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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, June 24, 2022, 9:37 am ET
Editor's Note: Money Daily is going to take a couple of detours today, away from the usual ranting over stocks, bonds, and movements of money and towards an understanding of the national and global political and economic issues currently overarching the landscape. Editorializing on topics outside the usual realm of economics is becoming more and more de rigeur and what is posted today dovetails into economics and world order on many levels.
First, the usual grumbling: Action in stocks on Thursday left just about everybody wondering about direction, as the major indices posted some uninspiring gains.
Bulls are now in the process of rewriting history before it is made, the current argument for rising stocks based on the belief that the Fed will hike rates until a recession gets traction, at which time they will reverse course and cut interest rates back toward the zero-bound. They're optimistic that all of this will occur without much pain or further losses to shares of their dead (that's a faux pas typo right there; it was supposed to be "dear") corporations.
Bears believe the optimism of the bulls is severely misplaced, and it's not hard to disagree. Stocks have been trending to the downside for a lot longer than the mini rally of recent sessions. Bears can take comfort in the reality that the major indices are still nestled below the recent lows of May 18-20, so they are mostly unfazed by the boosterism of the past few days. They have a point: the gains have been on low volume and consisted mainly of short-covering rather than the staking out of new positions. Recent buys will likely be replaced by selling in short order, though the next round of panic might have to wait until after the July 4 holiday. That's after a full week, followed by another four-day week after the Monday (7/4) celebrations. Many are content to wait and see, though a sharp downturn cannot be ruled out for Friday or all of next week.
Approaching the final trading day of this four-day wonder, it appears stocks will record one of the rare events of 2022, with all the majors looking to post a weekly gain. As of Thursday's close, the Dow is up 788 points (2.64%), the NASDAQ is ahead by 433 (4.02%), the S&P up 120 (3.29%), and the NYSE Composite holding onto a gain of 305 (2.16%)
Now, onto the good stuff:
Briefly, the situation in Ukraine (otherwise known as the military conflict which is not supposed to be mentioned other than NAT0 is winning/Russia is losing) seems to be heading for a decision within months, if not weeks. Essentially, the propaganda narrative is going to change, not to the liking of UK, USA, or the EU.
Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, along with many of his top officials and business leaders, made some very poignant remarks about the West and the global condition last week at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), calling out the US, UK, and EU for their - in his opinion - misguided policies.
The full text of this very important speech can be found here.
Putin's speech and both articles are highly recommended reading.
The uni-polar world led by the United States and its dollar hegemony is being fractured on many fronts. Putin, along with China, Brazil, India, (the BRICs) and many other countries, large and small, are moving away from dollar-dominated commerce and well into the process of establishing a new world order that threatens the West to its core.
Simply put, political/economic winds are gusting. The world is changing at an advanced rate.
Here are two lists of senators, both 15 names, all Republicans. First the list of senators who voted to NOT confirm Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury on January 25, 2021:
Fifteen Republican senators voted against Yellen's confirmation:
Add one more to this list, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who abstained from voting. Yellen, an agent of a foreign bank by virtue of her being a former chair of the Federal Reserve (foreign bank, NOT a part of the US government) should never have been confirmed.
Then there's the list of senators who voted for passage on June 24, 2022, of the"Bipartisan Safer Communities Act" gun control bill, which was carried by a vote of 65-33. All 50 Democrat senators voted in favor of passage.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where passage is virtually assured, then on to FJB's desk for his fake signature.
It's worth noting that there is no overlap of the two lists. No senator who voted in favor of the gun control legislation voted against Yellen's confirmation. Those 15 who voted "yes" on the gun control bill are compromised and might as well be Democrats. The 15, plus Florida's Marco Rubio, who voted against Yellen's confirmation are the core of the Republican party and are quite obviously not on the same page as party leadership (Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn).
That leaves 20 (including Rubio) "tweeners" who voted for Yellen's confirmation, but against gun control. Most of those can probably be given a pass on the Yellen confirmation, as they probably did not and still don't understand the ramifications of putting a former Fed Chair in charge of the nation's pursestrings. Those 20 did vote against the gun control legislation, so there's an obvious lean of 35 Republican senators who might be worth keeping, or, not kicking to the curb at the first opportunity.
35 senators, however, is not enough to overcome a filibuster, where 60 votes are necessary, even if they all vote the same way (100-35=65). What this means may be nothing, but it probably is something. At the very least, it shows that the Republican party is fractured and in a state of affairs that gives Democrats a huge upper hand, smugly confident in the knowledge that they can count on defections to move just about any legislation they desire.
That covers, as best as possible in such limited time and space, the world and the US present conditions.
Already navigating through uncharted territory, the storm clouds have suddenly approached much closer for the Western economies. Weeks and months ahead will be crucial to the ultimate direction of global economics, politics and social structures. While the West has its fiat currencies, inept national leadership, central banks, the World Bank, the IMF, and the BIS, the Rest of the World (ROW) has resources, better demographics, a sustainable path forward (BRI) and leaders who are actually capable of making policy decisions that are beneficial to their constituents.
Everything is being reconsidered.
At the Close, Thursday, June 24, 2022:
Thursday, June 23, 2022, 6:35 am ET
Apparently, the genius Wall Street big players weren't quite ready to skim more off retail plungers on Wednesday, boosting stock prices right after a gap lower open. Market controllers are a greedy bunch. They'll likely keep stocks floating higher for a while before dumping them again. A 600-800-point drop on the Dow in the near future is certain. It's just a matter of when they decide to pull the plug.
After all, stocks haven't dropped below pre-pandemic levels, yet. Soon enough, they will, especially when we have people like Janet Yellen - US Treasury Secretary, actually an agent of a foreign bank - proposing putting a cap on Russian gas, like that's even remotely possible:
The United States is in talks with Canada and other allies to further restrict Moscow's energy revenue by imposing a price cap on Russian oil, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday.
Unfortunately, for sane people, she's dead serious. Only somebody with a severely warped view of the world and lack of economic common sense would even propose such a wholly unworkable idea.
How would that work, exactly? Would Yellen just tell Vladimir Putin what price the US, EU, and Commonwealth nations will pay for Russian gas? Seriously, this woman is demented, and, with people like this running the governments of most Western nations, it is amazing the people haven't risen up and overthrown the lot of them.
Asked if U.S. President Joe Biden planned to seek consensus on an oil price plan at the G7 leaders summit in Germany next week, Yellen said: "We are very active, actively working on this with our partners."
She's full of something, and it's not just hot air. The US government is active only in destroying the economy and promoting bad ideas that make life miserable for most Americans.
It's beyond alarming. It is downright stupid and nobody should be subject to rules, regulations, dictates, mandates, and taxes imposed by stupid people.
But, here we are.
Consent of the governed is not automatic, autocrats.
At the Close, Wednesday, June 22, 2022:
Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 9:13 am ET
Thanks to Juneteenth being made a federal holiday last year by the lapdogs in congress and illegitimate administration, the Federal Feserve operators had an extra day to line up their friends at the banks, brokerages, and hedge funds for Tuesday's ramp-a-looza, which sent stocks soaring at the open and glided through the session to a rare positive finish.
As set-up bear market rallies go, this one was rather easy and obvious to predict. Stocks took another severe beating last week, so it was only righteous for the Fed and allies to rally around their favored stocks, the same ones they will likely be shorting Wednesday.
Tell-tale signs of the rigging were easily discerned, from the gap higher on all the indices at the open, to the lack of any wild rips to the upside or downside during the day's trading. With most people sleep-walking through the session, it was a simple matter for the big guns money to bid prices higher.
Now comes the payoff.
Having sent the main indices up by more than two percent across the board Tuesday, it's pretty much assured that Wall Street's titans of financial engineering are going to ease stocks back to where they belong. There was no good reason for them to gain any ground, but plenty of scenarios that would have selling or shorting make sense. The usual "technically oversold" doesn't really have any credence since stocks, although down sharply, are still about 10% above pre-pandemic levels of February, 2020, with the exception of the Dow, which came perilously close intra-day on Friday to dipping into the semi-sacred ground at 29,350-29,450.
There would have to be a major rout to send the Dow down that much today, though, as recent history suggests, anything is possible. Almost assuredly, stocks will careen lower at the open in less than half an hour unless the futures (down 1.40-1.75% across the board) and the European sessions (down around two percent on the day) are pure head fakes designed to sucker in the shorts. That's probably not the game today.
Featured today will be Fed Chair Jerome Powell's appearance before the Senate Banking Committee as part of the Fed's semiannual Monetary Policy Report which begins at 9:30 am ET. Powell will deliver canned remarks before being lobbed softball questions by the committee about inflation, recession, gas and food prices, and other obvious topics.
Absent from discussion will be the situation in Ukraine, which continues to trend in favor of Russia, even as the MIC war machine sends more weaponry via the congress. There's exists no constitutional authority by congress or the administration for accommodations to Ukraine. The recycled "lend-lease" provisions being employed are kind of creaky and creepy, last employed prior to and after the US entry into World War II. Along those lines, history doesn't necessarily repeat, though there are usually rhyming phrases present.
Not to put too cynical a tone on current sympathies, beyond the problems being encountered in the US, Europe is facing a credit crisis, Japan, a currency crisis, and in China, bank runs have been sparsely reported.
Much of the planet is facing currency extinction within months and the Fed, together with fellow central banks and governments of major developed nations, are pushing hard toward their "Great Reset."
Importantly, as the Mike Maloney video below points out rather neatly, inflation will be followed by deflation and then, depression, which is the go-to condition for totalitarian-style population control. The presentation is nearly twenty minutes, which will be time well spent for anybody seeking a few answers to what the future may hold.
At the Close, Tuesday, June 21, 2022:
Sunday, June 19, 2022, 10:54 am ET
Another week, another huge disappointment for equity investors.
The past week was some kind of special for the bear case as the S&P 500 finally closed below the mythical -20% line and stayed there after the FOMC voted to increase the federal funds (overnight) rate by 0.75% (75 basis points) to 1.50-1.75%, the most aggressive rate hike since 1994.
Stocks shot higher immediately after the announcement on Wednesday, but those gains and more were wiped out on bleak Thursday trading, sending the Dow down 741 points and the S&P lower by 1.23 (3.25%). The NASDAQ took home the booby prize by dropping a shocking 453 points, the 17th-largest one-day loss for the tech-laden index. Putting that into perspective, all of the 20 largest point losses have occurred since March 2020, 10 of them happening this year.
Not much more to be said about the bear market in stocks, other than the Dow losing ground 11 of the last 12 weeks is the worst performance ever by the 30-stock index. Of the major US indices, the NYSE Composite (-18.16%) is down the least this year, followed by the Dow (18.30%). Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is down 23.39%. The NASDAQ has shed 31.80%.
While all of that is pretty ugly, more losses are expected in weeks and months ahead as economic reports continue to flow forward with dismal results.
At the start of the week, treasury yields seemed to come unglued, with the 10-year note hitting a high yield of 3.49% and others significantly higher.
On Tuesday, the two-year note has a yield equal to the 30-year, both at 3.45%. The remainder of the curve inverted violently, with the 3-year yield at 3.60%, five-year, 3.61%, seven-year, 3.60, and the 20-year bond striking a yield of 3.72%, all in apparent anticipation of the FOMC policy.
When the 75 basis point federal funds rate advance was announced on Wednesday, all yields other than the one-month (1.21%) and two-month (1.56%) dropped and, afterwards, all yields proceeded to decline into Friday, though through it all, every duration ended the week with a higher yield than the prior Friday, as the tables display.
At this juncture, having already hiked 150 basis points from March through June, the Federal Reserve has made its choice to protect the dollar over the stock market by fighting the inflation demon. The Fed has announced plans to raise rates further over the next several meetings and likely will continue on that trajectory into 2023. Another 75 basis point raise is on the table for both the July and September meetings, but cooler heads may prevail with 50 basis point hikes followed by a pair of 25 basis point raises in November and December.
The pathway to a federal funds "natural" rate of 3.50-3.75% is well underway, with the rate expected to be no lower than 3.00-3.25% by year's end. There is potential for the base rate to exceed four percent in early 2023, depending largely upon the degree of inflation prior to each meeting.
Oil's rampant price increase may have topped out this week, but any proceeding decline may be short-lived. After peaking above $122/barrel (6/8), WTI crude oil fell through the week, closing out at $110.48 on Friday, a price roughly equal to that of a month ago. Pricing was focused more on the possibility of a US recession, though most indicators are showing that the US is already in a recession and has been since November of 2021 or January of this year.
The drop in price ran somewhat counter to the prevailing understanding that demand is expected to rise through the summer while supply remains restrained and refineries are not keeping up, despite running full bore.
In response, fuel prices fell slightly, from a national average of $5.01 midweek to $4.99 as of Sunday morning for unleaded regular gas. If the price of oil stabilizes at this lower level or falls even further, some relief at the pump may appear within the next few weeks. That could be reversed with the July 4 holiday expected to see strong consumer demand for unleaded regular.
The South and Midwest have prices at the pump below $5.00, while every state west of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico has prices above $5.00 per gallon, along with most of the Northeast.
Even if gas prices follow oil's lead, the result may be lagging and prices could remain higher than American consumers would like. The price of gas at the pump falling to a national average under $4.00 a gallon would be welcomed relief, cynically just in time for the midterm elections in November. It could happen, and the Fed would also note such a development as a positive sign that inflation - largely tied to energy - is abating.
Great uncertainty lays ahead.
Bitcoin fell as low as 17,986.90 overnight Saturday into Sunday but has rebounded to 19,233.70 as of this writing.
Bitcoin still looks more and more like dead money. Last Sunday it stood at $27,942.20. What's worse is that other cryptocurrencies, or alt-coins, are in even worse shape as various stable coins lose their pegs and with that, investor interest and money.
The absolute collapse in the crypto space seems to be ushering in an end to the 13-year-long love affair with imaginary money. Bitcoin was originally a grand idea, but between incessant FUD from central banks and their proxies in government spreading, thousands of imitators, and the inability for Bitcoin to become useful as a spendable currency or store of value, it is fast becoming worthless. There are likely to be rallies in the space, but since Wall Street became involved, the hope and dreams of a currency without the tethers of government control seem to have been wasted.
A comeback for crypto is possible, but for that to occur, fiat money must fail, with the Japanese yen he most likely first victim. That eventuality may still be years ahead though it could happen in a matter of months, that's how shaky the global monetary structure has become.
Gold price 05/22: $1,845.10
Silver price 05/22: $21.77
Both gold and silver were down for the week and may be approaching near-term bottoms, but the precarious condition of the global economy continues to weigh on all asset classes. If anything, silver still seems like the bargain of the century even if it drops further. It's dual role as an industrial and monetary metal offers a pricing and store of value advantage regardless of global economic conditions.
Here are the latest prices for common one ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, free shipping included):
The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) fell sharply over the course of the week, to $37.54, losing $1.71 from the June 12 price of $39.25.
There's now only a few holdouts believing that stocks are not fully ensconced in a bear market and even fewer who believe there's a chance for meaningful gains over the next three months. While sharp bear market, short-covering rallies will develop at some point, they're normally signals for sharper traders to exit positions at higher prices as opposed to extending in hopes of higher marks.
Meanwhile, food and energy inflation have strained household budgets and corporate margins, creating something of a unvirtuous loop, ushering in a recession in January and expected to extend through most of the current year. The good news is that slack demand may temper the inflationary impulse, though it is a slow process. The bad news is that higher interest rates act as just another tax on wage and debt slaves.
Federal government policies have been a primary driver of both inflation and the ongoing recession. There is no culprit other than the one which points the finger elsewhere.
At the Close, Friday, June 17, 2022:
For the Week:
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