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Bank Earnings from JP Morgan, Citi, Wells Fargo Cap Strong Week for Stocks; Gold, Silver Continue Soaring Advances

Friday, April 14, 2023, 9:04 am ET

With bank earnings from JPM, Citi, and Wells Fargo (WFC) showing strength this Friday morning, US stocks are poised for another winning week, though disappointing retail sales for March may put a damper on enthusiasm.

Through Thursday's closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 544.40 points (+1.63%), with the NASDAQ ahead by 78.32 (+0.66%) and the S&P holding gains of 41.20 (+1.00%). The NYSE Composite is rivaling the Dow on a percentage basis, up 261.54 points for a 1.64% move.

The Dow's latest move has taken it from below 32,000 to above 34,000 in less than a month, with daily advances outpacing losers by a 3-1 margin. The Industrials are looking squarely at a four-week win streak with anything anything other than a breakdown to close out the week.

Reassurances that the banking crisis is contained "for now" from the IMF have speculators licking their chops in hopes that the rally in equites will persist for a few weeks or months longer, though their qualifying present tense rhetoric suggests more than just of hint of caution.

Doug Noland's Credit Bubble Bulletin weekly comment (April 7) led off with this ominous nugget:

April 7 - Bloomberg (Alexandre Tanzi): "US bank lending contracted by the most on record in the last two weeks of March, indicating a substantial tightening of credit conditions in the wake of several high-profile bank collapses... Commercial bank lending dropped nearly $105 billion in the two weeks ended March 29, the most in Federal Reserve data back to 1973. The more than $45 billion decrease in the latest week was primarily due to a drop in loans by small banks... Friday's report also showed commercial bank deposits dropped $64.7 billion in the latest week, marking the 10th-straight decrease that mainly reflected a decline at large firms... The Fed's report showed that by bank size, lending decreased $23.5 billion at the 25 largest domestically chartered banks in the latest two weeks, and plunged $73.6 billion at smaller commercial banks over the same period."

Stress in the credit sector is clearly a problem and not about to correct by itself. Residential and commercial mortgage rates are up sharply from the heyday of 2015-21, lending standards tighter, to the point at which banks have money to lend, but only to the most credit-worthy, a group not prone to taking outsized risk, especially in the current environment. Banks are sitting on massive deposits, though the smartest investors have been fleeing to money markets and elsewhere, grabbing better returns than the banks are willing to offer.

There's also an undisguised flow of currency into hard assets, especially gold and silver, which have been screaming higher for months.

(Kitco News) - Gold and silver prices are sharply higher in midday U.S. trading Thursday and scored 13-month highs. The metals bulls are being fueled by a tame U.S. inflation report, a slumping U.S. dollar index and rising crude oil prices. Gold bulls are now confident they can breach the all-time record high of $2,078.80, basis nearby Comex futures, sooner rather than later. June gold was last up $28.40 at $2,053.20 and May silver is up $0.437 at $25.90.

Today's U.S. producer price index report for March showed a decline of 0.5% from February versus expectations for a steady reading. The report helped to put more downside pressure on the U.S. dollar index, which hit a 2.5-month low today. The tamer PPI report follows a slightly milder consumer price index report released Wednesday that came in at up 5.0%, year-on-year, compared to market expectations for a rise of 5.1%. However, the core CPI number came in 0.1% higher than expected.

Gold is up 24% over the past six months ($1648.90 - $2,051.20) on the June contract, much of the advance due to excessive central bank buying, the most in over a decade. According to the World Gold Council's annual report on gold demand for 2022...

Annual gold demand (excluding OTC) jumped 18% to 4,741t, almost on a par with 2011 - a time of exceptional investment demand. The strong full-year total was aided by record Q4 demand of 1,337t.

Of note, 2011 was a record year of gold demand.

Silver, the money of gentlemen, has played its part exceptionally well. In just the past six months, silver has appreciated some 44%, from a low of $18.07 in mid-October, to the current price of $26.07. Overnight, silver priced as high as $26.17 on the May contract. On April 3rd, silver stood at $24.02. It took less than two weeks to rip right through resistance at $24 and $25, now aimed clearly at $27.50.

Silver's recent advances have all the trappings of a similar run from August, 2010, to April 2011, when the price soared from $18 to nearly $50. After the decline to below $10/toz during the 2008 financial calamity, once silver overcame resistance at $18-19, it was off to the races. The current pattern looks for a repeat performance. Should silver rise beyond $27.50, subsequent moves could be very explosive. Silver nearly tripled in price during the nine months in 2010-11. A similar move would put silver in the $75 range.

The silver:gold ratio indicates that while gold may be the most-desirable asset of 2023, silver has already outpaced it and should consider to do so. Just two months ago, on March 9, the ratio stood at 90.25. Overnight, the ratio was 78.88. When the historical average of the ratio is somewhere in the range of 12:1 or 20:1, silver is the obvious choice for speculation and appreciation and the ratio is pointing in the right direction for faster gains in silver over gold. Only one asset is harder money than silver, and that is gold. The kicker is that over half the silver mined every year is used up by industry. Modern technology, from solar panels to smart phones to jet engines, all employ silver to varying degrees.

First to report Friday morning was BlackRock (BLK), with an adjusted profit of $7.93 per share. Analysts had estimated a profit of $7.76 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Quarterly revenue fell to $4.2 billion from $4.7 billion. In pre-market trading prior to 7:00 am ET, BlackRock shares were bigher by one to two percent.

With money flowing through the banks to various safe havens, the three big banks reporting this morning the following:

JP Morgan Chase (JPM) saw profit increase 52% to $12.62 billion, or $4.10 per share, in the three months ended Mar. 31, compared with $8.28 billion, or $2.63 per share, a year ago. Revenue of $38.3 billion was up 25% from the year-ago period. JPM's credit loss provisions were $2.28 billion, up 56% year-over-year, consisting of a $1.1 billion reserve build and $1.14 billion in net charge offs. Shares are zooming higher - up over six percent - prior to the opening bell.

Citi (C) hammered expectations [PDF] of $1.66 per share, earning $2.19 per share, an 89% increase sequentially ($1.16, 4Q 2022) and up eight percent from a year ago ($2.02). Revenue was $21.45 billion, up 19% from the same quarter a year ago ($19.2 billion). The company added $435 million to credit loss reserves.

Wells Fargo (WFC) reported [PDF] revenue of $20.729 billion, up from the prior quarter ($20.034 billion), and well ahead of year ago revenue of $17.728 billion. EPS was 1.21 per share, compared to 0.75 in the quarter ended December 31, 2022, and 0.91 in the year-ago quarter. Earnings were dented by adding $1.2 billion in the company's provision for credit loss.

PNC Financial Services (PNC) grew first quarter revenue to $5.6 billion, from $4.7 billion a year ago. Diluted earnings of $3.98 were higher than the prior quarter ($3.47), and much improved from the $3.23 reported in the first quarter of 2022. shares are indicated higher, up three percent in the pre-market.

Investors were also awaiting March retail sales and the number disappointed. Retail sales dropped one percent in March from February, adding to the 0.2% decline in the prior month. Driving the decline were lower sales of autos, electronics, and at home and garden stores.

In response to bank earnings, stock futures initially moved higher, but when retail sales were announced, they fell back. NASDAQ futures were the worst off, down more than 72 points with the opening bell less than an hour ahead.

At the Close, Thursday, April 13, 2023:
Dow: 34,029.69, +383.19 (+1.14%)
NASDAQ: 12,166.27, +236.93 (+1.99%)
S&P 500: 4,146.22, +54.27 (+1.33%)
NYSE Composite: 15,630.89, +129.96 (+0.84%)


Is Bud Light the Black Swan? Benefits of Never Going Woke for Everyday People

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 9:35 am ET

Destruction of the United States of America from within continues apace. There's no simpler way to say it. Since the installment of Joe Brandon and "Heels Up" Harris in the White House, the supposed election of a tiny Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the stalemate in the Senate, America has gone straight downhill in almost any reasonable measure. There's no denying the federal tyranny. It encompasses everything.

Food processing plants blow up. Trains carrying toxins run off the tracks. Mass shootings have become nearly an every day event. None of this is accidental. Only a blind, deaf idiot would believe such things to be happenstance.

After some digging - not much, a single search for "most popular beers in America" - it has been revealed that none other than Bud Light is the most popular beer in the nation.

That explains a great deal. Why in the world would a company as profitable and tuned in to market trends as AB InBev decide to promote transgenderism on its label? Just in case you're a woke moron or have been under a rock (perhaps downed by Rolling Rock?) the past week or so, the Bud Light / Dylan Mulvaney circus, celebrating 365 days of "girlhood" has taken on epic proportions in terms of anger, disgust and backlash.

This was absolutely planned and executed by AmBev management, a classic case of cancel culture gone wild in the mainstream. Reaction has been nothing short of total revulsion and rejection of not just the Bud Light brand, but of the full menu of beers produced by AB InBev, over 400 of them. Here's a fairly exhaustive list.

As the world's largest beer producer, AB InBev has committed hari kari on it's flagship brand, Bud Lite. Drinkers of the beverage quickly abandoned their "go to" beer, vowing never to drink it again, a palpable, obvious backlash and boycott against the "woke" culture expressed by the company. Distributors, retailers and bar owners have reported declines of 80-90% on Bud Light purchases since the onset of the Mulvaney promotion. Shares of AB InBev (BUD) are down 5.29% in just the past five days. People were already angry before this latest culture war melange; now the biggest beer producer in the world has pizzed off more than 15% of American beer drinkers, a number somewhere in the tens of millions.

This amounts to complete rejection of everything "woke" including transgenderism, climate change, equity, inclusion, diversity, support for Ukraine, everything emanating from Washington, DC, and mainstream media, the propagandists who would like Americans to believe that "progressive" woke culture encompasses more than 50 percent of the nation's adult population when in fact it's more like 20 percent or maybe even less than 10.

Everyday people (a term coined in 1968 by Sly and the Family Stone.. video below. Give it a listen.) are normally easy-going and overall tolerant of other people's views and lifestyles. They will, in most cases, reject having such views and lifestyles shoved into their faces and down their throats and especially in the presence of their kids, which is what the "left", the "woke" activists constantly attempt to do.

For the woke brigands, it's not enough that people tolerate them. They demand acceptance and inclusion, and anyone who refuses to go along with their alternative lifestyle is branded a right wing extremist, homophobe, transphobe and/or racist by the mouthy mob.

Let's face it. More than 90% of the world's population would likely agree that there are two genders (sexes), as there always has been in nature, male and female. Proponents of woke culture and transgenderism reject the science of eons of evolutionary evidence. They're liars. They are deceivers and they are dangerous. For most Americans, best practice involves ignoring and avoiding these types of people as much as possible. When that's not an option, when they are up in your grill screaming nonsense at you, the option of walking away is not always available, It's at that point - when your life is endangered - that the debate or choosing of sides becomes personal. That's when ordinary people stop swilling Bud Light, start beating up trannies, and generally stop "taking it" any more.

That is the point at which America is currently aiming. When the majority of the population has had enough, those "everyday people" begin showing their true colors. They start not believing the narratives promoted by the culture cancelling media, stop paying attention to dictates from tyrants, and start taking matters into their own hands.

We're there. Woke is over. After the majority of people in the USA stand up and reject "wokeism" and call it out for the fascist/communist ideology it really is, next is the government, which will be completely rejected, along with the mainstream media trying to tell us that sensible, patriotic Americans are dangerous terrorists, that cutting off the breasts or genitals of youths is natural and normal and that we'll all suffer from heat stroke and tidal waves as a result of global warming or climate change or whatever absurdity de jour is fashionable.

The oncoming backlash against wokeism, government lies and media distrust figures to be epochal. The likes of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and the horde of left-leaning Democrats in congress who insist January 6, 2021 was an "insurrection" (another in a series of Big Lies) may just get a real one and the cancel culturalists will be themselves cancelled and run into hiding places, where they rightfully belong.

As the rejection of woke culture evolves across the great expanse, people will once again enjoy the benefits of never going woke in the first place: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all without a trillion regulations or questioning from people who don't understand history or society.

There's much, much more to this story than can be covered in a brief note such as this, but, who would have imagined, after the 2020 BLM riots, stolen elections, and a myriad of offenses to the minds of the masses, that it would be beer drinkers that brought on the "Black Swan" that changes everything?

It may be the last straw on the camel's back.

At the Close, Wednesday, April 12, 2023:
Dow: 33,646.50, -38.29 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 11,929.34, -102.54 (-0.85%)
S&P 500: 4,091.95, -16.99 (-0.41%)
NYSE Composite: 15,500.93, -19.99 (-0.13%)


Vanishing America; March CPI Modest at 5.0%; Gold, Silver Breaking Out

Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 9:08 am ET

A number of recent stories should have the attention of most Americans as parts of the country are being wiped out in piecemeal fashion, thanks almost entirely to woke culture and the throbbing drumbeat of inclusion, equity and reparation through the mainstream media.

Amazon's flagship Whole Foods store in San Francisco is shutting down, the company citing the safety of workers as the reason for the closure.

In Portland, Oregon, home to festering anger, crime, and resentment stemming from the 2020 Antifa protests and subsequent "war zone", two WalMart stores and three Cracker Barrel restaurants have closed their doors.

In Chicago, WalMart is closing two of its stores, claiming they've lost "hundreds of millions" over the years. Those stores are among more than a dozen announced closures of WalMart locations this year.

And, it's not just WalMart closing stores. Drugstore giants CVS and Walgreens have closed stores at various locations, mostly in urban, big-city settings. The retail devastation of small businesses which accelerated during the pandemic shutdowns of 2020 has extended to larger franchises.

On top of the retail purge, legendary food storage maker, Tupperware (YUP), is on the verge of bankruptcy, the share price having fallen from $20 a year ago to $1.30 as of Tuesday's close.

Subway's plans to auction off it's business has been delayed, due to lack of interest and sub-standard bids. While the chain is comprised of franchisees, the parent company collects a fee of eight percent of sales and has its franchisees locked into supply agreements.

These are just some of the stories coming out of mostly-Democrat-controlled big cities (and smaller ones) confronted with out-of-control mostly black youths who commit crimes from shoplifting to snatch-and-grab and robberies on a regular basis. Retailers have been suffering enormous losses and are unable to assure employees of on-the-job safety. Areas within cities like Baltimore, St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Milwaukee, and elsewhere have become no-go zones for people of more peaceful persuasions.

Parts of America are being minimized and dehumanized in real time.

The big number Wall Street has been awaiting hit the wires just moments ago, via the BLS:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.4 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 5.0 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The index for shelter was by far the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase. This more than offset a decline in the energy index, which decreased 3.5 percent over the month as all major energy component indexes declined. The food index was unchanged in March with the food at home index falling 0.3 percent.

Accordingly, with inflation seemingly continuing its descent, stock futures exploded higher, signaling an extension to the recent volume-less rally that has been the story thus far in 2023.

At the same time, precious metals ramped, with gold recently quoted at $2,043 and silver at $25.77 on the COMEX continuous contract.

Both stocks and precious metals (and commodities in general) benefit from lower inflation, as it implies that the Fed will see a limit to their rate hike program and soon return to more expansionist and looser economic policy, lowering interest rates and providing excess liquidity.

The likelihood of a breakout in both gold and silver appears to be taking significant shape while the American landscape is redlined and reconfigured.

At the Close, Tuesday, April 11, 2023:
Dow: 33,684.79, +98.27 (+0.29%)
NASDAQ: 12,031.88, -52.48 (-0.43%)
S&P 500: 4,108.94, -0.17 (-0.00%)
NYSE Composite: 15,520.92, +93.74 (+0.61%)


Calm Before the Storm? Stocks in Denial As Earnings Season Approaches

Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 9:03 am ET

Recent market activity - aside from Bitcoin's meteoric rise above $30,000 this morning - has been quite a bit on the dull side, suggesting that something is keeping money on the sidelines.

Maybe it was the Easter holiday, or pre-earnings jitters, or any of a litany of issues that might erupt to disrupt otherwise sanguine markets, especially in equities, causing agita and caution as tax filing deadlines loom.

An ancient Wall Street slogan says, "never short a dull market," but this market seems to have been running on fumes from the abrupt rally at the start of the year and volatility has been compressed and shoved down into a small black hole. The VIX still is hovering around the 19-20 level, still an unusually high reading that's consistent with uncertainty and doubt, a hangover from a very dour 2022 when the VIX trended in the mid-20s.

Volatility, or the lack thereof, is market shorthand for a broadly bearish tone. With major indices still well below their highs of late 2021 and early 2022, lack of conviction doesn't seem to indicate there's enough willingness to move stocks higher. This barren no-man's land, with averages vacillating above, below and between 50 and 200-day moving averages since November offers no clues to the future.

Companies will begin reporting results from the first quarter in earnest beginning Friday, when JP Morgan (JPM), Citi (C), and Walls Fargo (WFC) queue up prior to the opening bell. Financials have been in focus of late and this trio of mega-banks should provide some idea on the depth of bank liquidity issues.

In the meantime, a hint of what to expect in coming weeks may have been telegraphed by CarMax, which reported fiscal fourth quarter and full year results ended February 28, 2023, Tuesday morning.

Briefly, the results for CarMax (KMX) were a mixed bag, though mostly on the downside.

The used car specialist company reported net revenues of $5.7 billion, down 25.6% compared with the prior year fourth quarter. For the fiscal year, net revenues decreased 6.9% to $29.7 billion.

Retail used unit sales declined 12.6% in the fourth quarter, and comparable store used unit sales declined 14.1%; wholesale units declined 19.3% in the fourth quarter. CarMax Auto Finance (CAF) income of $123.9 million was down 36.1% from the prior year fourth quarter and net earnings per diluted share of $0.44, were down from $0.98 a year ago. For the fiscal year, net earnings per diluted share declined 56.5% to $3.03.

None of that sounds very good, but the company beat lowered expectations of 20 cents per share on revenues of $6.1 billion. Seemingly, that's all that matters to Wall Street as the stock is trending 5-7% higher in pre-market trading. This is about a company that had missed estimates in three of the prior four quarters. All of a sudden, used car dealing is a mammoth hit on the street.

Stock gains on this particular issue appear to be more wishful thinking, in line with the current trend to buy dips on companies that have fallen over the past 18 months. Shares hit a high of 154 in November of 2021 and are currently ensconced in the mid-to-high 60s, being rewarded for sub-par performance this morning.

How much longer Wall Street can keep denying the realities of economics and troubling global geo-political trends is an open question. Back in the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes famously opined, "Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

Looks like he may be right. Or not.

Anticipation for tomorrow's March CPI release could be why nerves are jittery and trading is at a snail's pace.

At the Close, Monday, April 10, 2023:
Dow: 33,586.52, +101.23 (+0.30%)
NASDAQ: 12,084.36, -3.60 (-0.03%)
S&P 500: 4,109.11, +4.09 (+0.10%)
NYSE Composite: 15,427.18, +48.05 (+0.31%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Flat, Gold Above $2000 Silver Over $25; Fed Stuck Between Inflation and Recession

Sunday, April 9, 2023, 11;11 am ET

Happy Easter, Passover, Ramadan...

Be mindful, according to the Bible...

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it 'a den of robbers.'"
-- Matthew 21:12-13

Any wonder why he was crucified?


Stocks

Sleepwalking through the Good Friday-shortened week, the four days of trading were as lackluster as anything recently experienced. Various employment measures (ADP, JOLTS, initial claims, March NFP) took most of the steam out of the recent rallies, though with markets closed Friday, the March non-farm payroll slight miss of 236,000 and unemployment rising to 3.5%, market reaction will be gauged on Monday.

While the Dow and NYSE Composite rose for the third striaght week, the NASDAQ snapped a three-week winning streak, as did the S&P, though only by the narrowest of margins. The 500 was down a mere 4.29 points (-0.10%).

Other lowlights included the Dow's 2.57-point gain on Friday and the Composite's 4.22-point (0.03%) win for the week. The VIX was tamped down to nearly the low point of the year, slumping to 18.40 on Thursday.

Ominously, the transports were active to the downside. Dow Transports shed 472.34 (-3.27%) points. Could this be the new market leader? If a recession is on track, the train wreck will first materialize in stocks that move things and people. A good reading may emerge on Thursday, when Delta Air Lines (DAL) reports first quarter numbers after the close. Expectations are for 33 cents per share on $12.25 billion in revenue. The stock is up less than a point, year-to-date, after rallying into March, then being pushed back from 39 to 33 the past month.

Other earnings offerings are on tap this coming week, including PriceSmart (PSMT) and Greenbrier (GBX), Monday; CarMax (KMX) and Albertsons (ACI) on Tuesday; Sportsman's Warehouse (SPWH), Wednesday; and Progressive Prosthetic (PGR) on Thursday.

Banks highlight the end of the week with JPMorgan (JPM), Citi (C), and Wells Fargo (WFC) reporting prior to the open on Friday, along with UnitedHealth (UNH) and BlackRock (BLK).

Along with EPS and gross revenue figures, the banks' numbers for deposit inflows and credit loss reserves will be important indications of how seriously the mega-banks are looking at inflation/recession and bank crisis potential.

The big number for the week will be March CPI, due out Wednesday at 8:30 am ET. Expectations are a reading of 5.2-5.4% year-over-year. The number will have impact upon the Fed's next FOMC policy meeting (May 2-3), less than a month ahead, though it may not be as critical as prior releases, as any number of issues - de-dollarization, Ukraine, Taiwan/China, recession - may have more influence on the thinking of Fed voters.


Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 4 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
03/03/2023 4.75 4.79 4.91 5.01 5.18 5.03
03/10/2023 4.81 4.91 5.01 5.08 5.17 4.90
03/17/2023 4.31 4.51 4.52 4.79 4.71 4.26
03/24/2023 4.28 4.48 4.74 4.78 4.76 4.32
03/31/2023 4.74 4.79 4.85 4.97 4.94 4.64
04/07/2023 4.56 4.90 4.95 5.07 4.95 4.61

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
03/03/2023 4.86 4.60 4.26 4.15 3.97 4.12 3.90
03/10/2023 4.60 4.31 3.96 3.86 3.70 3.90 3.70
03/17/2023 3.81 3.68 3.44 3.45 3.39 3.76 3.60
03/24/2023 3.76 3.58 3.41 3.40 3.38 3.77 3.64
03/31/2023 4.06 3.81 3.60 3.55 3.48 3.81 3.67
04/07/2023 3.97 3.72 3.49 3.45 3.39 3.73 3.61

While equity markets were closed in the US on Friday, the Treasury market was active. One-month yields were slammed lower - from 4.74% to 4.56% - over the week, but 2, 3, 4-month yields were higher by 11, 10, and 10 basis points respectively. With a nexus at 6-month yields, which barely budged from 4.94% up to 4.95%, the remainder of the curve was pushed lower with 2s through 20s dropped by 8 to 11 basis points. The 30-year fell to its lowest yield since January 18 (3.54%) on Thursday, before rebounding to end the week at 3.61%.

The market is evidencing an opinion that the Fed has gone too far in hiking the federal funds rate to 4.75-5.00%, the current preference between a pause and a 25 basis point bump in May. The Fed's caught in a trap of its own making, now having to decide whether inflation or recession is the larger issue.


Oil/Gas

OPEC+ stunned the market by announcing massive production cuts on Monday, which sent WTI crude rocketing from $75 to over $81 by Tuesday morning. The price moderated to a close at $80.42, still a significant move from the March 31 close at $75.70. The mostly-middle east group set output cuts totaling 1.66 million barrels per day on top of an existing cut of 2 million barrels per day through all of 2023.

The timing of the cuts suggests a political motive, as more and more countries move away from pricing not just oil, but anything and everything traded internationally in US$. China, Russia, and the so-called "Global South" are aligning against the US and other Western economies, bifurcating the currency markets and raising the alarm level to unprecedented heights.

Certainly, the Ukraine/Russia environment is highly charged, but most countries have been making policy decisions based on the weaponization of the reserve currency US dollar, when the US, UK and EU decided to freeze and confiscate $400 billion in Russian reserves. Along with a boatful of sanctions, trust in the US as a fair arbiter of money has been dashed.

Gasoline prices moved higher on the news.

Last week's national average for a gallon of 87 octane was $3.50. This Sunday, it's $3.58 and may be heading higher.

California ($4.83), Arizona ($4.34), Washington ($4.31), and Nevada ($4.18) remain the only states averaging above $4.00, though Oregon is inching closer with the price up to $3.93.

Mississippi checked in with the lowest price, at $3.11, but the bulk of Southeast states are over $3.20, with Georgia already at $3.35 and Florida at $3.55. Illinois could become the next state averaging over $4.00, now reading at $3.95, followed by Pennsylvania ($3.68), Ohio ($3.67), Utah ($3.64) and Michigan ($3.63).


Bitcoin

This week: $27,925.20
Last week: $28,349.10
2 weeks ago: $27,735.90
6 months ago: $19,139.80
One year ago: $42,285.50

Bitcoin is stabilizing around $28,000, up more than 65% year-to-date ($16,670). Thus far, it's the leading asset in the world, which speaks volumes about speculation, currency, and trust.

These recent speculators may be a touch early, though bitcoin hasn't yet showed any signs of retreating from its recent advanced level, though it has only been maintaining it for three weeks.


Precious Metals

Silver:Gold Ratio: 80.53; last week: 81.97

Per COMEX continuous contracts:

Gold price 03/10: $1,872.70
Gold price 03/17: $2,009.80
Gold price 03/24: $1,999.00
Gold price 03/31: $1,987.00
Gold price 04/07: $2,023.70

Silver price 03/10: $20.60
Silver price 03/17: $22.75
Silver price 03/24: $23.36
Silver price 03/31: $24.24
Silver price 04/07: $25.13

The biggest moves outside of the oil price hike (and probably well-related) were in gold and silver, with the former blasting through the $2000 level and the latter punching above its weight at $25+. Monday and Tuesday witnessed swift run-ups in both, with some slack being taken Wednesday and Thursday. Markets were shuttered Friday and will re-open at 6:00 pm ET Sunday to great anticipation.

It's far too early to call this a breakout, as the COMEX manipulation remains in play. With all the cross-currents on display in geo-politics, currencies, and the price of anything and everything, it's assumed that precious metals would out-perform, though is difficult not to discount insider motivation and the intentions of the fiat currency Western nations, which would like to see no more price advances in either gold or silver.

The Bidens, Macrons, Trudeaus, and Sunaks of the world may be whistling past their own graves as their economies continue to weaken, their currencies on the brink of implosion.

Time, which waits for no one, will tell.

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: 28.99 48.00 38.74 39.00
1 oz silver bar: 32.00 41.25 36.37 36.25
1 oz gold coin: 2,117.71 2,208.00 2,156.16 2,154.41
1 oz gold bar: 2,100.35 2,166.74 2,126.58 2,125.38

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) remained stable over the course of the week, falling to $37.59, a loss of just seven cents from the April 2 level of $37.66.

WEEKEND WRAP

Expectations for recession are rising, giving pause to the inflation drumbeat of the past 18 months.

When polls indicate that people believe they'll need more than $1 million to retire comfortably, it's probably time for a reset. With roughly 330 million people in the United States, that amounts to over $330 trillion. That's not going to happen unless the currency is hyper-inflated, so, NO, the reality of more than 200 million US millionaires is never going to materialize.

Expect retail prices to stabilize into summer as demand slows to a crawl. The next major event may be the debt ceiling fight, set for full realization in July. Yellen's "emergency measures" are running on a very tight timeline. Sooner or later, somebody or something has to give and odds are good that it will be the Biden folks and Grandma Janet.

Every effort was made to keep this edition of the Weekend Wrap brief and informative, to allow readers to enjoy their holiday with family and friends.

All the best.

At the Close, Thursday, April 6, 2023:
Dow: 33,485.29, +2.57 (+0.01%)
NASDAQ: 12,087.96, +91.09 (+0.76%)
S&P 500: 4,105.02, +14.64 (+0.36%)
NYSE Composite: 15,379.13, +10.87 (+0.07%)

For the Week:
Dow: +211.14 (+0.63%)
NASDAQ: -133.15 (-1.10%)
S&P 500: -4.29 (-0.10%)
NYSE Composite: +4.22 (+0.03%)
Dow Transports: -472.34 (-3.27%)


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 2023, Downtown Magazine Inc., all rights reserved.

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