Archive for August, 2009

Bank Depository Reserves Hit 3 Month High As Banks Retrench And Consumers Save

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

In a surprising turn of credit “looseness”, total seasonally adjusted depository reserves increased by $84 billion compared to two weeks ago, and are now at $856 billion, the highest level since the end of May. It appears that contrary to all rhetoric to the contrary, banks are still unable and/or unwilling to lend or otherwise dispose of the ever increasing duffel bags full of cash in the basement.

The overall Monetary Base has followed the depository reserves fluctuations dollar for dollars, indicating the pure currency in circulation has not fluctuated much if at all: a year ago the non-depository reserve monetary base was $800 billion and it has barely budged to its current level of $878 billion.

In essence, the Fed’s plan to withdraw excess liquidity will have to wait at least until such time as consumers are again stupid enough to leverage themselves up, despite having reduced credit card limits and much more stringent banks. And the $84 billion increase in reserves is simply indicating that consumers are retrenching even more: expect the consumer saving rate to increase materially at the next data disclosure.

Source H.3





Science, Stocks and Superstition

Science, Stocks and Superstition

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog

biasesUnreliable Science

As we’ve seen – repeatedly – people aren’t particularly good at overcoming the behavioural biases built into our nature by evolution. There’s no real reason we should be – computing the statistical probability of an above average return on the stockmarket over a twenty year period wasn’t of much value for most of human history. This was partly because twenty years was more than the average lifespan of a proto-human but largely because no one had yet got around to inventing money or stockmarkets or stocks. Or ‘years’.

If these biases are inherent and cause us to do stupid things around finance we might expect that they’ll appear in other areas as well where humanity has only recently started to apply its higher cognitive functions. So it’s unsurprising that our basic intuitions about science are about as reliable as those we have about finance. To whit: not reliable at all.

Greek Geeks

Science has been around a lot longer than modern financial theory. The Ancient Greeks developed many concepts that aren’t out of place in the modern pantheon of university science faculties – atomic theory, planetary orbits and toga parties amongst them. Unfortunately they failed to marry their scientific insights to a stable economic system and much of their knowledge was lost for the best part of a millennium. The lesson being, presumably, that disenfranchising women and relying on slave labour is a poor way of building a stable society. Global corporations take note.

GreeksDuring that lost thousand years or so the only real legacy of Greek knowledge in the Western world was a smattering of Aristotle, who was a bloody good thinker but a bit weak on stuff like planetary motion and mathematics. Somewhere along the line Aristotle’s ideas got mixed up with Christianity and resulted in the odd position of the Catholic Church defining God’s word on the basis of the scientific writings of an atheistic Greek who died before Christ was born. We can blame Thomas Aquinas for that one.

The period known as the Renaissance – the rebirth – was marked by a remarkable rediscovery of Ancient Greek thought. Some of this came from the Muslim world, where many ideas and writings had been sustained through the European Dark Ages, and some of it from the


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August Credit Summary – Early Warnings

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Credit markets were notably weak in August with HY underperforming IG, low beta deterioration, more curve inversion, and financials weaker, and all in the face of the continued rally in stocks. In the past we have seen credit anticipate and equity confirm – certainly credit markets are off their Utopian levels while stocks maintain them.

August was a fascinating month for the markets with lots of volatility, investing seemingly a binary decision of risk-on/risk-off, and everything becoming one trade – buy risky stuff or sell risky stuff. The dollar weakness/stock strength story continues to amaze but remember our recent point on how this relationship is becoming more and more asymmetric as the month wore on – this worries us considerably as increasingly aggressive dollar selling is required to jump start stocks.

Most notably, IG12 was over 8bps wider in August and HY12 68bps wider while stocks (S&P) managed to gain around 3%. Perhaps most notably, the USD was only marginally weaker, oil as good as unch (on the rolling front month contract), VIX flat, and gold a tad lower in price. 10Y TSYs were almost 8bps lower in yield (TSY buying and stock buying as corporate debt sold off?).

ExHVOL (our preferred trade) has performed very well as it widened over 12bps on the month to around 70bps and we note that indices in general underperformed intrinsics (which widened the skews in HY but narrowed in the rest).

IG12′s curve was flatter (more inverted) as we saw intrinsics steepen up quite considerably in 7s10s (or 5s10s) while 5s7s was pretty flat.

Thanks to AIG’s remarkable rally and strength in junk, high beta credits outperformed low beta dramatically but both were considerably wider on the month. Interestingly (at least for us) the widest 5 names (CIT/AIG/ILFC/TXT/HIG) in IG12 at 07/31 were the major outperformers in August as dispersion dropped dramatically in IG and these names alone kept IG intrinsics almost 7bps tighter on the month.

CONSumers were the month’s worst performers as M, JCP, and FO were around 50bps wider. TMT was close behind with CMCSA and TWX worst as ENRG and INDUstrials were about the same but considerably wider. Financials outperformed non-financials on the month but the tails were waht helped the most as GS and MS were considerably weaker in credit (even as their stocks held up). BAC, COF, and WFC were…
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Wanted: A Soaring Dollar

Wanted: A Soaring Dollar

soaring dollarCourtesy of Tim Knight at Slope of Hope

The snare drum you hear in the background is the musical prelude to a big shift in currencies. If, as I anticipate, the EUR/USD starts to tumble (while, naturally, the dollar soars), we’ll have everything we need for equities to start falling to pieces.

One of the charts from EWI’s Short-Term Update, shown below, tells the story superbly. Notice how the slope (err, not "Slope" slope, but the regular slope), represented by the series of diagonal lines, gets decreasingly steep. This implies to me a tipping point that has either taken place or will take place in the near future.

0831-euro 

I would also add that today is the first day in a while that the big profits that showed up in my account at the opening bell stuck around for the entire day. The only short position I closed was FXP, early in the morning; otherwise, I’m still short virtually across the board.

I’ll probably do a post later tonight. I need to – what else? – catch up on my charts.

 


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WHERE WILL THE JOBS COME FROM?

WHERE WILL THE JOBS COME FROM?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

From BusinessWeek:

Name an industry that can produce 1 million new, high-paying jobs over the next three years. You can’t, because there isn’t one. And that’s the problem.

America needs good jobs, soon. We need 6.7 million just to replace losses from the current recession, then another 10 million to spark demand over the next decade. That’s 15 million to 17 million new jobs. In the 1990s, the U.S. economy created a net 22 million jobs (a rate of 2.2 million per year), so we know it can be done. Between 2000 and the end of 2007 (the beginning of the current recession), however, the economy created new jobs at a rate of 900,000 a year, so we know it isn’t doing it now. The pipeline is dry because the U.S. business model is broken. Our growth engine has run out of a key source of fuel—critical mass, basic scientific research.

 


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Dave’s Daily

MARKET COMMENT

Dave Fry’s ETF Digest, August 31, 2009

Even bears need a stimulant to get in their act going. It wasn’t a disastrous day but it wasn’t a good way to end the month given the sour China note. The new maxim may be: “when China catches a cold the rest of the world gets the flu”. Of course this would be a substitution for what used to begin “the US”. It may also be true to say, we just all have the flu, H1N1 or whatever.

My first business trip to China in the mid-1980s allowed me to witness ordinary citizens trading stocks on the street corner in front of the recently opened stock exchange. It was fun to watch and, if you’re a student of history, you’ll realize that’s the way things were done in London and the US more than a century ago.

More profound is the worries what a new bear market in Shanghai portends for markets where shockwaves are felt hardest—commodity, currency and emerging markets —all hit hard today.

Without posting it until the end of the commentary as usual, let’s look at the Shanghai CSI 300 Index right away. It’s the most popular of all the Chinese indexes. It’s important to remember that the constituents may have little to do with popular FXI (FSTSE Xinhua 25 Index ETF) but certainly the index has a psychological impact.

First the daily view with my annotations that include an RSI (Relative Strength Index), two moving averages, candlesticks (for visual effect) and DeMark Indicators. In the blue circles you’ll two occasions where the RSI recently has slipped below 30 indicating severely oversold conditions. Also, note DeMark counts reaching 9 sequential readings heralding some trend exhaustion both on the upside and downside. I’ve also drawn two orange support lines where I think we could find support to work off the oversold RSI but it won’t take much in that regard.

 

 

Read Dave’s full market comment here; below are a couple SPY charts.   

 

I promised we’d look at monthly charts today and that’s what we’ll do. That will give us some perspective.

 

 


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Yes, The Government Can!

Yes, The Government Can!

Courtesy of Mish

Here is an entertaining video by Tim Hawkins called "The Government Can"

If you need an entertaining look on how the country is going to hell in a hand basket, that’s the one. It’s sure to make you laugh, although what he talks about in reality is no laughing matter.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
 


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Spending Collapses In All Generation Groups

Spending Collapses In All Generation Groups

Courtesy of Mish

It’s no secret that boomers fearing an underfunded retirement have sharply cut spending. However, it’s not just boomers cutting back. Consumer attitudes toward debt have changed across all age groups.

A recent Gallup Poll shows just how dramatic a spending shift has taken place. Please consider Boomers’ Spending, Like Other Generations’, Down Sharply.

Baby boomers’ self-reported average daily spending of $64 in 2009 is down sharply from an average of $98 in 2008. But baby boomers — the largest generational group of Americans — are not alone in pulling back on their consumption, as all generations show significant declines from last year. Generation X has reported the greatest spending on average in both years, and is averaging $71 per day so far in 2009, down from $110 in 2008.

Self-Reported Spending

Population Share By Age Group

The chart shows Boomers and Generation X are the two demographic largest groups. Spending is down by 34.7% among boomers and 35.4% in Generation X. Spending is down by 33.7% in generation Y, the third largest demographic group. That is a remarkably consistent decline in spending.

Spending by the "Greatest Generation" is down a whopping 44% but that group only constitutes 5% of the population.

Here are some more interesting charts from the article.

Annual Incomes – Boomers vs. Generation X

Surprisingly, annual incomes are nearly identical for boomers and generation X. However, Generation Y income is dramatically less as the following chart shows.

Annual Incomes –
Boomers vs. Generation Y

Bottom Line

Baby boomers have pulled back considerably on their spending this year, but they are not alone in doing so. Gallup finds significant declines among all generations in average reported daily spending in 2009 compared to 2008. Given that consumer spending is the primary engine of the U.S. economy, it’s not clear how much the economy can grow unless spending increases from its current low levels. But spending may not necessarily be the best course of action for baby boomers as they approach retirement age and prepare to rely on Social Security and their retirement savings as primary sources of income. Indeed, the two generations consisting largely of retirement-age Americans consistently show the lowest levels of reported spending.

I can add to those thoughts. Boomers and Generation X


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RANDOM THOUGHTS BY TPC

RANDOM THOUGHTS BY TPC

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

  • That end of day ramp sure was predictable, huh?  This market almost feels like a casino where the players have the edge….
  • China down 7%, U.S. down 0.7% today.  China down 25% from the peak, U.S. down 1%.  Remember when China was the reason for the recovery?  Now U.S. investors are ignoring China as a leading indicator.  We’ve seen this before though….
  • Dr. Copper fell 4% today.  Oil off 4.5%.  The rally will fold if this trend continues….
  • Andy Xie says the Chinese bubble is still bursting.  And oh yeah, it’s all just a “giant ponzi scheme”:

 

 


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It’s not yet the end of China’s massive stimulus

It’s not yet the end of China’s massive stimulus

china bubblesCourtesy of Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets

According to a recent article on Reuters, on Saturday Lou Jiwei, the chairman of the CIC, China’s sovereign wealth fund, said at a conference on Saturday in response to a question about his expected performance: “It will not be too bad this year. Both China and America are addressing bubbles by creating more bubbles and we’re just taking advantage of that. So we can’t lose.”

In my last entry I noted that after the recent “green shoots” period, during time which it seemed hard to find anyone who was skeptical of our seeming ability to turn the corner on the crisis without actually having addressed any of the underlying imbalances, it was good to see that more and more analysts, and especially policymakers, had begun to worry again. President Hoover went down in a blaze with his “light at the end of the tunnel”, and of course one of my favorite stories of that time is his response in June 1930 to a delegation requesting a public works program to help speed the recovery: “Gentleman, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over.”

green shootsAs I see it the more policymakers worry, the better. This crisis is far from over. Until we know how the continued adjustment in US household consumption and debt will evolve, and how this adjustment will play out in China’s own changing consumption rate – most importantly whether it will complement the fiscal and credit expansion embarked upon by Beijing or, as I believe, conflict enormously with it – the crisis won’t be over. We need policymakers to resist the green-shoots nonsense and to worry about what happens when fiscal, monetary and credit tools stop working.

Although I thoroughly disagree with the “So we can’t lose” part of Mr. Lou’s statement – I have been a trader for too long to hear those words with anything but the deepest dread, and I am sure he didn’t intend the way it read – it is nonetheless interesting to me that by now skepticism is so widespread that a major investor can even propose our inability to work through the imbalances as a reasonable investment strategy.

We need skepticism. For one thing it has caused Beijing increasing worry about the risks of continuing to extend…
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Phil's Favorites

How Does the Stock Market Bottom?

 

How Does the Stock Market Bottom?

Courtesy of 

Despite the recent selloff, things are still relatively fine. I know nobody wants to hear this right now, but the S&P 500 is still up double digits over the last year and 36% over the last three years. What has people shook, understandably, is the speed of this decline.

Depending on where stocks close today, we could be looking at a 10% haircut in just five sessions. Over the last 20 years, this only happened during the Yuan devaluation in 2015, the Eurozone crisis in 2011, the GFC (global financial crisis) in ’08 and ’09, and the dotcom bubble in ’00, &rsqu...



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Zero Hedge

NYSE Announces Disaster-Recovery Test Due To Virus Fears

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

In a somewhat shocking sounding move, given administration officials' ongoing effort to calm the public fears over the spread of Covid-19, The New York Stock Exchange has announced it will commence disaster-recovery testing in its Cermak Data Center on March 7 amid coronavirus concern, Fox Business reports in a tweet, citing the exchange.

During this test, NYSE will facilitate electronic Core Open and Closing Auctions as if the 11 Wall Stree...



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ValueWalk

Cities With The Most 'New' And Tenured Homeowners

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Homeownership is a major investment. Not just financially, but when a person or family purchases a home, they’re investing years – if not decades – in that particular community. 55places wanted to find out which real estate markets are luring in new homebuyers, and which ones are dominated by owners that haven’t moved in decades. The study analyzed residency data in more than 300 US cities and revealed the top 10 cities with the most tenured homeowners – residents who’ve lived in and owned their home for more than 30 years – are sprinkled across ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Financial Crisis Deja Vu: Home Construction Index Double Top?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Most of us remember the 2007-2009 financial crisis because of the collapse in home prices and its effect on the economy.

One key sector that tipped off that crisis was the home builders.

The home builders are an integral piece to our economy and often signal “all clears” or “short-term warnings” to investors based on their economic health and how the index trades.

In today’s chart, we highlight the Dow Jones Home Construction Index. It has climbed all the way back to its pre-crisis highs… BUT it immediately reversed lower from there.

This raises concerns about a double top.

This pr...



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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Plunge Amid Coronavirus Fears

Courtesy of Benzinga

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded lower in early pre-market trade. South Korea confirmed 256 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, while China reported an additional 327 new cases. Data on U.S. international trade in goods for January, wholesale inventories for January and consumer spending for January will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago PMI for February is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan's consumer sentime...



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Biotech & Health

Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?

 

Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?

Coronavirus seems to be on a collision course with the US economy and its 12-year bull market. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Courtesy of Michael Walden, North Carolina State University

Fears are growing that the new coronavirus will infect the U.S. economy.

A major U.S. stock market index posted its biggest two-day drop on record, erasing all the gains from the previous two months; ...



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The Technical Traders

SPY Breaks Below Fibonacci Bearish Trigger Level

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our research team wanted to share this chart with our friends and followers.  This dramatic breakdown in price over the past 4+ days has resulted in a very clear bearish trigger which was confirmed by our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system.  We believe this downside move will target the $251 level on the SPY over the next few weeks and months.

Some recent headline articles worth reading:

On January 23, 2020, we ...



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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Chart School

Oil cycle leads the stock cycle

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Sure correlation is not causation, but this chart should be known by you.

We all know the world economy was waiting for a pin to prick the 'everything bubble', but no one had any idea of what the pin would look like.

Hence this is why the story of the black swan is so relevant.






There is massive debt behind the record high stock markets, there so much debt the political will required to allow central banks to print trillions to cover losses will likely effect elections. The point is printing money to cover billions is unlikely to upset anyone, however printing trillions will. In 2007 it was billions, in 202X it ...

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Members' Corner

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

 

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

Courtesy of David Brin, Contrary Brin Blog 

Fascinating and important to consider, since it is probably one of the reasons why the world aristocracy is pulling its all-out putsch right now… “Trillions will be inherited over the coming decades, further widening the wealth gap,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. From 1989 to 2016, U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More ...



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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

 

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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