Wednesday, December 19, 2012 – You Can’t Kill a Bank, Even With a Bushmaster

You Can’t Kill a Bank, Even With a Bushmaster by Sinclair Noe DOW – 98 = 13,251SPX – 10 = 1435NAS – 10 = 304410 YR YLD -.03 = 1.80%OIL + 1.49 = 89.42GOLD – 5.00 = 1666.90SILV – .66 = 31.08 All right, let’s start with a refresher course; Libor stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate. It’s the rate at which banks are able to borrow money from each other. The lower a bank’s rate (banks submit their own rates) the healthier it’s deemed to be. If you’re balance sheet is healthy, you get a low rate when you borrow. If your balance sheet is known to contain toxic assets, you have to pay a higher rate to borrow. The rates were especially indicative of banks’ health during the peak of the financial crisis when the markets were all but frozen and access to funds were limited. The Libor rate is determined daily; sixteen banks submit their rates to an agency; the four highest rates are wiped out and the four lowest rates are wiped out. The result is averaged and the daily Libor rate is published. It would take more than one bank to manipulate the rates. But once the rate is published it affects trillions of dollars of financial instruments around the globe. More than a dozen banks in the U.S. and Europe are under investigation for Libor rate rigging. Even though it is not really surprising, the sheer scope and audacity of the market manipulation …

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012 – Blame It On Whatever You Want

Blame It On Whatever You Want by Sinclair Noe DOW + 115 = 13,350 SPX + 16 = 1446NAS + 43 = 305410 YR YLD +.06 = 1.83%OIL + .79 = 87.99GOLD – 27.20 = 1671.90SILV – .64 = 31.74 The markets rallied on news the fiscal cliff negotiations are closer to a resolution. No, no, wait a minute; the markets experienced a Santa Claus Rally. No, no, wait a minute; just make up whatever excuse you want. No, no, wait a minute; the Federal Reserve announced QE4 last week, even though we’re not supposed to call it QE4, and they are just printing money like banshees, although I’m not sure banshees know how to print money, but the point is they are juicing the economy to the tune of $85 billion a month, and you know that has to have some sort of effect. Why sure; all this money just has to end up in the stock market eventually. You might also expect the dollar to fall. You might also have expected additional strength in the government bond market, because $85 billion pretty much covers all of the expected new issuance going forward, plus many entities still need to buy U.S. bonds for a variety of fiduciary reasons. With little product for sale and lots of bids by various players; one of which, the Fed, has their own printing press and so money is no object in the move to drive prices higher and yields lower; that’s a recipe …

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Monday, December 17, 2012 – Unconnected Dots

Unconnected Dots by Sinclair Noe DOW + 100 = 13,235SPX + 16 = 1430NAS + 39 = 301010 YR YLD +.05 = 1.76%OIL +.71 = 87.44GOLD + 1.90 = 1699.10SILV -.03 = 32.38 President Obama and House Speaker Boehner met at the White House today. Aides from both parties said they were optimistic that a deal could be reached in the coming days to avert the “fiscal cliff,” as lawmakers set the stage for action before a year-end deadline. A senior Republican aide said: “There’s been too much progress at this point and neither guy wants to go over the cliff.” Although both sides still had major differences, investors were cheered by signs of progress. Major market indices moved higher in the afternoon, and some of that was the feel good part of the news cycle; we certainly need some good news. Now, we sit back and see whether it was yet another rumor. Boehner, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, has edged closer to Obama’s demand to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. In return, Obama is considering a measure that would slow the rate of growth of Social Security retirement benefits by changing the way they are measured against inflation. Boehner has put forward a tax increase for those earning over $1 million annually, while Obama wants that threshold set at $250,000. Republicans could probably stomach a tax hike on incomes above $500,000. Boehner could float the broad outlines of a deal with rank-and-file members on …

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Friday, December 14, 2012 –

A Sad Day by Sinclair Noe DOW – 35 = 13,135SPX – 5 = 1413NAS – 20 = 297110 YR YLD -.02 = 1.71%OIL +.97 = 86.86GOLD – 1.10 = 1697.20SILV – .23 = 32.31 A total of 27 people dead at school in Newtown, Connecticut; 20 children, 6 adults, and the shooter; the kids were between the ages of 5 and 10. There was possibly another person shot before the massacre at the school. The shooter’s mother was a teacher at the school and she was killed, but it is pretty clear this was more than just an attack on the mother. So, if you see the flags at half mast today, this is why. We’ve seen it before at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, at Aurora, and just earlier this week in a mall in Portland. This time it was especially horrible because it was mostly children; the innocents. It is estimated that there are 87 gun related deaths per day in the US, and this week it was kids. I understand that tragedy is a part of life. I understand that other places in the world experience tragedy. What is happening in Syria is tragic, what is happening in the Sudan is tragic. What is happening in Afghanistan is tragic. None of that discounts the tragedy in Connecticut. Thoughts and prayers and consolation for the victims are appropriate and comforting to some extent, but there should be something more. Something is wrong in this country. I have no …

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Thursday, December 13, 2012 – Federal Reserve Targets

Federal Reserve Targets by Sinclair Noe DOW – 74 = 13,170SPX – 9 = 1419NAS – 21 = 299210 YR YLD +.03 = 1.73%OIL – .67 = 86.10GOLD – 14.30 = 1697.30SILV – .91 = 32.64 What happens when the unemployment rate gets to 6.7%? Or when the inflation rate gets to about 2.4%%? Yesterday, the Federal Reserve announced it would keep interest rates at super-duper low levels and they would buy about $85 billion dollars a month in mortgage backed securities and Treasury bonds until the unemployment rate drops to 6.5% or until inflation kicks up to about 2.5%. So, what happens when the unemployment rate hits 6.7% or inflation hits 2.4%? The next question, and it is probably going to turn into an obsession for market traders trying to figure which target gets hit first, inflation or unemployment. Of course, that is working on the assumption that Fed policy will improve the jobs picture and that the Fed’s policy will result in inflation. Maybe. What we know with greater certainty is that the Fed’s policy is a boon for banks. They can offer loans and keep a very wide spread, also known as a profit. And the banks can be very particular about the quality or vintage of loan they make; which in turn keeps the spread high. The banks don’t really need to make mortgage loans to consumers;Ttey can get an even bigger spread on high interest credit card accounts; they can get an even higher interest …

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012 – Life is Beautiful and Easy

Life is Beautiful and Easy by Sinclair Noe DOW – 2 = 13,245SPX +0.64 = 1428NAS – 8 = 301310 YR YLD +.05 = 1.70%OIL +.99 = 86.78GOLD + 1.20 = 1712.60SILV +. 45 = 33.55 And now, the DC Players present: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, starring John Boehner. Speaking to reporters this morning, Boehner said: “We’re going to stay here right up until Christmas Eve, throughout the time and period before the New Year, because we want to make sure that we resolve this in an acceptable way for the American people.” Yesterday, we told you reporters in Washington were optimistic a deal could be reached; and we told you that story literally dripping with sarcasm, because we were fairly certain it was just idiot reporters projecting their own fantasy that they could spend the holidays with family and people posing as friends; it was a last gasp hope to shame inept and incompetent politicians to get a deal done. It didn’t work. Republicans and the White House appeared no closer to a deal, as both sides pressed each other to cede ground. Republicans want to extract spending cuts from the White House while the Obama administration is demanding that taxes go up for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Wow, I just had a feeling of deja vu. It’s almost like I’ve heard this before. Washington has a way of diverting the nation’s attention on tactical games over partisan maneuvers that are symptoms of a few really big …

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012 – If Banks Could Kill They Probably Will

If Banks Could Kill They Probably Will by Sinclair Noe DOW + 78 = 13,248SPX + 9 = 1427NAS + 35 = 302210YR YLD +.03 = 1.65%OIL +.09 = 85.65GOLD – 2.20 = 1711.40SILV – .27 = 33.10 If all goes according to plan, in about 13 days, a star will rise in the east somewhere over Washington DC, signaling the birth of a new budget deal. If you’re waiting for three wise men, don’t hold your breath, because they couldn’t find them in our nation’s capitol. With just days to go before the nation slides down the fiscal Cliff Clavin of tax increases and spending cuts mandated by our confederacy of dunces to take effect with the passing of the arbitrary date on a calendar, there are signs that a deal to avoid the slide is near. Pert’ near every reporter in Washington says a deal is imminent. Just this Sunday, Obama and Boehner met in secret, well, not exactly a secret, and they did something, maybe they came up with a deal, maybe they barbequed some brats and watched some football, but their silence on the subject speaks volumes. Their silence almost provides proof positive that a bipartisan deal must be something that might have possibly been a part of the silent conversation, or not; but hey, it looks like a deal, except for all those pesky details. And it only took two years, possibly, of unnecessary uncertainty and sovereign debt downgrades to hammer out an agreement to …

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012 – If Banks Could Kill They Probably Will

If Banks Could Kill They Probably Will by Sinclair Noe DOW + 78 = 13,248SPX + 9 = 1427NAS + 35 = 302210YR YLD +.03 = 1.65%OIL +.09 = 85.65GOLD – 2.20 = 1711.40SILV – .27 = 33.10 If all goes according to plan, in about 13 days, a star will rise in the east somewhere over Washington DC, signaling the birth of a new budget deal. If you’re waiting for three wise men, don’t hold your breath, because they couldn’t find them in our nation’s capitol. With just days to go before the nation slides down the fiscal Cliff Clavin of tax increases and spending cuts mandated by our confederacy of dunces to take effect with the passing of the arbitrary date on a calendar, there are signs that a deal to avoid the slide is near. Pert’ near every reporter in Washington says a deal is imminent. Just this Sunday, Obama and Boehner met in secret, well, not exactly a secret, and they did something, maybe they came up with a deal, maybe they barbequed some brats and watched some football, but their silence on the subject speaks volumes. Their silence almost provides proof positive that a bipartisan deal must be something that might have possibly been a part of the silent conversation, or not; but hey, it looks like a deal, except for all those pesky details. And it only took two years, possibly, of unnecessary uncertainty and sovereign debt downgrades to hammer out an agreement to …

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Monday, December 10, 2012 – The Fed After the Twist, Italy After Monti, China After 2030, Warming After Doha

The Fed After the Twist, Italy After Monti, China After 2030, Warming After Doha by Sinclair Noe DOW + 14 = 13169SPX +0.48 = 1418NAS + 8 = 298610YR YLD -.01 = 1.62%OIL -.25 = 85.68GOLD + 8.10 = 1713.60SILV + .16 = 33.37 Economic reports due this week are not likely to be market movers. Tomorrow we’ll see data on wholesale trade, plus the trade deficit; a report on how many new job opening exist. Later in the week, we’ll find out about retail sales. The big event this week is the Federal Reserve FOMC meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. The Fed will be looking at the unemployment numbers from Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9%, but that was because more people dropped out of the labor force. Usually that’s not a good sign because it means jobs are harder to find. Ultimately the Fed wants to see the jobless rate fall to 6% or less, the same levels that prevailed before the 2008 meltdown. Nobody seems to think there will be a big uptick in new jobs. Lackluster hiring means consumer spending is unlikely to rocket higher. Too many people remain out of work and the growth in the average worker’s paycheck isn’t even keeping up with the low increase in annual inflation. Business are waiting for the consumer to spend, consumers are waiting for businesses to hire. Something needs to happen to kick start the economy, a jolt of stimulus, but don’t hold out for …

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Friday, December 7, 2012 – A Date Which Will Live in Infamy, Plus the Jobs Report

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy, Plus the Jobs Report by Sinclair Noe DOW + 81 = 13,155SPX + 4 = 1418 NAS – 11 = 297810 YR YLD +.05 = 1.63%OIL – .27 = 85.99 GOLD + 4.50 = 1704.50SILV + .08 = 33.11 Today marks the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were of course, memorials in Hawaii and around the country. I’ve seen a few of the pictures. Each year the number of Pearl Harbor survivors that attend these memorials, their number grows smaller and their ranks thin. If you know a veteran of World War II, be sure to take time to recognize their stories, be sure to say thanks. Today’s major economic data was the monthly jobs report; widely expected to be weak due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Instead, it came in relatively strong. The headline numbers: the economy added 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, a four year low. The Labor Department claimed that the effect of Sandy on the report was minimal, saying in a statement, “Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.” In other words, we should not look at this report as surprisingly good given the effect of the hurricane. Rather, the Labor Department claims that the jobs numbers should be analyzed without taking the storm into account at all. And by that standard, not only were the job …

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