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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, January 21, 2022, 9:16 am ET
A global meltdown in asset values is now well underway, as stocks set the stage with an abrupt, across-the-board decline on Thursday.
After a brief relief rally sent the Dow and other US equity indices higher in early trading, stocks began to fade in the afternoon, generally reaching the unchanged mark with just an hour left in the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been higher by more than 450 points, lost more than 300 in just the final hour.
The NASDAQ continued its dismal performance, dropping another 180 points at the close, a loss of 1.30% on the day. From its all-time high from November 19 (16,057.44), the NASDAQ has shed more than 12% in the downturn and fell deeper into correction territory.
The S&P 500, which is perhaps the best measure of important companies, made a record close just two weeks prior, on January 4, at 4,793.54. It closed out Thursday with a 50-point loss, to 4,482.73, it's lowest close since October 15, 2021. It is down 6.5% from the top.
Other asset classes followed stocks lower, but the most pronounced was in the cryptocurrency space, where Bitcoin lost more than eight percent after the closing bell, bottoming out at $38,045.07, after showing signs of recovery earlier in the day, when it peaked at $43,413.02. The move lower was attributed mainly to a proposed ban of trading or mining cryptos in Russia, though the legislation being presented explicitly does not ban holding crypto assets. It's anyone's guess how owning bitcoin in Russia without any possibility of trading or spending it favors anybody outside of the wealthy, who would have the ability both to buy and sell bitcoin (no government can effectively stop that), but to also leave the country for less-restrictive locales.
Gold, silver, and even crude oil also sustained losses as darkness fell on the Western Hemisphere, though they were not significant.
A number of shooting star stock names were hammered during the session and after the close. The maker of stylish home fitness equipment, Peloton (PTON) dropped nearly 24% when it was revealed that the company was ceasing manufacturing operations amid flagging sales. The company's stock, which traded as high as 162 in December, 2020, fell to 24 and change.
Popular streaming service, Netflix (NFLX) was pounded after hours on downbeat expectations and a poor performance in its most recent quarter as subscriber growth expectations were not met. Shares were down some 100 points, from above 500 to a range around 407, a roughly 20% loss.
These examples of popular, relatively-young companies are beginning to look like standard-setters going forward. With the bulk of tech companies unprofitable, a replay of the 2000 dotcom crash is already well underway, the condition exacerbated by upcoming interest rate hikes which the Federal Reserve has telegraphed for as early as March, and the tapering of asset purchases by the Fed already begun.
The FOMC meets next week, with a policy announcement and press conference set for 2:00 pm on Wednesday, January 26. While recent Fed meetings have prompted market movement, this time it appears that the market is well ahead of the Fed.
Yields on treasuries continued their upward bent through recent asset repricing, representing a significant rout in fixed-income markets. The 10-year note yield stood at 1.87% on Tuesday, but has stabilized at 1.83% the past two days. Most of the focus has been on the 2-year, which has seen yields rise from 0.77% at the start of the year to Thursday's closing price of 1.08%, an enormous move of 40% in less than three weeks.
With the 30-year holding at 2.14%, the 2s-30s spread has fallen to 106 basis points, where it had been 130 basis points as recently as January 4. The continuing flattening of the curve represents tightening financial conditions, which is what the Fed desires in its fight against inflation. The problems it faces with higher rates overall and tighter conditions for the near term are three-fold: 1) crashing the equity markets; 2) causing a recession; and 3) destroying the federal budget with higher interest costs on the whopping $29.8 trillion and any future borrowing, at the same time making deficit spending more costly.
As a private bank, the Fed desires only that more and more debt is produced to continue their scheme of global monetary dominance, so the issues facing the larger economy are not necessarily a concern to them. The Federal Reserve will do as it pleases, which, since the GFC of 2008-09, has been to promote the stock market as the primary asset class. It's choices are plain to see. They either raise rates to stem inflation and risk an equity blowout crash, or continue QE and other currency devaluation policies and cause runaway inflation.
Since neither outcome is palatable to the public nor the politicians, expect the Fed to dither on both sides of the coin, as it were, resulting in no good outcomes and increased volatility across all markets.
For the week thus far (three days), the Dow is down 1196 points and has fallen below its 200-day moving average. The NASDAQ is lower by 740 points and has closed below its 200-day MA all three days. The S&P 500 has shed some 180 points this week and closed Thursday about 50 points above the 200-day. With everything moving lower, it's only a matter of time before the S&P tests an area of tepid support around 4300.
With less than a half hour before the US open, stock futures are lower across the board. Asian stocks finished mostly lower. European indices were down around two percent. Friday looks to be a washout session.
Anybody who does not believe this is a bear market is either lying, blind, terminally stupid, or already dead.
At the Close, Thursday, January 20, 2022:
Thursday, January 20, 2022, 9:26 am ET
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is meeting virtually this week. Among their top agenda is dealing with public distrust of government and institutions.
Well, isn't that something. The WEF, brainchild of Klaus Slob, created most of the distrust, and now they want to find ways to fix it.
Money Daily has a suggestion for them. Stop trying to enslave everybody through your propaganda and failed monetary and fiscal policies.
There, done. Good luck to them. The people who attend the WEF forums - usually held annually in Davos, Switzerland - are political "leaders", oligarchs, rich bankers, and other people you wouldn't trust to babysit your five-year-old. Thus, they and their recommendations about how the world should operate are best to be avoided, ignored, disregarded, and made obsolete.
Stocks took yet another bearish turn on Wednesday. The Dow closed lower for the fourth straight session and eighth in the last 10. The NASDAQ fell into technical correction territory, down more than 10% from its all-time high. Now, there is no strict rule about defining corrections and/or bear and bull markets, but the recent declines and follow-up on the markets indicate that there is massive distribution underway. Large holders of stocks are shedding shares with undue rapidity and the markets have not bounced back as they were likely to do over the past 12 years.
"Buy the Dip" is old news. The new game being played is "Sell the Rip." Insiders and large shareholders are unloading stock to the public at as high a price they can get. As has been the case on Wall Street for decades, the public will be left holding the bag as stock prices decelerate and decline.
Make no mistake, stocks are in a bear market and may have been since November of last year.
At he same time, over the past few weeks, precious metals have staged a quiet rally that actually became quite a bit noisier on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The London PM gold fix was 1,789.35 on January 6, the low for 2022. On Wednesday, the 19th, it stood at 1,826.95. In most places, such as the COMEX, it's pricing at 1846.40.
Silver's London PM gold fix hit a 2022 low of 22.24 on January 7. On Wednesday, it was 23.77 and on the COMEX is currently pricing at 24.32. This is all normal. The difference between the "fix" or spot, and the bid on futures (COMEX) is the spread between what producers are offered for large quantities of metal and the potential selling price over the counter. So long as futures maintain prices above spot, markets are healthy, in contango, as opposed to backwardation.
Online dealers and pricing on markets such as eBay are being adjusted constantly during the day. Precious metals may be on the verge of a massive break out to record levels if the Fed and other central banks are intent on raising interest rates. Nothing benefits PMs more than inflation, but a period of rising interest rates comes a close second.
There's also the not small matter of the recent Basel III reserve requirements for unallocated gold which kicked into London markets (where much gold is stored) on January 1. This delayed reaction may be attributable to massive unwinds of positions held by large financial institutions who do not desire to tie up reserves backing unallocated gold, and, to a lesser extent, silver.
Bitcoin has been stable through the past week, bounding between $41,000 and $42,500. Currently, Bitcoin is approaching the upper limit of this band and could break out. A telling sign will be given if stocks decline and Bitcoin moves higher, much as the precious metals have done.
As the opening bell approaches, stock futures are higher, but they were also higher prior to yesterday's open. The jig is up, it seems.
At the Close, Wednesday, January 19, 2022:
Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 9:21 am ET
Last Friday, part of the message delivered by Money Daily was this:
Markets are closed Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday, so the indication is that there may be a host of traders determined not to go into the weekend sporting long positions, especially in tech, which has been battered severely over the past two weeks, and now, banks and retail also feeling a pinch of desperation.
... and later in the post:
With a huge weekend of NFL football upcoming (six games from Saturday through Monday) acting as a diversion, is the world staring straight at a new Black Friday or Bleak Tuesday?
Friday opened poorly, with all the major indices under water. They stayed submerged until a rally ensued in the afternoon, which took the NASDAQ and S&P into positive territory, though the Dow remained sunk for the day and thee week. Incidentally, all but the NYSE Composite were lower for the week, the brunt taken by the Dow (-319.85, -0.88%).
At the Close, Friday, January 14, 2022:
As it turns out, a "Black Friday" was averted to some degree, but "Bleak Tuesday" materialized in a large part due to a sullen fourth quarter earnings report from Goldman Sachs (GS).
As explained by the Motley Fool article linked above...
"Goldman's $3.8 billion profit in the fourth quarter missed analyst estimates of $4.1 billion and failed to match last year's $4.36 billion total.
Revenue at the bank's stock and bond trading unit, which made a killer off market swings in 2020, fell 7% year over year to $4 billion, missing analysts' $4.3 billion forecast ‹ of note, equities trading earnings fell 11%."
Goldman had a record year, however, netting $21.2 billion, much of it in advisory services as they managed a record number of Mergers, acquisitions, and other deals. Thus, bonus payouts were beyond the pale as compensation costs rose to $17.7 billion.
Goldman's reported largesse came on the heels of JP Morgan's report the prior Friday morning, which was a major factor in the Dow's decline as the week came to a close. Putting Friday and Tuesday together, the Dow lost more than two percent, much of the losses caused by the perceived underperformance of two mega-banks.
Let's be clear. The big national banks are nothing more than vipers and leeches on society. They don't produce anything of material value. The retail banks - Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup - provide checking and credit card services to individuals and businesses, holding vast amounts of cash while paying almost no interest.
That's all well and good, but they use those deposits to gamble and speculate on everything from stocks and bonds to credit swaps and other risky derivatives. Their mind-boggling adventurism and corrupt business practices were the main drivers of the 2008-09 Great Financial Crisis (GFC). They were bailed out by the government (taxpayers and the Fed), and continued on their merry way, sinking the US and global economy into more than a decade of dolorous decline, all the while lining the pockets of their executives with shady practices such as buying their own stock (which used to be criminal), rigging markets, and toying with interest rates such as the LIBOR, which had to be abandoned after many global banking interests were caught colluding to influence and exploit it to their advantage and to the detriment of millions of consumers and businesses.
Banking concerns, especially those having to do with Wall Street, have always been a sore spot for America. Banks and brokerages were principal drivers of the Great Depression, countless wars, and a general theft of wealth from all sectors of the economy. Goldman Sachs, smartly called a "Vampire Squid" by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, was an apt enough description back in 2010, but, after decades of deceit in the murky waters of fiat finance and the emergence of cryptocurrencies over the past decade, they might better be described as a troglodyte leech, a layabout passenger on the body of American and global finance, methodically draining the life force from the host. They, and their fellow travelers have done a splendid job killing the middle class and keeping the poorest of the poor subjugated and depressed.
To say the banking system in America is antiquated and destructive would be putting it lightly. As owners of the Federal Reserve, the mega-banks have managed to hollow out American industry, leaving a corpse of what used to be the most dynamic economic force in the world. There are few well-paying jobs in the goods-producing sector of the economy. By helping the federal government pass laws that favored only giant companies, the banks and big business interests have shut down entrepreneurship to an incredible degree. It takes a team of lawyers, accountants, tax advisors and other helpers just to get a business started. Saddled with enormous costs, many would-be business people have either left the country to pursue their dreams elsewhere, or given up altogether.
Most Americans wish not to hear the truth, but starting a business in the "land of the free" is nowhere near as easy as in other places. It's actually worse in Europe, which is on the verge of totalitarian collapse.
Nothing good can come from the banking or big business sectors of the US and European economies. They're fully saturated with the debt of hundreds of millions of households, to say nothing of the enormous government bills that will never be repaid. The US federal government debt is rapidly approaching $30 trillion ($29.8T). It grows at a rate of $90 million per hour, more than $2.1 billion a day. Some argue that it's closer to $3 billion a day. Some say more. In any case it will likely exceed $30 trillion before the end of February.
According to the US Debt Clock, money owed by the Federal Government impoverishes every citizen of the country by more than $238,000. Is there any wonder that American prosperity has become a chimera, a fleeting ghost of an image from a bygone era?
Beyond the non-stop vampirism of the banking and government sectors, there is the matter of the currency, consisting of debt instruments (Federal Reserve NOTES) and its attendant digital forms which are unsound, fiat creations designed to perpetuate only banks, not the lives of people. The US currency, the "dollar" continues to be the king of the fiat world. Every country on Earth issues currencies backed by absolutely nothing other than "good faith and credit" of various governments. And those governments - via their central banks - are hard at work devaluing their currencies in a mad dash to the bottom of the monetary abyss.
What's ahead in 2022 and beyond is neither inviting nor sustainable. Those with the means to escape the vortex of whatever evil comes next, be it hyper-inflation, global depression, or a combination of both, may survive to see whats known as "the other side." When they arrive at their destination, these economic survivors are unlikely to be in any frame of mind to suffer the whims and wisdom of either banks or governments.
They will readily be dispatched and discarded.
At the Close, Tuesday, January 18, 2022:
Sunday, January 16, 2022, 12:22 pm ET
For all the volatility in equity markets the past week, the major indices didn't really go anywhere, continuing a pattern that leaves them - other than the NASDAQ, which struggles at lower levels - roughly right where they were at the beginning of last November.
As for the NASDAQ, it was higher four of the five sessions over the past week, but still lost ground, begging the question of whether or not tech stocks are worth the investment at a time of rich valuations. The answer the market seems to be offering is a definite "maybe not," but holders of the big tech names continue to pour money into Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook (Meta), and other tech high-fliers, in a practice commonly known as "supporting their shares."
The continuance of such "buy the dip" mentality leads to distortions in the market, especially when shares are concentrated among a small number. One such example is Amazon (AMZN), where 13% is held by insiders, and nearly 60% by institutions, among them, Vanguard Group (6.56%), Blackrock (5.55%), T Rowe Price (3.23%), State Street (3.22%), and FMR, LLC (3.06%). These top five own more than 21% of all shares outstanding. The top two (Vanguard, Blackrock) control more than 60 million shares, valued at more than $200 billion.
Average volume of trading on Amazon stock is around three million shares daily. These behemoth investors controlling the bulk of the shares can have significant impact, especially if they're acting in concert to maintain price levels.
It's all part of the global wealth misalignment, which favors large, already-wealthy concerns far above those of the average investor. When stocks maintain their prices, investors in funds such as Vanguard or Blackrock tend to leave their money in place, thanks to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) or the sense of security they have in their fund managers. The trust is not misplaced so long as these mega-funds see fit to keep stocks at extreme valuations over long periods.
Dominated by institutional investors making trades via complex algorithms, the current trading regime is highly skewed towards keeping prices in place or gradually moving higher. It helps explain why no matter what the Fed does with interest rates, little to no damage can be done to most of the overvalued stocks in play. The institutions own so much of them, they can absorb sellers with their massive, concentrated buying power.
Consider this example: You and some of your neighbors go to a farm market and buy cantaloupes at $3.00 each. A representative from Vanguard is on hand, buying a few at select moments for $3.25 or $3.50, making more people think that the cantaloupes at $3.00 are a good deal, so maybe some will buy two or three. Some may even buy at higher prices. There's no incentive for the farmer to sell at any lower price, since demand remains strong as long as that Vanguard buyer keeps buying periodically at higher prices. And that can go on forever, which, in the equity markets, since 2009 (with the exception of the shortest bear market in history (Feb-May 2020), it more or less has.
The treasury complex remained under some pressure on the long end, a result of mutterings by Fed officials about containing inflation throughout the week, especially by Chairman Powell, who testified before the Senate as they prepare to confirm him for another four-year term. His confirmation is pretty much a slam dunk, as he faces little to no partisan opposition.
The 10-year note gained two basis points in yield over the past week, to 1.76%, the 30-year just one basis point to 2.12%. Most of the selling was focused on two and three-year notes, with the yield on the two-year rising from 0.87% to 0.99%, and the three-year from 1.17% to 1.26%. Those moves produced some flattening of the curve, with the 2s-10s falling from a spread of 89 basis points to 79, indicating the rise in rates on short term lending caused by inflation fears.
With December CPI checking in at 7.0% and PPI climbing 9.7% year-over-year, an uptick in short-to-medium term loan rates is predictable. How much higher Treasuries go will spill over into more mundane lending such as car loans, credit cards, and store credit accounts. Thus far in the tightening regime, the Fed hasn't had to do much in the way of heavy lifting. The market seems to be doing it for them. When they get around to raising the federal funds rate (and probably the prime rate) in March, most of the shock value will have been wrung out of both the bond and equity markets.
Doom and gloom predictions (apologies for occasional slips under the fear-mongering) will likely be heard in the wider territory, but will register as mere whispers in enclaves like Wall Street and the DC Capitol District.
Bitcoin spent the week acting like a stable currency, gradually improving from the FUD-induced selling over the past two months. Bear in mind, when considering the price of Bitcoin, that it made an all-time high of $69,000 just two months ago (November 9, 2021). Getting back to that level, and even if it never does, does not diminish the value of Bitcoin in the longer term. As a store of value, it should move gradually higher, since adoption is widespread and the value of all fiat currencies are in decline.
Use of Bitcoin as a broad-based means of exchange will take longer, though countries that are less-developed, such as Nigeria, for a good example, will adopt faster than the major countries of the Northern Hemisphere, especially those in North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) and the Eurozone. Regardless of the efforts by regulators, officials, corrupt hedge fund traders, ETFs, and other naysayers of cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular, Bitcoin is here to stay. Most, if not all, of the tokens and alt-cryptocurrencies will eventually fail. Bitcoin, with the most elegantly-simple solution to the dilemma of honest money - a defined limit, decentralized ledger, and proof-of-work - will remain.
Alt-coins, tokens and other playthings in the crypto universe may be adorable to speculators, but, eventually, most of them are garbage, including Ethereum, which has been overhyped to the point of having roughly half the market cap of Bitcoin. Ether, being the second invention behind the original genius of Satoshi's Bitcoin protocol, employs proof-of-stake and is less "honest" than Bitcoin. Eventually, some of the tokens like Ethereum will find a place in the cyber money continuum, but the true currency will be Bitcoin and little else. Consider Bitcoin the reserve currency of crypto, just as the US dollar is the reserve currency of fiats.
WTI crude oil futures ramped from $78.90 a barrel to $84.27 on Friday (1/14), largely due to speculation, but also with a tailwind of a milder MORONIC virus sending people back to work. Even though the spectrum of awareness stretches from nearly no masks, no mandates, no testing, no vaccines in many parts of rural America, to excessive precaution, double masking, daily testing, mindless jabbing, and fear in mostly Northeastern and West Coast cities, the general consensus from American citizens is a general shrug at the virus and advice from government officials. People are getting on with life, giving a green light to oil producers.
Gas prices are averaging around $3.32 per gallon of unleaded regular. Not much change there, but little relief for drivers. Maybe Slow Joe or congressional Democrats will offer some solution. Otherwise, drive less, organize travel, don't make unnecessary trips. Meh.
Gold price 01/09: $1,797.00
Silver price 01/09: $22.36
Judging by the COMEX futures and Money Daily's weekly survey results below, there's strong demand both at the individual and institutional level for both gold and silver. There's been a lot of talk lately about Bitcoin replacing gold or silver as stores of value, though it's arguable that such opinions may be premature, despite what Max Keiser and others are preaching. Gold has been consistently suppressed by central banks as a currency competitor, but silver has likely been even more hated over centuries by globalist financiers because of its durability, usefulness, and general acceptance as money by common folks. Elitists don't like commoners, and they've shown their hand repeatedly over time.
Money, in America was originally defined in the Coinage Act of 1792 as denominations of gold, silver, and copper coins.
SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That there shall be from time to time struck and coined at the said mint, coins of gold, silver, and copper, of the following denominations, values and descriptions, viz. Eagles‹each to be of the value of ten dollars or units, and to contain two hundred fort-seven grains and four eighths of a grain of pure, or two hundred and seventy grains of standard gold. Half eagles‹each to be of the value of five dollars, and to contain one hundred and twenty three grains and six eights of a grain of pure, or one hundred and thirty five grains of standard gold. Quarter Eagles‹each to be of the value of two dollars and a half dollar, and to contain sixty one grains and seven eights of a grain of pure, or sixty seven grains and four eights of a grain of standard gold. Dollars or the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver, Half Dollars‹each to be of half the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain one hundred and eighty-five grains and ten sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or two hundred and eights of a grain of standard silver. Quarter Dollars‹each to be of one fourth the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain ninety-two grains and thirteen sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or one hundred and four grains of standard silver. Dismes‹each to be of the value of one tenth of a dollar or unit, and to contain thirty seven grains and two sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or forty one grains and three fifth parts of a grain of standard silver. Half Dismes‹each to be of the value of one twentieth of a dollar, and to contain eighteen grains and nine sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or twenty grains and four fifth parts of a grain of standard silver. Cents‹each to be of the value of the one hundredth part of a dollar, and to contain eleven penny-weights of copper. Half Cents‹each to be of the value of half a cent, and to contain five penny-weights and half a penny-weight of copper.
Employing calculations from these standard weights and measures, a one ounce gold coin, commonly, these days referred to as "Eagles" contains 437.5 grains of pure gold (.999 or .9999 fineness). Back in 1792, such a coin would be valued at just about $19.00. Today, at open prices, it's around $1800, which demonstrates, quite clearly, that the currency known as "the US dollar" has declined by 99%. $10 in 1792 is worth about a penny today, but it's vastly different when gold or silver is used in making such timely calculations.
Similar calculations will return much the same results, clearly illustrating the effect of inflation over a full 230 years, and, more recently, since 1913, when congress handed over control of US money to the Federal Reserve, an abomination and a complete abdication of responsibility, a quickening of the debasement of US currency, to the detriment of the people.
There's little wonder to why people believe valuations of gold and silver in today's inflated currency should be magnitudes higher, with gold somewhere between $9,450 and $90,000 and silver anywhere from $1,950 to $8,500. People who understand algebra and calculus can do the math in a variety of ways.
In any case, here are the latest prices for common one ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, shipping - often free - included):
The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) fell sharply over the course of the week, at $38.94, a solid gain of $1.70 from the January 9th price of $37.24.
TUESDAY: Goldman Sachs (GS), Truist Financial (TFC), PNC Financial (PNC), JB Hunt Transport Services (JBHT), Interactive Brokers (IBKR).
WEDNESDAY: Morgan Stanley (MS), Bank of America (BAC), US Bancorp. (USB), State Street Corp. (STT), UnitedHealth (UNH), Procter & Gamble (PG).
THURSDAY: Netflix (NFLX), United Airlines (UAL), American Airlines (AAL), Baker Hughes (BKR), Discover Financial Services (DFS), CSX Corp. (CSX), Union Pacific (UNP), The Travelers (TRV).
FRIDAY: Schlumberger (SLB), Huntington Bancshares (HBAN).
At the Close, Friday, January 14, 2022:
For the Week:
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