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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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Payrolls Come in Short at 175,000 for April; Wall Street Loves Bad News; BRICS, Foreigners Shun U.S. Dollars in Trade

Friday, May 3, 2024, 9:06 am ET

The week has been a bumpy ride for stocks, with big swings up and down.

As of Thursday's close, the major indices are seeking gains to close out the week. The Dow is down 14 points, despite Thursday's solid rally. NASDAQ is down 86 points, and the S&P is off 35.

After Thursday's closing bell, Apple (AAPL) reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.53 on revenue of $90.8 billion in the first quarter of 2024. As part of its filing, the company authorized a $110 billion share buyback program and upped its quarterly dividend by a penny, to 25 cents per share. Shares were seen about six percent higher in the post and pre-market.

On the back of Apple's news, stock futures were pointing to a positive start just before the BLS released April Non-farm payrolls. Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in April according to the bureau, with the unemployment rate slightly higher, at 3.9 percent. The figure was well below consensus estimates for 240,000 new jobs, but that didn't affect the overall mood, as stock futures ramped higher on the news.

What the BLS report does indicate is a slowing economy, as the labor component begins to show signs of stagnation. For Wall Street, which likes its bread buttered on both sides, the lagging employment condition offers hope for rate cuts (those expectations just will not die), while on the other hand shows the economy headed straight into a recession.

Since lower job creation is in itself bad news, caution would normally be advised, but stocks, being the only game in town that matters to snake oil salesmen, may simply ignore all the indications lately of weakness in the economy and lack of effective leadership out of Washington, DC.

Prior to the opening bell, stocks appear set to continue the rally that was ignited by positive corporate news Thursday. Futures are soaring, yield on the 10-year note are down nine basis points and other long-dated issues are falling in concert. Clown world, where bad news is good news, is back in play.

At 9:00 am ET, Dow futures are up 508 points, NASDAQ ahead 282, and S&P futures are soaring, up 58 points.

If it wasn't already obvious, the ultimate goal is to keep the world stuck in stocks, get the indices back to making new all-time highs evey other day and forget about the multiple fail points in the grossly overrated U.S. economy, like losing in Ukraine, the government paying over a trillion dollars in interest, China's emergent status as the world's largest economic force, and the continuing influence of BRICS and other nations avoiding the use of U.S. currency in trade.

It's all good until it's not.

Party on, Jerome. Party hardy, Janet.

At the Close, Thursday, May 2, 2024:
Dow: 38,225.66, +322.37 (+0.85%)
NASDAQ: 15,840.96, +235.48 (+1.51%)
S&P 500: 5,064.20, +45.81 (+0.91%)
NYSE Composite: 17,699.05, +122.66 (+0.70%)



Markets Whipsaw Post Fed Meeting; Peleton Sucking Wind; Carvana, Stock Futures Soaring; Oil at 6-Week Low

Thursday, May 2, 2024, 9:20 am ET

Modern markets are marvels of technology. Blazing-fast computers process trades in milliseconds, producing other-worldly movements in indices, like the tightly-coordinated rise and fall of stocks after Wednesday's FOMC policy announcement, in which, it must be noted, the Fed did absolutely nothing, zero, nada, zilch, other than make Chairman Jerome Powell's lips move at the post-release press conference.

The Dow was a wonder to watch, rising as high as 38,349.20 at 3:00 pm ET, only to close at 37,903.29, wiping out more than 80% of what was - for a brief moment - a 500-point gain. The NASDAQ and S&P displayed similar patterns, though both closed in the rd for the day, unlike the Dow, which managed to keep 2024 gains at a robust 0.50%, or about 180 points.

It is the recurring sight of these synchronized index moves that should scare the bejeezus out of everyday investors with savings or retirement funds held in stocks. There's simply no rhyme nor reason to these massive gyrations that have been occurring regularly over the past few years. Naturally, big stock movements, up or down, have been a feature of U.S. and most international markets for decades, but, since the 2020 pandemic, the severity and pace of these stomach-churning events have reached previously-unattainable heights of absurdity.

Likely due to the imposition of 0DTE (Zero Days to Expiry) options, which are one-day, one-way bets that finish at the closing bell, entire indices are now subject to minute-by-minute human and AI-aided analyses, supplemented by herd mentality traders operating in a closed loop of HFT, ETF, and stressed-out environment. It's like being on circus rides operated by evil monkeys. Markets and individual stocks have been completely distorted and devoid of rational analysis. No wonder Wall Street is so often compared to casinos. In a way, they give casinos - which are highly regulated in their activities - a bad name.

In any case, Powell and his henchmen and women, stood firm on rates, implying neither a raise nor a cut would be in the cards any time soon. They did manage to give the markets some hope by reducing QT, from $65 billion a month in roll-offs to $25 billion come June. The whole statement can be found here.

Thursday morning, a solid candidate for poster child company of the Woke Generation, over-hyped exersize bike-maker, Peleton (PTON) reported first quarter earnings losses Thursday prior to the opening bell, but the big news was that CEO Barry McCarthy will be stepping down and the company will lay off 15% of its staff - about 400 people. Under McCarthy, a former Spotify and Netflix executive, the company lost 90% of its stock value, now trading in the mid-$3 range.

However, McCarthy should not shoulder all of the blame. When he took over two years ago, the stock was trading around $34 per share, already well off its previous high of 162. Laying off staff and firing the CEO isn't going to change much about this one-trick-pony of a company. With over $1 billion in debt, the next likely move is toward a chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Peloton's fiscal third-quarter results showed revenue of $717.7 million, down from $748.9 million a year earlier. The company's net loss narrowed to $167.3 million, or 45 cents a share, from $275.9 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts were modeling a 36-cent per-share loss. Once again, they were wrong.

After the close Wednesday, auction purveyor Etsy (ETSY) missed first quarter estimates and saw gross merchandise sales fall by 3.7% to $2.97 billion, resulting in a proit of 48 cents per share, a penny below estimates. Shares are trending down about 15% in the pre-market.

Other companies reporting after Wednesday's close or prior to Thursday's open (with symbols and overnight percentage gains or losses) include Qualcom (QCOM, +6%), Devon Energy (DVN, +1%), Carvana (CVNA, +38%), MGM Resorts (MGM, +8%), and (before bell) Moderna (MRNA, flat), ConocoPhillips (COP, +0.50%), and Wayfair (W, +18%).

Bitcoin has seen better days. Yesterday, it lost about seven percent, down to around $57,500, but it's back up today, currently ranging around $58,600.

Gold and silver are once again being sold off; stock futures are up! WTI crude oil is at a six week low, $78.95.

The casino is opening shortly. Place your bets.

At the Close, Wednesday, May 1, 2024:
Dow: 37,903.29, +87.37 (+0.23%)
NASDAQ: 15,605.48, -52.34 (-0.33%)
S&P 500: 5,018.39, -17.30 (-0.34%)
NYSE Composite: 17,576.39, -26.94 (-0.15%)



Stocks Tumble Ahead of FOMC Decision; April Worst Month for Dow Industrials Since September 2022; Fed on the Hook

Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 9:15 am ET

April was a horrible month for stocks. As the expression goes, "bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered," and this pig of a month didn't get any lipstick on the final day of the month as stocks were beaten down - along with gold, silver, oil and just about everything else - from the opening bell, and dove further into the red in the final ten minutes. Of the Dow's 570-point decline, about 140 of it came after 3:50 pm ET. The NASDAQ was even worse, losing 130 points, or, more than a third of the day's losses in the final 10 minutes.

From the looks of things, nobody was short anything, or at least nobody was covering their shorts into the close. That may change tomorrow in advance of the Fed's FOMC rate policy announcement at 2:00 pm Eastern.

For April, the Dow lost 5.0% percent, the NASDAQ dropped 4.4%, and the S&P 500 fell 4.2%. Year-to-date, the Dow is up a whopping 100 points, or 0.27%, though the NASDAQ and S&P indices remain ahead about six percent for the year.

April was the worst month on the Dow since September, 2022. Nasdaq had its worst month since September, 2023.

Not everything was down for the month. Despite being hammered ruthlessly the past two weeks, gold still managed a gain of just over two percent. Silver added six percent during the month, though it too is well off its highs. The big winner in metals was Dr. Copper, up 12 percent in April and approaching 2022 highs.

Economic data was hardly encouraging. According to the always suspect Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment cost index showed that labor costs rose about nine percent from April 2022 through March 2024, though wages didn't keep up with the nearly 20% consumer inflation over the same period.

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices rose 7.3% for the year ended February, well above the forecast of 6.7%.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) in April also fell to a low of 37.9, the worst such reading since November, 2022. The forecast was 44.9. This metric dropped for the fifth straight month and is below the level the index was at for the start of six of seven recessions since 1970.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index recorded its lowest reading since July, 2022, dropping to 97.0 from the previous month's 103.1, which itself was revised lower, from 104.7.

Stocks were not alone in April, Yield on the 10-year note gained 49 basis points (0.49%) during the month, rising from 4.20% to 4.69%.

Yield on the two-year note, which had been testing 5.00% recently, broke above it on Tuesday, ending at 5.04%.

April was the first down month for stocks since the Fed began "open-mouth operations in October, 2023, sending a message that it would lower interest rates in 2024. That hasn't happened and now is even more unlikely. The chance that the Fed may hike rates at the close of Wednesday's FOMC meeting on Wednesday (today) has now become a possibility.

Bitcoin closed out April down 15% after winning seven straight months. As the market closed, Bitcoin fell below $60,000 for the first time in two months (Feb. 27) and it got even worse Wednesday morning, falling a further $4,000, to a low of $57,169. Net flows into bitcoin spot ETFs have been declining and finally became outflows with April losing $183 million.

Elsewhere, 3M (MMM) jumped 4.7% after reporting better-than-expected earnings even as it indicated it would likely lower its dividend next month, ending decades of increasing dividends.

Amazon (AMZN) is indicated higher after posting a solid first earnings report after the bell.

Tech stocks slumped, with Microsoft (MSFT) down 3.2% and Intel (INTC) falling 2.9%.

Walmart (WMT) slid 1.5% after announcing it was abandoning its push into low-cost health centers.

Coca-Cola (KO) ticked down 0.5% after topping earnings estimates with its first quarter results, the top line getting a boost from higher prices.

McDonald's (MCD) slid 0.2%, missing quarterly earnings estimates as cash-strapped consumers pulled back.

European stocks were broadly lower, with Spain's IBEX dropping more than two percent. Most European bourses are closed for May Day celebrations, though England's FTSE is open and flat-lining.

Overnight, Asian stocks were down slightly while U.S. stock futures were mired in red ink.

In the most general sense, Tuesday's late-session capitulation bodes ill for the FOMC announcement later today (2:00pm). Most people with knowledge of economics understand the Fed's fix: they are dammed if they raise rates, signaling that the fight against inflation hasn't been successful, and damned if thy lower rates, which would be a grave error on their part and indicative of a weakening macro economic view, which is becoming more obvious by the day and with every data drop.

This morning, the release of ADP's National Employment Report [PDF] showed private sector employment increasing by
192,000 jobs in April with annual pay was increasing five percent. This will play some role in the FOMC decision, albeit a small one. On Friday, the BLS reveals its April non-farm payroll numbers, which is likely to cause another market jolt.

The Fed would be wise to keep rates right where they've been since July of last year, at 5.25-5.50%. There are multiple crosscurrents, headwinds and few tailwinds that will influence their decision. In the larger outlook, whatever they do may not matter much as the market seems to be well aware of the failures of the U.S. economy. Employment numbers are difficult to believe, as the job market appears to be tightening, especially at the middle management level. The Dallas Fed also has indicated a severe downturn, with its manufacturing index falling for 24 consecutive months and the services index dropping for 23 straight.

Most of the other Fed districts are showing stressful conditions as well. The economy appears to be falling off a cliff.

Bidenomics! Yeah!

At the Close, Tuesday, April 30, 2024:
Dow: 37,815.92, -570.17 (-1.49%)
NASDAQ: 15,657.82, -325.26 (-2.04%)
S&P 500: 5,035.69, -80.48 (-1.57%)
NYSE Composite: 17,603.34, -227.73 (-1.28%)



Will Wednesday's FOMC Policy Statement Make Any Difference?

Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 9:35 am ET

Today, one day before another momentous rate policy decision by the Federal Reserve's FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), the question must be asked: Do these decisions really matter?

In one word, no, or, yes. It really depends on where you are and what you do. To a hedge fund manager with a massive bond portfolio, it may be very meaningful. To a second-year college student whose parents are footing the bill, not so much. To everyday Americans, working, raising a family, doing all those things people do, not really. Whether the 12 members of the committee decide to raise or lower the federal funds target rate 0.25% or make no change doesn't add up to anything substantial for most people.

The committee hasn't made a change to what is the core interest rate since July 27 of last year. This meeting will mark the ninth straight observance of no change. The group meets 10 times a year, so the June meeting will mark a full year since they've done anything.

What matters more than actual rate changes is the Fed's direction, because, as history proves out, once they start raising or lowering, they usually don't stop right away, which implies that if they start raising or lowering rates, one can expect a move of at least a few percentage points over time, unless there's some kind of emergency or event forcing their hands.

As their own excellent reference shows, when the fake pandemic hit in early 2000, they had already cut the target rate down from 2.25-2.50% (December, 2018) to 1.50-1.75% (October, 2019). Then, when they had lost control of financial markets (again, like in 2008) they instituted two emergency rate cuts on March 3rd and March 16th, the first 50 basis points (0.50%) and the second, 100 basis points (1.00%), bringing the rate down to as low as they could go, 0.00-0.25%.

The pandemic, whatever it was, covered up severe imbalances in the financial plumbing. The liquidity crisis actually begain in August or September of 2019, and was well-hidden for six months until the pandemic was introduced as a "cassus belli" to lower interest rates as low as possible.

Thus, it's most important to gauge which direction the Fed is going rather than their actual policy moves. It's also very useful to understand that they almost never tell the truth. For instance, when they began what's called "open mouth operations" last fall, suggesting that rate cuts were coming in 2024, the response from the market was to buy stocks, in the belief that the happy days of ZIRP were coming back soon. And, while that was great for stocks (which was their intent all along), what happened? Nothing. Since October, when Chairman Powell and other Fed officials started mouthing off about rate cuts, like inflation had been licked, they didn't move a muscle, and, miraculously, inflation re-emerged and now they might actually be leaning more towards raising rates again.

No matter what the Fed does, it matters most to the cretins and crooks on Wall Street, which means it will eventually affect you, me, your neighbors, your lifestyle, your choice of pet food. The Fed, a private banking cartel, has a stranglehold on the economy and has exerted their power since 1913, devaluing the purchasing power of their own counterfeit U.S. dollar - the Federal Reserve Note - by 98%. Now the end game is here and all they can do is lie, cheat, steal what's left of the hollowed-out U.S. economy and the once-might dollar reserve currency.

Bear in mind that what Fed speakers say and do are two different things and also keep this thought: they are not working in your best interest. The Fed, by any means an awesome financial power, is behind everything and their machinations are almost always hidden from public view by cover stories. They create financial crises or societal impacts to suit their own investments. When the end comes, it's usually covered up by a World War. Referencing World War II and the Bretton Woods conference of July, 1944. The war wasn't even over and they were already devising a new world financial order.

We're headed down the very same path now, just as U.S. reserve currency status is being decimated and the U.S. economy heads for an abyss, probably right around November 5th.

Prepare accordingly.

At the Close, Monday, April 29, 2024:
Dow: 38,386.09, +146.43 (+0.38%)
NASDAQ: 15,983.08, +55.18 (+0.35%)
S&P 500: 5,116.17, +16.21 (+0.32%)
NYSE Composite: 17,831.07, +67.80 (+0.38%)



WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Reverse Course, Gain; Gold, Silver Lower; War Hawks a Little Trigger-Happy; Interest Rates Nearing Highs

Sunday, April 28, 2024, 10:57 am ET

Besides the wealthiest ten percent of people, does anybody really give a damn if stocks go up, down, or sideways when inflation is rising, making a mockery of wages and the currency, the economy is stalling, and the United States is engaging Russia, China, and Iran with militarism, economic sanctions, trade hectoring, and propaganda?

Probably not, but the media would like you to think that somehow, companies with market capitalizations in the hundreds of billions and even trillions of dollars make a difference in your standard of living. They don't. They feast on consumers, credit cards, and ignorance.

Meanwhile, war monger media whores like Martha Raddatz (BTW: she's 71), senators on both sides of the aisle (Looking at you, Chuck Schumer, 73, and Lindsey Graham, 68) and a boatload of others from both congressional chambers think making war against countries don't bow to America's "rules-based order" is money well spent.

The perverse love triangle between big business, government, and media is bringing a once great country to its knees, aligning itself with the military industrial complex (MIC), big pharma's mind-bending, harmful drugs and ivory tower scholastics who champion death and destruction.


Stocks

Four of the Magnificent 7 stocks reported first quarter earnings this past week. In the worst sports analogies possible, Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOG) knocked the ball out of the park. Tesla (TSLA) fumbled, recovered, and scampered in for a touchdown. Meta Platforms (Facebook, META) dribbled out of bounds and injured itself.

Three out of four ain't bad.

In the week ahead, two more of the group will report: Amazon (AMZN) on Tuesday, Apple (AAPL) on Thursday, both after the bell.

Most people could give a ______ (fill in favorite vulgarity).

Other stocks of interest reporting this week include:

Monday (April 29): (before the open) SoFi (SOFI), Domino's (DPZ), Philips (PHG), Franklin Templeton (BEN); (after the close) Paramount (PARA), Chegg (CHGG).

Tuesday (April 30): (before) PayPal (PYPL), Lilly (LLY), 3M (MMM), McDonald's (MCD), Coca-Cola (KO), SiriusXM (SIRI); (after) AMD (AMD), Starbucks (SBUX), Pinterest (PINS), Caesars (CZR).

Wednesday (May 1): (before) CVS Health (CVS), Mastercard (MA), Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH), KraftHeinz (KHC), Marriott (MAR), Estee Lauder (EL), Generac (GNRC); (after) Qualcom (QCOM), Devon Energy (DVN), Carvana (CVNA), Etsy (ETSY), MGM Resorts (MGM).

Thursday (May 2): (before) Peleton (PTON), Moderna (MRNA), ConocoPhillips (COP), Wayfair (W); (after) Coinbase (COIN), Draft Kings (DKNG), Amgen (AMGN), Expedia (EXPE).

Friday (May 3): (all before open) Hershey (HSY), Fubo (FUBO), Fluor (FLR).

The NASDAQ gained 4.23% after losing 5.52% the prior week. Dow Transports are signaling recession in a very loud way, closing below its 200-day moving average for ten straight sessions. Three prior attempts at getting over 16,300 have failed (December 20, February 13, March 28).

The majors all ended the week just below their 50-day moving averages. And who says markets aren't manipulated?

Corporate earnings should take a back seat to the Fed's FOMC meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. This comes after the end of the first quarter, so there will be a press conference with Chairman Powell at which time he will take questions about the direction of rates. A lot of people will be focused on the actual statement for hints about where the Fed may be concerned the most. It is likely to amount to more speculation than actual policy and no movement on the federal funds rate at this meeting.

The week will end with April non-farm payroll data from the BLS, another data drop that will give some indication of economic strength or weakness, though the series has been plagued by inconsistency and suspected of political bias.


Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
03/22/2024 5.51 5.47 5.46 5.40 5.34 4.98
03/28/2024 5.49 5.48 5.46 5.42 5.38 5.03
04/05/2024 5.47 5.50 5.43 5.41 5.34 5.05
04/12/2024 5.48 5.50 5.45 5.42 5.36 5.13
04/19/2024 5.49 5.51 5.45 5.44 5.39 5.17
04/26/2024 5.48 5.51 5.46 5.45 5.40 5.21

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
03/22/2024 4.59 4.36 4.20 4.22 4.22 4.47 4.39
03/28/2024 4.59 4.40 4.21 4.20 4.20 4.45 4.34
04/05/2024 4.73 4.54 4.38 4.39 4.39 4.65 4.54
04/12/2024 4.88 4.70 4.54 4.53 4.50 4.73 4.61
04/19/2024 4.97 4.81 4.66 4.65 4.62 4.83 4.72
04/26/2024 4.96 4.84 4.68 4.68 4.67 4.89 4.78

The Fed hasn't made a rate move in nearly a year. Indications are strong that they haven't done enough to quell inflationary forces as they've been trying to thread the needle between losing control of the economy or losing the currency. They're effectively doing neither. Treasuries are at the highest levels of the year, with the two-year note yielding close to five percent. Bets are being made whether the Fed will raise rates or cut them first. With inflation continuing to rage, those favoring higher rates are set against those who see GDP at 1.6% for the first quarter as insufficient and indicating a need to lower rates. To a degree, both sides are right... and wrong.

Without a doubt, the Fed is stuck. Congressional and presidential over-spending is keeping the economy afloat while buying votes at the same time. With political DC thinking mainly about November's elections, little in the way of relief is to be seen. Higher prices, especially for food, which has been, on a relative basis, cheap in America for decades, are riling up the populace and wreaking havoc on consumers. Housing is also a serious concern, with the median house out of reach for a majority of Americans. The Fed's scheme to cut rates before the elections have been wrenched by persistent inflation.

Yields and spreads, even in the inverted state, have reached levels at which stocks should become secondary. 2s-10s are at -29, a high since January. Full spectrum (30-days-30-years) are at -70, a level not seen since - uh, oh - October 27, 2023, when the bottom-picker rally started and was subsequently guided into a huge upside move by Fed speakers and treasury borrowing.

Monetization of the debt, a long-standing practice of the Fed and its primary dealers, continues, but is not a solution, only a manifestation of the rot in the system. Eventually, the Fed will lose on both fronts with the economy and the currency down the drain.

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
3/8: -39
3/15: -41
3/22: -37
3/28: -39
4/5: -34
4/12: -38
4/19: -35
4/26: -29

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
3/8: -125
3/15: -109
3/22: -112
3/28: -115
4/5: -93
4/12: -87
4/19: -77
4/26: -70


Oil/Gas

Finally catching a bid, WTI crude oil gained this week, though not much, closing Friday in New York at $83.66 per barrel, ahead of the prior week's $82.11. Producers and consumers are at a stalemate. Nothing good can come from higher fuel prices and everybody knows it, especially politicians and producers.

Gasbuddy.com reports the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas at the pump eased a bit, down two cents from a week ago, $3.65, still higher than six months ago.

California remains at the top of the price chain, with a gallon of unleaded regular costing $5.39 on Sunday, down three cents from last week. Pennsylvania is atop Northeast states, also down two cents, at $3.80. Prices remained elevated in the Mideast leader, Illinois, up four cents to $3.95 a gallon. Neighboring Indiana got a break, down to $3.57.

There have been no states with gas prices under $3.00 for seven straight weeks, though Mississippi ($3.04) is getting closer. Other than Georgia ($3.37) and Florida ($3.57), the Southeast cluster from Oklahoma east to South Carolina are all hovering in a range between $3.07 and $3.23, with most of them slightly lower than last week. In Texas, gas prices are averaging $3.20.

Arizona ($4.04) has been above $4.00 for three weeks straight, joining California, Washington ($4.67), Nevada ($4.57), and Oregon ($4.47) in the $4+ club. Utah ($3.90) and Idaho ($3.92) remain just below $4.00.


Bitcoin

This week: $63,472.70
Last week: $65,235.00
2 weeks ago: $63,829.50
6 months ago: $34,092.60
One year ago: $29,249.30

Bitcoin's halving is done and the price is down. Anybody getting the feeling that the longer one "hodls" the ephemeral asset, the cheaper it's going to be is probably right.

"Coiners" have been conned, mostly by Wall Street inside money. A purge back to $45,000 could happen quickly.


Precious Metals

Gold:Silver Ratio: 85.41; last week: 82.90

Per COMEX continuous contracts:

Gold price 3/29: $2,254.80
Gold price 4/5: $2,349.10
Gold price 4/12: $2,360.20
Gold price 4/19: $2,406.70
Gold price 4/26: $2,349.60

Silver price 3/29: $25.10
Silver price 4/5: $27.60
Silver price 4/12: $27.97
Silver price 4/19: $29.03
Silver price 4/26: $27.51

The price of gold on the COMEX fell $57.10 over the course of the week, to which goldbugs, central banks, and the entire 1.6 billion people in China said, "big deal." The typical COMEX smackdown has been less and less effective over the past few years and especially the past three months.

Even silver's drop of $1.52 was largely disregarded with the SOSMPB falling only $1.02, prices on eBay pretty much holding their own.

Year-to-date, gold is up 13.32%, silver, 14.99%. Even with last week's dumping, they're still beating stocks in 2024.

Recent and continuing gains in the prices of precious metals should not be taken lightly. They are indicative of nothing less than complete and utter fiat currency debasement, writ large. As currencies of the U.S., UK commonwealth nations, and Europe descend into the historical abyss, gold and silver are likely to exceed most expectations. Continuing proxy wars and threats of other military and economic malfeasance, such as the recent confiscation of Russian assets via the largely unpublicized REPO Act. Here's a summary:

Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act or the REPO for Ukrainians Act

This bill requires or authorizes various actions related to the confiscation and disposition of Russian sovereign assets (which include funds and other property of Russia's central bank, direct investment fund, or ministry of finance).

Under the bill, the President must require U.S. financial institutions to notify the Department of the Treasury of any Russian sovereign assets located at such institutions. The President may confiscate any such assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Confiscated funds and the proceeds of liquidated property must be deposited into the Ukraine Support Fund established by the bill.

The Ukraine Support Fund shall be used by the Department of State to compensate Ukraine for damages caused by the Russian invasion. The Ukraine Support Fund may also support an international body or mechanism for (1) reconstruction and rebuilding efforts in Ukraine, (2) humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people, or (3) other purposes which support the recovery of Ukraine and the welfare of the Ukrainian people.

The bill also directs the President to seek to establish, with foreign partners, an international mechanism to provide compensation to Ukraine using the Ukraine Support Fund and Russian sovereign assets confiscated by foreign partners.

Additionally, the bill sets policy on related topics, such as specifying that the United States should lead an international sanctions regime to freeze Russian sovereign assets in conjunction with allies and partners.

Actions taken by congress like this are sure to speed the process of de-dollarization and send non-confiscatable hard assets much higher.

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: 31.00 49.95 40.02 39.48
1 oz silver bar: 31.55 49.95 38.90 36.60
1 oz gold coin: 2,402.00 2,510.34 2,448.55 2,433.24
1 oz gold bar: 2,421.09 2,462.09 2,436.82 2,432.58

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) dropped slightly over the week, to $38.75, a loss of $1.04 from the April 21 price of $39.79 per troy ounce.

The cram-down by the COMEX wasn't very effective.


WEEKEND WRAP

Sooner than later, Lindsey Graham will convince some people that the United States is at war, even though it isn't. It may come to pass that Graham and other war hawks will get their wishes granted, which would help speed the destruction of the once-great U.S. republic. Until then, it gets more nd more difficult every day for regular citizens to make ends meet.

It's almost May. Plant something. You'll be rewarded in a couple of months and thereafter.

At the Close, Friday, April 26, 2024:
Dow: 38,239.66, +153.86 (+0.40%)
NASDAQ: 15,927.90, +316.14 (+2.03%)
S&P 500: 5,099.96, +51.54 (+1.02%)
NYSE Composite: 17,763.27, +31.71 (+0.18%)

For the Week:
Dow: +253.26 (+0.67%)
NASDAQ: +645.89 (+4.23%)
S&P 500: +132.73 (+2.67%)
NYSE Composite: +304.50 (+1.74%)
Dow Transports: +87.16 (+0.58%)



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idleguy.com April/May 2024IdleGuy.com April/May 2024, Vol. 1 #4