Today 3:00 pm nomination by Obama of Janet Yellen as the next Fed chair was hardly news (certainly wasn't news to stocks which briefly dipped below their 200 DMA) in the aftermath of Larry Summers' self-elimination, but nonetheless the sellside brigade was quick to praise her now official nomination for one simple reason: it means more of the same Bernanke policies that have done nothing to benefit broad America, but more importantly have resulted in year after year of near-record Wall Street bonuses, and unprecedented asset bubbles. Why shouldn't the banks then be giddy with excitement that the status quo will not only continue, but the monthly $85 billion in liquidity may in fact increase in time? Below is a selection, courtesy of Bloomberg, of the most vocal praises sung on behalf of the former San Fran Fed president byt the numerous banks that currently exist only thanks to the Fed's actions in 2008.
It was bound to happen: after the Tuesday "winning" streak was lost 8 days ago on the 21st unlucky week, it was the turn of the "BTFD mentality" that had prevented a 3-day losing streak in the Dow Jones since December. And while today's selling was still somewhat contained, it did not prevent the DJIA from closing below the psychological 15,000 support level, driven according to some, by the breach in the 200DMA of the USD index.
Another session in which the market continues to be "cautiously optimistic" about Europe, but is confused about Cyprus which keeps sending the wrong signals: in the aftermath of the Diesel-Boom fiasco, the announcement that the preciously announced reopening of banks was also subsequently "retracted" and pushed back to at least Thursday, did little to soothe fears that anyone in Europe has any idea what they are doing. Additional confusion comes from the fact that the Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus moments ago submitted his resignation: recall that this is the bank that is supposed to survive, unlike its unluckier Laiki competitor which was made into a sacrificial lamb. This confusion has so far prevented the arrival of the traditional post-Europe open ramp, as the EURUSD is locked in a range below its 200 DMA and it is unclear what if anything can push it higher, despite the Yen increasingly becoming the funding currency of choice.
Ironically, the very success of stock market manipulation only thins the market of legitimate participants and thus increases the probability that risk that has been suppressed for years will erupt uncontrollably. That the stock market is manipulated is no longer in question. One explicit goal in the Fed's zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP) is to drive capital into risk assets such as stocks. That is a first-order, transparent policy of manipulation, i.e. a centrally managed policy aimed at managing markets to meet a key central-planning goal: creating an illusion of prosperity via an elevated stock market and the resultant "wealth effect" for the 10% who own enough stocks to matter. Indirect manipulation is hidden from public view lest the rigging of the market taint the perception that a rising market is "proof" that Federal Reserve and Administration policies are "succeeding." Indirect manipulation is achieved via Federal Reserve quantitative easing operations, unlimited liquidity and lines of credit to fund bank speculations and masked buying of market futures. This multilevel manipulation creates a Boolean either/or for any Bear market: either it is a planned "panic" that profits the banks or a systemic failure of the orchestrated campaign of market manipulation.
No politics, no "death crosses" - just simple fundamentals.
What a roundtrip! After starting off November with a bang, and after nearly retracing all October losses in the aftermath of the NFP headfake in less than 2 trading sessions, the S&P futures literally imploded, and dropped 23 points from the intraday high, the same distance traveled as it crossed yesterday, only to the downside and on very strong volume for the second day in a row. While the 1400 support in ES is once again in play (ES closed literally on the lows of the session at 1405.5), as we suggested earlier, the far more ominous news is that the AAPL bubble appears to have popped (but, but, it is so cheap on forward multiple basis: guess what - forward multiples are based on forward earnings, which may very well never materialize! and thanks to the dividend, not even AAPL's cash hoard is the bastion it one was) and is now close to entering bear market territory, down just shy of 20% from its all time highs of $705.07 hit on September 12. Now with the 200 DMA taken out, the next support is the 20% retracement from the high which is at $564. After that it is freefall for a long time as a very deep gap needs filling. It is unclear just how much of the selling was there to cause max pain for Dick Bove and Rochdale, for whom every tick lower in the stock means a bigger margin call.Finally, news hitting literally seconds ago that MSFT may be launching its own phone if its partner strategy falters, means there go even more margins.
Moments ago AAPL broke the 200 DMA. Whether or not this was due to the earlier news from Rochdale getting caught with its pants down, and supposedly losing tons of money due to a rogue trader "buying" the stock as its proceeded to tumble from its all time highs less then 45 days ago (during which time it has lost more than 10 years worth of dividends in market cap), is unclear. What is quite clear, is the moment when the general market realized what had just happened. Sure enough, the jobs number came and want, and ES largely faded that move in under an hour. It remains to be seen if a technical indicator for the world's most widely held stock is more important to the general stock market than how many 60 year old workers the US economy added in October. Oh, and as for that whole iPad mini launch spectacle? Sorry. Time for the iPad Mini Magnum launch... or maybe even the maxiPad.
Caution is the word of the day.
Playing in the market, with Phil.
After dropping to its 200 DMA, and threatening to breach its recent support level of 1.2800, the EURUSD has seen the usual powerlift over the past 4 hours, on two key events out of Europe: Eurozone unemployment, which came at a record 11.4%, up from 11.3% (which just happened to be revised to 11.4%) but because it was in line with expectations of the ongoing recession, all was forgiven. The other event was Eurozone manfucaturing PMI, which rose by the smallest amount possible from the 46.0 in August to 46.1, on expectations of an unchanged print. That 0.1% "beat" is what has so far set off a near 100 pip rush higher in the EURUSD, which has ignored the Chinese weakness overnight (the SHCOMP is closed for the Chinese Golden Week), as well as the UK PMI which did not share in the European "improvement" and tumbled from 49.5 to 48.4 on expectations of a 49.0 print (so much for that latest BOE easing), and instead is transfixed by headlines proclaiming the strongest PMI in 6 months. What also is being ignored is the components in the Eurozone PMI, with the leading New Order index falling to 43.5 from 43.7. But the data being ignored the hardest is the French PMI which tumbled to 42.7, the lowest print in 41 months, of which as MarkIt's chief economist Chris Williamson said "France is perhaps the new worry, with its PMI slumping to the lowest for three-and-a-half years." Coming at a 3+ year low when France desperately needs its new wealth redistribution budget to be credible, is not the best possible outcome. Bottom line: Europe is in a recession, but maybe not outright depression just yet, so the thinking is - buy the EUR, strengthen the currency, make German exports weaker, and make sure the recession becomes a full on depression. Or something like that.
Moments ago, the FOMC members formalized their opinion on where inflation is heading: "Most members continued to anticipate that, with longer-term inflation expectations stable and the existing slack in resource utilization being taken up very gradually, inflation would run over the medium term at a rate at or below the Committee’s objective of 2 percent." The only conclusion one can derive from this is that since the perpetually wrong FOMC committee, which has never accurately predicted any one thing in its entire history, sees little to no inflation, inflation is most likely about to soar. A convenient independent confirmation of this assumption comes from none other than bond manager PIMCO which moments ago announce that it was adding to its gold holdings "on inflation concerns...as it bets that global inflation rates will pick up over the next three to five years." Specifically, "The Pimco Commodity Real Return Strategy Fund, which has about $20 billion in assets, has increased its gold holdings to 11.5% of total assets recently, from 10.5% two months ago, and has been adding to the position when gold prices dipped toward $1,500 a troy ounce, says Nic Johnson, the fund's co-portfolio manager." And with global asset managers allocating about 1% of their AUM to the precious metal, should the majority of them copycat PIMCO in this move, then gold would cross the psychological $2,000 barrier in minutes. The irony is that for a bond manager, which Pimco just happens to be the biggest in the world, inflation is your worst friend. So acknowledging its imminent creep, is hardly "talking one's book."
Whether its 'Trade' Wars or 'Real' Wars, tensions appear to be escalating at an increasing clip around the world. The AP is reporting that Israeli officials say Egypt is violating their 1979 peace treaty by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert, which borders Israel.
Russia continues to accumulate gold in its large foreign exchange reserves. The reserves include monetary gold, special drawing rights, reserve position at the IMF and foreign exchange. Russia’s central bank increased its gold holdings to 30.1 million troy ounces as of August 1st, from 29.5 million troy ounces a month earlier, according to a statement published on its website today. The gold reserves were valued at $48.7 billion at the end of last month, Bank of Russia said in a statement. Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves rose to $510.0 billion in the week to August 10 from $507.4 billion a week earlier, central bank data showed last Thursday. Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves were $498.6 billion at the end of 2011. This means that Russia now nearly has some 10% of its foreign exchange reserves in gold bullion.