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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.

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6/5-6/11/2022
5/29-6/4/2022
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5/15-5/21/2022
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5/1-5/7/2022
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3/20-3/26/2022
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3/6-3/12/2022
2/27-3/5/2022
2/20-2/26/2022
2/13-2/19/2022
2/6-2/12/2022
1/30-2/5/2022
1/23-1/29/2022
1/16-1/22/2022
1/9-1/15/2022
1/2-1/8/2022
12/26/21-1/1/2022
12/19-12/25/2021
12/12-12/18/2021
12/5-12/11/2021
11/28-12/4/2021
11/21-11/27/2021
11/14-11/20/2021
11/7-11/13/2021
10/31-11/6/2021
10/24-10/30/2021
10/17-10/23/2021
10/10-10/16/2021
10/3-10/9/2021
9/26-10/2/2021
9/19-9/25/2021
9/12-9/18/2021
9/4-9/11/2021
8/29-9/4/2021
8/22-8/28/2021
8/15-8/21/2021
8/8-8/14/2021
8/1-8/7/2021
7/25-7/31/2021
7/18-7/24/2021
7/11-7/17/2021
7/4-7/10/2021
6/27-7/3/2021
6/20-6/26/2021
6/13-6/19/2021
6/6-6/12/2021
5/30-6/5/2021
5/23-5/29/2021
5/16-5/22/2021
5/9-5/15/2021
5/2-5/8/2021
4/25-5/1/2021
4/18-4/24/2021
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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
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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
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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
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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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Stocks About to Suffer Another Stunning Week of Losses; Dow Industrials Down 19 of 24 Weeks in 2022

Friday, June 17, 2022, 7:11 am ET

Billionaires, being generally smarter and having access to better information than the ordinary investor, have already sold.

Let that sink in a little. The giant hedge funds, family offices, Warren Buffets, Bill Ackmans, and Elon Musks of the world have, at the very least, sold huge amounts of stocks and gone to cash or other assets. Sure, they still own lots of marked-down equities, but they've positioned themselves to buy back in at the bottom, whenever that presents itself. And, they're already super rich, so, outside of massive social disruptions of nuclear war, they have few worries.

Regular Joes and Janes just watch their 401k assets sink slowly into the abyss, taking their retirement plans down with them.

People and businesses fortunate enough to not own any stocks and maybe hold some precious metals, are still doing all right for now, though their futures, like everybody else's, are uncertain.

The Fed reached a crossroads recently, at which point they needed to decide whether to save the stock market or the currency. It wasn't much of a choice. After 14 years of QE, ZIRP, bailouts, easy money, stock buybacks and other loose policy tricks, the inflation they sought so hard to find finally emerged like the monster it is, threatening the way of life for millions of people, and, along with it, the reserve currency status of the almighty dollar.

Continuation of easy money policies would eventually lead to hyperinflation, so, after a taste of it, the Fed decided on the obvious, logical course, which was to salvage the remains of the currency by raising rates, leaving competitors like the yen, yuan, pound, and euro in its wake.

The Fed has raised the federal funds rate at each of its last three meetings, hiking 25 basis points in March, 50 in May and 75 in June. The trend is clear. July could see a full percentage point hike, despite the economy diving deeper into a recession, though 50 or 75 basis points are likely to suffice. At 1.50-1.75% currently, the Fed is close to half way to their goal, a "natural" rate of 3.75-4.00%, and they're not going to stop, no matter how far stocks decline.

That is the plan, has been the plan since November of 2021 and will remain the plan. Nobody said unwinding decades of a credit binge was going to be painless. It's likely to be quite painful and crushing for many.

As far as the current week is concerned, it would take the mother of all dead cat rallies or a bagful of live ones to put stocks onto positive ground. Despite the usual volatility of a quad-witching Friday in options and futures, there's a long way up to break-even. It's not going to happen. Stocks will record another losing week, for the Dow, the 19th out of 24 this year and 11th in the last 12. The Dow Jones Industrials are off a stunning 1,465.72 points, or 4.67% just this week and are down 18.20% for the year.

The S&P slipped into official bear territory of -20% this week, thanks largely to the Fed's rate hike, but also to raging inflation and a host of other problems primarily the result of inept or deliberately damaging government policy. The S&P 500 has shed 234.09 points, a solid six percent decline for the week, and, through Thursday's close, is down 23.55% for the year.

The basket case of tech stocks known as the NASDAQ takes the prize, however, shedding 693.93 points, or 6.12%, this week. Down 32.76% for 2022, nearly a third of the value has been wiped out, eviscerated, vaporized.

It's not going to get better for a while. In fact, it's probably going to get a whole lot worse.

Prepare accordingly.

At the Close, Thursday, June 16, 2022:
Dow: 29,927.07, -741.46 (-2.42%)
NASDAQ: 10,646.10, -453.06 (-4.08%)
S&P 500: 3,666.77, -123.22 (-3.25%)
NYSE: 14,142.19, -453.04 (-3.10%)


After FOMC Hiked Rates 75 Basis Points, Global Markets are Taking a Well-Deserved Beating; Housing Starts Crater; 2Q GDP Forecast at 0.00%

Thursday, June 16, 2022, 9:13 am ET

Having concluded its June FOMC meeting with a policy shift to raise the federal funds rate by 75 basis points (0.75%), Fed Chairman Jerome Powell appeared before the assembled financial media lapdogs for his usual press briefing and question session, releasing a pack of lies so blatant, even Pinocchio was seen holding his elongated nose.

Powell made a point of stressing that the US economy was in a "strong" position and that he saw "no sign" of a broader slowdown in the economy. He pushed the narrative envelope even further by claiming that real GDP growth had picked up in the current quarter, expressing this confidence even as the Atlanta Fed

The US is already in a recession. The NBER revised its definition of a recession in 2008. It does not have to include two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, but it sure appears that is where it is headed anyway. Atlanta Fed's GDPNow 2Q projection was updated (actually "down-dated" would be more accurate) yesterday, June 15, to 0.0%.

The estimate, already below even the bottom ten forecasts, is updated with each new release of significant economic data, leaving ample time to reduce into negative territory. The next update is due out today, June 16, based on the reading on Housing Starts, released at 8:30 am ET, showing a plunge of 14.4% below the revised April estimate of 1,810,000 and 3.5% below the May 2021 rate of 1,605,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Expect the GDPNow reading to enter negative territory later today.

Second quarter GDP (first estimate) won't be officially announced until July 28, but the GDPNow final assessment will precede that by a day.

With the 75 basis point hike now a reality, stocks were sent initially lower, then suddenly ramped higher at the same time (2:30 pm ET) Powell began addressing the gaggle of reporters. That stocks ended the day higher is nothing unusual. Generally speaking, traders are relieved whenever there's a FOMC announcement and reflexively pound on the "buy" button. It's also not surprising that stock index futures are lower heading into Thursday's session.

Not so expected were treasury yields ripping lower (buying), with the 2-year note shedding 25 basis points (3.45% to 3.20%) and the 10-year note yielding 3.33%, down from 3.49% a day earlier. 3s, 5s, and 7s are still inverted, with yields higher than the 10-year yield. By Friday, the 2-year is almost certin to be sporting a yield at least as high as the 10-year, and possibly higher than the 30-year bond.

Also released at 8:30 am ET was initial unemployment claims from the week ending June 10, which came in essentially flat at 229,000, versus an upwardly revised 232k the prior week. Notably, the four-week moving average continued its rise since early April, now standing at 218,500, the highest since January.

With less than a half-hour before the US open, Asian indices closed mixed, but European stocks are being hammered. The Dax, FTSE, and EuroStox50 are all lower by roughly 2.5%. France's CAC-40 is off by nearly two percent. US index futures are cratering, with Dow fuutres down 507, NASDAQ, off 259 and the S&P down 73 points.

Putting the current condition in as mild a a phrase as possible: We're screwed.

At the Close, Wednesday, June 15, 2022:
Dow: 30,668.53, +303.70 (+1.00%)
NASDAQ: 11,099.15, +270.81 (+2.50%)
S&P 500: 3,789.99, +54.51 (+1.46%)
NYSE: 14,595.23, +150.58 (+1.04%)


Federal Reserve About to Unleash the Whirlwind of an Inflationary Recession at Full Sail

Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 8:44 am ET

Stocks drifted throughout the session on Tuesday, which is the usual state of affairs the day before a key FOMC policy decision, and Wednesday's 2:00 pm ET announcement is one of the more highly-anticipated FOMC meetings of the past 30 years.

It was widely assumed that the Fed would hike the federal funds rate by 50 basis points (1/2 percent), though since the CPI's 8.6% annual inflation rate announced Friday, the 11th, the anticipation of a 75 basis point (3/4 percent) hike has churned through the rumor mill to a point at which it is becoming accepted as fact. Some economists and analysts are even calling for a full one percent hike (100 basis points), but that appears to be off the Fed's radar at this time.

The scenarios arising from whatever number the FOMC decides to fall upon will impact stock and bond markets in different ways, though the direction - at least in bonds - will be to the upside for yields, which implies a downer for debtors in the form of higher interest rates on credit of any kind, mortgage, personal, auto, credit card, or student because the Fed will raise the prime rate by a similar amount. The vast majority of credit is loaned at variable rates, most tied to the prime.

For stocks, it's a mixed bag. A 50 basis point hike would now be seen on Wall Street as insufficient to slow down the pace of inflation and would cause stocks to decline. The "just right level of a 75 basis point increase would induce the "Goldilocks" effect, sparking a rally in equities. It would be seen as the Fed doing what's necessary to slow down the record levels of inflation.

Forward guidance will also play a key role in market reaction. If the Fed signals for more hawkish measures - hiking by more at the July and September meetings - that would also encourage stock buying because investors would view that as more proof that inflation will be tamed and the economy could get back to more normal conditions sooner.

Whether or not any of the Fed's actions have large, immediate impact remains to be seen. They've already raised the federal funds rate by 75 basis points - 25 in March and another 50 at the May meeting - but inflation continued to spiral higher. What would have a greater impact on markets is anything that could bring down the price of oil and gas at the pump, but the entity which could produce such a result is the same one that caused higher oil and gas prices in the first place, the US government, so cross that off the hope list.

Looking out further, there's nothing good on the horizon no matter what the Fed does, having painted themselves neatly into this corner from which there is no escape without pain. Higher rates at a faster pace will get inflation under control, but also exacerbate the current recession. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric that the US "might" have a recession later this year or in 2023. We're already in one, but nobody is willing to admit to it. First quarter GDP was -1.5% and the second quarter isn't looking any better in real terms, without the boost of inflation.

Consumers are using credit cards for everyday purchases, many nearly tapped out to due the rising cost of life's essentials - food, energy, and shelter. Higher credit card rates, at whatever pace the Fed hikes, are going to cut deeper into their dwindling resources. Wage growth, which has trailed inflation for decades, is now not even close to keeping pace and a recession will bring layoffs and job losses, which are already occurring. Coinbase just announced on Tuesday that they are laying off 18% of its workforce.

Coinbase is laying off about 1,100 employees, the cryptocurrency exchange CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong said in a blog post Tuesday. Armstrong's announcement comes just days after Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek said that his cryptocurrency exchange is laying off 5% of its corporate workforce, or about 260 employees.

These companies were largely affected by the continuing collapse of the crypto market, with Bitcoin dropping from around $30,000 to its current level of $21,000 in just a matter of days. Other so-called "alt-coins" have been crashing right alongside the crypto granddaddy, but these companies are not alone. More companies have announced or already begun laying off or firing employees, citing a variety of reasons, from slower growth to increased wage pressure to miscalculations on the economy.

In total, advanced Western economies are a slow motion train wreck. Japan is on the verge of a currency crisis. The US and Eurozone are primarily running on fumes, as many US companies shipped their manufacturing bases to China decades ago, so jobs which used to be American staples no longer exist.

No matter what the Fed does this afternoon, the credit bubble has never been bigger and it is about to pop. Defaults will happen. Individuals first, then corporations, then governments. The dollar - already having lost 98% of its value - will continue to disintegrate, though at a slower pace than other currencies like the Yen, Euro and Pound.

For now, the dollar is rising in comparison to other world currencies, but it's rather like comparing the records of baseball teams with losing records. The US may be at the head of the pack, but they're all still going backwards.

Gas cannot stay at $5.00 a gallon for long. It will crush the economy, but it seems to be part of the government's plan to induce everybody to "go green" even though renewable energy sources are nowhere near ready to fully replace oil, natural gas and other petroleum fuels. Gas prices are likely to surge higher as Summer progresses, though that's far from a given. Demand destruction may be felt as soon as this month, as schools close for summer and vacations begin to be cancelled due to the higher cost of fuel and food.

The upshot of Wednesday's FOMC announcement and Chairman Jerome Powell's press conference immediately following is that the path has already been set. It's only a matter of how long the Fed takes to get to some promised natural rate that is the question. It appears that they are prepared to raise interest rates higher and faster, which will serve to blast away at inflation while also exacerbating the recession. Their policies are bad for bonds, bad for stocks, bad for consumers, business, and the government, which is about to experience a rapid increase in their cost of borrowing, just like everybody else.

By being at least six to nine months late, the Fed will be unable to engineer a "soft landing." It will be a crash, though it's likely to occur over a longer period of time in the equity markets, those being largely manipulated by the NY Fed's trading desk, the PPT, the Exchange Stabilization Fund, and the big money players in the market like hedge funds, major banks, and huge investment firms like BlackRock and Vanguard, both of which are major holders of almost all large and mid-cap stocks.

The major indices are already down substantially this year. The NASDAQ is off by more than 30%, the S&P is down 22% year-to-date and the Dow Industrials are 17% lower than they were on January 1. The stock market has not been a roller coaster in 2022, but more of a slip 'n slide which shows no sign of abating any time soon.

As far as credit is concerned, treasury yields tell a large part of the story. In less than six months, yield on a one-month treasury bill has increased from 0.05% to 1.19%. The two-year note yield leapt from 0.78% at the start of the year, to 3.45% as of Tuesday's close. The 10-year, 1.63% to 3.45%. Those moves are not indicative of an orderly decline (yields rise as bond prices fall). It's a catastrophic collapse in its early stages, but the pace has accelerated over just the past week and will continue to spike yields higher and higher, to untenable levels.

With the Fed well along the path of higher rates, their interest rate hikes may actually fuel more inflation as money becomes the latest victim of the rising price of everything. It's going to cost more to borrow, which increases the cost of everything. After what will probably be another brief surge in inflation, the reality of recession will kick in and kill everything. By the middle to late in the third quarter, prices will stabilize and begin falling. We may be seeing this already in food, and soon, hopefully, oil and gas. When credit defaults and layoffs begin to occur at the same time, that will signal capitulation for not just stocks, but the entire Western economy.

Perhaps the Fed and the Wall Street horde may not be aware of the damage they are about to do or how futile are their attempts to stem the tide which they created. As the saying goes, don't hope too hard, you may not like what you get.

At the Close, Tuesday, June 14, 2022:
Dow: 30,364.83, -151.91 (-0.50%)
NASDAQ: 10,828.35, +19.12 (+0.18%)
S&P 500: 3,735.48, -14.15 (-0.38%)
NYSE: 14,444.64, -83.26 (-0.57%)


Western and US Economies in Tatters; Recession Already Present, Depression to Follow

Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 9:12 am ET

Finally, all the people insisting that stocks were not in a bear market got their much-needed confirmation as the S&P 500 closed at its lowest point in nearly a year-and-a-half (3,714.24, 1/29/21), down more than 1000 points from its all-time closing high of 4,796.56 (1/3/22), a loss of 21.83%.

Not that a decline of 20% is a hard and fast rule defining a bear market, it is only the most popular definition in the current "rules-based" and brain-dead investing community. Truth of the matter is that bear markets begin when bull markets end. Those choosing to deny actual losses and see the bigger picture have cost themselves great amounts of money over the past six months. They are likely to lose much more in the next year to two years.

There's no escaping the reality of the Western and US economy, sinking slowly, but sinking nonetheless. Economic conditions in the United States and most of Europe are worse today than at any point since the end of World War II. That is not hyperbole. It is fact. Labor force participation is at or near its lowest level ever. More people than ever are not working, living solely on the generosity of the US government. Companies listed on the various US exchanges are mostly offshore entities, dependent on global trade and the viability of the US consumer for their profits.

The United States is by far the world's greatest debtor nation, yet the currency continues to strengthen aginst fiat peers as its economy erodes. That is only because other currencies, such as the euro, yen, and pound, are in worse shape.

Japan is teetering on the brink of insolvency. The EU, Great Britain, and the USA are only maintaining a facade of their former industrial strength. Much of the GDP of these nations or conglomerates is nothing more than government spending, transfer payments, and massive paper shuffling. The East, particularly China, India, and Russia are rising as world powers along with Latin America and the oil-rich countries of the Middle East.

It's difficult to keep repeating the same warnings and displeasures that have been brought forward on Money Daily for years, but the fruits of unbacked fiat currency and poor public policy are quickly coming to fruition. The Western economy is all fake and it will crumble upon itself in time. Markets propped up by behind-the-scene manipulators cannot succeed over the long term. Eventually, price discovery will prevail and all the fakery and fancy footwork by the Federal Reserve and their crony capitalists will come crashing down upon the heads of those least responsible, the American public.

Anyone expecting returns of any magnitude from equity investments over the coming years had better be prepared instead for massive losses because the ship of state has run aground and the economic system that has been running on fumes since 1971, when then-President Richard M. Nixon closed the gold window, summarily putting an end to the Bretton Woods agreements.

Currency backed by nothing will eventually return to its intrinsic value, which is nothing. Paper assets will go the way of all falsehoods, just as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are now being devalued.

Overnight, Bitcoin hit a low of $20,834, which is still higher than where it will eventually end. Valuing Bitcoin or any other asset in US$ terms is a fool's errand, entertained by those who are unable to distinguish price from value.

While the price of Bitcoin may be $20,000 or $66,000 or $60 million, its value is measured in its usefulness, either as a store of value or a circulating currency. Currently, other than in places like El Salvador or Nigeria, it is neither and prospects for it ever achieving the status of gold or silver as real "money" seem eons away.

As the world prepares for a follow-up to the past four dismal market days, there is little hope for a rebound, though those pesky dip-buyers continue to believe that some stocks are, in fact, bargains. They are not. While a stock that's down 50%, like Meta (META, formerly Facebook), may appear priced for a buy, its value is far lesser than what is publicly stated. As the currency erodes - which is the final chapter of this ongoing economic saga - so does the value of assets priced in it. Stocks that are down 50% today will be down 70 or 80% in the future.

Much of the current damage in equity markets is tied to the treasury and bond market, where enormous sums of money are pledged, redeemed, bought and sold every day. Paradoxically, the price of money has become more dear as the dollar exceeds against other currencies. A ten-year note yielded less than one percent as recently as late 2020 and the first two trading days of 2021 (January 4 & 5). As of yesterday, that same maturity yields 3.43%.

What's worse, the treasury yield curve is inverting, meaning it's more expensive to borrow money short term than long term. Yields on 3, 5, and 7-year notes are higher than the 10-year and the 30-year, an unprecedented condition that forebodes not just a recession, but a debt market implosion and global depression.

The lenders are making much more money than a year ago, but, as the interest rate charged on loans (which are all what treasury bills, notes, and bonds are) rises, so too the risk of default by the lender. Individuals, companies, and governments who are forced to borrow at ever-increasing rates become very fragile entities under a rising interest rate regime. Debt burdens will increase until they can no longer be maintained. Bankruptcies will follow, the finality being the collapse of the entire US federal government, already some $31 billion in debt that's been rolled over at low interest rates for the past two decades.

Imagine replacing interest payments of one or two percent with an equal-sized obligation at four, or five, or six percent. The cost to the government, eventually shouldered by US taxpayers, is enormous. Eventually, it ends in default and disaster.

Americans, on the whole, have become fat, lazy, and stupid. Europeans are already well advanced into debt-and-tax slavery and the United States is following the same path.

This is what happens when a citizenry is overfed, undereducated and life made too easy by a central bank issuing currency out of thin air at interest. When the screws are turned, the result is catastrophic and unavoidable.

Americans have been told repeatedly to not take their cushy lives for granted. The piper is about to be paid by those who fail to prepare.

As the US markets are set to open in less than an hour, international markets have made significant statements, with Australian and New Zealand down more than 3.5%. European markets are on hold, with slight losses, awaiting the US open. US equity futures have moved higher over the past hour, setting up a positive open. What may be a dead cat rally could emerge, but it will almost certainly be short-lived as market participants eagerly await the Federal Reserve's FOMC policy decision on Wednesday (2:00 pm ET). The Fed is likely to raise the federal funds rate and prime rate by 50 basis points, though analysts from various banks have suggested a 75 basis point hike may be in the offing.

That projection is likely to be over the top and incorrect, as it only is mentioned to ease the pain. Market pundits will cheer the 50 basis point hike, suggesting that it could have been worse, when all along they know just how bad it really is.

Do not be fooled by any short-term rallies. They are shorting opportunities or spaces in which to unload stocks.

At the Close, Monday, June 13, 2022:
Dow: 30,516.74, -876.06 (-2.79%)
NASDAQ: 10,809.23, -530.77 (-4.68%)
S&P 500: 3,749.63, -151.23 (-3.88%)
NYSE: 14,527.90, -568.80 (-3.77%)


WEEKEND WRAP: Stocks Suffer Worst Week Since 2020; Treasury Yields Explode Higher as Inflation/Recession Reality Emerges

Sunday, June 12, 2022, 3:26 pm ET

As stocks have suffered severe blows through the first half of 2022, the carnage experienced by equity traders this week may have been the worst to date. Anticipation grew over the May CPI number throughout the week, so that when it was finally announced Friday morning at an 8.6% annual rate, the reaction was swift and excruciatingly painful.

That the huge Friday selloff came directly behind Thursday's late-day drop made for the worst-performing week for stocks since the declines of February and October 2020.

Anybody still in denial over the existence of a bear market in stocks just because the Dow and S&P aren't down 20% sorely needs a reality check. Bull and bear market are not functions of somebody's cockeyed magical math formula. They are trends, and the primary trend in the major indices changed course in November, 2021 or January, 2022, most likely November, with the early January highs on the S&P and Dow speculative blow off tops.

The S&P 500 fell for the ninth time in the past ten weeks and has finished lower on a weekly basis, 16 of 23 weeks in 2022. If this were a sporting event, the score would be 16-7 in favor of the Bears nearing halftime. The Bulls hope to make adjustments going into the second half, but raising interest rates to stave off inflation plays right into the Bears' hands.

As of Friday's close, the S&P 500 is down 18.67% year-to-date, with the Dow Industrials off 14.19% and the NASDAQ -28.38 over the same time span.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average finished Friday at -21.54% from its all-time high (17,039.38, 11/2/21).

Any further discussion of the Bull/Bear case is beating a dead horse. Just like the stolen election of 2020, it's a farily obvious case, even though the deniers of reality want to be blindfolded before donning rose-colored glasses and blinkers.

This is absolutely a bear market and has been since January. Being this late to the party is no longer an excuse. It makes one a loser. Holding stocks because they're only down 15% will make it even more difficult (and bottom line costly) to shed them when they're down 30%, 40%, or more.

As far as that mythical recession that people keep predicting is concerned, we're already in one. Just in case you haven't heard, the official recorder of expansions and recessions, the NBER, changed their definition of a recession back in 2008. It does not have to include two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, as was evidenced by their call of the February-April recession of 2020, which, by the way, they didn't announce until July 2021. By the time these eggheads call a recession, it's usually finished. This time will be no different, except maybe it will be longer than most people are anticipating.

For what it's worth, the current recession began in January and is not likely to bottom out before the fourth quarter of this year and could easily extend well into 2023. It's going to be a painful downturn since there are an abundance of obstacles to growth in the current economy.

Do yourself a favor and take a little tour of the NBER website, especially the Cycle dating FAQs, which are quite entertaining.

Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Stock investors had company in the latter part of the week. Treasury curve elements broke out from a short-term period of quiet into a full-blown maelstrom of discontent, mostly in the short-to-middle-dated securities. Over the course of just the past week, yield on the two-year note increased a full 40 basis points, from 2.66% to 3.06%. Other notable moves were made by the one-year note (+40 bp), three-year (+34) and five-year (+30).

The complex is now flattening and inverting at the same time, as fives and sevens are sporting higher yields than 10s (3.15%). At the extremes, the 30-year bond added just 11 basis points, from 3.11% to 3.20%, while the one-month bills gained 23 basis points, moving from 0.87% to 1.10%, reflecting the Fed's promise of a 50 basis point hike to the federal funds rate at the conclusion of their FOMC meeting this week, Wednesday, June 15.

How flat is the curve? Very. The spread on 2s-10s is at nine basis points. 2s-30s, 14; 10s-30s, five basis points.

By the time the Fed completes their second of two consecutive 50 basis point hikes (June and July), the curve should be effectively inverted from 2s out to 30s. Two-year notes, which just vaulted over three percent this week, are likely to be approaching four percent in short order. The 10 and 30-year will not keep pace. This is exactly what a liquidity squeeze will look like. The economy will, without a doubt, flatline. Interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, auto, personal, and student loans will skyrocket.

The upside to a deeply-depleted economy is that inflation will be toned down a bit. Gas and food prices will peak and begin to decelerate as soon as next month, possibly before then, but the cure may be worse than the cause. The Fed may be able to claim victory over inflation, but by then, the reality of a recession will be obvious to everybody.

Date 1 Mo 2 Mo 3 Mo 6 Mo 1 Yr
05/27/2022 0.69 0.91 1.08 1.54 2.01
06/03/2022 0.87 1.05 1.21 1.68 2.18
06/10/2022 1.10 1.25 1.39 1.98 2.58

Date 2 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 7 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr 30 Yr
05/27/2022 2.47 2.64 2.71 2.76 2.74 3.16 2.97
06/03/2022 2.66 2.87 2.95 2.99 2.96 3.33 3.11
06/10/2022 3.06 3.21 3.25 3.24 3.15 3.45 3.20


Oil/Gas

WTI crude oil was higher on the week, though the stock selloff Thursday and Friday took down the price somewhat. Rising from $118.87 to $120.49 was not a dramatic move, but it continues marching on a path toward the recent high of $123.70 (March 8, 2022). What's driving prices higher are the boneheaded policies of governments in the US and EU, along with the British Commonwealth states, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. Insistence on changing over the world's energy resources to more renewable, "green" sources like solar and wind before actually having infrastructure ready has created a speculator's paradise, where they can put the price of oil and natural gas at any level they desire. Even though there is no shortage of refined product (gas, diesel, jet fuel) the higher pricing of these commodities gives the impression of one.

There is no shortage. There is price gouging at an international level. Producers are having a field day and raking in record profits. The public will become aware of it in late July or early August, when companies like ExxonMobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and Devon Energy (DVN) release second quarter results.

Unsurprisingly, gas prices continued their ascent to a national average of $5.01 a gallon on Saturday and held into Sunday. The price of unleaded regular increased 15 cents over the past week and may be nearing a peak. At least that's what most people are hoping.


Bitcoin

Bitcoin still looks more and more like dead money. Last Sunday: $29,680.20; this Sunday: $27,942.20, but that figure is right after the granddaddy of cryptos dipped as low as $26,921 just before noon ET on Sunday.


Precious Metals

Gold price 05/15: $1,810.30
Gold price 05/22: $1,845.10
Gold price 05/29: $1,850.60
Gold price 06/03: $1,853.90
Gold price 06/10: $1,875.20

Silver price 05/15: $21.13
Silver price 05/22: $21.77
Silver price 05/29: $22.14
Silver price 06/03: $21.94
Silver price 06/10: $21.92

Here are the latest 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: 33.99 49.54 40.58 40.98
1 oz silver bar: 31.04 45.00 37.95 37.50
1 oz gold coin: 1,938.76 2,014.69 1,988.74 1,992.20
1 oz gold bar: 1,953.58 1,989.70 1,967.24 1,961.90

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) was up sharply over the course of the week, to $39.25, gaining $2.24 from the June 5 price of $37.01.


WEEKEND WRAP

While this week was truly painful for equity investors, the coming week may prove to be more of the same, with the FOMC policy announcement dead in the middle of it, at 2:00 pm ET on Wednesday. There may be some dip buyers emerging from the shadows Monday morning for a dead cat reflex rally, but the current sentiment says otherwise.

The US and the rest of the Western world economies are in the midst of a great unwinding of enormous credit excess and there's no way to kick the can further down the road for the Fed, lest they contribute even more to the runaway inflation they helped create. A long, slow stock market decline is probably preferable to a sudden crash, though the market going bid-less remains a possibility. What's ahead is likely months more of bad news, stock selling, and interest rate increases, interspersed with, short, powerful bear market rallies and plenty of hopium.

Isn't life grand?

At the Close, Friday, June 9, 2022:
Dow: 31,392.79, -880.00 (-2.73%)
NASDAQ: 11,340.02, -414.20 (-3.52%)
S&P 500: 3,900.86, -116.96 (-2.91%)
NYSE: 15,096.69, -375.77 (-2.43%)
TRAN: 13,368.91, -360.19 (-2.62%)

For the Week:
Dow: -1506.91 (-4.58%)
NASDAQ: -672.71 (-5.60%)
S&P 500: -207.68 (-5.05%)
NYSE: -700.48 (-4.43%)
TRAN: -1075.93 (-7.45%)


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 2022, Downtown Magazine Inc., all rights reserved.

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