by ilene - August 21st, 2014 7:13 pm
Courtesy of Robert Reich
Americans are sick of politics. Only 13 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, a near record low. The President’s approval ratings are also in the basement.
A large portion of the public doesn’t even bother voting. Only 57.5 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the 2012 presidential election.
Put simply, most Americans feel powerless, and assume the political game is fixed. So why bother?
A new study scheduled to be published in this fall by Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern University’s Benjamin Page confirms our worst suspicions.
Gilens and Page analyzed 1,799 policy issues in detail, determining the relative influence on them of economic elites, business groups, mass-based interest groups, and average citizens.
Their conclusion: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
Instead, lawmakers respond to the policy demands of wealthy individuals and monied business interests – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.
Before you’re tempted to say “duh,” wait a moment. Gilens’ and Page’s data come from the period 1981 to 2002. This was before the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in “Citizens United,” prior to SuperPACs, and before the Wall Street bailout.
So it’s likely to be even worse now.
But did the average citizen ever have much power? The eminent journalist and commentator Walter Lippman argued in his 1922 book “Public Opinion” that the broad public didn’t know or care about public policy. Its consent was “manufactured” by an elite that manipulated it. “It is no longer possible … to believe in the original dogma of democracy,” Lippman concluded.
by Option Review - August 21st, 2014 4:33 pm
by Phil Davis - August 21st, 2014 6:01 am
I could take today off.
Why? Because I already wrote this article last month, on a Thursday, when the S&P was at 1,988 and topped out at 1,991, which was $199.06 on SPY and, as you can see from Dave Fry's chart, SPY topped out at $199.16 yesterday (before plunging back to $198.90 on strong volume into the close).
Will this time be different? I certainly hope so because last time, we plunged about 5%, back to 1,904 over the next 10 sessions and it's taken us another 10 to claw our way back for another attempt at an all-time high.
In our Live Member Chat this morning, we shorted the run-up in the Futures at Dow 16,990 (/YM), S&P 1,985 (/ES), Nasdaq 4,045 (/NQ) and Russell 1,155 (/TF) because, as I said to our Members:
I'm sorry but I simply can't reconcile this news with what's going on in the markets so I'm going to continue to lose money hedging to make sure we keep what we have. The alternative is going to cash but there is simply no way I can endorse getting more bullish on this market at this point.
One major difference this time is we DON'T have money flowing out of SPY (as much), as we did last month and we DO have the Fed's Jackson Hole conference tomorrow, which looks to Global Investors like a Santa Claus convention with Yellen, Draghi, Carney and Kuroda sitting under the spruce trees with gigantic bags of FREE MONEY – and that's why traders are as giddy as kids before Christmas this week.
But, Virginia, is there really a Santa Claus, or are the bulls hopes and dreams about to be crushed by cruel economic realities they have, so far, been avoiding like the plague (or Ebola)? Realities like China's horrific PMI this morning, that dropped from 51.7 to 50.3 (barely positive) and France's PMI, which is back in heavy contraction at 46.5 this morning. Retail Sales in the UK were up just 0.1% vs.…
by Phil Davis - August 20th, 2014 7:52 am
Fed Minutes Today (2pm).
That gives the bullish pundits another chance to read the tea leaves and promise MORE FREE MONEY to those who are silly enough not to be fully invested in stocks. As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, only 56.7M shares were transacted yesterday and nearly half of those people were selling.
Perhaps 10% more buys than sells is 5.7M shares at $198.28 means it cost just $1.1Bn to move the $60Tn markets up 0.5% ($300Bn) – now that's leverage! With a lack of participation, those few buyers can really shove the markets around. Also, as Dave noted:
Hobson owned a livery stable and he rotated his horses to different stalls. He offered customers the choice of taking the horse in the first stable or none at all. Henry Ford also offered a variation of Hobson’s Choice since customers could buy a car in any color they liked, as long as it was black. The stock market offers many choices but only stocks are effective as bonds offer no yield while Fed policies have forced investors to stocks or nothing else.
This is basically the issue for investors in financial markets, buy stocks or nothing else. Farmland is admittedly in a bubble as Iowa farmland now goes for $8,500 per acre. If you can buy it right, some residential real estate offers a decent rental yield. Then there is the weird world of collectibles where you really need to know what you’re doing and have adequate cash.
So stock markets remain in play at least for most institutions. We’ve seen heavy volume sell-offs meaning most retail investors continue to loathe and leave markets. It remains a market for
by Option Review - August 19th, 2014 3:58 pm
by Phil Davis - August 19th, 2014 8:06 am
You've gotta love those trend lines.
Chart people sure love them and we love chart peopel because they are SOOOOOOOO predictable and predictable behavior is behavior we can bet on and that makes us happy. Today we'll be seeing the 50-day moving averages on the Dow, the NYSE and the Russell all tested at the same time – what happens next will tell us a lot about this rally.
As I pointed out to our Members in our Live Chat Room this morning, though we may be past our bounce levels and though we are now challenging the 50 dmas, we still have 3 of 5 of our Must Hold levels red on the Big Chart – that's not too impressive. Consider what a 50-day moving average is. It means that, over the last 50 days, half the time the index has been above the line and half the time it's been below – so how impressive should it be to see the index back in the middle?
Nonetheless, Chart People believe it's some mystical symbol that gives them a rally signal and half the time they are right – so the religion of TA continues to prosper! As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart from yesterday, 75% of yesterday's gain came on no volume as we gapped up in the Futures and the rest of the day's trading was one of the lightest of the year.
The reason I like Dave is because he's one of the only TA people who actually pay attention to volume and this volume is total BS. Still, it's enough to stampede the retail suckers back in and God bless them because they throw money at us to sell them the things we liked when they were out of favor.
In May and June, for example, we compiled a Buy List for our Members, which had 29 trades we liked for the rest of 2014. Here's a few that we are done with already: