Saturday, February 21, 2009

Military Spending – Obama, you promised change!

I’m going to cut through the crap for you. We have bankrupted our nation on behalf of the central bankers, many of whom own and promote our Keynesian military industrial complex.

We spend more on our “defense” than the rest of the entire world combined. That is the definition of insanity, it does NOT enhance security, it compromises our freedoms and ultimately will end in our economic demise making us FAR MORE VULNERABLE in the long run (My MONEY 'tis to thee...).

We are blessed as a nation with massive natural resources and easily defensible oceans that span thousands of miles both east and west. Yet, we, the people, have collectively bought into the argument that we must “fight them over there or we will surely fight them over here” B.S. mentality.

NO, fighting them over there only breeds MORE hatred of our country and requires never ending money that we do not possess. This, of course, is no problem for the central bankers and owners of the military industrial complex, there’s always more money to create never ending growth – or so they think.

They are about to be proven as wrong as all the empires throughout the history of mankind have likewise been when they attempt to control the entire planet.

I’m going to keep beating this drum over and over again until the nonsense stops! President Obama was elected on the platform of CHANGE. I saw him speak in Seattle and heard him, in person, describe how he was going to get us out of Iraq. Yes, he had the clarity of thought to KNOW that the second invasion of Iraq was a false flag and he refused to vote for it. BRAVO! Yet, he somehow now believes that we can make up for our past mistakes in Afghanistan by sending in more troops now. NO, Mr. President, it is too late for that, you are entering a quagmire that you cannot possibly finish:



Here’s the reality, Mr. Obama… this type of war is not meant to be won! DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR CURRENT SET OF KEYNESIAN ADVISORS, they are leading you down a primrose path to never ending military and deficit spending. People who have followed this blog are probably sick of Chalmers Johnson, but if you have not viewed these nor heard his wisdom, please listen up:

Chalmers Johnson – Keynesian Military Spending (6 minutes):


Chalmers Johnson – DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay (1:03):


Mr. Johnson is exactly correct. Most people see charts like this that are bad enough, and show what a large percentage of our budget is spent on national defense:



When you compare our military budget to the rest of the world, it looks like this, which is ridiculous:



But that chart does not tell the whole story. It does not include the budget for “homeland security” nor off balance sheet spending on nuclear weapons, and so forth. When you add in all the spending that is for “defense” that is NOT included in the Pentagon or military budgets, the total dwarfs that spent by the entire globe! That is simply insane.

Unless, of course, you manufacture weapons or profit in some other way from that spending… If you do, you don’t hesitate to lobby politicians to get your way, do you?

It’s time to wake up America. Your future and that of your children is being robbed.

No, I’m not weak on defense! I think spending maybe only HALF of what the rest of the world spends gets back within the limits that can be called “sane.”

I’ve been there and seen the waste. I’ve flown huge transport planes around the globe - EMPTY! I’ve heard the excuses for doing so. I am sick of people who think they are patriotic but do not understand how we are bankrupting ourselves cry about the “war on terror.” We don’t need to fight a “war on terror,” we need to fight a war on mass psychosis, delusional thinking, and a lack of understanding of math.

Furthermore, we need to separate corporations from state so that rational decision making can take place.

Mr. Obama, we don’t need nor want more troops in Afghanistan. We need ADULT LEADERSHIP and we need it NOW.

Donovan – Universal Soldier:


Digg my article

Report: Increased VIX Call Buying…

Interesting report from OptionMonster on institutional buying of higher VIX calls. This would imply that fear is picking up in the markets as people are beginning to expect more volatility:

Option Monster VIX option report:

Spend Some Time With Chris Martenson - Crash Course…

Chris Martenson just produced a live seminar version of his “crash course.” This is absolutely fabulous! Chris is, in my opinion, a hero of these times. He is selflessly providing the TRUTH. This seminar is almost exactly the same seminar that I developed independently and gave during the 2005/2006 time period. Tremendously important to understand what he is saying FOR YOUR FUTURE. Yet, few people want to hear it… I hope that’s not you. Please share this video with friends and family, it will do more for their understanding than anything else you can do (38 minutes total).

Thank you, Chris, for making this available to everyone – OUTSTANDING JOB!

Here is a link to his original online “CRASH COURSE.”

The Crash Course(New) End of Money? Chris Martenson Part (1 of 4):


The Crash Course(New) End of Money? Chris Martenson (2 of 4):


The Crash Course(New) End of Money? Chris Martenson (3 of 4):


The Crash Course(New) End of Money? Chris Martenson (4 of 4):

Bank Failure Friday – Another one bites the dust…

Oregon Regulators Shut Silver Falls Bank, 14th Seized in 2009

By Ari Levy and Margaret Chadbourn

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Oregon regulators seized Silver Falls Bank, the 14th U.S. bank shuttered this year, as the worst financial crisis in a more than half a century further tightens access to credit and pushes foreclosures higher.

Silver Falls, with $131.4 million in assets and $116.3 million in deposits, was shut by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver, the FDIC said yesterday in a statement. Citizens Bank of Corvallis, Oregon, will assume deposits from Silver Falls. The Silverton-based bank’s three offices will open Feb. 23 as branches of Citizens Bank.

“There is no need for customers to change their banking relationship to retain their deposit insurance coverage,” the FDIC said in the statement.

Regulators have closed eight banks in February, the most for any month since 1993. The FDIC shuttered 25 banks in 2008, including Washington Mutual Inc., the biggest U.S. bank to fail last year, and IndyMac Bank Inc., the second biggest. Pinnacle Bank of Beaverton, Oregon, was closed last week.

Silver Falls Bank had experienced critically low levels of capital, said David Tatman, administrator of the Oregon regulator’s Division of Finance & Corporate Securities, in a statement on the agency’s Web site. The bank had a heavy dependence on commercial construction loans, many of which were not performing or being repaid, Tatman said in the statement.

“Despite many efforts, such as a recent stock offering, Silver Falls Bank management was not able to address these significant problems in a timely manner,” Tatman said.

Stock Sale
Silver Falls raised $525,000 from a stock sale last month, the Oregon regulator said. Funds were held in an escrow account and are being returned to the investors, the regulator said.

Citizens Bank will buy about $13 million in assets, the FDIC said. The failure will cost the deposit insurance fund, supported by fees on banks, about $50 million, the FDIC said.
President Barack Obama this month signed a $787 billion stimulus package to revive the U.S. economy and unveiled a $275 billion housing program targeting as many as 9 million struggling homeowners.

On Dec. 16, the FDIC doubled premiums it charges banks to replenish its reserves, which had $34.6 billion as of the third quarter. Bank failures through 2013 may cost the funds more than the $40 billion, according to the Washington-based agency that oversees 8,384 institutions with $13.6 trillion in assets.
What’s there to say about that? It was awfully nice of them to return the $525,000 from last month’s stock sale. Makes me wonder who is idiotic enough to buy stock in a company that was clearly on the verge of failure? Of course their stupidity will ultimately be paid for with taxpayer dollars. No problem, there’s evidently an unlimited supply by current (and past) governmental thinking.

Even though it would be highly appropriate to play “Another One Bites the Dust,” after seeing that picture of Sheila Bair this tune suddenly came to mind – gee, I don’t know why?

Eagles – Witchy Woman:


Wow, lots of hair in that flashback - I hardly recognized them!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Volcker - "The Mother of All Financial Crisis."

Really want Volcker to be in charge? Careful what you ask for...

Volcker has become somewhat of a folk hero lately due to the fact that he developed an "anti-Greenspan" reputation for doing what he thought was right in the 1980 time frame by raising interest rates to 20%. Yes, that broke the back of inflation only 9 years after Nixon took our currency off the gold standard.

But prior to him doing so we used to have USURY laws that prevented "Guido" interest rates like those you see on today's credit cards. The undoing of the concept and enforcement of usury is one of the roots of today's current problems. Please think about that.

Also, Volcker is on record supporting the "one world" financial concept. A concept where the central bankers are at the heart of the fiat debt based money system of the world.

At any rate, here he is speaking today. Did he see this crisis coming? No? If I can see it coming, why can't he? Sorry, age alone does not translate to being an adult or a leader. Where is that adult leader? Is Volcker it?

Volcker: Mother of all Financial Crisis (7 minutes):

End of Day/Week 2/20 - When the Music's Over...

I know it was a short week, but it sure felt long, and this report is going to feel long, there’s a lot to cover as we are at the most critical levels of the bear market to date. I’m staring outside at a gorgeous day wanting to jump on the bike or go for a hike, but here I type, I hope it’s worth it and helps you guys out.

And I hope it brings awareness of the need for change. Not more central banker change, but real and meaningful change on all levels, morals, ethics, money, politics, all of it. Talk is cheap, I plan on affecting change. If someone doesn’t have the backbone to stand up and do something about it, then you might as well turn out the lights, because the music’s over.

It sure felt like the music was over this morning when the DOW was down 220 points and the XLF dipped below $7. But they managed to pull up and finish with the DOW down 100 points which is 1.3%, the S&P lost 1.1%, the NDX GAINED .4%, and the RUT lost 1.4%. The XLF, despite the bounce, still lost 1.5%, GM, GE, C, BAC, and WFC were all HAMMERED today, but all managed strong comebacks to produce bottom looking hammers. For the week, the S&P lost 5.9% and the DOW lost 6.1%.

Capitulation? Possibly, and at least partially. The number of new lows rose dramatically with the NYSE producing 590 of them. That’s a number that used to be associated with bottoms, but during October and November it rose to double that before bottoming.

Let me say a word about McHugh’s newsletter for those who subscribe because he points out that this is a huge bullish divergence because when we were at these levels in November, the number of lows was significantly higher. YES, that’s what “they” teach about divergences – I do NOT buy that for the number of new lows.

That was 3 months ago, we went sideways just for the sole purpose of working off those extreme readings. Being at that level now isn’t as scary as it was the first time. Look at the VIX. Last time we were here it was at 90! Not this time… does that mean there’s a bullish divergence? NO! In fact, it’s almost the opposite in that it means we have further to fall before we reach those extremes again. That’s how a descent works. You fall from one rung on the ladder to the next… each pause along the way allows the oscillators and other indicators to reset, drawing in more dollars to be destroyed by “believers.”

Here’s a chart of the DOW during the crash that preceded the Great Depression. Note the stair steps, the same is happening today (Elliot Wave International chart):



Keep that chart in mind every time you hear someone call the bottom.

The internals were very ugly this morning but improved later in the day. On the NYSE, declining issues outnumbered advancing by about 3 to 1. On the Nasdaq it was 2.5 to 1 negative which is a bearish divergence from prices on the NDX, but note that the larger Nasdaq finished DOWN .11%... that shows a lack of breadth despite higher slightly better advancing volume – it was all on a few issues. 75% of the NYSE volume was on the downside… it was over 90% earlier in this morning, and improved. It actually would have been more bullish had it not. Again, that’s what happens when false distortions are introduced to produce false bottoms on bullshit statements like the one made by BAC CEO Ken Lewis. Whatever Ken, (insert disparaging remark here). Oh, and welcome to world of penny stocks – get used to it, you’ll be right back down.

Okay, let’s start on the charts from the short time frames and then go progressively longer. What I think you’ll find is that it looks more bullish close in, but the further out you go, the more bearish it becomes.

Here’s a ten day, ten minute SPX chart. Note the down channel, I believe that this channel contains wave 3 down of wave 5. We may have just begun wave 4? If it is, we should break this red channel on the upside, either by going out the top or by moving sideways in time. Note that we closed just above the pivot at 768. The next pivot higher is at 789. There is some bullish RSI divergence in this and all the charts as the current peak is higher on the RSI, but lower in price than the last high. That argues for more upside being possible. We may have just begun an abc or 5 waves up off today’s low, and if that’s so, then we may have completed wave two or b already… hard to tell unless we know exactly where the count is, but that would be my guess. The 10 and 30 minute stochastic are in the mid-range, while the 30 min slow and 60 minute are just coming out of oversold:



Next is a 3 month daily of the SPX. Note the nice clear air hammer right on the lower Bollinger and on the pivot point. You can see that we did not break the November lows. This will have the bulls foaming at the mouth – mainly I think that will be associated with Mad Cow disease more than actual clear thinking or an understanding of what’s happening! Actually, this close was one that Doc and I discussed as being likely because it leaves the bulls with HOPE, even though the bears are sitting on a new DOW Theory primary sell signal and are still completely in control from a channel perspective. Note here that the fast stochastic began to turn up even though we haven’t had a positive day in 5 days. As they say, we’re due for a little bounce and that hammer does look bullish, but not major league bullish:



But is that really a hammer? Let’s look at the SPY chart to verify. Yep, not a hammer over here. That’s because the ETFs treat opening gaps differently. I have WAY more confidence in hammers when they are on both charts, not one or the other. Still, it could be that the index hammer will win the day, but it needs confirmation with a higher open on Monday. Note the higher volume here, but not capitulation volume:



On the DOW chart we see another hammer, but with a larger head. Here, we do see what could be short term capitulation volume. On the DIA, however, no hammer and much lighter relative volume. Again, just look at this chart and the volume pattern – declines volume rises, advancing prices = falling volume:



Next batter is the NDX. A positive close, but not a very bullish candle. The candle on the Nasdaq is even less bullish, a red spinner… I don’t know, I’m seeing it both ways. Normally when you have a solid short term bottom it’s more obvious when you dig deep like this:



The RUT closed way beneath the lower Bollinger which is pointing straight down. Note that it bounced off the 161.8% retrace level of the up move in late January. Not a real significant wave, but still, it’s interesting to see these Fibonacci relationships turn prices around. Both the NDX and RUT have a way to go before breaking the November low:



Let’s look at Mr. VIX. We got above the downtrend line early in the week and have been consolidating just above it. This shows how we’re at a critical level… break down and we’re bullish, break higher and it’s bearish. That did produce a weekly close above the 50dma and may need to bend the Bollinger up to get further selling pressure:



Next is the XLF. Although it did turn around today, that would be expected given how far under the Bollinger it is. Again, no real changes to the fundamental situation to cement a key reversal which this does NOT look like. The most bullish thing about it is the much higher volume which may indicate some capitulation (or opex high volume coupled with some fear):



Anyone long gold should note the little black spinner sitting on the top Bollinger. Look at all the other black candles on this chart. Usually there’s at least a little selling that follows one of these. I’d love to see it get back to test the blue breakout line, that would take off some of the overbought readings and might be a good entry long… unless, of course, it just collapses with the market – and that’s why you should have a game plan for that. I do think the world’s financial system is on the highway to hell (queue AC/DC), so accumulating some physical gold on pullbacks (if you can find it) is probably real smart as a hedge against the worst case scenarios:



Just to update you on the NYSE A/D line… yes, there’s still a bullish divergence. No, it hasn’t really changed much. Remember that these can last for a long time and can be real big:



Here’s the Put/Call ratio with the SPX in the background. Note the turn down in the ratio. That is typical of bottoms, but not always (look the chart over closely), and it did not get to the highly elevated position of major bottoms:



Now let’s zoom out and look at a 10 year WEEKLY chart of the DOW with all my garbage turned off. Note that we CLOSED a weekly bar beneath all the weekly closes in the years 2002/2003. Sorry, but that is just nasty bearish, and is saying loud and clear that more is likely. See the stair steps on that chart? This chart actually looks more bearish to me than the one from the Great Depression. It started out similarly, but the crash is actually more accelerated later on:



Next is the weekly chart of the SPX. We had broken the 2002 lows before, but we hadn’t closed a weekly bar underneath – now we have. I wrote about the implications of this 3 months ago when it first happened in my article Half Way to Zero. I titled it that because we are, in fact, 51.1% beneath the 2007 high where we sit tonight and if you read the article you will find other reasons as well:



Next I want to show you a ten+ year MONTHLY chart of the SPX. The monthly bars take a lot of the noise out. Note that if we were to close February down here, it would be a new monthly close as well – but that hasn’t happened yet. What I really want to show you is how steep the sell off has been. Look at that. McDonald's anyone? No, those aren't the Golden Arches, look at the M pattern. The double top pattern. HOW CAN ANYONE tell you with a straight face to buy stocks into that? Sorry, but if you do, and if you are out “bargain” shopping at this stage, you are going to get everything you deserve.



Overall I am mildly bullish in the short term. The further out I look, however, the more bearish I get. Sure, we may move higher or sideways for a while, but maybe we just keep on crashing, that’s always an option when there’s no leadership – anybody seen Geithner lately? These longer term charts and broken support levels are NOT bullish. In fact, they are saying to me that we better see some real ADULT leadership before the music’s over, otherwise turn out the lights:

Doors – When the Music’s Over:


All 12 minutes of it, in honor of Seth’s great call for a red hammer today… he ‘saw’ it!

PS - "But Nate, look at all these 'great' companies out there that are just CHEAP! What about those?

My take? See those 600 new lows on the NYSE today? When we reach the bottom of the 'C', 80% of those will no longer exist. Go ahead and buy all you want, I'll wait for the bottom of the 'C' or a long term buy signal whichever comes first!

Hey, do you want me to cut the crap, or not? You can find all the fluff and people who will blow wind up your skirt elsewhere. No, I'm not a perma-bear. I've been bullish my entire life - until I saw the extent of the bubbles and began selling my real estate... just trying to keep it real and am sorry to see good people hurt by the misdeeds of others.

Madoff - 13+ years without a single real transaction! $50 billion down the tubes.

Stanford - 17 years the SEC knew what was happening and did nothing! $8 billion more swirls the bowl.

WAKE UP AMERICA - Your future is NOT what you dreamed it would be!

Jumbo Loan Defaults Rise at Fastest Pace in 15 Years…

Obviously it takes far fewer Jumbo loans to go bad than a subprime to cause an equal loss size. Unfortunately for those who have invested in mortgage securities, we still have not approached a peak in the number of Jumbo Option-Arm and Alt-A loans. I think this situation gets much worse before it gets better…

Does the latest stimulus plan help these people? NO! Most of them who have purchased in the past 5 years will be too far underwater to get refinanced under the terms and/or the size of their loan will be too large.

Is there a correlation between the melt down in Commercial Real Estate, the blowout of the CMBX Index, and this? Absolutely…


Jumbo Loan Defaults Rise at Fast Pace as Rich Suffer

By Bob Ivry

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Luxury homeowners are falling behind on mortgage payments at the fastest pace in more than 15 years, a sign the U.S. financial crisis that began with the poorest Americans has reached the wealthiest.

About 2.57 percent of prime borrowers who took out jumbo loans last year were at least 60 days delinquent, according to LPS Applied Analytics, a mortgage data service in Jacksonville, Florida. They got to that level within 10 months, almost twice as quickly as 2007 borrowers and the fastest rate since at least 1992, when LPS Applied Analytics began tracking the market.

The jump in late payments on jumbo loans, while still lower than the 20 percent delinquencies in subprime mortgages, signals that the borrowers with the most money and the best credit are hurting as the U.S. recession deepens in its second year. It also means these loans will be even more difficult to obtain and more expensive to pay off.

“The biggest influence in rising delinquencies is related squarely to the economy rather than poor underwriting,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, a Pompton Plains, New Jersey-based mortgage research firm. “We are apparently all suffering to some degree. It’s certainly more severe for some but still, it’s pretty much widespread.”

U.S. joblessness reached a 25-year high in January while the unemployment rate in the financial industry rose to 6 percent from 3 percent a year ago. It jumped to 10.4 percent from 6.4 percent in the category of professional and business services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington.

Jumbo Refinance
Raymond Young bought his lakeside home in Miami four years ago for $2 million cash and in 2006 took out a $1.4 million jumbo mortgage to pay for a real estate venture in Texas. Now, with home prices in his area down 40 percent from their 2006 peak, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Young needs to refinance because the Texas investment isn’t paying off and his income has dried up. He can’t find a bank to help.

“They’re telling me the house is only worth $1.3 million,” said Young, 46. “I’m upside down. I’m stuck. I’m in bailout mode but they’re bailing out banks and they’re not bailing out homeowners.”

President Barack Obama’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, announced this week, has no provision to help jumbo mortgage borrowers.

“People must have been surprised to lose their jobs or they didn’t realize the bottom hadn’t been reached yet on home prices,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “A lot of people weren’t paying attention.”

No Government Help
About 1.92 percent of homeowners with 2008 mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell at least 60 days behind, LPS Applied Analytics said. Jumbo loans are bigger than what the two government-controlled agencies buy or guarantee, and Obama’s plan focuses on shoring up mortgages eligible to be bought by Fannie and Freddie.

Currently the Fannie-Freddie cap is set at $417,000 in most places and up to $729,750 in areas with higher home prices. The average credit score for 2008 jumbo loans was 762, LPS Applied Analytics said. Such scores are used to assess risk.

Jumbo lending slowed in the fourth quarter to $11 billion, or 4 percent of the mortgage market, the lowest quarterly amount since Inside Mortgage Finance started tracking that data in 1990. In 2007, jumbo loans made up 14 percent of total U.S. mortgage originations, according to the Bethesda, Maryland-based publication.

Financing Jumbo Loans
The top five U.S. jumbo lenders -- Chase Home Finance LLC, Bank of America Corp., Washington Mutual Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. -- originated a combined $55.3 billion in jumbos in 2008. They lent just $4.3 billion of that during the last three months of the year, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Banks don’t want to make jumbo loans because holding them on their books means they have to keep sufficient money in reserve in case borrowers quit paying, Inside Mortgage Finance Publications Chief Executive Officer Guy Cecala said.

The national average for a 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage was 6.57 percent this week compared with 5.34 percent for a conforming loan, according to White Plains, New York-based financial data provider BanxQuote.

The difference in interest rates between jumbo loans and prime conforming mortgages, or mortgages eligible for sale to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and available to borrowers with top credit scores, had been about 20 basis points “for several decades,” according to BanxQuote CEO Norbert Mehl.

181 Basis Points
In August 2007, that difference jumped to as much as 200 basis points and has stayed between 100 and 200 basis points, Mehl said. A basis point is equal to 0.01 percentage point.

The difference between the jumbo interest rate and the prime conforming rate was 181 basis points on Feb. 18, according to Bloomberg data.

“The only jumbo mortgages being written right now have strict qualification criteria both in the credit rating of the borrower and the down payment requirements and they are nearly impossible to qualify for,” Mehl said. “Some lenders quote a jumbo rate but they don’t make the loans.”

Steve Habetz, president of Threshold Mortgage Co. in Westport, Connecticut, said he relied on Hudson City Bancorp Inc. in Paramus, New Jersey, and closely held, Manhasset, New York- based Apple Bank for Savings for jumbo loans.

Capacity is down because lenders everywhere are understaffed and “drowning in loan applications,” Habetz said.

Habetz said he had a customer with a 740 credit score who had a down payment of $500,000 on a $1 million home in Easton, Connecticut. The borrower had to wait two weeks for approval when in December he would have gotten the mortgage overnight.

“Mortgage lending right now is like wading miles and miles in waist-deep mud,” Habetz said. “It’s so difficult. Jumbo borrowers will be tortured and it’s nothing they should take personally because everybody is getting tortured.”

To me that chart looks like we’re about to run into the proverbial wall:

Kansas – The Wall:

Morning Update/ Market Thread 2/20

Good Morning,

Futures are down pretty hard again. We are sitting right on the bottom of the downtrend channels and these do look like bullish wedges that are close to termination. Yes, they could break beneath these wedges, but not likely for more than just a throwunder. While I say that, there is the precedent of last September where we spilled out of the wedge and began the October waterfall.

At this level, the S&P is getting very close to the pins on the November lows.

We basically fell to the next pivot point. It's at 768 on the SPX, and that's just about where we are.

I have been asked if today is a good day to get short... NO! If you are not already short, you missed that boat that sailed quite some time ago. But that's just me, I'll be taking profits here and waiting for the next entry. The only safe play short here would be to use the 768 pivot as a stop... if you get short, use that; or alternatively, if we break the bottom of the channel/wedge trendline, get short on the break BUT USE THAT TRENDLINE AS A STOP. It is downsloping and could work nicely if you catch it. BIG potential for a reversal... BE CAREFUL!

Here's a chart, DOW on the left, S&P on the right:



Nate

This will be it for the update, if I have time I'll do another one later...

Here's your banned cartoon of the day (LOL):

Thursday, February 19, 2009

DoctorMad Update - How fast can you run bulls?

The General is effective at mapping in his attack & retreat channels, making sure as many of his soldiers capture the enemy troops and then come back to do it again…
Bears remain in complete control as the bulls spent another day not only unable to mount a serious offensive, but losing a little more ground. Meanwhile the bear supply lines are catching up (oversold working off) and more room is opening up to the downside of the wave 3 channel.

The trade right now is simple. Stay short as long as the top line of the channel holds. Take troops home when we near the bottom of the channel and put some back to work when we are near the top, but net on net working off short positions and starting to prepare for the bull bounce that is coming. That bounce may still be several days away. The only thing I know for certain is it will come without warning and you better have a plan ready for when the bulls break this momentum. Until they do however, sit back and enjoy the ride with your bear troops taking some home on each break lower.



If you happen to be still bullish right now and picking a bottom or double bottom then you might want to panic if it starts to look like my wave 3 of 3 of 3 count on deck is right. You could lose a very quick 5-10% or much more if you get caught on a stampede break to new bear market lows. The margin clerks might be very busy this weekend.

- DoctorMad

Got that right about the margin clerks, Doc, especially those at Goldman who are having to collect margin calls from their own executives – couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

Hey, let’s give the Doc some tunes for his soldiers… I read his title and this tune popped into my head, just substitute the word “Band” with the word “Bulls!”

Paul McCartney- Band on the Run:

CMBX Index & IYR Update…

It was only 12 days ago when I wrote this article on the CMBX index and its effects on IYR… Real Estate, Bubbles, & the CMBX Index – Still Showing Severe Stress…

In that 12 days, IYR has lost 15% of its value and the CMBX indices are now blowing out, with the exception of AAA which doesn’t really exist.

The selling in IYR has not been proportional to the blowout on the CMBX, take that for what its worth. Here are the current CMBX charts:







Those are indicating further severe stress...

Here is the current 6 month IYR chart, note that it still has a way to go to break its November low:



Nate

End of Day 2/19

Got to love that rant of Rick Santelli today. That will be remembered years from now, and his call to remember our country’s founders is spot on. Franklin and Jefferson would, indeed, be rolling over in their graves.

And the markets wound up going where they belong despite attempts to the contrary. Simply too many sell orders to hold today and down she went. No, I’m not cheering it on… it just is what it is and if you are relying on HOPE to overcome reality, you are simply going to lose.

At any rate, today’s close was very significant for most technicians as it confirmed yet another DOW Theory sell signal by having the Industrials close at new lows on the same day as the Transports. Not only was that accomplished, but the Industrials also made a new intraday low, if only by a couple of points. There is now no arguing about it, done deal. Now we move on to the S&P and NDX, who have yet to confirm theirs. And for those technicians who are waiting for the Wilshire to make new lows, take a look at the Major Market Index which made new lows Tuesday.

Significantly, today’s close was beneath all the weekly closes at the lows in 2002 & 2003, and sent stock prices back to where they were all the way back in 1997. And the truth is that when substitution bias is removed, they would be a lot further back in time than that. It also looks like we’re about to make a weekly close beneath the 20 year uptrend line:



By the way, the Japanese Nikkei index is very close to making new 20 year lows. It was 1990 that the Nikkei topped out above 40,000 and is at only 7,500 today, 81% lower. Think that can’t happen here? The “experts” say that our markets are freer and will correct faster. Are you willing to bet on that, or does the fact that we are starting from a far worse debt situation scare you? Oh, and Japan has had its difficulty during the greatest growth boom the planet has ever seen – are we going to be pulled up by others?

For today, the DOW closed down 89 points, the S&P lost 1.2%, the NDX gave up 1.8%, and the RUT was down 1.5%. The XLF dragged down the entire market again, losing another 5.27%. C and BAC are on the edge… something’s going to have to happen soon.

Internally, decliners outpaced advancing issues by a 2.5 to 1 margin and 72% of the volume was on the down side. Again, certainly not capitulation selling.

Here’s a three month daily chart of the DOW. You can see the November lows on the far left. We’re still in the latest downtrend channel, and not even at the bottom of it. If you look at the Jan. 6th peak, you can see that we are clearly in wave 3 down, most likely of wave 5 of the larger wave A. As far as the DOW is concerned, being in wave B up/sideways is officially off the table with these new lows. Yes, you can choose to ignore the DOW if you wish, let me know how that works out for you:



Just to give you the same view of the Transports, here you can see that we broke the November lows some time ago, and have been making new closing lows every day for the past week. Remember that transports are a leading indicator. By the way, no capitulation volume on either of these charts although they are now riding the lower Bollinger down:



Next, let’s look at a 3 month view of the SPX. We finally got beneath the 789 pivot and the next lower is at 768. I removed McHugh’s ending diagonal as we broke beneath it and instead drew in the red channel that corresponds to the green channel on the DOW. Indicators are definitely oversold, but the slow still has room with my settings. Again, riding the Bollinger down and you can see that the magic numbers now are the November close at 752 and the pin low is 741:



The NDX produced a very bearish candle and you can see that it has a long way to go to its November bottom:



The NDX triggered a breakdown on the P&F chart today, finally joining the party. Note the lack of volume support beneath here:



The put/call ratio actually fell a little today although it's still elevated and needs to be watched.

Overall, I don’t think we’ve put in the bottom yet for this downtrend, but we’re getting closer to it. What would mess with the most people’s minds? A big sell off tomorrow that takes near the 2002 lows on the SPX. That will cause big losses for options writers (unless they are able to pump it or cover elsewhere) and would leave everyone guessing over the weekend.

Have a good evening, continue to raise capital if you have it, times are going to get harder here before they get better.

Since Seth got me started on the Donovan tunes, here’s a very pretty song for the bulls who may be way down below the ocean, although I’m sure that’s not where they want to be:

Donovan – Atlantis:

Louis Yamada...

"Keep taking bricks out of the wall and sooner or later it falls."

Here's a link to Louis Yamada's interview today. She is one of the best technical people I follow, and is a TRUTH teller. Both of them did a good job of telling the truth, worth your 5 minutes:

Louis Yamada - CNBC interview...

Santelli Rant - Terrific...

CNBS is usually pretty bad, but Rick Santelli Nailed this one - it's already going all over the internet.


Leading Indicators/ Hurting on the Streets of Philadelphia…

Index of leading indicators:

Came in at .4% which was at the top of estimates, BUT…
From Econoday:
Market Consensus Before Announcement
The Conference Board's index of leading indicators rose 0.3 percent in December - largely on a surge in the money supply. But without money supply, indications were very negative with the report warning that the results point to "intense recession" through the spring. Without the money supply contribution, the leading index would have fallen 0.7 percent.

Leading indicators Consensus Forecast for January 09: 0.0 percent (flat)
Range: -0.5 to +0.4 percent
Surging money supply is the only thing propping up the leading indicators… well at least they’re doing something, right?

Meanwhile, down on the streets of Philadelphia, things aren’t looking too rosy… it came in with a huge miss at -41.3! The previous reading was “only” -24.3… -41 is horrific.
The general business conditions component of the Philadelphia Fed's business outlook survey index continued to contract in January - but not as quickly as in the prior month. The Philadelphia Fed's January index for general business conditions came in at minus 24.3, up moderately from minus 36.1 in December. Both new orders and shipments contracted but at slower rates than in December.

Philadelphia Fed survey Consensus Forecast for February 09: -26.0
Range: -34.0 to -21.4


Having anything positive to say about that number is just out of line. Not as fast a fall as in December? Riiight. People just feel compelled to find something positive to say. You may think I’m just looking for something negative to say, but hey, someone has to balance the universe – LOL! It’s not funny when people are hurting down on the streets of Philadelphia!

Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelpia:


[Of course, you guys know this index is from the Philly Fed and has nothing to do w/Philadelphia, right? Still, it’s a good song, and I look for any opportunity to play it!]

Morning Update/ Market Thread 2/19

Good Morning,

Several analysts beat around the manipulation bush about the closes the past two days, but I haven’t heard anyone with the nads to just come out and say it. YES, those closes on the DOW were manipulated. There. If you don’t believe that people would do that – well, wake up and grow up.

Desperate times bring desperate actions. Some of those actions are done “with a good heart.” People may think they are helping to “save” America, but in fact all the intervention is stifling real growth and productivity FRUSTRATING an entire generation of investors. Yes, there are real investors and innovators just wanting to get to work to invest long term and to help build a healthy and prosperous America. They simply cannot do it yet. Markets are artificially propped up. Old lumbering industry is being supported artificially and has not been allowed to fail. Young, innovative companies that could otherwise use the money do not have room and must compete for scarce investment dollars. The path we are on is not good – interfering in the markets will lead to much suffering, much more than would have happened naturally.



This morning the weekly unemployment numbers came in level with last week on the headline number, but continuing claims rose to another record just below 5 million…
Jobless claims hold at a high level

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits holds at 627,000. Continuing claims set a record.

By Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, remaining near a 26-year high, according to a government report released Thursday.

The number of initial jobless claims was 627,000 in the week ended Feb. 14, according to the Labor Department. That was unchanged from the revised level of the previous week.
Economists polled by Briefing.com were expecting 620,000 claims for the most recent week.

The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims was 619,000, an increase of 10,500 from a revised 608,500 in the previous week.

Continuing claims: The number of workers receiving unemployment checks for one week or more rose to a record 4,987,000 in the week ended Feb. 7, the most recent data available. That tops the previous week's revised level of 4,817,000.

The Labor Department has been keeping records since 1967.

The 4-week moving average for continuing claims was 4,839,500, an increase of 92,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,747,000.
The PPI came in higher than expected at .8%, when .3% was expected. Most of that rise can be attributed to gasoline rising 15% in January. The “core” rose .4%. This is important data (manipulated though it might be) because it shows if nothing else a slight let up in deflationary forces during the month of January. Of course when you look inside the report, you find that food and some other categories were down. One month also does not make a trend and remember that the stock market and other asset prices declined in a large way during the month.

Leading indicators and the Philly Fed Survey come out in a few minutes.

The market just opened higher, but is still well inside of its down trending channel. The market will eventually go were it belongs – that destination is lower than here. P/E ratios are still too high, earnings are continuing to fall, and the debt still has not been cleared.

Still a lot of oversold indications, the short term stochs have quite a bit of room on the upside, the 30 minute is only a little more than half way up, and the 60 minute slow is just coming out of oversold. I’d really like to see up reach the top of the channel and get those indicators oversold before putting more troops into battle as Doc would say.



Have a great day and best to your trades,

Nate

PS – in regards to the markets and the people behind them… SAME AS IT EVER WAS!

Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime (Same as it ever was!):

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DoctorMad Update - Bears in control…

Hey, sometimes a good General speaks softly but carries a big old Howitzer to blow the bulls out of their trenchlines!
A very easy update tonight. The bulls never managed to organize a serious offensive and the bears have had another day to set up their defenses in the 800 trench and remain in full control. The SPX is now my primary window for following the bearish momentum. As long as this channel holds you can stay comfortably short.






- DoctorMad

End of Day 2/18

All I can do is laugh. I made the following prediction at 11:26 this morning and posted it in the comments section, “Okay... Odds of a negative DOW close? I'm saying it happens... until the last minute, then after the bell rings the number suddenly adjusts and it closes up 2 points! LOL”

And when the bell rang it was negative and adjusted to plus 3 points! Ha, ha. You can say that the market has free will all you want, but the truth is that all the little manipulations add up over time. The same as all the stimulus and economic distortions add up over time. Eventually they correct, and since they have been so large and pervasive over such a long time period, the correction will be and is, in fact, huge. And, I sincerely hope that it will be game changing in regards to morals and ethics - right and wrong.

So despite the fact that the Transports finished down another 1.4%, the Industrials were finagled into a 3 point positive close to avoid the DOW Theory sell signal for yet another day. Ah, the games people play… you can call that an epic bear/ bull battle if you want, I call it holding sell orders until after the close as yet again the selling continued immediately afterwards, in fact 60 points worth within the next two 5 minute bars.

And not to harp on it, but it really illustrates what’s wrong with our entire screwed up financial system. Nothing’s real… it’s all fun and games run by insiders who think they are fooling someone. Our entire financial system is built upon such foolishness. I’m sure the market makers think that their tinkering is no big deal. I’d just like to staple this poster onto their foreheads:



At any rate, the S&P finished down .1%, the NDX finished up .15%, and the RUT was down 1.3%. The XLF finished on the exact point it started.

Basically a nothing, sideways day killing time and working off oversold conditions. But it wasn’t a nothing day economically. Forget about home construction or all the other bull… the important news is that we are adding another $275 billion to our nation’s guarantees and who knows how much to our debts. Combined with the $787 signed into law yesterday, that’s $1.062 TRILLION in two days ($3,481 per person, or $14,000 for my family of four). And we haven’t even gotten the bank bailout numbers yet.

And did the markets jump for joy? NO? Why not? They are definitely sending a message, unfortunately the bankers are the ones pulling the strings.

Internally the market was WEAK. On a nothing price day, advancing issues and volume both trailed decliners by 2 to 1. The number of new 52 week lows is expanding substantially with 324 issues on the NYSE reaching new lows.

Today’s down, up, down, sideways action may have produced a small movement on the McClelland Oscillator, I’ll get that tonight and let you know in the morning. If so, expect a large price movement soon.

As far as charts go, the most important thing I can show you tonight is the chart of the dollar. It moved up again today, ignoring yesterday’s outside hammer. It pinned overhead resistance and is very near breaking out. What’s more important than that is that gold continued to rally strongly, up 1.5% into the face of a rising dollar! That’s talking to you, do know what it’s saying? I have looked at the historical charts of gold and it does not usually perform well in strongly down equity markets when the dollar is rallying. This is different, why? Is it signaling inflation, and if so, why aren’t the other commodities up just as strongly? We added over a trillion dollars in debt and/or guarantees in the past two days:



You know, when I am making important decisions while flying with people’s lives on the line, I usually stop to ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if______?” President Obama is the Captain of this ship, he better start thinking instead of just talking.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying a strong dollar is bad. What I’m saying is that the only reason it’s strong is because the rest of the globe is imploding and dollars are needed for deleveraging and safety. But to have gold going up at the same time is a tell... underneath that “safety” is fear.

I’m only going to show one daily chart, that of the DOW. All the charts are the same, they produced spinners or just down days and some are beneath the bottom Bollinger still bending it downwards. Yes, we’re reaching oversold on the daily with the DOW and S&P, but the NDX still has plenty of room. Yes, dojis like that can be a bottom indicator, but these do not look that way to me, and we have yet to see any type of capitulation:



Inside the DOW on the 10 minute chart, you can see that we are at the mid-point of that green down channel, we have a little bit of positive RSI divergence, and the stochastic indicators have room now in either direction, but the 60 minute slow is just coming up out of oversold now. It can turn right back around and stay oversold, so not a lot of guidance there:



On a 30 minute SPX chart, you can see the red lines of a potential ending diagonal… prices did manage to stay inside it today at the close. Note that we had a second close in a row right on the 789 pivot point. 768 is the next lower pivot:



The only other thing I have for you is that the Put/Call ratio has risen to a point were bottoms potentially occur. Below is a one year chart, if you look at prior peaks above 1.2, you will see bottoms that correspond. We’re not quite there, but getting close:



As Americans we like to believe that we have “free will.” To some extent that is true, but we are very boxed in by society, by politics, by money… and our picture of the world is colored by people who are always trying to sell you something. In my case, I’m trying to sell you on the fact that our system is not working for the people. I don’t have anything to gain from that but the knowledge that my children might be left with a better system that’s capable of lasting into the indefinite future. I don’t believe the present systems will. Change is coming, I want to be able to affect some of that change and to ROB the bankers of their opportunity to grab the future and control the planet with their pervasive debt. It doesn’t have to be that way, our money system belongs to us, not to central bankers. Thomas Jefferson understood that well:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin (1802)
Some dispute the context of this quote, but that’s not the point. The point is one of freedom and free will:

Rush – Freewill:

Obama: “We're all paying for home mortgage crisis…”

Love that headline, comrades, it came from CNN. I’m sure he didn’t mean it in the socialist sense… or did he? Doesn’t matter, that’s exactly what it is.

And what I thought was going to be a $50 billion announcement became $275! Further hundreds of billions through Fannie & Freddie – once again the exact opposite of the right thing to do. Each step makes the math worse and the eventually outcome that much worse too. Reaction? Markets sells, gold goes up.

Obama Pledges $275 Billion to Stem Foreclosures, Help Borrowers

By Alison Vekshin and Roger Runningen

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Barack Obama pledged $275 billion to a program that includes cutting mortgage payments for as many as 9 million struggling homeowners and expanding the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in curbing foreclosures.
The plan will help as many as 5 million homeowners refinance loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, the president said. Treasury will buy as much as $200 billion of preferred stock in the two mortgage companies, twice as much as previously promised, he said.

“It will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild,” Obama said in Mesa, Arizona. “By bringing down the foreclosure rate, it will help to shore up housing prices for everyone.”

The program signals the Obama administration plans to take a more aggressive stance to halt foreclosures than the Bush administration, which backed voluntary industry efforts. Record foreclosures in the past year are swelling the glut of properties on the market, forcing down home values and undermining homebuilders’ efforts to revive demand and lighten inventory by cutting prices.

“We tried voluntary, it didn’t work,” Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said today at a briefing in Mesa before Obama spoke. Bair has pressed the banking industry to accelerate loan modifications to keep people in their homes.

U.S. builders broke ground in January on the fewest houses on record as a lack of credit and plunging sales exacerbated the worst real-estate slump in 75 years. Confidence among homebuilders barely rose in February from a record low, an industry index showed yesterday, signaling the slump continues.

Bankruptcy Reform
Obama said he will support revamping U.S. bankruptcy rules to let judges reduce mortgages on primary residences to fair- market value as long as borrowers pay their debts under a court- ordered plan. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the administration is in talks with Congress. “We are working on the best path to early enactment,” he said at the briefing in Mesa.

The Obama plan will use $75 billion, mostly from the $700 billion financial bailout fund, to match reductions lenders make in interest payments that lower borrowers’ payments to 31 percent of their monthly income. Under the program, a lender would be responsible for reducing monthly payments to no more than 38 percent of a borrower’s income, with government sharing the cost to further cut the rate to 31 percent.

The plan is “an absolutely necessary part of the recovery” and will “arrest this very damaging spiral” in home prices, Geithner said. Geithner added that detailed guidelines on putting the program into effect will be released March 4.

Cost Sharing
Treasury will share the cost when lenders reduce monthly payments by forgiving a portion of the borrower’s mortgage balance, the government said. The program may help as many as 4 million borrowers, the administration said. The average borrower’s home value could be stabilized against a price decline by up to $6,000.

“We think it is accurately aimed at homeowners at risk that are most likely to represent avoidable foreclosures, so it is likely to have a maximum impact where the dollar is committed,” said Robert Davis, executive vice president of the American Bankers Association, in a telephone interview.

Banks accepting U.S. help must adopt loan modification plans, the government said.


Companies that service mortgages will get $1,000 for each modified loan, and as much as $1,000 for three years when the borrower stays current, the government said.

Homeowners also are eligible for $1,000 annually for five years for remaining current on their loans, according to the plan. The cash will be applied to reducing the principal balance of the loan, according to a White House fact sheet.

Incentives
Mortgage servicers will get $500 and loan holders $1,500 to modify loans as an incentive for the industry to seek out borrowers at risk of falling behind on their payments.
“The Obama team is betting that if they can afford to stay in the home month-to-month, that borrower is not concerned about what today’s value of the home happens to be,” Howard Glaser, former counsel to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said today in a telephone interview. “I think that’s the right bet.”

Focusing on reducing the mortgage principal would have been a “prohibitively expensive proposition,” said Glaser, a Washington-based mortgage-industry analyst.

Treasury will increase the size of Fannie and Freddie’s retained mortgage portfolios, to $900 billion, allowed under the preferred stock agreement included in the September federal takeover of the two mortgage-finance companies.

Fannie, Freddie Backing
“It is an indication they are not looking at shuttering them to move their responsibilities elsewhere,” said James Vogel, a debt analyst with FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee, in an e- mailed statement. “That has been a widely discussed option.”

The multi-step plan to help homeowners with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie will apply to so-called conforming loans, which are limited to $625,500 in the most expensive real-estate markets and $417,000 everywhere else.

An administration official, speaking to reporters in Washington, said the Treasury’s pledge of support for Fannie and Freddie is intended to build confidence that the government stands fully behind the two mortgage-finance companies. The official said the two aren’t yet close to reaching the initial limit of $100 billion in government support.


The additional $200 billion in funding will be made under a foreclosure-prevention law Congress enacted in July, the administration said.

6 Million Foreclosures
A family with a conforming Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage will save an average of $2,300 annually under the program, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said at the Mesa briefing. Donovan added that he expects as many as 6 million foreclosures in the next three years if this program isn’t implemented.

The White House also plans to improve Hope for Homeowners and other Federal Housing Administration programs to modify and refinance mortgages at risk of foreclosure.

Banks including Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. have agreed, at the request of lawmakers, to suspend foreclosure proceedings until the Obama plan is adopted. The Office of Thrift Supervision last week urged the lenders it oversees to suspend foreclosures.

The administration and the FDIC developed a partial- guarantee initiative directing the Treasury to create a $10 billion insurance fund to discourage lenders from foreclosing on viable mortgages out of fear that prices will fall further, according to the fact sheet. Geithner said the $10 billion will come from the financial bailout fund.

Treasury also will develop loan-modification guidelines for the mortgage industry that will be used for the administration’s foreclosure-prevention plan, the government said.
“We are disappointed they didn’t take a more aggressive approach,” John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said today in a telephone interview. “This is all still very voluntary. You really have to make this mandatory or purchase the loans if you are going to accomplish what you want.”

“Mandatory” loan modifications… that’s a good one. I’m disappointed too.

Then CNBC parades JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon so that he can pump the financials and tell us all how good this program is. He was bragging about how many good and responsible citizens there are out there who are UNDERWATER on their homes, and yet they continue to make their payments! How nice of them to keep paying while underwater. Perhaps if they view the transaction for what it really is they wouldn’t be so happy to keep paying on an asset that is underwater, going further underwater and is ultimately owned by the bank anyway.

The right answer to all of this, of course, is to not encourage the bubbles to begin with, which is exactly what they are still doing. Creating inflation targets guarantees that bubbles will be created, especially at targets that are as astronomically high as 2%! Doesn’t sound high to you, then please Spend some Time with the Good Dr. Bartlett…

This target is exactly what Bernanke suggested in the latest Fed Meeting minutes…
“We expect inflation to be quite low for some time,” Bernanke said in the speech, without mentioning the word deflation.

The Fed minutes and forecasts indicated that officials are aiming to move public expectations at a 2 percent rate. Policy makers estimated long-term economic growth at 2.5 percent to 2.7 percent and an unemployment rate at 4.8 percent to 5 percent.
And don’t get me started on how inaccurately they measure inflation. No, never ending growth is not only not possible it wouldn’t be a good thing for anyone but a central banker.

I Want My Bailout Money by Michael Adams the Health Ranger: