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Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – A Twisted World – by Sinclair Noe

DOW  – 12 = 12,824SPX – 2= 1355NAS +0.69 = 293010 YR YLD +.02 = 1.64%OIL – 3.25 = 81.10GOLD – 11.10 = 1607.80SILV – .30 = 28.22PLAT – 23.00 = 1464.00Quite frankly the Federal Reserve FOMC meetings have become a bit too predictable. They didn’t lower interest rates because rates are already at zero. They didn’t raise interest rates because that would be a total freak out and the financial markets would collapse. The Fed does not have an exit plan from their zero interest rate policy. They didn’t announce QE3 because that would be a blatant destruction of the currency which would send the price of gold soaring; also because they are holding back and waiting just in case Europe hits the self destruct button. The Fed expanded Operation Twist by $267 billion, meaning it will sell short-term securities and buy long-term ones in an effort to keep borrowing costs down. The program, which was due to expire this month, will now run through the end of the year. Operation Twist is a wash; it really doesn’t cost anything; they buy, they sell, it all equals out. The next question is whether Operation Twist actually does anything. Here the results are inconclusive. Long term rates are at historic lows but we don’t know if rates would have been low even without Operation Twist. Perhaps the most pathetic part of the FOMC statement was this: “Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The …

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – A Twisted World – by Sinclair Noe

DOW  – 12 = 12,824SPX – 2= 1355NAS +0.69 = 293010 YR YLD +.02 = 1.64%OIL – 3.25 = 81.10GOLD – 11.10 = 1607.80SILV – .30 = 28.22PLAT – 23.00 = 1464.00Quite frankly the Federal Reserve FOMC meetings have become a bit too predictable. They didn’t lower interest rates because rates are already at zero. They didn’t raise interest rates because that would be a total freak out and the financial markets would collapse. The Fed does not have an exit plan from their zero interest rate policy. They didn’t announce QE3 because that would be a blatant destruction of the currency which would send the price of gold soaring; also because they are holding back and waiting just in case Europe hits the self destruct button. The Fed expanded Operation Twist by $267 billion, meaning it will sell short-term securities and buy long-term ones in an effort to keep borrowing costs down. The program, which was due to expire this month, will now run through the end of the year. Operation Twist is a wash; it really doesn’t cost anything; they buy, they sell, it all equals out. The next question is whether Operation Twist actually does anything. Here the results are inconclusive. Long term rates are at historic lows but we don’t know if rates would have been low even without Operation Twist. Perhaps the most pathetic part of the FOMC statement was this: “Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The …

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012 – There is No Escape for the Fed – by Sinclair Noe

06192012 ScriptDOW + 95 = 12,837SPX + 13 = 1357NAS + 34 = 292910 YR YLD +.04 = 1.62%OIL – .12 = 84.23GOLD – 10.80 = 1618.90SILV – .32 = 28.52PLAT – 2.00 = 1487.00The Federal Reserve FOMC is meeting today and tomorrow to determine monetary policy for the next few weeks. Here is what they will probably say tomorrow. They won’t lower interest rates; interest rates are at zero; interest rates are actually already negative when you consider the effects of inflation. Operation Twist is scheduled to expire in about two weeks. The idea behind Operation Twist is that the Fed sells shorter-term securities and buys longer-term securities with the goal of reducing long-term interest rates to encourage borrowing and spending. The yield on the 10-year note is 1.62%, so rates are pretty low even though the Twist hasn’t been able to encourage a big round of borrowing and spending. Low interest rates alone have not been enough to create demand. Operation Twist is the Fed pushing on a string – which is to say, supply side economics is a crock.Here’s the conundrum for the Fed – how do they exit Operation Twist without creating a problem, possibly unwinding those nice, ultra-low interest rates? The Fed might announce a limited extension of the Twist, maybe to September or they might just offer a soft extension – saying something like: “we will monitor long-term rates and stand ready to maintain stability”. As far as QE3 – not likely. Europe hasn’t collapsed, …

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Monday, June 18, 2012 – G-20 Declares Ceviche Tasty and Democracy Messy – by Sinclair Noe

DOW – 25 = 12,741SPX +1 = 1344NAS + 22 = 289510 YR YLD un=1.58%OIL -.26 = 83.01GOLD + 2.00 = 1629.70SILV un= 28.84PLAT – 1.00 = 1489.00The results of the Greek election shows conservative New Democracy taking 29 percent, with the radical leftist Syriza bloc just behind on 27. The Pasok Socialists were set to take 12 percent of the vote. The scenario is similar to the results of an earlier round of voting. ND also came in first in May 6 elections, again with Syriza running a close second, but failed to form a government then. And 38% of eligible voters did not vote yesterday; that’s more votes than any one party received. The headlines say that a pro-bailout, pro-remain in the Euro-union party won the Greek elections; it’s not that simple. There was no majority. The next step is for New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras to form a coalition government; not an easy or certain task, and it must be done within the next 10 days. Look for a combo of the New Democracy conservatives and  the Pasok socialists; the same group that governed Greece into this mess in the first place. Pasok, the Socialist party, called for a government that would include Syriza, the far left party, but  Syriza ruled out joining a coalition that would stick to the punishing bailout terms that have helped condemn Greece to five years of record recession. Alexix Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, had vowed to tear up the terms, betting that …

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Friday, June 15, 2012 – Greeks Look for a Bargain – by Sinclair Noe

DOW  +115 = 12,767SPX + 13 = 1342NAS + 36 = 287210 YR YLD -.02 = 1.59%OIL – 1.11 = 82.80GOLD + 3.40 = 1627.70SILV + .10 = 28.84PLAT – 8.00 = 1490.00Sunday there will be an election in Greece. I don’t know how the election will turn out. I can’t find any consensus opinion. There may not be a consensus, even if there is a definitive winner. It appears the extremes are gaining in Europe because centrist parties are offering voters no meaningful choices. Pasok and ND (New Democracy) and Syriza. New Democracy is the old-guard conservative party; Pasok is the old-guard socialist party; Syriza is the new-upstart far left party. Golden Dawn is the new-upstart far right/neo-nazi party but they went to far during a televised debate last week when a spokesman started beating a woman on camera – that went too far and destroyed that fringe element. For Greeks that want to vote against the status quo they have no alternative but to vote for extremists. Right now it looks like New Democracy and Syriza will get the most votes, but not a majority, so they will have to pull together a coalition government, which they failed to do one month ago. But again, the election could swing in any number of unusual ways. Some common themes from Greek voters is that they feel they are being blackmailed into voting for parties that drove the economy into a ditch and blindly imposed austerity measures. The Euro-zone support for …

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Thursday, June 14, 2012 – Just In Case There is a Glitch in the Vote – by Sinclair Noe

DOW + 155 = 112,651SPX + 14 = 1329NAS + 17 = 283610 YR YLD +.01 = 1.61 OIL +.44 = 84.35GOLD + 5.70 = 1624.30SILV – .22 = 28.74PLAT + 27.00 = 1498.00All righty class, it is time for a pop quiz. Please answer the following question: What is the Ironclad Rule of Wall Street?Put down you pencils.And the answer is: Wall Street loves free money.And where does free money come from? And the answer is: Central banks. If you answered the Federal Reserve and Helicopter Ben, give yourself a partial credit; if you answered taxpayers, give yourself partial credit; while those answers are technically correct it is outdated and more than a tad provincial. Think bigger, think globally.Today, Greek bank stocks surged more than 20 percent, with speculators betting on a favorable pro-bailout outcome after Sunday’s election. The action there drew the attention of traders on Wall Street. Officials from the G-20 confirmed today that the central banks from major economies stand ready to take steps to stabilize financial markets by providing liquidity and preventing a credit squeeze if the outcome of Greek elections on Sunday causes tumultuous trading even if the Greek election will not provide “the definitive signal on what happens next” in the euro-zone economic crisis.The Greek election is Sunday and then there is a G20 summit of world leaders in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday and Tuesday, with Europe’s escalating crisis topping the agenda. Leaders will be accompanied by finance ministers playing an advisory role. Depending on …

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 – To Hedge or Not to Hedge – by Sinclair Noe

DOW – 77= 12,496SPX – 9 = 1314NAS – 24 = 281810 YR YLD -.06 = 1.60%OIL – .86 = 84.03GOLD + 7.80 = 1618.60SILV -.11 = 28.96PLAT + 11.00 = 1471.00If I went before the Senate Banking Committee and told lies, you can bet they would throw me into the gray bar hotel and toss the key. Today, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase went before the Senate Banking Committee and as he took his seat in the Senate hearing room a protestor yelled, “This man is a crook and he needs to go to jail.” And then Jamie Dimon started talking and proved the protestor’s point. During questioning, Dimon was asked if the Volcker rule would have prevented the trades that led to $2 billion in losses (give or take a few billion) at JPMorgan? Dimon answered: “I don’t know what the Volcker Rule is, it hasn’t been written yet.” The proposed rule, mandated by the Dodd-Frank legislation, was published in November in the Federal Register and opened for public comment. Financial regulators are now in the process of finalizing it. Jamie Dimon is a board member of the New York Federal Reserve and as such is charged with regulating banking activity in accord with legislation such as the Dodd-Frank reforms and the Volker Rule; as CEO of JPMorgan, Dimon must certainly be familiar with the Volker Rule which would dramatically alter the rules of trading for a major part of his company. Of course the other option is …

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 – Cleaning Off My Desk on an Off Day – by Sinclair Noe

Did you notice that the Non-bailout Spanish Bank Bailout grew over the weekend?  Last Friday, the International Monetary Fund said Spain’s banks would need to raise at least $46 billion dollars as a buffer against a sharper economic contraction and to stabilize the Spanish financial system and prevent contagion to the rest of the Euro-zone. Before the weekend finished, the bailout had grown to more than $125 billion and we were already hearing warnings that it wasn’t enough. The bailout has almost no chance of success and it seems just a matter of time until the Euro-powers that be impose harsh conditions on Spain. The Euro-zone leaders seem unwilling or unable to change from their austerity policies, even as Greece and Spain fall apart and the core euro-zone economies contract. Four years after the financial crisis began, many rich capitalist economies have not recovered their pre-crisis output levels. There are 60 million fewer people employed worldwide than if the pre-crisis trend had continued. In countries like Spain and Greece, overall jobless rates are approaching 25%, with youth unemployment over 50%. Even in countries experiencing “milder” unemployment problems, like the US and the UK, between 8% and 10% are out of work. If we include those who have given up looking for jobs or those who are forced to work part-time for want of fulltime opportunities, “real” unemployment could be easily over 15% even in these countries.The remedies on offer are well known. Reduce budget deficits by cutting spending – especially “unproductive” …

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Monday, June 11, 2012 – The Non-Bailout Spanish Bank Bailout – by Sinclair Noe

DOW – 142 = 12,411  SPX – 16 = 1308NAS – 48 = 280910 YR YLD -.04 = 1.60%OIL – 1.50 = 81.20GOLD + 1.40 = 1597.10SILV + .05 = 28.58PLAT + 13.00 = 1450.00 So, here’s the headline from the Murdoch Street Journal: “US Stocks Tumble as Spain Bank Bailout Optimism Fades”. And my question is how many phones did they have to hack before they found someone who was optimistic about the Spanish Bank Bailout? Over the weekend, Spain requested a bailout of up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) in loans from the European Union to assist its banks. Statements about the deal left several open questions, including the exact amount of aid the country will need and how the funds will be distributed. What exactly is there to be optimistic about? Oh, the Euro did not explode over the weekend – that’s a relief but not a reason to be a big time buyer of equities. It’s not like the Spanish Bank Bailout makes anything better, except for the specific Spanish Banks being Bailed-Out. Europe still has a nasty circle of slow or no growth and increasing debt burdens. Greece’s first bailout in 2010 sparked a healthy 1.3 percent rally in the S&P 500 stock index on the following day, but subsequent rescues fostered more muted responses. The reaction after Spain’s bank bailout has been the most downbeat of the lot. The four prior bailouts – for Greece and Ireland in 2010, Portugal in 2011 and …

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Friday, June 1, 2012 – Someday the Violence Will End – by Sinclair Noe

DOW + 93 = 12,554SPX + 10 = 1325NAS +  27 = 285810 YR YLD -.02 = 1.64%OIL – .47 = 84.35GOLD + 6.20 = 1595.70SILV -.06 = 28.63PLAT – 10.00 = 1437.00 For the week, the Dow advanced 3.6 percent, the S&P 500 rose 3.7 percent and the Nasdaq jumped about 4 percent. It was the best percentage weekly gain for all three indexes since December. President Obama held a White House press conference this morning. The initial focus of the prepared remarks dealt with the European economic problem, not a Euro-debt crisis as the president noted. Obama went on to talk about the US economy and a few other issues. Obama tried to explain how the European economic problems could impact the American recovery and pushed Congress to pass parts of his “to-do” list aimed to stimulate economic growth. But during a question and answer session, the president said the private sector is “doing fine,” and he referenced the importance of jobs losses in the public sector. Mitt Romney criticized him for being “out of touch,” and so Obama backtracked and said the economy is not doing fine and he said: we’ve actually seen some good momentum in the private sector… record corporate profits…so that has not been the greatest drag on the economy.” He once again pressed Congress to provide aid to states to employ public sector workers including teachers and provide small businesses with tax breaks to help rejuvenate a sluggish recovery. Of course that isn’t …

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