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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.

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Non-Farm Payrolls Soar to 275,000 Jobs in February; BRICS Planning Digital Alternative to Dollar for International Trade

Friday, March 8, 2024, 9:17 am ET

Stocks, especially those associated with technology, got a boost on Thursday. While the S&P set another record closing high, the NASDAQ gained by 1.51%, leaving the index just 1.56 points shy of its record close fro a week ago (March 1, 16,274.94).

Gains from Wednesday and Thursday offset Monday's and Tuesday's losses, leaving the majors

Through the close Thursday, the Dow is still down 296 points, the NASDAQ down just 1.57 points, and the S&P up 20. The NYSE Composite has outdone them all this week, up 199 points, as investors continue to rotate out of mega-cap, primary Dow stocks into small caps. If the Composite Index finishes the week in positive territory, it will run its weekly streak to seven, better than its peers, which had their own winning streaks interrupted three weeks ago.

Incidentally, should the Dow close in the red, it would be its third negative week of the last four. From a macro perspective, these money flows indicate shifting sentiment that appears to be a developing trend. Stay tuned to the differences in gains and losses between the behemoths on the Dow - which just this week swapped out Walgreens in favor of Amazon (AMZN), a move that was poorly timed. While Walgreens had been an anchor, weighing down the Dow, Amazon recently made a 27-month high, closing in on its all-time high from November 2021. It could become another drag on the Dow unless the stock surpasses its pandemic-related performance.

Thursday night, the TV public was entertained by the sideshow that is the US government, as Biden addressed a joint session of congress in his State of the Union address. Among the more blatant lies was his preposterous notion that somehow he was responsible for lowering the national deficit, which is about 180 degrees from reality. One can only wonder what House Speaker Mike Johnson was thinking, seated behind Biden, repeatedly shaking his head over the spew in front of him. Biden's litany of catchwords and jingoistic shouting was yet another embarrassment for America. Little, if any, of his statements, proposals, or demands carried any weight.

The real show, for the past two weeks at least, has been the meteoric rise of gold and bitcoin, generally assumed to be protection against the ravages of inflation and demise of the US dollar. While most Americans are clueless to just how poorly the US reserve currency is performing abroad, there's particular focus on de-dollarization around the world, particularly in BRICS+ nations, which are hell-bent on developing alternatives to the hegemony of the dollar (and the euro, pound, and yen). With Russia chairing the BRICS in 2024, culminating with the BRICS summit in Kazan, Russia in October, the leading edge of the "Global South" is poised to introduce its own alternative, potentially employing blockchain for international settlements.

This news probably has a good deal to do with the ascent of gold and bitcoin, as Kremlin spokesman Yury Ushakov opined on Monday, saying, We believe that creating an independent BRICS payment system is an important goal for the future, which would be based on state-of-the-art tools such as digital technologies and blockchain."

The October summit would be an opportune moment for the BRICS, providing their own "October surprise" in advance of the US elections.

Lena Petrova provides background and detail in the video below.

A half hour prior to the US cash open, gold has streaked to a new high at $2190/oz. Likewise, bitcoin was up nearly $1,000, at $67,896, the result of the hilarious February Non-farm payroll release of an additional 275,000 jobs created in the month, with the unemployment rate rising to 3.9%. Widely criticized countless times in the past, the BLS has a unique knack for providing whatever politically-expedient numbers are required, and it appears they've done it again.

Gains in the stock market, government budgeting, appropriation, deficits, and even the US elections are a sideshow in the world of international finance, which is convulsing into a new world order not necessarily to the Western world's liking. Futures exploded higher on the jobs number, putting a lie to the narrative that Wall Street wants rate cuts from the Fed. Nothing of the sort will happen so long as people keep buying US debt at current levels and inflation remains a serious threat to the nation's consumers.

At the Close, Thursday, March 7, 2024:
Dow: 38,791.35, +130.30 (+0.34%)
NASDAQ: 16,273.38, +241.83 (+1.51%)
S&P 500: 5,157.36, +52.60 (+1.03%)
NYSE Composite: 17,927.62, +126.58 (+0.71%)


House Averts Shutdown; Senate to Act, Biden to Sign; Bitcoin, Gold Continue to Ramp Higher; ECB Announcement Due

Thursday, March 7, 2024, 9:40 am ET

Stocks managed to shake off two days of declines on Wednesday, but failed to recover much of what was lost, especially on the Dow and NASDAQ. The S&P fared the best of the big three while the NYSE Composite, comprised mostly of small caps, is actually up about 70 points on the week.

Among market-moving events on Wednesday was Fed Chair Jerome Powell's semi-annual testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in which he offered little more than the basic "higher for longer, steady as she goes" rhetoric that has been standard for the Fed since they stopped raising the federal funds rate this past June. There were no hints given by Powell to appease the pivot or cut throng of Wall Streeters who desire easier money and higher inflation. Their arguments for rate cuts this year are falling on deaf ears. Powell speaks before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday morning.

Elsewhere, ADP's February Employment Report [PDF] fell short of expectations, showing a gain of 140,000 jobs for the month.

The House of Representatives got to work on a package of appropriations totaling $467 billion, voting 339-85 in favor, moving the package to the Senate for consideration, where it has bipartisan support, and eventually to Biden's desk. The imposter-in-chief will likely take full credit for averting a government shutdown which would have occurred Friday at midnight at the (hopefully, his last) State of the Union address Thursday night. Another government shutdown is slated for March 22nd (two weeks) if legislators fail to reach agreement on a second tranche of appropriations.

Prior to the market open, initial unemployment claims came in flat at 217,000 for the week while continuing claims approached two million.

Taking the bulk of headlines this week have been gold and bitcoin, each of which notched fresh all-time highs this week. Unlike gold, which has continued higher every day this week, hitting a high of $2,172.20 this morning, Bitcoin suffered a setback after setting the top Tuesday, but has recovered most of the losses, currently trending around $67,133.50.

Silver continues to lag, though it appears poised for a significant breakout as well, trading at $24.50/ounce this morning. Stock futures are poised for a solid opening, though there could be some turbulence upon the ECB's rate policy announcement later today.

At the Close, Wednesday, March 6, 2024:
Dow: 38,661.05, +75.86 (+0.20%)
NASDAQ: 16,031.54, +91.96 (+0.58%)
S&P 500: 5,104.76, +26.11 (+0.51%)
NYSE Composite: 17,801.04, +131.54 (+0.74%)


MAGA Rules as Trump Nears Nomination; Haley Out, Nuland Retires, Neocons on the Run; Ukraine a Lost Cause

Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 9:54 am ET

Like Nikki Haley, stocks took a pretty good thumping on Super Tuesday.

As usual, results could have been worse, as panic buyers swarmed stocks into the close. The regular tape-painting party didn't miss a tasting at the equity buffet. The Dow glommed up 120 points in the last half hour, the NASDAQ trimmed its losses by 77 points while the S&P added 21 points into the close.

Whether these latter day quants be suckers or opportunists is beyond the pale. What matters is that they consistently boost stocks at the terminus of nearly every session. A good case could be made for buying stocks between 2:30 and 3:00 pm ET and selling just before the close. Profits would likely exceed overall market gains.

It's a casino without walls wherein rubes get fleeced every day. Longer stay participants are treated to house money just for standing pat.

Out in the real world, it appears that Biden/Democrat regime change is on the march. President Trump gathered up another batch of delegates on his way to the Republican (MAGA) nomination.

Trump entered Tuesday with a tally of 276 delegates in Republican primaries and ended the night at somewhere between 995 and 1,057, depending on which flawed MSM source is cited, closing in on the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination for president. After being beaten four-to-one in states like Tennessee, California, and Texas, Nikki Haley, the sole remaining holdout, dropped out of the race, announced she's suspending her campaign. In Alabama, the margin of victory was 82% for Trump, 13% for Haley. Haley won in Vermont, 50% (probably mostly democrats) to 46%, picking up 17 delusional delegates.

Trump will secure the Republican party nomination within the next two weeks. Primaries on in Georgia (59 delegates), Washington (43), Mississippi (40), and Hawaii (19) on March 12 may actually get him past 1,215, but Florida (125), Ohio (79), Illinois (64), Arizona (43) and Kansas (39) will send him well over the threshold.

Tuesday was also super for Republicans and patriots across the country as Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, responsible for millions of deaths caused by her war-mongering in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine over the years, announced her resignation, effective within weeks. Her departure signals that Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Mike Johnson and the Freedom Caucus, have all but killed Democrat efforts to further fund Ukraine (and probably Israel) in its war against Russia.

Fueled by bluster from Senate Democrats like Chuck Schumer, whose rhetoric centered on Ukraine "must win at all cost" and compliant RINO Republicans like Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, soon-departing party leader Mitch McConnell, and already-departed California Senator Diane Feinstein, House Republicans have stopped the neocons and war-mongers in their tracks. With November elections still eight months away, the tide has clearly turned in favor of common sense MAGA Republicans.

Mainstream media commentators continue to harp on the "false" claims of election interference in 2020, and desperately cling to fleeting notions that maybe Nikki Haley can split the Republican vote in favor of another four years of the detestable Joe Biden.

It's not happening. Network TV viewership is at an all-time low, thanks to more relevant and honest reportage on the internet and a few select cable channels. Network commentators are preaching to dwindling numbers and their spew of half-truths and lies has become, thankfully, largely inconsequential.

On the economic calendar, the February ADP Employment Report [PDF], which excludes government employees, showed a gain of 140,000 for the month. At 10:00 am, the BLS releases the monthly JOLTS (job openings) report. The monthly BLS Non-farm Payroll report comes Friday, 8:30 am ET).

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and heads over the the Senate Banking Committee Thursday. Analysts and traders will be glued to his lips, hoping for any sign that the Chairman is leaning toward reducing interest rates, freeing up more "fun money" for Wall Street gamblers.

Pleading for rate cuts is about to come to an end. Powell and most of the voting FOMC members have repeatedly indicated that there's no imminent need to clip rates any time soon. While the tracking numbers of Wall Street "know-it-alls" suggest three cuts this year, the real number is likely closer to zero, as the Fed continues a need to attract foreign investment. Treasury is running full speed ahead with bond issuance, as Janet Yellen has managed to increase interest payments on the $35.5 trillion debt to over $1 trillion per year.

Not only has the federal government exceeded its budget by ever-increasing deficits, Yellen's desire to bankrupt the government (remember, she was a former Fed Chair) seems to be proceeding with all due haste.

After Tuesday's drubbing in the stock market, stocks are likely to bounce early and then proceed further to the downside as valuations are still extremely stretched. Long-term charts of tech darlings GOOG, AAPL, AMZN, MSFT, or META show the real extent of the current tech bubble.

Meanwhile, bitcoin suffered a nearly 10% decline Tuesday after nothing an all-time high earlier in the day, but has rebounded back to $67,000 overnight. Gold (spot all-time high Tuesday) and silver took some punches from the COMEX, but have been ripping higher Wednesday morning. With the gold:silver ratio at 89.18, silver seems to be an obvious buy. It will have to ascend past $25/ounce in order to attract serious buyers. Currently, it's still in bargain basement range at $24.08.

Happy trading, saving, stacking, and MAGA!

At the Close, Tuesday, March 5, 2024:
Dow: 38,585.19, -404.64 (-1.04%)
NASDAQ: 15,939.59, -267.92 (-1.65%)
S&P 500: 5,078.65, -52.30 (-1.02%)
NYSE Composite: 17,669.49, -79.21 (-0.45%)


SUPER TUESDAY: In Praise of Mike Johnson, Leading the Charge Against the Deep State, Helping Gold, Silver, Bitcoin to Record Highs

Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 10:20 am ET

It's Super Tuesday!

Now that President Trump has been unanimously cleared to run for office again by the Supremes, leftist skulls are popping open like tulips in April. By the time the clock strikes midnight, Donald J. Trump will have amassed more than enough delegates to declare as the presumptive choice and likely the 47th President of the United States.

Not insignificantly, bitcoin and gold are smashing to new all-time highs.

Overnight, bitcoin rocketed to as high as $68,802 and, just minutes ago, gold sought out $2,147.00. Those are some pretty big numbers, but, why are non-stocks zooming higher now?

Some have speculated that advances in gold, silver ($24.40 just a few moments ago) and bitcoin began trending after the release of PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) this past Thursday, which is, for the most part, an accurate assessment, although bitcoin has been rising for weeks and gold has been elevated - though somewhat somnambulant recently - since December.

There is probably something deeper afoot, and it's probably tied in great degree to House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has shown considerable resolve against further funding for useless war efforts in Ukraine and Israel, effectively thwarting efforts by democrats like Chuck (six ways to Sunday) Schumer to continue funding a losing effort (Ukraine) and ethnic cleansing (Israel), otherwise known as genocide.

From the day Mike Johnson, a quiet, well-mannered Representative from Louisiana, was first considered for the role of Speaker of the House after the ouster of RINO toady, Kevin McCarthy, he has been the pinnacle of sound judgement, conviction, and common sense, keeping the democrats at bay while helping lead a not-so-stealthy movement by the Freedom Caucus to (not very successfully) hold back spending while keeping House members busy with legislation that is decidedly NOT about more neocon militarism, funding wars that are not in our best interests or simply scoring political points.

When Johnson met with Schumer, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority leaders, Hakeem Jeffries, and the imposter resident, Biden, he stressed immigration, keeping Ukraine and Israel funding out of the equation for keeping the government lights on another week, or month, as the case may be.

While Johnson may appear unassuming to most people, he's proven to be quite the craty politician, even going so far as to allow a House bill for war funding to proceed. That is the kind of thinking and strategizing that separates Johnson from others who were considered for the role of Speaker. He doesn't grandstand, keeps his friends close (and enemies closer) and sticks to his guns, all in support of and for the American people.

He's managed to turn the tables on the neocons and has them on the run. From New York to Sacramento, war-mongers on the left have nowhere to run, or hide. He's been a Trump supporter from day one, and is unwavering in his approach to government of the people, by the people, FOR THE PEOPLE. He deserves the praise and support of every red-blooded patriot in the United States and around the world. He is working to upend the damage done by democrats and liberal liars on the left and has thus far proven to be an adversary filled with courage and fortitude.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court's decision, while imperfect, has managed to flush out the subversive elements in congress like Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who now has publicly announced his intention to craft legislation that would bar Trump from the presidential ballot, which was left open in the ruling by the Supreme Court. He's destined to fail in his effort, but not before the mainstream media will have a complete news cycle full of "Trump can't win" hysterics.

(Editor's Note: The link above resolves to Axios.com, which is undeniably a deep state operation. Everything that emerges from that jingoistic cesspool is absolutely one-sided, left-leaning, and interminably corrupt. Money Daily chooses to expose them at every opportunity.)

So, what has all of this to do with the price of bitcoin, gold, and silver. EVERYTHING.

The neocons in control of the White House and most of congress have met their match in Mike Johnson and President Trump. Everybody, including the deep state neocons themselves, knows that the 2020 election was stolen. Everybody. Games have been played to keep the charade of "our democracy" front and center, but, also apparent to the neocons, their reign of terror is at an impasse and possibly an end, along with funding for wars, runaway government spending, graft, corruption, money laundering, and domestic and overseas spying and destabilization projects.

None of this is lost on international observers, leaders of countries as diverse as China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, and the list keeps growing. De-dollarization, which has been underway for more than a decade, has shifted into high gear since the Russian sanctions and freezing of their assets in 2022. The BRICS+ have been using common currencies or their own in cross-border trades, eliminating the need for the US$. While the US dollar has remained strong against other fiat currencies, it is seen, appropriately, as a pariah, destined for the scrapheap of history, which has been the final resting place for all fiat, counterfeit currencies, forever.

The United States has been losing influence since November, 2020, and its current leadership has become the laughing stock of the entire world. Deep state neocons and their sympathizers and plotters in congress and the White House have inflicted as much damage as possible in a scant three years, but they're now facing insurmountable odds in terms of the upcoming elections. They are being forced to slow their roll by Trump, Johnson, the Freedom Caucus, and other allies like Rand Paul and British agitator, George Galloway, who recently won re-election to the House of Commons. Forces are moving against them and Israel in the Middle East. Russians are advancing across a 1100-kilometer front line in Ukraine. Funding has met an impasse, the $60 billion earmarked for more guns, tanks, jets, and dying in Ukraine has been stalled since September. It is not moving forward.

the rallying cry for neocons, "Ukraine must win!" has been replaced by a vehement "not another dime" by proponents for peace, security, and common sense on the right.

All of politics is changing. That's why bitcoin, gold, silver, and practically anything not tethered to the US dollar is going higher and will likely continue to do for the remainder of the time until the elections.

Just as a footnote, Google (GOOG), Tesla (TSLA) and Apple (AAPL) were slammed to earth on Monday. The Magnificent Seven may soon devolve into the Fantastic Four of NVDA, MSFT, AMZN, META, and their time as market leaders may also come to an end earlier than expected.

It's 10:20 am ET. Stocks, like neocons, are down. Have at it.

At the Close, Monday, March 4, 2024:
Dow: 38,989.83, -97.57 (-0.25%)
NASDAQ: 16,207.51, -67.39 (-0.41%)
S&P 500: 5,130.95, -6.13 (-0.12%)
NYSE Composite: 17,748.70, +20.39 (+0.12%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Oil at 4-Month High; Gold Sets Record Price; NASDAQ Closes at All-Time High; Super Tuesday Approaches

Sunday, March 3, 2024, 12:40 pm ET

Anybody preaching about the "imminent collapse" of the global economic system either doesn't understand English or isn't seeing the big picture. The only thing that's imminent in the world economy is more of the same.

People like Gregory Mannarino, Peter Schiff, Martin Armstrong, the broken clock that is Gerald Celente, Mike Maloney, James Rickards, and others - you know their names - have been wrong about the economy, the stock market and the world in general since the end of the GFC in 2009.

Certainly, macro economics has been a messy affair of late, but when wasn't it? Central banks have distorted people's perceptions of value for decades, yet the system of fiat currency continues to prevail because they have finely tuned their control mechanisms via slavish government toadies, mindless note-takers who masquerade as journalists in the mainstream media, and the psychological effects of recency and normalcy bias.

People who panicked in 2008 or during the phony pandemic lost considerable ground and must face the reality that they were wrong, and the prevailing powers were right. The rich got richer, the poor poorer, at their expense. Wealth inequality, the rallying cry of neo-communists, is at record disparity. So what? In a capitalist system, there are winners and losers.

While there is sure evidence of a breakdown in dollar dominance and Western ideology in general, the process of de-dollarization and evolution into bi-polar economies by the BRICS+ is slow, grinding, and fraught with trap doors, unexpected responses, and militarism. Unless a nuclear holocaust occurs, most people see little change outside of the usual price-gouging of inflation and higher stock prices.

Change is a constant. With so much riding on elections this year, and especially the presidential contest in the United States, it's best to stay the course at least until November.

Buy stocks and don't sell your precious metals.


Stocks

February finished, March commenced on Friday. Following the excruciating boredom that awaited Thursday's PCE release (the phrase, "the Fed's favorite inflation gauge," having been worn to the bone), Friday's plot was to get the NASDAQ into record territory, eclipsing the prior all-time high of 16,057.44 from November 2021.

Mission accomplished.

Nothing else was worthy of commentary. Well, OK, Lowe's (LOW) and Macy's (M) continued to display weakness in retail, but that's certainly nothing new. Buying habits and preferences have changed as internet technology has evolved. Malls are dead or dying, as are office buildings, victims of technocracy and the emergence of remote work.

Discover and CapitalOne want to merge. It's just a little bit alarming and maybe even funny that these credit card scammers want even more control and higher interest rates. They'll get them. Banking is converging, consolidating. The strong are eating the weak.

After what was one of the dullest trading weeks in some time, looking ahead is the only option, though the first full week of March isn't likely to offer much in the way of change. Friday's non-farm payroll will be the highly-anticipated event, meaning that the numbers massaged and released by the expedient Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are going to be about as important or relevant as congress. The market, as it so usually does, will ignore whatever earth-shaking numbers are produced.

Other economic data releases may influence market direction, including Tuesday's ISM services PMI, and ADP employment data along with JOLTS job openings on Wednesday.

Thursday, the European Central Bank sets monetary policy, and the US reports weekly jobless claims. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and to the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

Earnings reporting is slowing to a crawl, with only a few straggling, mostly retailers, remaining.

Tuesday has Target (TGT), Ross Stores (ROST), and Nordstrom (JWN)reporting. On Wednesday, it's Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Foot Locker (FL), and Victoria's Secret (VSCO). Kroger (KR), Costco (COST), and Gap stores (GPS) report Thursday.


Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
01/26/2024 5.54 5.45 5.44 5.39 5.19 4.78
02/02/2024 5.49 5.51 5.43 5.42 5.22 4.81
02/09/2024 5.49 5.51 5.44 5.43 5.26 4.86
02/16/2024 5.48 5.51 5.44 5.45 5.31 4.98
02/23/2024 5.49 5.51 5.46 5.46 5.32 5.00
03/01/2024 5.54 5.49 5.42 5.41 5.27 4.94

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
01/26/2024 4.34 4.15 4.04 4.10 4.15 4.49 4.38
02/02/2024 4.36 4.14 3.99 4.02 4.03 4.33 4.22
02/09/2024 4.48 4.25 4.14 4.17 4.17 4.48 4.37
02/16/2024 4.64 4.43 4.29 4.31 4.30 4.58 4.45
02/23/2024 4.67 4.45 4.28 4.28 4.26 4.51 4.37
03/01/2024 4.54 4.32 4.17 4.20 4.19 4.46 4.33

For most of the week, the fixed-income market was quiet, mirroring the wait-and-see sentiment in stocks. Friday saw yields fall, as traders rushed into bonds, but mostly into medium-term notes. Yield on the 2-year note was significantly lower, by 13 basis points on the week. 10-year yields fell just seven and the 30-year was down only four. Obviously, the appetite was in the belly of the curve.

Full spectrum spread deepened out to -121, signaling easier economic conditions. Conversely, the 2s-10s spread, at -35, remained in a range between -33 to -41 that has been in place for over a month.

It's been almost two years since the yield curve first inverted. It began on March 10, 2022, when 7s and 10s evened out at a yield of 1.98%. By April 1, the yield on two-year notes surpassed the 10-year, 2.44% to 2.39%, and by mid-late July into August, the inversion deepened, eventually, the yield on two-year notes surpassed 30s. The Fed at maximum inflation fight, raising the federal funds rate at a frenetic pace, worsened the condition.

Surprisingly, the economy as survived, as has the dollar against other currencies. The Fed and their primary dealer allies have continually signaled higher rates for longer and have not wavered. The market condition is unlikely to change before November, despite the Fed's claims of being apolitical. Keeping spreads deeply negative has worked wonders for stocks and kept Americans under thumb.

Spreads:

2s-10s
9/15/2023: -69
9/22/2023: -66
9/29/2023: -44
10/06/2023: -30
10/13/2023: -41
10/20/2023: -14
10/27/2023: -15
11/03/2023: -26
11/10/2023: -43
11/17/2023: -44
11/24/2023: -45
12/01/2023: -34
12/08/2023: -48
12/15/2023: -53
12/22/2023: -41
12/29/2023: -35
1/5/2024: -35
1/12/2024: -18
1/19/2024: -24
1/26/2024: -19
2/2/2024: -33
2/9: -31
2/16: -34
2/23: -41
3/1: -35

Full Spectrum (30-days - 30-years)
9/15/2023: -109
9/22/2023: -99
9/29/2023: -82
10/06/2023: -64
10/13/2023: -82
10/20/2023: -47
10/27/2023: -54
11/03/2023: -76
11/10/2023: -80
11/17/2023: -93
11/24/2023: -95
12/01/2023: -105
12/08/2023: -123
12/15/2023: -154
12/22/2023: -149
12/29/2023: -157
1/5/2024: -133
1/12/2024: -135
1/19/2024: -118
1/26/2024: -116
2/2/2024: -127
2/9: -117
2/16: -103
2/23: -112
3/1: -121


Oil/Gas

By all appearances, the gloves came off Friday, as WTI crude oil priced at $79.81, a four-month high. Talk of tight supplies ahead made headlines and the algos have responded. Whether that comes to fruition during peak driving season remains to be seen, as indicators are telling nothing. In 2023, WTI crude only exceeded $80/barrel from late July through early November. The price of crude oil is almost exactly where it was a year ago ($79.68, March 3, 2023). The wild cards are shale drillers and the situation in the Middle East. One may offset the other, but producers are making money no matter where they drill.

The mildest winter in recent memory hasn't done much to keep fuel prices in check. By most measures, the El Nino winter of 2023-24 has been completely ignored in futures markets, which is just a bit unnerving. Oil prices should probably be $10-15 dollars lower than where they are currently, but, like most other markets, oil futures are not immune to meddling interested parties.

Gasbuddy.com reports the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas at the pump at $3.35, up nine cents from last week. As oil's price has risen the past three months, so too has the price of gas. Since late January, when gas was selling right around $3.00 nation-wide and well lower in mostly Southern states, gas is up more than 10%.

The Northeast and the West coast remain the places with the most expensive fuel, with California at $4.82, and Pennsylvania, $3.53. Illinois sticks out like a sore thumb in the Midwest, at $3.71.

Mississippi ($2.85) took back the low from Oklahoma ($2.90), though prices are elevated everywhere. Colorado, of all places, has taken over the claim of second-lowest, at $2.89. Texas ($2.91), Louisiana ($2.92), Kansas ($2.95), and Arkansas ($2.96) have formed a bloc under $3.00, though it seems unlikely to last. The rest of the country is looking at $3.00 or higher except Wyoming ($2.97).

California gas prices increased 18 cents in just the past week, now rejoined by Washington, up 11 cents to $4.10. Nevada is closing in on $4.00+, hitting $3.96 Sunday morning. Oregon ($3.83). Idaho ($3.19) and Utah ($3.12) also saw significant increases.


Bitcoin

This week: $62,240.30
Last week: $51,498.70
2 weeks ago: $51,639.00
6 months ago: $26,009.60
One year ago: $23,535.50

Bitcoin stole the show this week, up more than 20%. Well, it's not AI, nor is it NVDA. Bitcoin is truly something else.


Precious Metals

Gold:Silver Ratio: 89.61; last week: 88.22

Per COMEX continuous contracts:

Gold price 2/2: $2,057.10
Gold price 2/9: $2,038.70
Gold price 2/16: $2,025.50
Gold price 2/23: $2,045.80
Gold price 3/1: $2,091.60

Silver price 2/2: $22.79
Silver price 2/9: $22.67
Silver price 2/16: $23.48
Silver price 2/23: $23.19
Silver price 3/1: $23.34

According to Kitco, April gold futures settled Friday at $2,095.70 an ounce, a record high. Whatever moved oil on Friday (PCE?) also made precious metals leap higher. The $36 gai in gold was one of the best one-day moves in recent memory, though analysts are split on what it may imply.

No matter what, one-ounce gold coins are in dwindling supply on eBay. Prices for one-ounce gold coins and bars are up $40-50 over last week. Silver isn't sharing in the euphoria short term, stuck in a range around $23. While there's a solid argument for a pullback in gold, the obscene gold-silver ratio suggests that silver may take the lead role soon, though, as contrived and suppressed as precious metals have been, anything is possible.

Here are the most recent prices for common one ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, free shipping included):

Item/Price Low High Average Median
1 oz silver coin: 29.50 55.00 36.66 35.50
1 oz silver bar: 28.00 55.00 37.29 36.66
1 oz gold coin: 2,138.94 2,225.00 2,180.93 2,184.31
1 oz gold bar: 2,150.00 2,207.59 2,177.01 2,176.04

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) remained elevated, though slightly lower than last week, dipping to $36.52, a decline of 23 cents from the February 25 price of $36.75 per troy ounce.


WEEKEND WRAP

There's a lot of maybe out there. Congress punted again, averting another possible partial government shutdown. That show is getting really old, but the elected elite are going to treat us to more reruns of the same old drama next week, next month, etc.

Congress might send money to Ukraine, or Israel, or shore up the border.

This week has Super Tuesday on the primary stump. Voters go to the polls in primaries in these states:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • American Samoa
  • Trump will probably win all of those. Nikki Haley might drop out.

    Maybe.

    At the Close, Friday, March 1, 2024:
    Dow: 39,087.38, +90.99 (+0.23%)
    NASDAQ: 16,274.94, +183.02 (+1.14%)
    S&P 500: 5,137.08, +40.81 (+0.80%)
    NYSE Composite: 17,728.27, +120.83 (+0.69%)

    For the Week:
    Dow: -44.15 (-0.11%)
    NASDAQ: +278.12 (+1.74%)
    S&P 500: +48.28 (+0.95%)
    NYSE Composite: +112.24 (+0.64%)
    Dow Transports: -88.40 (-0.46%)


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