Showing posts with label manipulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label manipulation. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

PPT And/Or The Fed Working Overtime To Keep Stocks Elevated

Not exactly proof, but here's a mainstream article calling out the central banks for market intervention, otherwise known as manipulation, or, preventing a crash.

Call it anything you want, including PPT, but there are surely unseen forces at work. Consider, if you will, that since central banks have the power to goose markets upwards, they also possess the power to depress them. Sobering thought, isn't it?

Valuation will become a concern this year as soon as earnings reports commence. First quarter reports may not be all that impactful, but second quarter corporate earnings and revenue reports may validate the theory that a combination of easy fed policies, low interest rates, buybacks, and a willingness to believe that the Fed would backstop any sizable decline were responsible for the last ten years of gains.

If some of the more astute forecasters are correct, an earnings and profit recession is due sometime in 2019, and the likelihood of such an occurrence will accelerate throughout the year. If corporations are going to slow down in 2019, stocks should follow, but, in the parallel universe that has become Wall Street and end of the business cycle as we once knew it, anything could happen.

The rally since Christmas appears to be based on just about nothing. Noting that, how long it will last has only one correct solution. Out will last until holders of stocks find a comfortable exit price because the major indices are still in correction.

Dow Jones Industrial Average January Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
1/2/19 23,346.24 +18.78 +18.78
1/3/19 22,686.22 -660.02 -641.24
1/4/19 23,433.16 +746.94 +105.70
1/7/19 23,531.35 +98.19 +203.89
1/8/19 23,787.45 +256.10 +459.99

At the Close, Tuesday, January 8, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 23,787.45, +256.10 (+1.09%)
NASDAQ: 6,897.00, +73.53 (+1.08%)
S&P 500: 2,574.41, +24.72 (+0.97%)
NYSE Composite: 11,716.23, +110.27 (+0.95%)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Why Does the Dow Go Up When Everything Else Goes Down?

Divergence between the NASDAQ and the Dow Industrials has been a persistent feature over the past year, although recently, the up versus down daily routine has taken on nw dimensions, with the 30 Dow stocks outperforming all other indices routinely.

Tuesday was a case in point as all major indices, including the S&P 500, NASDAQ, Dow Transportation Index, and the Russell 2000 all ended in the red, while the Dow rose majestically to a new all-time closing high. Additionally, almost all foreign markets finished lower on the day.

While there has been no rationale to sufficiently explain the phenomenon, one might easily conclude that the Dow stocks are more stable than the more speculative offerings on other indices, or that Dow stocks, in addition to steady appreciation, offer regular dividends and are generally regarded as the best behemoth companies in the American market.

None of this can fully explain why the Dow gains while other stocks fall, but the pattern has been so obvious and consistent for so long, it merits further investigation.

Conspiracy theorists can claim manipulation in order to keep the unsuspecting masses complacent, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the most-widely watched index on the planet. Such an explanation would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove.

Others rightly point out that the Dow is unique in that it is not a weighted average, and gains or losses by the highest-priced offerings can send the index up or down in rather large ways.

In any case, the Dow keeps going up, no matter what other markets or indices are doing.

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

At the Close, Tuesday, October 2, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,773.94, +122.73 (+0.46%)
NASDAQ: 7,999.55, -37.76 (-0.47%)
S&P 500: 2,923.43, -1.16 (-0.04%)
NYSE Composite: 13,106.01, -19.34 (-0.15%)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Stocks Finish Week With Gains, Remain Range-Bound

If one were to view Friday's market action in a vacuum, without context, one would think everything is just peachy in Wall Street wonderland. The NFP jobs report for June was solid and the major indices put up strong gains to close out the week.

But, nothing exists in isolation.

Taking a little bit broader view, over the shortened, four-day week, all that Friday's gains managed to do was life all the major indices from red to green for the week, with the exception of the NYSE Composite, which finished just nine points underwater, but, not to worry, nobody pays attention to the "comp" anymore, even though it is the most diverse, broadest of the majors.

Fraud, manipulation, massive central bank intervention?

Yes, sure, of course. Since central banks have been the primary drivers of the eight year recovery since the GFC, why would anybody believe they have stopped their high-stakes involvement. Lowering interest rates - even to negative - didn't work. Massive injections of funny fiat money didn't work. Talking about how the labor market and the general economy was doing so great (it isn't) didn't work, so, why not resort to outright purchasing of equities in a vain attempt to create a "wealth effect?"

Of course, the Fed will never admit to such activity, but Switzerland (SNB), Japan (BOJ), and the European Central Bank (ECB) have all openly been buying stocks for the past few years, at least, and probably longer.

Therefore, the entire week of trading was a nonsensical, uneventful kabuki play, designed to give the impression that all is well and there's no reason to sell... anything... even though many did. As they say in the current newsspeak nomenclature, a major league nothing-burger.

Balderdash. You're being culled, cuckolded, marinated, stuffed, and baked by people who control your baseless currency when you could be using that same valueless "money" to purchase goods, food, machinery of trade, gold, silver (currently on sale, as it has been for four years running), land, land and more land, some with actual buildings erected.

But, no. Americans (not to the exclusion of Canadiens, Japanese, and Euroland dwellers) instead purchase garbage college educations for garbage jobs, cell phones, 70-inch TVs, overpriced cars (mainly on leases), and run up enormous amounts of credit card and other debt for baseball tickets and extraordinary "experiences."

With the US government $19.965 trillion in debt, something along the lines of 10,000 seniors retiring every day, underfunded pensions galore, and monstrous debt and unfunded liabilities under-and-overhanging nearly every developed nation...

Good luck with that.

At the Close, 7/7/17:
Dow: 21,414.34, +94.30 (0.44%)
NASDAQ: 6,153.08, +63.61 (1.04%)
S&P 500: 2,425.18, +15.43 (0.64%)
NYSE Composite: 11,752.98, +50.55 (0.43%)

For the week:
Dow: +64.71 (0.30%)
NASDAQ: +12.66 (0.21%)
S&P 500: +1.77 (0.07%)
NYSE Composite: -8.72 (-0.07)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dow At Record Highs 11 Staight Sessions; Eye On PPT, Central Bank Intervention

As has been the case for multiple sessions over many years, a rally in the final hour of trading pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a new all-time high, with the NASDAQ and S&P averages also closing up, but short of record highs. They NYSE Composite was fractionally lower.

In the red the entire session, the Dow gained 70 points from 3:00 to 4:00 pm ET, with other major averages also gaining. This kind of activity has been a market feature since at least 2001, when the existence of the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) turned from urban myth to global reality. The PPT, created by Presidential Order #12631, signed on March 18, 1988 by President Ronald Reagan is also known as The Working Group on Financial Markets, is, in reality, a body of financial authorities consisting of:
  • The Secretary of the Treasury, or his or her designee (as Chairperson of the Working Group);
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or his or her designee;
  • The Chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or his or her designee; and
  • The Chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Writers such as John Crudele of the New York Post have been critical of the Working Group's market-bending actions and foreign journalists from the Daily Telegraph and The Observer have suggested that the group has often exceeded its mandate.

Thus, tin-foil-hat type conspiracies have continued to suggest that the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been manipulating markets higher for years, and, while such coordinated action has yet to be unearthed by the mainstream media, sites such as and other fringe outlets report that while the PPT may or may not be always active in markets, there's no doubt that central banks, notable, the European Central Bank (ECB), Swiss National Bank (SNB) and Bank of Japan (BOJ) are heavily invested in US and other global equities, making a mockery of the global regime of fiat money.

There are those who say intervention by government-sponsored agencies is not altogether nefarious, and some who believe such market-rigging is a good and reliable replacement for Adam Smith's "invisible hand" of the markets, it cannot be understated adequately that such activity will eventually undermine the integrity of financial markets and instruments.

Being based almost entirely upon faith and trust, financial markets have become the backbone of the global economy. If that faith and trust is broken - an unlikely occurrence, as the central banks, governments, and major brokerages work hand-in-hand largely toward the same end (higher stock prices) - the fragile system would crumble. An antecedent (and, much larger market) to the inner workings of financial markets is the bond market, which has also been pistol-whipped regularly by central bank policy and directive. On Friday, the US Treasury 10-Year Note fell to its lowest level in nearly three months, closing out the week at 2.3170, a direct result of higher stock prices, also known in the investing world as TINA (There Is No Alternative... to stocks).

With central banks and government agencies regularly interjecting themselves and their policies into financial markets, the natural question becomes: how stable and trustworthy are these markets and who gains from such manipulation?

Answering the question bluntly, the markets are only as stable as the institutions behind them, which is today a matter of considerable conjecture and discordant viewpoints. Purists posit that the mountains of debt produced by individuals, businesses, and governments is simply unsustainable and that a rout and crash, while unpredictable, is inevitable. The obvious conclusion to the other half of the question "qui bono" (who gains) is those in power and in control of such vast swaths of money, the governments, oligarchs, commercial and central banks. Beyond that, those in power consider themselves to be benefactors of the millions who gain from higher stock prices, inflation and boosts to massively underfunded pension funds.

With this degree of chutzpah in and on the minds of the central bankers and government leaders of the world, there is little doubt that they believe their actions to be highly beneficial to the orderly running of global finances while also not taking into account the falsity and pervasive inequities that are given rise by those same actions. Those with power over financial markets hold an incredible degree of responsibility, a responsibility that seemingly has gone beyond the pale, over the moon and into its own orbit.

Essentially, those who have questioned or taken positions contrary to the policies of the Fed and their brethren central banks, especially since the GFC of 2008, have been serially decimated in the markets. With stock indices raging without underlying fundamental bases, the planet may have reached a point of no return, wherein all matters financial are no longer in the control of individuals, but, rather, controlled by an opaque group of self-appointed masters.

One can only hope that they are well-grounded and essentially good-natured, because the alternatives would be brazen in concept and bizarre in execution.

At The Close, 2.24.17:
Dow: 20,821.76, +11.44 (0.05%)
NASDAQ: 5,845.31, +9.80 (0.17%)
S&P 500: 2,367.34, +3.53 (0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 11,541.29, -14.87 (-0.02%)

For the Week:
Dow: +197.71 (0.96%)
NASDAQ: +6.73 (0.12%)
S&P 500: +16.18 (0.69%)
NYSE Composite: +30.38 (0.26)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Most Dangerous Market Of Your Lifetime

Investors in equities - those imaginary certificates that signify ownership of a portion of a company or corporation - are giddy.

Stocks are near all-time highs with prosperity and class envy writ large on every tick higher.

Sure enough, these investors are shrewd operators of finance and business, many having earned their degrees from the highest academic schools in the world, the diplomas proudly displayed on the walls of their hedge fund offices and trading areas.

So, why would they possibly be worried about anything, particularly, the value of their holdings?

Simply put, there just aren't enough of them partaking at the font of wealth pouring out of Wall Street. Making matters more complicated and distressed is that the executives of the companies in which their wealth is concentrated have been buying back their shares at an unprecedented rate, making the shares of stock available smaller and smaller, but also boosting the price of those available, traded shares.

It's an easy supply and demand formula: fewer shares available makes them more valuable. In effect, if companies are inclined to take back their shares at inflated prices (a de-issuance, if you will), those remaining shares have to represent the entire value of the company.

Thus, a company could theoretically buy back all the shares but one, leaving that one share of stock to account for the full value of the company. In the case of an Apple or Google or any of the thousands of billion-dollar market cap companies, that one share would be "valued" at some absurd number, like $285 billion.

In such a hypothetical case, the problem arises when the owner of that $285 billion share of stock wished to unload it, convert it to cash or some other assets. Who would be the buyer? And would they actually pay the offered price (the ask) in such an illiquid market?

Obviously, the seller of that massive share of stock might have to offer a discount, and a big one. Instead of $285 billion, the seller might be forced to accept $140 billion, or less, in event of a liquidity crisis, which, incidentally, is what stock buybacks are creating. Since there hasn't been adequate demand for shares since the financial crisis of 2008-09, companies have resorted to buybacks just to keep their companies afloat, many of them becoming less and less profitable over time, making the price of their stock even more ridiculously valued.

When the rush for the exits begins in earnest, the big-time hedgies and fund managers will be bidding directly against each other, each with the same goal, to dump corporate paper assets in exchange for something more sturdy, ostensibly government bonds or hard, cold cash.

The markdowns, margin calls and defaults will be spectacular and this market, this unsustainable fantasy created by zero and negative interest rates, central bank stimulus, and government dumbness and numbness will be exposed to real supply and demand economics in a swan song for greed, manipulation, and wealth concentration.

That this will occur is unmistakable. Everything does not go up in price all the time, forever. The business cycle has not been abolished, neither here in the US, nor in Japan, China, the Eurozone or anywhere else.

Central banks are currently backstopping the entire Ponzi scheme of the stock market with interest rate swaps, repos, direct investment, and options manipulation.

It can't continue forever, though it can continue for a long time. It's a deadly and dangerous game, putting at risk the entire economy of the planet, or, at least that portion of the planet that wants to play along.

Increasingly, the as the musical chairs are being removed one by one, players are opting out and moving elsewhere. Largely, the lower and middle classes aren't playing at all. They're invested in necessities, cash, maybe collectibles, precious metals, and real estate.

Eventually, the sheer volume of trade by the 99% not in the stock market and incensed by government policies which seek to impoverish them further, will outweigh the phony prices for stocks listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

The stock market will suffer a severe breakdown at some point. The trick is not to know when that breakdown will occur, but to continue to prepare for its inevitability.

Most will not be prepared. Those who have prepared may or may not proper at the expense of everyone else, because the chaos - political, economic, social - will be astonishing.

The Boy Scouts of America issued their motto many years ago and it applies today: Be Prepared.

Be a Boy Scout.

Wednesday's Washout:
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,495.66, -37.39 (-0.20%)

5,204.58, -20.90 (-0.40%)

S&P 500
2,175.49, -6.25 (-0.29%)

NYSE Composite
10,774.98, -29.53 (-0.27%)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dow Ends 7-Day Losing Streak, But Who's Watching The Transports And NYSE Composite?

Markets can seem exuberant, sometimes, even over-exuberant, as has lately been the case, without reason.

The current environment is one of those times by which market movements cannot be rationally explained, or as the Maestro himself - former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan - so aptly put it, the markets seem to be suffering from irrational exuberance.

This needs to be pointed out in the current context of manipulation and high-stakes politics between the Nah! Brexit vote and the very real threat that Donald Trump might somehow wrangle himself into the Oval Office come November... to the absolute terror of the elite status quo, including everyone from Warren Buffet to Mark Cuban to Janet Yellen and just about every member of congress and Wall Street hedge fund slickster.

Money Daily has recently been pointing out that the any positive developments by Mr. Trump are and have been met with scurrying, rat-like selling of shares on the equity markets by those with very thin, lizard-like skins, probably your average congressional insider and self-important hedge fund managers.

On the other side of the coin, there's the relentless marauding of the Fed, the central bank which is prohibited from buying or selling of equities (unlike the Bank of Japan, which is now a top 10 holder of 90% of the stocks listed on the NIKKEI 225), but which has ample resources by which to funnel money into stocks via proxies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch, the investment arm of Bank of America, or even the Bank of Japan, which, having run out of luck in the Nikkei, is probably more than willing to buy US stocks.

It's a safe bet that the Fed and their cronies halted and reversed the post-Brexit decline, sending the Dow and S&P 500 to all-time highs via options trading and positions on the VIX, the volatility index, widely parlayed by those in the hedging business.

In fact, days before the Brexit vote, heads of the Swiss, Canadian, US and Japanese central banks were already in collusion to overcome any nasty "turbulence" in the markets, as openly reported by none other than Bloomberg.

So, it shouldn't come as any stretch of the imagination that the same types who distort presidential polls and have the mainstream media wrapped around their little fingers should also keep stocks artificially high as long as it appears that Hillary Clinton will be elected president come November 8.

Once stocks got to extreme levels, a bell went off in the heads of the big traders, telling them to take profits, resulting in a seven-day sell-off (otherwise known as consolidation), culminating in Tuesday's near-100-point decline on the Dow.

Wednesday, the Dow just barely hung on for a small gain, as did the other indices, however, the recent highs achieved by the Dow can be seen as absolute phonies, when referenced to the Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJTA), which sold-off and rebounded like other indexes post-Brexit, but did not attain new all-time highs (for the record, neither did the NASDAQ, nor the NYSE Composite, the broadest index of US stocks).

The Transports had a good run of it, topping out at 8048.09, but were 100 points shy of the all-time record, set back in April, 2015, at 8149.00.

The same is true on the NYSE Composite (NYA), which topped out recently at 10815.43, a far cry from May 2015, when the index stood proudly at 11254.87.

Taking away from this divergence in major markets is the idea that central banks and their friends can only influence so much. They often (make that, ALWAYS) leave bits and pieces of evidence of foul play scattered about. 100 or so points on the Transportation Average and over 400 points on the Composite shows just how sloppy and misguided their adventures into manipulation of not just stocks, but perceptions, have become.

Everybody watches the Dow and S&P. The transports and composite indices, not so much, or so they believe.

Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,355.00, +41.23 (0.23%)

5,159.74, +22.00 (0.43%)

S&P 500
2,163.79, +6.76 (0.31%)

NYSE Composite
10,695.14, +34.01 (0.32%)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Intervention By Any Other Name; Fed Agents Clearly Trading Equities, Slamming Gold And Silver

Can there be any further doubt that the Federal Reserve is intervening - i.e., trading - in the equity markets?

Let's ask that again.

Is the Fed buying stocks?

You betcha!

Once again, today, the Dow pierced the 17,500 mark to the downside in early trading, and, has become the normal pattern, stocks took a steady advance off the lows to finish higher, and well away from the bottom of the trading range (17,500-18,000) that has persisted for three months.

Clearly, the Fed has no clue what to do except issue press releases and threaten to raise rates, all in an economic environment that is screaming stagnation and portending a nasty recession.

Also evident is the continuing manipulation of the precious metals markets. Gold and silver were both sharply higher early in the day, but were slaughtered in the afternoon for no apparent reason (other than being competition to all forms of fake fiat money). Silver fell from a high of $17.80 to under $17.20 in the course of six hours, a move of more than four percent. Gold, which had pierced the $1300 mark, was also dispatched, dropping to $1280 from a high of $1315, a $35 move, nearly four percent to the downside.

Everything is completely fake and markets (and maybe people) will only withstand the onslaught of intervention and manipulation for only so long.

How long?

When everything has gone to hell in a hand basket.

Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake!
S&P 500: 2,078.00, +6.50 (0.31%)
Dow: 17,733.10, +92.93 (0.53%)
NASDAQ: 4,844.92, +9.98 (0.21%)

Crude Oil 45.96 -4.27% Gold 1,283.70 -0.36% EUR/USD 1.1238 -0.20% 10-Yr Bond 1.56 -2.01% Corn 424.75 -0.99% Copper 2.05 -1.75% Silver 17.21 -1.67% Natural Gas 2.86 -0.63% Russell 2000 1,147.08 -0.19% VIX 19.24 -4.47% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4213 +0.12% USD/JPY 104.3545 -1.54%

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Suspicious Behavior In Stocks Leads To Belief That Fed Is Buying

After dismal data out of Japan and some troubling manufacturing numbers in the US, stocks opened sharply lower on Wednesday, reversing the short-covering faux rally into Tuesday's close.

But, the trauma was short-lived, ending abruptly, absolutely minutes after the open. Some people surely got caught short at the wrong moment, thinking, wrongly, that the era of central bank noise and confusion was about to meet a fitting end. Stocks continued an inexorable ascent throughout the day, based on nothing other than front-running computer bots and anti-competitive algos run by criminal banks.

Of course, no such thing would happen. The signs of a collapsing global economy have been with us for the past seven or eight years now, but somehow, stocks continue to pace along, and lately, they just fluctuate in a narrow zone.

This trading conundrum - in which outflows from equities has been ongoing for seventeen weeks - has to be the work of the central bank, or banks, acting in concert to keep asset prices from collapsing to where they might belong, about 40-=0% lower than where they currently reside.

Since the Bank of Japan has been spotted owning a hefty percentage of the biggest companies on the Nikkei, it shouldn't surprise anybody that the Federal Reserve is working behind the scenes to keep US equities floating on vapors.

It's a disgusting, completely inappropriate condition. The Fed is engaged in the worst form of market manipulation, in secret, buying selectively to keep prices from collapsing, in a most offensive manner.

While Money Daily considers this kind of activity to be nothing short of criminal behavior at best and immoral destruction of the whole economy at worst, others are entitled to their opinions, such as the corrupt Keyenesians and insiders on Capitol Hill who profit handsomely from Fed interventions.

Their opinions are typically based on nothing other than self-interest, greed and keeping their jobs. They should all be out on the street. Hope springs eternal.

Maybe by November.

Oh, Happy Day!
S&P 500: 2,099.33, +2.37 (0.11%)
Dow: 17,789.67, +2.47 (0.01%)
NASDAQ: 4,952.25, +4.20 (0.08%)

Crude Oil 48.91 -0.39% Gold 1,215.20 -0.19% EUR/USD 1.1188 +0.02% 10-Yr Bond 1.85 +0.65% Corn 412.00 +1.79% Copper 2.07 -1.07% Silver 15.98 -0.12% Natural Gas 2.74 +0.84% Russell 2000 1,163.04 +0.71% VIX 14.20 +0.07% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4411 -0.01% USD/JPY 109.4650 -0.03%

Thursday, May 19, 2016

End The Fed; Hawkish Tone Sends Dow Below Key Level; Gold, Silver Mercilessly Hammered

While it may seem nothing but a triviality, Money Daily has been following the most recent renge on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) as it bounced its way between 17,500 and 18,000 since mid-March.

Today, the most widely-watched equity index in the world crossed below the lower end of that range, exclusively due to hawkish jawboning from various Federal Reserve operatives, who have spent the better part of the last seven years engaged in radical interest rate and money-creation policies, putting the entire global finacial system at risk.

To the uninformed masses - those 90-plus percent of the adult population who doesn't care or isn't bright enough to comprehend the ramifications of a global central banking system - life goes on. A debt-ridden, over-taxed population in the developed world plays giddily along as private banking interests push them one way or another. A few have escaped to off-the-grid lifestyles, some have prospered in the fiat money world of counterfeit currencies, but most are forced to take what is given, or rather, keep the small scraps the banks and governments leave on the floor after their orgy of inflation, deflation, false promises, fake data points and market mayhem and manipulation.

Thanks to the Fed and their fellow central bankers in Japan, Europe, and now China, the global population is left without price discovery mechanisms which make $30,000 cars with seven-year payment plans sound "affordable", homes which have skyrocketed in value due to artificially-low mortgage rates, fuel prices that are anything but transparent and/or stable and a general climate that continues to be counter to general principles of economy and thrift.

The Fed (and their central banker brethren) is pernicious, malevolent, deceitful, dishonest, greedy and carnivorous. They seek nothing but complete dominance without competition, a monopoly on the medium of exchange. Governments are more than willing to accept their bribery and thievery in order to retain feigned positions of power, selling out their constituents with nary a care toward the ultimate consequences of their actions.

Mandated to enact policies that promote full employment and stable prices, the Fed openly does neither, or, at best, adheres to their promises only as occasion allows, in fact promoting an inflation rate of two percent per year, which is anything but stable for prices.

So intent is the Fed on controlling every last aspect of financial activity, that they have undermined the best open markets of the world, in bonds, stocks, commodities and anything else they can get their greedy hands upon.

Markets no longer move on supply and demand or fundamental forces, but are solely and completely tethered to proclamations and idle talk of agents of the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the People's Bank of China (PBOC), and the European Central Bank (ECB).

It's all rigged, all the time and readers are urged to do their own research into financial matters. Unless and until the fraud of banks and the agents of the Fed and other central banks are brought entirely to light there will be no financial freedom, only crony capitalism, fascist rhetoric and insane, unbalanced economic polices.

May the Farce Be With You:

S&P 500: 2,040.04, -7.59 (0.37%)
Dow: 17,435.40, -91.22 (0.52%)
NASDAQ: 4,712.53, -26.59 (0.56%)

Crude Oil 48.68 -0.20% Gold 1,255.70 -1.47% EUR/USD 1.1203 -0.12% 10-Yr Bond 1.85 -1.86% Corn 390.00 -2.38% Copper 2.07 -0.63% Silver 16.51 -3.63% Natural Gas 2.04 +1.75% Russell 2000 1,094.78 -0.74% VIX 16.33 +2.38% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4609 +0.09% USD/JPY 109.9550 -0.20%

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's TRUE: Crooked Deutsche Bank Agrees to Settle Silver/Gold Manipulation Lawsuits

Stocks zig-zagged their way through options expiry, drooping in the morning and early afternoon, but gaining a little ground in late trading, eventually closing marginally in the red, but strongly higher for the week.

The major indices had a banner week, with the averages closing higher for the seventh time in the last nine weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has rocketed nearly 2500 points in just about two months of trading. It's an impressive run, though likely not to be sustainable. At the very least, it's all just paper, which can be blown away on a whim.

For the week:
Dow: +320.36 (1.82%)
S&P 500: +33.11 (1.62%)
NASDAQ: +87.53 (1.80%)

On the day:
S&P 500: 2,080.69, -2.09 (0.10%)
Dow: 17,897.25, -29.18 (0.16%)
NASDAQ: 4,938.22, -7.67 (0.16%)

Crude Oil 40.36 -2.75% Gold 1,235.90 +0.77% EUR/USD 1.1284 +0.18% 10-Yr Bond 1.75 -1.63% Corn 380.00 +1.60% Copper 2.15 -0.94% Silver 16.26 +0.57% Natural Gas 1.91 -3.25% Russell 2000 1,130.62 +0.18% VIX 13.84 +0.87% BATS 1000 20,682.61 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4198 +0.33% USD/JPY 108.7350 -0.66%

More important news follows...

While this news may be rather stunning to the average investor, those who don't own any silver and/or gold, Deutsche Bank agreed to settle litigation accusing it and other banks of manipulating the price of gold and silver, to the detriment of investors worldwide.

Terms were not disclosed, but this much we now know: banks are crooks, plain and simple. The world's largest banks have been found guilty of manipulating everything from mortgages to libor to interest rates to oil prices.

The sad part about this story is that while Deustche Bank will pay a fine (which will be a fraction of what they made by rigging the markets for themselves and friends), and is supposed to turn evidence on the other banks accused of collusion with them in the rigging, not a single trader or executive will face criminal charges.

Don't believe it? Try reading and going through the myrid links in this article posted on Zero Hedge.

That's why nobody trades in the stock market anymore, except for hedge funds, mutual and pension fund managers and others with inside information. It's all rigged, and it's been that way for a long time - maybe 20 years - but now it is worse than ever.

Money Daily has repeatedly warned that there hasn't been a mechanism for price discovery since the bank bailouts of 2009, and there sure aren't now. How much should you pay for a whole chicken? A used car? A house?

With markets routinely monopolized and manipulated by a criminal cartel, with the blessing of the world's central banks, how can anyone know what is fair value.

This is exactly why Money Daily often has little comment on markets or the commentary is decidedly of a negative tone. Markets are all rigged by players with a lot more money and information than the average investor. It's all a big con game. The only true stores of value are gold, silver and certain real estate, especially farm land. At least, when everything goes belly up, you can grow your own food and feed your family.

Good luck.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Speculators Step Up to End Dull Trade with a Bang

Think zero interest rate policy and money for virtually free doesn't have its upside?

Ask fund and managed account managers what they think of this trading environment and they'll likely respond in unanimity that it's never been better. After eight straight days of lackluster, low-volume trading, the wheeler-dealers went to work in concerted fashion, driving all risk assets higher on Thursday.

When the biggest banks and their trading arms can borrow money at 25 basis points or less overnight, what happens is trading like today, shutting off the noise about a sputtering, topped out market with a quick, one-day ramp up on strong volume for a nice turn of profit for the week.

The particular catalyst could be anything, from Angela Merkel's comments today about floating more bailout money to save the Euro, to benign initial claims figures (op a mere 2,000 from the prior week, to 366,000), to July housing starts dropping to 746,000 annualized from 754,000 or the Philadephia Fed's manufacturing index gaining to -7.1 in August from July's horrific -12.1. Well, forget those last two as they don't quite fit the hopium narrative.

Indeed, if conditions on Wall Street get any better, the feds may just cancel the November election and proclaim President Obama the winner by default. After all, the campaign money flows from Wall Street and other major investors, multi-millionaires and billionaires to the candidates or their PACs, and Wall Street has been having a rousing good time the past three-and-a-half years. Why end the party now?

At some point, analysts are going to poke around the numbers a bit and find that stocks are extremely overvalued, priced for perfection, at levels unsustainable for the long run unless corporations severely fudge their books to show better-than-expected results (oh, that's never been done before, not in America).

It doesn't matter what analysts or the best chartists in the business conclude, however. Stocks will continue to go up as long as markets continue to be manipulated by the central planners scattered around the globe in investment houses, central banks and government ivory towers.

What's that? You don't believe the US markets are not manipulated? Maybe you need a little convincing from experts in the field.

Take J.S. Kim, for example, who posits that potential gold and silver investors are continually fed disinformation about a market manipulated by contrived futures and trading patterns in a false, paper market

Perhaps one could take advice from Chris Martenson's commentary, headlined "What to Do When Every Market Is Manipulated?"

For a more general understanding, one could comb through the 29,800,000 results for the search term "market manipulation," and see what kind of gems are unearthed.

The control, rigging or manipulation of markets in the United States has been going on in a large manner ever since Ronald Reagan created, by executive order, the President's Working Group on Financial Markets (otherwise known as the PPT, or Plunge Protection Team) after the massive market crash in the wake of "Black Monday," when the Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 508 points Oct. 19, 1987 and was called into action again when Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) nearly brought down the house of cards in 1998.

After 9/11/2001, the PPT, as it became known, has been on keen alert to any signs of a meltdown in markets, but not even the heft and might of the underhanded, underground operatives of the government could deflect the market forces pushing against them in the fall of 2008.

Since then, the manipulation in equity markets has become almost overt, with the Fed guiding the way by the light of quantitative easing (QE) and ZIRP.

While here at Money Daily we deride the pimping and pumping of markets by insider forces, there comes a time when one must admit that investing in risk assets such as stocks and commodities over the past three years has never been easier. All one needs to do is hold a basket of stocks or index contracts long enough and they're sure to rise. It's become a permanent feature of US markets that they cannot fall for long and there is no end in sight to the manipulation.

It's just that easy for the rich to get richer and the rest of us to remain in a stupefied trance-like state of amazement and contentment.

Dow 13,250.11, +85.33 (0.65%)
NASDAQ 3,062.39, +31.46 (1.04%)
S&P 500 1,415.51, +9.98 (0.71%)
NYSE Composite 8,089.82, +60.81 (0.76%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,901,789,500
NYSE Volume 2,898,041,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3862-1572
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 230-30
WTI crude oil: 95.60, +1.27
Gold: 1,619.20, +12.60
Silver: 28.21, +0.40

Friday, August 10, 2012

Our Dysfunctional Economy Won't Be Repaired Until Bankers Go to Jail

The popular phrase, "it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness," was once spoken in public by Peter Benenson, the English lawyer and founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961. There are disputes over the origin of this nugget of wisdom, some attributing it as an "ancient Chinese proverb."

Whatever the case, Mr. Benenson, and the American Christopher Society, which adopted the phrase as its motto, certainly had meritorious intentions in keeping to the spirit of the words.

When it comes to our current economic climate and the out-of-control, corrupt worldwide banking and political liaison, the cabal of bankers and politicians are the darkness, and, as much as one tries to be at all times civil, they need to be cursed.

Market manipulations aside, this week could well have been the utter, disgusting end of years of rigging, price, fixing, fraud and associated crimes, none of which having been prosecuted.

It's been mentioned in this space before that the end of manipulation is eventual failure or stagnation and this week was a prime example. Sure, it's summer and the height of vacation season, but the entire range of trade over the past five days on the Dow Jones Industrials was 115 points. On the NASDAQ, 45 points, while the S&P 500 vacillated between a low of 1391 and a high of 1406, which, incidentally, was close to where it closed on Friday. The S&P finished higher every day this week, though the biggest gain was a whopping seven points.

By the way, all of todays gains were made in the final 40 minutes of trading and the day's volume was embarrassing. Free and fair markets - that's what we used to have in the United States. What we have now is a dangerous, insider-controlled contrivance.

Were there a way to "light a candle" amidst the fraud that has enveloped our financial, political and media systems, it would probably be blown out in an instant. We the people are seemingly bred to watch, listen, obey and not ask questions. The banking elite, however, can do no wrong, as evidenced by a number of stories which emerged from the flotsam of the week that wasn't.

On Tuesday, the CFTC shut down a four-year-long investigation into silver market manipulation, focusing on JP Morgan and HSBC, saying there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges.

Thursday, the US Department of Justice decided not to pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs or any of its employees on mortgage securities fraud, concluding "that the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time.” The investigation, which took over a year, was prompted by Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifying to a congressional panel that the firm actually took the opposite sides of trades that they sold to their clients. But, that's not sufficient for the bought-and-paid-for invisible man, Eric Holder, to bring a case forward. (Here's an idea: to help balance the budget, why not just shut down the DoJ? They apparently aren't interested in prosecuting anybody connected with the financial industry for anything. Big savings there.)

Thursday night, CBS ran, as the second story on their nightly national "news" broadcast, that the housing market was finally recovering (this probably was the sixth or seventh time over the past two years the shills at CBS had run such a story). Why then does Gary Shilling suggest that existing home prices could fall another 20%?

Flood of Foreclosures Could Cause Home Prices to Drop 20%: Gary Shilling

So, make up your own mind. Is the banking system, government oversight and the media working for you and your fellow citizens? Or are there two levels of justice in the USA (and probably everywhere else): one for rich bankers and one for the rest of us? Can we really trust our leaders to do the right things for the people? Or are we caught up in a fascist corporotocracy that feeds upon individuals for the benefit of the rich and powerful?

Go ahead and curse the darkness, because it needs to be cursed. Then light a candle. Take care of your family and friends and do something for yourself, like buying some raw land, growing some of your own vegetables, or investing in physical gold or silver.

To close out the week, or, if you're in need of additional reinforced rancor over the weekend, check out the latest Keiser Report, with Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, below:

Dow 13,207.95, +42.76 (0.32%)
NASDAQ 3,020.86, +2.22 (0.07%)
S&P 500 1,405.86, +3.06 (0.22%)
NYSE Composite 8,042.59, +17.58 (0.22%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,568,909,750
NYSE Volume 2,586,105,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2753-2759
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 153-43
WTI crude oil: 92.87, -0.49
Gold: 1,622.80, +2.60
Silver: 28.06, -0.04

Monday, April 2, 2012

Predictable Markets Sure Signs of Manipulation and False Hope

Money Daily does not make many predictions, but last week it was postulated that both Friday and Monday would show gains on the major indices, due to window dressing (Friday) and start of quarter allocation euphoria.

Both of these predictions were proven correct by a market that is now so transparently manipulated that investing has become nothing more than understanding the general mood. That is not a healthy market and surely not a sustainable model, but it is what we have, thanks to lax regulatory bodies and almost omnipotent control by the banking and financial services industry.

Friday and Monday's dual melt-up (on abysmally low volume, as usual) makes a case for the decrepit condition of US (and to a large degree, global) markets. They are old-boy networks and the only traders are strictly Wall Street insiders. These tendencies reveal much of what the general public does not perceive: that the markets have been broken since the financial collapse of 2008 and the ephemeral "gains" are nothing but the product of excessively loose economic policy and a disastrous fiscal policy being fostered at the top of the federal system.

Additionally, to say that the system is corrupt would be giving it a good name. It has gone well beyond corruption; what we now have is a false oligopoly that is baseless and doomed to eventual failure.

A couple of key points were made from data today, which, in more normal times, would have resulted in some caution and probably a general decline, but today's market is a monstosity of central planning which has nothing to do with the mundane facts of economic reality.

The ISM Index - a national barometer - checked in at 53.4 for March, after a reading of 52.4 in February. The metrics used in the calculation of of the index are distorted beyond recognition, as are most "official" economic readings. Even still, taken at face value, the index is registering just bare expansion, and will likely be revised lower in an upcoming debacle of data massage.

More importantly, the February construction spending number came in at a disappointing -1.0%, following a -0.8% reading in January. This, in the midst of one of the warmest winters on record is a serious issue, and, discounting the veracity of such a statistic, the real number is probably more like -3.0%.

The markets and the computers that do the trading were obviously adjusted to ignore these numbers; thus, the inordinate rise in stocks on the day.

It's a very sad state of affairs on Wall Street. The desperation in the brokerages is palpable and apparent to anyone who watches these things with both eyes open. The eventual crash will be horrifying to anyone with trust in these hopelessly deranged markets.

Dow 13,264.49, +52.45 (0.40%)
NASDAQ 3,119.70, +28.13 (0.91%)
S&P 500 1,419.04, +10.57 (0.75%)
NYSE Composite 8,280.83, +73.90 (0.90%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,778,994,250
NYSE Volume 3,579,872,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4092-1538
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 273-43
WTI crude oil: 105.23, +2.21
Gold: 1,679.70, +7.70
Silver: 33.10, +0.61

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Stocks Were Up, in One Word

I'm going to keep today's notes brief, since it's a beautiful summer day and the market is, as usual, defying all logic.

Were stocks ahead because key economic data was better than expected? Possibly. The PPI for July was up 0.2%, with the core up a whopping 0.3%, allaying fears of deflation for the moment. Housing Starts and building permits were somewhat of a disappointment, however, though July industrial production was up by a full percentage point and Capacity Utilization stood at 74.8%, up from 74.1% in June.

Those numbers were benign, and volume was once again extremely sluggish, so there's only one reason stocks went up today: options. Or, more accurately, the expiration of stock options this Friday.

In recent trading - over the past 7 months which we bothered to check - the major indices have almost always shown some kind of gains early in the week leading up to options expiration, like clockwork, except in May, when stocks and the economy were actually showing real strain from problems. It's pretty simple, and an easy strategy for market-timers. But, is it investor sentiment or manipulation, and, does it matter?

Short term, trading moves matter, especially when you have money at risk, as in the options market. Long term, the blips obtained in weeks of options expirations or the weeks preceding them are more noise than valuable data points. As for whether the pattern arises out of investor sentiment or manipulation, which have been becoming more synonymous of late, the latter seems a too-obvious choice, but there it is, laid out for everyone to see.

Supposing you had some money riding on certain strike points, or you could make money on gains, and, if you were a major investment house, like Goldman Sachs, BofA, et. al., with tons of excess capital sitting around gathering dust, wouldn't it behoove you to invest some of that idle capital in the stocks you need to rise, thus ensuring short term gains in your options trading? Absolutely. Do the big firms do that? Positively.

While they call it astute trading discipline, others might figure it a little less than honest poker, but, since options are highly unregulated conveyances, nobody bothers to make a squeal about it. For the investor, it makes for a simple calendar rule: buy stocks near the end of the month or early in the month, preferably the first week, because the price you pay will almost always be lower than it will approaching options expiration.

And that's why stocks were up today, and the only reason why. For more proof, just take a gander at the volumes, which were again at "help me, I'm drowning" levels. The low volume regime persists, so higher closes, especially major advances, like today's, should be weighted accordingly. Better yet, compare the highs of the day to the close. A bit of a selloff there in the last hour, the tell-tale sign of options sales and/or redemption, and plenty of play on the intra-day movement. The Dow lost about 70 points in the final hour. Healthy markets don't do that, they close at or near the highs. Conclusion: this was yet another manipulated trading move; market weakness still exists; nobody is really buying.

Dow 10,405.85, +103.84 (1.01%)
NASDAQ 2,209.44, +27.57 (1.26%)
S&P 500 1,092.54, +13.16 (1.22%)
NYSE Composite 6,959.79, +88.21 (1.28%)

Naturally, advancers beat decliners handily, 5008-1490. New highs soared past new lows, 335-80.

NASDAQ Volume 1,631,266,000
NYSE Volume 4,241,545,500

Commodities were mostly higher. Oil traded up by 53 cents, to $75.77. Gold gained $2.10, to $1,226.60. Silver added 17 cents to $18.59.

Stocks should continue this pattern for another day or two, probably peaking on Thursday, which would be a great time to go short the market. By Monday of next week, everything should be trading at lower levels, if history proves correct.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Global Economy Set to Implode

Once again the supposed "Masters of the Universe," sitting high inside their glassy offices in lower Manhattan, managed to persuade stocks to gap higher at the open. These geniuses then managed to sell managed positions all day long at a profit as the faux rally fizzled before the collective public eyes.

The Dow Jones Industrials were up nearly 150 points by 10:00 am, but stocks finished close to their lows of the day, actually rallying 50 points in the final minutes of trading to produce an artificial, moderately-lower close.

This is what the US stock markets have become, the paradise of insider traders and the laughing stock of the world. The "Masters of the Universe" are about to go down in flames lit with worthless paper currencies, backed by nothing more than the good word of scoundrels, cheats, liars and thieves.

Inexorably, stocks will lose value over time during any secular bear market, current company - which began in late summer, 2007 - included. daily fluctuations with accompanying conflicting internal data, such as today's, are trademarks of primary trend bear markets.

Dow 10,442.41, -8.23 (0.08%)
NASDAQ 2,289.09, -20.71 (0.90%)
S&P 500 1,113.20, 0.00 (0.00%)
NYSE Composite 6,978.86, -9.38 (0.13%)

Volume was moderate to low, but decliners far outnumbered advancing issues, 3986-2577, though the number of new highs, goosed by the mammoth opening head-fake, outweighed the new lows, 229-77. It is just this kind on non-confirmation and divergence that spells bear market in simple terms. The session was also an engulfing event, with the highs and lows exceeding those of the previous day, a sure set-up for an immediate market turn.

NYSE Volume 5,192,862,000.00
NASDAQ Volume 1,916,218,625.00

By deceiving most of the US market into believing that n upward revaluation of the Yuan was a positive for the Americas, the Wall Street insider swine managed to create a perfect selling opportunity for already-overpriced stocks they desperately sought to unload. It is why market-opening gaps - higher or lower - are never of any benefit to small investors, who all-too-often buy into these fake rallies and are subsequently left holding positions of lesser value by the end of the day.

Today's result was garden-variety manipulation, nothing that hasn't been seen countless times over the past three years, though it surely is a signal to get out of stocks with all due urgency.

Crude oil continued it's range-bound run higher, up 64 cents, to $77.82. Meanwhile, precious metals fell precipitously, with gold off by $17.50, to $1,239.70, and silver losing 73 cents, backing down to $18.80 per ounce.

In a rational world, with stocks down, the metals would likely rise, but there is nothing even remotely-resembling rationality in global markets. Nations, central banks and money center banks continue to pile more debt upon existing debt, as truly an unsustainable condition as that which preceded and touched off the crisis of 2008-09.

Paper currency is upon the deathbed, but gold and silver - viable alternatives - are being maintained (controlled, manipulated) at prices anywhere from 30-150% lower than true market value.

Like a stick of dynamite in an untended mine, all it is going to take is somebody or something to light the fuse for the entire global financial system to tumble into a nightmarish decline.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bear Market Rally Built on Fraud

Every day, day after day after day, the sharks on Wall Street do the same thing, over and over and over again. According to the new rules of the game, stocks are suddenly much more attractive at 2:30, or 3:00, or 3:15, or 3:30, without any news, without any economic reports, without any technical rationale, than they were earlier in the day.

This is called manipulation. Manipulation which occurs every day, without fail.

The pattern is so established and so obvious, eventually, the only people trading stocks will be the manipulators themselves, scratching and clawing for scraps, quarter points, half points, here and there, churning, deceiving, shorting stocks they are recommending to their clients and taking every last bit of available capital out of the hands of investors and into the black holes of the banks and brokerages.

It will eventually fail, and fail miserably. The smartest money got out of this market on Friday, the marginally less smart, Monday, and those with any brain cells left, after being slammed and hammered by instability and volatility, got out today.

With each passing day that the seven largest banks in America are allowed to continue doing business under a government-sponsored shroud of solvency - a complete and total fraud which I called as early as 2007, and others called even before me - stocks will be a very dangerous gamble. Those banks - Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and American Express - are all insolvent and have been at least since September of 2008, some even sooner. All have benefited from injections of liquidity, cash and other government largess, courtesy of the US taxpayer, and still are underwater.

Finally, today, cracks began to widen in the flimsy fraud facade of "improving conditions", "signs of recovery", and other such nonsense being thrown around by the insipid morons on CNBC, on corporate boards and in the minds of witless fools who think they can make money in this environment.

After shaving 75 points off its 210-point loss in the final 1 1/2 hours, the markets were met with a torrent of selling in the final ten minutes of trading, pushing stocks close to their lows of the day. This should usher in more selling in days and weeks to come, as the rally built on nothing by hype, hope, lies and greed, completely falls apart. Conditions are not improving overall. They are getting worse, the recession deepening, business conditions deteriorating, credit squeezed to the breaking point, and fear re-emerging as the dominant sentiment.

And signs are clear that the economy will face heightened challenges in the months ahead, if the Business Roundtable Survey of 100 CEOs [PDF] is to be believed. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed expected sales to decrease over the next six months. 66% expect to decrease capital spending, and 71% expect to lower employment over the same period. THESE GUYS SHOULD KNOW. THEY RUN PUBLICLY-TRADED COMPANIES.

The economic outlook index of the same survey fell to -5 (negative 5.0) in the period, the lowest level ever recorded in the six years of the survey and markedly lower than last quarter's reading of 16.5.

In case you need more proof of Wall Street's fraud and the true condition of the US economy, consider reading this New York Times story which explains how analysts expect earnings to be 37% lower than a year ago - a year which was already down from the previous year for many companies. You will learn that Standard and Poors reported that companies cut a total of $77 billion in dividends in the first quarter of 2009, the worst record of dividend cuts on record.

There was more bad news as the Times of London reported that the IMF may issue a report that bank toxic assets could reach as high as $4 trillion. Their previous estimate was $2.1 trillion. The report is due April 21.

Dow 7,789.56, -186.29 (2.34%)
NASDAQ 1,561.61, -45.10 (2.81%)
S&P 500 815.55, -19.93 (2.39%)
NYSE Composite 5,120.67, -128.81 (2.45%)

On the day, declining issues thumped advancers, 4897-1477. New lows were reached at 75 stocks, while a mere 10 recorded new 52-week highs. Volume was decimated by the lack of buyers. The smart money was moving out. The stubborn and the ill-informed remained in the market as stocks commence a cascade to lower levels. Volume has not been this low in four weeks, prior to the beginning of the massive ramp-up in stocks. Bulls will say the volume points out that today's decline is unimportant, though bears will point to three consecutive gains of lower highs and lower lows as proof that the bear market rally is out of gas.

NYSE Volume 1,261,882,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,868,136,000

Commodities were split, with the metals up and energy and food futures lower. Oil fell $1.90, to $49.15, on increased concerns over slack global demand. Gold ended a three-day losing streak, up $10.50, to $883.30. Silver added 10 cents to $12.21.

Finally, after the bell, Alcoa kicked off earnings season with a 59 cent per share loss, greater than the 56-cent loss analysts were expecting. It was the second straight quarter the company has posted a loss.

And, late in the day, news leaked out that General Motors (GM) was in "intense and earnest" preparations of a bankruptcy filing, in case the company fails to meet the requirements of the Obama administration's stringent restructuring plan.

I could not make this stuff up, folks. We, as a nation, are headed for economic hell.