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Posts tagged ‘S&P 500’

S&P 500 To Rise Above 2000 On Hopes Euro Collapse Accelerates, Euro Yields Hit New Records

It’s been one of those days. First, the CME broke for 4 hours due to what some suggested were HFT connectivity issues, then Russia announced it would send a second humanitarian convoy into Ukraine (a big risk off move the first time it was announced, now not even an algo stirred), then Germany reported that the IFO Business Confidence/Climate dropped for the fourth consecutive month to 106.3 from 108.0, below the 107.0 expected, with the IFO chief economist stating that German GDP expectations are likely to be cut to 1.5% from 2.0% later in the year, and finally the French government collapsed due to disagreement over policy between finance minister Valls and economy minister Montebourg. All in all, a typical day in Europe’s slow-motion implosion. So why are Spanish and Italian bank stocks soaring and European bond yields reaching new record highs? Simple: following Draghi’s speech on Friday at Jackson Hole, which at initial read was hardly as dovish as many had expected, the FT and various other media outlets promptly changed the narrative and made it seem as if the ECB head was about to unleash QE.

European QE that is, of course, assuming Draghi ever goes about revealing either the TLTRO or the ABS plan he revealed months ago. Then again, this being the ECB it is all about speculation and innuendo, with QE almost virtually assured not to happen unless European GDP (adjusted for hookers and blow or otherwise) is in freefall mode and rioting is on the street, well even more than usual.

It will be a quieter week than even usual (keep in mind volumes last week were the lowest in years) with a US holiday on the horizon (there will be nobody manning trading desks on Friday as everyone rushes to catch one last weekend on Hamptons frat boy fun) and so attention turns to US New Home Sales, the Markit Composite PMI, the Dallas Fed and tomorrow’s meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian Presidents, which Merkel previewed over the weekend saying not to expect much if anything.

Bulletin headline summary from RanSquawk and Bloomberg

  • EUR/USD slumps to an 11-month low as markets bet on diverging policy between the Fed and ECB, widening the US/GE 10yr yield spread to levels not seen since 1999
  • US stock futures sit at all-time highs ahead of the US open as markets price-in the increasing likelihood of ECB assetpurchase                                                                                                                                                                                                                     full article HERE

The Madness of Market Euphoria

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Best day of 2012 for Dow industrials and S&P 500 … U.S. stocks surged Wednesday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 both tallying their best day this year, on increasing optimism that central bankers would move to bolster the economy. “It appears the market is under the belief that Uncle Ben and his band of merry makers are going to be coming to the rescue,” Bob Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners, said of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other Federal Open Market Committee members. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +1.05%  climbed 286.84 points, or 2.4%, to 12,414.79. The S&P 500 Index SPX +0.99%  advanced 29.63 points, or 2.3%, to 1,315.13. The Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.82%  added 66.61 points, or 2.4%, to 2,844.72. – MarketWatch

Dominant Social Theme: Happy Days Are Here Again.

Free-Market Analysis: Or are they? Europe is failing, China just cut interest rates and US markets moved up hard on a hope and a prayer.

The hopeful prayer was that Ben Bernanke would cut interest rates – or that he intends to. Why this would cause the Dow to climb some 300 points is mostly a commentary on what markets, US markets especially, have become in the 21st century.

full article at source:  http://www.thedailybell.com/3971/The-Madness-of-Market-Euphoria

Stocks: Beware ‘Hope’Quarter-End Window Dressing

By Eric Parnell

The resilience of stocks has been amazing these last several weeks. On four
separate occasions since the beginning of August, stocks have made a run at
breaking below 1120 on the S&P 500. And each time stocks find the resolve to
bounce sharply higher. But time and hope may be running out for investment
markets. And if real actions are not carried out soon, stocks may find
themselves increasingly hard pressed to hold their ground. And the effects of
quarter end window dressing promises to only add to the uncertainty.

 

 

Gold : is your only man Gerald Celente

The U.S. jobs data, released on Friday, showed that the U.S. economy had added no jobs at all in August, a hugely disappointing figure that renewed worries that the economy may be heading for a recession.

Wall Street reacted with a decline of 2.2 percent on the Dow Jones industrial average and a 2.5 percent fall on the Standard & Poor’s 500. The benchmark indexes in several leading European markets slumped more than 3 percent Friday.

The stock markets in Asia followed suit on Monday, with falls of more than 2 percent in many leading indexes.

Phase #2 of the Euro-Zone Debt Crisis

Phase #2 of the Euro-Zone Debt Crisis

by Gary Dorsch | may 26, 2010

“A trend in motion, will stay in motion, until some major outside force, knocks it off its course.” For almost fourteen uninterrupted months stock markets around the globe were climbing higher, recouping $21-trillion of wealth since hitting bottom in March 2009. The global economy was pulling out of its worst recession since the 1930’s, led by locomotives in China, India, and Brazil. On May 4th a survey taken by JP Morgan showed that global manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in six years in April as output and new orders surged to new multi-year highs.

In the United States factory activity was firing on all cylinders, lifting the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) to a six-year high at 60.4 in April, with employers becoming increasingly confident about hiring. Although manufacturing is not a huge component of the US-economy the factory industry is still where recessions tend to begin and end. For this reason the factory PMI is very closely watched, setting the tone for the upcoming month and other key economic indicators.

The US economy added 570,000 jobs during the first four months of 2010. In sharp contrast, just a year earlier, the US economy was losing more than 700,000 jobs during the worst months of the “Great Recession,” which began in December 2007. Still there’s been a worrisome undercurrent lurking beneath the surface – the U-6 jobless rate, including those who can only find part-time work or are too discouraged to look for a job, rose to depression levels of 17.1% in April highlighting the deepening impoverishment of the American middle class.


Still, traders on Wall Street saw the glass as more than half full rather than half-empty. The key numbers were still turning up spades. The combined net income for S&P-500 companies in the first quarter were 46% higher from a year earlier, helping to fuel the S&P-500 Index’s 75% rebound from its recession low in March 2009. Analysts on Wall Street upped their forecasts for S&P 500 profits to grow 29% this year and 19% in 2011, the biggest two-year advance since 1998.

Bullish traders bought increasingly expensive stocks on all dips, comforted by a steady stream of remarks from Fed officials promising to keep the fed fund rates locked near zero percent for an “extended” period of time. So powerful was the hallucinogenic effect from $1.75 trillion of liquidity injected into the markets by the Fed that speculators bid up the Dow Industrials to the 11,200 level, just shy of the 11,450 level – where horror story of the Lehman bankruptcy began.

Yet according to a Bloomberg opinion poll dated March 19th-22nd, there was always a big “disconnect” between the bullish perceptions on Wall Street and the fear and trepidation felt by workers on Main Street. There was great disbelief in the theory that the Fed could simply inflate the US economy to prosperity. Barely one in three Americans thought the economy was on the right track, and less than 10% predicted the economy would be strong within a year. Most American investors plowed their remaining savings in bond funds and missed the “green shoots” rally.

Still, the strategy pursued by the Fed and US Treasury were rather simple – inflate the value of the stock market through any means possible, including massive money printing, pegging interest rates at ultra-low levels, clandestine intervention in the stock index future markets, and jigging the accounting rules for valuing toxic bank assets. Eventually, the “wealth effect” would kick in and consumers would increase their annual spending by 3.5 cents for every dollar of added wealth. The Fed’s QE scheme opened the monetary floodgates driving high grade and junk bond yields sharply lower, and fueling a $5.5 trillion recovery of US-stock values.


But just as US consumer confidence was rebounding to a two-year high, buoyed by the Dow Industrials’ rally above the 11,000-level and US-home prices showing a year-over-year gain of 2%, the first increase since 2005, “a major outside force, began to knock the stock markets off their upward course.” Few traders would realize how the tiny nation of Greece with just 11-million citizens could bring the world economy to the brink of another Lehman-style meltdown.

Few traders on Wall Street took notice of the obscure and thinly traded Greek credit default swap (CDS) markets. There was a sense of complacency about talk of a Greek debt default, with traders reckoning that at the end of the day politicians in Germany and France would ultimately bankroll a massive bailout and prevent panic and fear from spreading to other highly-indebted Euro-zone countries, like Portugal or Spain, and plunging the Euro into a death spiral.

However, lying beneath the surface of the euphoria on Wall Street a ticking time bomb was winding up and getting ready to explode. The villain igniting the fuse was a most unlikely source – the S&P credit rating agency – which usually lingers far behind the credit default curve. Surprisingly, S&P roiled Euro-zone politicians and shocked the markets on April 26th by downgrading Greece’s €300 billion of debt three notches to junk status, at BB+, and thus, derailing the upward trajectories in industrial commodities and global equities. 

In the eye of the storm Greek CDS rates soared towards 1,200 bps, and yields on Greece’s two-year notes jumped to 25.8 percent. Suddenly stock markets in the fastest growing emerging markets in Brazil, China, and Russia were at the gates of bear market territory after suffering steep losses of 20% or more. Crude oil plunged $23 /barrel to as low as $64 /barrel, and there was a 20% shakeout in the copper market. The Australian and Canadian dollars tumbled 12% and 7% respectively amid a flight from natural resource shares and monetary tightening in China.


On May 7th, EU monetary affairs chief Olli Rehn spoke about the need to avoid a Greek default on its debts at all costs. “Little did authorities of the United States know in September 2008 what the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers would lead to. The consequence was that the world’s financial system was paralyzed in a way that led to the biggest global recession since the 1930’s. Consequences from Greece’s insolvency would be similar, if not worse,” he warned.

Rhen’s apocalyptic warnings were taken very seriously. Euro-zone finance ministers and central bankers huddled behind closed doors during the May 8-9th weekend working frantically to craft a bank bailout plan before the opening of the Asian stock and currency markets on May 10th. What emerged was “shock and awe” – a 750-billion euro ($1-trillion) bailout package, including standby loans and guarantees that could be tapped by Euro-zone governments that were shut out of the credit markets. Putting the squeeze on naked short sellers the Spanish IBEX Index jumped 15% in a single day and the Euro briefly jumped to a high of $1.3100.

Since May 10th however the “shock and awe” effect has worn-off. The Spanish stock market index has completely surrendered its one-day gain of 15%, and the Athens stock index has retreated to within 5% of its March 2009 lows. The Euro has failed to gain any traction and is still sliding lower along a slippery slope towards parity with the US dollar. While the $1 trillion bailout succeeded in preventing an immediate default on Greece’s sovereign debt, the cost of borrowing for Greece’s biggest banks remains prohibitively high, which could choke its economy to death.

Thus, the focus of the second phase of the European debt crisis has shifted from the specter of a sovereign bond default to a frightful situation where European banks may become unwilling to lend money to the private sector, or could demand higher interest rates or impose tougher collateral rules. In other words, the markets fear a “double-dip” liquidity crunch, which could deprive European companies with junk bond ratings of badly needed funds as banks become more risk averse.

Since May 10th credit default swaps for the Euro-zone’s top 50 junk rated bonds has surged to as high as €625,000 to insure €10 million of debt. That’s up sharply from €460,000 since the $1 trillion bank rescue plan was announced. In fact, the European corporate bond market has been effectively shut down for banks with bond issuance slumping to $2.6 billion in May, down from $82 billion in January.


Amid fears of a liquidity crunch in Europe there are expectations in the gold market that the ECB would respond by ramping up its money printing operations to full throttle, and in the process exerting further downward pressure on the Euro. As of May 21st the ECB had already bought 26.5 billion Euros worth of sovereign bonds as part of its agreement to monetize the debts of the most fiscally irresponsible Euro zone governments. The ECB might end up monetizing as much as 750 billion Euros of sovereign debt, including riskier bank bonds, to avoid a full blown crunch.

After climbing to a record 1,000-euros /oz in mid-May, Gold endured a brief pullback tumbling in tandem with sharp slides in crude oil, copper, nickel, rubber, and other industrial commodities. But gold has proven itself a very resilient metal and highly sought after as the purest form of “hard” currency, shining brightly as a hedge against paper currency devaluations and the monetization of government debt.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has crossed the Rubicon agreeing to monetize hundreds of billions of Euros held in Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish bonds. In the process the supply of Euros in world money markets is likely to increase. The ECB’s efforts at sterilizing the bond purchases are voluntary and have been feeble at best. Furthermore, at the end of the day, there is little chance that Greece’s 2.5 million working citizens can repay 300 billion Euros of debt, while at the same time absorbing 25% wage cuts in the public sector and paying 23% VAT taxes.

At some point Greece’s government would seek to untangle the noose strangling its economy and demand a restructuring the country’s debts, and in a polite way tell its lenders to take a big haircut. Argentina is holding a $20 billion debt swap this month at 45 cents on the dollar, nine years after defaulting on $95 billion of loans. The Euro would remain a very unstable and weak currency. Reports that Beijing is becoming increasingly nervous about its Euro zone bond holdings drove the Euro to as low as $1.2180 and fueled a flight for safety into gold.

source

Gary Dorsch
SirChartsAlot, Inc.

Derivatives ???


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc said fourth-quarter profit surged, helped by derivatives bets tied to global stock markets, though operating profit fell 40 percent as the weakened economy weighed on several businesses.

Profit rose for a third straight quarter, and full-year profit increased 61 percent, as Berkshire rebounded from perhaps its worst year since Buffett took over in 1965.

“I was quite impressed with the results,” said Vahan Janjigian, author of the book “Even Buffett Isn’t Perfect.”

“It is clearly suffering from the economic recession we have been in, but compared with most other companies involved in similar businesses, it is doing quite well,” he added.

In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett admitted that Berkshire’s ability to outperform that benchmark “has shrunk dramatically,” and that “our future advantage, if any, will be a small fraction of our historical edge.”

Net worth per share, which measures assets minus liabilities and is a key metric for Buffett, rose 19.8 percent, compared with a 9.6 percent drop a year earlier.

Still that lagged a 26.5 percent gain including dividends for the Standard & Poor’s 500, the first time it trailed since 2004. Berkshire’s net worth per share is up 20.3 percent annually since 1965, while the S&P 500 is up 9.3 percent. Total book value rose to $131.1 billion from $109.27 billion.

full story link

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61Q1IF20100227?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a49:g43:r5:c0.100000:b31169752:z0

Have helped warren buffet to come in with substantial profits as fourth-quarter profits surged, helped by derivatives bets tied to global stock markets, though operating profit fell 40 percent as the weakened economy weighed on several businesses.
Profit rose for a third straight quarter, and full-year profit increased 61 percent, as Berkshire rebounded from perhaps its worst year since Buffett took over in 1965.

 

Derivatives have been the driving force for the enormous profits enjoyed by the major banks in the US in the last quarter as well

Now we see even Buffet is using them!

But on real economic activity nothing doing we are still in the dole drums and the only way the banks are going to give an encore with regards to their profits going forward is to keep using even bigger and riskier Derivatives bets

In other words “Gambling” all over again!

They will have to engineer another bubble and the stock market in the obvious choice so expect a massive turn in the markets soon

Place your bets here now!

It may be the right direction

 

Markets nosedived on Thursday when Barack Obama set out broad new measures on financial regulation. The most significant of them is banning deposit-taking banks from proprietary trading that is “unrelated to serving customers”. This activity has generated politically incendiary profits for banks and bonuses for bankers.

The timing was political: the president spoke on the day that Goldman Sachs announced fourth-quarter earnings of $4.95bn. Those of a more populist nature than Mr Obama – both on the left and on the right – will say that he comes late to the game.

The Recession is not over.  

Economists may see the recession as being over, but the man on the street does not. Roughly 60% of the public believes the recession still has a way to go, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reported last October. Even those who have not suffered know someone—a friend, a neighbor, a family member—who is being hurt. Two in three say the rally in the stock market has not changed their views.

The uptrend is broken.
— The uptrend in the S&P 500 Index was broken this week.  There is a lot of backpedaling in Washington, which was all too ready to claim success as the market was rising, but asked us to ignore the last two day decline.

The uptrend, which was technically “on the edge” since early December, has finally lost what is called trend support.  Look for much lower prices ahead.


Obama’s proposals strengthened Treasuries.

Treasuries headed for a third weekly gain as speculation that President Barack Obama’s bank- regulation plans will crimp economic growth weakened equities and added to demand for fixed-income securities.  The yield on the 10-year note reached its lowest in a month after the Obama administration yesterday proposed to limit the size and trading activities of financial institutions as a way to prevent another systemic meltdown. The Treasury is scheduled to sell $118 billion in notes next week.

Gold’s decline ready to resume?

Gold may decline as a rebounding dollar curbs demand for the metal as an alternative investment, a survey showed.

Twelve of 17 traders, investors and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, or 71 percent, said bullion would fall next week. Four forecast higher prices and one was neutral. Gold for delivery in February was down 2.9 percent for this week at $1,097.70 an ounce at noon in New York yesterday.

The Nikkei turns south.

— Japanese stocks slumped the most since November after the U.S. proposed to reduce risk-taking at banks and concern mounted that China will raise interest rates to curb inflation. The Nikkei 225 fell 2.6 percent to close at 10,590.55 in Tokyo, almost erasing this year’s gain. The broader Topix index slid 1.6 percent to 940.94, with six times as many stocks declining as advancing. Both gauges lost the most since Nov. 27.

Shanghai isn’t immune to troubles, either.

Investors pulled $348 million from China equity funds last week, the biggest outflow in 18 weeks, on concern China’s moves to cool its economy will slow growth, according to EPFR Global.     Chinese stocks fell since the government this month started tightening monetary policy to curb record loan growth and prevent bubbles in the nation’s property and stock markets.  Technically, the Shanghai Index violated a potential Head and Shoulders formation, which calls for a large decline.  The bubble may be popped.

The dollar is showing bullish tendencies.

The dollar is poised for an upside breakout.  The “line in the sand” in red is a technical pattern called a neckline of an inverted Head and Shoulders pattern.  Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts is considered a change in the outlook of Washington to “dollar friendly.”    In the past, Washington talked a good talk, but their actions were quite destructive to the dollar.  The outlook may have reversed.

A safety net hides the risk of bank failure.

 — There is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs in the banking system when capital is running short.  At least, this was the case before the government decided to be the ultimate financial backup for the entire banking structure of our country.  Places like Washington Mutual or Countrywide were offering stellar rates on various savings vehicles only days before their demise.  How can this be?  Well for one, banks are allowed to chase public capital and realize that the public will put money into a bank so long as the FDIC backs up the bank.  Unfortunately, if the bank fails the FDIC only covers your principal, not interest.

The chart shows Gasoline prices dropping faster than at the pump.

 The Energy Information Agency weekly report suggests, “The U.S. average price for regular gasoline dropped a penny to $2.74 per gallon, $0.89 higher than the average a year ago. On a regional basis, price changes were mixed. The East Coast price of $2.75 per gallon moved up less than a penny, while the price in the Rocky Mountains jumped up four cents to $2.62 per gallon. The price on the Gulf Coast was essentially unchanged at $2.62 per gallon. Prices in the Midwest and on the West Coast dropped, moving down over a penny on the West Coast to $2.95 per gallon and dropping nearly five cents to $2.68 per gallon in the Midwest.”

Frigid weather keeps NatGas prices high.

The Energy Information Agency’s Natural Gas Weekly Update reports, “As the extreme cold left much of the lower 48 States this week, natural gas demand for space heating and as a fuel for electric power plants fell precipitously. Compared with the prior report week, U.S. natural gas average daily demand decreased about 25 percent from 106 Bcf to 79 Bcf, according to Bentek Energy LLC. Lower demand led to widespread declines in prices that were generally less than 5 percent.”

Joseph Stiglitz: ‘We’re More Strict With Our Poor Than With Our Banks’

During the economic turmoil of the last few years, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor “ersatz capitalism” in America. He has also repeatedly called for a second round of fiscal stimulus to support struggling Americans.  Read full article here.
Joseph Stiglitz has been one of the most strident and incisive critics of the historic bailout of the banking sector.

Never one to mince words, Stiglitz, who served as the Chief Economist at the World Bank and on President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, has said the meltdown has resulted in a kind of

Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent?

Should American bankers be let off the hook because they self-declare, before an investigational panel, that the failure of their newly invented risk swaps and other highly leveraged investment schemes was simply due to “mistakes”? Not malfeasance – just every-day mistakes? Bankers just fell asleep at the helm at a critical juncture in American history. Is that what we are being led to believe?

Oh well, it’s just 18 million American homes that now lay empty in the wake of unprecedented foreclosures, and the bankers have collected obscene bonuses for reckless lending of their depositors'(and taxpayers’) money. It’s like the captain and crew of a ship saying, not to worry, twenty-percent of the passengers were lost overboard, but this was due to unavoidable mistakes, and then being rewarded with bonuses when they reach port.

for more information follow link http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/cherniawski/2010/0122.html
source :by Anthony Cherniawski, The Practical Investor, LLC | Janury 22, 2010

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