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Buy, Sell, or Hold? Observations on the Current Bearish Condition of Stock Markets

Friday, January 28, 2022, 8:00 am ET

Something is not quite right. The Fed has taken away the proverbial punch bowl, the Powell put, the implied backstop for the stock markets that have been in place - for the most part - since the subprime crash, bailouts and economic carnage of the 2008-09 GFC.

Since November, when the Federal Reserve first acknowledged that inflation was much more than "transitory", stocks have been on a different trajectory, to the dismay of investors of all stripes. With their latest non-committal, dovishly hawkish policy announcement, the Fed has reconfirmed a policy shift, ending QE and ZIRP almost at the same time. The nearly risk-free money that has funded stock buybacks, blank-check SPACs, and all manner of malinvestment is no longer available, at least not at such a low price.

The Fed, like a rich uncle cutting back on allowances, has closed the wallet, for now. It remains to be seen how hardened Chairman Powell and his cohorts will be in the new, tighter regime. Stocks have already seen a significant drawdown and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of positive catalysts to change direction.

January serves as a barometer for the rest of the year. The direction of the market for the remaining 11 months of the year follows January's lead 69% of the time. With trading closing out for the month on Monday (31st), there's almost no chance that the major indices will end the month on a positive footing. Since the start of 2022, the Dow is down 6.63%; NYSE Composite is 6.23% lower; the NASDAQ, 15.66%; and, the S&P is flirting with a correction, lower by 9.80%.

Should the January barometer be correct in predicting the immediate future - and there are plenty of reasons to believe that stocks are heading towards a steepening bear market - what's an investor to do? Buy, sell, or hold?

Considering that smart money is usually ahead of the market, it might not be too late to get out of the way. Holding individual stocks that are already down 15-20% or more, or adding to those positions (i.e., buying the dip), appears to be a losing strategy. Losers, as usual, are best disposed of early in a downturn. Holding stocks that are in a winning position or down less than the rest of the market may turn out to be a prudent path, depending on one's entry point or basis. Selling everything and going to 80-100% cash is always on the table, but, with inflation running hot, cash purchasing power is likely to lose ground. Converting to fixed investments returning less than the rate of inflation conserves some of that purchasing power, though not all of it. Alternatives, gold, silver, and bitcoin, are either moribund or worse, and may follow stocks as all asset classes appear to be on the chopping block.

Stoics, with a heavy allotment to cash, may turn out to be more productive than more nimble tactics, trying to time the market's ups and downs.

Another consideration to take into account is how long a bear market may persist, if that's where stocks are heading. The average bear market lasts, on average, 349 days and the average loss is 36.34%. In that regard, this one could be just getting started.

How individual investors handle what's ahead is largely dependent on their level of risk aversion, age, and needs. Youth may be served more amicably than the elderly, as they have a much longer investment horizon, able to withstand negative price shocks more readily than those dependent on stable or gaining stocks for retirement or income. Looking out 10 to 20 years, a downturn at this juncture might encourage people to look for the bottom, increase positions or establish new ones.

The "boomer" generation, accustomed to steady gains as they've reached retirement age, may be pulling money out willy-nilly, as they cannot afford losses as they approach 70s or 80s. They're not counting on millennials or Gen Z market participants to hold up the market, which is probably a suitable strategic calculation.

Whichever way markets may want to turn, January is almost a 100% lost cause, and the current week appears to be following that trend.

The Dow ended Thursday down 104 points for the week. The NASDAQ is off by 416; the S&P is down 71, and the NYSE Composite has shed 245 points on the week. The NASDAQ is looking squarely at a fifth straight down week, the S&P and Dow, four straight, and the NYSE a second straight loser.

All of the indices have spent the week below their 200-day moving averages. It's rather obvious that this is more than a normal correction. Hungry bear are roaming the canyons of Wall Street.

As for the general economy, the bond market continues to point towards a serious recession dead ahead. Thursday's changes in yields on the 2-year note and 30-year bond flattened the Treasury curve in an unprecedented manner.

The 2-year yield rose five basis points, closing out at 1.18%. The 30-year shed seven basis points, falling from 2.16% to 2.09%. That flattened the curve on 2s-30s from 103 to 91 basis points. Additionally, the inverted long end has the 20-year bond at 2.17%, eight basis points ahead of the 30-year yield, and the spread between the seven-year and 10-year note is now a minuscule three basis points, signaling that another inversion is about to take place at that level.

All of this points to a massive upheaval in bond markets, wherein the 2-year yield may soon be higher than that of the 10-year (1.81%). The 63 basis points is the most flat of the current cycle. For reference, the 2s-10s ended 2021 at 79 basis points (0.73% and 1.52%).

Bond market revulsions and inversions normally precede recessions, a condition that will likely allow the Fed to claim victory over inflation, though the resultant economic state will be measurably worse.

Happy Hunting.

At the Close, Thursday, January 27, 2022:
Dow: 34,160.78, -7.31 (-0.02%)
NASDAQ: 13,352.78, -189.34 (-1.40%)
S&P 500: 4,326.51, -23.42 (-0.54%)
NYSE: 16,152.12, -84.39 (-0.52%)

Fed's FOMC Flunks Basic Economics, Relies Upon Voodoo; 2021 Full Year, 4th Quarter GDP May Not Be Quite Real

Thursday, January 27, 2022, 9:28 am ET

After all the bluster, wild stock swings, fear, loathing, predictions, extrapolations, and lame explanations, the grand policy vision announcement from the Fed's FOMC turned out to be a massive sinkhole of emotion and money, best characterized as a complete waste of time.

All the Fed did was reiterate what they had previously jawboned over the past month: they're going to taper, they're going to raise rates, and they're going to shrink their balance sheet. All of the things they're going to do were pre-recorded for implementation at some future date. At least they nailed down the timeline on stopping QE, at March, and hinted they would probably raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. Their understanding of basic economics being less-than-desired from a central bank, how they plan to stem seven percent inflation with 0.25% rate increases is essentially voodoo.

Insert big yawn [here].

In the lead-up to the policy decision announced Wednesday at 2:00 pm ET, stocks rallied from the opening bell to just after the announcement, then slid into the abyss during Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's press conference. As soon as he was done speaking and answering questions (most of which went pretty much unanswered), stocks stabilized, with the Dow down 129 points, the NAZ and S&P flat on the day. For the three days of unprecedented stupidity and cupidity, the Dow is down 97 points, the NASDAQ is off 226, and the S&P shed 48 points, not much of anything in terms of market direction, other than a continuance of the January selloff.

At 8:30 am ET Thursday morning, the BEA released 4th Quarter and Year 2021 Gross Domestic Product Advance Estimates, with the numbers coming in at a somewhat encouraging 6.9% for the fourth quarter of 2021 and 5.7% for the full year, 2021 GDP. The figures cited by the BEA are supposedly for "real" GDP, meaning, minus inflation, though the agency's definition of "real" is somewhat shady, given they refer to a technical note [PDF, fascinating reading for economics nerds] loaded with clouded assumptions, footnotes and links to other technical explanations for their calculus, like this:

For major source data series for which only two months of data were available, or for which data for the fourth quarter are not yet available, BEA's assumptions were based on a variety of sources, most notably: private high-frequency payment card transactions data; industry and trade association reports that include volume data, such as health care patient visits and traveler throughput, as well as recreation services revenues and event attendance; and news reports providing information on the operating status of businesses.

In the most sweeping definition of "real" the gullible public is supposed to believe that GDP for the fourth quarter of 2021 was awesome, even though GDP for 4Q 2021 was 2.3% lower than 4Q 2019, before the virus panic threw everything into spin cycle.

Current-dollar GDP increased 10.0 percent, or $2.10 trillion, in 2021 to a level of $22.99 trillion, in contrast to a decrease of 2.2 percent, or $478.9 billion, in 2020 (tables 1 and 3).

Measured from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, real GDP increased 5.5 percent during the period (table 6), in contrast to a decrease of 2.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020.

More detail is located in the BEA's extended release[PDF], including all the referenced tables.

The note on current-dollar GDP increasing by $2.10 trillion is somewhat startling, but, with minutes to go before the opening bell, let's end here with more exploration in Sunday's WEEKEND WRAP.

Happy Hunting!

At the Close, Wednesday, January 26, 2022:
Dow: 34,168.09, -129.61 (-0.38%)
NASDAQ: 13,542.12, +2.82 (+0.02%)
S&P 500: 4,349.93, -6.52 (-0.15%)
NYSE: 16,236.51, -103.79 (-0.64%)

Fed's FOMC Prepared to Do Lots of Talking, Promise to Fight Inflation and Keep Stocks Up

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 8:10 am ET

Well, they did it again.

Just in case retail investors hadn't been spooked out of selling their stocks on Monday's decline (and recovery), the big money that moves Wall Street engineered another crisis-like panic to get the job done, and it worked well enough to bring stocks back from steep declines to just ordinary drops.

The major indices took steep losses in the morning, but quickly erased most of them, beginning shortly after 10:00 am ET, when the S&P 500 slipped into correction territory at 4,288, marking a 10.65% decline from recent all-time highs. With the Dow reaching positive ground and the S&P falling just short of unchanged at 3:00 pm, selling resumed across the board, resulting in small losses, except for the NASDAQ, which finished with another hard decline, now down 15.7% from the record close of 16,057.44 on November 9, 2021.

Gold continued to hold its ground, closing at $1,847.90 per ounce at the NY close, while silver dropped to $23.79, remaining one of the most underpriced assets on the planet, in addition to being the most hated by central banks.

Bitcoin continued to rally, topping $38,000 early Wednesday morning. The odd correlation tying Bitcoin to equity markets remains in play.

All of the recent volatility leads directly to the FOMC meeting which concludes today at 2:00 pm ET. The Fed isn't planning to make any bold policy decisions, rather, they'll just jawbone over cutting back on their own profligate spending, hiking interest rates and taming inflation. Chairman Powell will act concerned about inflation and food prices, even though he could care less, the market pundits will cheer his wisdom and look for cryptic signals in the dot plots and his remarks.

Bottom line, the Fed isn't likely to rock the financial boat to any degree at this meeting. They've become so transparent in recent years that the markets know exactly what they have planned and can act accordingly. While it's safe to assume that the Fed will raise interest rates a number of times this year - likely three or four raises of 25 basis points - and that their asset purchases will cease after March, they will continue to pump money into the hands of their cohorts, either through the repo or reverse repo process, the NY Fed's trading desk, selective purchasing of corporate debt and other sneaky programs designed to keep the wheels greased.

Thanks to the various tools employed by the Fed, stocks will continue trading at bubble valuations, inflation will stay at or near record levels and the Fed will content themselves with fighting it by raising the federal funds rate 3/4 of a percent when the CPI is reading six or seven percent.

Fed actions in the face of current and future inflation expectations is like using a candle to light an auditorium. It barely makes it past the laugh meter.

At the Close, Tuesday, January 25, 2022:
Dow: 34,297.73, -66.77 (-0.19%)
NASDAQ: 13,539.29, -315.83 (-2.28%)
S&P 500: 4,356.45, -53.68 (-1.22%)
NYSE: 16,340.32, -73.64 (-0.45%)

Market Mayhem: Stocks Fall, Rise in Gigantic Wall Street, Media Control Exercise; Bitcoin Correlates With Stocks

Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 9:07 am ET


No, you did not see what happened on Monday. You did not see the Dow Jones Industrial Average fall 1150 points, reverse course, and finish almost 100 points to the good.

You did not see the NASDAQ down more than four percent, off more than 770 points, only to turn around and end the session higher by 86 points.

The S&P 500 was not down 175 points just after noon. All you need to know is that it closed 12 points higher than it did on Friday.

Of course, these things did happen and they were so dramatic that even the mainstream media's nightly news shows made mention of them and they did so to condition the viewing public to believe that it's all normal, all part of the murky financial world that you're not supposed to understand.

Not to make too big a deal about market crashes and miracle recoveries - which both occurred Monday within the span of 6 1/2 hours - Wall Street scions and media misanthropes are usually guilty of overestimating their power and prestige while underestimating the intelligence of the average muppet investor. It's how they get away with such ludicrous valuations, impossible trading scenarios, and the outright criminal manipulation of markets that happens every time they turn on the lights at the New York Stock Exchange.

According to some people, Monday's miraculous turnaround was the product of some zealous options players selling put options into the sold off market. In other words, some mystery put seller emerged around noon to save the bacon of market makers who were stuck behind the eight ball.

In the SpotGamma video below, pay attention to the HIRO chart which appears at about 2:56 and the big spikes on the blue (put) line. On the chart, put buyers (options that make money when stocks go down) suddenly became put sellers (making money on stock gains) right at 12:30 pm, sparking the rally in stocks. Put selling continues to build until the "big" seller, buys back right around 2:30 (making a tidy profit), but then sells more puts into the close, matching up perfectly with the price of the SPY at the end of the day.

It's a reasonable explanation, but the identities of the parties selling puts, thus pumping stocks higher, remains a mystery.

If it all makes perfect nonsense to you, you're not alone. This kind of background price action is the work of quants and sophisticated traders with massive bankrolls. This was not your average day-trader working from home. You don't have to understand how it all functions. You only have to know that there are people right out of "The Wizard of Oz" pulling levers and throwing switches behind the curtains.

This leads to an unambiguous question. Since it's obvious that backroom dealers can make prices move any which way they choose, is that where you want to park your investments? In what amounts to the equivalent of a rigged casino? It's like playing blackjack at a table where the dealer can turn up 21 (or 6, 11, or 16) at will, on his own hand or that of any other player or players.

Wall Street is an unsafe place for money, especially if you're not in on the game and paying constant attention, and, even if you are, there are players in the market that are light years ahead of you (banks, brokerages, the NY Fed, PPT, etc.). Owning stocks is a matter of trust and antics like those which were on display Monday erodes that trust. While some may say that having a put seller at market bottoms - even if it's the government - is a positive for their investments, but they fail to take into account that those same people could sell calls at the same time, sending stocks to any depth they prefer. In the end, nobody should have complete faith in these markets.

The other big development on Monday was price action in cryptos, wherein Bitcoin took a pre-market beating, to the tune of about $3,000 in price, bottoming just below $33,000. Strangely enough, Bitcoin hit bottom at 8:00 am ET, and then started slowly rising throughout the day, finally hitting a top at $37,574 (a gain of nearly $5,000, not bad!) right at 3:55 pm ET, coincidentally, just before the stock market close.

That's just not a coincidence. That's a rig job. More than a few bitcoin followers and commentators have made note of Bitcoin's correlation to the stock market since the establishment of a couple of Bitcoin ETFs. Monday's perfect alignment of the Bitcoin and equity market tops is beyond chance. It is intentional. What better way to crush Bitcoin (the goal of every central bank everywhere), then to tie it to equity markets, which are going to crash no matter what, on their own.

In a perverse kind of way, Bitcoin price action may be useful as a leading indicator for the stock market. While that certainly sounds weird, it does make sense. As fund traders buy or sell the derivative Bitcoin ETFs in their all-fiat markets, they have to buy Bitcoin to at least offer the impression that the price of the ETF follows that of the underlying asset, much as they do with gold and silver derivatives, GLD and SLV.

As of this moment, everything about Bitcoin is under pressure. Considering that the illegitimate Biden White House plans on issuing an executive order outlining strategies for regulating cryptocurrencies as soon as February.

The following, from the above-linked article, adds perspective:

Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Cowen, said on Monday that the administration's intervention is "symbolically significant as the White House would be acknowledging that crypto is becoming economically important."

Seiberg added that it reinforces the idea that crypto is here to stay. "The White House would not issue such an order if it was not convinced that crypto will continue to grow and spread throughout the economy," he added.

Bitcoin, being a considerable threat to fiat currencies of all kinds, including the dominant US dollar, is at the top of the list of targets for the government to obliterate. Forget about all the bluster over Russia and Ukraine. That's a side show compared to the war the US government plans on accelerate against crypto, especially Bitcoin, the truest form of money ever created.

Holders and hodlers of cryptos might be inclined to keep a close eye on their digital assets when Biden's handlers have made their intentions to crush Bitcoin quite clear. They see Bitcoin's growing acceptance as a direct threat to their power, and they won't stand for it. If anything, Monday's gains in cryptos look more like short-term froth than anything else. The US government is likely willing to crash the entire global economy in an effort to stop Bitcoin from completely rearranging the economics of the entire planet.

That's not hyperbole. Anybody with at least one eye open can clearly see that the current occupiers of the federal power structure have been and continue to be more than willing to take whatever means necessary to hold onto their power.

Finally, it's worth noting at European markets sold off viciously on Monday and did not recover like US stocks. Major indices like the DAX and CAC were down three percent or more, but are up modestly (less than one percent), with about a half hour to the US open, while US equity futures are cratering again and Bitcoin is dipping slightly.

Happy hunting!

Here's the SpotGamma video referenced above. A worthwhile five minutes.

At the Close, Monday, January 24, 2022:
Dow: 34,364.50, +99.13 (+0.29%)
NASDAQ: 13,855.13, +86.21 (+0.63%)
S&P 500: 4,410.13, +12.19 (+0.28%)
NYSE: 16,413.97, +16.63 (+0.10%)

WEEKEND WRAP: Oil, Gold, Silver Shine As Equities, Bonds, Bitcoin Bomb in Asset Rout

Sunday, January 23, 2022, 11:30 am ET

It was a difficult week for equities.

The Dow, which has been down six consecutive sessions and 10 of the last 12, suffered its worst week since November, 2020, dropping by more than 4.50%.

The NASDAQ, which hasn't closed positive since January 14, finished lower all four sessions of the short, four-day week, trading below its 200-day moving average for the duration. The only reasonable comparison is to the last week of February, 2020, when the virus panic was just getting started. The tech-laden index has been in correction territory since Wednesday, when it closed below 14,501 for the first time since October of last year. Down 14.25% from the all-time closing high (16,057.44, November 9, 2020), further losses could tip the index into bear market territory, a place it appears destined to discover.

Widely watched, the S&P 500 was slaughtered, marking its third straight weekly decline. It is down 8.3% from the all-time closing high, marked the fist day of trading for 2022, 4,796.56.

Just to be sure everything is going straight down the tubes, the Dow Jones Transportation Average lost 657.68 points, a decline for the week of 4.14%. Matching the Industrials, the trannies closed lower 10 of its last 12 sessions, Friday's 274-point dump throwing it under the 200-day moving average. The Transportation Average finished the week some 10.5% below it's record close of November 2nd, 2021, 17,039.38.

It's just plain ugly for stock supporters. There has not been a worse start to a calendar year since 2009 at the depths of the GFC. Traders who favored a "buy the dip" strategy that had worked wonders for the past 12 years were absolutely monkey-hammered as short-sellers were emboldened by the wealth destruction they have been saying was inevitable for the past decade.

Since stocks are still near their recent peaks, plenty of traders are still considering jumping back in or holding, taking the losses in stride, even though many stocks - more than 50% of the NASDAQ, for instance - are down more than 50%. The NASDAQ in particular has been held afloat by a handful of six or seven stocks. One of them, Netflix (NFLX) dropped nearly 22% on Friday, as new subscribers fell short of estimates and future guidance was far from positive.

Another, Amazon (AMZN) closed at 2,852.86 on Friday, down 23.55% from its July, 2021 all-time high of 3,731.41, joining Netflix and Meta (Facebook, FB) in the bear market camp.

Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) fell into correction territory during the week, each of the tech bellwethers down more than 10% from record highs not long past.

With stocks sliding under the wealth horizon, bond markets were whipsawed. At the end of 2021, the spread on 2s-30s was some 117 basis points. On the 2s-10s it was 79 bips. As of Friday, the 2s-30s spread had shrunk to 106, the 2s-10s to 74. The tightening has been significant, due to a number of factors, the most prominent, inflation, and the Fed's proposed end to the latest round of QE and subsequent interest rate hikes, which may begin as early as their March meeting.

Speaking of the Fed, their best and brightest will hold the first FOMC policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week, January 25 and 26. While they are not expected to raise rates, they almost certainly will make mention of them, adding to the dismay of bond and equity holders alike.

WTI crude oil closed out the week at $84.90 a barrel, after peaking on Wednesday above $87. Higher crude prices are pushing gas at the pump higher. Gasbuddy.com reports the national average at $3.33 per gallon for unleaded regular, up 2.7 cents from the week before and nearly a dollar from a year ago.

Not spared from the drawdown in nearly every asset class, cryptocurrencies were pounded mercilessly, thanks in large part to the FUD trifecta of January 21, 2022:

  • House subcommittee holds hearing on energy use of bitcoin (an epic fail, the anti-BTC, climate change crowd got smoked by science which shows bitcoin to be much less energy-intensive than alarmists claim)
  • Federal Reserve releases paper on FedCoin, or FedCon, never mentioning bitcoin, hardly mentioning blockchain (because they won't be using it), leaves entire issue of a digital dollar, or, CBDC, up in air until 2024 and seeks comments.
  • Russia reportedly working on legislation that would ban crypto mining and trading, but explicitly states that holding crypto is perfectly OK, which everybody misses.
  • The third part of the FUD trifecta needs a little more explanation. For whatever reasons the Russians don't want cryptos around - probably because bitcoin, in particular, is a rival to the ruble and every other debt-based, fractional reserve fiat currency - they didn't ban holding it. The reason for that is that they can't stop anybody from owning bitcoin or most other alt-coins. Any Russian citizen can go online and buy crypto from an array of vendors, thus owning some, which is not banned, and not a crime.

    The next step in the logic is the tricky one that everybody missed. If you can hold bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, what can the government do to stop you - short of cutting off your internet connection, cell phone or physically restraining you - from transacting for goods or services with other crypto or bitcoin holders, be they half a world away or right down the street?

    The answer is nothing. They can't stop it and they know it. The proposed legislation is just another imaginary border set up by the "authorities." Their reign of authoritarian rule is coming to an end and bitcoin is hastening it.

    Here's an interesting nugget from a Reuters story on the Russian ban:

    The central bank, which is planning to issue its own digital rouble, said crypto assets becoming widespread would limit the sovereignty of monetary policy, with higher interest rates needed to contain inflation.

    Who mentioned inflation? Only fiat currencies, like the ruble, dollar, yen, yuan, pound, franc, etc., are subject to inflation because they are created out of thin air and have no self-limiting supply.

    Bitcoin, on the other hand, is limited to 21 million forever. If anything, it is deflationary, which is why its value has been rising. Let's face it, 99% of people in the world are not economists and a similar percentage does not understand how bitcoin or inflation works, which is what the central banks and sovereign states are counting on in their battle against bitcoin. So far, it's working, a little. In the end, they will fail because enough people with enough knowledge will want to own bitcoin, trade in bitcoin, and price everything in bitcoin.

    Reuters, an extension of mainstream media and politics, obviously favors state-owned assets over liberating currency like bitcoin.

    As planned, the FUD trifecta did its job. Bitcoin and almost all other cryptos are in the dumps for now, or, until the Wall Street pumpers and City of London jacks start buying, because you know they will. It appears some bottom-fishing is already underway, with Bitcoin rallying back above $35,000 and Coinbase showing buyers outpacing sellers, 79% to 21%. Saturday volume was high, since slowed, as normal, on Sunday morning.

    The future is coming, faster than most people care to believe, and bitcoin is going to smoke the fiats badly over the next three to five years. Eventually, there will be a restructuring of the world's monetary system by the central banks. Holders of precious metals, gemstones, and bitcoin will be largely unaffected, already having moved away from debt-based currency models. For the rest of the world, it will come as something of a shock.

    While US markets were taking multiple body blows, Asian and European markets were holding up slightly better, though still slanting to the downside. The American people are now facing a double-edged sword of rampant inflation and asset depredation. It may become triple edged if the dollar continues its recent slide. For the week, the buck showed some strength against a basket of currencies, though the metric is becoming increasingly immaterial as alternatives, especially gold, silver and bitcoin, gain adoption and acceptance.

    The matter is not whether gold is $1800 or $5000 an ounce or bitcoin is $35,000 or $65,000. The issue is that the dollar is being actively measured against them and is failing. In terms of international currencies, gold and silver are already pricing higher against yen, euro, pounds and yuan. Bitcoin has tremendous traction in underserved developing nations, especially in Africa and South America.

    Precious Metals:

    Gold and silver both had exceptional weekly moves, notably against the backdrop of the deep falls in stocks, bonds, and even cryptos. Commodities are the sweet spot, it appears. With the recent Basel III reserve strictures on unallocated gold and silver kicking in globally on January 1, the effects are clearly being manifested on the COMEX futures markets, as the quotes below display.

    There's a growing camp of economic thinkers who believe the world's central banks are nearing a point at which they will be amenable to a repricing of gold, which will pull silver higher as well. Recent work from Myrmikan Reasearch [PDF] argues for such an effort. A pricing of gold above $5,000 (possibly well above that level) would amount to a 33% backing of the US dollar, the world's reserve currency. It is one of the more profound and well-reasoned notes of recent releases.

    Gold price 01/16: $1,818.10
    Gold price 01/23: $1,835.60

    Silver price 01/16: $22.96
    Silver price 01/23: $24.27

    Volatility in financial markets and gains on the wholesale markets were not lost on dealers, sellers, and buyers.

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

    Item/Price Low High Average Median
    1 oz silver coin 32.65 50.00 42.16 42.94
    1 oz silver bar 35.00 50.00 40.28 38.88
    1 oz gold coin 1,947.64 2,011.63 1,965.37 1,959.59
    1 oz gold bar 1,909.08 1,969.09 1,932.41 1,932.38

    The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) rose sharply over the course of the week, at $41.07, a massive advance of $2.16 from the January 16th price of $38.94, and the highest levels since September 12, 2021 ($42.97)

    Finally, the federal government, already $29.87 trillion in debt (the debt will surpass $30 trillion this coming week, possibly right about the time the FOMC concludes their meeting on Wednesday), is essentially insolvent, though they continue to borrow massive amounts in the fixed markets, primarily the Federal Reserve to finance their graft and corruption. As inflation debases the dollar to near-extinction levels and assets are devalued across the board, Washington, DC representatives proceed towards a potentially deadly confrontation with Russia, which nobody other than the war-mongers of the military-industrial-complex (MIC) desires.

    Politicians on the federal level have failed spectacularly to protect the interests of the American people and the constitution to a point at which they are ineffective and ignored by most of the populace. As the pols carry water for the elite, mainstream media pours it over the gullible amongst us. Of all the news stories available in this time of extreme stress, Chuck Todd of "Meet the Press" focused the show on mid-term elections some 10 months off, as if voting and representation were actually matters with consequence. After the 2020 elections, many Americans are moving to higher plains, transcending the media and their dehumanizing, moronic, and usually false narratives.

    Notably, the Sunday morning shows mentioned the MORONIC spread or anything related to the virus that was going to kill us all, but failed, only in passing. The narrative has changed.

    A massive rift has formed between believers in the status quo and what can be best characterized as realists of the "deplorable" nature. Politicians and media hammer the wedge deeper, eventually to their detriment and hopefully to their destruction.

    There is a great sorting out of priorities underway. Those who pay attention will be rewarded. Those who carry on without making adjustments, will be cast aside.

    Prepare accordingly.

    At the Close, Friday, January 21, 2022:
    Dow: 34,265.37, -450.02 (-1.30%)
    NASDAQ: 13,768.92, -385.10 (-2.72%)
    S&P 500: 4,397.94, -84.79 (-1.89%)
    NYSE: 16,397.34, -266.43 (-1.60%)

    For the Week:
    Dow: -1646.44 (-4.58%)
    NASDAQ: -1124.83 (-7.55%)
    S&P 500: -264.91 (-5.68%)
    NYSE: -821.72 (-4.77%)

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