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Friday, November 30, 2012 – We’re All Just Muppets Living in a Fairy World

We’re All Just Muppets Living in a Fairy World by Sinclair Noe DOW + 3 = 13,025SPX +0.23 = 1416NAS – 1 = 301010 YR YLD – .01 = 1.61%OIL + .88 = 88.95GOLD – 10.60 = 1716.20SILV – .85 – 33.54 October 31 Closing Numbers:       DOW                                                13096SPX                                                 1412NAS                                                 297710 YR YLD                                      1.69% OIL                                                   88.51GOLD                                              1721.20SILV                                                 32.36 So for all the talk about the fiscal cliff, the election, Hurricane Sandy, The Euro-Debt Crisis, the unrest in the Middle East; for all that and more, the markets gave a big yawn in the month of November. So, yesterday afternoon the House Republicans told reporters that the White House plan to avert the fiscal cliff was nothing more than a “joke”, an “insult”, and a “complete break from reality.” Mitch McConnell said he “burst into laughter. John Boehner said: “It was not a serious proposal.”  The plan, or the opening salvo from the White House calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases spread out over ten years, $50 billion in additional stimulus spending, and $400 billion in spending cuts over ten years, plus an extension of the 2 percentage point payroll tax deduction or something comparable to it, and a permanent extension on the debt ceiling. Meanwhile, the Republican plan is, well, it’s still something of a mystery but we know they want cuts to entitlement programs, and no they’re not referring to the corporate welfare programs that allow $1.5 trillion in corporate …

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Friday, September 7, 2012 – More Than You Want to Know About the Jobs Report

More Than You Want to Know About the Jobs Report By Sinclair Noe DOW + 14 = 13,306SPX + 5 = 1437NAS + 0.61 = 313610 YR YLD – .01 = 1.66%OIL +.89 = 96.42GOLD + 34.00 = 1736.30SILV + .97 = 33.78PLAT + 10.00 = 1597.00 The first Friday of each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on nonfarm payrolls for the previous month. While that sounds rather mundane, the jobs report is a pretty big deal. The results attempt to measure some of the most vital data about the economy; who’s working and where and how much are they being paid; from this we can estimate how much people will or will not spend, the strength or weakness of businesses, the overall health of the economy. The fates of Presidents and political parties can hang on the results. The Federal Reserve will use the report to determine if they will turn on the printing press. This in turn affects the prices we pay for almost everything. So, it’s a pretty big deal. The economy added 96,000 jobs in August, far below the consensus of 125,000 to 150,000. In addition, July’s tally was revised down to 141,000 from 163,000. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.1% from 8.3% and the “real” unemployment rate (U6) fell to 14.7% from 15%, but the unemployment rate came down for the wrong reason; a sharp drop in the size of the labor force. The labor participation rate fell to 65.3%, its lowest …

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012 – Just Waiting and Being Productive

Just Waiting and Being Productive -by Sinclair Noe DOW + 11 = 13,047SPX – 1 = 1403NAS – 5 = 306910 YR YLD +.01 = 1.59%OIL +.44 = 97.72GOLD – 2.80 = 1694.40SILV – .09 = 32.37PLAT + 2.00 = 1577.00 We wait for the ECB and as we wait we try to remain productive.  Three months ago, George Soros said the powers that be in the euro-zone, which is another way of saying Germany, could still correct their mistakes and reverse the trend and make things right, and they had a three month window to get their act together. Soros delivered the speech on June 2nd. The European Central Bank meets tomorrow and there is a rumor floating around that that ECB President Mario Draghi is ready to announce a plan to buy unlimited sovereign debt of countries that formally request assistance and agree to be bound to fiscal compliance.  So far, it is just a rumor but we have seen Italian and Spanish bond yields have dropped sharply. The German Constitutional Court is ruling on whether the ESM is constitutional, and German manufacturing is contracting; so the timing presents some challenges. The German Finance Minister today said people should lower their expectations. I don’t know what that means. Maybe Draghi has managed to cobble a deal to allow unlimited bond purchases; we won’t know until Thursday night, Friday morning; if a deal is in place it is a big deal. If a deal is not announced, it won’t …

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Thursday, August 30, 2012 – While We Wait for Fed, Banks Behave Badly

While We Wait for Fed, Banks Behave Badly -by Sinclair Noe DOW – 106 = 13,000SPX – 11 = 1399NAS – 32 = 304810 YR YLD -.03 = 1.62%OIL – .67= 95.88GOLD – .80 = 1656.30SILV -.29 = 30.54PLAT – 11.00 = 1512.00 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has returned to Jackson Hole Wyoming for the annual economic symposium.  Following the minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting, in which we learned the Fed felt compelled to take action unless the economy shows dramatic improvement, there has been general acknowledgment the Fed must certainly act sooner rather than later. Sooner being tomorrow or later being at the next FOMC meeting September 13th.  And although it is unlikely Bernanke will announce a major new program tomorrow, he must at least telegraph. Any new Fed actions are likely to have only a small effect on job creation. Among possible options, Bernanke might announce he’ll extend the Zero Interest Rate Policy to late 2014 or into 2015. He could move toward QE3, another round of bond purchases, most likely involving Treasury bonds and mortgage bonds. This would flood money into the economy and housing market, pushing record-low interest rates even lower. Both republicans and democrats have weighed in. Democrats say he should not be deterred from doing what’s needed to reduce unemployment; Republicans say new action should be avoided because of the risk of inflation. So we have a question of whether inflation or no job is the main culprit to eroding incomes.  …

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012 – I Won’t Be Going to Jackson Hole

I Won’t Be Going to Jackson HoleSinclair Noe DOW – 21 = 13,102SPX – 1 = 1409NAS + 3 = 307710 YR YLD -.02 = 1.63%OIL + .57 = 97.48GOLD + 3.00 = 1667.60SILV +.18 = 31.00PLAT – 23.00 = 1524.00 The ECB announced that Mario Draghi had canceled plans to attend the Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming citing “a heavy workload”. So, I would just like to announce that I’m not going to be able to attend either. Further, I can tell you that none of that makes much difference; the markets are waiting on a Federal Reserve announcement and an ECB announcement. Relax, it’ll happen. Draghi faces a tougher row to hoe. ECB staff are still weighing a variety of approaches. Draghi, meanwhile, remains in conflict with Germany’s Bundesbank, which has reiterated its opposition to bond purchases of any kind. Meanwhile Fitch has downgraded ratings on 7 mid-sized Italian banks, based on the “current challenges in the operating enviroment” and the difficult of accessing wholesale funding. At the same time, the ECB is in a standoff with Spain, which remains reluctant to seek help from the euro-zone’s rescue fund, an action that Draghi and other ECB officials have made clear is an absolute prerequisite for any new bond-buying efforts. Apparently the Spanish have figured out that the medicine is worse than the ailment and they don’t want to be economically indentured for the foreseeable future. I can understand that Draghi is busy these …

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Friday, August 24, 2012 – Say It Ain’t So

Say It Ain’t So-by Sinclair Noe DOW + 100 = 13,157SPX + 9 = 1411NAS + 16 = 306910 YR YLD +.01 = 1.68%OIL – .44 = 97.47GOLD – .40 = 1671.70SILV +.24 = 30.92PLAT + 7.00 = 1554.00 Say it ain’t so Lance. The unbeatable Lance Armstrong; the guy who did so much with the yellow bracelets; he finally admitted he is a cheat. He used performance enhancing drugs. He doped. “Enough is enough,” that was Armstrong’s statement. I couldn’t agree more. And yet, even with this I have to take exception. You see, Armstrong didn’t admit guilt. He didn’t come clean. Armstrong will not contest the charges of doping against him. Weary from years of denial, legal battles, skirmishes with former-team mates and anti-doping chiefs, it is a fight Armstrong says he no longer has the stomach for: “Today I will turn the page,” Armstrong said. “I will no longer address this issue regardless of the circumstances.” He didn’t go through a discovery process that would have brought out all the sordid details and entered them into evidence. No, that might have allowed his corporate sponsors to claw back all those endorsement fees. So, Armstrong and his attorneys just say that’s it, enough is enough. This is what corporations do when they want to limit liability; make no mistake, Armstrong is a corporation.  Pay the fine, but do not admit guilt, give up the Tour de France championship but keep the money. The workers were already taking down …

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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 …

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