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Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
Money Daily has been providing business and financial market news, views, and coverage on a nearly continuous basis since 2006. Complete archives are available at moneydaily.blogspot.com.
Record Highs on Dow Industrials, S&P 500, NYSE Composite; How Far Can They Go?
Friday, March 11, 2021, 8:10 am ET
Three of the four major US indices closed at record highs on Thursday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NYSE Composite Index each set new high closing marks.
Only the tech-laden NASDAQ is lagging, though its 329-point gain on the day put it within five percent of the record close of 14,095.47 achieved just one month ago.
The high stock prices are largely the result of significant efforts by the Federal Reserve and the US government to shore up citizens, businesses, and state and local governments. Thursday afternoon, Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, giving a major boost to capital markets. $1400 checks and direct deposits are being distributed beginning as early as this weekend.
With just about every entity in America soon to be flush with cash, it now appears certain that equity prices will rap even higher. The NASDAQ should be of particular interest to investors as it is currently in the unusual position of lagging the other indices when it has been customarily the since the GFC of 2007-09.
Despite futures looking a bit squeamish this morning, any position in stocks other than buying or holding would appear to be a fool's errand. Next week's upcoming meeting of the Fed's FOMC is likely to shed further light on just how much more money the central bank is willing to throw at the markets.
With $180 billion per month in QE already slated through the end of 2021, investors have the cat-bird's seat at another leg forward for stocks and housing as well. Median housing prices recently made a new high and there doesn't seem to be any reason for new and existing residential structures to command excessively high prices through the summer other than a slight tick up in mortgage interest rates, which are still close to record lows.
A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently 3.462%, while a 15-year fixed rate is 2.562%, both extremely low by historical standards.
The Shiller CAPE measure for stocks currently stands at 35.67, higher than at any time in the history of the stock market (dating back to 1870) other than the level achieved at the height of the dotcom boom. While that may cause some consternation to purists, the current makeup of the US markets offers the ability to withstand absurd valuations and distortions due to extraordinary measures by the Fed and US government.
Other than a nuclear war, there isn't anything to prevent all stock indices from ramping even higher in coming days, weeks and months. The few impediments are psychology, interest rates, and valuation, none of which is a major headache for policy makers at this juncture.
Investor psychology is very high, for obvious reasons. Interest rates are controllable. The 10-year note was recently whipsawed to one-year highs, but the Fed and their proxies have managed to shore up the market and keep longer maturities from getting out of control. Yield on the 10-year reached an apex at 5.9% on Monday, but has fallen back to 5.4% as of Thursday.
Valuations, though very high, don't matter significantly to today's investors. As long as the dollar continues to slide slowly up and down in its current range, stocks will continue to catch the eye. It's no stretch to believe the Dow could hit 35,000 within six months and the S&P vault well over 4,000. Get out the party hats.
Elsewhere, gold and silver are getting crushed in the futures market again this morning, while bitcoin remains near all-time highs and is threatening to move to new levels, making it one of the very few - and likely the best - contrary indicators against dollar devaluation.
At the Close, Thursday March 11, 2021:
Thursday, March 11, 2021, 7:53 am ET
Bloomberg News reports that the US budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion for the first five months of fiscal 2021, even before the $1.9 trillion Biden Rescue Act stimulus package deepens the shortfall. The budget gap for February was $310.9 billion, up from $235.3 billion in February 2020, according to a Treasury Department report Wednesday.
That pushed the deficit to $1.05 trillion, a record for the first five months of the fiscal year that began in October, compared with $624.5 billion a year earlier, which begs the question, "do you miss President Trump?"
Biden, the Pretend-ident, is supposed to deliver a live announcement to the general public Thursday night, in which he promises to reveal the steps forward and what is expected from the American people. Keeping in mind the current climate of fear and command coming out of official Washington Democrats, Biden is likely to stumble through some thematic platitudes about defeating the dreaded COVID virus and announce some new form of control, possibly mandated vaccinations or COVID passes for entry into concerts, sports venues, maybe even restaurants.
Short of the kind of sick, twisted, communist-style dictates the Democrats (and, let's not forget the compliant Republicans who are just as large a part of the problem), expect Biden's monologue to last no more than 20 minutes, as the doddering old fool can barely remember what day it is or where he is at a given moment.
What the US projects as government - protected from its own people by barbed wire and National Guard troops - is about as far removed from a representative Republic than the founding fathers might have envisaged. It is wholly illegitimate, so watch the address, turn it off and don't comply. American patriots desperately need to take the country back from the occupiers in Washington DC. Barring that (because nobody wants to confront the military), simple non-compliance with orders from federal "authorities" will have to suffice for now.
Whatever the case with federal government, Wall Street seems to be enjoying the ride. Despite the NASDAQ floundering just below its 50-day moving average, the Dow Jones Industrials rose to a record close on Wednesday and looks to add to those gains Thursday. Stock futures have exploded higher overnight, aided by anticipation in Europe of Thursday's ECB policy announcement, another nothing-burger designed to keep everybody in the game as ECB President, Christine Lagarde, is not expected to do much besides mumble some nonsense about bonds, bond-buybacks, swaps, and assuredness that the central bank is prepared to support the euro for the long haul.
Meanwhile, the drip, drip, drip of fiat currencies melting down into a pool of mush and worthlessness continues almost imperceptibly. The world as we know it being torn to shreds by a confluence of forces. The drive by elites for a "Great Reset" wherein they control everything right down to digital fiat in your digital central bank account, is countered by a mass exodus from dollars, euros, pounds, and yen, into anything else, but in particular, gold, silver, bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, canned goods, guns and ammo.
Like it or not, $1400 and an extra $300 in unemployment benefits for millions of dissatisfied former workers isn't going to keep the herd in tow. In addition to what Wall Street likes to call pent up demand, there's an ample supply of pent up hatred and disgust. It seems some people still believe last November's elections were stolen from President Trump and others, and they are still seething. It's that underlying anger that keeps troops on the streets of America's capitol and the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Google censoring much of the commentary that doesn't fit the new Democrat nanny state narrative.
The unwind will take time. With any luck it won't be too violent or disturbing to children.
In terms of upset, one need look no further than the foibles of the redditers from wallstreetbets pitted against the horde of hedge fund managers still trying to short shares of GameStop (GME). Though the mainstream media has chosen to look the other way on this one, the battle has been re-engaged and the reddit crowd seems to be winning, sending shares of the company to dizzying heights on Wednesday. GME hit 348.50, before falling back to 198.00, closing at 265. Fortunes are being made and lost minute by minute, but nobody seems to care and the SEC is powerless to do anything about it. This episodic power struggle is a portent of things to come, as society splinters and factions vie for power and control.
It's useful to keep an eye on GME, along with struggling silver and bitcoin, which has regained momentum to the upside and is approaching all-time highs from late February ($58,367). Currently checkin in above $56,000, bitcoin is a proxy for dollar devaluation and escape from the central bank matrix. It should be owned, at least in part, by everybody who desires freedom of movement and of commerce. Mass adoption continues to drive the price, as there is a finite quantity standing in stark contrast to the ever-depleting plunder of fiat currencies backed by nothing, currently being printed into oblivion.
Destruction of purchasing power takes time. The Federal Reserve has been at it for 108 years, with the past 49 of particular high quality. The passage of the latest COVID relief bill and new spending which is sure to be announced tonight by befuddled Biden are just more evidence of the Fed's ultimate intent.
Papa Joe hits the airwaves Thursday night at 8:00 pm ET (5:00 pm on the West Coast) in his first televised address to the nation since being installed in the White House on January 20. Whatever he mouths probably won't matter much in the long run but his appearance is usually good for a few minutes hate or maybe a laugh or two. Take the under, which is 23 minutes. Drinking game word is "pandemic."
At the Close, Wednesday, March 10, 2021:
Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 9:21 am ET
COVID relief money is on the way. This thrilling news is apparently such a huge hit in Washington, DC, that none other than Nancy Pelosi is quoting songs by the Pointer Sisters.
"I'm so excited, I just can't hide it.
Pelosi, for all her eccentricities, is showing her age (80), referencing a song that was released in 1982, nearly 40 years ago. Most of the people who are going to benefit from the partisan American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 weren't even old enough to remember the song. Worse yet, Nancy called it the "Biden American Rescue Plan," pretending that the pretender-in-chief, Joe Biden, actually had anything to do with the drafting of the legislation or pushing it through a divided congress.
The House voted Tuesday for two hours of debate - beginning Wednesday at 9:00 am ET - before voting on the measure, so, by noon Wednesday, the bill should become law and the spice will begin to flow sonn thereafter.
All Sleepy Joe is going to do is sign it, likely later this week, preferably before his warm milk and nap time, and the machinery of government will snap into action, sending out $1400 virtual checks (and some real ones) to millions of Americans.
In addition to providing a version of Ben Bernanke's "helicopter money" to the soulless American public, the bill also doles out $350 billion to states and municipalities, which, like the American people, don't need the money.
With COVID on the wane (is it really over?), depending largely upon where they reside, people are finally getting back to some semblance of normalcy in their lives, going back to work, getting their kids back into schools, and someday, maybe even taking off their stupid masks for a breath of fresh air.
But, the question remains, if the American public, states, and cities largely doesn't need the extra money, why then is congress doing this?
The answer depends on who you ask. Some will say it's all about control and conditioning people for the eventuality of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Others will say it's because there are still lots of people on unemployment and the bill provides another extension of supplemental unemployment insurance over and above the usual state levels. The most cynical will say it's all about greed, corruption, and graft, and that the bill is a payoff to local officials who helped put corrupted Democrats in power in last November's elections.
Whatever the case, people are going to spend that money, states are going to shore up their ailing pension funds, and money will be sloshing around the country for the next couple of months, most of it ending up in the hands of Wall Street investors or the stocks they buy. A bunch will go into, variously, bitcoin, gold, silver, guns, ammunition, food, and paying down debt.
It's a ludicrous thing, but there isn't a sane person in the world who, at this juncture, would pass up free money, and, since Wall Street has been getting it for years, it only seems fair to give the plebes a little taste.
The net result of this spending by congress will be another huge hole in the federal budget, already on track for a record-setting deficit, financed by the Treasury and Federal Reserve, adding to the already bloated $28 trillion debt already on the books. This bill will boost the debt beyond $30 trillion.
So, the outcome is already baked into the cake. Inflation will continue, as evidenced by the CPI release this morning, up 0.4% month-over-month, and up 1.7% on an annual basis. Food and energy led the way, leaving the "core" index (excluding food and energy) up a mere 0.1%. Over the past year, food is up 3.6%, energy is up 2.4%, but since these are government numbers, those should be regarded as base numbers, with the real impact higher and about to shoot even higher over the summer and maybe exploding into the fall.
When the CPI was released, stock futures responded positively, setting up the equity markets for an open on the upside. Another boost to stocks will come when the deal is done in congress later today and the money flow into the greatest bubble ever blown will carry on for a few more months.
They're already talking about another stimulus bill, later this year. The major indices are about to rocket to new all-time highs, so, enjoy the show.
Here's George Gammon explaining how the IMF's central planning for a new Bretton Woods is a very bad idea.
At the Close, Tuesday, March 9, 2021:
Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 9:30 am ET
Could Monday's trading regimen protend of things to come?
Unlikely in some ways. In others, such as Bitcoin's meteoric rise the past two days, surely.
While the NASDAQ was nose-diving into correction territory and the Dow Industrials matching it point-for-point to the upside (which was strange enough), Bitcoin was tearing off like somebody was chasing it, and, indeed, many are.
There are just so many bitcoins out there (18.6 million, right now; only 21 million eventually) that there aren't even enough for every millionaire - upwards of 50 million - on the planet to own just one, despite nearly three out of four millionaires saying they'd like to own, or do own, some crypto.
Imagine the angst from the monied crowd at being informed that they can't own a bitcoin. Worse yet, there will ever be only enough bitcoins to supply less than half a bitcoin per millionaire, which is why the price of the world's first cryptocurrency once again has vaulted over the mark of $1 trillion in market capitalization as it rose from $47,000 to over $54,000 in the past few days.
The move began Saturday morning and it's been straight up since, perhaps in anticipation of the stimulus bill that will enrich many Americans by $1400, and those with dependents by multiples of that figure. The people who will receive stimulus checks in coming days are certainly not millionaires, but, judging by how bitcoin has responded to the last round of stimulus checks issued in January, there seems to be some front-running of the expected buying crush.
This is why pundits, advocates, and promoters of cryptocurrencies have been making bold claims about the price of Bitcoin in the future. Money Daily producer, Fearless Rick, says bitcoin will possibly top $70,000 by the end of March, and almost certainly by April 15. He also has predicted the price to be around $280,000 by the end of the year, higher than Max Keiser's rosy outcome of $220,000 in 2021.
It's pretty obvious that there are copious amounts of fiat being plowed into not just bitcoin, but stocks as well. Futures on this Tuesday morning are pointing to a heady upside opening with the NASDAQ indicated to erase nearly all the losses incurred on Monday.
While buying the dip may be all the rage in equities, the same strategy may not work quite so well in the crypto universe. Waiting for bitcoin to come down to a more desirable level could leave one in the fate of those unlucky millionaires without any because it may not come down much, or, if it does, it's only down for short periods of time.
The long and short of it is that buying bitcoin at $48,000 or $54,000 won't make much of a difference when it's $200,000 or more. Gains are gains. Profits are profits. No-coiners are... poor.
At the Close, Monday, March 8, 2021:
Sunday, March 7, 2021, 8:24 am ET
Stocks staged a miraculous recovery on Friday, characterized by financial media (CNBC, Yahoo, Fox Business, etc.) as being the proximate result of the outstanding non-farm payroll report for February which showed 379,000 jobs created during the month.
Of course, that narrative is absolute hogwash. One look at the charts of the major indices prove that there were forces at work other than a superlative jobs report which contributed to the quick and sustained upticks in the price of stocks on Friday, March 5.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
The above charts show the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 for the day. It's clear that all of them responded positive at the open, but quickly faded, then caught bids and continued to rally for the rest of the session. That action can't logically be tied to a smashing jobs report. If that had been the case (non-farm payroll data was released at 8:30 am ET), stocks would have been much higher at the open and remained at high levels through the day, as has been the case in all such instances in the past. No, the stock market could care less about another 379,000 slobs or slaves or plebes getting jobs. Interest rates, inflation fear, the stimulus bill, and other macro indicators have been moving this market.
Further, eventual gains on all the main indices were uniquely uniform, not erratic and skewed, as has been the norm for many months. In other words, the NASDAQ is usually the leader or loser by an order of magnitude, but on this day, it was nearly in line with the others. See the "At the Close" figures at the bottom of this post.
And, it all happened at the exact same time: 11:30 am ET, so the dramatic reversal can be attributed to either luck, every trader on the planet hitting their "BUY" buttons simultaneously, or the PPTŠ or a combination of those.
Whatever the cause, US equity markets were saved from waterfall-like declines as was the case on Thursday. The hot jobs report provided the perfect alibi for the glad-handers on TV and over at the Wall Street Journal.
Overall, the week was exciting, invigorating, and, in the end, constructive to the "all is well" narrative from the Fed. The Dow and NYSE Composite bounced off their 50-day moving averages, the S&P closed at its 50-day MA, and, while the NASDAQ ended the week below its 50-day moving average, it managed to claw itself out of correction territory on an intraday basis. The Dow and S&P 500 are both down by less than four percent from their very recent all-time highs. So, all around, success. Clink of glasses, pats on backs, jobs well done.
There will be hell to pay, it's just not going to be paid this week. There's still another week of trading ahead, and that will be devoted to parlor games involving the cretins currently in occupancy at the US Capitol, as the Senate ground out provisions in the COVID stimulus (the third in this series) bill handed to them by the House in record time, making some basically cosmetic changes and sending the bill back to the House for a final vote before passing it over to the current resident of the White House (whoever that may be).
The morons have been posing and preening as usual, acting like they're doing important work. The majority of these useless idiots have never done an honest days' work in their lives. Instead, they're wrecking the economy, the society, and countless lives with their bribery and theft masqueraded as "stimulus."
On that point, the people of the United States don't need any more stimulus. The $1.9 trillion is being directed at state and local governments - a handout to shore up woefully underfunded pension accounts - an extension of additional unemployment insurance benefits, and $1400 checks to anyone earning less than $75,000 a year. Most measurements of net worth, income, retail spending and other data involving the general health of individuals and families are up sharply from a year ago when factoring in additional unemployment insurance checks for 35-45 weeks, stimulus checks, rent and mortgage moratoria, and other easy street incentives rolled out by governments over the past year.
The money will be ill-spent, but much of it will go right into the coffers of major corporations listed on the various exchanges, either in the form of outright purchases or stock investments, boosting their top-and-bottom lines, making everything on Wall Street look entirely rosy and wonderful.
Such appearances have to be kept up, unless the serfs storm the Capitol for real or the military turns its guns on the insiders rather than look like they're protecting them.
As weeks go, this one was fairly volatile, as all assets had rather outsized price movements. The big winner was OPEC+, as the price of oil rocketed higher when this cartel of oil-producers decided against production ramps. They, and the traders in oil futures, are attempting to convince everybody that there's demand (that's funny) and a shortage of supply (that's even funnier). In any case, they're doin OK, since WTI crude oil shot up this week from $61.50 to $66.28 a barrel and prices at the pump are sure to follow. A year ago, the price per barrel was $41 and dropping. Yes, we need stimulus checksŠ to pay for higher-priced gasoline and fuel oil.
One problem, though, is that oil futures are in backwardation, with the prices for future contracts lower than the current price. Usually, it's the other way around, a condition called contango. For instance, November WTI contacts are at $61.94. Who is willing to pay spot ($66.28) when you could buy it for less in eight months? Or, for $44.38 in August of 2023. That's the bid right now. It's backwards, thus, backwardation. Somebody - actually, a lot of people - don't believe this high price is sustainable longer term.
Not to be outdone, the treasury complex has gone completely bonkers. If the price of oil is flashing inflation signs, the 10-year note is a wailing siren for a liquidity crisis.
On August 4, 2020 - incidentally, about the same time gold was setting a new all-time high - yield on the 10-year was a measly 0.52%. On Friday, March 5, 2020, it closed at 1.56%, triple the yield in just seven months. The short explanation is that investors are demanding a higher payout (interest rate) because they see more risk and more inflation on the immediate and mid-term horizons.
Those buyers in 2020 accepting 0.52% or 0.93% (12/31/20) are completely back-doored on their investments. They paid premium prices for protection and now can't sell those bonds unless they're willing to accept a massive write down from par. Nobody wants a bond returning less than one percent when current issues are fetching 1.5% or more, especially when real inflation (dollar deterioration) - and not what the Fed or some government agency tells you - is running at six to eight percent or higher and about to go parabolic.
Beyond the obvious, the Fed itself is snatching up all the TIPS (inflation protected) available to keep the inflation bugaboo as quiet as possible, but it's raging right along. Anybody who buys groceries on a regular basis will tell you that. The best bond traders are not stupid. They clearly see the end of the 40-year secular bull market in bonds and anticipate a period of gnarly, grizzly bearish conditions for money. Conditions are very tight and about to get even tighter. Banks already are reluctant to lend, thus, the emergence of stimulus checks, mortgage and rent moratoriums, and a slow growth to no growth economy. The transition from lockdown to some kind of ordinary is going to be a long slog with many pitfalls and false perceptions, but the trend continues toward complete repudiation of the economic conditions in place and the death of fiat currencies, already worth tiny fractions of their original valuations.
It's taken more than 100 years since the Federal Reserve System was established in 1913, but they've managed to squeeze nearly every last penny from the dollar. The current estimate is that the dollar has lost 98% of its value over those 108 years. Congratulations to Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen. Here are your bags of merde.
As the world emerges from lockdown hell, the recovery meme is tantamount to going from solitary confinement to the general prison population. Sure, it's an improvement, but it still isn't good. The bond market is imploding, and with it, the world's towers of debt will crumble to dust.
Keeping with the money-for-nothing theme, precious metals are deemed by the powers that be to be near worthless investments and not even good hedges against severe economic conditions. Gold was down 1.94% on the week, falling from $1734.40 to a close at $1700.80. Silver got clubbed like the proverbial baby seal, dropping from $26.68 the ounce to $25.24 at week's end, a loss of 5.4%.
While somewhat depressing for goldbugs and silver stackers, the low, low prices do represent a buying opportunity, if any price even within 10% of spot can be had at local or online dealers.
Here are the most recent prices for common gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, shipping - often free - included:
Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 33.99 / 52.00 / 40.77 / 39.54
What the current eBay prices are showing is that the most recent short raids in precious metals has caused some slippage at the retail end, but not to any severe degree.
The new Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark for this week is $42.62, a significant decline from last week's price of $44.34, and the first price decline in five weeks.
Last, but certainly not least, here's Max Keiser with a double dose of Stacy Herbert, explaining and extrapolating current economic conditions into real world applications.
At the Close, Friday, March 5, 2021:
For the Week:
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