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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.

PRIOR COVERAGE:

4/11-4/17/2021
4/4-4/10/2021
3/28-4/3/2021
3/21-3/27/2021
3/14-3/20/2021
3/7-3/13/2021
2/28-3/6/2021
2/21-2/27/2021
2/14-2/20/2021
2/7-2/13/2021
1/31-2/6/2021
1/24-1/30/2021
1/17-1/23/2021
1/10-1/16/2021
1/3-1/9/2021
12/27/20-1/2/2021
12/20-12/26/2020
12/13-12/19/2020
12/06-12/12/2020
11/29-12/05/2020
11/22-11/28/2020
11/15-11/21/2020
11/8-11/14/2020
11/1-11/7/2020
10/25-10/31/2020
10/18-10/24/2020
10/11-10/17/2020
10/4-10/10/2020
9/27-10/3/2020
9/20-9/26/2020
9/13-9/19/2020
9/6-9/12/2020
8/30-9/5/2020
8/23-8/29/2020
8/16-8/22/2020
8/9-8/15/2020
8/2-8/8/2020
7/27-8/1/2020
7/20-7/26/2020
7/13-7/19/2020
7/6-7/12/2020
6/29-7/5/2020
6/22-6/28/2020
6/15-6/21/2020
6/8-6/14/2020
6/1-6/7/2020
5/25-5/31/2020
5/18-5/24/2020
5/11-5/17/2020
5/4-5/10/2020
4/27-5/3/2020
4/20-4/26/2020
4/13-4/19/2020
4/6-4/12/2020
3/30-4/5/2020
3/23-3/29/2020
3/16-3/22/2020
March 14, 2020
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Biden Tax Proposals Shake Markets; Stocks, Cryptos, Precious Metals All Suffer Losses

Friday, April 23, 2021, 8:58 am ET

Anybody with a solid understanding of Democrat politics saw this coming.

By the time Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20, there were already whispers of tax increases on the way from Democrats controlling the House and Senate. On Thursday, Joe Biden's team - via leaked advance information to Bloomberg (the usual suspect) - crushed markets when it was revealed that Biden's administration would seek to raise capital gains taxes as high as 39.5 percent, nearly doubling from the current 20 percent.

There's also information circulating that Biden will propose raising the top income tax rate to 43.4% from the current 39.6%.

The news sent not just stocks, but precious metals and cryptocurrencies tumbling. The Dow Jones Industrials, which were down just 10 to 20 points as of 1:00 pm ET, fell off a cliff, dropping 240 points in a matter of minutes as the report from "anonymous sources" hit the news wires. It only got worse from there, sending the Dow to its third loss this week. Wednesday's gain was nearly equal to the losses on Thursday.

The same was happening over at the NASDAQ, S&P, and NYSE, which all suffered damaging, though not fatal losses. Other markets were also affected negatively. Gold finished down nearly $10 on the day, closing out the NY session at $1783.90. Silver lost 44 cents, finishing at $26.11.

The crypto market was stunned, as Bitcoin fell below $50,000 for the first time since early March, hitting a low overnight at $47,464. Most altcoins, including Etherium, also suffered losses in the range of seven to 20 percent.

As markets prepare to close out the week Friday morning, stock futures are barely clinging to gains, although Dow futures are already in the red as of 8:15 am ET. Bitcoin has recovered to just above $50,000, but gold and silver are both up sharply.

International markets were affected, though Asian markets appear to have shrugged off the damage on US stocks. European stocks are mostly lower in Friday's trading.

The news that tax hikes are on the way sent a serious message to investors, though the timing and the fact that the reporting is still unsourced speaks to a little gamesmanship in the inner circles of finance. Stunning markets in such a manner is one way to shake out weak hands and, if that was the intention, it worked like a charm.

It remains to be seen whether the Biden team's plans will come to fruition, as most, if not all, senators are primarily funded by wealthy individuals and corporate donors. It would be working against the interests of the entire Senate should these massive tax hikes become reality.

Of course, any tax increases would not take effect until next year, when returns for 2021 would come due. This is a test for markets and investors to see if the market has finally topped out or whether it can recover and move on to new highs.

Thank your Democrat oligarchs for putting a melancholy edge to the end of the week.

AT THE CLOSE, THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2021:
Dow: 33,815.90, -321.41 (-0.94%)
NASDAQ: 13,818.41, -131.81 (-0.94%)
S&P 500: 4,134.98, -38.44 (-0.92%)
NYSE: 16,030.62, -90.99 (-0.56%)


Bitcoin Suffers Declines as Hodlers Seek Policy Guidance from Entrenched US Government

Thursday, April 22, 2021, 8:37 am ET

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general have been under some price pressure in recent days. This article looks to explore some of the possible reasons for the recent weakness and attempt to look beyond the FUD and examine some of the elements contributing to the ongoing crypto debate both inside and outside the government.

As recently as last week, Bitcoin soared to new highs after Coinbase, the leading crypto exchange, went public, listed on the NASDAQ as COIN. Shortly thereafter, on late Saturday, April 17, and into early Sunday morning, Bitcoin tumbled from $60,900 all the way down to $53,371, mostly on rumors and a power outage in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, home to many Bitcoin miners.

The power outage was probably more the issue than anything else, as the hash rate (speed at which Bitcoin is mined) fell precipitously, and took price, which correlates well to hash rate, down with it. The outage has since been fixed and Bitcoin's price has recovered somewhat, but it has continued to languish between $53,000 and $57,000 this week.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act, creating a joint working group between the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity & Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Representatives from FinTech companies, financial firms, academic researchers, and investor watchdogs would also be invited to participate.

Within 90 days of passage into law, the working group would have one year to analyze the country's current laws and regulations which affect digital assets. The legislation now heads to the Senate.

Meanwhile, according to Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino, the Biden administration is working towards a regulatory framework for cryptos via the Treasury Department headed by Janet Yellen. His sources tell him that Treasury is developing an overll approach to crypto regulation, which will give Gensler, the newly-appointed head of the SEC, guidance on specific rules and regulations. It's a very touchy issue and one that has some crypto investors worried.

Gasparino does not believe that the government would ban cryptocurrencies, but that regulations to track investments and reporting requirements will be forthcoming, possibly in a little as a month.

With so much attention focused on crypto at the highest levels of government, there's ample reason to be skeptical for the future of Bitcoin, Etherium, and other cryptocurrencies, altcoins, and decentralized finance (DeFi) as a whole. The US government is beholden to the central bank, the Federal Reserve, and their currency of choice is, of course, Federal Reserve Notes. Crypto poses a threat to the financial system, which is already facing serious headwinds from other fiat currencies. The US dollar has lost nearly all of its purchasing power and inflation is furthering its decline, another reason many investors and individuals are flocking to crypto and alternatives like gold and silver.

At issue is how the United States, European Union (EU), and other countries such as Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Russia, and China will deal with a novel currency which competes with their own favored fiats. It would not be beyond the pale to suggest that the G7 or G20, in cahoots with the World Bank and IMF to at some point outlaw cryptocurrencies or at least regulate them to the point at which they become useless.

Thus, there is nervousness among hodlers, though the widespread use and adoption of cryptocurrencies by major financial firms has so far kept governments at arm's length. For now, cryptocurrencies have been embraced by the likes of PayPal and their app, Venmo, Square, and other FinTech interests. Others, such as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, have made significant investments in Bitcoin, and, supposedly, other cryptos.

Because of the business angle, Gasparino is probably right. Government is unlikely to overreach and ban Bitcoin and others outright. The crypto universe is already worth more than $2 trillion and growing. There might be significant backlash if the government was seen to be overstepping its bounds. Skeptics argue that after the plandemic, lockdowns and mask mandates, the federal government is willing to stop at nothing to protect its self-interests. Individual states may have opinions of their own.

The situation is fluid, filled with suspense and moving parts. Upon the fate of Bitcoin may hinge the future of freedom and liberty in the United States and around the world. Nothing gets people's juices flowing like money and the government's handling of it, which, to date, has not been a stellar track record. In the background is the potential of FedCoin, the Federal Reserve's own digital currency (CBDC), which is reportedly in development, but likely still years away from implementation. It will take a wholesale collapse in financial markets to usher in a CBDC, but, unless you've been living under a rock, the potential for catastrophe has been a constant backgrounder ever since the GFC of 2008-09.

Already on the radar of governments around the globe, Bitcoin's revolutionary approach to currency is and will continue to be a bone of contention. Anonymity, which was initially a strength of the world's first cryptocurrency has been challenged and quite possibly already defeated. The IRS already has a checkbox on Income Tax Form 1040 asking whether or not the filer has engaged in cryptocurrency buying and/or selling. That's a major intrusion to privacy and threat to anonymity, as not telling the truth to the IRS can be costly as well as criminal.

This story has an ending, somewhere down the line, but, from all appearances, we're nowhere close to it.

A couple of final thoughts: with Bitcoin experiencing outflows, where did all that money go? Some of it may have gone into gold and silver, both of which have been gaining over recent days, with silver topping out over $26.50 on Wednesday and gold closing in on $1800.

As far as stocks are concerned, CNBC recently reported that the $569 billion invested in global equity from November 2020 to the present is more than all of the investment inflows from 2009 to 2020, $452 billion, proving somewhat definitively, that most of the stock market gains following the GFC were fueled primarily by the Fed and stock buybacks.

Wednesday, stocks were up across the board, with the Dow, S&P, and NYSE closing shy of their all-time highs. The NASDAQ continues to peek at it's Feb. 12 all-time high (14,095.12). It sits just 150 points short of that mark.

Unearthed is this video from March 1 with a mere 960 views which offers some insight to what Gary Gensler, the newly-confirmed head of the SEC, may do concerning Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies. Gensler is supposedly pro-crypto, having taught classes related to cryptocurrencies at MIT. On the other hand, he was also head of the CFTC, which has a long-standing history of suppressing the price of precious metals, which may lead one to believe he may not be so friendly towards crypto.

This video from altcoin daily explains in some detail the cause of the recent Bitcoin mini-crash which, expectedly, morphed over to affect the entire crypto universe.

AT THE CLOSE, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021:
Dow: 34,137.31, +316.01 (+0.93%)
NASDAQ: 13,950.22, +163.95 (+1.19%)
S&P 500: 4,173.42, +38.48 (+0.93%)
NYSE: 16,121.61, +177.00 (+1.11%)


Did NASDAQ 'Ring the Bell' On a Market Top? #SilverSqueeze Prepares Another Assault

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 9:17 am ET

A Wall Street adage dating back to the turn of the previous century (1800s-1900s) warns that "nobody rings a bell at a market top or bottom." There are many iterations of the quote of which nobody to date has definitively discovered the originator. Still, the message is clear. Market tops and bottoms are tricky devils to discern, and there isn't a man, woman, or child who has been able to call them correctly in advance with any kind of accuracy.

Many have tried and failed. Even some of the greatest investors have missed market tops or bottoms and more than a few have called for markets to turn one way only to see them go in the opposite direction. Timing may be everything in life, but it's a difficult, if not impossible art to master. So, one must proceed with all due caution.

It's been obvious in recent weeks that the tech giants leading the markets have fallen back to a secondary position, guiding the NASDAQ from a front-runner to a laggard. While the S&P, Dow Jones Industrials, and the NYSE Composite Index all made new all-time highs this past Friday, the NASDAQ was still playing catch-up, though it did close within striking range of it's all-time closing high (14,095.47, 2/12/21) on Friday when it finished at 14,052.34, it's highest close in two months.

Subsequently, the NASDAQ closed lower both Monday and Tuesday, dropping 137 points Monday and another 128 Tuesday. As markets prepare for Wednesday's trading, futures are again trending to the downside, indicating another negative open. How that plays out throughout the session will be important to note, especially if one is intent on making buys or selling winners and losers in the near term. The NASDAQ's failure to recapture all-time highs may be a "bell ringer" double top and if it is one would do well to sell just about everything.

This is not an endorsement nor a prediction. It is just something to which one should pay close attention. If the NAZ continues to try and fail or just continues to slide, it could be a top. How far all markets may slide from this point forward nobody knows. It could just be a normal turn of trading, the beginning of a correction, or, worst case, the beginning of a bear market. Everybody and their sister-in-laws knows that stocks are priced beyond perfection and bull markets do not last forever, no matter how much funny money Jerome Powell and his friends at the Fed print.

That said, some investment advice from the inscrutable Yogi Berra: "You've got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, 'cause you might not get there."

Besides equities being tanked pretty well on Tuesday, some other news has been making the rounds. It appears that the rascals from the reddit group, r/Wallstreetsilver have found some allies in their fight to bring down what they consider the evil and criminal COMEX silver futures market riggers. Craig Hemke of Sprott Money penned an editorial on the site's blog Tuesday, titled, A Time to Fight Back in which he calls out to all silver stackers for an assault on the physical and ETF silver markets to buy 100 of physical silver on May 1.

The logic behind Hemke's call to arms is that it is the 10-year anniversary of the May Day Massacre of 2011.

After the price of COMEX Silver had closed at $48.50 on Friday, April 29, many expected the price of silver to continue rising. It was on a tear and there seemed to be no reason why silver should not continue rallying. On Sunday May 1, as Hemke writes, "during the very quiet and pre-Asia early evening Globex trade..." the price of silver futures fell by $6.50 in 12 minutes and from there it continued to decline for weeks, then months, then years, finally settling in at a low of $12.00 in March of last year, at the onset of the CV-19 crisis.

Since then, silver has moved up nicely, hitting nearly $30/ounce in August, and then again in February when the #SilverSqueeze was in full flight. The redditeers haven't actually backed off from their efforts and recently the LBMA actually admitted to some danger from social media.

So, for the Silver Squeezers, it's "once more unto the breach," this time with reinforcements. Hemke also noted in his blog the efforts of Chris Marcus, scion of Arcadia Economics, who is in Washington, DC this week trying to get some straight talk from the CFTC. Marcus, author of The Big Silver Short is very much engaged in the fight for freedom and market transparency.

We all wish him the best.

AT THE CLOSE, TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2021:
Dow: 33,821.30, -256.33 (-0.75%)
NASDAQ: 13,786.27, -128.50 (-0.92%)
S&P 500: 4,134.94, -28.32 (-0.68%)
NYSE: 15,944.61, -162.94 (-1.01%)


Shift From Growth To Value Is Now a Blip, But Could Become a Trend

Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 8:53 am ET

An unusual event occurred on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down to start the week for the second week in a row. That has only happened one other time this year, on January 4th - the first trading session of 2021 - and January 11th. It would be one thing if the two events were synchronized to be at the start of a new quarter, but the first Monday of this quarter was April 5, and the Dow was up some 374 points.

Delayed reaction? Has the stimulus money been already spent and now institutions are pulling back? That could be the case, but more to the point may be that so far, first quarter earnings reports have been pretty good, with more than 90% topping estimates after the first full week of reports, spearheaded by bank stocks, which reported knockout quarters, but were aided by unusual accounting gimmicks. Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) each drew down credit loss reserves, which went straight to the bottom line and produced blowouts to the estimates.

It is those kind of earnings reports that elicit skepticism in investors, and skeptical investors are ones who don't buy the stocks of these companies or sell them if they are already stakeholders. Insiders, analysts, and veterans of stock markets have better knowledge of how companies operate and how their books are managed by accountants whose main goal is to increase the price of shares, not necessarily to enhance shareholder value.

That quest for honest results and long term shareholder value may be what's moving stocks presently and what will move them in the near term. There's been a preference towards growth stocks since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09 which has become even more pronounced in the past 18 months. Just recently - in the past few months - value stocks have staged a comeback, though it's hardly definitive and too early to call it a trend change. The shift has taken place mostly in the stuttering performance of high-tech large cap stocks, like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. These charts offer a glimpse of the longer term trends in play.

Changing sentiment among institutional investors is usually at the heart of market trend shifts, which may be what is on the horizon and exemplified in a couple of down Mondays on the Dow. By no means is there any confirmation of a real shift from a powerful bull market to a growling bear, but it bears watching. Stocks have performed marvelously over the past year, five years, and even since the GFC, now 12 years behind us. Bull markets are wonderful things, full of opportunity, but they all come to an end at some time, and this current bull, built on hope, momentum, steady injections of cash and help from the Federal Reserve, and anything other than fundamentals, has morphed into an enormous bubble.

We all know that it's going to pop and end badly, but just how badly and when are still matters of great speculation.

As has been offered as advice for decades, "the trend is your friend," but this recent shift has not been at all sizable, especially in big name stocks. If there's an ill wind blowing and investors begin to take profits, who can blame them? Returns have been magnificent. But, as the late Kenny Rogers informed so brilliantly in his song, "The Gambler", you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

AT THE CLOSE, MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021:
Dow: 34,077.63, -123.04 (-0.36%)
NASDAQ: 13,914.77, -137.58 (-0.98%)
S&P 500: 4,163.26, -22.21 (-0.53%)
NYSE: 16,107.56, -78.74 (-0.49%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Why A Return To Normal Won't Happen; Bitcoin Battered, Gold, Silver Gain

Sunday, April 18, 2021, 10:55 am ET

What better way to start off a Sunday morning than with a bit of a rant.

Why the heck not? The world, as we all knew it a little more than a year ago, is vastly different. Comparisons of 2021 to even just 30 years ago, are like night and day. Not that we didn't all have iPhones (though that's certainly a big part of the problem) or streaming video on the internet, it's that we didn't have maniacs and sociopaths at all the highest levels of media, medicine, and government running - and ruining - our lives.

Lockdowns, mandates, constantly changing medical recommendations, stolen elections, people dressed up in masks, social distancing rules, government checks doled out like candy, massive budget deficits, rioting and looting characterized by the press as "mostly peaceful" protests, talk of systemic racism, 56 genders, anti-white bias and hatred of "white privilege", media censorship, stock markets that always go up, and now, a mass shooting nearly every day are not normal. Not even close.

30 years ago, normal was a house in the suburbs, two kids, two cars and a dog or cat. People were generally happy, well-adjusted. The government was kind of over the top, but not criminally insane as it is today. Most people had decent jobs, stable lives, prospects for a future for their kids.

Now, what do we have? CRAP. Utter garbage out of the mouths of politicians and the media. A virus that isn't harmful to 99.97% of the population has been unleashed to bring about total control, a return to medievalism, neo-feudalism and slavery. The aim of the fake crisis was to create an environment ruled by fear, uncertainty, and doubt - the fabulous FUD - and, by most measures, the elitists operating behind the faces of the politicians and media mouthpieces have been highly successful.

These people in government and media are not the real enemies. They are just the faces of the new world order. They're all controlled, ordered from another authority to continually frighten, harass, shame, and above all, demean the human spirit. They all have handlers and take orders from people we do not see and do not know. The world is now effectively a massive plantation run by twisted sociopathic monsters.

Do you think Anthony Fauci says the - mostly moronic - things he says because he believes them? Do you think Joe Biden makes policies and decisions for the United States? Get a grip. They have handlers, controllers who design their every word, every action.

People have been scolded, hounded, rounded up, told what to do and when to do it, and most have responded like good little sheep. Don't go out. Don't hug your husband or wife or kids. Wear a mask. Take the jab. Twice. No, make that every six months. Bleat, bleat, bleat.

You go to bed thinking everything is OK, then wake up the next day to realize that the narrative has changed again overnight. People are maskless in Texas and Florida while the province of Ontario wants to lock people down for months on end, still.

This won't end. As soon as you think the crisis is over, the psychopaths will trot out their media minions to scare you with new variants and hold TV specials urging you to get vaccinated with an experimental drug. How sick is that? NBC will air Roll Up You Sleeves Sunday night, featuring politicians, including Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama and his wife, and Hollywood stars urging you to become a guinea pig.

They have to do this because there's a lot of what's called "vaccination hesitancy", otherwise known as "heck no, don't stick me with your Frankenstein potion!" Millions of people aren't getting vaccinated because they neither trust the government, the media, nor the medical community.

Some people get it. Other people get shots. The world is not going back to normal, however that's defined. There is going to be massive dislocation, disruption, and more insanity. If you thought this episode of oligarch madness or the ruling elite versus the serfs was over, forget it. It's just getting new legs. End of rant.


Like just about every other week, stocks had ample reason to be on the rise. The Dow was up for the fourth straight week and the 11th in the last 15, which covers all of 2021. By contrast, the NASDAQ has had eight winning weeks in 2021 and seven losers, though it has managed to climb to within 43 points of it's all-time closing high (14,095.47, February 12).

The S&P 500 and NYSE Composite, like the Dow, are now both on four-week winning streaks. For the year, both have been up 10 weeks, down five. The Dow, S&P 500, and NYSE Composite each closed out the week at record highs.

Not only have all the major averages done bang-up so far this year, the gains from the start of November, when the office of the president was decided, have been dramatic, to say the least. Since October 30, which pretty much marked the bottom of a slight downward blip in markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 7,699.07 points, from 26,501.60 to 34,200.67, a 29% rise in just more than five months. Joe Biden? Yes, thank you.

The S&P hasn't skipped a beat either. On October 30, it closed at 3,269.96. Through Friday, it's up 915.51 points, or 28 percent. The NYSE bottomed a few days before the other indices, closing at 12,415.42 on October 28. Through Friday's close at 16,186.29, it's up 3770.87 points, a gain of 30.37%, outdoing the others by a smidge. The NASDAQ, though it's been seen as a laggard, actually isn't. It's October 30 close was 10,911.59. With Friday's close at 14,052.34, it's up only 3140.75 points, 28.78%, a bit better than the Dow, but behind the NYSE and S&P. How will the tech billionaires cope? Anyone with basic match skills might question the probability of all four major indices all up by nearly the same percentage, only 2.37% separating their gains.

Is it rigged? Please, although we've been told "there are no dumb questions," this one actually is. The rich have to get richer, no matter which stocks they own.

The coming week is going to be heavy with fist quarter earnings reports as the bulk of stocks listed on the major exchanges report this week and next. There are simply too many good ones to list. Consult your favorite website or source for all the headlines which are certain to be positive.

With that in mind, there's plenty of evidence that the stimulus checks boosted the stock market and the stimulus is far from over. Most of the $1400 checks to individuals have been sent out (and probably spent), but the ongoing unemployment enhancement and child tax credit adjustment are rolling right along. Unemployed people are getting an addition $300 a week on top of their state benefit. People with kids are doing OK as well. A couple earning less than $150,000 or an individual making under $75,000 is slated to get a $250 monthly payment for each child aged 6 to 17, from July through December. For children under 6, the payment is $300, according to the schedule laid out by the IRS as part of the expanded child tax credit.

It's not like people with kids need any extra money - some do for sure, others largely don't - but it's more of the government's way of letting you know that they control you and, especially, your kids. The expansion of the child tax credit is nothing more than a test run for Universal Basic Income (UBI). Eventually, your kids won't have to work. They'll just get a monthly stipend from the government to pay for their rent, food, video games, cell phone and whatever else people will do in a few years time. That is, until the government figures out how to eliminate them, quietly, little by little, there will be no useless eaters left.

So, buy more stocks. They're good for everything, including little dogs, insects, and even the New York Yankees, losers of four straight through Saturday.

Bonds did their part to keep the stock market flying high with a fairly significant rally at the long end of the treasury curve. Yield on the 10-year note dropped eight basis points, from 1.67% to 1.59% over the course of the week. The 30-year bond yielded 2.26% by Friday, down from 2.34% the prior week, losing eight basis points as well.

Lower yields keep things like stocks on the bid. Fixed income earning less than the dividends on popular stocks is a recipe for huge risk asset purchases. How the Fed manages to keep treasuries in the doghouse is a very nifty trick. Some people actually know how they do it, but they might be sworn to secrecy. For the rest of us, we just marvel at the brilliance of the bond markets and rates that remain lower than inflation, continually debasing the currency until there is no purchasing power left.

On the subject of purchasing power, some Bitcoin hodlers awakened Sunday morning to the horror of a massive price collapse in their pet cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, on the heels of the Coinbase (COIN) IPO, recently topped out at $64,899.00 (Wednesday, April 14), but overnight Saturday into Sunday plummeted as low as $51.300, on reports of a mass power outage in China's Xinjiang province where much of bitcoin mining is done. This sent the hash rate cycling down, negatively affecting the price.

Around the same time, FXHedge tweeted that US regulators were about to charge some financial institutions with money laundering using cryptocurrencies. The tweet wasn't backed up by any credible news and it claimed anonymous sources, which makes is even less believable. Regardless, some people get agitated by FUD, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the story was planted by one of the three-letter agencies or if there's a false-flag event staged to spread fear of crypto. Some banks may get charged with crimes. Nobody will go to jail. There won't even be a trial. just a fine, but the media will be all over it, citing how nothing should be used as currency other than the usual fiat toilet paper.

That's just how they roll (sorry for the unintentional pun).

In any case, the price of Bitcoin has resurfaced, trading back around $56,000, where it was about three weeks ago. A 10-12% overnight price blink isn't anything Bitcoiners haven't seen before. As podcast host Steven Livera tweeted, "Just Bitcoin doing its thing on the way to $10M+." And that's how crypto podcasters roll.

In the commodities space, the price of crude oil (and everything else) was higher over the course of the week. WTI crude hit a four-week high on Thursday when futures closed in New York at $63.46 a barrel. That was up from the previous week's close at $59.32. Friday's trading backed it off a few cents, ending the week at $63.13.

WTI made a double top at just over $66 a barrel in March and has traded in a generally tame manner since coming back down, but with summer driving season on the horizon and many states in the USA reopening businesses and people simply wishing to get out more, there's reason to believe that gas prices will continue to hold at high levels, if not go to ridiculous extremes. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was stable, at 2.87. States along the West coast, plus Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada are all averaging over $3.00 a gallon.

Gold bugs and silver stackers got some welcome relief from recent declines in the prices of precious metals. While rumors of shortages have persisted for months, the LBMA and their daily fixes and naked short selling in the futures markets have forced down precious metals from last August's highs.

Silver gained from $25.22 to close out the week at $26.14 as the LBMA released a report on the status of silver in a report titled Silver Investment 2021 [PDF]. Among other juicy tidbits, the report mentioned that silver bullion in London vaults was at low levels and virtually depleted during the so-called #SilverSqueeze engineered on social media, spearheaded by an unruly gang on reddit.com. Bullionstar.com' Ronan Manly dissected the report, penning an excellent "must read" piece on the website's blog, titled "LBMA acknowledges "Buying Frenzy" in Silver Market and silver shortage Fears."

Gold had a stellar week, rising from $1741.20 to $1774.45 as of Friday's close. With interest rates coming back down on the long end, gold may begin to look like a sensible alternative. Of course, to anybody skeptical of the purchasing power of Federal Reserve Notes or any other fiat currency, gold has always been an extremely attractive alternative and store of wealth.

Here are the most recent prices for sales of common gold and silver items on eBay (numismatics excluded, shipping - often free - included):

Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 39.00 / 49.59 / 43.00 / 42.93
1 oz silver bar: 37.50 / 49.99 / 43.29 / 42.75
1 oz gold coin: 1,889.00 / 2,048.30 / 1,948.82 / 1,937.28
1 oz gold bar: 1,855.50 / 2,021.22 / 1,886.53 / 1,873.82

The results from this week's survey see gold stable, despite rising prices in spot and futures markets. The silver prices have been rather significant, however, reflecting not just the potential shortages in London vaults but the real possibility that shortages may persist for some time. Massive retail buying shows no sign of letting up, as the new Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) improved to $42.99, jumping by more than a dollar from last week's benchmark ($41.71).

On that positive development, that's a WEEKEND WRAP.

AT THE CLOSE, FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 2021:
Dow: 34,200.67, +164.68 (+0.48%)
NASDAQ: 14,052.34, +13.58 (+0.10%)
S&P 500: 4,185.47, +15.05 (+0.36%)
NYSE: 16,186.29, +69.45 (+0.43%)

FOR THE WEEK:
Dow: +400.07 (+1.18%)
NASDAQ: +152.16 (+1.09%)
S&P 500: +56.67 (+1.37%)
NYSE: +229.12 (+1.44%)


Disclaimer: Information disseminated on this site should not be construed as investment advice. Downtown Magazine, 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, Money Daily, its owners, affiliates and employees against any and all liability.

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