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(Simultaneously published at Money Daily)
March 9, 2020
Thanks to a late-day ramp on Friday afternoon, the week turned out to be mostly positive for the investor class, though it certainly didn't seem to be that way most as the days wore onward.
With a 600-point buying spree on the Dow Jones Industrial Average - which pulled all the other indices higher as well - stocks finished with gains instead of substantial losses. After a week of wild swings, the mood had turned ugly, accentuated by cascading drops on Thursday and Friday at the opening bells both days and concerted selling in airline stocks, banks, and hospitality.
As pronounced as the near-panic over the prior five trading sessions was, what's ahead on Monday will be worse by orders of magnitude.
Beginning with the coronavirus (COVID-19) decimating economies and social structure from China to Italy to South Korea, Iran, and beyond, slumping demand and forecasting of a bleak near-term future prompted extreme action from Saudi Arabia over the weekend. On Friday, when Russia refused to go along with a planned 1.5 million barrels a day reduction in crude production by OPEC+ nations, the Saudis decided to put the screws to everyone in the oil business by slashing their rates and ramping up production.
The impact of this momentous decision on Saturday was immediately felt across not just the oil futures markets but equity and credit markets around the world. With all major indices closed as usual on Sunday, focus was attuned to futures, which were being hammered lower by as much as seven percent in some cases. In the US, futures trading was halted when the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ futures fell by five percent, otherwise known as limit down.
Crude futures were down by extreme amounts. WTI crude was last seen at $32.07 per barrel, a 22% loss from Friday, when it was selling in the low 40s per barrel.
Bonds were being battered as well, with reports that the benchmark 10-year note was trading with a yield below 0.48% (at one point yielding an all-time low of 0.31%) and other bond yields were being destroyed in markets that began to open, first in Japan, China and the Far East, then to Europe. If fear of COVID-19 contagion was palpable, the contagion from the economic fallout had become all to real.
With US markets set to open in an hour, the condition is dire.
A quick rundown of the carnage on major indices around the world:
Silver would have to rise to $100 per ounce for the gold/silver ratio to be anywhere near historical norms. With gold on the verge of a major breakout above $2000 per ounce, silver should - some day, maybe - be worth over $150 per ounce or similar equivalent in some other currency.
Monday's open should be epic. The aftermath, and the expected coordinated response by central banks figures to be a complete clown show, highlighted by massive injections of cash, POMO, TOMO, market-neutral rates, negative rates, and eventually, some collapsing banks. Couldn't happen to a more deserving crowd.
Money Daily will provide updates as time allows. Panic is a mild term for what's about to occur.
At the Close, Friday, March 6, 2020:
For the Week: