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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 – If They Don’t Jump, I Might Push Them

If They Don’t Jump, I Might Push Them by Sinclair Noe DOW + 106 = 12,985SPX + 10 = 1409NAS + 23 = 299110 YR YLD – .03 = 1.62%OIL – .52 = 86.66GOLD – 22.00 = 1720.80SILV – .28 = 33.87 I am getting so sick and tired of this fiscal cliff malarkey* (* a politically acceptable euphemism, according to the debates), that I would like to throw some politicians off a fiscal cliff; maybe we could toss in a few media types as well. Today, I hear that stocks moved higher because John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, said he was optimistic about not going over the cliff. Really? That’s all it takes for stocks to post triple digit gains? Maybe tomorrow, Mr. Boehner can tell us he is both optimistic, and confident, and chipper, and slightly perky, and everything in his universe is copacetic; and the markets could celebrate with a monster rally. I don’t think this is the real motivation for market moves but it might be, but I don’t think so. On Friday, President Obama will hit the road to promote his version of fiscal cliff avoidance. Business executives and others who’ve met with President Barack Obama in recent days describe a president who’s supremely confident that he’ll come out on top of a fiscal cliff deal; with Republicans bending to his will on tax increases for the wealthy and Democrats sucking up deep spending cuts. You have to wonder about the austerity advice …

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Friday, October 26, 2012 – Thank God It’s Friday

DOW + 3 = 13,107SPX – 1 = 1411NAS – 1 = 298710 YR YLD – .08 = 1.75%OIL -.43 = 88.30GOLD + .80 = 1712.10SILV – .02 = 32.19 PLAT – 16.00 = 1551.00 The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter, the GDP grew at a 2% rate, a bit stronger than the 1.7% expected by economists, and up from the 1.3% rate in the second quarter. Consumer spending and federal government spending increased and the housing market and home construction were areas of strength. Business spending continued to be a drag. GDP is the broadest measure of an economy’s health, and represents the value of all goods and services produced in the US. GDP has been positive since the third quarter of 2009, but today’s report, although better than expected, really can’t be considered more than moderate growth. Consumer spending increased at a 2% pace. Business investment fell by 1.3% in the third quarter, subtracting 0.1 percentage points from growth. Farm inventories dropped due to the drought and that subtracted 0.4 percentage points from GDP growth. Government spending increased 3.7%, with the lions’ share coming from the federal government and a fairly flat spending pattern from local governments. Investment in the housing sector jumped 14.4%. Inflation as measured by the Consumer PCE or Personal Consumption Expenditures Index increased to 1.8% from 0.7% in the second quarter; most of that increase was due to high gasoline prices, which have started moving lower in the current quarter. Imports dipped …

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Monday, October 15, 2012 – Coffee First Then the Prize

Coffee First Then the Prize -by Sinclair Noe DOW + 95 = 13,424SPX + 11 = 1440 NAS + 20 = 306410 YR YLD un = 1.66%OIL- .11 = 91.74GOLD – 16.90 = 1738.40SILV – .78 = 32.80 PLAT – 14.00 = 1646.00 Americans Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley were awarded the Nobel economics prize on Monday for research that helps explain the market processes at work when doctors are assigned to hospitals, students to schools and human organs for transplant to recipients. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two economists for “the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.” Roth, 60, is a professor at Harvard. Shapley, 89, is a professor emeritus at UCLA. “This year’s prize concerns a central economic problem: how to match different agents as well as possible,” the academy said. Shapley made early theoretical inroads into the subject, using game theory to analyze different matching methods in the 1950s and ’60s. He examined “pairwise matching”. Roth took it further by applying it to the market for US doctors in the ’90s. “Even though these two researchers worked independently of one another, the combination of Shapley’s basic theory and Roth’s empirical investigations, experiments and practical design has generated a flourishing field of research and improved the performance of many markets,” the academy said. While I think it’s safe to say most of us believe that capitalism is the best economic system, in part because of the ability to efficiently allocate resources, …

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Thursday, October 11, 2012 – The Bigger Debate

by Sinclair Noe DOW – 18 = 13,326SPX +0.28 = 1432NAS – 2 = 304910 YR YLD – .02 = 1.67% OIL + 1.22 = 92.47GOLD + 4.60 = 1768.00SILV +.06 = 34.10PLAT + 4.00 = 1682.00 Archived audio at http://www.moneyradio.com/Audio-Archive A fairly remarkable thing happened today. I doubt you’ll hear much of it on the nightly news because after all, there is a big debate this evening, but the news out of Tokyo this morning centered around and even bigger debate. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are holding their annual meeting in Japan and the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde announced that the harsh austerity measures that European monetary officials have been pushing could produce the opposite effect on struggling nations like Greece and Spain and Portugal and Ireland. In other words, austerity has not worked and it probably isn’t the solution to Europe’s problems after all. For those of you that have been alert and attentive, you know that Euro-crisis has served as the testing ground for major economic theory. The IMF announcement today marks a dramatic turning point moving forward, or at least it marks a dramatic sounding announcement and a surprising admission of policy failure. Still to be determined is how the Euro-crisis plays out from here. Large parts of the Euro-zone are now in economic depression that threaten not just the weak nations but even the strongest. We are familiar with the situation in Greece; unemployment is running at 25%; the …

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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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Wednesday, June 06, 2012 – Rally for Central Bank Juice – by Sinclair Noe

DOW + 286 = 12,414 SPX + 29 = 1315NAS + 66 = 284410 YR YLD +.10 = 1.65%OIL +.51 = 85.53GOLD + 2.80 = 1620.70SILV +.90 = 29.53PLAT + 26.00 = 1468.00 There have been several ideas floated to explain today’s rally on Wall Street: the markets were oversold, it was a technical bounce off the 200 day moving average, it was a dead cat bounce, traders who have shorted the market had to cover their positions, a response to Election Tuesday results, seller exhaustion, re-balancing, or my favorite – bargain hunting. How quick we forget. Goldman Sachs has already announced they expect the Federal Reserve to juice the economy and soon. So, apparently the work order has been submitted and now we just wait to see if Helicopter Ben can deliver the goods. Today, the general market feeling was that some central bank somewhere would start throwing money at the banksters. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested that further stimulus to tackle the euro zone’s debt crisis would not necessarily be forthcoming, but speculation persisted that the ECB could act if financial market tensions intensify further. The ECB left interest rates unchanged following its policy meeting today. The Euro economy is standing at the edge; unemployment is soaring; the Spanish banking system is on the verge of collapse; Greece is already toast. And it looks like the ECB is trying to make sure the Euro-politicians know they won’t get any relief unless they enforce even more austerity …

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Friday, May 18, 2012 – Europe, Before the Flood – by Sinclair Noe

DOW – 73 = 12,369SPX – 9 = 1295NAS – 34 = 277810 YR YLD un = 1.70%OIL – .57 = 93.41GOLD + 17.80 = 1593.10SILV +.67 = 28.82 PLAT + 2.00 = 1461.00 “He hath indeed better bettered expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how.” The Facebook Frenzy turned out to be a fairly orderly IPO. Share prices fluctuated but did not collapse nor did they soar; which means the price and quantity were about right; the underwriter was competent and reasonably accurate. The NASDAQ had some trouble executing trades but that was a relatively minor problem. Now, the new Facebook millionaires and billionaires have some heavy lifting to prove their value. Time will tell, and good luck to them in their efforts. FB +.23 = 38.23 I know its the biggest internet IPO ever, but in reality it’s much ado about nothing. The European economic crisis is expected to top the agenda at the G8 meeting tomorrow at Camp David. In Greece, voters will soon head to the polls for another round of elections which will be viewed by many as a referendum on the euro. The European Commission and the European Central Bank have been working on contingency plans in the event of a Greece exit from the 17-nation euro zone. Concern about whether Greece’s troubles would spread to other European nations hit the market last fall. It’s hard to imagine between what went on last fall and now, that a lot of …

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 – JPMorgan is Scary, the California Budget is Easy – by Sinclair Noe

05152012 Script DOW – 63 = 12,632SPX – 7 = 1330NAS – 8 = 289310 YR YLD =.01 = 1.78% OIL – .57 = 93.41GOLD – 12.20 = 1545.30SILV -.46 = 27.82PLAT – 5.00 = 1437.00 So, JPMorgan shareholders held their annual meeting. They decided to pay Jamie Dimon $23 million. They can still afford it; despite a $2 billion dollar loss, JPMorgan is still the largest publicly traded company, the largest bank in the US, and the largest derivatives dealer in the world. JPMorgan invented credit default swaps, they wrote the legislation to reform the derivatives markets, and when JPMorgan went insolvent in the 1980s and in 2007, they were bailed out by taxpayers.A $2 billion dollar loss is not the end of the world, JPMorgan is not in imminent danger, but I don’t think this will end well. The really scary part isn’t the loss, but that it only represents one-tenth of the annualized profit. What are they doing to make that kind of money? And if these are supposed to be the best and brightest bankers, what does it say about the others? The FBI has opened an investigation into the trading losses. We don’t know what the FBI is looking at and I won’t hold my breath waiting. The SEC has opened an inquiry into JPMorgan’s disclosures and accounting practices. JP Morgan maintains that the purpose of the trades that resulted in the $2 billion loss was to hedge exposure elsewhere, as opposed to being proprietary …

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Monday, May 7, 2012 – The Revolution in Greece and France

DOW – 29 = 13,008SPX +.48 = 1369NAS + 1 = 295710 YR YLD unch = 1.88% OIL +.07 = 98.01GOLD – 3.60 = 1639.50SILV -.25 = 30.19PLAT + 2.00 = 1535.00 The results pretty much followed expectations: An anti-austerity backlash by voters in Greece an France. First attempt at forming Greek coalition fails. Hollande seeks to augment fiscal pact with growth plan. Merkel tells French president-elect “no renegotiation”. Greece, where Europe’s sovereign debt crisis began in 2009, was slightly discombobulated after the election boosted left and right-wing fringe parties, stripping the two mainstream parties that backed a the EU/IMF bailout of their parliamentary majority. Uncertainty over whether the country could avert bankruptcy and stay in the euro deepened on Monday when the leader of the conservative New Democracy party which won the biggest share of the vote, failed within hours to cobble together a government. The leaders of the New Democracy party had been given 3 days to form a government but this morning they said it was impossible. Next in line to try to form a government will be Left Coalition leaders, whose party came second on a platform of rejecting the austerity conditions of Greece’s latest bailout program. So, that might be interesting. The Left Coalition is considered a splinter group of the communist party, and now they are in the spotlight because the socialists were too centrist. The far right Golden Dawn party, essentially neo-nazis, achieved a parliamentary breakthrough. In hard times, voters are receptive to …

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012 – Jobs Report, Euro Elections, California Budget, and Watching Paint Dry

DOW – 10 = 13,268SPX – 3 = 1402 NAS + 9 = 305910 YR YLD -.03 = 1.92OIL +.14 = 105.36GOLD – 8.50 = 1654.70SILV – .32 = 30.75PLAT – 9.00 = 1569.00 This is shaping up to be a wild weekend. Friday we get the jobs report. Then, in Europe there will be elections in France and Greece. On a personal note, I’m going to paint the patio on my house, so I’ll be watching paint dry, just to counterbalance the rest of the world. The monthly jobs report, already the most highly anticipated data of the month, will be getting a little extra attention this Friday after a disappointing report on GDP late last week. A bad jobs report and a weak GDP report might be enough to trigger another round of Quantitative Easing from the Federal Reserve. The economy is adding and will continue to add jobs; that is not in question. It is the rate of job growth. Expectations are that there were about 160k to 175k new jobs created in April, up from 120,000 in March, and an unemployment rate that remains steady at 8.2%. The lowball guesses are for only about 125k jobs. With the addition of 120,000 jobs, March marked the 15th straight month of jobs growth, but it broke a three-month streak in which the economy had added more than 200,000 jobs. Now we are only a couple days away from finding out whether March’s report was a fluke or the …

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