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Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
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Friday, May 14, 2021, 8:23 am ET
Thursday's snapback rally on Wall Street eased some of the pain felt over three days of selling, but stocks are not quite out of the woods yet. Friday will determine whether the week was an overall winner or loser for equity investors.
Last Friday's closing price on the Dow was 34,777.76. The NASDAQ finished last week at 13,752.24, the S&P at 4,232.60, and the last print last Friday on the NYSE Composite was 16,590.43. US stocks will have to stage a considerable rally to avoid losing ground for the week, and that's probably what should be the main takeaway.
In Japan, the Nikkei closed up 636.46 points (+2.32%) Friday to finish the week at 28,084.47. Even with that gain, the index closed down significantly from a week ago, when it finished the trading week at 29,357.82. Japan's Nikkei 225 remains the best leading indicator for global markets. The economy in Japan has been on its knees, begging for inflation for 32 years. It got a taste of some in recent years, especially since 2013, but it hasn't been nearly enough despite massive QE, negative interest rates, and the Bank of Japan basically underwriting most of the country's largest companies.
The real estate and manufacturing boom that ended in 1989 has brought the Nikkei index to nearly 40,000 (38,915). It has never even approached that level. The high of February 16 (30,467) was the closest it had gotten over all those years and that was still down 21.7% from the all-time high. A closer examination of the Nikkei since the 1980s shows that the index hit rock bottom in 2003 when it closed at 7972. It had lost 80% of its value over the span of 14 years. It was a very painful experience not just for investors, but for the working class of Japan, as wages stagnated, businesses closed, and prospects for the future appeared dim.
The years following may have seemed to be an improvement, but real estate prices never recovered to their glory days of the 1980s and Japanese firms are still paying off recurring debt. It's turned into a vicious cycle for Japanese businesses. Kept afloat by the central bank, many of the financial institutions and larger companies have long been referred to as zombies, unable to retire debt and turn consistent profits. It's the same path upon which many US companies are headed, many already well down the road.
And now it appears the Japanese economy is hurtling headlong into another downturn. Built upon the shifting sands of fiat currency, Japan is easily the most indebted nation in the world. Government debt to GDP for 2020 was measured at 266%. Fortunately, the country is homogenous and its citizens have developed into some of the most ardent savers in the world. It's government is broke, but the citizens have taken an alternate route. In another economic downturn, the government will likely fail along with the currency, the yen, but the people will all equally survive, restructure, and rebuild.
Japan is also a well-advanced, aging culture. A great deal of generational wealth is going to vanish. The good news is that in the coming global shake-up, they will be one of the first to emerge. After all, the past three generations have been preparing for disaster for a long time. Japan's transition from fiat to any new currency regime is likely to be the most orderly among developed nations. Europe, and especially the United States and Canada will likely encounter much more turbulence.
As the week draws to a close, European stocks are rebounding, but all of the major national indices will finish with a loss for the week. The losses incurred Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday look to be too much to recover. Ditto the US indices.
Any gains made Thursday and Friday are simply buy-the-dip, dead cat bounce relief rallies. Stocks, despite their late week bounce, are still massively overvalued. Retesting this week's lows would be a more likely event than making new all-time highs, though that is what the narrative will likely be in days and weeks ahead.
We're supposed to be in a "recovery," but, with stocks already making fresh highs on a consistent basis, how much higher can they go? That's a question only the market can answer. Economic indicators are pointing in another direction.
At the Close, Thursday, May 13, 2021:
Thursday, May 13, 2021, 9:00 am ET
The end game approaches. Stocks in the US were crushed on Wednesday, led by the Dow Jones Industrials, which fell by just short of two percent. Not only were stocks lower, but bonds, precious metals, oil and even cryptocurrencies felt the pain.
Just about the only thing holding its own was the US$, which rallied sharply against other fiat currencies on Wednesday. Per the CPI data released Wednesday, inflation is roaring, but if, as the Fed continues to maintain, rising prices are transitory and will abate in months, then all of this makes perfect sense. Inflation isn't the problem. It's deflation that worries central bankers the most. They're adept at creating currency out of thin air, but the destruction of debt, i.e., their currency, renders all other issues moot.
Investors did on Wednesday what they usually do in times of stress: they fled to the US dollar as the final safe haven. There appears to be no other place to go but to cash, which is the perfect vehicle for scooping up bargains if the world is headed towards various currency crises and a global depression. There's nothing new about that concept.
All depressions have excessive debt as a proximate cause, the current condition being no different. There has been a global orgy of debt which has reached its final stage. Debt issuance has been falling and is expected to decline over the course of 2021 after the massive spending during the virus crisis.
Markets are reacting in very early stages of the end game. Consider this the third or fourth inning of a nine-inning game. A stock market crash is overdue as stocks are more richly valued than at any time in recorded history except prior to the dotcom crash in 2000 according to the Shiller PE ratio.
Bolstering the case for global meltdown, the Nikkei closed down another 669 points on Thursday, settling the Japan index at -9.91% off the February 12 high, not quite 10%, but close enough for those who like round numbers to call the move a correction.
Over the past three sessions, the Nikkei has lost some 2070.33 points, a decline of seven percent. Not to harp on the subject, but Money Daily has targeted the Nikkei as a leading indicator for the rest of the world and the continued descent only enhances the idea that markets worldwide are about to take a dramatic turn to the downside. As the Nikkei has lost ground over the past three sessions, so too US stocks, the three-day US losing streak the first since March.
On Wednesday US markets confirmed suspicions that came with recent all-time highs, especially on the Dow, where the 30 blue chip stocks put in their worst performance since January, losing 681 points, a 1.99% loss. European indices finished Wednesday mixed, but the majors were slightly to the upside. However, the DAX, CAC, and FTSE all opened Thursday sharply lower.
If a global rout is underway, it's a sudden development. The Dow made a new all-time high just last week, popping to 34,777.76 as of Friday's close. While Monday's loss was minor, the Dow made up for it Tuesday and Wednesday. All tolled, the Dow dropped 1190 points over the first three days of the week, setting up for the worst weekly decline since last October.
Overnight, none other than Elon Musk has sent the entire crypto universe into a tailspin via a couple of tweets. Such is the condition of today's generation of gullible traders, so shallow that their investment strategies can be turned on and off by a single bipolar billionaire.
In a nutshell, Musk first tweeted that his electric vehicle (EV) car company, Tesla, would no longer be accepting Bitcoin as payment for a vehicle purchase. Lost on most is the mention in the very same tweet that the company is not selling any of its Bitcoin. Musk followed up with an early morning tweet decrying the energy used to mine Bitcoin, which is actually much less than what's used for other financial activity, mining gold, for example, or keeping the lights and computers on at the brokerages and exchanges around the world.
The tweets caused Bitcoin to sell off overnight, falling from $54,700 to $46,000 before picking right back up, currently over $50,000 again. It begs the question of whether Musk is manipulating the market. It can be readily inferred that he sold some Bitcoin prior to the first tweet and then bought back in at $46,000. Consulting a chart reveals a V-bottom at precisely $46,000.
Here are the tweets:
Nowhere does Musk mention selling Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, so why are others selling? Stupidity, gullibility, cowardice, aka, fear, three traits that are anathema to successful investing. Apparently, very few market participants have ever heard of "buy low, sell high."
Don't be that kind of investor. Now, more than ever, in a rapidly-moving environment with corruption, dishonesty, pitfalls and traps set everywhere, it pays to keep one's head. Everything is a gamble. Nothing is without risk. Trade accordingly. Playing the long game, hard assets, gold, silver, and maybe crypto (the jury is still out on that) will fare better than almost everything else. Be mindful of real estate. Prices have risen dramatically since the GFC of 2008-09 and probably will not maintain their values in a currency crisis.
With less than an hour prior to the opening bell in New York, Dow and S&P futures are lower, though NASDAQ futures are positive. Judging by foreign markets anything is possible on Thursday. Chinese stocks were off sharply along with Japan. European indices opened decidedly to the downside, but have recovered some of those losses as the trading day has progressed.
At the Close, Wednesday, May 12, 2021:
Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 9:10 am ET
The Nikkei 225 closed down again, losing 1.61% (461 points) on Wednesday and it doesn't appear the BOJ intervened by buying ETFs, for the second straight session. The index closed at 28,147.51, a three-month low, dating back to Feb. 1 (28,091.05).
From that February 1 level, the Nikkei was up nine of the next 12 sessions, topping out at 30,467.75 on Feb. 16.
From that high to today, the loss is 7.6%, getting close to correction territory. To say that the Nikkei is shaky would be an understatement. Euro and US stock indices should follow along. At the time of this writing, European bourses are either slightly positive or fractionally lower. US futures are down across the board for the second straight day.
Money Daily considers the Nikkei 225 index a leading indicator. It has now traded below its 50-day moving average for 11 of the last 12 sessions, the longest such period since March of 2020. The direction appears to be headed toward a correction, which is defined as a 10% decline from a recent high. The Nikkei Index only needs to lose another 700 points to reach the correction level.
Should that occur, US and European stock indices may very well follow. Stocks, thanks to relentless currency creation by the Federal Reserve and continued stimulus by the federal government, have been trading at artificially-high levels and are due for a pullback. By how much stocks will decline is not known, though a 10% drawdown could easily lead to further declines and a bear market (down 20%). This is not to say that a drop in stock prices is a certainty. The Fed and the government have been propping up the market for years, but, if their plans include torpedoing the economy - which seems likely - it is surely within their power to crash markets, either by jawboning it down, halting the supportive programs, or raising interest rates. It's also possible that the market - made up of millions of diverse investors - will correct on its own without prodding from the Fed.
Gold and silver have been on the move recently, and it no appears that there is an actual shortage of silver, caused, in large part, by the efforts of reddit group r/wallstreetsilver, which has been advocating the purchase of physical silver at retail. The group has expanded to nearly 78,000 users since inception on January 29, 2021 (less than four months).
In a lengthy report, precious metals analyst Ronan Manly takes the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) to task over what he calls "misleading" information. His article at bullionstar.com, titled, LBMA misleads Silver Market with False Claims about Record Silver Stocks makes the case for the LBMA's purposeful misrepresentation of the amount of silver in London vaults.
The LBMA first issued a press release in March...
"As at end March 2021, there was a record stock of silver held in London vaults. In total there was 38,859 tonnes of silver, representing an 11% increase on the previous month, valued at $30 billion which equates to approximately 1,259,310 silver bars."
...but then followed with a retraction just two days ago (May 10):
"A data submission error led to the publication of an incorrect aggregate figure for the total silver held in London vaults in March. The corrected figure is 1,143,194 Troy ounces ('000s)."
Manly breaks down the where, why, and how the LBMA or various bullion banks - including JP Morgan - might want to obfuscate matters concerning the amount of silver on hand, to the point of overstating the amount of silver in the London vaults by 106.1 million troy ounces (2960.38 tons). It's not a trifling manner and while Manly doesn't go so far as to accuse anybody of lying, it certainly appears as though somebody might not have been telling the truth, hoping to keep a lid on the price of silver and dampen the optimistic speculation in the market.
It's a solid piece of journalism which will be largely ignored by the mainstream. Those unimpressed by official narratives may find it a refreshing change. The takeaway is that there's a lot less silver out there than many are being led to believe and prices and premiums at retail are a reflection of that. Money Daily's proprietary Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMBP) has retail silver at 44.75 as of this past Sunday. Of course, trading in the nearly-unregulated futures market will continue its fraud to keep silver prices depressed, for now...
At 8:30 am ET the latest Consumer Price Index showed April CPI surged 0.8% month-over-month and exploded 4.2% year-over-year, the greatest YoY increase since Sept 2008 (and biggest MoM jump since June 2008). How long will Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell and his buddies at the Federal Reserve continue to claim that inflation is transitory when the data over the last three months shows consumer prices galloping ahead at a record pace? Will they call six months of price increases "transitory"? 12 months? Their willful blindness to the realities of the marketplace is becoming more than a little troubling.
Finally, two notes of interest. The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which has prompted gas hoarding and widespread panic, is a false flag event. The federal government, via their cronies will do anything to torpedo the US economy, from forced lockdowns to
Liz Cheney, an obvious deep state operative, is probably going to lose her leadership position in congress. She cites the false claim that President Trump incited the January 6 Capitol "uprising." She also continues to claim Trump's claims that the election was stolen is "false" which is the opposite of the truth, which will be revealed shortly, when the Maricopa County, AZ audit is completed.
She's lying. Everybody knows Trump won. She's a fraud and so is most of congress. The federal government is illegitimate. Biden is not the president and he must be removed. A plan for patriots to assemble on the National Mall on July 4 is in the works.
At the Close, Tuesday, May 11, 2021:
Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 9:14 am ET
Money Daily's leading indicator, the Nikkei 225 index, leads today's note as it crashed 909 points on Tuesday.
The Nikkei has become known as the poster child for central bank influence, as the Bank of Japan (BOJ), Japan's central bank, is a major shareholder of more than 40% of the country's listed stocks. The central bank was one of the top 10 shareholders in 1,446 listed companies out of 3,735 at the end of March, 2018 and that number has grown apace.
So, it doesn't take a genius to gather that if the Nikkei declines, the balance sheet of the BOJ does a few summersaults. Back in March, the BOJ announced that it was dropping its commitment to spend six trillion yen a year on such purchases, saying it would continue to buy ETFs "as needed", up to a maximum of 12 trillion yen ($110.44 billion) a year.
So, instead of committing to about $55 billion, the BOJ gets a little loose, doubling the potential amount they'll invest in the country's crumbling, zombified companies. The bank buys shares mostly via ETFs, but it buys big. Apparently, any recent buying, like after Japan's equity indices reopened on Thursday of last week after a three-day hiatus with a resounding rally (+519 points) and added another 179 Friday and Monday, Tuesday's setback erased all of that in a rout . The Nikkei closed at 28,608.59, down 909.71 points (-3.08%).
That set the index back to its lowest close since April 21 (28,508.55), a near term bottom and well below the 50-day moving average, which, notably, recently began to slope in a downward direction. The chart of the Nikkei is not appealing to bullish sentiment. As posted before, the index cannot seem to escape the lower side of the 50-day moving average, and, should that troubling chart feature maintain, the Nikkei should provide ample guidance for the rest of the world's exchanges.
Following the collapse on the Nikkei, European stocks have been tanking all day with major European bourses - Gemany's DAX, France's CAC, and Britain's FTSE - down more than two percent.
Stock futures in the US have also been underwater all morning, presaging what will likely be an ugly open on Wall Street. With less than a half hour prior to the bell, Dow futures are down 285 points, NASDAQ futures off 267, and S&P minis off 52 points.
Get ready for a wild ride today and likely through the rest of the week. Earnings season is coming to a close and the traders are in desperate need of some positive momentum, though there's little to be found.
Wednesday's CPI data is likely to worsen the "transitory" inflation fear. Hang tight. Buy Bitcoin.
At the Close, Monday, May 10, 2011:
Sunday, May 9, 2021, 11:02 am ET
Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night Live... what could go wrong?
Well, at least none of Musk's Tesla EVs blew up during the live event. That would have put a real damper on the humor. Dogecoin did get a couple of mentions, probably more than were necessary, and Musk seemed to be sufficiently "woke" for the audience, but his favorite cryptocurrency took a beating during and after the event.
Maybe calling DOGE a "hustle" wasn't such a good idea, even if it was portrayed in a joking manner.
DOGE hit a new high on Saturday at 0.7376, before plummeting late Saturday night into Sunday. From 11:35 pm ET through 12:20 am ET, a span of just 45 minutes, DOGE fell from 0.6976 to 0.4919, wiping out most of the gains from the past week. It continued to plunge Sunday morning. By 7:30 am ET, it was trading at 0.4723. As many suspected, Dogecoin may be a little dodgy for most investors. Was Musk secretly selling during commercial breaks? Doubtful, but he'll never tell, thankfully.
It turns out, SNL still has influence, though little relevance, and most of it is ill-intentioned, anti-white, anti-conservative, and anti-American. In other words, it's a little too "woke" for mainstream viewers or people with a functioning cerebral cortex.
Moving on, other than in the large cap tech space, equities had a banner week. The Dow, S&P 500, and NYSE Composite all made new all-time highs as the NASDAQ continued to lag behind, weighed down by the likes of Tesla (TSLA), Microsoft (MSFT), Netflix (NFLX), and Facebook (FB), though there was no shortage of newer, trendier, momentum names like Teradata (TDC), Shake Shack (SHAK), JFrog (FROG, 10 straight losing sessions), LoanDepot (LDI, down 30% in just the past week), Vroom (VRM, down 20% in two weeks), Beyond Meat (BYND, cut in half since February), Draft Kings (DKNG, down from 64 to 48 in two weeks), and Carvana (CVNA), to name just a few of the biggest losers.
Many so-called "unicorns" have become toads as glamor stocks have lost much of their luster.
This being earnings season, many of these companies reported for the first quarter and responded with the routine "pop and drop" or just a plain old drop in price action.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its best week since the second week of March with a gain of more than 2.5%. Leading the way for the 30 big caps were Amgen (AMGN), United Health (UNH), JP Morgan (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Home Depot (HD), Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), American Express (AXP), Nike (NKE), Travelers (TRV), Dow (DOW), and Merck (MRK).
Who would have guessed that with all the choices and momentum-chasing stocks available, some investors would opt for stable companies that returned solid profits and dividends? Nothing new there. In fact, plenty of old money was piling into big cap names.
Yields on long-dated treasuries came down slightly, though are still at elevated levels. Yield on the 10-year note fell five basis points, from 1.65% to 1.60%, while the 30-year bond dipped from 2.30% to 2.28%. The Federal Reserve has done a bang-up job of keeping a lid on the long end of the curve despite irritating, continuing signs of inflation just about everywhere. Prices are rising for just about everything, including food, energy, home prices, rents, building materials, used cars, and many consumer goods coming from China.
The Fed and Treasury keep saying inflation is "transitory" or fleeting, despite evidence to the contrary. They may be right, however, if government stimulus is curtailed and Joe Biden's latest spending proposals fall flat in congress. Wednesday, April 12, the Labor Department is scheduled to release April's Consumer Price Index (CPI) and experts polled by Bloomberg predict it will rise by 2.3%. A number that big might be enough to scare out some soft hands in markets, but even Friday's big miss on the April non-farm payroll data (266,000 vs. expectations of a million or more) failed to push stocks down, so, it appears that as long as the Fed keeps the federal funds rate at the zero bound, no data is likely to set off alarm bells in the near term.
The dollar was sharply lower against other fiat currencies and especially against gold, silver and some cryptos on the week. The demise of the US dollar has been the main driver of stock rallies over the past year and that is a trend that is likely to continue. As purchasing power of the currency erodes, everybody from top-line investors to hourly workers seeks refuge. Stocks have been a good place to hide, but cryptos and precious metals have been awakened in very large terms.
Oil prices continue to rise, heading north over the week from $63.58 to $64.90 for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI). Gas prices also headed up, as the national average reached $2.96 a gallon, up by more than a dollar from this time last year. Additional pain at the pump could be headed to most of the country, as the largest gasoline and distillate pipeline - the Colonial Pipeline - was shut down via a cyber attack Thursday night but wasn't widely reported until mid-afternoon Friday. Operators are scrambling to remedy the situation. The pipeline moves 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline and other fuels from refiners on the Gulf Coast to consumers in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States, stretching some 5,000 miles from Louisiana to New Jersey.
Prices were up modestly Friday but concerns are that a prolonged shutdown could trigger a spike in gas prices, which are already at a three year high. If there's anything that can put a damper on an economy that's supposed to be recovering, it's higher fuel prices. That seems to be the case, though you wouldn't suspect it by reading asset prices.
The week in cryptocurrencies was led by Ethereum's breakout, which hit $3984 early Sunday. The second-largest crypto by market cap is up a whopping 83% over the past 30 days, outperforming rival Bitcoin, which is in the process of recovering from a drawdown which saw the price collapse from an all-time high near $65,000 down to $47,000. The correction in Bitcoin caused a bit of a panic, but since the bottom on April 25, it has recovered to as high as $59,209 (Saturday night), and is currently ranging around $57,000. While Ethereum has caught all the interest over the past month, Bitcoin is not exactly dead, though it has been outgunned recently by ETH and other altcoins.
The precious metals market was the place to be over the past week as both gold and silver broke out from moribund action and depressed levels. May could be the month for gold, as so far it has advanced from $1767.70 to $1,832.00 as of Friday's New York close. It was the best weekly performance for gold on the COMEX since the first week in December 2020 and prior to that in July, as gold was moving to all-time highs.
Gold could be poised for further, explosive advances if Basel III rules regarding funding ratios are adopted. The LBMA and World Gold Council issued a protest to the BIS over the proposed rules. According to GATA:
In a 58-page protest submitted to the Bank of Englands Prudential Regulation Authority, the LBMA and the World Gold Council complained that the Net Stable Funding Ratio provision of the Basel III regulations would require the London bullion banks to hold funds offsetting 85 percent of the value of the unallocated gold they hold for customers, and the banks could not afford this.
The rules would severely impair the bullion banks (most of the large, international banking firms) ability to engage in price suppression via naked shorting and other suspect practices. The LBMA/WGC protest can be seen in its entirety here [PDF]. It is also archived at GATA [PDF].
Silver continues to be a most interesting trade especially due to the ongoing silver squeeze spurred forward by the reddit group r/WallStreetSilver, which has been consistently urging members to buy physical silver at retail. The incessant buying pressure - which has been virtually non-stop since January - may be finally beginning to affect the wholesale COMEX and LBMA price. Silver moved from $25.85 to $27.48 over the week, heading into a resistance channel between $27.02 and $28.09. A breakout above $28 could be the beginning of a larger, long overdue price breakout.
Here are the most recent prices for common gold and silver one ounce items on eBay (Numismatics excluded, shipping - often free - included):
Item: Low / High / Average / Median
As can be seen clearly by the prices of coins and bars, the gains of the week did not go unnoticed by the retail crowd. While gold coins maintained their premium over bars, the same set-up was minimized in the silver market. Gold coins reached levels not seen since December. The Money Daily Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) exploded from last week's $41.87 to $44.75, topping the high mark of $44.32 from February 28. Bear in mind that the SOSMPB is an experimental device, though the methodology has remained the same since its inception on January 31, 2021.
This week's late edition of the WEEKEND WRAP was brought to you by a clogged kitchen sink, which serves as a reminder that if your inputs are garbage (in our case, mostly coffee grounds) they may come back to haunt you.
At the Close, Friday, May 7, 2021:
For the Week:
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