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Why Brilliant Idiots at Central Banks Hate Silver; Futures Up, Trust Nobody (especially government and bankers)

Friday, May 12, 2023, 9:00 am ET

On Wednesday of this week, the price of silver spiked to $26.23 per troy ounce, its highest level in nearly two years (July, 2021).

This was completely unacceptable to the self-assumed Brilliant Idiot authority figures at the BIS and central banks worldwide (at least those of the West). It has become very plain to see that a rise in the price of silver above the level of $26 is anathema to the purveyors of fiat currencies, proponents of Keynesian economics and fractional reserve banking, and counterfeiting fraudsters operating at the highest levels of finance within sovereign central banks.

The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, Swiss National Bank, European Central Bank (ECB), and many more cannot stomach the idea that silver might somehow return to its natural role as MONEY, because it would destroy the fraud that has existed at central banks at least since 1913 and the establishment of the Federal Reserve System, more prominently since the global Bretton Woods agreements in 1944, and most certainly since then-president Richard Milhous Nixon took the world completely off the gold standard by "temporarily" suspending the convertibility of US dollars (US$) into gold on August 13, 1971.

Well, President Nixon would eventually face the threat of impeachment and be forced from office for other crimes, though his action in August 1971, with ample advice and assistance from Fed Chair Arthur Burns and Treasury Secretary John Connally (who, incidentally, was sitting in the front passenger seat as governor of Texas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November, 1963... there are no coincidents), was his greatest criminal act.

Temporary closure of the gold window turned out to be more or less permanent, as the US dollar has not been backed by anything other than the "good faith and credit" of the US government since.

It's worth noting that silver content was removed from US coinage in 1964, thus, the separation of the US currency from precious metal backing had already begun years prior to Nixon's complete axing from gold. While these recent events point to central banking's dislike of anything tangible in support of their currencies (all currencies worldwide are today "fiat," backed by nothing, thus money substitutes and eventually worthless), previous history reveals the depth of disdain for silver in central banking.

The United States adopted a bi-metallic standard for its money in 1792 with the passage of the Coinage Act, and kept more or less on that standard until the 1870s, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Coinage Act of 1873 (also known as the Mint Act of 1873 or the Fourth Coinage Act), in what would later become known as the "Crime of '73", which demonetized silver and changed America's money to a gold-backed system.

Central banking's hatred for silver (or anything tangible for that matter) began long ago, despite it being used as currency in various places for centuries beforehand. There's a long history as silver as money and for obvious reasons, which are the same ones central banks despise it.

Simply put, silver meets all of the functions of money as a store of value, medium of exchange, being divisible, fungible, and not easily counterfeited. Central banks loathe it because:

  • Silver has been money in the past, for many centuries throughout history.
  • Silver is abundant enough to be used as currency by common people. (that's the key point)
  • Silver is also an industrial and medicinal metal with many uses.
  • Silver is heavy, not easily transported in large amounts and quite obvious in tonnage.
  • Central banks cannot conjure silver (or gold) out of thin air.
  • Most monetary analysts worth their weight in gold don't understand that silver stands at the root of money in antiquity and will one day be again recognized as money by most of humanity, unless central bankers get their wishes of fully electronic currency (CBDCs), backed by vapors and whispers.


    Getting back to current affairs, it's been a shaky week for equity participants. Through Thursday's closing bell, the Dow has been nipped for 364.87 points, while the NASDAQ has added 93.09, and the S&P nearly flat, down 5.63, the rangebound effect morphing into a rising pennant pattern on the SPX, a signal for abrupt change, likely to the downside, though who knows what in the current, exasperating, indecisive environment. Stocks are capable of careening in differing directions, as evidenced by the NASDAQ/Dow/SPX triage.

    Futures suggest a higher open in US markets, and more negativity toward precious metals. Meanwhile, the Brilliant Idiots who promoted the idea that executives at PACWest Bank were displaying prudent fiscal management when they slashed the quarterly dividend from 25 cents to a penny have been summarily dismissed as liars and/or fools as shares fell 20% on Wednesday and Thursday when it was revealed that the bank lost another nine percent of deposits over the past week.

    Yes, prudent, indeed. The PACWest bankers are priming themselves as Brilliant Idiots worthy of seats on the Federal Reserve Board. May all of their ill-gotten stock option exercises be clawed back (never gonna happen).

    Sure, let's all just stick with the politicians and bankers who created this fine mess in the first place. Surely, they have our best interests at heart. (Pardon if I don't have a sarc tag available.).

    Got debt? Why wait, default today.

    Yours smugly,

    -- Fearless Rick, Publisher

    At the Close, Thursday, May 11, 2023:
    Dow: 33,309.51, -221.82 (-0.66%)
    NASDAQ: 12,328.51, +22.07 (+0.18%)
    S&P 500: 4,130.62, -7.02 (-0.17%)
    NYSE Composite: 15,263.07, -86.10 (-0.56%)


    European Stocks At or Near All-Time Highs; Pensions Funded; Disney Losing Subscribers

    Thursday, May 11, 2023, 9:30 am ET

    Continuing the "Age of Delusion" theme, European stock indices have recently made or are close to making record highs.

    With a war raging to the east, protests and demonstrations - close to all-out anarchy - in capitols and other large cities, extreme inflation, high interest rates, and countries teetering on the edge of insolvency, how is this even remotely possible if not for controlling interests plying their near-infinite resources against any possible decline?

    France's CAC 40 posted a record high close of 7,577.00 on April 21; Britain's FTSE notched an all-time high of 8,041.31 on February 20th. Germany's DAX is within 300 points of its all-time high. The widely-watched STOXX-50 is close to a level not seen since late 2007.

    Bubbles haven't been popped at all. Levels of fraud and corruption have only been amped higher since the pandemic days, keeping the Western "system" afloat on lies and promises, the major corporate influences controlled by the ruling elite, keeping pensions in place, placating the masses to some level of comfort.

    While US stock indices haven't had the same success, they are similarly being hoisted by insiders; there's little doubt of that. Citizens of America are being kept in a kneeling position while elections are rigged, borders opened wide to invading hordes of illegals, false narratives promulgated daily across the propaganda mainstream networks and newspapers, inflation rages, and government officials play footsie with $34 trillion in unpayable debt.

    Like its European peers, America's big stocks hold pension riches, despite being materially underfunded and actuarially insolvent. Near term, none of that matters. Only years into the future will there be a reckoning, and even then, the only damage will be done to the proles, the workers, the savers and slavers.

    At best, Wall Street, the City of London, bourses across the European continent and their governments have essentially perfected the art of the skim. Government takes its cut up front via paycheck deductions, then confiscate more wealth from the citizenry on the usual tax dates. In between, everything is taxed at a local, state, or national level via sales, excise, use taxes, fees and regulations. Wall Street provides essential cover for the fraud with extreme valuations on stocks, resulting in capital gains taxes (usually). Banks pay little interest while charging high interest on all manner of consumer credit.

    Why any of the people in power upset this wildly successful wealth transfer is beyond question. All of government, media, and publicly-held corporations have a vested interest in keeping the skim and the system operational. People are just numbers, cogs in the wheel of process, bricks in the wall.

    Speaking of bricks, or the actual BRICS, nations generally aligned against the Western fraud, are about to expand from five member nations to as many as 24, with 19 countries having made formal or informal requests to join the organized opposition.

    Americans and Europeans are especially prone to their economies being captured and controlled by state and corporate entities, little by little losing ground to the emerging economies of the East and so-called "Global South", comprising much of the Middle East, South America, and Africa.

    The economic war is well underway. While it is likely to span decades, initial effects are already apparent in inflationary trends in developed countries which are 65-75% consumer-driven, whereas the BRICS and friends are rich in resources and production.

    Eventually, in an evening-out of economies, the West shall fall behind while the East overwhelms trade, commerce, production, and innovation. Remaining within the false pretext of corporate profits, citizens of Western nations are being bled dry, kept alive by entitlements and welfare. There is no savings above subsistence levels, which explains the exodus of currency from the banking system.

    Stocks go sideways or up. The grift is maintained. Freedom is eroded, day by day.

    On the news front, no progress has been made in debt ceiling talks as "X" day looms (sometime in June), Disney reports disappointing subscriber losses, stock futures are plummeting, oil lower, gold up, silver down (Hmmmm....)

    At the Close, Wednesday, May 10, 2023:
    Dow: 33,531.33, -30.48 (-0.09%)
    NASDAQ: 12,306.44, +126.89 (+1.04%)
    S&P 500: 4,137.64, +18.47 (+0.45%)
    NYSE Composite: 15,349.17, -3.64 (-0.02%)


    April CPI Up 0.4%, +4.9% Annualized; Bank Stocks Remain Under Pressure; Short-Selling Ban Likely if Losses Continue

    Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 8:48 am ET

    As expected, with no significant economic data on tap Tuesday, stocks traded in a very narrow range on extremely low volume, all the majors finishing fractionally lower on the day, led by the NASDAQ (-0.63%).

    Regional bank stocks were again under pressure, especially as the rally in PacWest Bancorp (PACW) petered out after the company announced it was cutting its quarterly dividend from 25 cents to one penny on Friday. The move was initially hailed as a positive, helping the embattled bank hold more cash as a tier one asset, but after the initial gain Monday to a high of 7.48, shares sold off, ending Tuesday at 6.11.

    Marking what may be a new low for Wall Street and mainstream media, referencing a dividend cut as a positive is a slap in the face to serious investors. For example, a shareholder with 10,000 shares of the company, after seeing the price fall from $26 in March to as low as $3.17 in May, now is entitled to lose more money, what once was a $2,500 quarterly payout suddenly became a mere $100.00. Having already taken a beating on the share price, the only reason an investor would want to hold onto this stock would be in the vain hope that somehow the bank will survive.

    It won't.

    Such is the fate of many investors in sub-par companies. After the carnage from 2022, they are being met with continued consolidation (aka insider selling) in many other stocks.

    Related to the banking crisis are reports that the Department of Justice and SEC are beginning to look into recent short-selling of bank stocks. This is simple narrative-building, blaming evil short-sellers for declines in bank stocks rather than be exposed to the truth that many banks are mismanaged and depositor outflows are not abating.

    As the banking crisis carries forward, expect the SEC to eventually resort to banning short-selling in an effort to stem the tide of losses, as they did during the GFC in 2008-09. All that will accomplish is to offer what the erudite Rick Rule calls "return-free risk." Investors will only be able to buy shares of losing concerns and sell them at a later date at a loss.

    Smart money that already hasn't left the market is continuing to do so on a measured basis. It's only at certain levels that the major holders step up and buy beaten down shares, such as Dow 32,000, S&P 3900, and NASDAQ 11,000. Just a quick glance at any Year-to-Date chart reveals the levels at which stocks are not allowed below.

    Continuance of the disinformation farce will be largely supplied by the CPI reading for April, which was expected to hold steady at 5.0% on an annualized basis. Reporting at 8:30 am ET, the regularly-unreliable Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) marked April inflation at 4.9%, increasing over the course of the month by 0.4%.

    The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 4.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

    As is usually the case with the monthly CPI reading, gold and silver were both being knocked lower prior to the announcement, but were higher post-announcement. Stock futures, which were flat-lining, showed vast improvement, moving from negative to positive heading into the open. European stocks were trending higher.

    All told, April CPI is pretty much a non-event, but Wall Street will look to make hay.

    Enjoy the fraud show.

    At the Close, Tuesday, May 9, 2023:
    Dow: 33,561.81, -56.88 (-0.17%)
    NASDAQ: 12,179.55, -77.37 (-0.63%)
    S&P 500: 4,119.17, -18.95 (-0.46%)
    NYSE Composite: 15,352.81, -38.46 (-0.25%)


    Springtime for Central Market Control

    Tuesday, May 9, 2023, 9:06 am ET

    If it wasn't already apparent that US stock exchanges are highly controlled and heavily manipulated, this past Friday's trading, on the heels of a blowout non-farm payroll report, really supplied more than enough evidence to verify such claims.

    The April jobs number of 253,000 new employees, the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 (54 years), and a 4.4% rise in average hourly pay should have - under current conditions of rising interest rates, tight labor market, spreading banking crisis, and a stalemate on the debt ceiling between congress and the White House - sent stocks reeling downward. Instead, all the indices pumped higher at the open and stayed elevated throughout the session, ending with the best single-day gain since December, 2022.

    Normally, throughout the ongoing 13-month-long Fed rate hiking cycle, Wall Street has derided any positive economic news, the consensus thinking that the Fed would view a strong economy as rationale for further rate increases, essentially intended to strangle any economic growth. The Fed has been pining for a recession for at least a year, hoping to quell the inflation monstrosity of its own creation.

    So, instead of bemoaning the positive, as has been the normal Wall Street practice, the assembled cartel of lower Manhattan insiders ran the algos red hot, their coordinated efforts producing a week-saving rally, in the process killing off short-sellers, put-buyers and generally gnarly, growling bears, the entire effort designed to keep stocks above certain levels and away from falling off any cliffs.

    Adding insult to injury, Monday presented another situation by which the heavy-handed controllers could flex their muscle with the release of the quarterly Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices (SLOOS).

    Released at 2:00 pm ET, the survey showed generally tightening lending conditions, especially in Commercial Real Estate (CRE), which initially sent stocks lower, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by more than 100 points in just six minutes (2:03-2:09). Was the market wrong? No, but a dive to lower levels simply wasn't on the day's menu, the loss quickly reversed by the (definitely not Adam Smith's) invisible hand of controlling interests and trading resumed in the range-bound manner that held sway throughout the session on all indices.

    Not that insider big money controls only stocks, recent events in the Treasury market have raised eyebrows over the past year, but one that was especially significant in its extremity was the 106 basis point move higher on the one-month bill yield - from 4.70% to 5.76% - the day after the latest FOMC rate policy decision to put the federal funds rate up 0.25% to 5.00-5.25% last Wednesday (5/3).

    Certainly, a move higher approximating 0.25 or 25 basis points as expected, but 106 points on the shortest duration, supposedly risk-free trade on the planet was just a bit over the top. There's been no reasonable explanation for this record one-day rise, few questioning it publicly and and no answer offered. Even worse, the 1-month yield stood at 3.36% as recently as April 21, just a little more than two weeks ago. That's a 246 basis point move (2.46%), nearly a doubling of the rate in a very small window.

    The monstrosity of the currently-inverted Treasury yield curve leaves as an open question, "What in the world is going on?"

    To answer that, perhaps Occam's razor, giving preference to the hypothesis that requires the fewest assumptions might conclude that some entity has too tight a grip on internal control, i.e., everybody's being played by unseen, powerful forces. (Hmmm... who could that be?).

    In any case, since the GFC, more than a few veteran traders and analysts have opined that free markets no longer exist. There appears to be ample evidence to support such claims (See gold, silver, the COMEX and LBMA if not convinced.).

    Heading into Tuesday's open session, other then the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, there isn't much of market-moving data on the agenda. Incidentally, the March NFIB figure was 90.59, which is down quite a bit from the most-recent high of 108.58 in August, 2018. Five years of worsening business conditions. Ughh!

    Joe Brandon and congressional party leaders will be meeting today to discuss raising the debt ceiling, which will get plenty of coverage in the fake news media. The idea that five guys sipping coffee are going to decide how best to screw over their constituents is revoltingly repulsive.

    April CPI will be released at 8:30 am ET on Wednesday. It's not a big deal, but you're supposed to think it is.

    All you day-traders, arm-chair economists and portfolio boasters, get over yourselves. Anybody can pick stocks during a boom. Conversely, you'll all look like morons through the ongoing bust. You have no control. The Fed, the government, Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, Bill Gates, Larry Fink, Janet Yellen and Claus Schwab laugh in your faces.

    The market controls you.

    At the Close, Monday, May 8, 2022:
    Dow: 33,618.69, -55.69 (-0.17%)
    NASDAQ: 12,256.92, +21.50 (+0.18%)
    S&P 500: 4,138.12, +1.87 (+0.05%)
    NYSE Composite: 15,391.27, +10.40 (+0.07%)


    WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Avoid Big Weekly Loss; Gold, Silver Continue Momentum Despite Overt COMEX Meddling

    Sunday, May 7, 2023, 12:58 pm ET

    About the best that can be said about the week just completed is that there were no more bank failures and stocks - thanks to Friday's insider ramping - were down only a little, with the NASDAQ actually gaining nearly nine points.


    STOCKS

    For a change, the FOMC's policy rate decision wasn't the be-all, end-all for the week. Surrounded by a banking crisis and growing concern over the debt ceiling, the Fed's 0.25% hike wasn't very resonant with equity markets while panic selling ensued on 1-month treasuries.

    Apple's earnings report was a blockbuster, putting a temporary floor under besieged tech stocks.

    Regional banks continued to be under heavy selling pressure, though a relief valve was opened on Friday. Still, depositors are skeptical and concerned about the safety of their savings and the banking structure in general. By now, the percentage of the population with holdings of more than $250,000 in a single bank knows their money is not guaranteed and has been taking the money and running elsewhere, either to money markets or home safes or other hard assets.

    There are now all manner of backstops and bailout mechanisms in place for the smaller banks subject to runs on cash, but issues are popping up in larger regional institutions like Regions Financial (RF) and Truist (TRU), the former having fallen by a third (24 to 16) since February, the latter down more than 40% (50 to 28) over the same time span.

    Tech continues to be the belle of the ball, the NASDAQ up more than 17% on the year, while the Dow briefly went negative year-to-date on Thursday, but Friday's rally sent it back into the black, though only up 2% on the year. In the middle is the S&P, with an eight percent gain.

    Up next week is a solid cross-section of companies from a variety of sectors, including the likes of PayPal (PYPL), Wendy's (WEN), Devon Energy (CVN), Six Flags (SIX), Teva (TEVA), Walt Disney (DIS), Yeti (YETI), Beyond Meat (BYND), Toyota (TM), RobinHood (HOOD), and Wynn Resorts (WYNN). With the first quarter now six weeks in the rear view mirror the number of companies reporting will continue to tail off, the peak passed over the past two weeks.


    Treasury Yield Curve Rates

    Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
    03/31/2023 4.74 4.79 4.85 4.97 4.94 4.64
    04/07/2023 4.56 4.90 4.95 5.07 4.95 4.61
    04/14/2023 4.29 4.98 5.14 5.16 5.03 4.77
    04/21/2023 3.36 4.98 5.14 5.19 5.07 4.78
    04/28/2023 4.35 5.14 5.10 5.20 5.06 4.80
    05/05/2023 5.59 5.23 5.26 5.26 5.13 4.73

    Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
    03/31/2023 4.06 3.81 3.60 3.55 3.48 3.81 3.67
    04/07/2023 3.97 3.72 3.49 3.45 3.39 3.73 3.61
    04/14/2023 4.08 3.83 3.60 3.56 3.52 3.85 3.74
    04/21/2023 4.17 3.89 3.66 3.62 3.57 3.90 3.78
    04/28/2023 4.04 3.75 3.51 3.49 3.44 3.80 3.67
    05/05/2023 3.92 3.63 3.41 3.41 3.44 3.85 3.76

    The Fed hiked a mere 25 basis points, but yield on 1-month bills soared by 124, proximate cause being uncertainty over US government solvency with $31.4 trillion in debt but resolution in sight for raising the debt ceiling as a meeting between top party leaders and Brandon at the White House is set to take place in the coming week. It all sounds so "politboro-ish." Our leaders will guide us straight into the abyss.

    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the government could run out of ways to borrow from Peter to pay Paul - otherwise known as "extraordinary measures" - as early as June 1st. Government revenue and spending, being moving targets, are difficult to pin down exactly, thus some wiggle room for Granny Janet, albeit not much. Fears of the government defaulting on any portion of the debt are likely overblown, though the intent of Democrats and the White House still appears to be one of making the worst possible decision, at least that's what their track records reveal, so stiffing a creditor or three remains part of the calculus.

    The yield curve steepened at the long and short ends, with a slight dip in the middle for a kind of kiddie roller coaster effect. The entire curve (1-month out to 30 years) is inverted a full 217 basis points, a most obscene figure, one suggestive not of a mild recession, but, rather, a full-blown depression. Meantime, the spread on 2s-10s has been compressed to 52 basis points, after hitting a low of 40 the prior two weeks.

    Groupthink believes that when yields on 10s finally exceed those of 2s, that would suffice as a recession bell-ringer, a signal that wheels are falling off, transmission failing, engine rough idling. Since there are no hard and fast rules, it remains to be seen when and if a recession actually develops and whether or not the government chooses to change the definition of one, again.

    Demand was strongest for 2-year notes, dropping 12 basis points while the 10-year held steady at 3.44%. Yields on 5s and 7s fell below that of the 10s, both falling to 3.41%.


    Oil/Gas

    WTI Crude fell to $71.35 this week, falling off from $76.63 last week, down from $82.59 three weeks out and $77.95 two weeks ago. Crude oil is suffering from receding demand, one of the residual effects of runaway inflation. Tapped out consumers aren't readily pulling out the credit cards for trips to the supermarket to purchase food they can no longer afford. $8 for a box of "healthy" cereal and $5 for a bag of nacho chips isn't exactly on the regular person's shopping list.

    The week ended with the national average for a gallon of gas at the pump at $3.50, down from $3.58 last week and $3.67 a week before that. With improving weather, the usual pattern is for higher prices, though there's nothing "usual" about the current predicament. Prices are lowest in the Southeast with Mississippi diving below the $3.00 level again, at $2.96. Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana are all $3.10 or lower.

    Californians got a small taste of relief, the average price falling to $4.75 from $4.81 last week. High prices continue to dominate the West. Oregon ($4.07), Nevada ($4.18) look reasonable compared to neighbors Washington ($4.50) and Arizona ($4.66). Idaho and Utah aren't far behind at $3.73 and $3.91, respectively. The Northeast/Midwest continues to range between $3.35 (Ohio) and $3.96 (Illinois).


    Bitcoin

    This week: $28,959.40
    Last week: $29,395.70
    2 weeks ago: $27,645.00
    6 months ago: $20,905.50
    One year ago: $34,027.90

    Churn, baby, churn.


    Precious Metals

    Silver:Gold Ratio: 78.63; last week: 79.72

    Per COMEX continuous contracts:

    Gold price 04/07: $2,023.70
    Gold price 04/14: $2,015.80
    Gold price 04/21: $1,994.10
    Gold price 04/28: $1,999.40
    Gold price 05/05: $2,024.90

    Silver price 04/07: $25.13
    Silver price 04/14: $25.46
    Silver price 03/17: $25.16
    Silver price 04/28: $25.08
    Silver price 05/05: $25.74

    It's becoming clear that price suppression on the COMEX is coming under pressure. These days, the customary smackdowns aren't having any lasting effect, Friday's case a clear example. Gold was sent reeling from an overnight high of $2058 down to $2009, but pric rebounded by the end of trading in New York to $2024.

    The matter was even less effective on silver, gobsmacked from $26.20 down to $25.27 as equity markets opened in the US, it rebounded by end of day to $25.74. Prices at dealers barely budged, a $20 or $30 move in gold hardly significant at this juncture.

    Prices and premiums remain the name of the game at online dealers and on ebay, one ounce gold bars and coins maintaining pricing power over $2100, while silver continues to flirt with $40 an ounce with many products fetching far higher prices, especially graded ASEs, Kookaburras, and other high-value offerings. With the silver:gold ratio remaining at stratospheric levels, expect the standard one-ounce finished silver product to approach $50 within the next six months to a year. There's every indication that precious metals will soon break out. Any slip-ups by Western governments could send prices spiraling higher as a mania might emerge.

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

    1 oz silver coin: 32.50 45.00 40.51 40.83
    1 oz silver bar: 35.43 54.25 40.23 39.62
    1 oz gold coin: 2,134.23 2,225.47 2,165.57 2,162.41
    1 oz gold bar: 2,092.00 2,175.20 2,130.33 2,125.52

    The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) remains volatile, ending this week at $40.30, an increase of 51 cents from the April 30 level of $39.79.

    WEEKEND WRAP

    Friday's rally was a real head-scratcher. Apple's earnings report certainly helped supply positive vibes, as did the April non-farm payroll data released just prior to the open. On the surface, this good news would normally fuel a rally, but, under current conditions, with the Fed still embroiled in fighting inflation, raising rates, and trying to cool the economy, market reaction might as well have been negative.

    Turns out, market sentiment overwhelmed rate-hike ad recession fears, if only for the day. Stocks had been down large for the week, so, a case was made for the market being oversold. More cynical observers just assigned the day's jump to short-squeezing, which is probably the most likely explanation.

    Market mania taking the form of groupthink and/or herd behavior would be nothing new. Passive, macro-level investors consider front-running, short-squeezing, and coordinated buying or selling as engrained elements of the system that keeps stocks from falling into long-term funks. Though most long-term holders remain down from 2022, there's still no panic despite obvious fragility.

    There appears to be no consensus on anything, be it market direction, recession warnings, or economic projections. Data is pointing negatively and has been for months. The market's ability to suspend reality has been tested severely the past two months. As long as the larger market participants (hedge and mutual funds, private offices) are able to act in concert, stocks remain resistant to downside pressure. Doom-and-gloomers have been beaten back routinely in 2023, and that dynamic should continue as long as moral hazard is ignored, which, as has been the case since the GFC of '08-09, could be a very long time.

    At the Close, Friday, May 5, 2023:
    Dow: 33,674.38, +546.64 (+1.65%)
    NASDAQ: 12,235.41, +269.01 (+2.25%)
    S&P 500; 4,136.25, +75.03 (+1.85%)
    NYSE Composite: 15,380.87, +263.20 (+1.74%)

    For the Week:
    Dow: -423.78 (-1.24%)
    NASDAQ: +8.83 (+0.07%)
    S&P 500: -33.23 (-0.80%)
    NYSE Composite: -165.00 (-1.06%)


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