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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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Rate Cut Protagonists in Celebratory Mood After Retail Sales Slide in January; NIKKEI Approaches 34-Year-Old Record High

Friday, February 16, 2024, 8:37 am ET

Wall Street has it both ways.

Not only is good news good news, but bad news is also good news, as evidenced by the stunning revelation Thursday that retail sales fell by 0.8% in January, well short of expectations for a post-holiday drop of -0.1.

The data implied that Americans were spending less on non-essentials and big ticket items and more on ordinary expenses, like food, gas, and health care. That gave rate-cut enthusiasts another turn at the plate and they responded by hitting it out of the park (yes, baseball season is upon us; pitchers and catchers began reporting for Spring Training on Wednesday), taking back more of Tuesday's losses and putting the major indices on track for a 15th weekly gain in the last 16 weeks.

As of Thursday's closing bell, the Dow was up 101.43; NASDAQ is off 84.49; S&P ahead 3.12 points. The NYSE Composite, which has only posted weekly gains in 11 of the last 15 weeks, is up 159.06, while the Dow Transportation Average is down 308.97. The Trannys have been struggling, putting up overall gains in just nine of the past 15 weeks.

Regardless of the Transportation Average's dull performance, the three major indices continue to push higher, Thursday's gains fueled by hopes that the Federal Reserve will drop interest rates at a future meeting. Using the CME's FedWatch tool, odds for a rate cut at the April 30 - May 1 FOMC meeting increased to better than 32.2% and to 53.8% at the June 12 meeting. Only 8.1% believe the federal funds rate will be at its current 5.25-5.50% by the July 31 meeting. These could possibly be the same people who thought the San Francisco 49ers were going to win the Super Bowl.

Despite the pause in January retail spending, the US economy continues to motor along. GDP is expected to rise again in the first quarter, unemployment is historically low, and corporate profits mostly continue to meet or exceed expectations. A major aspect that the rate-cut proponents fail to comprehend is how excessive government deficit spending keeps the economy afloat. The welfare-warfare state showers billions on US interests daily, via foreign aid, welfare payments, food stamps, social security, and other beneficiary entitlements. Every dollar in food stamps gets churned back to companies like Kroger's, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Yum Brands, and McDonald's, while the immense military budget aids Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and others.

Government expenditures and hand-outs are designed to enrich corporations and the elitists who own the majority of shares in them. There's no end in sight for this system that impoverishes taxpayers and rewards the leisure class.

Following New York's lead, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed 0.9% higher on Friday, at 38,487.24. It has been trending just below the record high of 38,915.87 that it set on Dec. 29, 1989, right before stocks and real estate crashed ushering in more than 30 years of deflation and record low interest rates. Tokyo will have to wait until Monday for another run at the record. US exchanges will be closed for Presidents Day, but the rest of the world will trundle forward.

With the opening bell still more than an hour away, stock futures are mixed, with the Dow marginally lower and the S&P and NASDAQ higher.

After briefly dipping below $2,000 Wednesday, gold is continuing to regain lost ground. The COMEX continuous contract has it at $2,018 early Friday. Silver has also rebounded, sitting just above $23.

Crude oil keeps confounding producers. WTI crude tested $78/barrel twice this week and failed both times. WTI has not exceeded $80 in more than three months (November 6, 2023). Gas prices tell a different story. According to gasbuddy.com, the average gallon of unleaded regular is at $3.30 nationally, a three-month high.

Options expiry on Friday will add some life to the trading. Now that National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, has assured the public that Russia isn't going to nuke our TV and cell phone satellites any time soon, there's no reason not to buy stocks.

At the Close, Thursday, February 15, 2024:
Dow: 38,773.12, +348.85 (+0.91%)
NASDAQ: 15,906.17, +47.03 (+0.30%)
S&P 500: 5,029.73, +29.11 (+0.58%)
NYSE Composite: 17,434.93, +194.74 (+1.13%)



It's Time for Biden, Harris, Sullivan, Blinken, Nuland, Rice, Mayorkas, and Most of Congress to Resign or Be Removed

Thursday, February 15, 2024, 9:12 am ET

After a while, people just can't take it any more.

The latest gas-lighting story out of Washington is that Russians are developing nuclear weapons positioned in outer space or low earth orbits that can take out US or NATO or anybody's satellites. The entire story is a complete fabrication, foisted by neocon war-monger Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who coincidentally has just returned from a visit to Kiev, Ukraine, where he met with President Zelenskyy (and probably picked up a couple of suitcases stuffed full of hundred dollar bills, gold bars and heaven knows what else).

Of all places, Yahoo News is reporting that the NY Times believes Turner's message was designed to create pressure for the House to take up the supplemental funding request for Ukraine that the Senate passed this week. Wow! Some reporters are probably about to be fired or have their lives threatened, because that's how the gang of criminals in Washington, DC, roll.

The Times and Yahoo may be on the right track, but they are missing the bigger picture. Turner's request (see below) is just the beginning of yet another deep state false flag psy-op designed to provide cover for their black op and blame Russia when Europe and America's communication networks go haywire. Don't worry, they will. They've probably been planning this for a while.

There are more than just a few problems with this story. First, anybody wishing to take out communication satellites doesn't need a nuclear weapon to do so. Any ballistic missile would do the job just fine. Second, Russia, the US, China, and others already have more than ample capabilities to take out satellites and anything else floating around out there. The powers that be don't use these capabilities because the consequences would be highly destabilizing to the entire world. There would be retaliation, no doubt, so there's a "gentleman's agreement" to keep things clean in space around the planet.

Third, Rep. Mike Turner doesn't need to request details from the White House. He is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (quite the misnomer). He is scheduled to meet with Jake Sullivan today, Thursday, to be briefed on the "threat." Knowing there's no substance to his wide-eyed fear-mongering, the story will devolve (already, the mainstream media is downplaying it, saying Russia is still "working" on the weapon) into back page fodder, until such time as it's needed for a "see, we told you so" moment.

Of course, the neocon sociopaths and their allies and henchmen would have no problem taking out a few of their own satellites and blaming Russia. That's where this is heading. The Washington elite are running scared and are capable of just about any monstrosity that one could imagine, like the mass shooting in Kansas City on Wednesday, designed to keep the general public in a state of perpetual fear, away from large public events, and, naturally, to stir up more support for gun bans and various violations of the Fifth Amendment.

Like this:

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said, “This shooting is yet another reminder that no parade, no church, no school — really, nowhere at all — is safe from America’s gun violence crisis.”

Everything the federal government touches damages the American citizenry. From the wasteful military spending to fund Ukraine and now Israel, to the wide open borders that have allowed up to 10 million illegals into the US since Biden stepped foot in the White House, to the obscene reality of a $34 trillion national debt, the people in charge cannot be so completely incompetent (well, maybe) to be unaccountable for their actions. They are accountable. To the American public. What they're doing every day is intentional and they need to be removed from office by whatever means necessary, along with their allies on both sides of the aisle in congress.

Most of the people in DC are there only to line their pockets. Ukraine is a money-laundering operation built on death and destruction. Members of congress are equally complicit in crimes committed in America's name. It is time for the good people of this country to demand change. The November election may be too late, and, besides, the people in DC are capable of manipulating elections to achieve their goals, so the time to act is now, if not three years ago, when most of this began.

Enough is enough. These people belong in prison, if not worse places.

Editor's Note: Downtown Magazine is in the process of removing all Google ads from its website, an effort that will take some time as most of our older pages are hand-coded. Since the program doesn't pay much anyway (revenue from Google's AdSense program is down more than 90% from levels a few years ago), this arrangement won't really matter much in monetary terms, but will make more sense in who we are and what we represent. Google spies and lies all the time, every hour of every day. They shape narratives to enforce their twisted views of reality, thus, we have no desire to associate with the company any further. Downtown Magazine, IdleGuy.com, and Money Daily do not use Google for search and we do not use any of their hardware products and little of their software. Disconnecting from the censorship and disinformation king of the world is a long-overdue pleasure, one we hope others will consider.

Now, as for the completely fraudulent capital markets, stocks were up again on Wednesday, as Tuesday's January CPI report quickly gets memory-holed. Little analysis is needed to discern where stocks are going. They're going up, no matter what. Stocks recovered much of what was lost on Wednesday, mostly in the final two hours of trading. Wednesday, just after 2:00 pm ET, the Dow was down thirty points, but finished with a 151-point gain. Go figure.

Very little about US or European stock markets is real. Stocks go up and down based on whatever direction big shareholders desire that day, or hour, or minute. anybody professing to "know" the market is simply deluded, lucky, or an insider. That said, Money Daily tries to present economic and financial matters in as much as an unbiased manner as possible. Some times, that's possible. Most of the time, it's not, because what's really happening is all smoke and mirrors up front with the real deals going on in the back rooms.

Since the advent of internet and high-speed and High Frequency trading around 2000, the stock market has become much more like a gambling casino than a market based on fundamentals, profits, earnings, and honest reporting. It's largely controlled by people wielding huge sums of money.

Economic reports and data released by government agencies in Europe, England, Canada, and the United States have to be viewed with a healthy does of skepticism. Most of what various governments report does little more than shade the truth. Most of their releases are estimates and not grounded in honest calculations. They make assumptions, adjustments, revisions, dilutions, accountings, projections, and expectations based on models that are usually flawed and often invalid. Sometimes, they're just plain old lies.

Try using government accounting measures on your tax return. The IRS will be at your door in no time.

So, putting today's screed in a nutshell, your government hates you, overtaxes you, tries to scare you with their lapdog media, keeps trying to kill you (and has succeeded in many cases), and lies to you on a nearly-constant schedule. People enter congress from mostly middle or upper-middle class backgrounds. In a few years, they're millionaires. The theft, graft, and corruption in Washington, DC cannot be understated.

In a world in which everything you buy is much more expensive than it was five, ten, twenty years ago, gold and silver remain at or near levels from 2011, especially silver, which is half of what it was at its high. Even if silver was gauged at $25/ounce in 2011 (it eventually topped out near $50), just with normal inflation it would have more than doubled in price. It hasn't. It is, in fact, lower. Apparently, elements 47 (AG) and 79 (AU) are immune to inflation.

Logically, if that's the case, you and your friends and family should be buying as much of them as you can afford. Really. Central banks have been buying gold hand over fist for the past five years. They don't buy silver because they really, really, absolutely hate that stuff because it could possibly, and was, for centuries, actually MONEY used by peasants like you and me.

Get off the hamster wheel. Fight back.

At the Close, Wednesday, February 14, 2024:
Dow: 38,424.27, +151.47 (+0.40%)
NASDAQ: 15,859.15, +203.55 (+1.30%)
S&P 500: 5,000.62, +47.45 (+0.96%)
NYSE Composite: 17,240.19, +171.69 (+1.01%)


After January CPI, What's Next for Markets?; Is the Fed Already Off Track?

Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 9:10 am ET

In order to form parameters for trading and expectations of the bond and stock markets, Tuesday's rout needs to be put into some perspective. While the single session losses were the greatest of the year so far and the worst since March 2023 for the Dow, they were tempered by late-day buying in the final 30 minutes, lifting the averages by roughly a helf percent in the overall scheme.

By itself, the recurring phenomenon of end-of-day gains requires context, and theories are split into distinct camps, one which says it is normal and nothing more than short-covering, another which posits that it is the nefarious work of the PPT, NY Fed, Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), et. al., and one more suggesting it is the hord of dip-buyers swooping in to snatch up perceived bargains.

Most likely it is a combination of all three, though it would be a mean task to sort out the volumes of each different participant. Nonetheless, the late surge in stocks appears to have become a semi-permanent feature of US (and foreign) markets under the current algo-driven, nano-second trading regime that has emerged over the past few decades.

More to the point, Tuesday's bearish tone was set in motion by the January CPI reading, which was trouble for traders on a number of aspects. The headline number of 3.1% annual and 0.3% monthly inflation was above expectations of 2.9% and 0.2%, both of which may have been a little on the hopeful side. Core CPI of +0.39% was even worse, as was the so-called "Super Core", defined as Core Services Ex-Housing, running, on a 1-month, 3-month and 6-month basis, at an 8.74%, 6.29% and 5.60% annualized rate, respectively.

Deeper analysis of this trend and others can be found here and here.

Beyond the specifics of the report, a number of developments in trading sentiment can be observed. First, the cohort of loudmouths calling for rate cuts has been roundly shut up and shut down. Expectations for a cut in the federal funds target rate at the March meeting are below 10% now, and odds for a cut at the April 30 - May 1 meeting have also been slashed to a point at which it is almost completely improbable. June may still be on the radar, but marginally so. Some people are already considering rate hikes should inflationary trends continue.

As for trading sentiment, two camps are emergent. One says - and possibly rightly so - that this decline is a one-off and that stocks will rebound sharply on Wednesday and continue the rally that's been holding sway since November. The other argument is that inflation being persistent, Tuesday's losses are only the beginning of a near-term correction of 7-12%, which is probably overdue.

Both cannot be right, and therein lay the eternal conundrum of markets, but especially in this heated, politicized environment, moves in either direction could have longer effects on the fortunes of presidential and congressional candidates come November.

It would probably be foolhardy to expect the rally to continue after a dead cat bounce on Wednesday. In fact, a knee-jerk rebound might be exactly what prompts a delayed resumption of profit-taking and outright selling off of positions formerly thought to be sacrosanct.

Jerome Powell's Fed is in quite a vulnerable position, one that almost begs a policy mis-step. If inflation returns, as it did in the 1970s, and the Fed doesn't act, that would distort conditions even further. Should the trend of lower inflation prevail going forward, the Fed would no doubt be tempted to cut rates, even though that act, in itself may rekindle animal spirits and rising inflation.

The Fed's own policy of standing pat at 5.25-5.50%, in effect since the July 26, 2023 meeting may have been the first policy error. While inflation was surely coming down after the series of rate increases that began in March 2022, the rate of decline has slowed considerably since the Fed decided to pause. Broad, annualized CPI was actually lower (3.05%) in June, 2023, than it is now (3.11%). Core CPI has stalled out from the Fed's initial pause in September, 2023, from 4.14% then, to 3.87% now, a decline of just 0.27%.

It would appear that the Fed may have overthought the "lag effect" of prior rate hikes and paused too soon. Inflation has remained a stubborn foe and the disinflation regime of the past 18 months may be wearing off. If that's the case, the Fed may soon face the unflattering task of having to raise rates once again.

Should that condition develop, stocks will fall and interest rates, especially long-dated treasuries, will rise. It has to be noted that government’s insatiable appetite for spending money it doesn’t have is a major contributing factor to inflation overall.

That is by no means a given, though the trend seems to be developing apace.

As Wednesday's market open approaches, the dead cat appears to be ready to be thrown from the rooftop, with stock futures advancing. Dow futures: +118, S&P: +23.50, NASDAQ: +103.

Yield on the 10-year note, which galloped to 2024 highs Wednesday at 4.31% (up 14 basis points) have eased Wednesday morning to 4.29%. Yields on the 2-year and 30-year also made year-to-date highs at 4.64% and 4.46%, respectively.

Inflation, even as measured by the much-maligned CPI, cannot be wished away, as traders of all stripes are keenly aware.

Incidentally, gold and silver were absolutely slammed Tuesday, currently holding at $2,003.10 and $22.23, respectively on the COMEX continuous contract. Gold briefly fell below $2000 early this morning, finding support at $1998.20.

At the Close, Tuesday, February 13, 2024:
Dow: 38,272.75, -524.63 (-1.35%)
NASDAQ: 15,655.60, -286.95 (-1.80%)
S&P 500: 4,953.17, -68.67 (-1.37%)
NYSE Composite: 17,068.54, -263.92 (-1.52%)


NIKKEI Soars to 34-Year High; January CPI Disappoints at 3.1% YOY; Stock Futures Reeling; March, May Rate Cuts Off the Table

Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 9:17 am ET

Led by tech stocks and a weak currency, the NIKKEI 225 advanced 2.89% (37,963.97, +1,066.55) on Tuesday, setting a closing price in excess of that made in January 1990, at the height of Japan's real estate and technology boom.

According to CNBC, the all-time high for the NIKKEI is 38,195, reached in December 1989. A gain of just over 230 points, or about 0.6%, would break the all-time record.

Meanwhile, China and Hong Kong markets are closed for the Lunar New Year, celebrating the Year of the Dragon. India's Sensex was up nearly 500 points, closing at 71,555.19. It has been languishing at lower levels since making a record high close on January 15, of 73,327.94.

Other than Spain's IBEX, European stocks are uniformly lower mid-afternoon, though only slightly. German's DAX leads the downdraft, off by just more than 0.50%.

At 8:30 am ET, the BLS released January CPI data, which was hardly encouraging, with the index rising 0.3% over the month after a rise of 0.2% in December. Year-over-year, the index posted a gain of 3.1%, led by increases in shelter (rent, home ownership) and food, even as energy inputs fell. Leading declines were utility gas service (NAtGas), down -17.8, fuel oil (-14.2) and gasoline (-6.4), owing to the warmer El-Nino winter, record US oil production, and slack demand at the pump.

The CPI report sent stock futures, which were already beaten down, reeling lower. Just before 9:00 am ET, S&P futures were off 61 points, Dow futures were down 356, and NASDAQ futures were off 300.

More than two years into the anti-inflation fight, efforts of the Federal Reserve to reduce annual inflation to under two pecent has hit a roadblock, largely the result of an overpriced housing and rental market and relentless rises in food prices, at both grocery and restaurant levels. Food at home increased 0.4 percent and the food away from home index rose 0.5 percent over the month.

With CPI failing to meet expectations for a fall to under three percent, prospects for the Wall Street panacea of lower rates before summer have diminished significantly. While the Fed had made steady progress against inflation when they were aggressively hiking the federal funds rate from the zero-bound to the present level of 5.25-5.50%, their highly-politicized and pressured choice to leave rates at that level seems to have stalled the momentum.

Rather than lowering rates in May or June, there now exists prospects for further rate hikes as prices remain stubbornly high and inflation continues to destroy purchasing power for consumers and businesses alike. Unless progress is made on the inflation front, bringing annualized CPI down to or below two percent, the Fed may have little choice other than crashing the economy with another series of 25 basis point hikes.

Such a scenario would certainly forestall the recent rise in equities, which have been on a sugar high since late October, 2023, and were reaching a point at which a correction was warranted. This morning's CPI report may be just the tonic needed by bears to bring stocks back to more reasonable levels.

As is usually the case, markets are bound to over-react near-term. The Fed's next FOMC meeting is March 19-20, followed by another two-day event, April 30-May 1. Unless progress is made against inflation, the Fed may have no choice but to resume its rate-rising regime, which would likely send stocks into correction or even a bear market, and bond prices higher.

On a hopeful note, in last Friday's (2/9) Money Daily post, it was suggested that Super Bowl viewership would far exceed the number of people viewing Tucker Carlson's interview with Vladimir Putin.

As of Monday morning, Tucker's interveiw had garnered 196 million views on x.com (twitter). Reportedly, another 8-10 million watched on Tucker's own platform, tuckercarlson.com.

Super Bowl LVIII (58) was the most-watched TV event ever, garnering a viewership of more than 123 million. The 25-22 victory by the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers was seen by fewer people than the Carlson-Putin interview.

At the Close, Monday, February 12, 2024:
Dow: 38,797.38, +125.69 (+0.33%)
NASDAQ: 15,942.54, -48.12 (-0.30%)
S&P 500: 5,021.84, -4.77 (-0.09%)
NYSE Composite: 17,332.46, +56.59 (+0.33%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Gold, Silver Lower, Seeking a Near-Term Bottom; Bitcoin Pops; Election Influence Appearing in Markets

Sunday, February 11, 2024, 11:00 am ET

Since there's some big sporting event later today, you will not be bored with excessive financial drivel, though random photos of Taylor Swift may appear occasionally throughout the reading of this essay.

Stocks

The S&P, Dow, and NASDAQ posted weekly gains for the 14th time in the last 15 weeks. The last time such an event occurred on any single index, Richard M. Nixon was president (1972), though not for long after that. Is this an omen? Will Joe Biden step down (we hope)?

As a whole, the week was quite data-lite. CPI revisions drove stocks higher on Friday. The S&P registered new all-time closing highs Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. No surprise there. One gets the impression that the liquidity gates are wide open. Magnificent 7 stocks had a solid week. New York Community Bank (NYCB) almost ruined everything, closing out the week at 4.90. Two weeks ago, shares were selling for more than $10 each. Not a bargain.

Next week's earnings parade includes (Monday) Waste Management (WM), Avis Budget Group (CAR), Goodyear (GT); (Tuesday) Shopify (SHOP), Marriott (MAR), Moody's (MCD), Coca-Cola (KO), Biogen (BIIB), AirB&B (ABNB), Lyft (LYFT), MGM Resorts (MGM), AIG (AIG), Zillow (ZG), Instacart (CART); (Wednesday) Barrick (GOLD), Sony (SONY), Cisco (CSCO), Generac (GNRC), KraftHeinz (KHC); (Thursday) John Deere (DE), Yeti (YETI), Roku (ROKU), DraftKings (DKNG), Wendy's (WEN), DoorSash (DASH), Coinbase (COIN), Applied Materials (AMAT); (Friday) Vulcan Materials (VMC), Cinemark (CMK), Liberty Broadband (LBRDA).

Data drops from Tuesday through Friday include (Tuesday) CPI, NFIB Business Confidence Index; (Wednesday) EIA Weekly inventories; (Thursday) Retail Sales, Philly Fed, NY Fed, Export/Import Prices, Unemployment Claims; (Friday) PPI, Housing Starts, Building Permits, University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment.


Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
01/05/2024 5.54 5.48 5.47 5.41 5.24 4.84
01/12/2024 5.55 5.47 5.45 5.37 5.16 4.65
01/19/2024 5.54 5.47 5.45 5.39 5.21 4.84
01/26/2024 5.54 5.45 5.44 5.39 5.19 4.78
02/02/2024 5.49 5.51 5.43 5.42 5.22 4.81
02/09/2024 5.49 5.51 5.44 5.43 5.26 4.86

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
01/05/2024 4.40 4.17 4.02 4.04 4.05 4.37 4.21
01/12/2024 4.14 3.92 3.84 3.91 3.96 4.32 4.20
01/19/2024 4.39 4.18 4.08 4.12 4.15 4.47 4.36
01/26/2024 4.34 4.15 4.04 4.10 4.15 4.49 4.38
02/02/2024 4.36 4.14 3.99 4.02 4.03 4.33 4.22
02/09/2024 4.48 4.25 4.14 4.17 4.17 4.48 4.37

Rates rebounded to levels of roughly three weeks ago, the 10-year adding 14 basis points, the 30-year up 15. Spreads loosened (less negative), though only marginally so. 5s-10s have dis-inverted by a mere three basis points. It's clear the Fed has little intention of returning the curve to normalcy prior to the election, so random gains and falls in rates would seem to be the most likely path.

True economy would imply the 30-year rising at a steady clip, and it certainly could, given that in 2023, yield on the 30-year bond reached as high as 5.11% (October 19). Everybody knows what happened after that. Long rates came down and stocks went on a one-way trip to the moon. Bonds and stocks rallied together from the end of October onward. While bonds have had a bumpier ride, the decline in rates has been measured. The 30-year was yielding 3.95% on December 27 and closed out the year two days later, at 4.03%.

A March rate cut seems all the more unlikely unless the Fed perceives a need to keep stocks running hot. May or June appears likely, though the (non-political) Federal Reserve might wait until later and deliver three straight cuts of 25 basis points each, starting July 30-31, followed by another, September 17-18, and finally November 6-7, the announcement scheduled for the day after the general election, though the move will be so readily telegraphed that it might as well come the day before.

Insert Taylor Swift photo here. OK.

Spreads:

2s-10s
9/15/2023: -69
9/22/2023: -66
9/29/2023: -44
10/06/2023: -30
10/13/2023: -41
10/20/2023: -14
10/27/2023: -15
11/03/2023: -26
11/10/2023: -43
11/17/2023: -44
11/24/2023: -45
12/01/2023: -34
12/08/2023: -48
12/15/2023: -53
12/22/2023: -41
12/29/2023: -35
1/5/2024: -35
1/12/2024: -18
1/19/2024: -24
1/26/2024: -19
2/2/2024: -33
2/9: -31

Full Spectrum (30-days - 30-years)
9/15/2023: -109
9/22/2023: -99
9/29/2023: -82
10/06/2023: -64
10/13/2023: -82
10/20/2023: -47
10/27/2023: -54
11/03/2023: -76
11/10/2023: -80
11/17/2023: -93
11/24/2023: -95
12/01/2023: -105
12/08/2023: -123
12/15/2023: -154
12/22/2023: -149
12/29/2023: -157
1/5/2024: -133
1/12/2024: -135
1/19/2024: -118
1/26/2024: -116
2/2/2024: -127
2/9: -117


Oil/Gas

WTI finally broke to the upside, rising steadily through the week, closing out at $76.55, up from $72.41 per barrel the week prior. The move was nothing but more noise. Fundamentals haven't changed. There's still far more oil than needed everywhere. Producers may not be happy, but consumers, for now, are not discontent.

If history and politics are reliable guides, WTI will struggle to break above $80 for the remainder of 2024, with a good possibility of falling into the high $60s. Milder weather, work-from-home (WFH), and fuel economy are all serving to keep a lid on prices.

According to gasbuddy.com, the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gas at the pump rose four cents, to $3.19.

The Northeast and the West coast remain the highest price locations. The cheapest gas remains in Oklahoma ($2.64), where prices are stable, up just a penny in the current week. A noticeable shift is taking place. Lower prices are to be found in Midwestern states, falling below levels of the Southeast, which have traditionally been the lowest.

Colorado and Wyoming have taken the #2 and #3 lowest prices, both at $2.69. A cluster of states from Tennessee and Alabama west through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and New Mexico, and north through Nebraska, South and North Dakota are registering prices between $2.75 to $2.88. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia have all popped over $3.00. South Carolina, normally one of the lowest in the country, is sitting at $2.93.

California ($4.61) remains the only state on the mainland with prices above $4.00, as Washington, the next highest, fell again this week, to $3.89. Nevada is next at $3.86, followed by Oregon ($3.56), and Arizona ($3.22).

In the Northeast, Pennsylvania ($3.44) remained on top with the highest prices, followed by New York ($3.25). $3.00+ gas spreads from Maine west to Minnesota. Illinois is at $3.35, Michigan, $3.26, Ohio, $3.16.

There appears to be a shift in flow, almost as if deep south states are being punished for being rednecks. Not that there's anything wrong with redneck culture, unless you happen to be an Northeastern elitist snob. This is a trend worth noting and following to see how it progresses through November, keeping in mind deep state sub-plots.


Bitcoin

This week: $48,129.90
Last week: $42,850.00
2 weeks ago: $41,787.30
6 months ago: $21.416.90
One year ago: $21,789.80

Bitcoin made a 14-month high (December 2021) this week, pushing above $48,000. No doubt, this is due to the influence of the spot bitcoin ETFs approved last month which are drawing in more retail investors and causing disruptions. Bitcoin loyalists are probably thinking ahead to the halving in April as a sign of imminent price breakout. It's possible, though there's no evidence to believe it will hold at any level higher than maybe $55,000.

Should the price head to stratospheric levels of $100,000 or higher, it will be due to Wall Street influence rather than some intrinsic value, since bitcoin has none.


Precious Metals

Gold:Silver Ratio: 89.93; last week: 90.26

Per COMEX continuous contracts:

Gold price 1/12: $2,053.60
Gold price 1/19: $2,031.80
Gold price 1/26: $2,037.10
Gold price 2/2: $2,057.10
Gold price 2/9: $2,038.70

Silver price 1/12: $23.36
Silver price 1/19: $22.75
Silver price 1/26: $22.90
Silver price 2/2: $22.79
Silver price 2/9: $22.67

Gold has maintained a price above $2,000 for 59 consecutive days (since December 14, 2023) on the COMEX continuous contract. Both metals took a bit of a downdraft this week, which is to be expected with stocks zooming and interest rates offering reasonable returns. There's nothing the deep state and fiat pushers would like more than to keep paying out four to five percent on CDs and Money Markets, keeping the prices of precious metals in the doldrums.

Of course, this is only possible short-term as the US dollar remains at high levels relative to other currencies. Looking backwards, when inflation was peaking in the summer of 2022, the dollar index was rapidly rising. It's well off those highs today, down to around 104 from the high in 2022 of 113. As inflation stabilizes, expect the dollar to maintain current levels. Everything appears to be revolving around the upcoming US elections, to the surprise of almost nobody.

Unless there's earth-shattering events (beyond Ukraine) gold and silver prices will remain in a range around near-term lows of $21.50-$23.00 for silver and $2015 to $2050 for gold. Israel will continue its genocide in Gaza, and any escalation in the Middle East will be sporadic and contained unless Gulf nations decide otherwise. While the US and Israel believe they hold the best cards, the real power lays in the hands of the Gulf nations, but they're reluctant to move swiftly, preferring a slow, steady approach to de-dollarization and a BRICs-led, multi-polar new world order.

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: 28.98 53.00 36.52 35.26
1 oz silver bar: 31.00 39.95 34.48 34.76
1 oz gold coin: 2,096.07 2,223.21 2,148.03 2,139.48
1 oz gold bar: 2,099.75 2,170.62 2,124.72 2,115.98

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) fell slightly, to $35.26, a loss of 74 cents from the February 4 price of $36.00 per troy ounce.


WEEKEND WRAP

It's becoming more and more obvious that all activity is being focused on the US general election in November. Stock prices are up, interest rates are steady, albeit higher than they've been this entire century, gas prices are shifting, all commodity prices remain contained. It would be a mistake to believe there's not a master plan at work in the background.


At the Close, Friday, February 9, 2024:
Dow: 38,671.69, -54.64 (-0.14%)
NASDAQ: 15,990.66, +196.95 (+1.25%)
S&P 500: 5,026.61, +28.70 (+0.57%)
NYSE Composite: 17,275.87, +23.54 (+0.14%)

For the Week:
Dow: +17.27 (+0.04%)
NASDAQ: +361.71 (+2.31%)
S&P 500: +68.00 (+1.37%)
NYSE Composite: +173.90 (+1.02%)
Dow Transports: +415.91 (+2.63%)


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 2024, Downtown Magazine Inc., all rights reserved.

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idleguy.com July 2024
IdleGuy.com July 2024, Vol. 1 #6