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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.
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Friday, May 7, 2021, 9:00 am ET
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high on Thrusday with the S&P 500 falling just 10 points shy of its own record (4,211.47, April 29) and the NASDAQ finally back with a positive close after losing 500 points over the past four sessions.
The NYSE Composite also closed at a record level, surpassing its previous high of 16,376.00 from April 29.
New all-time highs have become rather routine over the past three, five, ten years. Stocks just seem to have a magical levitational ability that sets them apart from other asset classes, except maybe some cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the newest darling, Dogecoin. Bitcoin has been the best-performing asset over the past 10 years, easily beating everything else.
Meanwhile, precious metals have languished. While gold made a fresh all-time high back in August, it has since fallen from over $2000 an ounce to under $1700, but recently has bounced off those levels and on Thursday headed back above $1800. Silver never even got to $30 an ounce, not even close to its record price of $48.70 from 2011, the anniversary of the all-time high having just passed last week (April 30, 2011).
On Thursday, silver managed to close in New York above $27 an ounce for the first time since January. Speculators, dealers, miners, stackers and just about anybody who keeps tabs on silver appreciated the move. Silver is undeniably the most undervalued asset on the planet. Everything else is going up, up, up, like lumber, food, used cars, except for silver, which, truth be told, is actual money even though it also has industrial uses.
It's well known that central bankers and bullion banks have to keep a lid on gold and they've done well with that. They've exceeded all expectations in their efforts to keep silver prices depressed. It's been said in previous notes of Money Daily that central bankers hate (and fear) silver more than gold. That's not going to change. But their grip on the price seems to be slipping, little by little, as more and more individuals appreciate its fineness, durability, and, eventually, its use as a measurement of exchange, i.e., money.
Whether the price of gold's kissing cousin ever does rise to levels compatible with the runaway inflation in everything else remains to be seen. It's not like the bullion banks, central banks, LBMA, and futures riggers are going to abandon their pricing scheme any time soon. Market forces, however, are putting pressure on the retail end of things. Supply shortages at retail have occurred twice in the past year. First, in the initial stage of the virus scare back in March of 2010, dealers ran dry of supply, forcing higher premiums and shipping delays. The reddit-inspired silver squeeze in January of this year caused supplies to dry up again and they have persisted. Premiums are still high, though supply seems to be in a sweet spot for dealers. Most, if not all, online dealers are capable of delivering in timely manners.
Though the price of silver hasn't really moved much of late, it may not be a bad idea to pick some up at the current relatively bargain prices. If anything, the price is stable, which is more than can be said about any other asset, all of which seem to be going up these days. There are biases among goldbugs and crypto adherents, but, having a diverse mix of alternative assets is usually a good idea and silver should be included, keeping in mind that the alternatives are not supposed to be investment vehicles, per se, but rather, stores of value.
Moving on, futures for Friday were higher in anticipation of the April non-farm payroll report, which was supposed to deliver blockbuster results of more than a million new jobs created over the course of the month.
The number came out moments ago at 266,000, missing expectations by a country mile and a half. March's non-farm payroll gain was also revised sharply lower, showing a gain of 770,000 versus the 916,000 previously reported.
Maybe all the stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits are keeping people from returning to work? Dow futures fell from +95 to -50 on the jobs announcement. Gold and silver moved sharply higher. Keep an eye out today on 10 and 30-year treasury yields. Yields below 1.50% and 2.20%, respectively, could be in the cards.
Stocks look to close out the week with a bang of some kind, though possibly not the kind expected.
Happy trading. Look for Money Daily's regular WEEKEND WRAP around 10:00 am ET, Sunday morning. Weather permitting (j/k).
At the Close, Thursday, May 6, 2021:
Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7:52 am ET
In what may be the biggest news in finance this year, multiple news outlets are reporting that NYDIG, a subsidiary of $10 billion New York-based asset manager Stone Ridge, and it has partnered with fintech giant Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to enable U.S. banks to offer Bitcoin (BTC) in the coming months, according to the two firms.
Originally reported by financial news network, CNBC, customers of some U.S. banks will soon be able to buy, hold and sell bitcoin through their existing accounts. The move into cryptocurrency is more about competition and timeliness than anything else, as banks see their customers sending dollars to Coinbase and other crypto exchanges, according to Yan Zhao, president of NYDIG.
The story is making its way through the crypto world with great enthusiasm though tempered by the understanding that anonymity, originally hailed as one of Bitcoin's strongest features, will be lost as all bank transactions are recorded and regulated. That does not seem to be much of a concern, however, as Bitcoin and other cryptos - especially Ethereum (ETH) and, lately, Dogecoin - have made headlines over the past ten years as superlative investments, with returns far outstripping those of competing asset classes such as stocks or precious metals.
If the reports turn out to be true - and there's little reason to believe they're not - this development could skyrocket Bitcoin to new heights. While other cryptos were not mentioned in the original report, as has been observed in opening up new avenues to Bitcoin, such as with PayPal or Square, the others eventually follow. By the end of 2021, depositors in US banks may see their accounts enhanced with the ability to buy, hold, and sell Bitcoin and to use it for transactions.
It appears that the promise of Bitcoin going mainstream is about to materialize in an astounding manner, to the benefit of millions of new users. Though there may still be regulatory roadblocks ahead, it appears that the banks sorely want to be in on the action, collecting fees on Bitcoin purchases, sales, and transactions. With the heft of the banking industry behind it, any red tape will likely be easily overcome.
The federal government may be welcoming the development as well, because any Bitcoin gains are financial events, subject to capital gains taxes, which might help explain why Joe Biden wants to see capital gains increased from 20% to 39.5%. Government never has enough of other people's money and the crypto market looks like a tax honeypot.
If all goes according to plan, using Bitcoin may soon become as easy as swiping a credit card and buying or selling the granddaddy of cryptocurrencies as easy as buying shares of stock online.
Mass adoption is on the way. There is no stopping it now. Bitcoin is going to moon.
For more, see the following articles:
At the Close, Wednesday, May 5, 2021:
Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 8:22 am ET
A doddering, 74-year-old with no real world business experience has been running the US Treasury since the end of January. Thus far, the results of her tenure have been a spectacular failure.
Not that it matters much as the US economy has been in a tailspin for decades - with the exception of the Trump presidency years - but Janet Yellen hasn't the creative functions nor the policy acumen to bring about changes that might improve the condition of the US economy. She's a rubber stamp for Biden's spend/borrow/tax policies, has a death wish for cryptocurrencies and makes statements that confuse markets.
During her tenure as Chair of the Federal Reserve (2010-2014), she never once raised the federal funds rate off the zero-bound, but on Tuesday, she flapped her gums and out came the outrageous idea that the Fed may have to raise interest rates to rein in an overheating economy. While she ran the Fed, US GDP stagnated at an average annual 2.14 percent. Fail.
In a recorded speech aired at the Atlantic's Future Economy Summit - a virtual event designed to explore "woke" centrally-planned solutions to problems that exist primarily in the heads of policy wonks, dystopian panderers like Jessica Bruder, author of the 2017 New York Times Editor's Choice Award, Nomadland (its adaptation won an Oscar for Best Picture), and failed politicians like Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton, California - Yellen offered her neo-Keynesian logic for a US economy on its knees from government-induced lockdowns and forced layoffs that is now suffering the unintended consequences of paying out-of-work employees more in unemployment benefits than they made while employed.
Either she thought she was still running the Fed or was having a senior moment. Perhaps a vision of Paul Volker came to her in dream.
Yellen's remarks were aired about an hour before markets opened, sending stock futures into a tailspin which extended into the cash market. All US indices were down sharply, along with European exchanges, which saw gains evaporate in a matter of minutes.
Later in the day, after the damage had been done, Yellen almost reversed herself, once again speaking virtually, this time to the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit.
In her halting, stuttering style, Yellen said that higher interest rates were "not something I'm predicting or recommending" citing the "transitory" effects of "bottlenecks" and "rising prices." Yellen said she didn't see inflation as a long term issue.
Putting it as simply as possible, the woman is completely out of touch with economic reality. House prices have increased 12 percent year-over-year according to both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Lumber prices have doubled or tripled, gas prices are up, as are most grocery items.
Along with her cohorts over at the Federal Reserve, despite wishing, hoping, and praying for inflation the past ten years, Yellen doesn't see these wild price hikes as a problem.
The only reason Janet Yellen is Secretary of the Treasury and not in an assisted living facility is because she's a woman and the Biden administration places an overabundance of emphasis on being right with the progressive crowd on inclusion and diversity. Many more capable economists were passed over.
America - when we have duly elected leaders - can do better. The current crop of politicians just doesn't cut it.
At the Close, Tuesday, May 4, 2021:
Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 9:33 am ET
Americans may often be guilty of short-sightedness and missing out on obvious trends and there's one developing in Japan right now that should be of concern to them. One can hardly blame people for being naive or more focused on other matters, especially after the year of lockdowns and masking and jab shots they've just been through, but it would behoove anybody who holds risk assets to pay attention to the continuing struggle that is the Nikkei 225, Japan's main stock market, which has been in a declining state for nearly two months running.
After closing at a level it hadn't seen since 1990 on February 16 (30,467.75), the 225 has pulled back substantially, ending its Friday session at 28,812.63, a loss of 241.37 points (-0.83%). Friday's close was the lowest since April 21 (28,508.55), but the interim closing low of 28,405.52 came March 28 and the index is approaching that level once again.
Japan's markets were closed on Monday, May 3, for Constitution Memorial Day and are again Tuesday, May 4, for Greenery Day, and Wednesday, May 5, for Children's Day holidays, so investors there are taking a break but may be in for a shock when the Nikkei resumes trading on Thursday as markets in other parts of the world are shaking.
Like its counterparts in Europe and the United States, the Nikkei has been on a rocket ship to the moon since March of 2020, when it bottomed out at 16,552.83. In less than a year, the entire index had appreciated 84%, in concert with the bourses and indices of other developed countries, which likewise were roused from their lows with central bank infusions and guarantees of fiat largesse.
Investors made out well through the tumult of the pandemic, but valuations became stretched. In the US, the appetite for stocks still hasn't quite subsided, but in Europe, and especially in Japan, the top of the market may have already arrived and the departing train has left the station.
Should the Nikkei continue its decline another 400 points to the March lows, a double bottom could be the result, but anything beyond that leads inexorably to a correction at the very least. A close below 27,420.98 would be a 10% decline. A verifiable bear market would occur some 3,000 points below that level.
A closer look at a chart of the Nikkei reveals that the index is residing beneath its 50-day moving average and has been since April 20, this being the third excursion into the area below the trend line since the recent high. The first was in early March, but the dip was only intraday though the period was marked by a series of deep declining sessions.
The second fall below the 50-day moving average happened in the latter part of March, when the index spent three full sessions - and part of a fourth - under the line. Both the first and second declines were followed by a series of small bullish sessions, the second wave not as pronounced as the first. Additionally, the bounce off the second low - which, on a closing basis was lower then the first - did not exceed the prior interim high, resulting in what now has become an elongated descending pattern since the beginning of April.
After April 19, when the Nikkei tumbled some 1,200 points over two sessions (April 20, 21), the index has remained below the 50-day moving average. It's now been eight full sessions below that mark, and indication that the investors may have been a little too enthusiastic about stocks, the end of the pandemic and the upcoming Olympic Games, which run between July 23 and August 8.
Aside from the Nikkei, another indicator that markets may have reached a climax came into focus last Thursday. On April 29, the Dow Jones Industrial Average displayed an engulfing pattern. In fact, it was a double engulfing, wherein the highs and lows of the session exceeded those of the previous two. Though stocks finished the session with gains, the principle of such a chart pattern is indicative of a directional change. While Monday's explosive gains on the Dow and other indices may have thrown some off the track, it bears notice that Friday's smallish declines were well contained.
Discounting Monday's ramp higher on US exchanges, futures are currently pointing to a lower open as the bull - inspired by massive interventions by central banks globally - may be running on fumes.
Bear in mind, Washington, DC is still in lockdown, not because of health concerns but something more sinister. The National Guard troops, fences and barricades erected in January still remain. Nearly three months beyond inauguration day, the appearance of the US capitol remains an armed encampment.
Not everything is as it appears.
Dow: 34,113.23, +238.38 (+0.70%)
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 10:23 am ET
The final seven days of April was a week in which nothing of importance happened. There were no earth-shattering, mind-numbing, sensationalist stories. Stocks were moribund. The S&P 500 gained one point. One point. Nobody's getting rich on that. Google, Amazon, and a host of other big names reported first quarter earnings. The aforementioned two big tech giants posted sensational numbers and their share prices moved ahead substantially. Across the market, many companies beat estimates and contented shareholders, for now, though there was a hint of suspicion with some about the sustainability of the bull run, the prices of stocks, weary consumers, and runaway inflation.
It's that last point, inflation, that concerns people the most. Supply chain issues are cited as the proximate cause of price hikes for various goods and services, but that's mostly a cover story for the one-blind-eye corporatism that has overwhelmed world markets. In the United States, consumer goods are rising because everything consumed is imported, mostly from China, and shipping transit rates have exploded. Container ships coming West to East across the Pacific Ocean are full and return empty. That's not a supply chain issue. That's the end result of strip-mining American manufacturing down to the last screw and bolt and sending all to China.
China, in textbook communist manner, owns all the means of production. Owning little to none, the United States has been reduced to a colony of spenders and hoarders, useless eaters and takers. Multi-national companies, most listed on US exchanges, benefit greatly at the expense of consumers and small business. Since Donald Trump was taken off the world stage, China became free to raise prices, control movement, dictate consumer taste, and distort markets at will. The US government will do nothing to stop it. Skeptics attest that the government quietly is encouraging China's behavior to usher in an era of dependency and the ascent of the nanny state to extreme levels.
It took forty years or more, depending on your historical perspective, but America's industrial base has been completely demolished and now the hollowing out of the middle class is well underway, all thanks to inefficiencies or purposeful disinterest by the federal government. The declining condition in America is likely to worsen. There are widespread reports of businesses unable to fill open job positions due to the unwarranted continuation of extended unemployment benefits, rent and mortgage mortariums and other medical-related regulations, rules, or mandates. If anything, slack in the labor market on the job-seeker side should improve wages, leading to more inflation.
Otherwise, everything is just peachy.
Treasury yields bumped up a little bit over the course of the week but remained in the Fed's comfort zone. The 10-year note was up seven basis points, from 1.58% to 1.65%. Yield on the 30-year bond crept up five basis points, from 2.25% to 2.30%. These rates are leaning toward the recent high end from March, when the 10-year topped out at 1.74% and the 30-year was 2.45%. It was at that level that the Fed and investors became uncomfortable at the same time and rates were systematically screwed back down. Even at this week's levels, yields are a far cry from the start of the year, when the 10-year was 0.93% and the 30-year, 1.66%.
Not to get too math-frenzied, those increased yields represent 77% and 39% increases over four months. That's not normal, but, then again, what is normal now?
Cryptocurrencies continue to make mainstream inroads. JP Morgan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, announced that his firm would enable its high-end clients to toy around in the crypto sandbox with a managed investment vehicle while the European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to issue a two-year 100-million euro digital bond on the Ethereum blockchain network, with the sale to be led by Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander, and Societe Generale, according to analysts. Everybody with fiat-based assets wants entry to the blockchain environment, apparently.
These headlines and others sent Ethereum soaring to record highs and stopped dead the decline in Bitcoin, which dropped to $47,000 last Sunday but has since recovered to as high as $58,550 and currently is in a range between $56,000 and $57,000. Ethereum was the darling of the crypto universe, gaining over 30% on the week to just short of $3,000. It has outperformed Bitcoin over the past year, by leaps and bounds, even taking some market share from the granddaddy of cryptocurrencies.
Oil prices went haywire during the week, ascending rapidly from just under $62 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) all the way to 65.01 on Thursday. Friday's across-the-board selloff came just in time to take the closing New York price down to a more reasonable $63.58. Gas prices didn't really respond as the national average stayed just below $2.90 a gallon with highest prices on the West coast and the lower end in the Southeast. For now, at least, prices at the pump have leveled off after the national average had risen pretty quickly in two main moves, from $1.74 to $2.24 last Spring and Summer, and the latest, protracted advance from $2.09 to $2.89 from mid-November to the present.
Much like the absurd lumber market, which has been entirely manipulated by major producers, oil prices are not quite reflective of true supply and demand forces. There's still a glut of crude and economies are not moving forward or re-opening as quickly as the rising price of crude and distillates would suggest.
Despite Thursday's obvious naked shorting on the NYMEX which took gold and silver off of their week's highs, precious metals survived another period of price dislocation by the LBMA and futures market riggers. Silver rocketed from $25.57 the ounce to $26.67 by Tuesday, then was guided lower the remainder of the week to finish Friday at $25.92. Gold's smallish gains were tempered by Thursday's $25 takedown on the NYMEX, leaving the futures price to finish the week at $1769.10, resulting in a net decline of $11 for the week.
An attempt to garnish some favor with silver stackers and the reddit.com horde at r/WallStreetSilver by Sprott Money's Craig Hemke may have re-energized the forces opposed to "paper silver" prices or turn out to be a real dud. Proof will come Sunday night into Monday morning when the futures markets open in Asia, then Europe and then to the Americas. Hemke called for a massive silver raid on May 1, urging people to purchase 100 ounces of silver on that day, which, obviously known to Hemke, was a Saturday, when futures markets were closed, thus rendering any market reaction a delayed reaction or moot point.
Having never stopped their relentless retail silver squeeze, the reddit "apes" were having fun with it, though some regard Hemke as a representative of the establishment Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV) and potentially part of the problem in keeping a lid on the silver price.
However, the ongoing retail buying spree has had and is having some effect on the EFTs, SLV and PSLV, which were negatively affected by February's first silver strike by the redditers and have since been offloading inventory according to this insightful article by Austrolib of The End Game Investor at Seeking Alpha. Keeping an eye peeled on silver and gold this week should be top of mind for anti-fiat proponents.
Here are the most recent prices for common 1 ounce gold and silver items sold on eBay (numismatics excluded, shipping - often free - included):
Item: Low / High / Average / Median
The weekly eBay survey shows both gold and silver to be stubbornly holding onto premia, with Money Daily's Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) advancing 33 cents to $41.87 over the week. Coins remain preferable to bars in both metals, with roughly a three percent (3%) premium for coins over bars at median prices.
While this week may be regarded as hum-drum or otherwise subdued, movements in precious metals and cryptocurrencies suggest that a storm is brewing and nothing will be able to stop its advance over time. Changes, especially radical currency reassignment, take time, measured in years and decades rather than moments and hours. It's worthwhile to disregard market noise in these situations, focusing on longer-term conditions. Being prepared for chaotic events in political, societal, and economic arenas is not for the feint-hearted mor pound-foolish. It requires vigilance and steadfast nerves as the daily drone of mass media often paints a picture that is far removed from actual on-the-ground reality.
Changes are happening all around us. Perception, being able to discern the real from the imagined, underpins the acquisition of useful knowledge.
Many more big cap companies report first quarter earnings this coming week, but after that the earnings deluge will begin to wind down. Money Daily purposely did not report on the Fed's FOMC meeting in this edition of the WEEKEND WRAP as it was a major nothing-burger and completely inconsequential.
A bit of housekeeping to close out the WRAP: This coming week may be the end of regular Money Daily posts on Google's Blogger platform. The posts have been simultaneously published there and on the home site at dtmagazine.com. It seems as though Google's bots are interpreting some traffic on the home site as "invalid." As is usual with the behemoth, no explanation has been forthcoming and Fearless Rick has been getting a little tired of the regularity of Google's one-sided authoritarianism. The plan, so far, is to post a title and a link to the actual post here on blogger, but publish only on the hoe site and possibly on Substack, which appears to be more "author-friendly."
Money Daily and Downtown Magazine create this work. Google and Blogger are nothing more than platforms and facilitators. They don't own our work, nor should we be subject to censorship, be it overtly or otherwise. Enough is enough.
At the Close, Friday, April 30, 2021:
For the Week:
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