Uncategorized

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 – Take Me to the Water

Take Me to the Water by Sinclair noe DOW – 243 = 13,102SPX – 20 = 1413NAS -26 = 299010 YR YLD – .03 = 1.76%OIL – .43 = 88.20GOLD – 21.80 = 1708.70SILV – .78 = 31,77PLAT – 38.00 = 1576.00 I’m still trying to figure out how Iran goes through Syria to gain access to the sea; this might take a while, so let’s consider some other topics while we wait. Today, the Dow Jones ended down 1.8% and the S&P 500 was off 1.4%. Why? Why? Who can explain why? Not me. But I can tell you that the Oracles of CNBC have figured it out and they can tell you why the markets moved, at least they can tell you after the fact. Here’s what they spake: Concerns about the strength of corporate earnings, particularly multinationals like DuPont, IBM and McDonald’s; increased selling by liquidity-seeking Europeans; China’s slowing economy; Wilbur Ross decided it might be better to invest in Spanish banks next year; Spain’s GDP continues to shrink; The short-selling ban in Spain expired yesterday; Obama used the word “sequestration” during last night’s debate, reminding people of the fiscal cliff; Fed policy continues to keep assets prices at some level above their fundamentals, but the fundamentals are worsening; Each round of QE has been decreasingly effective; The technicals of the S&P 500; Romney might win the election; Apple’s roll out of the iPad mini might be underwhelming. The iPad mini roll out; it’s small; I don’t …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Thursday, October 4, 2012 – If I Didn’t Hear It, Did It Happen?

If I Didn’t Hear It, Did It Happen? By Sinclair Noe DOW + 80 = 13,573SPX + 10 = 1461NAS + 14 = 314910 YR YLD +.04 = 1.66%OIL + 3.47 = 91.61GOLD + 11.30 = 1791.30SILV + .33 = 35.07PLAT + 31.00 = 1725.00 Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, the Labor Department. But that followed a drop of 22,000 and a four-week average, which offers a view of trends, held steady at 375,000. The monthly jobs report is tomorrow morning. Today, the Federal Reserve released the minutes of the FOMC’s September 13meeting. Of course, we know the Fed launched QE to Infinity and Beyond, or at least $40 billion dollars a month in mortgage-backed securities, until such time as we see maximum employment or until inflation becomes a problem. From the meeting minutes we learn that there might be limits on QE. The report says: “Most participants agreed that the use of numerical thresholds could be useful in providing more clarity about the conditionality of the forward guidance but thought that further work would be needed to address the related communications challenges.” In other words, there might be limits to acceptable unemployment. Maybe 7%, maybe 5%? We don’t know. And there might be limits to acceptable inflation. Maybe 2%, maybe 3%? We don’t know. We would like to know. If we knew, we could bet on the numbers. Unemployment at 8.2% and inflation at 1.5% equals risk on. Unemployment …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 – I Remain Optimistically Antiquated

I Remain Optimistically Antiquated -by Sinclair Noe DOW +9.99 = 13,333SPX + 3 = 1436NAS + 9 = 311410 YR YLD +.07 = 1.76%OIL – .16 = 96.85GOLD – 1.10 = 1732.40SILV -.17 = 33.41PLAT +42.00 = 1653.00 As we get down to FOMC crunch time, the skeptics come out of the woodwork. The Murdoch Street Journal ran a story saying that economists doubt the benefits of another round of bond-buying by the Federal Reserve. They surveyed 47 people, we don’t know how many were just walking through the newsroom, and they generally expect the Fed to start another round of large-scale asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, at its September policy-setting meeting. Another seven expect a move later this year, but not tomorrow. Just five respondents don’t believe the Fed will take action this year. And then there are others who say the economy is horrendous and jobs are not coming back and housing is still weak and all that, but the Fed doesn’t necessarily need to do anything to help support the markets. Some economists don’t see a large impact from a large bond-buying program. On average, they estimate that $500 billion in purchases would only reduce the unemployment rate by 0.1 percentage points and increase gross domestic product by 0.2 points over a one-year period. They estimate such a program would lift the inflation rate by 0.2 percentage points over 12 months. Others argue that QE1&2 didn’t really get the job done, and QE3 would just extend …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 – I Woke Up Early Today

I Woke Up Early Today – by Sinclair Noe DOW + 69 = 13,323SPX + 4 = 1433NAS +0.50 = 310410 YR YLD +.01 = 1.70%OIL – .37 = 96.80GOLD + 7.70 = 1733.50SILV + .14 = 33.58PLAT + 12.00 = 1610.00 Rating agency Moody’s says it likely would cut its “Aaa” rating on US government debt, probably by one notch, if negotiations on the federal budget fail. The lower rating by Moody’s would be the equivalent of the rating that Standard & Poor’s put on the US last year when it downgraded the rating following the debate over raising the debt ceiling. Moody’s says that if Congress and the White House don’t reach a budget deal, $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in starting Jan. 2. House Speaker John Boehner says he’s not confident that Congress can reach a deal and avoid a downgrade. No serious negotiations are expected until after the November elections. The Federal Reserve’s FOMC policy making meeting commences on Thursday and the central bank is all but certain to extend its plan to keep interest rates low, moving the possible cutoff to 2015 from 2014. Also, it is widely expected the Fed will launch a bond-buying program targeting the mortgage market, QE3, or some new name to describe the same. The guidance on interest rates is supposed to encourage businesses and consumers to invest and spend, stimulating the economy, while the bond purchases are designed to further lower interest rates. …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 – Review of the Economic News

Review of the Economic News DOW – 54 = 13,035SPX – 1 = 1404NAS + 8 = 307510 YR YLD +.02 = 1.58%OIL +.26 = 95.56GOLD + 3.60 = 1697.20SILV + .26 = 32.46PLAT  + 21.00 = 1576.00 The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index fell to 49.6% in August, lower than the 49.8% in July and the worst reading since July 2009. Readings below 50% indicate contraction in manufacturing companies surveyed. It appears to be part of a global trend; there has been a slowdown in manufacturing activity in Asia and Europe. Only eight of 18 industries as tracked by ISM were growing in August, led by printing, primary metals and food. August’s new-orders index fell to 47.1% from 48.0% in July; this points to manufacturers ratcheting down production activity, and that might also lead to a slowdown in hiring. The employment index fell to 51.6% from 52%; still positive but heading in the wrong direction. Another ISM survey of the services sector — things like banking, health care and entertainment — is also expected to show an economy plodding ahead. The services index is forecast to edge down to 52.5 from 52.6. The monthly jobs report is always an important chunk of economic data, and this Friday’s report takes on a little added significance because the Federal Reserve FOMC will be meeting next week to determine policy, and most likely announce something like QE3. It’s expected the economy added about 120,000 new jobs in August. While that’s enough …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Thursday, August 23, 2012 – No QE? Step Away From the Crack Pipe

No QE? Step Away From the Crack Pipe-by Sinclair Noe DOW – 115 = 13,057SPX – 11 = 1402NAS – 20 = 3053 10 YR YLD -.05 = 1.67%OIL – 1.05 = 97.69GOLD + 17.00 = 1672.10SILV + .75 = 30.68PLAT + 6.00 = 1548.00 The Federal Reserve FOMC minutes were released yesterday and the interpretation called for monetary accommodation sooner rather than later; so we’ll see QE3 August 31 at Jackson Hole on September 13 at the next FOMC meeting. They might not call it QE3, they might do some variation on the theme but the promise was that there will be big time accommodation unless the economy shows a strong and sustainable improvement. And if the Fed fails to deliver on QE3, you can expect a severely negative response from Wall Street; expect a move that would make today’s 115 point drop look small; the economy would tank and the Fed would be forced to step in with QE3, only in crisis mode.  So, this morning on CNBC, James Bullard, president of the Fed’s St. Louis bank, said the minutes from the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting were “stale” because the economy had picked up since then. If it becomes “a bit stronger,” he said, the Fed will hold off. And then he went back to smoking  his crack pipe.  What do the economic reports suggest? The HSBC Flash China manufacturing purchasing managers index, a preliminary reading that provides an early peek at data for August,  fell this month to …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Monday, August 20, 2012 – Diminished Expectations

Diminished Expectations-by Sinclair Noe DOW – 3 = 13,271SPX -0.03 = 1418NAS -0.38 = 307610 YR YLD un = 1.81%OIL – .05 = 97.70GOLD + 5.40 = 1622.20SILV +.72 = 28.91PLAT + 12.00 = 1496.00 Apple already boasts the largest market value of any public company. Today it became the most highly valued public company ever. With an increase in its share price, Apple broke the record for the biggest market capitalization, $616.34 billion, set by Microsoft on Dec. 27, 1999. Of course, shortly thereafter, Y2K hit and destroyed modern civilization as we know it; or maybe it was because Apple invented the iPod and the iPhone and the iPad, and Microsoft gave us Zune. Who knows?  Apple’s stock closed at $665.15, giving it a market value of $623.52 billion. Microsoft’s 1999 market value is still far higher than Apple’s when adjusted for inflation. The Microsoft of late 1999 would be worth $850 billion in today’s dollars. To beat Microsoft’s inflation-adjusted market value, Apple needs to close at $910. The Microsoft of August 2012 is worth $257 billion. I’m not sure what it says about our economy, that Apple is the most valuable company ever, but I suspect it is problematic.  ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to speak at this year’s Jackson Hole symposium. A fellow named Ben Bernanke is already scheduled to speak at the symposium, and so there has been a little speculation that there might be some coordinated action that will be announced. I’m not sure …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

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 …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

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, …

READ MORE →
Uncategorized

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 – Bernanke Approximately Right, UK Approximately Wrong, Students Approximately Taxed

DOW + 89 = 13,090 SPX + 18 = 1390NAS + 68 = 302910 YR YLD +.02 = 1.98%OIL -.11 = 104.01GOLD + 2.80 = 1645.30SILV – .12 = 30.81PLAT + 8.00 = 1559.00 If you own shares in Apple, congratulations. It gained nearly $50 to finish at $610, up nearly 9%. If you don’t own Apple, don’t worry about it, don’t chase it. Realize that a big chunk of the move today for the broader market, was really just Apple, but it was a good day, with gainers outpacing losers by 3 to 1. The Federal Reserve wrapped up their FOMC meeting and announced no changes. Wow, what a surprise. The Fed didn’t raise rates – they can’t. They didn’t lower rates – they can’t. They didn’t announce QE3, but they didn’t take it off the table. Bernanke told reporters at a press conference, “We see monetary policy as being approximately in the right place at this point.” He said, “Our intention is to maintain highly accommodative stance of policy for the foreseeable future.” Kind of like QE in Perpetuity. Bernanke stressed that the Fed could purchase more assets if it looked like the economy needed help, but he said some ways to boost the economy, like tolerating higher inflation, would be “reckless.” At the same time, he said it was too early to raise rates, “I think it’s a little premature to declare victory. I think that keeping interest rates low is still appropriate for our economy.” The …

READ MORE →