings reports thus far have been moderate, though there have been some notable misses, and more than a handful of companies have warned that the next few quarters may not meet expectations. That is exactly the kind of talk that scares bulls into hiding and encourages the bears, who have now taken control of market dynamics.

This is how record-long bull markets end, at the culmination of monstrous credit creation, with loud thuds and days and days of interminable, deep losses.

Dow Jones Industrial Average October Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
10/1/18 26,651.21 +192.90 +192.90
10/2/18 26,773.94 +122.73 +315.63
10/3/18 26,828.39 +54.45 +370.08
10/4/18 26,627.48 -200.91 +169.17
10/5/18 26,447.05 -180.43 -11.26
10/8/18 26,486.78 +39.73 +28.47
10/9/18 26,430.57 -56.21 -27.74
10/10/18 25,598.74 -831.83 -859.57
10/11/18 25,052.83 -545.91 -1,405.48
10/12/18 25,339.99 +287.16 -1,118.32
10/15/18 25,250.55 -89.44 -1,207.76
10/16/18 25,798.42 +547.87 -659.89
10/17/18 25,706.68 -91.74 -751.63
10/18/18 25,379.45 -327.23 -1,078.86
10/19/18 25,444.34 +64.89 -1,013.97
10/22/18 25,317.41 -126.93 -1,140.90
10/23/18 25,191.43 -125.98 -1,265.88
10/24/18 24,583.42 -608.01 -1,873.89

At the Close, Wednesday, October 24, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,583.42, -608.01 (-2.41%)
NASDAQ: 7,108.40, -329.14 (-4.43%)
S&P 500: 2,656.10, -84.59 (-3.09%)
NYSE Composite: 11,971.91, -315.53 (-2.57%)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stocks Creamed At Opening, Rally For Minor Losses

As mentioned in the most recent post, stocks tested a variety of support levels on Tuesday and actually crashed right through them early in the session.

But, about 10:30 am ET, a rally began, first in fits and starts, but by noon, it was well underway, lifting stocks well off their lows and continuing until... until... well, no, the major indices didn't turn positive, not even for a fleeting instant. By 3:00 pm all of the "greater fools" had been had, the dip buyers had bought all the dips they could and stocks drifted slightly lower into the close.

What started with the Dow down nearly 550 points, the NASDAQ off by more than 200, the S&P losing more than 60 points and the NYSE Composite down 264, ended with merely pedestrian losses and investors wiping the sweat from their furrowed brows. Once again, as has happened so many times during the Fed-led bull market of the 2010s, stocks averted catastrophe and sailed through the day thanks to so-called bargain hunters, that rare breed of speculators who believe buying a stock that's three to five percent off its highs is some kind of grand deal.

This is more than likely the coordinated work of central banks, who are not ever audited, who can created limitless amounts of funny money with the push of a button, and who have done so regularly in order to keep alive the dreams of prosperity and financial security for millions, by inventing - and then investing - trillions.

Behind the scene presented to the unsuspecting, unprofessional investing class - those people with retirements and life savings locked into 401k and other accounts - there was real damage. One index that did not recover very well at all was the Dow Jones Transportation Index, which slipped 199 points, to 10,237.02, a loss of 1.90%, sending it well below the key level of 10,397.23, its most recent low, from October 11, while also descending into correction territory for a second time this month, below 10,413.

With the transports falling like a bowling ball off a cliff, the importance of transportation to the rest of the economy has to be put into question. If nothing's moving, or, at least moving with less alacrity and determination, how strong is the whole economy? With their relevance to the Industrials via Dow Theory and in real life practice, the transports are the answer in search of a question, the question being how long can the slip-slide-recover charade continue before the bottom falls completely out?

The other fly in the financial ointment is, and has been, oil. WTI crude lost ground again today, sliding more than four percent into the low-$66 range, well off the $76/barrel high recently achieved. Not to offer a punnish perception, but oil greases the skids of industry and transportation. Lower pricing for the world's most vital commodity can mean one of three things: 1) lack of demand, 2) oversupply, 3) global recession. Of course, a combination of all three might be the correct analysis, though the implications of such a paroxysm might trigger a more virile reaction amongst the monied class.

Considering the ramifications of the major indices falling straight through support levels and then rebounding to more respectable levels, plus the demise of oil and the transports, one can easily conclude that the October volatility that has been apparent since the start of the month is nowhere near abatement. Even the mediocre losses today add to somebody's misery, though the pain felt is being doled out in small units, much like Chinese water torture, rather than having investors suffer the quick blade of the guillotine in a sudden crash (that may be saved for closer to the mid-term elections).

Stating the very, very obvious, this is far from over.

Dow Jones Industrial Average October Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
10/1/18 26,651.21 +192.90 +192.90
10/2/18 26,773.94 +122.73 +315.63
10/3/18 26,828.39 +54.45 +370.08
10/4/18 26,627.48 -200.91 +169.17
10/5/18 26,447.05 -180.43 -11.26
10/8/18 26,486.78 +39.73 +28.47
10/9/18 26,430.57 -56.21 -27.74
10/10/18 25,598.74 -831.83 -859.57
10/11/18 25,052.83 -545.91 -1,405.48
10/12/18 25,339.99 +287.16 -1,118.32
10/15/18 25,250.55 -89.44 -1,207.76
10/16/18 25,798.42 +547.87 -659.89
10/17/18 25,706.68 -91.74 -751.63
10/18/18 25,379.45 -327.23 -1,078.86
10/19/18 25,444.34 +64.89 -1,013.97
10/22/18 25,317.41 -126.93 -1,140.90
10/23/18 25,191.43 -125.98 -1,265.88

At the Close, Tuesday, October 23, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,191.43, -125.98 (-0.50%)
NASDAQ: 7,437.54, -31.09 (-0.42%)
S&P 500: 2,740.69, -15.19 (-0.55%)
NYSE Composite: 12,287.44, -87.33 (-0.71%)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Stocks Crash Post-Fed Rate Hikes, But The Media Will Still Falsely Blame President Trump

Here are just a few of the headline items for the week that ended with two disastrous days after the FOMC policy rate decision to raise the federal funds rate to 1.50-1.75%, the sixth rate hike in the last 27 months and probably the one largest policy mistake in the history of the Federal Reserve System, an unconstitutional private banking system that has wreaked havoc on not only the economy of the United States of America, but of the entire planet.

Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 426 points, closing out the week at it's lowest level since November 22, 2017. The Dow is off nearly 1500 points for the month of March, a worse decline than that of February. In just the past week, the Dow has shed some 1410 points, a 5.67% drop.

The S&P 500 fell 5.9% on the week, the biggest drop in more than two years.

The NASDAQ 100 plunged 7.3% in the week, the most since August 2015. All of the major averages are negative for the year, except for the NASDAQ.

Scapegoating the tariffs put forward by President Trump has been the sport of the week on the likes of CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC. Surely, the Sunday talk shows will be hooting and hollering over what bad judgement the president has shown, when, in fact, it is the Federal Reserve's radical policies over the past ten years that have caused major distortions on Wall Street, a false sense of security in stocks as sound investments, impoverishment of many retirees who were denied any meaningful interest income on their savings due to the Fed's zero interest rate policy that prevailed from 2008 though 2015.

Meanwhile, the Fed, in a position to cause much further damage to the economy by raising rates while the nation is heavily indebted, has done just so, and has not backed off from its planned position to unwind its bloated balance sheet, and actually increase its sales of securities in the second half of 2008.

While the tariffs President Trump has put forward are certain to cause some disruption in some segments of the economy, they are not, on their own merit, the ultimate cause for a stock market collapse, such as is occurring presently.

There can be no other culprit than the Federal Reserve for the recent stock market volatility and massive outflows from stocks. Their policies have been the guiding force before, during and after the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-09, so there should be no doubting that their policies are still guiding investment decisions.

The entire global economic structure is currently under assault by coordinated central bank intervention, ongoing massive stock and bond buying and selling beyond their charters, and the continuing issuance of debt as fiat money on a global basis.

From the US federal government to individual citizens, the signs of financial stress are at breaking points. The federal government, already "officially" $21 trillion in debt, on Friday passed an omnibus spending bill of $1.3 trillion, causing further debt issuance and higher debt servicing costs thanks to the Fed's rate increases.

Corporations, which have binged on stock buybacks since 2009 and most recently increased their level of indebtedness and slothful management with the recent repatriation of an estimated $2 trillion based on the tax reform enacted by congress and singed into law by the president recently.

Individuals are more indebted than ever before, with credit card and student debt at all-time highs, variable rate mortgages increasingly difficult to service while incomes have barely budged for the past 20 years.

Additionally, the tax burden on some of the wealthiest Americans, with incomes over $100,000 per year, is upwards of 50%, enslaving these people to endless payments for governments (local, state, and federal) that have displayed absolutely no fiscal restraint.

Continued declines in the stock market are going to impact pension funds throughout the world, both pubic and private. Most public pension funds are massively underfunded, and heavily invested in stocks. A severe downturn - which has just begun - will bankrupt these entities, causing them to renew on promises made to workers.

A heavily-concentrated media will assure the public that the stock market collapse is entirely the fault of one man, President Donald J. Trump, while the true criminals of extortion and debt slavery are the central banks and their private, unconstitutional banking system, which has been favored and kept afloat by a supine congress.

Dow Jones Industrial Average March Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
3/1/18 24,608.98 -420.22 -420.22
3/2/18 24,538.06 -70.92 -491.14
3/5/18 24,874.76 +336.70 -154.44
3/6/18 24,884.12 +9.36 -145.08
3/7/18 24,801.36 -82.76 -227.84
3/8/18 24,895.21 +93.85 -133.99
3/9/18 25,335.74 +440.53 +306.54
3/12/18 25,178.61 -157.13 +149.41
3/13/18 25,007.03, -171.58 -22.17
3/14/18 24,758.12 -248.91 -271.08
3/15/18 24,873.66 +115.54 -155.54
3/16/18 24,946.51 +72.85 -82.69
3/19/18 24,610.91 -335.60 -418.29
3/20/18 24,727.27 +116.36 -301.93
3/21/18 24,682.31 -44.96 -346.89
3/22/18 23,957.89 -724.42 -1071.31
3/22/18 23,533.20 -424.69 -1496.00

At the Close, Friday, March 23, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,533.20, -424.69 (-1.77%)
NASDAQ: 6,992.67, -174.01 (-2.43%)
S&P 500: 2,588.26, -55.43 (-2.10%)
NYSE Composite: 12,177.70, -199.69 (-1.61%)

For the Week:
Dow: -1413.31 (-5.67%)
NASDAQ: -489.32 (-6.54%)
S&P 500: -163.75 (-5.95%)
NYSE Composite: -606.68 (-4.75%)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dude, Where's My Retirement Pension?

Stocks took another punch to the gut on Thursday, extending the February losses on all global indices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average officially (-10%) entered correction phase.

The NASDAQ is within a hair of a 10% drop, from 7,505.77 to 6,777.16. 6755.19 is the magic number in this case.

On the S&P 500, the January 26 top of 2,872.87 is far away from the close into correction territory (at 2585.87), achieved in today's session with a triple-digit loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average Scoreboard looks like this:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
2/1/18 26,186.71 +37.32 +37.32
2/2/18 25,520.96 -665.75 -628.43
2/5/18 24,345.75 -1,175.21 -1,803.64
2/6/18 24,912.77 +567.02 -1,236.62
2/7/18 24,893.35 -19.42 -1,256.04
2/8/18 23,860.46 -1,032.89 -2,288.93

That's in just six trading sessions, people. All the major averages are down for the year, but, hey, it's only February. Plenty of time to boost those profits.

This is only the beginning of a collapse that may be unprecedented. Considering the adherence to antiquated Keynesian economic theories spoon-fed to the masses, the unwinding will be a farce, fed by propagandists, though it's effects will be somewhat permanent on the financial status of almost everybody.

Precious metals were among the few gainers on the day.

At the Close, Thursday, February 8, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,860.46, -1,032.89 (-4.15%)
NASDAQ: 6,777.16, -274.82 (-3.90%)
S&P 500: 2,581.00, -100.66 (-3.75%)
NYSE Composite: 12,270.65, -416.53 (-3.28%)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dow Sheds Record 1,175 Points, Global Markets in Panic Mode

Anybody already not convinced that stocks have been relentlessly pumped by buybacks and central bank interventions over the past nine years may have had a rude awakening over the past few days and especially on Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a record 1,175 points in the week-opening session.

While the percentage loss was nowhere near record-setting, it still managed to crack the top 20 of all-time percentage losses for a single trading day. Combined with Friday's collapse, the Dow is down over seven percent in just the past two sessions, wiping out all the gains from an over-exuberant January.

What happened?

Interest rates exploded. That was the first salvo from massively intertwined markets. The ten-year note, which has been comfortably below 2.5% for most of the last nine years of "recovery" following the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) from 2008-09, smashed through 2.80% on Friday and continued its ascent Monday before some odd force pushed US treasury rates lower across the curve. The 10-year note ended at 2.79, still higher than anybody expected, but not at a level that would cause a panic.

Other than the obvious villain in the bond pits, the other dynamic at play is the obvious overvaluation of stocks, and that is a global problem. By artificially keeping interest rates too low for too long (avoid the pain that should be measured across the board), boosting asset prices in stocks alone, the Fed, ECB, BOJ, PBOC and Swiss National Bank (SNB) created a market structure with one sure feature: failure.

Because borrowing money was such an easy proposition, many of the major corporations on the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P took to buying back their own shares, enriching only major shareholders and especially top executives with cushy compensation plans. That gambit appears to be over, and it's troubling, because when companies buy their own stock at inflated prices, they own it at those prices. Selling it back into the market at reduced prices causes a loss, which in turn causes earning to collapse. That is the expected conclusion, already evident in some recent quarterly filings. More carnage - much more - is to come.

It has been reported that 84% of all wealth created in 2017 went to the top one percent globally. That's an unsustainable level of wealth inequality largely gone unreported by the news-speakers, analysts and squawkers on Wall Street and the economists in the government. The one percent at the top of the wealth ladder will only be marginally affected by losses, largely because they have more money than they need and probably have been doing most of the trimming over recent days. Who will be harmed? Pension funds, which are already massively underfunded and cannot maintain any measure of credibility in a market crash currently gaining momentum.

Those who have been derided for warning about just this kind of occurrence are now being proven to have seen the most obvious overvaluation and manipulation of markets early. Being early and being wrong are two different animals, but anybody who isn't invested at the moment is - at long last - looking fairly smart.

The global economy has been sputtering and stuttering ever since the crash of 2008. Nothing that caused the problems then has been fixed. In fact, credit has been extended even further than the levels seen prior to that singular solvency event.

Claims (especially those by President Trump, who has unfortunately embraced the massive gains and now will bear the brunt of blame for the losses) that the economy is strong and growing are largely a smoke screen hiding mountains of debt and poor financial management in government. The US Treasury is more than $20 trillion in the hole. Other major governments, especially Japan, are over-leveraged and broke.

The continuing narrative that the economy is strong - which will be heard repeatedly as the market correction (or slow motion crash) extends - is complete garbage, shoveled to an unsuspecting public that desperately wants to hear only good news. The federal government is broke. State governments are broke. Pension plans cannot deliver on the promises made to employees and retirees. Households are deeply in debt and businesses have enriched only their shareholders in recent years. The recipe for collapse has been ripe and the meal is now on the table.

As Wall Street prepares for another onslaught of selling, markets in the East have already taken the low road. In Japan, the NIKKEI was down over 1,000 points. The Hang Song dropped 1,600, or five percent.

This is not over by a long shot. Instead of an end of the bull market, this should be characterized as the beginning of the end for globally-induced monetary madness and an epochal message to believers in what were once known as "free" markets.

Nothing is safe.

At the Close, Monday, February 5, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,345.75, -1,175.21 (-4.60%)
NASDAQ: 6,967.53, -273.42 (-3.78%)
S&P 500: 2,648.94, -113.19 (-4.10%)
NYSE Composite: 12,572.93, -512.42 (-3.92%)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Stocks Rocked, Presdient Trump Stick-Saves with SOTU

There shouldn't be too much in the way of analysis seeking a rationale for Tuesday's smash-crash in global equity markets.

With treasury's 10-year-note rocking beyond 2.70%, bonds are coming back into favor as investments with little risk, as opposed to over-inflated stocks buoyed by buybacks.

Profit-taking being mostly a participant sport, sellers piled into the pits, sending previously-favored issues down for a second straight session. After the markets closed for the day, life returned to some semblance of normalcy, awaiting disruption, caused primarily by President Trump's stirring State of the Union speech (and the pouting Democrats lack of response).

Trump delivered for his base, as usual, leaving a feeble Joe Kennedy III drooling out the Democrat response, a vain, ineffective attempt to continue undermining the administration's attempts to bring America back to a place of dominance, reverence, and prosperity.

The shock-selling on Monday and Tuesday should likely fade as business continues gearing up, though the path will be made more difficult for the Fortune 500 types as interest rates ascend.

Perhaps investing will return from an overcrowded type of algo-chasing, bid-stuffing, front-running mosh pit to a semi-science based on math skills, management, and fundamental analysis.

Perhaps it will not, but, by all outward appearances, President Trump, at least has the right kind of ideas to move the country - and industry - forward.

At the Close, Tuesday, January 30, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,076.89, -362.59 (-1.37%)
NASDAQ: 7,402.48, -64.02 (-0.86%)
S&P 500: 2,822.43, -31.10 (-1.09%)
NYSE Composite: 13,375.51, -149.14 (-1.10%)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

30 Years Later, Is the New Reality Sustainable?

Thirty years ago today, US equity markets were rocked by the biggest one-day collapse in stocks, when on October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22%.

With suitable hindsight, investors and analysts now say the Black Monday crash of '87 was fueled by what was then called program trading, in which computers were keyed to buy or sell when stocks hit certain, predetermined levels.

Much more sophisticated today, computers do the bulk of all trading on Wall Street, using algorithms which accomplish much the same effect as old-fashioned limit orders.

The Dow and other indices have been soaring to fresh all-time highs on a near-daily basis and the fear is that what has fueled the rally of the past eight years is running close to empty.

Freshly-minted money from the world's central banks and stock buybacks from some of the most unstable and overpriced listed companies (see McDonald's (MCD), for instance) have driven stocks to unfathomable levels. A pullback is inevitable, the trick primarily laying in the timing of such an event.

For now, Wall Street wallows in its great, contrived success.

At the Close, Wednesday, October 18, 2017):
Dow: 23,157.60, +160.16 (+0.70%)
NASDAQ: 6,624.22, +0.56 (+0.01%)
S&P 500: 2,561.26, +1.90 (+0.07%)
NYSE Composite: 12,371.02, +21.05 (+0.17%)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stocks Continue Surging Into Year-End; Fed Rate Hike Baked In, Unsubstantial

He said, "Call the doctor. I think I'm gonna crash."
"The doctor say he's comin', but you gotta pay him cash."
They went rushin' down that freeway,
messed around and got lost
They didn't care they were just dyin' to get off

--Life in the Fast Lane, Eagles, 1976

Stocks careened higher on Friday, finishing off a week that saw increased investor buying virtually across the board. It was the best week for stocks, especially on the Dow, since the week immediately following the US elections, an odd scenario for analysts and talking media heads who predicted turmoil and collapse if anybody but Hillary Clinton was elected president.

Since the election of Donald Trump, we now know that what emerges from the mouths of Wall Street psychopaths and media slaves is usually incorrect, politically driven and nine times out of ten wrong. What we still don't understand is why the same people are relied upon for their opinions, having been proven completely wrong over and over again, the best examples of this kind of nepotistic following being seen regularly on the financial networks, Bloomberg, Fox, and notoriously, CNBC, which has its own designated cheerleader, Jim Cramer.

How could all of these pundits and overpaid professionals have gotten it so wrong? Easy. The chances of stocks advancing or declining is almost always a 50/50 proposition, but, anybody reading the tea leaves from leftover elections would have known that a Republican president following a lame duck incumbent makes for a major bull market (that's made up, but it's probably true anyhow, and, in the age of "fake news" all one needs is a headline and story, right?).

Maybe people with money think Donald Trump's various positions on trade, immigration, wages, borders and culture will usher in another gilded age of American exceptionalism. For the most part, anybody with half a brain still in working order would welcome such a change. More than likely, following the initial post-election stock surge the rest of the advances have been driven largely by herd behavior.

It should be widely accepted, though it isn't, that stocks are valued extremely high, but the right thing is that bonds have been collapsing over the past five weeks, at the same time stocks have been rising. That's not your run-of-the-mill pair trade, but it is imaginative. As bonds fall, yields rise, making them more attractive as safety plays. In the meantime, with interest rates largely remaining at bargain basement levels, stocks have continued to be the investment de jour.

If there's a cloudy lining inside the silver cloud of stocks, it's that a correction is long overdue. However, bears and shorts have been saying that for the better part of the past four years and it hasn't happened. Instead, we happen to be in the midst of a massive valuation expansion. Whether or not individual stocks are good or bad investments presently does not seem to matter. There's an explosion of cash coming into the market, the same cash that was being hoarded pre-election. Once that money is exploited and exposed, the intensity of the rally should subside, but probably not until the calendar turn to 2017, the attractiveness and continual pimping of the "Santa Claus Rally" expected to be the main driver over the remaining weeks of 2016.

So, if a crash is coming, January's your huckleberry, or, right after the Fed raises the federal funds rate next week, which has evolved from a possibility to a near-certainty. The Fed and their one quarter of one percent hike in overnight lending is more a canard than a reality. Only the monumentally stupid or disconnected will suffer on a small rate increase. It's so tiny that almost nobody will notice. Certainly, it's not the kind of event that will cause a run, a panic, a rout, so the best action for next week is probably inaction.

Crashes and sudden downturns in the market normally come from out of the blue, caused by forces to which nobody (or only a select, ridiculed few) had been paying attention. If there's going to be a turn, the most likely causes are going to come from Japan or China or Europe, possibly even Brazil or another major portion of Latin America. More likely is that after Mr. Trump is inaugurated, US markets stabilize and places such as those mentioned above suffer. Such is the way of the world. There will be winners and losers. If America is going to be "great again" other countries are going to be not so great. The market is economics in motion and the chances for a crash in America are minimal over the short term. Longer term, dependent on too many factors to delineate here, corrections and crashes are bound to occur. The truth of the matter, is that the usually-wrong analysis from Wall Street is actually right on this account: if your time horizon is 20 or more years, crashes and corrections are buying opportunities and nothing more. The world won't end tomorrow or the next day, or the next month or the next year.

Thus, the outlook for stocks remains fairly solid, albeit a bit on the high side right now. Since the election, the Dow is more than 1400 points higher, a gain of nearly eight percent. That's a pretty healthy gain for five weeks and something that should be taken into account whatever investment decision one is making or about to make.

Friday's Closing Quotes:
Dow: 19,756.85, +142.04 (0.72%)
S&P 500: 2,259.53. +13.34 (0.59%)
NASDAQ: 5,444.50, +27.14 (0.50%)
NYSE Composite: 11,191.79, +41.83 (0.38%)

For the Week Ending 12/09/16:
Dow: +586.43 (+3.06%)
S&P 500: +67.58 (+3.08%)
NASDAQ: +188.85 (+3.59%)
NYSE Composite: +353.21 (+3.26%)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This Crash Has Been Interrupted... for now

While the world's richest and most-influential types were sipping Valpolicella, stuffing themselves full of petit fours at the World Economic Forum in Davos, markets around the world were in turmoil.

Wednesday saw Asian markets fall completely out of bed, with the Nikkei falling into bear market territory for the first time, and Hong Knog's Hang Seng Index off by nearly 750 points and four percent. For a change, it wasn't the Shanghai SSE leading the way. It was down a mere one percent.

Spilling over into the European session, the feeling continued, just as it had almost every day of the new year. The Dax was a relative out-performer, with the German shares off just 2.82%, better, by comparison, than the FTSE 100 (-3.46) and the CAC 40 (-3.45). In effect, the day was a massive loss for holders of European stocks.

In the US, stocks were slammed at the opening bell, a knee-jerk reaction to the worldwide carnage, and the three major indices continued lower until just after noon, with the Dow recording a loss of 566 points.

But, all of a sudden, something changed. The Dow, S&P and NASDAQ all began moving the other way, as if somebody had turned a loose screw or flipped a faulty switch, metaphors which may be closer to the truth than anyone would admit to, in the age of HFT and sophisticated algos.

The afternoon was all about erasing the embarrassment of the morning session, and it was done with considerable gusto and untold amounts of money from god-know-whom-or-where. The NASDAQ erased a 125-point decline, moving steadily higher to edge into positive territory in the final hour, though it could not hold onto gains, falling back into the red in the final 20 minutes of trading.

The losses in the other two indices were a little stickier, though the Dow improved dramatically, finishing down by just short of 250 points. The S&P lost 22.

So, what happened? Nothing, really, except that short sellers took profits midday, then sat back and counted their money, supposedly. The smart money - and there always is smart money - is currently on red. And it's going to stay there until the selling stops, which, if the past two weeks are any indication, won't be any time soon.

For instance, the Dow still has 1200 points to get to bear market territory. The NASDAQ and S&P are similarly down about 15% from their highs (last May) and will need a little more time. Don't be surprised if there's a snap-back rally with some ferocity over the next two days as options expire on Friday.

What may be of more technical interest (no pun intended) is the yield on the ten-year note, which closed today under 2.00% for the first time in nearly a year. Following the federal funds rate hike in December, rates were supposed to rise. They've gone in the opposite direction, to the Fed's dismay. Look for the Federal Reserve to call an emergency meeting in the not-so-distant future if the selling doesn't abate shortly.

S&P 500: 1,859.33, -22.00 (1.17%)
Dow: 15,766.74, -249.28 (1.56%)
NASDSAQ: 4,471.69, -5.26 (0.12%)

Crude Oil 26.76 -5.97% Gold 1,101.20 +1.11% EUR/USD 1.0891 -0.18% 10-Yr Bond 1.9840 -2.51% Corn 368.00 +0.07% Copper 1.98 +0.13% Silver 14.17 +0.35% Natural Gas 2.14 +2.58% Russell 2000 999.31 +0.45% VIX 27.59 +5.91% BATS 1000 19,792.43 -1.24% GBP/USD 1.4193 +0.22% USD/JPY 116.9350 -0.60%

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Whoops. That's Why We Don't Offer Specific Investment Advice

What happened?

We thought the government was giving Wall Street the "all clear" signal to send the stock market upward and onward to all-time highs. That's why we - somewhat tongue-in-cheek - suggested buying stocks all the way through Christmas. Maybe we were getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Well, a few, not-so-funny things happened on the way to laughing all the way to the bank.

Momentum stocks are beginning to take on water as high-profile investors like Carl Icahn start cashing out of investments like Netflix. Speculative stocks like Chipolte Mexican Grill, Tesla, Facebook, LinkedIn and others have soared by more than 100% in the past year. Many came under heavy selling pressure yesterday and today.

China's largest banks tripled their debt write-offs, bracing for a full-blown implosion of their over-leveraged, over-inflated real estate market, much like the housing crash in the US from 2007 onward.

JP Morgan is close to settling another lawsuit over bad home loans (really? who cudda guessed?), this one for a mere $6 billion.

Late in the day, Bank of America was found liable for fraud on claims related to defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit.

Soooooooo, the major averages finished in the red. Of course, this is only one day, and it will take many more down days and confirmation of a failed rally for Money Daily to proclaim a bear market which will precipitate a crash, eventually. Timing is everything, and the final, fatal blow to the abhorrent US stock markets may not come for months or years, though 2014 is beginning to look pretty ugly.

One thing which is a positive, yet unexplained, is the collapse in the price of crude oil, which has dropped more than $10 in the past two months and about $7 in the past 10 days. With lower oil prices come - naturally - lower gas prices. It could be seasonal, though we're hoping the decline is more of a permanent one. Lord knows, car owners need a break at the pump.

Also, bonds have been rallying hard since the government got back to work, sending yields on the ten-year note down 25 bips in just the past week.

With Halloween rapidly approaching, it might be a good idea to begin getting scared in advance, thus, the frightful future of the US economy, according to John Williams of in this revealing, startling interview by Greg Hunter:

BTW: We're still screwed.

Dow 15,413.33, -54.33 (0.35%)
Nasdaq 3,907.07, -22.49 (0.57%)
S&P 500 1,746.38, -8.29 (0.47%)
10-Yr Bond 2.49% 0.03
NYSE Volume 3,695,265,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,866,661,875
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2382-3210
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 300-32
WTI crude oil: 96.86, -1.44
Gold: 1,334.00, -8.60
Silver: 22.62, -0.173
Corn: 442.75, +4.50

Monday, May 13, 2013

Slowly Goes Wall Street (Remember, It's May)

Equity markets were rather dull today, on exceptionally low volume - which is saying a lot, since volume left the building years ago.

Dull, boring, inconsequential, however, is how financial markets are supposed to be, or, that is at least how they used to be before the advent of personal computers, CNBC and individually-managed accounts. Today's go-go markets are driven by extra doses of liquidity, courtesy of the Fed (as much as readers hate reading that over and over and over again, the author hates having to mention it even more), HFTs, flash crashes, breaking news (why doesn't somebody fix it?), surprises, tweets, scandals, ponzi schemes, dotcoms, options, derivatives, swaps, repos and hot money flowing from carry trades into equities and back out again.

One can only wonder how many times the same money is re-invested, re-invented, re-created, re-hypothecated, recycled, rinsed and repeated. It seems sometimes that one need only a brokerage account and a pair of fast hands to tip-type your way into the wondrous world of high finance. If only such were true, we'd all be traders and multi-millionaires just like the guys on the infomercials telling you that NOW is the time to FLIP THAT HOUSE!

Alas, investing is boring and unexciting, and well it should be, though Americans, driven by media, need the big splash, the dazzle of bright lights and the promise of easy money to be enticed. Sadly for the marketeers and their media whores, more Americans play the ponies, gamble at casinos or play the lottery than invest in stocks, bonds or commodities. We've been programmed to be risk-takers and the stock market - try as it might - just seems to many to be a rigged game for rich guys in suits and ties and fancy women in shiny, tight-fitting business suits.

Thus, we have these dull markets, in which the major brokerages make war with each other via the computer algos, following each other into what eventually becomes a black hole, a void, a nonsensical, immaterial, valueless dump. That's what our stock markets have devolved into, especially after the crash of 2008-09. The major indices may have come all the way back in the four-to-five years since then, but all that money has been sucked out of the market by the brokerages and hedge funds via bonuses. It's common knowledge that the average investor usually gets screwed unless he/she is either very careful or very smart. There's just no way to win a rigged game. As the old adage goes, "if you're playing a game of poker and you don't know who the mark is, chances are it's probably you."

The general American public is simply not that stupid. After being burned by the high-tech Wall Street crooks in 2000, 2001 and again in 2008, they have not returned. Some maybe, but they're a small minority, mostly younger folks who don't know better or older people with money to burn, potentially. Paper losses still sting, and, if there's another severe downturn in the markets any time soon - an event long, long overdue, according to fundamentals - they'll be gone for good as well.

With all the scams, crimes and untold misdeeds that have become all-too-common on Wall Street - without, incidentally, any criminal prosecutions - is there any wonder that average people with money are still shy about investing in stocks? In a perverse way, thats why this market must and will likely continue to defy gravity and levitate to higher and higher levels: because another crash would destroy what little bit of confidence is left in the ultimate confidence game.

So, now that the banks are all sufficiently recapitalized (supposedly) and everything in America is just hunky-dorey, Wall Street may be looking itself in the mirror and wondering if they've taken too many scalps over the past few years. Maybe they'll keep the liquidity-driven, non-fundamental, irrational exuberance going for a while longer, but slowly, much more slowly.

Or is it time to turn it over again? Wash, rinse, repeat...

Dow 15,091.68, -26.81 (0.18%)
NASDAQ 3,438.79, +2.21 (0.06%)
S&P 500 1,633.77, +0.07 (0.00%)
NYSE Composite 9,437.17, -5.59 (0.06%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,605,809,375
NYSE Volume 3,124,652,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2673-3792
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 475-30
WTI crude oil: 95.17, -0.87
Gold: 1,434.30, -2.30
Silver: 23.70, +0.038

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gold and Silver Mania Building as Global Currency Debasement Accelerates

Stocks were down heavy early in the session, but, thanks uncle uncle Bennie and his magic bucks created out of thin air, traders bought the dip and sent the major indices higher throughout the day.

In a few words, this is the most inane, superfluous rally ever seen in the history of mankind. It's based on nothing more than cheap money and ignorant of fundamentals. Eventually, there will be a spectacular crash.

Those who see straight through the global currency debasement regime are content to ride it out on the sidelines in cash or stable assets such as real estate, gold, silver or productive small enterprises and emergent technology, where the underground economy is flourishing.

Theft via either inflation or taxation is theft no matter what, and between the central bank - the US Federal Reserve, a private corporation, mind you - and the various levels of government, incomes are being reduced and savings eviscerated on a regular basis. Those being hurt the most are wage-earners, who have no option out of the payroll tax system, which rips away one's earnings before they even reach the hands of the workers. As the United States slides inexorably into socialism, fascism and an overt police state, those individuals wise enough to resist are turning to alternative means of subsistence via home-based businesses, backyard gardens, online sales and other avenues which supplants the tax system by keeping more money in the hands of its rightful owners: those who have earned it.

As for inflation, there are only a few protections against that ravaging discounter of money's marginal value, though as the system becomes evermore a game played by the rich and connected, average Joes and Janes are beginning to awaken and seek refuge, especially in the precious metals, which are at the nascent phase of a boom that will overthrow the fiat money systems and turn the world upside-down.

Despite the lame attempt by central banks (likely the Federal Reserve with assistance through their usual commanders in the field, the largest banks and insurance companies) to take down the price of gold and spread propaganda through their controlled media outlets that the 13-year gold bull run is over, the gold bullion market, in particular, is red-hot, and large enough ($14-16 trillion globally) to impact all markets and commerce in dramatic fashion.

It is estimated that less than two percent of people in the world own or control some quantity of gold or silver, a number which the world's central banks alternately sneer at or shiver over. An increase in the collective consciousness which levers up gold and silver holdings to a mere five percent of the global populace could easily upset the fiat currency regime, already well on its way to self-inflicted destruction.

Despite the paper (spot) prices of gold ($1470) and silver ($24), these commodities are not out of the reach of average citizens as a store of wealth and a hedge against currency debasement or default due to the wide array of products offered.

Depending on how much you are purchasing, gold on eBay (the new, de facto real market for PMs) is selling for anywhere between $1550 and $2000, per ounce, the higher number being the price paid for fractions of ounces or even fractions of grams (1/10 grams are ridiculously priced, well over $2k/oz.).

The high end on the scale - for the smallest amounts - seems to indicate that a mania is gradually forming. Small-timers with limited resources are thinking, "I MUST have some gold, no matter the cost." Many 1/10 oz. gold coins are selling for well over $200.

If the trend accelerates and gold and silver become recognized as worthwhile investments or hedges - no matter how small the amount - by just 2% of the population in the US, expect gold at $2k to be the norm, rather than the exception per small denominations.

I'm seeing plenty of 1 oz. gold bars and coins going for upwards of $1550, most at $1600 and higher. Ever-popular Krugerrands are holding pretty steady for 1 oz coins at $1525-1560, with a rare one going for right at $1500, but not often.

Since ebay is charging 10% fees to sellers, the sellers are getting premiums insufficient to compensate for said fees, making it a real buyers' market. Demand is through the roof. Any properly-priced auction sells, usually with multiple bidders. Silver is still getting roughly $28-31 per ounce over all varieties of coins, bars and denominations, at a high premium to spot or "paper" price.

It would do everyone good to at least take a small amount of time to investigate and understand the value of investing in gold and silver. Most people invest in paper products like stocks or bonds, and many also aspire to owning a home or farm or valuable real estate, yet they have no interest in owning gold or silver, the two precious metals which have been employed as currencies for thousands of years.

Those who have been invested in precious metals over the last 10 to 12 years have experienced outsize gains against all other currencies and have outpaced stocks and bonds by a country mile. Often termed dull, unexciting and relics of the past, there doesn't have to be anything exciting about safety in investments. The thrills and stresses of the stock market are easily laid to rest by the relative peace and prosperity of owning currencies which have stood the test of time and will again rise to prominence as the fiat regime grinds inexorably to its end.

Dow 14,839.80, +21.05 (0.14%)
Nasdaq 3,328.79, +21.77 (0.66%)
S&P 500 1,597.57, +3.96 (0.25%)
NYSE Composite 9,276.88, +31.66(0.34%)
NYSE Volume 3,980,642,750
Nasdaq Volume 1,943,042,875
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4131-2284
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 445-36
WTI crude oil: 93.02, -1.24
Gold: 1,476.10, +8.70
Silver: 24.20, +0.078

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hurrah! Boo! Cyprus is Saved! Cyprus is Doomed!

There are so many angles to the story of what happened to Cyprus over the past week or so that it boggles the mind to consider just a few of the long-term ramifications, but, clearly, the deal struck late, late Sunday evening by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, deferred to by the president of Cyprus - who really didn't have much say and actually threatened to resign (he should have) - was a game changer in more ways than one.

First, the deal.

Instead of making everybody pay, which was the original plan foisted upon the Cypriot parliament and summarily dismissed in a unanimous vote, the brain trust that is the ECB worked out a plan that would fold up one insolvent bank - Laiki - and reorganize another (Bank of Cyprus), impose capital control limiting withdrawals to 100 euros, and force depositors with over 100,000 euros - because there are so few bond holders - to pay down the bank's debt, with a levy of up to 40% on those deposits.

OK? Stay with me here. Because the plan is not a bailout, but a reorganization, the parliament of Cyprus will not have to vote on it. There. All fixed.

Except that mush of the money that's going to be "levied" in the "reorganization" is Russian money, laundered or otherwise, and the Russians are not very happy, even though Angela Merkel is. Hmmm... Russians unhappy, Germans happy. That doesn't sound familiar, does it?

Further, banks in Cyprus are supposed to open tomorrow, but probably won't, and even when they do, the flight of capital will be intense, even at the absurdly tiny levels of 100 euros a day. This story is still very, very fluid and has a multitude of effects on all of Europe and the rest of the world, so, stay tuned.

As far as the markets were concerned, news of a "solution" to the Cyprus problem was greeted with hallelujahs and buying, with the futures of US indices all heading skyward and the Euro ramping up against the dollar.

Stocks in the US (and Europe) opened higher, leveled off until, until, Dutch Finance Minister and recently-appointed head of the ECB, Jeroen Dijsselblom, went on the record to say that the Cyprus solution may well be a "template" for other troubled banks in the Eurozone.

Uh-oh. markets tanked. The Dow, which was up 51 points, went negative by 128. European bourses revered. The EUR/USD FX pair went negative in a big way. Impairment of depositor money (government-sanctioned theft) is not what rich people want to hear. Never mind the poor and not-so-poor with deposits of under 100,000 euros, which are guaranteed by the bankrupt ECB, it's the rich people's money that's going to bail out banks in the future Europe.

Ouchie! But, that's what should happen. Insolvent banks should be wound down first by smacking the junior and then senior bond holders and, if that's not enough to cover the debts, uninsured depositors pony up the balance.

So, that's Cyprus, the future of Europe and the global financial system all rolled up into 12 or 14 neat paragraphs. If you've got over 100,000 euros in any bank these days, you are either as nuts as our Federal Reserve chairman or a big business that needs that amount of capital to meet payroll, expenses, etc. For those, there is no alternative (well, there is, but what business really wants to keep that much cash lying around?).

For people with less than 100,000 euros or the equivalent in dollars (about $129,000 right now), how much do you want to risk in any bank, any bank which could be closed indefinitely in case of a financial crisis or emeeeeeeergency, with no access to your funds until the "officials" deem the situation resolved?

Let's just say that the answer for most people would be, "not much."

Well, that just raises another fearsome looking ugly head in the form of capital controls (you can only take out "so much" today) or, outright loss. The answer is bank runs of the kind not seen since the Great Depression, when, remember, banks were closed for weeks and longer and some never reopened. IT CAN HAPPEN HERE because it already did.

So, where do you put all that extra cash of yours, lucky you? Most Americans have sums of money in "investments" which are just promises and based upon given market levels which change from day to day. Trust. It's a fun term.

Others have money in banks. Best advice is, if you must keep your dough in a bank, spread it around. A better solution would be to invest (you have enough money, right?) in a very heavy safe, a good alarm system, a coule of good firearms and maybe a couple of alert, healthy guard dogs. Yeah. Old school, like medieval days, which is to where the world is headed. Maybe a moat filled with crocodiles, drawbridge and turrets should be the new home design for the 2020s?

You laugh. Don't. Money in banks, as proven by the bizarre and brazen moves of the psychopathic leaders of the ECB, IMF and EU. is not as safe as you'd like to think. Ask anyone who lived through the Great Depression. Most people kept more money stuffed into their mattresses than in their local banks, and, with good reason. The banks failed and their money was gone. Poof!

The choice is yours, dear readers, play the game of chicken with the elites, who have no taste nor mercy for the likes of you and yours, or take action. keep in banks only what you need, because, when you think of it, the FDIC insures deposits of up to $250,000 in the US. That went up from $50,000 prior to the crash in 2008. Why? Because people smart enough to understand what was going on were taking their money out and the government and the banks would really have gone bust in a huge way had there been real banks runs like in the 1930s.

Without looking it up, the FDIC budget is something along the lines of $50 billion. The amount of deposits in US banks is on the order of $14 TRILLION. Do the math.

That's it for today. We're all Cypriots now.

Dow 14,447.75, -64.28 (0.44%)
NASDAQ 3,235.30, -9.70 (0.30%)
S&P 500 1,551.69, -5.20 (0.33%)
NYSE Composite 9,022.95, -42.85 (0.47%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,665,435,625
NYSE Volume 3,539,278,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2714-3624
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 489-49 (straining)
WTI crude oil: 94.81, +1.10
Gold: 1,604.50, -1.60
Silver: 28.82, +0.117

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why There Probably Won't Be a Stock Market Crash

With US stocks suffering back-to-back losses of more than 100 points Friday and Monday on the Dow, conventional thinking might be assuming that the market has hit a short term top and they may well be correct.

Others continue to ponder the overall fate of the entire fiat-money global financial system and wondering when it's going to implode, if ever. Many have been waiting since 2008 for a full reset, but policy changes, bailouts, stimulus and interest rate manipulation have managed to keep the carnage contained, at least in the US.

Today in Europe, it was something of a different story, as many national equity exchanges were victims of among the worst losses of the year. Most indices were down more than two percent, with the Greek Athex Composite Share Price Index falling more than seven percent on pronouncement by the IMF in Der Spiegel magazine that the world's fail-safe lender of last resort may not help Greece in any further restructuring or servicing of debt.

Naturally, after the Dow was down 239 points in early trading, IMF officials reversed their opinion, saying that they would indeed be there for the Greeks, just as they have all along. This is now the accepted method of moving markets - by word of mouth, rumor and denial - and part of the reason why the economic collapse has more resembled a train wreck in slow motion.

Along those lines, a couple of columns by the estimablePaul Craig Roberts and Nomi Prins have received a great deal of attention as they examine the libor-rigging scandal and how that effectively kept banks and governments in collusion from complete collapse.

In the first article, from July 14,
The Real Libor Scandal, Roberts and Prins assert that the banks which "fixed" the libor rate were the main beneficiaries in something of a quid pro quo for the assistance they received from various governments and central banks:
Indicative of greater deceit and a larger scandal than simply borrowing from one another at lower rates, banks gained far more from the rise in the prices, or higher evaluations of floating rate financial instruments (such as CDOs), that resulted from lower Libor rates. As prices of debt instruments all tend to move in the same direction, and in the opposite direction from interest rates (low interest rates mean high bond prices, and vice versa), the effect of lower Libor rates is to prop up the prices of bonds, asset-backed financial instruments, and other “securities.” The end result is that the banks’ balance sheets look healthier than they really are.

Governments were also beneficiaries of a lower libor, as they could sell their bonds at rates below inflation while still maintaining enormous budget deficits:
In other words, we would argue that the bailed-out banks in the US and UK are returning the favor that they received from the bailouts and from the Fed and Bank of England’s low rate policy by rigging government bond prices, thus propping up a government bond market that would otherwise, one would think, be driven down by the abundance of new debt and monetization of this debt, or some part of it.

In a follow up to the first article, The Libor Scandal In Full Perspective Roberts expands upon the concept of ever-lower interest rates on government bonds into a full-blown indictment of government in collusion with the libor-fixing insolvent banks on charges of fraud:
As the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England are themselves fixing interest rates at historic lows in order to mask the insolvency of their respective banking systems, they naturally do not object that the banks themselves contribute to the success of this policy by fixing the LIbor rate and by selling massive amounts of interest rate swaps, a way of shorting interest rates and driving them down or preventing them from rising.

Roberts goes even further, demonizing Robert Rubin, whose actions to dismantle regulations in the US such as the Glass-Steagle Act put into motion over-leverage by the banks which resulted in the 2008 crisis and continue to this day:
As villainous as they might be, Barclays bank chief executive Bob Diamond, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs are not the main villains. The main villains are former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs chairman Robert Rubin, who pushed Congress for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the sponsors of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill, which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act. Glass-Steagall was put in place in 1933 in order to prevent the kind of financial excesses that produced the current ongoing financial crisis.

The articles are both "must read" material which outline the persistent fraud necessary to keep the fiat money crisis from imploding completely, with scenarios for its eventual collapse, not from within, but from outside.

As the stock markets are kept afloat at higher-than-usual levels by manipulators within the around the system, so too, the bond markets are manipulated, often by the very same people.

With powerful institutions plotting and defrauding the public on both sides of all trades, there's little wonder that every time there's an event which causes even a hint of panic, the authorities rush in to save the day, and with it, the global economic system from the carnage which eventually will engulf it all.

Dow 12,721.46, -101.11 (0.79%)
NASDAQ 2,890.15, -35.15 (1.20%)
S&P 500 1,350.52, -12.14 (0.89%)
NYSE Composite 7,670.54, -89.05 (1.15%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,586,828,750
NYSE Volume 3,576,762,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1242-4363
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 113-202 (reversal)
WTI crude oil: 88.14, -3.69
Gold: 1,577.40, -5.40
Silver: 27.04, -0.26

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Preparing For the Next Crash

One would have assumed that if 1st quarter GDP had come in worse than expected this morning - expectations were around -5%, the actual figure was -6.1% - that stocks would sell off.

One would have been wrong - very wrong - as the market merely shrugged off another indication that the recession was worsening and headed off to new heights. This makes trading stocks on fundamentals, or even economic conditions, not only difficult, but impossible. Every day there are new signs that the economy is mired in a negative-growth trench, yet stocks continue to rally, seemingly without end.

Today's activity was probably the most remarkable event of the past two months, noting the considerable obstacles to economic growth standing in the way, huge unemployment numbers, continued weakness in residential housing and now commercial real estate and the continuing saga of the spreading Swine Flu.

It was remarkable in that while stocks were poised to jump start at the open even before the 8:30 am release of 1st quarter GDP figures, but even more remarkable in that stock futures didn't even blink when it was revealed that actual GDP was falling at a faster rate than anticipated. One can only assume that insiders already knew the figures or had already decided the day's direction for stocks and would not be dissuaded regardless of reality. Had the actual NY stock exchange been blown to bits, traders would still have pushed stocks higher, such was the plan for the day.

It's a scam, a complete and total rigging by the controllers of the market and the country. In the end they will bankrupt all of us, but for now, they are in the business of pushing stock prices higher. It will not last. It cannot last. The fundamentals of the economy are entirely too weak to sustain stock valuations bordering on the absurd.

Making matters even more ridiculous, the Fed announced no change in interest rate policy - widely expected - but hinted that there were signs of "recovery" in the US economy. Though the press release announcing that the Federal Funds rate would remain between 0 and 0.25% (read: free money) was among the shortest on record, the following passage provided more insight than any other verbiage in the text:
"In light of increasing economic slack here and abroad, the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued. Moreover, the Committee sees some risk that inflation could persist for a time below rates that best foster economic growth and price stability in the longer term."

Reading that sentence carefully, the Committee (FOMC: Federal Open Market Committee) is trying to avoid using the word "deflation," which is occurring across a wide swath of the economic landscape. They are also trying to rectify "inflation" and "price stability." In other words, the Fed isn't really promoting "price stability" as they are so chartered. They are hell-bent on inducing inflation, the very same inflation that has wrecked our economy for so many years, for as long as the Federal Reserve has operated as the nation's central bank there has been unstoppable, rampant inflation which has destroyed the value of the dollar and kept wages at poverty levels for a majority of the working population.

They simply cannot have inflation and price stability at the same time. The two are not polar opposites - inflation and deflation are - but price stability means equilibrium, a condition which spells death for the US economy, built on debt and tied inexorably to inflation and wealth destruction.

So, it is time to prepare for the next crash, which, in light of current economic policies of the Fed, is inevitable. The market's aberrant behavior is sending the strongest sell signal I've ever seen, violating all manner of resistance in charts and basic fundamental trading regimens.

It is time to unload all stocks, at once, because the retracement back to the March lows will commence shortly.

I wrote the above line at 3:03 pm EDT, after the Dow peaked at 8250 and was beginning to retreat. By the end of the day, the sell-off was in full bloom, just before last-minute buying punched stocks ahead right at the close (painting the tape).

Dow 8,185.73, +168.78 (2.11%)
NASDAQ 1,711.94, +38.13 (2.28%)
S&P 500 873.64, +18.48 (2.16%)
NYSE Composite 5,516.14, +146.29 (2.72%)

Just to illuminate my position that the recent advances in stock prices are unsustainable, below are some of the headlines for today, with links to the underlying articles:

CNN Money: Economy falls much more than expected
Associated Press: Jobless rates rise in all US metro areas in March
Reuters: U.S. to pay off mortgage investors

Do any of those headlines encourage you enough to go out and buy stocks? No? I didn't think so. The economy is sinking into a black hole, the United States is becoming even more of a welfare state than it already was and hope for lasting, robust recovery is nothing more than a fantasy. If you don't think so, I encourage you to read this exceptional article: Economic Obsolescence, by Andrew McKillop. Be forewarned. It is quite deep and lengthy, but filled with insights and observations you won't find on CNBC or any other fraudulent financial reporting service.

My message is simple. Wall Street, stocks, retirement plans, 401k plans and the like are a scam. You're better off investing in your own home, planting a garden, cutting your expenses and going back to a simpler lifestyle. However, depending upon where you live, you may need high walls and security devices to keep out intruders, because many of the people in the USA are going to face horrific economic conditions over the next 6-12 years. Six years of pain and no growth are in the cards at a minimum. Higher taxes, higher crime rates, rioting, corruption in government and an overwhelming debt burden on families and the government are inevitable. Bank failures have thus far been avoided only due to manipulation and intervention by the Fed and general obfuscation and outright lying by both the Treasury and the banksters (bank gangsters).

The longer we hand out money to the undeserving - be they banks or welfare recipients - the longer it will take and the harder it will be to restore any semblance of a functioning economy. Right now, the economy is on extended life support, but the patient, for all intents and purposes, is a vegetable, incapable of ever returning to a functional lifestyle. The government bailouts and stimulus plans, plus the heavy debt imposed by the upcoming federal budget, is tantamount to throwing money into a blazing bonfire. It will all go for naught, not for investment, and therefore will result in DEFLATION, not inflation, a point sorely missed by the ignorant morons at the Fed and at the top positions of government. Their actions are making the road to recovery longer and actually exacerbating the depth of the depression.

There is good news. The country formerly known as the land of the free and the home of the brave is now full of people living on government hand-outs, with steady incomes and no clue as to value. And don't believe that just welfare recipients - those with the plasma TVs, all the cable channels and usually a late-model car in the driveway - are alone in their status of money-takers. Add to it anybody on any government payroll anywhere: cops, teachers, mayors, social service workers; and retirees on military pensions, social security, what have you. There has never been a better time to screw people out of their money. The nation is full of dupes, dopes, pigeons and rubes, standing in line to be taken directly to the cleaners. That is the end result of the welfare state, where money is disrespected because it was not earned.

So, if you have an idea and some motivation, crooked or honest, you should do well. People just can't stop spending and the government is actually encouraging waste on a gigantic scale. The money is out there. You just need to go get it.

On the day, internals were mixed, though advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by a wide margin, 5233-1265. New highs came close to overtaking new lows, but failed with 93 new 52-week lows being reported to 55 new highs. Both numbers are elevated from previous readings but have not diverged significantly. They will - one way or the other - soon. A breakout or breakdown is overdue.

NYSE Volume 8,913,934,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,361,983,750

Commodities were mostly higher. Oil gained $1.05, to $50.80. Gold was up $6.90, to $900.50. Silver gained 35 cents, to $12.78. Pork bellies sold off, down $1.93, to $75.88 per pound, though live hog prices stabilized and were actually moderately higher.

Make no doubt about it. Today's late-day sell-off was just the opening salvo. Volume spiked incredibly after 2:30, when the Dow lost more than 100 points into the close. The selling will accelerate soon, maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday, maybe not even until next week, but it will come and it will be swift and severe. Count on it.

Keep an eye on the equally-bogus "swine flu pandemic" which will be blamed for the coming market downturn. More deaths will be caused by trying to prevent the disease - watch how Tamiflu and other medicines will be promoted - and the sure-to-come vaccine, than the disease itself, though the media will not report that fact.