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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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Bond Markets Rattled by Japan, Fitch Downgrade of USA; Stocks Need a Boost as July Non-Farm Payrolls Disappoint

Friday, August 4, 2023, 8:55 am ET

Heading into Friday, it's been an up-and-down week for stocks and a wild ride in the bond market, thanks to two significant events. The Bank of Japan decided to allow its benchmark 10-year JGB to float in a wider band, raising the allowable yield to rise from 0.50% to as high as 1.00%. The second event was the expected and overdue cut to the US government's credit rating by Fitch, from AAA to AA+.

The net result was carnage at the long end of the US treasury yield curve, pushing the 10-year note to a yield of 4.20% and the 30-year bond to the ghastly level of 4.32%, the signal offered by market participants of a complete distaste for any long-term government bonds, also, not unexpected and probably long overdue. With US debt growing by leaps and bounds - $1.3 trillion added since the debt ceiling suspension in early June - buyers are demanding higher yields on what appears to be severely risky bets on US government solvency into the future.

These high yields compare unfavorably with those of last October 24, when the 10-year was yielding 4.25%, and the 30-year, 4.40%. The persistent high yields from late September through early November of last year correlate to the bottom of the bear market that wrecked portfolios in 2022. The inexplicable run-up on stocks while the Fed continued to hike rates is now being put into perspective, the fragility of all markets becoming evident.

The recession which was first promised for the first half of 2023, then forwarded to the second half, now appears to coming to fruition, despite arguments by Fed officials and analysts across the spectrum that the US can avoid one. Fudging statistics and changing definitions isn't going to cut much mustard as evidence of a weakened financial system emerges from the shadows. With government spending out of control, political will non-existent, and oil and gas prices rising rapidly, the patience and persistence of the American consumer is being strained excessively, nearing a breaking point.

Stocks will do what they usually do under any circumstances: rise until valuations reach absurd levels... and then crash. As usual, timing will be crucial and any black swan-type event could turn markets upside down. What's likely to upset the financial applecart is the resumption of the banking crisis which first appeared in March and has not been resolved in the least. Underlying the insolvency issues facing the banking and lending sector are scads of earnings reports, most of which have beaten estimates, but, on closer inspection, are down from year ago comparisons.

As the Fed has always intended, it's harder to make money, and that reality is beginning to hit Wall Street's darling stocks, though not uniformly. For instance, Amazon (AMZN) reported blowout numbers after Thursday's close and has been bid higher in the thinly-traded post and pre-market. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) also reported after the bell Thursday, but its numbers were down in key areas, sending shares tumbling by two to four percent. Apple's slow burn may take some time to materialize, but, being as the stock is up some 52% year-to-date, there's ample room on the downside.

So far this week, stocks haven't been very cheery. The Dow, as of Thursday's close, is down 243 for the week. The NASDAQ is off 2.50%, the S&P shedding 1.75%, so Friday's July non-farm payroll may be key to direction as the week concludes.

Reporting an hour prior to Wall Street's opening bell, the BLS put the July jobs number at 187,000, the lowest monthly gain since December, 2020, yet another indicator showing the US economy slowing. Expectations were for a number around 200,000, so this report qualifies as a swing-and-miss, bad news, which markets may interpret as good news, since a slowdown - even a recession - would prompt the Fed to ease up on the rate increases going forward.

Wall Street may like this number, but it also could be a situation in which the traders get what they want, but maybe they were hoping a bit too hard.

Having fallen to their lowest levels of the overnight session, stock futures began rising just prior to the NFP release, but seem to be reversing, going lower as the opening bell approaches. While futures used to produce reasonable expectations for the cash market, that hasn't been the case of late, so there's no telling which direction stocks will move today, though the developing trend over the short term seems to be pointing lower.

The first half of 2023 was excellent for stock-pickers, and July was awesome overall. Let's see where this long (about 10 months now) rally leads.

At the Close, Thursday, August 3, 2023:
Dow: 35,215.89, -66.63 (-0.19%)
NASDAQ: 13,959.71, -13.73 (-0.10%)
S&P 500: 4,501.89, -11.50 (-0.25%)
NYSE Composite: 16,125.42, -49.11 (-0.30%)


Earnings, Bond Losses Weighing on Stocks Worldwide

Thursday, August 3, 2023, 9:18 am ET

Stocks took a punch to the gut Wednesday on news - released late Tuesday - the Fitch ratings had dropped the credit rating of the US federal government from AAA to AA+, a small, but, nonetheless, significant development.

While the ratings drop by Fitch matches that of Standard & Poor's from 2011, the overall effect on the US government is widely assumed to be marginal, though the reaction from the stock market argues otherwise.

Wednesday's loss on the NASDAQ was the largest since December 15, 2022, when the index dropped 360 points, making the 310-point decline the largest for the NASDAQ this year.

Conversely, the S&P's 63-point loss was not the biggest of the year, that dubious distinction belonging to the date of February 21, when the 500 fell by 82 points. Likewise, the latest the Dow witnessed a decline of this magnitude was when it dropped 530 points on yet another date, March 22nd. The Dow also fell 614 points on January 18, 575 on March 7th, and 544 on March 9th. The nearly one percent slide on the Dow Wednesday didn't even make it into the top five for this year, suggesting that more pain may be on the way for the blue chips. After all, making gains 13 straight days, as the Dow did recently, doesn't come without receipts.

After Wednesday's blood-letting, the focus shifts back to eanrings with big hitters, Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), reporting after the close. Navigating a way to 4:00 pm ET might take some expert skippering as morning results are mixed.

In the beer world, beleaguered AB InBev (BUD) reported earnings of 72 cents per share against lowered expectations of 68 cents, due in large part to the ongoing Bud Light boycott. In the year-ago period, the beer-maker earned 73 cents per share. Investors seem to be giving the company a pass, boosting shares three percent in pre-market trading.

Reporting after the bell Wednesday, payment processor, PayPal (PYPL), missed EPS estimates by a penny, returning $1.05 per share for the second quarter. The stock is being brutalized in the pre-market, down eight to nine percent.

Online trading app, Robinhood (HOOD), actually turned a profit for the quarter, putting up 0.03 cents per share. While the report, profit-wise, was better than expected, traders were more concerned with declining users. The company lost over one million in the quarter ended June 30 and shares are lower by more than five percent.

Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD) missed the mark, reporting a net loss of 51 cents per share against estimates of -0.38. The company reported subscriber losses to its streaming service, MAX.

Earnings in the second quarter for oil producer ConocoPhillips (COP) more than halved from a year ago, to $1.84 per share, missing estimates of $1.94. In Q2 2022, the company earned $3.91 per share.

With less-than-stellar earnings showing up this morning and stocks down in Asia and Europe, stocks face a second straight day of woes. What's really moving markets is the rout in long-dated bonds, as Japan's benchmark 10-year JGB hit a 10-year high of 0.65%, prompting the Bank of Japan into "unlimited" bond buying. The US treasury 10-year note is being crunched, with yields hitting 4.15%, the high for the year, surpassing the 4.08% mark from March 2nd, when the banking crisis began to unfold.

Expect even more pressure on stocks and fixed income as this appears to be the start of an overdue sell-off. Dow futures are off 53 points; NASDAQ, 74; S&P, 11.

At the Close, Wednesday, August 2, 2023:
Dow: 35,282.52, -348.16 (-0.98%)
NASDAQ: 13,973.45, -310.47 (-2.17%)
S&P 500: 4,513.39, -63.34 (-1.38%)
NYSE Composite: 16,174.54, -181.98 (-1.11%)


Fitch Cuts Government's Credit Rating to AA+; Busiest Earnings Week Continues

Wednesday, August 2, 2023, 9:10 am ET

Better late than never.

Late Tuesday afternoon, rating agency Fitch cut the US federal government's credit rating from the top-tier, AAA, a notch, down to AA+, aligning themselves with Standard and Poor's AA-plus, which downgraded government debt in 2011, on the heels of a debt ceiling deal similar to the one the government engineered in June.

Considering the amount of debt the government is on the hook for, plus unfunded liabilities like social security and government pensions, it's probably a favor to the Biden administration that the rating hasn't been downgraded further and faster.

As it is, the federal government doesn't actually pay off its debts, it simply borrows more with which to pay off the interest. The principal, never being touched, continues to rise as bills, notes, and bonds are rolled over, creating an unmistakable condition of complete insolvency.

In June, congress and the people currently occupying the White House suspended the debt ceiling until January 2025, assuring that the next president - whether elected or selected (probably the latter) - will have to deal with at least $37.5 trillion in non-repayable debt and craft a solution that the American public will begrudgingly accept. Since the June deal was inked, the government has borrowed an additional $1.275 trillion, over and above the $31.4 trillion previously authorized by congress, putting federal debt at $32.675 trillion, and growing.

The profligate spenders of partially-borrowed other people's (taxpayers) money simply cannot stop wasting America's wealth and stealing from the Treasury through a variety of methods, boondoggles, and sweetheart, kickback deals. Congress, which controls the government purse, has authorized spending roughly $1.6 trillion more than is supplied by collection of taxes and fees, thus, the current deficit continues to add to the burgeoning debt total.

The current debt load amounts to nearly $100,000 for every legal citizen of the United States. It is already 123% of current GDP, which is calculated to be around $26.5 trillion, nearly 70% of which is consumer spending. While many economists consider the debt-to-GDP ratio a sign of a country's strength or weakness, the general consensus is that anything over 90% is too high and leads to disruptions in service, a decline in standards of living, and over-taxation, the general condition of most advanced Western nations.

For it's part in explaining the rating cut, Fitch cited, "...expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years, an erosion of governance and a growing general debt burden." That pretty much says it all.

The company added, "The repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management."

As if countries who buy US treasuries to use as reserves for international trade needed another reason to reduce their exposure, this latest downgrade will only help accelerate the growing international movement away from the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

Janet Yellen, easily the worst Treasury Secretary in the long history of some really poor ones, called the credit downgrade, "arbitrary and outdated," a couple of descriptors which might better be associated with Grandma Janet's image in a mirror.

Here's more of Yellen's statement:

I strongly disagree with Fitch Ratings' decision. The change by Fitch Ratings announced today is arbitrary and based on outdated data. Fitch's quantitative ratings model declined markedly between 2018 and 2020 and yet Fitch is announcing its change now, despite the progress that we see in many of the indicators that Fitch relies on for its decision. Many of these measures, including those related to governance, have shown improvement over the course of this Administration, with the passage of bipartisan legislation to address the debt limit, invest in infrastructure, and make other investments in America's competitiveness.

Fitch's decision does not change what Americans, investors, and people all around the world already know: that Treasury securities remain the world's preeminent safe and liquid asset, and that the American economy is fundamentally strong.

Over the past few years, the United States has undergone a historically fast economic recovery from a deep recession. Today, the unemployment rate is near historic lows, inflation has come down significantly since last summer, and last week's GDP report shows that the U.S. economy continues to grow. The American economy remains the world's largest and most dynamic economy, with the deepest and most liquid financial markets in the world. To build on this, President Biden and I have been focused on making critical investments in our country's core economic strength and productive capacity.

President Biden and I are committed to fiscal sustainability. The most recent debt limit legislation included over $1 trillion in deficit reduction and improved our fiscal trajectory. Looking forward, President Biden has put forward a budget that would reduce the deficit by $2.6 trillion over the next decade through a balanced approach that would support investments for the long-term.

Anyone buying into that slanted narrative might want to take a few aspirin and lay down for a couple of years, or longer. The US economy is mostly spending, service-related, and in tatters. Manufacturing accounts for just 15% of GDP. The government, constituted as it is by a congress that appears to be deeply-divided, but is in reality a single party, and a completely inept and decidedly dangerous administration, doesn't represent anything other than the continuous looting operation and its own re-election prospects, which are waning fast.

The federal government does not represent the interests of its citizens. If it did, things would be radically different.

This is tyranny on a grotesque, grandiose level, but the propagandist media and government mouthpieces will continue to shade the truth, try to convince people that everything is just fine and peachy-keen, while the facts speak otherwise. The supposed-president is an obvious criminal and congress, amidst all its bluster, investigations, committee hearings, and public displays of feigned outrage, has done and will continue to do nothing to reign in the rampant corruption, graft, and fraudulent behavior because it is part and parcel of the same morally depraved operation.

Already the lowest in decades, American's trust in government and other institutions is plumbing new depths. The untenable condition which has festered and grown since the onset of the plandemic in February 2020, threatens not only the continued existence of the United States as a nation governed by the rule of law, but also the entire planet. By just about any standard, the US government is an absolute failure and dearly needs to be removed, reworked, and reformed. The constitution and the rights it profers upon its citizens has been shredded.

It is paramount for every individual to have a plan that excludes rule by force.

Elsewhere, in the so-called "markets," a few companies reported second quarter earnings, most of which exceeded lowered expectations by small amounts.

CVS Health (CVS) trimmed its earnings per share outlook to between $6.53 and $6.75, from $6.90 to $7.12. The company returned EPS of $2.21, which was down from the $2.40 reported in the same period a year ago.

Humana (HUM) reported 2Q23 EPS of $7.66 on a GAAP basis, adjusted EPS of $8.94, compared to $8.67 adjusted in the year-ago period.

KraftHeinz (KHC) reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of 79 cents, up 12.9% from a year ago.

PayPal (PYPL) and Shopify (SHOP), among others, report after the closing bell.

A half-hour before the opening bell Dow futures are off 160 points; NASDAQ, -149; S&P, -30. Gold, 1981.80; silver, $24.36, WTI crude oil, $81.96; 10-year note yield, 4.06%.

At the Close, Tuesday, August 1, 2023:
Dow: 35,630.68, +71.15 (+0.20%)
NASDAQ: 14,283.91, -62.11 (-0.43%)
S&P 500: 4,576.73, -12.23 (-0.27%)
NYSE Composite: 16,356.51, -70.78 (-0.43%)


Painting the Tape Results in Gains for Major Averages, or Losses, or Both

Tuesday, August 1, 2023, 9:24 am ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished Monday's session with a gain of 100 points. The problem is that the average was down 20 points with just 10 minutes left in the session.

Yes, the Dow got bumped up 120 points between 3:50 and 4:00 pm ET. Similar moves were made on the NASDAQ and S&P, which swung from negative to positive in the final minutes of the cash sessions. It's a practice known as "painting the tape," a practice that's become pernicious in the age of delusion, happening almost on a daily basis, though the majority of people investing in stocks have no idea that it's happening.

Most people are busy at work or picking up the kids or driving home late afternoons, so they aren't exactly glued to computer or mobile phone screens to watch the movements of stocks or entire indices, which, by and large, move in tandem these days, the Dow following the S&P, or the NASDAQ, or vice versa. The idea that individual stocks are subject only to investor sentiment based on fundamentals is so 1980s. Stocks move when big institutions move them. Period. End of story. Any rally or sell-off is solely the function of coordinated institutional money.

These heavy hitters get their cues sometimes in the form of earnings reports or from investor conferences. Often, quarterly results or corporate guidance is too obvious to hide the truth and stocks must go down, or up, as the data suggests. More often than not, however, stocks move without any apparent catalyst, the result of block trades, HFT front-running, and other dubious Wall Street casino practices.

This morning, Caterpillar (CAT) warned of a slowdown; Pfizer (PFE) trimmed its revenue forecast; Uber (UBER) suddenly became profitable after record ridership boosted second quarter earnings. Stocks are headed into the unknown after the NASDAQ and S&P finished July with a fifth straight month of gains.

Stocks futures are massively lower heading into the first session of August. Dow futures: -115; NASDAQ: -85; S&P -20.

At the Close, Monday, July 31, 2023:
Dow: 35,559.53, +100.24 (+0.28%)
NASDAQ: 14,346.02, +29.37 (+0.21%)
S&P 500: 4,588.96, +6.73 (+0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 16,427.29, +64.03 (+0.39%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Higher Interest Rates Are Crushing the Economy While the Deep State Flushes American's Rights, Liberties

Sunday, July 30, 2023, 10:00 am ET

Why would large publicly-traded companies be recording solid, if not stellar, profits amidst a regime of rising interest rates? Could it be that only they are being financed, getting loans, crushing the smaller competition and enhancing market share in the process?

The US corporate-led fascist state has unleashed the forces of cruel currency upon the masses and small business, relegating them to sub-strata existence, at the mercy of $12 hamburgers, and $4.00 a gallon gas.

The United States of Warfare/Welfare may never have had it so good. They've conditioned the populace to expectations of higher prices, sub-standard services, and universal government interference. The mainstream media is in their back pockets. Their official narrative is the only one acceptable. Disagree and it's off to the gulag with you.

Markets are controlled by an elite insider's club capable of directing vast shares of stocks in whatever ways they please. While the big corporations rake in record revenues and profits, peons are left with scraps, otherwise identified as pensions, 401k plans, social security, food stamps and social assistance. All savings and investments are traced, tracked, taxed, re-hypothecated, and skimmed by governments at local, state, and federal levels.

People no longer work to live, they live to work, for the state, by the state, as wards of the state. Tyranny bears an ugly and aged face, be it Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, or Diane ("say aye") Feinstein. The Bill of Rights is being systematically torn to shreds. Dehumanization, population control, illegal aliens, transgenderism, and an assortment of mis-and-dis-information programs have done away with free speech, freedom of assembly, the right to bear arms, and any semblances of privacy. Many Americans are beginning to realize the country they call home is rapidly devolving into a foreign place.


Stocks

On Wednesday (July 26) the Fed's FOMC raised the federal funds target rate to a range of 5.25-5.50%, the eleventh increase in sixteen months, taking the benchmark to its highest level since December of 2001. Stocks wavered on the news but still managed to close mixed, with the NASDAQ and S&P down marginally, the Dow extending its consecutive days winning streak to 13.

Any positives from the FOMC meeting and subsequent Jerome Powell press conference were dashed on Thursday when the Bank of Japan issued some cloudy guidance concerning the direction of interest rates by suggesting the 10-year JGB could trade in a range as high as one percent. While the difference between the current 0.50% band and 1.00% doesn't sound like much, when dealing in billions of yen, dollars, pounds, and euros, the half percent adds up rather quickly for those engaged in the world's number one carry trade. Japan having the second most-active bond market in the world after the US, forward ramifications could become significant. Bank lending is already at a snail's pace. Cutting back in one of the world's foremost financing mechanisms would send rates even higher than current levels.

On Friday, data showed US consumer sentiment improved as the University of Michigan reported an 11% jump in their widely-watched index, which improved to 72.6, the highest level since October 2021. Separately, the Fed's preferred metric for inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index, rose 3% in June from a year ago, down from an annual rate of 3.8% in May, and the lowest since March 2021, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.

Those two pieces of news, along with the 2.4% initial reading of second quarter GDP sent stocks higher to close out the week, though gains were tempered by various interpretations of the news and data. On one hand, a growing economy is, by itself, a good thing, but, with the Fed battling inflation by raising interest rates, the glowing economic reports suggests the job is not yet done.

That "good news is bad news" kind of angle could put pressure on stocks. Since it's obvious that there's still too much money sloshing around - especially in the canyons of lower Manhattan - to cool off the stock market rally that started late last year, so projections of a downturn are likely to be sent to back burners. Stocks are just too hot right now, especially in the heat of earnings season.

Companies reporting this week:
Monday, July 31: Sofi (SOFI), Avis (CAR)

Tuesday, August 1: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH), Uber (UBER), Catterpillar (CAT). Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE), Altria (MO), AMD (AMD), Starbucks (SBUX), Deven Energy (DVN), MicroStrategy (MSTR)

Wednesday, August 2: CVS Health (CVS), Generac (GNRC), Humana (HUM), KraftHeinz (KHC), Carlyle Group (CG), PayPal (PYPL), Shopify (SHOP), Robinhood (HOOD), Etsy (ETSY)

Thursday, August 3: AB-Inbev (BUD), Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD), ConocoPhillips (COP), Expedia (EXPD), Moderna (MRNA), Hasbro (HAS), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Coinbase (COIN), AirB&B (ABNB)

Friday, August 4: Fubo (FUBO), Fisker (FSR), Dominion Energy (D)

It's going to be a busy week, with some heavyweights throwing up numbers and no official Fed interference until September 19-20, when the next FOMC meeting is scheduled. Current assessment of the inflation situation of the mind that the Fed may be done with hiking rates for the year. With only three FOMC meetings remaining - the other two on October 31 - November 1, and December 12-13 - that could be realized. Rising gas prices could throw a wrench into their monkey-business.

Stocks have been on a steady glide path higher, making up for much of the losses sustained in 2022.


Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
06/23/2023 5.17 5.30 5.41 5.44 5.41 5.25
06/30/2023 5.24 5.39 5.43 5.50 5.47 5.40
07/07/2023 5.32 5.47 5.46 5.52 5.53 5.41
07/14/2023 5.37 5.49 5.49 5.53 5.52 5.34
07/21/2023 5.43 5.54 5.50 5.54 5.53 5.35
07/28/2023 5.47 5.54 5.52 5.57 5.54 5.37

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
06/23/2023 4.71 4.32 3.99 3.88 3.74 4.01 3.82
06/30/2023 4.87 4.49 4.13 3.97 3.81 4.06 3.85
07/07/2023 4.94 4.64 4.35 4.23 4.06 4.27 4.05
07/14/2023 4.74 4.35 4.04 3.94 3.83 4.11 3.93
07/21/2023 4.82 4.44 4.09 3.97 3.84 4.10 3.91
07/28/2023 4.87 4.52 4.18 4.08 3.96 4.22 4.03

The yen carry traded threatened on Thursday, longer maturity rates bumped higher, with the 10-year note briefly over four percent before a pullback on Friday. Still, the effects lingered, with 10s, 20s, and 30s each up 12 basis points from the prior week. The short-end was uniformly stable, though remaining stubbornly high.

Government borrowing at upwards of five percent is a certain formula for failure. In the less than two months since the federal government decided to suspend the debt ceiling, federal debt has been rampaging higher, currently at $33.668 trillion, more than a trillion added in less than 60 days. The price of paying just the interest on that number is costing the American people close to $1 trillion a year and going higher, soon to become the single largest discretionary item in the non-existent budget.

All the interest rate hikes have done is raise the cost of borrowing for individuals, slam the door on small business in need of working capital, and cause the federal government to self-destruct. One of those may eventually be a good outcome, but, in the meantime, credit card rates now average above 20%, business loans only go to those who don't need them, and the American taxpayer is being fleeced by both inflation and taxation.

According to Bankrate.com, 7.23% is the number for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, with the 15-year fixed not much better, at 6.56%.

Rates, overall, are still on an upward trajectory and there are few signs that the inverted yield curve is correcting, though the inversion was lessened this week. 2s-10s ended the week at -93 basis points, down from -98. The full curve (1-month out to 30-years), slightly improved at -144 basis points this week, up from -152 last week.

Despite objections from the propaganda media, a severe recession is still being signaled. Considering the players involved in the eventual calculus, every last American could be dead from starvation and the BEA would still insist that it was too early to tell if the economy was contracting.


Oil/Gas

WTI crude oil rose a full $10 in July, from $79.64 on June 30 to Friday's closing price of $80.67. That's a 14.2% increase in under 30 days and the highest price since April 18. Federal Reserve fanatics who follow Fed foibles and fantasies and believe inflation has been tamed by the relentless rise of interest rates the past 18 months are about to be proven not just wrong, but devastatingly, convincingly fooled, bamboozled, and sucker-punched by a resumption of runaway inflation such as held sway in 2022 and similar to the one-two combination that prevailed in the late 1970s.

Oil prices are the harbinger, gas at the pump the most obvious effect, soon to spread to food, then everything else. Americans and Europeans would be well-advised to brace for an expensive winter. The rancor and animosity from the Ukraine conflict, weaponization of the reserve currency US$ and marginally-effective sanctions are about to be magnified in the West.

In the US, the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas was up sharply this week, rising from $3.56/gallon last Sunday to $3.73, the highest since last November.

As usual, the Southeast holds the lowest prices, though at higher levels. Mississippi continues to surge past the $3.00 mark, now $3.23, still the lowest in the nation, though 20 cents higher that last week. Louisiana ($3.33), Alabama ($3.34), and Tennessee ($3.37) follow. Arkansas ($3.39) jumped 20 cents. Everywhere else across America is $3.40 or higher. Texas is up to $3.42, Florida is the Southern outlier, at $3.64.

Washington ($4.93) fell back behind the Golden State for the top spot in the country. California is now averaging $4.97 a gallon. Oregon ($4.58) and Nevada ($4.24) complete the the $4+ club. Closing in are Utah ($3.92), Colorado (3.92), and Idaho ($3.89).

Prices in Illinois jumped up 15 cents, to $3.97, the highest in the Northeast/Midwest region. Pennsylvania ($3.84) is up 14 cents from last week. New York follows at $3.78. The lowest prices in the region are in Ohio ($3.49) and West Vriginia ($3.51).


Bitcoin

This week: $29,282.40
Last week: $29,904.10
2 weeks ago: 30,312.80
6 months ago: $23,150.50
One year ago: $23,307.20

Crypto continues to crumble, albeit at a reduced pace.


Precious Metals

Silver:Gold Ratio: 80.02; last week: 79.25

Per COMEX continuous contracts:

Gold price 06/30: $1,927.80
Gold price 07/07: $1,930.50
Gold price 07/14: $1,959.30
Gold price 07/21: $1,963.90
Gold price 07/28: $1,958.80

Silver price 06/30: $22.99
Silver price 07/07: $23.28
Silver price 07/14: $25.16
Silver price 07/21: $24.78
Silver price 07/28: $24.48

Price suppression in precious metals was alive and well at the COMEX and LBMA this week. After making solid gains in the prior two weeks, the metals were slammed to earth just as the first estimate of second quarter US GDP was announced Thursday morning (surely, just a coincidence). Gold fell from $1,979.40 at 8:00 am ET to $1.944.70 by 10:00 am ET, a stunning $35 drop in just two thinly traded hours. Silver was similarly affected, falling from $25.31 at eight o'clock, to $24.32 by ten.

Regulators at the CME and COMEX continue to look away from naked shorting, spoofing, and other transgressions - some of which have been discovered, and traders fined for - in the precious metals suppression industrial complex. For its part, the LBMA, the stuffy, prestigious group that in in charge of gold manipulation via daily "fixes," continues the scheme by setting prices consistently below market. It's a wonder miners haven't been bankrupted by these officious bastards.

It's more than obvious that not just gold and silver markets, but nearly all tradable asset markets are controlled by similarly-nefarious miscreants, whose sole mission is to keep fiat currencies from debasement into an eventual abyss. It's a losing endeavor for these feckless operators. Fiat values - yen, euro, dollar, pound, etc. - are being degraded at a record pace these days. Nonetheless, these immoral reprobates will sell short until the last ounce of silver is wrested from their wretched hands, cut from the same cloth as neocons, hell-bent on fighting against Russia until the last Ukrainian soldier lies dead, face down on the battlefield.

There are few people worse than liars and manipulators. It would be a vast benefit to humanity if the majority of politicians, bankers, and better-than-thou scum be banished from the Earth and sent to Hades, where they so rightfully belong. Since our best wishes for a peaceful planet largely go unheeded, the world will just have to tolerate these types until something better comes along. Most of us are keeping our fingers crossed that the BRICS summit of August 22-24 will produce tangible change. In the meantime, it's premia to the moon, Alice.

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: 27.00 55.00 39.44 39.80
1 oz silver bar: 33.03 47.74 38.06 34.94
1 oz gold coin: 2,000.00 2,150.00 2,073.01 2,066.09
1 oz gold bar: 2,015.00 2,063.88 2,049.04 2,049.53

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) rose over the course of the week, to $38.06, an increase of 58 cents from the July 23 price of $37.48 per troy ounce.


WEEKEND WRAP

Incrementally, the elites of the deep state and neo-fascist controllers in congress have stolen the best of what used to be called the United States of America. Europe, for all its pomp and circumstance, is in a worse place, having long ago been subjected to extreme levels of dicta, control, over-taxation, nanny-statism, and iron fist rule. Money, or, rather, money substitutes identifiable as Federal Reserve (debt) Notes, stock ownership, certificates of deposit, mortgages, credit cards, claims on assets you neither hold nor own is only one part of the puzzle that is 21st century America.

The incessant messaging barrage keeps banging on the temples of individuals while the "safe and effective" pharmaceutical industry lulls the lower and middle classes into a comatose state. From the air we breathe to the water we drink, everything is being poisoned in an ongoing effort to eliminate vast swaths of the population. Young and middle-aged people didn't die of heart attacks prior to 2020. They do now.

There aren't many solutions to the current malaise, and none of them are good. Rest assured that the people in power will choose the option least beneficial to the public, those who are to be damned. Since 2000, it's been every man, woman, and child for his or her self. In some ways, it's amazing how many of the good people of the United States have been allowed to live so long, but, after all, the government needs the money and you're a slave to it...

Maybe this will help:

At the Close, Friday, July 28, 2023:
Dow: 35,459.29, +176.57 (+0.50%)
NASDAQ: 14,316.66, +266.55 (+1.90%)
S&P 500: 4,582.23, +44.82 (+0.99%)
NYSE Composite: 16,363.26, +92.66 (+0.57%)

For the Week:
Dow: +231.60 (+0.66%)
NASDAQ: +283.85 (+2.02%)
S&P 500: +45.89 (+1.01%)
NYSE Composite: +74.14 (+0.46%)


Disclaimer: Information disseminated on this site should not be construed as investment advice. Downtown Magazine Inc., Money Daily and it's owners, affiliates and/or employees are not investment advisors and do not offer specific investment advice. All investments have risk. You should consult a professional investment advisor or stock broker or use your individual judgement when making investment decisions. By viewing this site, you hold harmless Downtown Magazine Inc., Money Daily, its owners, affiliates and employees against any and all liability. Copyright 2023, Downtown Magazine Inc., all rights reserved.

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