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Retail Sales Plus 0.6% in June, Boosting Stocks; John Hussman, Robert Shiller Point Out Valuation Extremes

Friday, July 16, 2021, 8:54 am ET

Well, it's Friday, so let's take a look at where stocks stand going into the final trading session of the week.

The Dow is up 116 points thus far and close to setting another record. The Dow finished at a new all-time high of 34,996.18 on Monday and just nine points from that level as of Thursday's close. With futures pointing to a higher open, it's a safe bet that the Dow - if it finishes with even a minimal positive gain - will at least take out Monday's record.

If recent history is any kind of guide, the Dow should end up wildly positive as Fridays have been very kind to the bulls. Over the last 10 Fridays, the Dow finished in the green nine times, the only loser occurring on June 18 when the industrials fell 533 points. Taking that one bad day out of the equation (horse players would hate this as a 1:9 wager), the gains on the last nine positive closing Fridays was a cumulative 1799 points, or, an average of 199.89 points. There's a reasonable chance that the Dow will finish the week above 35,200 and post its fourth straight winning week.

The rest of the indices aren't looking quite so frothy. In fact, at Thursday's close, the NASDAQ was down 158.79 for the week, so the techs will need a pretty hefty boost to get out of the red, making this the second straight down week for the NAZ.

On the S&P 500, the picture is a bit brighter, down only 9.52 points on the week. Having made an all-time high on Monday (4,384.63), the S&P struggles in a range between 4,380 and 4,393, the intraday high mark on Wednesday. That resistance band may prove to be only a temporary impediment or a lasting top. Well above its 50-day moving average, the S&P has closed only once below it in the past four months and just three times this year. At 4,236, the 50-day is neither an immediate threat nor an intermediate one. The SPX has been flying on the wings of Pegasus, posting record close after record close throughout the first half of 2021.

Finally, the broadly-based NYSE Composite has performed along the same lines as the NASDAQ, down 134.24 for the week. Putting the high-multiple NASDAQ in the same league as the smoothed-out contours of the NYSE offers a glimpse of what the market is really doing. In a nutshell, it's chasing yield, focusing in on the Dow stocks and their juicy dividends and the top 500 mega-caps of the S&P.

That gives the impression that value is winning out over speculation and growth stocks and may indicate a renewed hesitancy. Such a degree of caution is probably justified by the rich valuations prevailing in the market. The Shiller CAPE ratio remains elevated at 38.27, higher than at any point in market history except for the 1999-2000 dotcom craziness.

John Hussman says stocks are at "the most extreme level in history" in his latest note and considers "prevailing conditions to be strikingly hostile." Hussman bases his market estimations on a variety of metrics, one of them being his own MAPE (margin-adjusted P/E) which is already at levels beyond those prior to the 1929 crash and the 2000 NASDAQ plunge.

What has potential to move markets on Friday - simply because there is a dearth of earnings reports and little to no other economic data flow - is the June retail sales report from the US Census Bureau which was released moments ago [PDF].

The advance June report showed retail sales reversed course from the prior decline, posting a positive 0.6% growth nationally. May was revised slightly lower, to -1.7% from -1.3%, but was largely ignored by futures traders, who pumped index futures to overnight highs on the data.

Friday looks to conclude positively for stocks, but longer-term implications, according to data from Robert Shiller and John Hussman are less encouraging.

The eventual crash is not about to happen, at least probably not today.

See you Sunday for the WEEKEND WRAP.

At the Close, Thursday, July 15, 2021:
Dow: 34,987.02, +53.79 (+0.15%)
NASDAQ: 14,543.13, -101.82 (-0.70%)
S&P 500: 4,360.03, -14.27 (-0.33%)
NYSE: 16,499.06, -44.72 (-0.27%)

Bank Stock Earnings Not Producing Broad Market Gains; Gold, Silver Higher, Bitcoin Lower; NIKKEI Pattern Troubling

Thursday, July 15, 2021, 8:00 am ET

US equity indices failed to make new all-time highs two straight days, though the level of declines from Monday's record closes on the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P aren't even close to one percent.

That may soon change, one way or the other, after the Street is done digesting second quarter results from the banking sector, which has thus far produced only a minor case of indigestion.

Morgan Stanley (MS), US Bancorp (USB), Bank of New York Mellon (BK) and newcomer Truist (TFC) will be reporting results prior to the opening bell. Of particular interest is Truist, the comapny that resulted from the 2019 merger of SunTrust and BB&T to form the nation's sixth-largest bank.

Truist missed on EPS, with diluted earnings for the quarter at $1.12. Analysts had expected $1.17. Shares were marginally higher in the pre-market.

Beyond the parade of earnings, alternatives to stocks have been making some news, particularly Bitcoin and precious metals. Bitcoin fell to a low of $31,600 overnight and has rebounded back above $32,000 (oops, just slipped back below $32.000). Despite a floor having been put in place above $30,000, the shine seems to have worn of the crypto space. It's still highly speculative, though winners are more difficult to find after Bitcoin's run-up from late 2020 into April, 2021 and its subsequent decline of more than 50%.

Bitcoiners still insist that the recent losses are no big deal, that its how Bitcoin trades, but the world's premier cryptocurrency has remained moribund and rangebound for the better part of three months. Wall Street's intrusive interest in the crypto space has spoiled it for many true believers. Until there's some kind of resolution to the big money dominance that has become the prevailing theme, Bitcoin continues to look like a dead money trade and it may have become nothing more than a trade, similar to speculative stock offering. For now, Bitcoin offers high risk and no reward. Best to wait on this one until there's definitive price action.

Gold has been catching a significant bid on the COMEX since bottoming out at $1755.60 on June 30, the date after which new Basel III rules regarding reserves to cover gold trades went into effect for European-based banks (Rules for US-based banks began July 1). Call it coincidence, but there is a real possibility that some banks based outside London may have cut back on or curtailed gold trading activity. Gold is marked at $1830.90 as of 6:05 am ET Thursday morning. It's only been a few weeks time, likely not enough to clear out the shorts, but the price action has been encouraging.

Silver may be following gold's lead, though in a much choppier manner. It fell to a low of $25.76 on June 29 amid heavy volume, and is currently pricing at $26.39 an ounce.

Gold's recent gain is 4.3%, compared to silver's paltry 2.4% rise. While these gains may be marginal, it's best to keep a longer perspective on the precious metals. Even if they only maintain the current price levels, given the weakening of every fiat currency, their value continues to increase. The optimists looking for gold at $5,000 an ounce or silver at $200 fail to understand that the price of the metals in fiat dollars doesn't have to go up, only that the purchasing power of those fiat dollars decrease to make them, well, precious.

COMEX prices are denominated in 100 troy ounce gold and 5,000 troy ounce silver contracts, which belies their "paper" nature. Being grotesquely large, COMEX contracts are hardly useful gauges when seeking retail prices for finished coins and bars. They're decidedly undervalued at the COMEX level, thus premia is added when dealing with smaller amounts of refined, finished product. There isn't a dealer alive selling gold or silver at anything close to spot prices and hasn't been for well over a year. When the virus panic began in March 2020, retail prices spiked and premiums have remained high since.

The longer COMEX and the LBMA continue to offer the false impression that gold and silver are cheap even as the price of virtually everything else skyrockets, the price response when real devaluation occurs will be magnificent. For now, buyers of precious metals should consider current levels presenting a prime opportunity to accumulate metal with devalued currency. The fact that prices remain at depressed levels should not be discouraging, but rather an incentive to buy more.

With futures tanking as the New York open approaches and European stocks uniformly in the red Thursday morning, it looks like Wall Street may be looking at another round of profit-taking which could last through early next week. Also of interest is the NIKKEI, which suffered another steep loss (-329). As a proxy for the global economy, the NIKKEI has not made a record close since February and has tried to rebound four times since (March, April, May, and June), each time making a lower high before descending again.

That's a troubling pattern that requires continued diligence. With the world focused on Japan over the next few weeks due to the Olympics, investors may be looking at the country with renewed interest. Whether they like what they see may well be reflected in ongoing trading patterns.

At the Close, Wednesday, July 14, 2021:
Dow: 34,933.23, +44.44 (+0.13%)
NASDAQ: 14,644.95, -32.70 (-0.22%)
S&P 500: 4,374.30, +5.09 (+0.12%)
NYSE: 16,543.78, -32.02 (-0.19%)

Who's Afraid of a Little Inflation? Certainly Not the Fed Nor Wall Street

Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 8:44 am ET

CPI for June came in at 5.4%, which, if one is inclined to believe that Wall Street traders care about inflation, was too much to bear, thus leading to a selloff measured as somewhere around one third of a percent of total index value.

Not to worry. Stocks will resume their relentless ascent shortly after Wednesday's opening bell. Seriously, nearly anybody on the planet is more concerned about inflation than the creatures that routinely roam the canyons of lower Manhattan. Inflation is their stock in trade. Thanks to the Fed's non-stop QE since 2009, stocks have been pretty much the greatest investments of all time. In fact, in just over a year's time, the S&P 500 has doubled. You can't beat that.

So, in case anybody has gotten the impression that the 5.4% year-over-year print in the CPI has anybody concerned in the slightest, dismiss that concept from your brain. Sure, the price of a gallon of gas isn't what it was a year ago and the box of cereal you bought yesterday is either smaller than the one you purchased last year or costs more than it did in July, 2020.

Inflation is endemic to the fiat currency under which the world operates. Just for fun, find an old magazine or newspaper from the 70s and see what new cars cost back in the "good old days." Spoiler alert: about $5,000. After Cadillac and some Buick and Pontiac models, the Impala was one of GMs premiere luxury autos. Many other vehicles cost less.

Inflation has been with us since the day Federal Reserve Notes became the currency of the country in 1914 (Note: the Fed was mentioned in yesterday's note, stating it was formed in 1903. That was a typo. It should have read "1913." The error has been corrected. Sorry). There isn't a thing in the consumer basket that hasn't increased in price.

TV pundits might want to make a big thing about inflation, but it isn't really much of a problem presently. Even if it was, we'd all end up billionaires in the end, anyhow, right?

There are some things that haven't increased in price over the years, but they'd be difficult to find, unless one happens to admire coins and bars made of silver or gold. The price of those things - which qualify as real, honest money - have been purposely suppressed by the US government and central banks globally because the Fed doesn't like competition. Gold or silver are better alternatives than Federal Reserve Notes. They have to be dug out of the ground, requiring a good deal of labor and capital, unlike FRNs, which can be conjured up on computers at the whim of the Fed.

Silver and gold can't be counterfeited and supply is constrained, so inflation isn't a problem on a gold, silver, or bi-metallic currency standard, but the chances of the Fed or the US government returning to such a standard are Slim and None, and Slim has left town.

We've gotten what we have because the vast majority of people in the United States and elsewhere around the world have no say in what the currency is to be. For that we have central banks, the scourge of the world, and they absolutely adore inflation. So long as the USA and the rest of the world (except maybe China and Russia) keep accepting FRNs - and yen, euros, pounds, etc. - in exchange for goods and/or services, we will have inflation and some years will be pricier than others, but in the end, the purchasing power of the currency will continue to decline.

That's life with central banks and inflation. Roll with it.

At the Close, Tuesday, July 13, 2021:
Dow: 34,888.79, -107.39 (-0.31%)
NASDAQ: 14,677.65, -55.59 (-0.38%)
S&P 500: 4,369.21, -15.42 (-0.35%)
NYSE: 16,575.77, -97.37 (-0.58%)

Dow, NASDAQ, S&P Close at Record Highs; Inflation Rises to 5.4%; JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs Smash Earnings

Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 9:23 am ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has caught up to its index rivals, marking a new all-time closing high along with the NASDAQ and S&P 500, which have been regular visitors to the ATH club.

While the S&P made its 10th record close in the last 12 sessions, the new level for the Dow was the third time in the past six sessions. The world's most studied index, comprised of 30 blue chip stocks representing a cross-section of American industry, has been the laggard of the group. Prior to the Friday leading into the July 4th holiday, July 2nd, the index had not made a record closing price since May 7.

With stocks thus set up, earnings season begins Tuesday in earnest as two behemoth banking interests - JPMorgan (JPM, +1.43%) and Goldman Sachs (GS, +2.35%) reporting their numbers before the opening bell. Bank stocks were among the leaders on Monday. All of the majors, including Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C), and Bank of America (BAK) will be reporting second quarter earnings either Wednesday or Thursday morning. As a group, bank stocks have been trading slightly below their 52-week highs.

Loaded with cash from depositors, JP Morgan Chase (JPM), the largest retail banking operation in the United States, was first up, reporting adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.78 vs. an estimate of $3.13. Excluding a one-time, $3 billion credit reserve release, EPS was $3.03 per share. Revenue topped expectations, at $31.4 billion vs. estimates of $30.07 billion. JPM was indicated about one percent lower in pre-market trading. Details of JPM's quarterly results, including a press release, presentation, supplement, and link to the conference call can be found on the company's website.

Goldman Sachs (GS) reported a huge second quarter profit, cashing in on record global dealmaking activity.

Net earnings applicable to common shareholders rose to $5.35 billion in the three months ended June 30, from $2.25 billion a year earlier. Earnings per share exploded to $15.02 from $6.26 a year earlier. According to the IBES estimate from Refinitiv, on average, analysts had expected a profit of $10.24 per share.

Like JP Morgan, Goldman's results were also boosted by a favorable comparison to a year earlier when the bank had set aside excess funds to cover potential loan losses.

Shares of Goldman Sachs, which gained 8.74 points (+2.35%) on Monday, was up from 2.50 to more than 3.00 in pre-market trading.

At 8:30 am ET, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its updated Consumer Price Index for June, showing that inflation showed no signs of slowing, and had in fact accelerated.

CPI rose 0.9% month-over-month, against widespread expectations of +0.5%, the biggest bump higher since June 2008. This sent year-over-year headline CPI soaring to +5.4%, after coming in at 4.99% last month. Core CPI ripped at the same 0.9% month-over-month against expectations of +0.4%, higher by 4.5% year-over-year, the highest since September, 1991.

The CPI figures were aided in large part by the soaring cost of used cars and trucks, which were up 10.5% in June after monthly gains of 10.0% in April and 7.3% in May. Food was up 0.8% on a monthly basis and 2.4% versus a year ago. Energy costs also rose. The price of gasoline was up 2.5% for the month and a stunning 45.1% year-over-year. The data sent stock futures tumbing into the red, indicating a negative open for the market, offsetting the gains made by the strong earnings reports from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

While TV talking heads were chiding the Fed and Chairman Jerome Powell for treating inflation as a "transitory" event, the one-month and yearly data, taking out the huge increases in used cars, gasoline and other energies (fuel oil +44.6%, natural gas +15.6%), indicate the brunt of inflation will be felt less by urban dwellers and more by ex-urban and rural consumers and businesses whose primary functions involve driving longer distances, though shelter costs have been rising as well, with rents up 2.6% year-over-year.

As inflation has been part and parcel of the US economy since the creation of the Federal Reserve system in 1913, this kind of data should come as no surprise, especially considering the huge spending by the federal government and excessive currency creation by the Fed.

Anecdotally, many consumers are complaining about soaring food prices, indicating a need to shop wisely and selectively. What appears to be happening is inflation in various items at different times. To wit: over the past year, high lumber prices were discouraging to home building and renovation, just as currently is not the ideal time to be shopping for a used vehicle.

As the Fed continues to print and the government continues to spend well beyond tax receipts, businesses will adjust pricing to reflect conditions. Eventually, if the inflation surge is not tamped down, everything will rise, possibly triggering hyperinflation, which is loosely defined as a 50% rise in prices. Lumber and other commodities like crude oil (not gold and silver) and now, used cars, have already hit hyperinflation status. More items on the consumer shopping list may follow, leading many to spend in excess, ramping up credit usage.

Buy now, pay later may become the motto for 2021 and beyond.

At the Close, Monday, July 12, 2021:
Dow: 34,996.18, +126.02 (+0.36%)
NASDAQ: 14,733.24, +31.32 (+0.21%)
S&P 500: 4,384.63, +15.08 (+0.35%)
NYSE: 16,673.14, +39.85 (+0.24%)

WEEKEND WRAP: Treasuries Pointing to Potential Monetary Mishaps; London-Based Bullion Banks Get a Pass

Sunday, July 11, 2021, 12:20 pm ET

With earnings season for the second quarter teed up, Friday's huge rally lifted the major stock market indices to green for the week, avoiding a second straight week of declines on the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500. While the NYSE Composite was similarly higher on Friday, the gains were not enough to offset losses earlier in the week. The composite closed down a quarter of a percent.

Oddly enough, there was no news or encouraging data to push the other three indices into positive territory. What seemed to be guiding traders was merely a buy the dip mentality that has entertained market participants and mesmerized most into thinking that stocks must only go higher, similar to the dotcom boom from 1999-2000 and housing melt-up prior to the massive GFC crash in 2008, only this time the Kool-Aid drinkers seem to have gulped down excessive amounts of colored sugar water.

Valuations have been pushed well beyond the extremes of 1929 and 2007-08, evidenced by the Shiller CAPE, which now stands at 38.36, second only to the dotcom all-time high of 44.19 from December, 1999. With the everything bubble expansive and levels of financial and societal propaganda reaching for maximums, there's little to stop valuations and the indices from reaching more and more frequent all-time highs, even as the underlying economy is lain to waste.

Built almost entirely upon stock buybacks, cheap credit, trillions in government stimulus and central bank policies that position stocks as the only asset class to offer positive cash flow and gains, the investment world has been nose-ringed into suspending all reasonable measures of risk, akin to poker players going "all in" on hands of Texas hold 'em, the "greater fool" theory morphed into a "can't lose" attitude, assured of getting out before it's too late.

Believing that the Fed always has the market's back, investment houses continue to ramp stocks on every downturn, as though the economy is expanding despite evidence to the contrary, though recent data and geo-politics are all now tied to virus panic or 2020 disaster figures, skewing current results until they simply do not matter.

When earnings numbers begin to flow next week (more on that further down), stocks and the economy will be praised to high heaven and record highs will be the order of many days ahead. The S&P and NASDAQ each made record closing numbers this past week, the NASDAQ hitting the trifecta with records on Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (Monday was a holiday), while the S&P rocketed on Friday to its ninth record close in the last 11 sessions. It is nothing short of amazing.

While stocks were setting the investing world aflame, bonds were singing a similar, if not louder, tune, as treasury yields collapsed in a spike-down rally worthy of a Karch Kiraly kill shot that sent long-dated maturities tumbling heels over heads.

Strange and unusual is it for bonds and stocks to both rally simultaneously. Surely, somebody must be wrong in their risk preference, but who's to say?

Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice (RIA) has a solid take on the matter and has the charts and commentary to back up his argument that the bond players are holding the right cards. Being that Mr. Roberts is usually ahead of the pack and prescient more often than not, Money Daily tends to echo his views. Anybody who blogs daily, offers a free newsletter and does 3-minute youtube videos is A-OK in our book and worth some attention.

Aside from Roberts views, taken together, the recent collapse in long-dated yields (10-year, 30-year) and Friday's out-of-the-blue stock rally give the impression that yes, investors are fickle, and, yes, big money insiders dictate the trading regimen on a day-to-day basis, and, yes, inflation is a chimera in a regime of low interest rates and a weak economy.

While stocks were chopping around the past few weeks (other than the big caps weighted S&P), bond yields were being decimated, meaning that demand for lower risk was strong, i.e., rally time (bond yields work in reverse). The inflation rhetoric, which had pushed bond yields higher, began wearing thin at the conclusion of the last FOMC meeting (6/16), when 10-year and 30-year yields peaked at 1.57% and 2.20%, respectively. A panoply of Fed speakers talking down inflation rhetoric and some tepid economic data combined to convince bond market participants that interest rate euphoria was overdone. Recall that 10-year and 30-year yields had peaked all the way back in March at 1.74% and 2.45%, respectively, 3/19.

While the decline in yields had been gradual, they took on the tone of a short Hemingway dialog from "The Sun Also Rises," to wit:

"How did you go bankrupt?" Bill asked "Two ways," Mike said. "Gradually and then suddenly."

Thus, bond yields fell gradually on the 10-year from 1.57% to 1.44% and on the 30-year from 2.20% to 2.05% in the intervening three weeks post June's FOMC meeting, but then slumped all at once in three days following the extended Independence Day weekend, to 1.30% and 1.91%, respectively in three short days.

Friday's massive stock rally coupled with a flight from bonds, which sent yields back to 1.37% on the 10-year and 1.99% on the 30-year. Stocks were playing catch-up, courtesy of money made on bonds.

With that little bit of legerdemain to close out trading, the equity markets are now poised for smashing gains as earnings roll out in the weeks ahead. Obviously, the bond rally is far from over, but is likely to be more constrained than the three-day 10% move from last week.

For yet another view of bonds, inflation, and the general economy, see the video below, featuring's Alasdair Macleod on the Keiser Report.

Earnings reports are likely to set off with a loud bang on Tuesday, when financial behemoths Goldman Sachs (GS) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) report prior to the opening bell. The hits keep coming on Wednesday with a slew of financial companies reporting before the open, including Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) PNC (PNC), and Blackrock (BLK), though Delta Airlines (DAL) may steal the show, with expectations of a post-crisis blowout quarter predicted. Thursday brings Morgan Stanley (MS), US Bancorp (USB), Bank of New York Mellon (BK) and newcomer Truist (TFC), all before the opening bell.

In the crypto space, more of the same was the regimen, as Bitcoin traded in a sullen range between $32,500 and $34,500. As much as Max Keiser, Michael Saylor, and Raoul Pal might object, the crypto craze may have seen its best days, at least in the near term. Led by China, governments are cracking down on miners, traders, and hodlers alike, aided by shilling from late-to-the-party Wall Street, conveniently positioned to offer the best clients access to what now has become a cesspool of dark pools and day-trades.

Once the darling of wide-eyed idealists, Bitcoin has been beaten, crimped, fondled, abused, and masticated into a trading vehicle for pin money. Promises of a new, unfettered currency or store of value have been dashed by the usual central bank and establishment cronies, reducing cryptocurrencies to a toy for the rich and not-so-famous. As much as Bitcoin may be dead money, the multitude of altcoins, tokens, and derivatives are deader than dead. Speculators still abound, but the thrill is gone, so to speak.

Of course, nothing lasts forever and the fates could still shine brightly on the crypto universe, but, near to mid-term, there's little on the horizon to suggest that cryptos will replace fiats. A better bet is that central banks will redefine the space with pseudo-crypto, fiat currencies disguised as Satoshi-like. Central Bank Digital Coins (CBDC) will be flounced around, playing the tart, flirting with deceived consumers. As a whole, central banks traffic best in deception. CBDCs are, to them, a gift from the gods of commerce and sheepish consumers will flock to them for a rightful shearing.

Depending on personal preferences, commodities have either boomed, are about to, or are being busted. Oil prices continue to rise as the "reopening" narrative spreads via the predictably-lame mainstream media, the delta variant scare not withstanding. WTI crude fell, amazingly and coincidentally with the 4th of July from its high of $75.23 on July 1, to as low as $72.20 on July 7, before ramping back to $74.63 on Friday. Oil has been on a relentless rise since just prior to the faux election, going for $35.79 a barrel on October 30, 2020. Doubling the price of anything and maybe everything seems to be what the Biden administration and the congressional lackeys and donkeys seem to do best. When you next fill your tank with 10% ethanol gasoline remember to thank your overlords in the fortified capitol for the privilege. The price of a gallon of unleaded has risen from a national average of $2.12 a gallon to $3.15 since mid-November, 2020. In California's population centers, a gallon now runs $4.25-$4.60. The cheapest gas is down in Bayou country. Average around New Orleans is in the $2.70 range.

Gold and silver took alternating paths over the course of the week, with silver declining while gold gained. The rationale underlining the split decision on precious metals are diffuse, but hinge, most importantly, on news that London bullion banks were to be exempted from new Basel III rules regarding reserves for gold trading. The exemption is highly favorable to a continuation of the "paper" markets which determine the global price of physical gold. Led by the COMEX and LBMA, bullion banks besed in London - where most of the world's gold trading takes place - the daily fixes for gold and futures markets will likely remian untouched come January 1, 2022, much to the dismay of goldbugs and the delight of central bankers globally, keeping the world safe from honest money.

Gold ran up from $1783.30 to $1,808.60, Friday to Friday. Silver fell from $26.50 the ounce to $26.18 as the COMEX riggers continued to wage price war with the redditer horde, now boasting 123,000 members (and growing) and other buyers of gentleman's money. While news reports on the Basel III exemptions are ambiguous as related to silver, the LBMA's press release shed a little more light:

Following a consultation [with the LBMA], the Bank of England's Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) said on Friday it had "decided to amend its approach to precious metal holdings related to deposit-taking and clearing activities."

It said it had introduced an "interdependent precious metals permission" which would reduce the size of the required capital buffer.

It sounds like the exemption can apply to silver as well, though it is not stated as such. The phrase "interdependent precious metals permission" seems to indicate that banks seeking an exemption to the capital requirements in silver trading will have them granted without much fuss.

Having nearly complete control of the global currency/monetary system, the central banks and their offspring in the commercial space win once again. As usual, however, there will be pushback. Reuters devoted some space to the reddit "apes" confronting the institutions and bullion banks. Anecdotally, many online silver dealers, such as Provident Metals have shrunken inventory with many items still showing, but carrying "out of stock" notices. Scottsdale Mint, a precious metals fabricator, continues to display a notice that shipping delays are 4-8 weeks out on most items, with Eagles, Buffaloes, and Maples having even longer wait times.

Since there is obviously a supply shortage or outsized demand at retail, the conclusion made by many who stack or hoard PMs that the bullion banks, LBMA, and COMEX are designed to suppress the price of precious metals, should be given respect.

Here are the most recent prices for common one ounce gold and silver items (numismatics excluded, shipping - often free - included):

Item: Low / High / Average / Median
1 oz silver coin: 37.79 / 52.20 / 43.72 / 43.12
1 oz silver bar: 34.85 / 54.09 / 42.65 / 41.87
1 oz gold coin: 1,923.00 / 2,058.45 / 1,985.17 / 1,988.60
1 oz gold bar: 1,872.00 / 1,913.90 / 1,900.85 / 1,906.67

The Single Ounce Silver Market Price Benchmark (SOSMPB) was up from the prior week ($41.95) to $42.84.

Have a grand week, no matter what your trading preference. That's a WEEKEND WRAP.

At the Close, Friday, July 9, 2021:
Dow: 34,870.16, +448.23 (+1.30%)
NASDAQ: 14,701.92, +142.13 (+0.98%)
S&P 500: 4,369.55, +48.73 (+1.13%)
NYSE: 16,633.30, +273.60 (+1.67%)

For the Week:
Dow: +83.81 (+0.24%)
NASDAQ: +62.59 (+0.43%)
S&P 500: +17.21 (+0.40%)
NYSE: -41.55 (-0.25%)

Keiser Report (E1720) with Alasdair Macleod:

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