|HOME||PRICE GUIDE||STORE||BLOGS||SPORTS||BUSINESS||NEWS/UPDATES||WILD SIDE||CONTACT||ARCHIVES|
Weekly People's Gold and Silver Prices
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.
Downtown Magazine appreciates your support. If you find the information here helpful, please consider showing your support. PayPal, debit or credit cards accepted.
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.
Downtown Magazine appreciates your support. If you find the information here helpful, please consider showing your support. PayPal, debit or credit cards accepted.
Thursday's Stock Slide Tempered By August Non-Farm Payrolls at 1.371 Million, Unemployment Rate, 8.4%
Friday, September 4, 2020, 8:42 am ET
There's no getting around it, stocks got pounded on Thursday.
When what must have seemed like an eternally-long day of relentless selling, the S&P 500 had dropped 3.5%, the Dow was down 2.8% and the NASDAQ took the brunt of the hit, down nearly five percent.
Since June 11, Thursday's drubbing was the worst single-day drop for the NASDAQ and the S&P 500. The cause for the sudden departure from exorbitant optimism may have been a needed jolt of reality, as the US economy remains mired in a COVID-related mess and the "V-shaped" recovery theory looking more doubtful as congress dithers over a second aid package to hard-hit individuals and businesses and violent protests continue to plague large American cities.
Among the casualties were some recent high fliers. Apple (AAPL) dropped 8% on on the day. Tesla (TSLA, 407.00, -40.37) skidded 9%, finishing the day down 19% from the record high achieved on Monday (498.32). Chip maker AMD (AMD) lost 8.5%. Another big name in the chip sector that has traded to the upside throughout the rally, Nvidia (NVDA), lost 9.2%.
The stocks added to the Dow Industrials Monday didn't provide any cover either. Honeywell (HON), Amgen (AGM), and Salesforce.com (CRM), were among the worst performers on the index, losing 3.58%, 3.96%, and 4.22%, respectively. These were the companies chosen to replace dullards ExxonMobil (XOM), Raytheon (RTX), and Pfizer (PFE) to propel the Dow to record highs. So much for best-laid plans.
Money was flowing out of stocks and into bonds, a story that's been developing all week. The 10-year note, which ended last Friday with a yield of 0.74%, finished Thursday at 0.63%. The slide on the 30-year was more pronounced. It ended last week with a yield that was the highest since June, 1.52%, but dropped to 1.34% Thursday.
As investors were looking forward to the August non-farm payroll data from the BLS and an upcoming three-day weekend, concern is that Thursday's reversal of fortune might not be a one-off but rather a second leg of the carnage that developed in February and March, when the coronavirus was still incubating in the US and government lockdowns and stay-at-home orders had not yet been issued.
Following the stock swoon in March, the Fed stepped up with $3 trillion in loan guarantees and a smorgasbord of programs, facilities, and initiatives designed to limit the damage to US stocks. They provided cover for iliquid stocks and sent the indices soaring to new heights over the next five months.
There's growing evidence that the market has been left to retail investors as insiders have been cashing out with extraordinary gains at a breakneck pace. Most professional investors had at least an inkling of suspicion about the foundation of the sharp rally off the March lows and were likely those jumping ship as stocks got crushed... for a day. The potential for a re-rally is still evident, and it doesn't have to be right away. Stocks could slide even further in coming days before serious money comes back into the market on the dip.
As congress readies to get back to business - if that's how one would characterize what they do up there - following the Labor Day weekend, the market can be buoyed by the White House and House of Representatives at least coming to an interim solution to keep the government operating. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have apparently struck a deal in principle for a continuing resolution to extend government operations into the 2021 fiscal year, starting October 1.
At 8:30 am ET, there was some encouraging news, with non-farm payrolls for August coming in slightly above expectations at 1.371 million. The unemployment rate fell by a massive amount, from 10.2% in July to 8.4% as of this reading. Futures are gradually improving ahead of the cash open at 9:30.
In other news, that paragon of virtue, Goldman Sachs (GS), has avoided jail time for some of its highest executives via a settlement with the government of Malaysia in the 1MDB scandal.
Goldman Sachs had to boost its legal reserves by $2.01 billion to account for the Malaysia settlement, shaving its second-quarter net income by 85% and wiping out what had been a surprise jump in profit due to trading gains.
Not to worry. The Vampire Squid - as Goldman Sachs is known - will probably just steal that amount or more from some other non-white country, or maybe France. Or, they could be reimbursed by the Federal Reserve, to which $2.01 billion amounts to a rounding error.
Those unfamiliar with the Goldman-1MDB scandal that involved theft, money laundering, corrupt government officials, bribery, and even murder of political opponents, is encapsulated in this scathing report by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.
With bad news seeming to have taken some of the wind out of Wall Street's sales, the good news is that there are some college football games this weekend (two were played on Thursday, with seven more slated for Saturday) and the Kentucky Derby will be run Saturday at Louisville's Churchill Downs, albeit four months late. Many of the horses will be wearing blinkers and all of the jockeys will be wearing masks. Oh, well...
At the Close, Thursday, September 3, 2020:
Thursday, September 3, 2020, 8:54 am ET
Stocks were up sharply on Wednesday, September 2nd, with all major indices putting in impressive gains. Led by the Dow Industrials, which cracked the 29,000 mark for the first time since February 20, the trading was genuinely positive all day but really ramped up in the final two hours.
The big move in the Industrial Average was aided by the recent inclusion of Amgen Inc. (258.12, +7.26 +2.89%) and Honeywell (172.47, +4.50 +2.68%) but disappointed by salesforce.com (276.69, -4.56 -1.62%), which replaced ExxonMobile, Raytheon, and Pfizer.
Wednesday's move left the Dow just 450 points from its all-time closing high (21,551.42, Feb. 10, 2020), a number that is almost certainly to be shattered within weeks, if not days.
Moving ahead to Thursday's pre-market, initial jobless claims were 833,352 on an unadjusted basis, and 881,000, seasonally adjusted.
As if the unemployment figures produced by the Department of Labor weren't suspect enough, a change in how seasonally-adjusted claims are reported began with today's report.
According to Yahoo News, "Thursday's report, however, will also mark the first time the US Department of Labor (DOL) counts new and continuing jobless claims under an updated system, with this change expected to lower the number of seasonally adjusted claims that get reported."
According to another "trusted" source, USA Today claims, "The new method involves using a seasonal adjustment that's more stable because it applies a number rather than a percentage to the actual claims total, J.P. Morgan economist Daniel Silver wrote in a note to clients."
Now, since the seasonally-adjusted number is higher (881,000) than the non-adjusted figure (833,352), what can we make of this? Hard to tell, since the opposite of what was expected to happen (lower seasonally-adjusted number) via the change in calculation, occurred.
Well, suffice it to say that the government lies, mostly all the time.
This report would not be complete without a little taste of fake news - today's entry into the panoply of bogusness from the pre-eminent anti-truth newspaper, the Washington Post.
Their story, published on September 2, purports to detail the horrible after-effects from the evil biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota back in the second week of August, claiming to report the First covid-19 death linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
The article - with some degree of giddiness - states:
The man was in his 60s, had underlying conditions and was hospitalized in intensive care for several weeks after returning from the rally, said Kris Ehresmann, infectious-disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health. The case is among at least 260 cases in 11 states tied directly to the event, according to a survey of health departments by The Washington Post.
First, note that the man had underlying conditions, but the article - likewise the hundreds of other articles covering the same story - fails to mention what those conditions were. Cancer? Obesity? Acne? Anybody?
While the article very plainly states that the man attended the rally in Sturgis, it fails to mention where he went before and after the rally. The coronavirus, we've been told, can have a quite long incubation period, so where the Post tries to link the man's death to the rally, it doesn't mention whether he was a regular church-goer, mall shopper, or attended any other rallies, festivals, parties, or gatherings where he could have picked up the infection. For all we know, he could have contracted the COVID from a relative or somebody he had lunch with near his home. Dead horse. Stop beating it.
Let's take a look at some numbers, OK?
The annual US Death rate is 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population. That amounts to 16.61 deaths per 100,000 per week.
Considering that the Sturgis biker festival supposedly drew about 400,000, it would be statistically insignificant if 64 of the people who attended the rally died each week following the event. Many of these bikers are in the riskiest categories, over 50, surely many with one or more comorbidity, so if 100 or more of these bikers died since August 16, it would not be surprising.
But, here we have one. ONE. Just one guy and it makes news. Now, if bikers were dropping like flies sprayed with Black Flag, then there would be a story. One guy, who was old and already sick, dying, does not a news story make. What it does is promote the COVID propaganda narrative which tells us to wear masks, stay away from each other (no hugging, kissing, or, for the sake of the children, none of that intimacy stuff), be afraid, make sure to be first in line for an untested, possibly fatal, vaccine which will be rolled out in a couple of months, and stop living as normal human beings.
The fellow who passed away may have had a terminal illness for all we know and was going to the biker rally for one last good time before cashing in his chips. We don't know and rest assured the crack reporters who covered this story are unlikely to follow up with any relevant details, so, we'll probably never know the truth.
The truth. It hurts. It's also, according to the "father of tragedy," Aeschylus, the first casualty of war, and we are at war. With the government, the media, the medical and financial communities.
At the Close, Wednesday, September 2, 2020:
Wednesday, September 2, 2020, 9:26 am ET
Here's a quick insight into how much the value of a dollar has fallen since 1950 (70 years ago) and how much silver (and gold) should really be worth.
In 1950, a gallon of gas cost right around 25 cents. Silver was 75 cents an ounce, so an ounce of silver could purchase 3 gallons of gas. If you used US quarters (90% silver, in circulation), you could have bought more, about 5.5 gallons.
A US quarter contains 0.181 troy ounces of silver, so you would need 5.52 quarters to equal an ounce of silver, or, roughly, in 1950, $1.38. With that, you could have basically purchased 5.52 gallons of gas. So, even back in 1950, the trading price of silver (0.75) was actually lower than the amount of silver in circulating coins ($1.38).
Fast forward to 2020, where the price of a gallon of gas is around $2.00 and an ounce of silver is $28. Today, with the same ounce of silver you had in 1950, you could buy 14 gallons of gas. If you use US quarters (taken out fo circulation in 1964), which are now worth $5.00 each, the same 5.52 quarters are worth $27.60, or roughly the same as a raw ounce of silver.
Either way you slice it, the value of a dollar has declined significantly against silver (and gas).
How much? A lot. If you use the price of one ounce of raw silver, you could purchase nearly five times the amount of gas today than you could in 1950. If you used 1950 quarters (circulating) today (not in circulation), you'd get a little less than three times the amount of gas.
Here's another calculation we can make: since the price of silver was much lower than the value of circulating currency (quarters) in 1950, in fact, the price of silver was just 54% of the circulating currency, which is why coins stayed in circulation instead of being melted down for their silver value because the coins were worth much more than the actual raw metal. That's what currency in a strong economy looks like.
Taken in 2020 terms, if the price of silver is still just 54% of what it should be, the price of silver should be $51.85 and those 5.52 quarters would be worth not $5.00 each, but $9.39.
It gets worse - for the US dollar, that is. Because of inflation, which is, in reality, the gradual destruction of the value of a currency, gas, that was 25 cents a gallon in 1950, is now $2.00 a gallon, so we are getting just 1/8th of the 1950 value in current dollars, or 12.5%, meaning that since 1950, the value of the US dollar has fallen by 87.5%. OUCH! This is what the Federal Reserve calls "stable prices."
So, in dollar terms, the real price of silver should be eight times what it is today, and then it would still have to be reajusted upward because that number would still be 54% lower than what it should be.
Here's the math: price of silver today ($28.00) x 8 = $224. Now, since that's just 54% of its true value, ($224 x 100) ÷ 54 = $414.81. There you have it.
The price of silver (in US dollars) has been kept down purposely so that people would not be clamoring to go back to a gold or silver standard. In the early days of the United States of America, the country was on a bi-metallic standard, using gold and silver as currency, according to the constitution. The Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) issued by the Federal Reserve (a private bank, BTW) are not constitutionally-mandated currency.
Now, many people think we should be going back to a gold standard. Here are some truly amazing numbers about how much an ounce of gold should be worth today. At the current gold-silver ratio of 70.35 ($1970:$28), using our $414.81 (let's just round up to $415) price of silver, an ounce of gold would be a staggering $29,195.25.
Since the current gold-silver ratio is way off the traditional, time-honored measures of 16:1 or 12:1, an ounce of gold would be, at those ratios, $6,640, or $4,980, respectively. Since gold bugs won't be satisfied with those figures, and most rational people would be happy with a gold-silver ratio around 25:1, or $10,375 per ounce of gold.
This is why, when people say the central banks manipulate the price of gold via the spot price and futures trading, they're missing the point. Central bankers truly do hate gold - it's competitive currency, after all - but they really hate silver much more and there's evidence of it. Once you do some reading on the Crime of '73 and here, you'll understand why central bankers have a standing obligation to keep the price of silver (and gold) at criminally low levels.
People who are older are at greater risk for serious illness, and possibly death, from Covid-19. The CDC reports that 8 out of 10 Covid-19 deaths reported in the U.S. are people over 65 years old.
That's an honest and correct CDC statistic. There have been 186,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the United States. Just on this data alone, the number of deaths of people younger than 65 is 20% of the total, or 37,200. In a population of 330 million, that makes the chances of anybody under the age of 65 dying from COVID-19, 1-in-8870, or 0.0088%, or less than one-tenth of one percent, which would be 0.01%.
This is THE point. If the chances of dying from this so-called "killer virus" is so small, why then did governors across the country issue maddeningly-restrictive conditions on the general population, including closing businesses for weeks or months, shutting down schools, churches, any gathering of more than 15 people, various quarantines, ridiculous amounts of testing with tests that were wildly inaccurate, mandatory mask-wearing and all the rest of the absurd social distancing requirements?
The very best one can conclude from this six-month episode which cratered the global economy is that government reacted far too ham-handedly and excessively cautiously in its efforts to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19, which managed to spread itself quite readily, regardless.
The federal and state governments have acted in wholly irresponsible manners regarding a virus that is not even as deadly as the common flu variant, bringing people to the point of asking whether the governors, mayors, county officials, and hospital administrators were willfully negligent in their response to the virus.
It would seem sensible to most people that causing a nationwide panic would lead to worse outcomes overall than the virus itself posed. The mainstream media, which promoted the virus as a deadly health risk when it was only deadly to people with existing medical conditions, is equally at fault for pushing the narrative of the medical community, which, from day one never advised anybody to strengthen their immune systems, whether it be through healthy eating and exercise or a regular regimen of vitamins C, D3, Zinc and green tea, a preventative measure that has proven effective.
While the CDC's findings that only six percent of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 were caused by that alone is damning evidence enough, an understanding that the general population was never at any serious health risk goes against the grain of the roles of government, media, and the medical community, which is to work for the good of the general public. The actions of governors, mayors, medical practitioners, and mainstream media outlets has been poor public policy at best. At worst, their actions have been nothing short of a criminal conspiracy intended to cover up the foundational cracks in the economy, to shroud radical policies by the Federal Reserve that have bankrupted the country, and to undermine the re-election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
Would that the people of the United States could levy an indictment against the elite individuals, organizations, and institutions upon which the people entrusted their very lives, the evidence would indicate that decisions were made rashly, irresponsibly, and without regard to the well-being of the public.
The case for universal mask-wearing, social distancing, and some mendacious, profit-driven push for a vaccine is closed.
None of it was necessary. The American people - and people in nations around the world - have been duped once again, this time with the implicit assistance of social media companies which censored and banned the truth from emerging.
It is well past time for people to wake up to the reality of the situation: that the government/media/medical cabal engineered a diabolical panic for personal, political, and economic gain.
The vast majority of people in America and especially anybody under the age of 40 in good health should remove their masks and loudly proclaim, "we do not believe you. We do not consent."
This was a scam from day one.
At the Close, Tuesday, September 1, 2020:
Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 7:44 am ET
Take off those stupid masks. You look like a bunch of idiots.
That's what people are thinking and saying these days to the sheep-like morons who follow orders without engaging in research or critical thinking.
On Aug 26, the CDC quietly "revised" COVID-19 numbers finding that SIX PERCENT (6%) of 153,504 reported US deaths were actually FROM COVID ALONE.
For six percent of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death, including the most common: diabetes, obesity, and heart and respiratory conditions.
The following is straight from the CDC website:
Even armed with the knowledge that the COVID-19 scam-demic is significantly over-rated, over-reported, over-hyped and of little concern to most Americans, especially those under the ago fo 60 with no other medical issues, that doesn't mean the government and media isn't going to continue pushing forward with their masks-on, no parties, social-distancing agenda. "Cases" is the flavor of the month, and has been since instances of coronavirus fell off dramatically in May. By June, testing had ramped up and more cases were discovered, with the three most populous states in the country - California, Texas, and Florida - leading the charge.
It doesn't take a Ph.D. do understand that increased testing would naturally result in a rise in the number of reported cases of infection, especially since the test kits in use are highly likely to return an abundance of false positives and are designed to pick up just about anything that even remotely resembles a coronavirus, even dead virus material from flus or common colds (all coronaviruses) contracted years ago or antibodies which most healthy individuals carry to fight off infections.
Further, the counting of positives varies from state to state, city to city, and there's no control groups to limit the ways in which a test can be determined a positive.
So, according to plan, cases exploded while hospitalizations and deaths saw a slight bump. Mostly, those requiring hospitalization had at least one co-morbidity, as explained above, and the vast majority of deaths (over 90%) were in the 65 and beyond crowd. Anecdotally, a group of just over 300 individuals who graduated from the same high school in 1971 (all of them 66 to 68 years old) reported no deaths from COVID-19, so even the most at-risk groups were not being affected.
The "case-demic" has been in play for more than three months now, and the media merrily plays the tune nightly on their news broadcast and every morning on the mainstream TV shows like "Today", "Good Morning America" and the "CBS Morning Show." Americans are piling up a huge caseload, but hospitals are sending workers home and laying off nurses. The COVID disease is supposed to spread next to rural America, but that doesn't seem to be panning out as experts have predicted. Most people out in flyover country social distance by practice. Homes are spread far apart and rural folks generally get a lot closer to farm animals than to each other.
As such, the COVID scare is losing much of its punch. Cases are declining along with deaths (when properly reported, which they're generally not), but sporadic lockdowns and other draconian social conventions are being applied nonetheless, like on college campuses, which have turned into concentration camps or ersatz prisons where students are not allowed to leave their dorm rooms, cafeterias and dining halls are closed, meals are picked up or delivered and eaten in rooms and most of the classes are on Zoom or other virtual networks, making a mockery of the whole "college experience" promise.
The situation in which the government and media has put the country is quite dire. Unemployment is ridiculously high, productivity has fallen off a cliff, and people are losing their patience with overbearing restrictions being imposed upon them, so, everybody has to individually take action that will best benefit their own self-interest. The widely circulated message, "we're all in this together" be damned. A single, healthy retired person has almost nothing in common with a middle aged wife with two or three kids. Single young males have nothing in common with married, working, middle-aged females. And so on it goes. Actions which are most beneficial - socially, politically, financially - to each individual must be a top priority in the face of a government, armed with a mendacious attitude towards the common populace, with a compliant media propagandizing the preferred agenda-driven narrative.
What is at the root of the entirety of the COVID scam and government reactions is the complete implosion of the economy. The US economy went off the rails rather completely in 2008-09 and, despite the gains in stock markets, has not recovered. All of the stock market gains were paper plays mostly derived from stock buybacks. Since 2008, the Fed has bought time with various rounds of QE and ZIRP, but all of that turned to mush when the repo market imploded in September, 2019.
Put simply, the US economy, the US dollar, and its reserve status, is toast. The dollar has lost almost all of its purchasing power, banks and credit card companies, having not learned anything from the Financial Panic of '08-09, extended even more credit to even less-qualified individuals. he pandemic, be it by design or just dumb luck, came along at the right time. The economy needed to be flushed, the dollar utterly destroyed and the US economy put down.
One reason the entire economy hasn't completely fallen apart are the various actions by government and the Fed, which pumped $3 trillion into banks and other big corporations, while the federal government doled out additional unemployment insurance and $1200 checks to about 80% of the adult population. Then there are the moratoriums on foreclosures, evictions, deferrals and forbearance on credit cards, car loans, student loans, mortgages, and personal loans which show up on the banks' books as assets (some including additional interest), though after non-payment on deferrals for three, four, six, eight months, one has to question whether these "assets" are worth anything at all.
When all of the kick-the-can-down-the-road measures are exhausted, there's going to be an even bigger pile of debt that in all likelihood will be defaulted upon by businesses and individuals. The process, just like the mortgage crisis more than a decade ago, will take years to play out. After all, it's much bigger, engulfing every social and economic strata in the country, and to a larger extent, the world.
By the time it's all over, say in three to four years, America will be unrecognizable from what it was in 2019. Anybody still holding on to a belief that life is somehow going to return to normal, when evidence is mounting that the reserve status of the US dollar is failing and that a new global digital currency is already in the works by central bankers is simply whistling past the gravestones.
Life is never again going to be "normal" if the elite in government, media, medicine, and industry have their way. The point is to not allow them to have it, though, judging by the mask-wearing sheep populating what used to be a free country, Americans are more than willing to give up all of their liberties for a little money (UBI, Universal Basic Income, anybody?) and some perceived safety (vaccine). If you allow government to demean, discredit, and control your life, you'll get exactly what you deserve, the chains of slavery.
The choices each of us makes today, during the phasing in of a new economy, a new world order, will have profound effects on the future.
Good luck. Let your own best interests be your guide.
Anti-Shutdown protests in London and Berlin show that people are fed up and ready to revolt against the oppressive government/media/medical colluders. Dr. Ron Paul (remember, Dr. Paul is a medical doctor) covers the issues in the Liberty Report:
At the Close, Monday, August 31, 2020:
Sunday, August 30, 2020, 9:25 am ET
Sell in May and go away?
Stocks have had an amazing run through July and August, thanks to ultra-low bond yields driving money into stocks, momentum, and oodles of dollars going straight to Wall Street from the Federal Reserve.
As noted by countless economists, columnists, and stock enthusiasts, the backstops provided by the Fed have servd the interests of Wall Street in glorious ways, sending stocks soaring, the S&P and NASDAQ having made multiple record highs over the past eight weeks.
While the NYSE Composite Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average have not made it yet to new records, they're getting close and the Dow, specifically, will get a significant boost on Monday (the final trading day of August) when Exxon Mobil (XOM), Raytheon (RTX), and Pfizer (PFE) are replaced with Salesforce (CRM), Amgen (AMGN), and Honeywell (HON).
Already within 900 points of its all-time closing high (29,551.42, 2/12/20), it's within similar range of the intraday high of 29,568.57, which was also made on February 12. The added boost from the booting of three laggards with three high-fliers should send the industrials over the top, possibly this coming week.
Just how good the summer has been to investors is illustrated by the weekly closes for the past eight weeks, beginning July 6 and ending this past Friday, August 28. The slowpokes among the indices was the Dow and NYSE. The latter rose from a July 2 close of 11,991.52 to 13,170.96. It closed on the plus side seven of the eight past weeks for a 9.84% gain.
The Dow Industrials gained in five of the eight weeks, rising more than 2800 points from its July 2 close of 25,827.36, a gain of 10.94 percent.
The S&P closed at 3,130.01 on July 2, and added 378 points during the past eight weeks for a solid 12% upside, while the NASDAQ took home the top prize, vaulting from 10,207.63 eight weeks ago to its most recent record close of 11,695.63, a 14.6% gain. The S&P was up in seven of the past eight weeks while the NASDAQ finished in positive territory in six, including the last five straight.
So, whoever said the era of passive investing was over obviously hasn't taken account of the performance of index funds, which have sparkled recently, despite the narrative supplied to the market by the FAANMGs, the six tech stocks that have largely been responsible for the bulk of the gains in the NAZ and S&P. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG) account for roughly 25% of the market capitalization of the entire S&P 500. Throw in Elon Musk's Tesla (TSLA) and one could make a very strong point about picking the right stocks over passive investing.
Apple, which recently announced a 4-for-1 stock split, was up 39% over the past eight weeks. Tesla gained a whopping 54%, while Amazon gained only 19%, though it and the other FAANMG components have been steady outperformers for years.
Warren Buffett, who turns 90 today, made news this week when it was revealed he was selling off some banking stocks while picking up shares of Barrick Gold. The information came from the latest 13F filing from Bershire Hathaway, the holding company for Buffett's global portfolio.
The punditry of the investment world made plenty of noise over the move, especially since Buffett had previously claimed to not think much of gold as an investment. One of the most-cited quotes attributed to Buffett's disdain for gold is "[Gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility."
While Buffett's purchase of some Barrick Gold shares (roughly $600 million) may look like a departure from the Oracle of Omaha's norm, the truth of the matter is that the shares account for a smidge more than 0.2 percent of Bershire's 250 billion stock portfolio. What's interesting about the move was that Berkshire closed its position in Goldman Sachs (GS), eliminating the Vampire Squid entirely from its holdings. It also trimmed positions in JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), but upped its position in Bank of America (BAC), which is now the second-largest holding, well behind #1, Apple.
It will be another three months before we'll know whether Berkshire intends to keep buying Barrick or even other gold-related stocks. For all anyone knows, Buffett could have a secret stash of gold and silver coins buried in his back yard, just in case.
Speaking of reasons to own gold and silver, the second estimate of second quarter GDP was released on Friday, and it was a slight improvement from the initial reading, but not enough of one to matter. The decline, which was estimated to be a record 32.9%, was revised to a 31.7% loss, still the largest on record by far. Making matters more concerning, it's been a fact for some time that the government spending portion of the GDP calculation has been inordinately high, and it now accounts for more than 50% of GDP. The other roughly one-half of GDP is largely consumer spending, people buying things they don't need with credit cards they can't afford to pay.
In the oil patch, the slow, relentless rise in the barrel price of oil continued apace with WTI crude peaking at $43.34 on the 26th - the highest price since March 3rd - before settling at $42.97 on Friday afternoon. Theprice of WTI crude has been below $40 just twice since July 2nd, with the recent prices nearing the top of the recent tight range. With the Labor Day holiday a week off, prices for crude and gas at the pump may begin to decline as the traditional end of summer normally results in lower prices, though these days have been anything but normal.
Treasury yields peaked on Friday, with the 10-year note ending at 0.74% and the 30-year at 1.52%, both the highest since June 16. Shorter-dated maturities were little affected by market noise nor Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's virtual keynote for the Jackson Hole symposium in which he promoted increasing inflationary policy incentives at the Federal Reserve. Powell's insistence that inflation of two percent or more somehow equates to the Fed's mandate of "stable prices" serves to point out what an abject liar he is and what a complete failure the Federal Reserve as a whole has been since its inception more than 100 years ago. The Fed has failed spectacularly in achieving both of its mandates as the dollar has lost 97% of purchasing power since 1913 and full employment - the other mandate - is about as far from the minds of the regional Fed presidents and governors of the FOMC as the Earth is from planet Jupiter.
Gold regained some respect on Friday, up $35 to close out the week at $1,964.83. Since peaking at $2,063.54 on August 6, the trend has been lower, but $1900 an ounce appears to be very strong support. With supply strained and demand still very high, recent dips look more like consolidation than manipulation, even though the spot price is subservient to the eminently exploitable futures market where daily claims on precious metals often exceed a year's production. Eventually, the futures market will face an untenable situation when the punters stand for delivery of real metal rather than a paper equivalent of dollars, yen, or euros. Once the COMEX fails to deliver physical in a timely manner - a possibility that's growing increasingly worrying - it's game over for the paper markets, where the rigging has kept the true price of gold to be discovered for decades.
In order to prevent such an occurrence, the CME has been and will continue to raise margin requirements for futures trading in precious metals until none but the biggest players - central banks, bullion banks, private banks, investment and commercial banks, insurance companies, and sovereign trusts - will be able to afford the buying and selling of futures contracts. Thus, the compression of prices could continue indefinitely while physical premiums soar beyond the rooftops.
Silver also appears to be in a consolidation phase, ranging between $26.45 and $27.67 the past two weeks. It finished up Friday near the top end, at $27.50. Considering the recent smackdown sent silver from a high of $29.13 to $24.79 in the course of one day, the recent close puts the loss at less than six percent, a complete nothing-burger in the highly volatile silver market. The inability of the futures' players to keep a lid on silver indicates that the riggers are losing control. Silver's market is much smaller than gold's, and the demand for physical has bordered on a mania recently due to its affordability and monetary and commercial value.
Here are the most recent prices on eBay (shipping - often free - included) for selected items (numismatics excluded):
Item: Low / High / Average / Median
An historical survey of prices from April, 2020 to the present is available here.
Concluding this edition of the WEEKEND WRAP, a reminder: There are just 65 days until Election Day and 117 days until Christmas. With any luck, we'll all know who the president is by the time we're unwrapping presents.
At the Close, Friday, August 28, 2020:
For the Week: