Posts Tagged ‘Federal Reserve’

Monday: Clear Proof of Massive Market Manipulation

SPY 5 MINUTERemember this?  

Sure you do, this was Friday's intra-day chart of SPY, the ETF that tracks the performance of the S&P 500.  It's pretty similar to what happened every day last week, with a high-volume (relatively) sell-off followed by a recovery on almost no volume into the close, giving us the impression that the markets are flat

Only Friday was a bit different.  On Friday, the market manipulators were so desperate to close the week on a high note and so greedy, that they also got sloppy and now we have some very clear evidence of what complete and utter BULLSHIT this market is:

What do we see here?  Despite a 0.45% rise in the S&P and a 0.39% rise in the NYSE, 0.4% in the Dow,  0.45% in the Nasdaq and 0.25% rise in the Russell, the FACT is that there were FAR MORE shares DECLINING than there were advancing.  In fact, on the NYSE MKT (what used to be called the AMEX), declining volume outpaced advancing volume by 115%.  115%!  Yet we get a 0.4% RISE in the index?  

On the NYSE itself, 2,079 stocks declined while only 1,057 (33%) of the stocks advanced and there was 56% more volume to the declining shares than the advancing shares yet, MIRACULOUSLY, 160 NYSE stocks made new 52-week (and, often, all-time) highs while just 30 made 52-week lows.  That's 84% positive!  Isn't that amazing?  Isn't that UNBELIEVABLE???  

It is unbelievable, as in – something that should not be believed by intelligent people.  When you see a magician on stage sawing a woman in half or levitating – you might be amazed at what a good trick it is but you don't start believing in magic, do you?  What if that magician asks you to bet your retirement on the fact that he is really levitating people or that his assistant can medically be cut into pieces and reassembled?  

You wouldn't risk your money on such obvious fakery, would you?  You wouldn't give your hard-earned money to a person whose job it was to…
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Friday Fedapalooza – 8 Fed Speakers in One Day + Draghi!

Hang on to your hats!  

Janet Yellen speaks at 10 am, EST and she's scheduled to discuss her "Labor Dashboard" and, from that, the pontiffs will then attempt to read the tea leaves of Future Fed action.  She'll likely note that the Labor Market is generally improving but that there is no immediate reason to raise rates.  The definition of immediate will be much debated.  

If that does not confuse us enough, we will hear from 7 of the Fed Dwarves as well including Williams, Lockhart, Plosser and Bullard.  Draghi takes the stage at 2pm, EST.  In case Yellen's empty promises don't do the trick, Draghi is sure to have even emptier ones – whatever it takes to end the week on a positive note!  

Still, we're playing the day bearish (we added bear plays in yesterday's Live Member Chat and we're short /YM below 17,000 along with other Futures) as it's hard to imagine what Yellen and company can possibly say that they haven't already said.  Unlimited amounts of FREE MONEY forever is already priced into market expectations – anything less will be a severe disappointment.  Any firm mention of ending QE in the next 12 months can send the markets down sharply.  As "clarified" by Goldman Sachs:


With opinions mixed as to whether or not Jackson Hole will be the forum for Yellen to say something new, many are trying to figure out if it is a buy the rumor and then buy more after the fact event, a buy the rumor sell the fact event, or a do nothing with the rumors and then buy the fact if the USD is actually rallying after the fact event.


According to Zero Hedge, only "Full Doveish" statements are likely to lift the markets at this point.  Those would be for Yellen to:

1) Argue that the

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Wednesday Worries – Will GDP Be Revised Down Again?

Does this look healthy to you?

We did manage to pull out of a tailspin back in 2011 – the last time our GDP went negative but, funny story – in July of 2011, the S&P fell from 1,350 to 1,100 by August 9th and it gyrated between 1,100 and 1,200 until October when the Fed's "Operation Twist" (because "Operation Screw the Poor" got bad test scores) gave us a boost.

Notice how this post picks up right where yesterday's post left off – I'm clever that way!  Yesterday we had the chart that showed us that 10% of our GDP ($1.5Tn) is the result of Fed fiddling and, without it, the GDP would be right back at those 2009 lows.  Whether or not you THINK QE will ever end, you sure as hell better have a plan for what you will do in case it does!  

Russell Investments put out their Economic Indicators Dashboard yesterday and it's a nice snapshot of the where the economy is.   

The lines over the boxes are the 3-month trends and, thanks to the Fed, 10-year yeilds are just 2.48% and that's keeping home prices high (because you don't buy a home, you buy a mortgage).

Inflation is creeping up and expansion (today's topic) is negative and getting lower.  Meanwhile, consumers remain oblivious as the Corporate Media fills them with happy talk.  Meanwhile, this BLS chart (via Barry Ritholtz) says it all as manufacturing (good) jobs continue to leave our country at alarming rates:

Almost all of the growth spots are from fracking with a little auto production picking up as well.  Overall, 1.6M net manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2007 and, much more alarming, the median household income for those lucky enough to still have jobs is down almost 10% over the same period of time.  

In other words, if it wasn't for Fed Money, we'd have no money at all!  In yesterday's Webinar (replay available here) we talked about how the Fed is like a guy spraying a hose on kids in the…
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Tempting Tuesday – Weak Dollar Props Up the Markets

UUP WEEKLYWhenever the manipulators need to boost the markets, they just crash the Dollar.  

And what a dive we've had!  As you can see from Dave Fry's Chart, the Dollar is down 7% since last summer and down 2.5% this year and that keeps stocks and commodities 2.5% higher – because we buy them with Dollars.  

Keep in mind, at the same time you are buying IBM shares for $200, someone is buying the same shares for 20,400 Yen and another guy is buying them for 340 British Pounds and yet another guy is buying them for 280 Euros.  

It's obvious that, if the value of the Pound or the Yen or the Euro changes, the price of IBM in those currencies will change to reflect the currrency valuation but Americans tend not to realize the same thing happens when the Dollar gets stronger or weaker too.  Once you do realize this – you have a huge advantage in trading the Futures (and we have a Live Futures Workshop this afternoon at 1pm).

SPX WEEKLYThe Fed's easy-money policies keep the Dollar weak (because we're printing another Trillion of them each year and, in this economy, no one is using them – ie. no demand) and that has goosed the market by 7% since last summer, when the S&P was about 1,650 – about 10% lower than it is now.  

That means that 75% of the gains in the S&P since last summer have been the result of a weak currency and have noting to do with a "strong" economy.  Now THAT makes sense, doesn't it?

"THEY" had to tank the Dollar to get us over the 1,600 level, which was a very key technical off our consolidated bottom at 800 during the crash.  It's no coincidence that we were hitting resistance there in May and pulling back to 1,560 and looking weak in July when, suddenly, the Fed went into a new round of crazy, which led to 6 months of fairly steady value erosion for every single Dollar you have worked for and saved your entire life.  

It's kind…
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A Thinly Veiled Bail

A Thinly Veiled Bail

By Ilene at Phil’s Stock World, with Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner (many thanks to Lee!)

The ECB is borrowing U.S. Dollars from the Fed to bailout European banks. And that is in addition to the Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO)

However, the "borrowing" is not called "borrowing."  It’s called a "temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangement."  Yet it is really borrowing because it’s going massively in one direction for the purpose of giving the ECB Dollars to lend to European banks, so the ECB can avoid lending more Euros. The ECB doesn’t want to tarnish its "inflation fighting" reputation and further devalue the Euro. Instead, the Fed is taking billions of Euros as collateral for the Dollar swap.  

As Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr., former vice president and economic advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote in the WSJ (The Federal Reserve’s Covert Bailout of Europe): 

"The ECB would also prefer not to create boatloads of new euros, since it wants to keep its reputation as an inflation-fighter intact. To mitigate its euro lending, it borrows dollars to lend them to its banks. That keeps the supply of new euros down. This lending replaces dollar funding from U.S. banks and money-market institutions that are curtailing their lending to European banks—which need the dollars to finance trade, among other activities."

U.S. Banks and financial institutions do not want to lend European Banks more Dollars, and it would look bad for the Fed to do this unpopular lending directly, so the Fed has found an indirect route.  

"The two central banks are engaging in this roundabout procedure because each needs a fig leaf. The Fed was embarrassed by the revelations of its prior largess with foreign banks. It does not want the debt of foreign banks on its books. A currency swap with the ECB is not technically a loan."

In exchange for Euros as collateral, the ECB gets non-technically loaned Dollars which it then lends to European banks. The additional Dollars flowing to the EU banks enable the ECB not to release more Euros to the EU banks and into circulation. According to O’Driscoll, this "Byzantine financial arrangement" was designed perfectly to confuse people. 

"The Fed’s support is in addition to

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The Commodity Bubble

Courtesy of SurlyTrader 

In the future they might coin this the “Bernanke Effect” or maybe the great commodity bubble of 2011.  The truth is that commodity prices are rising…dramatically.  You might have started to notice this disconnect in your grocery store shopping or in gasoline prices, but if you were to ask our government they would tell you that a basket of goods consumed (CPI) is rising modestly.  How modest do these numbers appear to you?

Sugar and Corn? Those are luxury goods.

If the basic ingredients to food are skyrocketing, then prices of food will eventually have to keep pace which will directly hurt consumers.

Of the 853 ETF’s that I looked at, which unleveraged funds do you think had the greatest return over that same time period?  It is not a trick question: 

Are you noticing a theme?

My conclusion is simple:  this time is NOT different.  Commodity prices cannot go up forever and China will not continue to support the market regardless of prices.  What is this “Bernanke Effect” doing to farmland prices?  Well, according to a survey by Farmer’s National Company:

“non-irrigated crop land in central Kansas averaged $3,000 an acre, up 50 percent since June…

Crop prices have seen an extraordinary run since early July. A bushel of wheat priced about $4 a bushel on July 4 is now more than $8.50. Other crops have experienced similar increases.

As the land generates more income, it puts more cash in the pockets of the most likely buyers, nearby farmers. It also provides an attractive return for investors who then rent it out to farmers.

The result: Auctions are drawing twice the number of bidders as before, said area agents.”

As with all hot speculation, the commodity run will surely come to an end and will probably have repercussions for all financial markets.  We should have learned by now that large financial dislocations tend to not occur in isolation. 

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Excellent article comparing current situation with lead up to the Great Depression.  Well worth reading. – Ilene 

Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform

“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” – John Steinbeck – Grapes of Wrath


John Steinbeck wrote his masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath at the age of 37 in 1939, at the tail end of the Great Depression. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize for literature. John Ford then made a classic film adaption in 1941, starring Henry Fonda.

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Ron Paul slams Fed’s bond-buying program; Political Pressure on Fed Mounts

Courtesy of Mish

MarketWatch reports Paul slams Fed’s bond-buying program

Outspoken Federal Reserve critic Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, slammed the central bank’s latest $600 billion bond-buying program on Wednesday, saying it and near-zero interest rates haven’t led to job creation in the United States.

“Over $4 trillion in bailout facilities and outright debt monetization, combined with interest rates near zero for over two years, have not and will not contribute to increased employment,” Paul said at a hearing of a House Financial Services subcommittee he heads.

“Debt monetization” is a reference by Paul and other Fed critics to the Fed’s latest bond-buying program — a characterization rejected by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

In essence, Paul is charging that the central bank is enabling profligate spending by the government. The term “debt monetization” is a buzzword for how some poorer countries conducted policies in the post-World War II era.

Political Pressure on Fed Mounts

WSJ’s Sudeep Reddy reports on concerns the Federal Reserve could be facing political pressure from Congress, as Rep. Ron Paul holds the first hearing of a new Fed oversight committee. Separately, Fed Chairman Bernanke updates Congress on the economy.

If the above YouTube does not play here is a link: Rep. Ron Paul Ignites Fed Worry

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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The Food Bubble

H/t Barry Ritholtz, Did the Fed Cause Unrest in the Arab World?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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How the US Government Manipulates Inflation Data

The PCE bothered me yesterday.

The Government told us that the PCE core price index for December was 0% – no inflation at all.  I found that to be incredible – as in not credible at all and then Tuscadog asked me how long the Bernank could keep justifying his rampant money printing with fake government data, to which I responded: "I had many derogatory things to say about that but I was literally so sickened by that BS that I couldn’t bring myself to comment on it so I just left it alone but it’s a very sad joke that our government can tell us that there was no inflation in December while the whole planet is falling apart, isn’t it?"  

Fortunately, there was a helpful article in the WSJ by Brett Arends that pointed out that the way the government justifies their low inflation figures is through "substitution and hedonics," a topic expert Government BS detector, Barry Ritholtz had touched on as well.  As Barry says:

Hedonics asks the question: "How much of a product's price increase is a function of "inflation," and how much is quality improvement?" Thus, the entire late 1990's concept of Hedonics is premised upon a flawed assumption: that quality is static.  Hedonics is a variation of the old trick of comparing the present with the past, instead of the present. Measuring quality improvements is a distraction from the real measure of inflation: the purchasing power of a dollar.

 Hedonics opens the door to producing magical results: a lower inflation rate with generally rising prices, a higher growth rate although the economy may be weaker, and a higher productivity number, although productivity would have been declining without the hedonic imputations.

What BS, right?  Well, when I get mad, I do research and when my research uncovers something – I make an electronic puppet show

Forward this to your friends and Congresspeople – lets try to get our government to get real!  

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Phil's Favorites

John Mauldin: Trade Wars Could Trigger "The Next Great Depression"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Last week on Erik Townsend's Macrovoices podcast, Jim Grant, storied credit investor and founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, explained the reasoning behind his call that the great secular bond bear market actually began in the aftermath of the UK's Brexit vote during the summer of 2016 - when Treasury yields touched their all-time lows.

Surprisingly, Grant's call isn't rooted in the bold-faced absurdity of Italian junk bonds trading with a zero-handle (although that's certainly part of it). Rather, Grant explained, a historical analysis reveals that bond yields fluctuate in broad-based multi-generation cycles of different lengths. And given the carte blanche allotted to econo...

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Zero Hedge

John Mauldin: Trade Wars Could Trigger "The Next Great Depression"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Last week on Erik Townsend's Macrovoices podcast, Jim Grant, storied credit investor and founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, explained the reasoning behind his call that the great secular bond bear market actually began in the aftermath of the UK's Brexit vote during the summer of 2016 - when Treasury yields touched their all-time lows.

Surprisingly, Grant's call isn't rooted in the bold-faced absurdity of Italian junk bonds trading with a zero-handle (although that's certainly part of it). Rather, Grant explained, a historical analysis reveals that bond yields fluctuate in broad-based multi-generation cycles of different lengths. And given the carte blanche allotted to econo...

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Digital Currencies

Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Courtesy of Anwar Halari, The Open University

If you haven’t already heard of Bitcoin, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re a time traveller who just touched down in 2018. Because by now, most of us will have heard of Bitcoin and some of us have even jumped on the bandwagon, investing in cryptocurrencies.

But despite its popularity, many people still don’t understand the technology that underlines it: blockchain. In...

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Insider Scoop

Wendy's 'Intriguing' 2020 Outlook Overshadowed By Valuation Concerns, Oppenheimer Says

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related WEN Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For March 20, 2018 Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For March 8, 2018 ... more from Insider

Chart School

Bears Take Control

Courtesy of Declan.

More decisive action from bears today as markets lose support.  The S&P undercut the rising trendline and 20-day plus 50-day MAs in a move which looks like it could develop into a test of the February spike low and the 200-day MA again; support at 2,695 is looking critical here. Aggressive traders could look to buy at these levels but confidence in this holding would not be high.

The Dow also saw its 'bear flag' / consolidation triangle resolve to the downside. The two positives were the relatively light volume and the ...

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Peter Thiel: Need To Rethink Tariffs In Light Of Trade Deficit With China; SF Sucks, Bitcoin Rocks

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel in a wide-ranging interview on President Trump’s trade tariffs, China’s economy, technology regulations and his outlook for bitcoin.


Check out our H2 hedge fund letters here.

Peter Thiel: Need To Rethink Tariffs In Light Of Trade Deficit With China

Peter Thiel On Leaving Silicon Valley For Los Angeles

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel argues Silicon Valley is is a ‘totalitarian place’ where people are not allowed to have dissenting views.


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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)


"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...

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How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida


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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>