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Weekly Survey of Gold and Silver Prices
Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
Friday, November 25, 2022, 8:41 am ET
Editor's Note: As has been the case far too frequently, internet service is out once more. Sorry for the inconvenience. Here's hoping that your Thanksgiving was a good one.
Black Friday is a half-day session for equities, annually one of the more thinly-traded days of the year. The day after Thanksgiving normally reserved for shopping, sleeping and carving up leftovers, the few traders actually manning the phones and desks are likely to be half-awake, dealing with minor details as opposed to regular sessions.
With the exchanges closing at 1:00 pm ET, the shortened session produces more market noise than signal. Unless there's some major development hitting the news wires, market action on Black Friday can be readily dismissed over the weekend.
When Monday arrives, a better assessment of market conditions can be made.
At the Close, Wednesday, November 23, 2022:
Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 10:51 am ET
Editor's Note: There are a wealth of advantages and a few disadvantages to living in working in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Among the better things are clean air, clean water, an abundance of forests and wildlife, friendly, down-to-earth neighbors and a profound and welcome lack of "wokeness."
In the bad things column, allergies, power outages, and spotty internet access, the latter of those possibly more related to the individual fate of Money Daily than to the wider area. In any case, another of these all-too-frequent internet outages has forced a move to the local McDonald's, where the internet service is top notch, and a couple of breakfast McMuffins or biscuits won't break the budget. The one downfall of working at McDonald's: no smoking. So, this missive will be brief... and late. Turns out that McDonald's Wi-Fi doesn't allow uploads, only downloads.
As stocks took off from the start on Tuesday, buying interest advanced through the session, with the main indices closing at highs of the day.
Nothing unusual about that beyond the usual suspects playing in a thinly-traded market. What is unusual is the price of oil, where, in the USA, the general gauge is WTI crude, which has fallen from the 90s into the 70s over the past few weeks, just as the Western bloc of nations opposed to anything Russian continues to press forward with their latest market-disrupting ploy, a cap on the price of Russian oil.
Now, seriously, this is a crockpot of a plan, akin to going to a local store and imposing discounts on the owners. Pair of pants, $35? Nope, we'll pay $18. That gas grill marked at $149, we'll take it for $85.50... and so on. It's absolutely absurd to think that buyers can impose price caps on the seller(s), but, that's exactly what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (who's long been rumored to have lost her marbles) and the rest fo the slavish Euro crowd are planning, and the funniest thing: the mere threat of it seems to be working. Oil prices are falling. This morning, WTI stands near at $78.50.
The latest from the G7 or the Euro group plus the US, UK, Australia and Canada or whomever is driving the crazy bus, is to compel Russia to sell its oil at $65-70 per barrel. Russia is likely to be partially amused by this proposal, since that's roughly the price at which they're selling to their friendly customers. Spokespersons for Russia and their president, Vladimir Putin, have been resolute in their position that they will not sell oil to any nations imposing a price cap.
Besides, isn't the West supposed to NOT be buying oil from Russia as punishment for their military intervention in Ukraine? So much for promises, plans, and sanctions, which, thus far, have been more detrimental to the imposers of sanctions than to the intended victim.
What isn't hidden in the details of this plot is the very real possibility that the price of oil will decline on its own as Western economies struggle towards recession and China, a huge user of oil and its distillates, continues to shut down large swathes of its economy via the "Zero-Covid" policy.
In addition to counties careening toward recession or worse, global trade has slowed to a crawl, with shippers begging customers to ship cargo at the lowest rates in years, particularly in the Pacific, from China to the US. The pace of trade is almost at embargo levels.
So, the West may get their wish of lower-priced Russian oil, but it will probably not be because of their loony price cap scheme. They'll take credit for it anyway, and Putin will laugh all the way to the bank. Thanks for playing.
As the opening bell approaches, stocks appear poised to give back some of Tuesday's gains. Futures are lower across the board, European stocks are mixed, and Asian trading was marginally higher overnight.
At the Close, Tuesday, November 22, 2022:
Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 8:28 am ET
As expected, market action was very limited on Monday, with market bumps by the PPT or NY Fed's trading desk appearing throughout the day, keeping markets propped up against what is emerging as significant selling pressure.
There was also evidence of more fraud, as the Wall Street Journal released a report about OPEC+ mulling a production hike at their December 4 meeting about an hour prior to the opening bell, sending WTI crude futures tumbling from $79.80 to $75.70 in a matter of minutes.
The story was debunked minutes later by Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, which pumped the price back up to prior levels, where it remained in a narrow range for the duration of the day.
Having virturally no credibility, the Journal's unabashed rumor-mongering, price-moving style of journalism, using unnamed sources and sketchy details to move prices, has become standard practice in financial markets. The media, Wall Street and DC politicians all share roles what can best be described as an organized crime racket. Shamelessly, corruption and profiteering now appear in plain sight on a regular basis.
As what used to be regarded as foundational, functioning markets have devolved into a deceitful rigged casino, benefitting insiders of the criminal enterprise to the detriment of formerly esteemed institutions.
High finance hijinks aside, the major indices bounced above and below the unchanged line throughout the session, finally ending with tiny losses, except on the NASDAQ, which suffered a one percent decine. Tax-loss selling will be a highlight for the rest of the year. News flow and data have been strictly negative leading into the holidays, a condition that's likely to lead markets to fresh lows before the ball drops in Time Square on December 31. Concerted collusion by the usual suspects is keeping markets afloat, an effort that has very limited upside, if any. Stocks have rebounded from September lows, but the rally that was aided with a huge push November 9 has been flat-lining over the past week and is looking to roll right over.
Approaching the opening bell, a few retailers reported earnings Tuesday morning, including consumer electronics giant, Best Buy (BBY), which posted non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending October 29 of $1.38 per share, down 33.7% from the same period last year but well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.03 per share. Group revenues fell 11.1% from last year to $10.3587 billion, but again topped analysts' forecasts of a $10.31 billion tally. Same-store sales, Best Buy said, tumbled 10.4% from last year.
As is usually the case, Wall Street's assessment of a bottom line beat is more important that falling revenue and profit on an annual basis. The stock is trading seven to eight percent higher pre-market.
Adding to the positive news flow, Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) returned an earning beat for the fifth consecutive quarter, posting EPS of $2.45 on expectations of $2.20, down from $2.78 the same period a year ago. Net sales were up 6.5% from a year ago, at $2.96 billion, a record for the sporting goods retailer. Shares of Dick's were lower, however, down about three percent, as same store sales are predicted to be down from last year's levels.
Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR) were indicated lower, after posting fiscal third quarter results of $266.9 million, or $1.20 a share, from $216.8 million, or 96 cents a share, in the year-ago period. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise sub-par market, Dollar Tree is up 17% year-to-date, but cited pressure on profit margins in the upcoming quarter, lowering guidance and sending shares down four percent prior to the market open.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) net sales of $880 million, down 3% as compared to last year on a reported basis and approximately flat on a constant currency basis, were the headline, in a vain attempt to hide a loss of $0.04 as compared to a profit of $0.77 a year ago. Expectations were for a loss of 15 cents, the quarter's results, despite losing money, were an EPS beat.
The company also announced a board room change, with Terry Burman to step down as Board Chairperson and retire at the end of his current term (January 28, 2023), replaced by Nigel Travis, current independent Director and Chair of Nominating and Board Governance Committee. Diverse factors contributed to shares of the clothing retailer higher by 12 to 15 percent in pre-market trading.
On the heels of these reports, equity futures were cautiously higher, with Dow futures up 115 points, S&P futures up 15, and NASDAQ futures up 38.
There may be some tendency for a rally here, but prospects seem thinly-supported with full trading days today and tomorrow. Following Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, equity markets will open at the regular time, but close for the week at 1:00 pm ET on Black Friday.
At the Close, Monday, November 21, 2022:
Sunday, November 20, 2022, 9:57 am ET
While -0.01% isn't exactly what might be considered much of a loss, it's nonetheless the negative result of a weeks' worth of trading the Dow Industrials. The other indices fell slightly more, headed by the NASDAQ's -1.57% loss, making the tally for the past five weeks, three up and two down.
Uneventful is the appropriate underscore for the week, probably due to near-exhaustion after midterms, an FOMC meeting and rate hike and CPI figures for October. Along those lines, the most prominent data release was retail sales, which turned out to be almost nothing when adjusted for inflation.
Third quarter earnings season is just about over after retailers filed reports over the week. Notably, Walmart (WMT) showed resilience and strength while Target (TGT) missed the mark with the third consecutive quarterly showing that failed to meet EPS expectations. The company appears to be in a retail no-man's land, hawking overpriced, middle class consumer goods in the midst of slumping demand. Lacking the strong grocery component of Walmart, the company heads into the holidays in questionable form.
Down nearly 30% for the year, Target is held up by its $4.32 dividend, currently yielding 2.67%, and, with a share price of 162, is a shadow of its former peak price of 260, from July and November, 2021. Barring some new innovative strategies or wild price reductions during the holidays, Target may be the Bah, Humbug of retailers this year.
The last of the retail stragglers report on Tuesday morning. Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), Burlington (BURL), Best Buy (BBY), Dollar Tree (DLTR), and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) have queued up third quarter reports.
According to CNBC, stocks traditionally do well in Thanksgiving week, with the S&P 500 up 75 percent of the time for an average gain of 0.6 percent since 1945. A performance in that range would get the S&P back up over 4,000, though that appears to be an area of deep psychological and material resistance. Any trading between now and year's end is going to be mostly churning, barring some existential development, guided by tax considerations and strategies in advance of a potential recession in 2023.
That said, it's almost always the case that complacency breeds volatility. A major break could occur in any market at any point between now and year's end, be it stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies or crypto. As for the latter, that break may have already happened via the FTX fraud, still unraveling, and potentially spilling over to other markets.
Short-dated securities were sold off during the week, with one-month bills spiking 22 basis points to 3.93%, fully inverting the entire yield curve as the 30-year bond slipped back to 3.89% on Thursday, November 17, recovering to end the week at 3.92%.
At the long end, the two-year note was up 17 basis points, with threes, fives, and sevens up 11, 4, and 3, respectively, leaving the 10-year note flat at 3.82%. 20 and 30-year bonds were both down 11 basis points, the 30 at a one month low.
The curve more resembles a hump-backed whale than an orderly market, with 2s-30s inverted 59 basis points and 2s-10s inverted even more, 69 basis points. The spread on 1-year to 30-year is the most extreme inversion, from 4.74% to 3.92%, a stunning 0.82%. Five-year, seven-year and 10-year notes were joined by the 30--year bond in the "under 4.00%" club this week.
The "whale" analogy may become more appropriate in coming days as the entire treasury complex appears vulnerable with the potential to rise up, roll over, and deliver a mighty splash. Highly-leveraged positions may be subject to forced selling, as was the case earlier this year with British Gilts.
With the Fed already holding some 30-40% of the entire treasury market and Janet Yellen at the US Treasury Department hinting at bond buybacks, there's little wiggle or bailout room. Being on the lookout for some fund or another going bust within months or weeks may not be such a kookie idea.
On the rate hike front, it's looking like 50 basis points is a certainty at the final FOMC meeting on December 13-14 and 75 could be in the cards. The Fed continues to express seriousness over inflation, the latest word salvo coming from St. Louis President, James Bullard, who squelched an early-morning rally on Thursday, saying, in part, "the policy rate is not yet in a zone that may be considered sufficiently restrictive."
In other words, a federal funds rate of five percent or higher cannot be ruled out.
In defiance of all experts and their expectations, WTI crude oil fell to as low as $77.31/barrel on Friday, in spite of widely-spread reports of tight supply and OPEC+ cutting production quotas. The price of crude has fallen precipitously from $92.60 two weeks ago, to $88.86 as of last Friday, to the current level of $80.11, the lowest price since late September.
Fear-mongering has been the one consistent element of the inflation trade. Mentions of everything from nuclear war to freezing to death or from starvation included in the doom narrative. Truth of the matter is that sanctions against Russia have worked only to the degree of causing panic in Western societies, and shortages of everything from auto fuel to diesel and heating oil have been vastly overblown.
The price of oil has, since January 2021, always been too high considering supply and demand dynamics, the cynical view that - much like the virus panic of 2020-21 - high oil and energy prices were orchestrated by those who benefitted most, the likely culprits big energy companies, government grifters, end times preachers, and sharp-tongued speculators.
At a time in which gas prices are usually hiking due to holiday travel, they've been falling. In the US, the national average for a gallon of regular 87 octane gas dropped eight to ten cents last week, down to $3.68 from $3.76-3.78. California ($5.22) remains the only state averaging over $5.00/gallon. The cheapest gas can be found in Texas, now the only state averaging under $3.00, at $2.94. The Southeastern states continue to trend well under $4.00 per gallon. Every state east of Idaho, Utah, and Arizona is under $4.00/gallon, except Pennsylvania ($4.02). Even Utah has fallen below $4.00, down to $3.97 this week.
The few states still above $4.00 are Pennsylvania ($4.02), Arizona ($4.19), Nevada ($4.84), Idaho ($4.16), Washington ($4.63), and Oregon ($4.66).
Generally, Americans have become adept at economizing their driving habits, avoiding unnecessary travel and longer trips, and have been somewhat suppressed by the high price of not just gas, but everything. They simply don't have the money to be driving around needlessly. Besides, newer cars are more efficient, and, thanks to the miracles of science (internet, cell phones, covid), there are fewer people driving, flying, and heating.
The crypto universe is still digesting the sudden collapse of Sam Bankman Fried's FTX and the exchange's token, FTT, a major fraud and little more than a massive money-laundering scheme conceocted by deep state operatives and very likely, the Democrat party.
Bitcoin is currently valued at $16,545.60, just slightly lower than last Sunday's $16,553.00. For now, $16,500 appears to be the safe level, until the next transgression, regression, repression or regulation. Separate from all other crypto in the US, as it is classified as a commodity due to its Proof of Work (PoW) protocol - whereas all others are "securities" - bitcoin may manage to retain some value, especially as El Salvador and Nigeria have not given up on using it as a primary currency. How that relates to the rest of the world remains to be seen, though there are indications that it may stabilize at this, or, more likely, a lower level.
Bitcoin is still a pain to hold and trade or buy or sell anything of value, and exchanges have been shown to be less than reliable. Cold storage wallets are the only solution for those requiring privacy or anonymity, but operational functionality is still bulky and unappealing.
These two elements of gold trading go hand-in-hand in case one is of the belief that the COMEX-LBMA stranglehold on gold and silver prices is about to be jettisoned in favor of a more egalitarian and realistic system. Central banks have kept gold on their balance sheets forever and are adding to positions, which indicates a change is underway, likely the effect of Basel III recommendations concerning allocated gold holdings.
The BIS - the central bank of central banks - closing out its swaps and leases may be even a more profound signal that a revaluation of gold, and along with it, all fiat currencies, is about to be undertaken. It would hardly be surprising to see some relevant action taken at the end of this year, giving a fresh start to 2023 and bayond. It would speak of clean balance sheets and a neat tidying up of the failed fiat regime.
These are rather remarkable events and require continued inspection. Anything that could possibly affect price discovery in a meaningful way ought to be taken seriously.
Gold/Silver Ratio: 83.55
Gold price 10/21: $1,662.50
Silver price 10/21: $19.40
Here are the most recent prices for common one ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, free shipping included):
The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) fell for the second straight week, though lonly by a small amount, to $36.66, a loss of six cents from the November 13 price of $37.72.
Ranking right up with watching paint dry, equity markets produced one of the duller weeks of the past few years as stocks rose and fell within a narrow range. That's not likely to last long, as there are too many spinning plates to be handled efficiently by the Federal Reserve and other actors, specifically, those in governments and on Wall Street still seeking the golden goose of profitability.
The coming week, being the shortest trading week of the year (3 1/2 days), might not produce anything other than the usual noisy holiday rhetoric, though afterwards, trading could become more interesting, especially for the bearish camp, since the Fed continues hell-bent on fighting inflation and producing a recession in 2023, probably no later than the second quarter.
Keep a close eye on layoffs that extend beyond tech companies. People being furloughed during the holidays cannot be viewed positively in any manner. Business cycles maintain, and this one continues to wind down. The conclusion remains a far-off target.
At the Close, Friday, November 18, 2022:
For the Week:
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