Friday, December 17, 2010
Stocks are roughly flat at the open this morning, the dollar is up as Moody’s downgrades Ireland’s debt once again, bonds are higher, and both oil and gold are up slightly. Today is Quadruple Witching day, expect heavier volume.
Speaking of heavy volume, massive volumes of Visa and Mastercard sold off as the “Federal Reserve” proposed new rules that would dramatically limit the amount of processing fees they can charge on debit transactions. Shares of both fell by approximately 10% and the selling continues this morning:
While I wholeheartedly support limited fees in what amounts to a duopoly, I would rather have unfettered competition and I also question the “Feds” ability to propose and to implement such a rule on entities which are not banks under its jurisdiction. Of course Congress has simply turned over the economy to the private banks (“Fed”), so I guess it’s just business as usual for the “Fed” to dictate terms to everyone else. Still, this should help smaller businesses and consumers:
Visa, MasterCard sink on debit card fee cap plan
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Reserve rolled out a proposed rule Thursday that caps the fees banks can charge retailers when customers swipe their debit cards.
The rules would likely hurt credit card network companies Visa and MasterCard the most. Shares of Visa closed nearly 13% lower following the news, while shares of MasterCard (MA, Fortune 500) slipped more than 10%.
Under the proposal, merchants would be charged no more than 12 cents per debit-card transaction, the Federal Reserve Board said at a meeting Thursday.
Mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act and part of a measure introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the fee cap aims to make "swipe" fees -- also known as interchange fees -- "reasonable and proportional" to what it actually costs banks and issuers to authorize, clear and settle transactions.
The rule is open for public comment until Feb. 22. After the comment period ends, the Fed will consider recommendations and make revisions if necessary.
Along with the main issuers MasterCard and Visa, profits for big banks are also likely to suffer under the new rule.
With average interchange fees currently running from $1 to $1.30, the 12-cent cap will cut these charges by up to 90%, JPMorgan analyst Tien-tsin Huang wrote in a note to clients.
Moshe Katri, an analyst at Cowen and Co., said Wall Street had been expecting a 50% cut.
Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), one of the nation's largest issuers of credit cards, estimated in July that a cap on interchange fees could drain $1.8 billion to $2.3 billion from its annual debit card revenue.
"The rules proposed by the Federal Reserve today will have a dramatic impact on the cost of banking services for consumers nationwide," the American Bankers Association said in a statement. "They essentially relieve retailers of paying their fair share for a card payments system that offers them tremendous benefits."
In its meeting, the Fed acknowledged that the rule could impact debit card use, by leading issuers to eliminate rewards programs for debit cards or encourage consumers to use other forms of payment.
But the Merchants Payments Coalition said the cap is much needed, given that swipe fees have tripled since 2001, costing retailers more than $48 billion last year alone.
"For years, big banks and credit card networks have used hidden fees and fine print to keep consumers and merchants in the dark, setting rules and raising fees with impunity," the coalition said in a statement. "Reining in these out-of-control fees will bring savings to small business and consumers struggling to make ends meet."
It would be a win for consumers because the lower costs for retailers could result in savings for customers.
"The proposed regulations will benefit consumers by lowering the billions of dollars annually in non-negotiable swipe fees paid by merchants to large banks and the dominant credit card networks," Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Federation of Public Interest Research Groups said in a statement. "Lower swipe fees mean lower prices at the checkout counter."
That is a very sizable cut in fees and if implemented will greatly impact Visa and MC’s bottom lines.
The largest owner of the “Fed” is JPMorgan. If you pay attention, you will find that not only is JPM the world’s largest holder of derivatives, but they are also the ones who are always in some way connected with unethical market manipulation such as silver and oil manipulation (all markets really), they were Madoff’s banker yet didn’t expose him (because of big profits), and now we are learning more details about an ex-JPM banker who is involved in municipal bond market price rigging:
Ex-JPMorgan Banker Says Minnesota Broker Helped Him Rig Bids
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker who conspired to fix prices on municipal-bond investment contracts said he was aided by a Minnesota company that ran auctions for the deals on behalf of public agencies.
James Hertz, 53, who admitted fraud and conspiracy charges, said Sound Capital Management Inc., an Eden Prairie-based financial adviser to local governments, told him what a competitor bid so he could adjust his offer and win the deal, according to a transcript of his plea hearing Nov. 30. The charges say Hertz received tips about other bids from “Broker E,” an unidentified Minnesota firm.
Hertz testified that information from Sound Capital boosted JPMorgan’s earnings on the transaction.
“This resulted in JPMorgan Chase being awarded the contract at an increased profit,” he said during his court appearance.
And there you have it – yet another example of market rigging profiting JPM at everyone else’s expense. It is clear that JPM and the other banks that comprise the “Fed” have a serious issue with morals and ethics. They have grown far to powerful, the big banks and the “Fed” need to be broken up now.
While Moody’s is downgrading Ireland, S&P had threatened that should we extend the Bush era tax cuts that our mounting deficits could jeopardize our joke of a triple-A rating. Yet it appears that we are going to do exactly that, yet Congress can’t even pass an authorization to lift the cap on the deficit spending that’s required. All I can say is that the math doesn’t work in any way, shape, or form and that we are absolutely bankrupt as a nation. Money printing will fail to help the economy, it will only hurt it in the long run.
Meanwhile McHugh brought up an interesting point about the now confirmed Hindenburg Omen. He noted that there was wide media attention covering the last one in August, but that there has been no mention of this current one. That is interesting – it seems the last one got a lot of attention because the one prior led to the ’08 crash. Can we only remember as far back as the last one? Well, the one in August may not have led to a major decline, but I would be cautious betting that two in a row will not. Of course market participants (HFT owners) believe that the “Fed” has their back and thus they cannot lose. Oh yeah, just like Visa and MC.
I still think the markets are vastly overvalued – “earnings” are based only upon accounting fraud and any supposed economic growth that’s occurring is also based upon the same accounting fraud coupled with a devaluation of our money. Measure things in money that’s going down and you will have APPARENT growth. Real growth is another matter entirely. Mark the bank’s asset to market and you will have a market that is worth far, far less than today’s value. This true valuation will eventually assert itself given time.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Equity futures are roughly flat just prior to the open, the dollar is down, bonds are flat, oil is higher, and gold is lower.
Yesterday’s action did produce a second Hindenburg Omen and thus we now have a fresh new confirmed Hindenburg on the clock that is valid through Tax Day on April 15th. A Hindenburg has preceded ALL modern stock market crashes, the odds of a crash being a little more than 25%, but the odds of a significant decline are much higher.
While equities are struggling, the bond market has been really on the move with rates rising rapidly. The TNX (10 year) has risen from 2.35% to 3.51% in just the past two months.
While a 1.2% rise may not sound like much, it represents a 50% increase! Fixed rate housing mortgages are tied to the ten year and eventually they will have to rise to cover this increased borrowing cost. But rates are not just rising there, in the municipal bond market there is a blood bath occurring with rates rising significantly which brings down the value of the bonds. Many states and municipalities are struggling – here in Washington State we are facing a $4.2 billion shortfall, the Governor just released the upcoming budget and it contains severe cuts, but there is simply no way they can cover that entire amount without radically cutting back government. One of the State’s measures includes pay cuts for 90% of the State’s employees.
Just a reminder that there is a huge wave of Option Arm mortgages resetting next year - actually the wave has already begun but will peak by the end of 2011. This will further pressure upper end housing, the banks, and the government:
Housing Starts came in at another depression era print of 555,000. This is up from 519k, but it is on consensus and is one of the lowest prints in modern history:
Housing starts posted a nice comeback in November but off of a very weak level. Housing starts in November rebounded 3.9 percent, following a sharp 11.1 percent drop the prior month. The November annualized pace of 0.555 million units came in a little above the market median estimate for 0.550 million units and is down 5.8 percent on a year-ago basis. The gain in November was led by a monthly 6.9 percent boost in single-family starts, following a 2.7 percent dip the month before. The multifamily component actually pulled down on the overall number, falling 9.1 percent after plunging 35.7 percent in October.
By region, the November improvement in starts was led by a 15.8 percent increase for the Midwest with gains also seen in the South and West, up 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. The Northeast dipped 2.5 percent.
Permits, however, fell back 4.0 percent in November after edging up 0.9 percent in October. Overall permits came in at an annualized rate of 0.530 million units and are down 14.7 percent on a year-ago basis. The latest decline was led by the multifamily component which was down a hefty 23.0 percent while single-family permits improved 3.0 percent.
Basically, housing is not getting worse-but there is not much improvement either. Looking ahead, not much can be read into the dip in housing permits as the multifamily component is lumpy and volatile on a monthly basis. Until home sales pick up along with household formation (which depends on job growth), starts are going to remain sluggish. But again, the good news is that at least housing appears to have stabilized.
Stabilized? LOL, it can’t get any worse once you’ve gone splat on the bottom. Same goes for Jobless claims where it’s been years now of job losses. This week’s number came in at 420,000 which is stubbornly above the 350k mark, which again shows that the economy continues to lose jobs versus make them – here’s Econoday:
Jobless claims improved slightly to an as-expected level of 420,000 in the December 11 week. This extends a run of improvement evidenced by the four-week average which has fallen for six weeks in a row. The average, at 422,750, is down more than 20,000 from a month ago in what is a positive signal for payroll growth. The four-week average for continuing claims, at 4.186 million, has been falling at 150,000 to 200,000 month-to-month clips to also signal payroll strength.
Note this is a tricky time of year for adjustments and the Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that unadjusted claims will, starting next week, begin to build to an annual peak in the second week of January. Still, claims data continue to signal improvement in the labor market.
First, note that the prior week’s numbers were revised higher by 7,000, and then also not mentioned is that with yet another extension of Emergency benefits (keep the revolution down), there were an additional 143,000 people added to this program in just the past week, although the number of people drawing emergency benefits has been slowly diminishing as many people have been on it so long that they simply fall off the back end and are no longer counted.
The Philly Fed Index came in higher at 24.3 versus November’s print of 22.5. This still shows supposed expansion, but most of recent expansion has been largely due to inventory building, and there are signs of margin compression within this report as input costs are soaring.
The Fed’s balance sheet will be released later today and tomorrow will be the supposed Leading Indicators. Don’t forget that tomorrow is Options Expiration.
Events in Europe have obviously not gone away. China may be on the verge of raising interest rates. North Korea is conducting more military exercises, and all I hear from the pundits regarding stocks and the economy is that there will be no double dip. Extreme bullishness while at the same time there were 89 new 52 week lows in the market that is supposedly roaring. That type of internal discord says that the market, despite being propped up with billions and billions every single day, is getting tired internally.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Equity futures are lower this morning prior to the open with the dollar up, bonds up slightly, oil down, and gold down.
Yesterday’s price action looks contrived to me. The tape is definitely being painted by the players who own the HFT machines, the dark pools, the exchanges, the politicians, everything… of course I’m talking about the central banks – the “Fed.” With most of the market struggling to maintain flat, the DOW Industrials manage to pop up and close at a higher high than November’s to confirm DOW theory. All I can say is that it is most unusual to have a confirmation on a day when all the other indices are struggling. If it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck – contrived.
But in the process of manipulating technical data, the market showed internal stress by producing 113 new lows while also producing 179 new highs. With the McClellan Oscillator negative, this did produce another Hindenburg Observation. We need one more in order to get a cluster and to make the Observation official. Obviously the last cluster did not produce a meaningful decline, but the odds go way up that a meaningful decline is near when Hindenburgs begin to appear. Interesting that this is occurring very near the end of the effective window of the previous cluster. What it says is that the market is unhealthy – there are too many stocks in downtrends and making new yearly lows to support the current price level.
The still hypocritical Mortgage Banker’s Association released its still worthless Purchase Applications Index which fell 5% in the past week, with the Refinancing Index falling .7% - here’s Econoday:
The jump in mortgage rates, now at their highest levels in six months, is crimping demand for mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. MBA's purchase index fell 5.0 percent and its refinancing index fell 0.7 percent. The MBA describes the drop in purchase applications, the first in three weeks, as "sharp" though the level is still near six months highs. The average 30-year mortgage jumped 16 basis points to 4.84 percent. The housing market index will be posted today at 10:00 ET.
While these Indexes may be near six month highs, they are also in the gutter near all-time historic lows. Rising interest rates will punish the home market as debt saturated consumers cannot buy still bubble priced homes with higher interest rates. Thus something must give as rates rise, and that thing in this case is price which still has quite some way to fall to restore traditional relationships between income and debt.
The CPI, another phony statistic, came in at .1% month over month – more tame than yesterday’s PPI report. Remember that PPI leads, CPI follows:
The CPI was a little tamer than expected for November as food and energy were not as strong as feared and prices were pervasively soft elsewhere. The overall CPI in November rose a modest 0.1 percent, following a 0.2 percent increase in October. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent rise for November. Excluding food and energy, CPI inflation firmed to up 0.1 percent from no change the month before. The median market forecast called for a 0.1 percent core rise for the latest month.
By major components, energy increased only 0.2 percent, following a 2.6 percent surge in October. Most of the November rise was from fuel oil which jumped 4.2 percent. Gasoline was up 0.7 percent while electricity rose 0.9 percent. Damping these was a 5.7 percent drop in natural gas. Food price inflation increased 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent rise the prior month.
For the 0.1 percent gain in the core, increases in the indexes for shelter and airline fares accounted for most of the rise, while the indexes for new vehicles, used cars and trucks, and household furnishings and operations all declined. Softness was widespread within major expenditure components.
Year-on-year, overall CPI inflation rose to 1.1 (seasonally adjusted), down from 1.2 percent in November. The core rate in firmed to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent in October. On an unadjusted year-ago basis, the headline number was up 1.1 percent in November while the core was up 0.8 percent.
The bottom line is that inflation at the consumer level is still quite subdued despite inflation pressure beginning to rise at the producer level and already high for commodities. The November CPI allows or rather calls for the Fed to continue with balance sheet expansion.
On the news, Treasury rates eased with a higher than expected Empire State manufacturing number partially offsetting. Equity futures are down moderately, largely over worries about European sovereign debt.
Any inflation is not sustainable for a money system over any longer length of time. Our CPI is dramatically underestimating Consumer Inflation which is skyrocketing while at the same time there has been deflation in things those same consumers hold as assets. It’s the worst of both worlds, with assets prices falling (except a temporarily trumped up stock market), while the cost of living jumps due to the intentional destruction of the value of our money.
The Empire State Manufacturing Index came in better than expected at +10.6. Here Econoday actually points to the weakness in this report:
A solid headline masks softness in the Empire State manufacturing report for December. The index on general business conditions, which is a subjective assessment by respondents, rose to 10.57 to indicate meaningful month-to-month expansion vs October's minus 11.14 which indicated meaningful contraction. The report otherwise shows mild contraction in employment, significant contraction in unfilled orders and little better than a flat month-to-month reading of 2.60 for new orders which contracted severely in October.
Shipments are a plus showing meaningful month-to-month growth at 7.11 and reversing comparable contraction in the prior month. Another plus is a big draw in inventories pointing to inventory rebuilding which is a plus for the production and employment outlooks.
This report, especially the flat new orders reading, sends an uncertain signal for Thursday's Philadelphia Federal Reserve data for December.
The TIC Data for October came in barely net positive at +$7.5 billion. This data from the Treasury has also become unreliable due to all the quantitative easing and swaps that are occurring between central banks. The numbers don’t add up for me, my suspicion is that the Treasury is coving their tracks and that real International flows are quite negative. Without unfettered access to the central bank’s books, we simply cannot know for sure. Again, WHO controls the production of money is so important and we have let the Private banks subvert and take control of the entire system. The Treasury is the one agency that is supposed to be independent and is still a government agency. Yet we let the likes of former GS CEO Hank Paulson in to run it. This is a huge problem and once we got yet another taste of that problem yesterday:
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Theo Lubke, who headed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s efforts to reform the private derivatives market, joined Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help Wall Street’s most profitable firm navigate the looming overhaul of financial regulations.
Lubke, 44, started this month as chief regulatory reform officer in Goldman Sachs’ securities division, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The newly-created role will allow Lubke to “work closely with divisional and firm-wide leadership to implement regulatory reform legislation,” the memo said.
Goldman Sachs is hiring Lubke five months after Congress mandated the regulation of the $583 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market, which complicated efforts to resolve the financial crisis. The reforms threaten to cut profits at dealers because they will make swaps prices known to the public. Lubke’s new firm employs a former New York Fed president and has an ex- Fed board chairman as a director. The current president of the New York Fed, William Dudley, also worked there.
“It’s a pattern,” said Charles Geisst, a finance professor at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, who has written about Wall Street’s history. “It’s troublesome stuff and there needs to be some regulation so people don’t do it and undermine public policy.”
This absolutely should be illegal. There needs to be a duration of time both coming and going into these positions. Now Lubke will take all his government knowledge and contacts with him into Goldman Sachs. Don’t be shocked to watch him climb the ladder inside of GS, and then later return to head the Treasury. Talk about corrupt… you can’t even call it corrupt since the government and the banks are now quite literally one in the same. All decisions are made on their behalf, the people of this country are simply labor units to feed this entanglement of private banks and “government.”
Industrial Production came in on consensus at .4% growth over the month of November. Again, I remind everyone that most of these figures are first measured in dollars, then converted into index values, and since the value of our money is being destroyed, manufacturing and services may APPEAR to be expanding, when in fact what is actually happening is that the value of the money is being destroyed. Here’s Econoday:
Headline production improved on a rebound in utilities output. Also, manufacturing was stronger than expected. Overall production improved in November, rising 0.4 percent, following a revised 0.2 percent dip the month before (originally no change). The November rise equaled the consensus forecast for a 0.4 percent increase.
By major components, manufacturing gained 0.3 percent, matching the boost in October. For other major industry groups, utilities output rebounded 1.9 percent after dropping 3.7 percent in October. Mining edged down 0.1 percent, following a 0.2 percent decline the month before.
Within manufacturing, gains were broad based. The output of durable goods rose 0.4 percent, and with the exceptions of nonmetallic mineral products and motor vehicles and parts, output advanced in all of the major industries. The production of nondurable goods rose 0.2 percent.
On a year-on-year basis, overall industrial production edged down to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in October.
Capacity utilization firmed to 75.2 percent in November from 74.9 percent in October and topping market expectations for 75.1 percent. Capacity utilization is at its highest since a reading of 75.4 for October 2008.
The good news is that manufacturing is a little stronger than hinted at by production worker hours. There are at least two positives from this. Manufacturers still see demand as reasonably strong and productivity appears to be healthy. However, today's Empire State survey for December was a little more sluggish but New Year State is not necessarily representative of U.S. manufacturing.
The Housing Market Index is released at 10 Eastern this morning.
Stocks still appear to be struggling inside of wave 5 higher. The Hindenburg reappearance is very significant, betting against them is not wise. One all by itself does produce higher odds of a decline, but two significantly increases those odds. We know that the big players propped up by the Fed have been able to control the markets and send them higher despite 30 months of continuous real people’s money outflows. A bet long this market requires you to believe that the Fed will eventually be the sole owner of corporate stock in America. Really?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I'll be out today but will be back for an update tomorrow morning. Please keep one another up to date on market and economic news, thank you!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Yet another manic Monday HFT, POMO fueled, bond aversion, ramp job with equities higher, the dollar plummeting, bonds falling, oil reaching for $90 a barrel again, and gold at what was a formerly tinfoil $1,400 an ounce.
No economic data today, but it will be a relatively busy week with an FOMC meeting (announced tomorrow at 2:15 Eastern), Quadriple witching on Friday, PPI, CPI, Industrial Production, Housing Starts, Philly Fed, and the week will finish with “Leading Indicators” on Friday.
Here are the stories that have me heated from this weekend, the first is particularly galling and tells you everything you need to know about how the banks have subverted the markets, how there are no adults to police the market players, and thus the conclusion is that for this to happen those same players who collude and meet in secret have subverted the political process as well:
A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives
On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.
The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.
Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk.
In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of the big banks.
The banks in this group, which is affiliated with a new derivatives clearinghouse, have fought to block other banks from entering the market, and they are also trying to thwart efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available.
These people meet just before Opex each month to collude, price fix, and to rig the markets – yet since it is the big banks that are involved no police show up because this is the modern day super-mob. You can read more at the link to find examples of how this is costing American citizens more for things like heating oil.
Is there any wonder that those same banks saw record revenue over the past two years post bailout?
Wall Street Sees Record Revenue in ’09-10 Recovery From Bailout
Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Wall Street’s biggest banks, rebounding after a government bailout, are set to complete their best two years in investment banking and trading, buoyed by 2010 results likely to be the second-highest ever.
The five largest U.S. firms by investment-banking and trading revenue -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley -- will likely have a better fourth quarter than the previous two periods, driven by equity underwriting and higher volume in stock and bond trading, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Even if this quarter only matches the third, the banks’ revenue will top that of any year except 2009.
The surge has come after the five banks took a combined $135 billion from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and borrowed billions more from the Federal Reserve’s emergency-lending facilities in late 2008 and early 2009 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Since then, the firms have benefited from low interest rates and the Fed’s purchases of fixed-income securities.
From the biggest losers to the biggest winners all on the backs of the American people who continue to get the $90 a barrel shaft.
The media will report that 70% of Americans favor banning Wall Street bonuses for some duration, but this is simply a distraction to the CRIMES that are taking place:
Banning Big Wall Street Bonuses Favored by 70% of Americans
Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- More than 70 percent of Americans say big bonuses should be banned this year at Wall Street firms that took taxpayer bailouts, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
An additional one in six favors slapping a 50 percent tax on bonuses exceeding $400,000. Just 7 percent of U.S. adults say bonuses are an appropriate incentive reflecting Wall Street’s return to financial health.
A large majority also want to tax Wall Street profits to reduce the federal budget deficit. A levy on financial services firms is the top choice among more than a dozen deficit-cutting options presented to respondents.
With U.S. unemployment at 9.8 percent, resentment of bonuses and banking profits unites Americans across political, gender, age and income groups. Among Republicans, who generally are skeptical of business regulation, 76 percent support a government ban on big bonuses to bailout recipients, that’s higher than backing among Democrats or independents.
Damn bonuses! Are you distracted yet? Forget the bonuses, these gangsters are robbing us blind, saturating our nation with debt, colluding, price fixing, rigging markets, blackmailing politicians, and in general destroying any remaining notions of free enterprise.
Don’t worry about that pesky little $150 billion record deficit for November, the math can continue to grow forever, no worries, just buy the freakin’ dip.
Oh, and as you buy pay no mind to those pernicious bearish divergences that can be seen across all timeframes, which by the way, are all overbought – from 15 minutes all the way up to the monthly timeframe. When the stochastics are all positioned like that, as they are now, then the odds of a significant correction are very high and growing.
Below is a 6 month daily chart of the SPX showing what appears to be a rising wedge confining the rising price of wave 5 up. It also clearly shows a large bearish RSI divergence with lower RSI readings versus higher price:
The weekly and monthly charts also show this divergence which has been in place for quite some time – months. The other potentially serious divergence in place now is that the DOW Industrials have yet to make a new high above the November peak while the Transports and SPX have.
Bonds are beginning to show a positive divergence, meaning that the rise in rates may be reaching a turning point soon. The aversion to debt is completely justified, of course, in the face of out-of-control printing around the world and a bubble to end all bubbles in DEBT.
The VIX and other sentiment indicators like the put/call are reaching levels that indicate extreme investor complacency. The VIX is opening this morning at the bottom of its recent range, while the CBOE total put/call is at a low that I’ve never seen before, lower by far than at any point in the past 3 years at just .28:
Those types of extremes correlate very well to tops – have a Happy Holiday Season (take two Prozac, close your eyes, turn off your brain, keep buying stocks, and hurry to buy cheap stuff from China before the music stops)!