10/23/14…today’s column was not meant to be…

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.” – Napoleon Bonarparte …sure you can…once! TB

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “Giving up is the ultimate tragedy.” – Robert J. Donovan

Bloomberg Top Stories:

Due to computer problems no headlines today, and market summary was partially deleted.
See Random Thoughts for more explanation. TB

Thursday’s Market Summary:

So, here we go again…stocks making a fool of TB…and perplexing the experts. Get a few positives and the market rallies…negatives, declines…but it is the magnitude of and volatility that is what should get our attention…but not the talking heads…no, sir! They have an answer for anything. So let’s not bother with yesterday other than to say that all indices were up from 2.1% (Transports) to 1.2% (S&P 500), Dow Utilities were still up 0.2% and remain numero uno ytd!
Here goes:
• Total Volume: 3.76B shares – it has been 13 sessions since we saw another sub- 4B share day…hmmm
• Volatility: 16.53 -1.34 with a range of 15.68-17.06!?! Range since 10/6 is 15.04-31.06.the last time it closed above 15 was 8/8/14, then 4/15. The high of 31.06 exceeds the prior highs of the last THREE years. Last time above 30? 11/28/11! In the interim it was 28 once in 2012; and 21.48-22.72 just FOUR times since.
• This month market has been up more than one percent 7 times and down 8 times. But the down days have ruled. MTD, even with yesterday’s rally: Dow -2.1%; Transports +0.4%; S&P -1.1%; Composite -0.9%; Dow Utilties? +4.7%!!! Get the picture???

So IF you believe this is a ‘normal’ market and remain bullish, picture all those high frequency traders laughing their fat asses off at your stupidity! And at the heads on CNBC! You want that?

Total NYSE Volume was steady at 3.76B shares vs 3.74B vs 3.96B vs 3.3B vs 5.05B vs 6.06B: average volume for October is 3.7B, or about 700M more than the recent average. Shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: for October it is 890M shares!!! Trading slightly higher at 919M shares vs 802M vs 815M vs 742M vs 1.07B For comparison purposes, for the prior 12 months it is a historically weak 709M shares…but thus far in October, 895M shares including Wednesday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19. The lowest was 10/6’s 696M share session. April 30 – September 30 we had just SEVEN 800M shares…for October so far? 14 (this is no time to be superstitious!), including FIVE 900M+ share days.

A/D’s were back to positive and solid: NYSE: +3.3x! vs -2.2x vs +4.5x vs +2.8x vs +1.9x vs +2.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq +2.7x vs -2.8x vs +2.9x vs +2.2x vs 1:1 vs +2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth was better still: NYSE +3.4x vs -3.7x! vs +5x!!! vs +3.1x vs +2.9x vs +1.7x vs -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq +5.7x!!! vs -2.9x vs +6.3x!!! vs +5x!!! vs +1.8x vs +1.4x vs +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs up a tad to 171 vs 161 vs 129 vs 62 vs 83 vs 52 vs 49 – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows also higher at 89! vs 68 vs 56 vs 82 vs 67 vs 311 vs 1043!!! The 2014 range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX lower again and back from those bearish extremes that had a high of 31.06 (highest since 11/28/11!!!) closing at 16.53 -1.34 with a range of 15.68-17.06, still bearish and well above 9/18’s 12.03 The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32!

U.S. bond market closed weak with the long bond over 3%, and slipping from the new 12 month low yields (10’s 2.09%; 30’s 2.87%; and long TIP 0.83%), 10’s closing at 2.27% -1/2; 30’s 3.04%!!! -1-1/16!!!; and the long TIP 0.97% -1-1/4!!! Better overnight: 10’s 2.26% +1/4; 30’s 3.03% +5/16; and long TIP 0.96% +5/16.
Libor update: 0.233% 3 mos.; 0.323% 6 mos., both just above new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is steady at 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.01%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields little changed overnight; except volatile Greece (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.88% -2; UK 2.22% -2; France 1.29% -1; Italy 2.52% +2; Spain 2.18% –; Portugal 3.24% -2; Greece 7.14% -5. 10/16’s close was 8.54%! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.46% -1.

Gold closed sharply lower at $1229.10 -$16.40, with a low of $1226.30, and is again well below the 40/50 day m’a’s, following a new recent high of $1255.60, highest since 9/10/14. There have been just two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – 10/3 and 10/6 and soundly rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! Res is the 40 day at $1234, Res the 50 day $1245, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is slightly higher at $1233.80 +$4.70. Silver still holding in low $17’s, after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude was hit hard plunged to $80.05 (2nd only to 10/16’s 79.79). before closing at $82.09 +$1.57! Last Thursday’s high $84.83, low $79.78, defining October’s range. There have been 28!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($89.92), then the 50 day ($90.90), and lastly the 200 day (98.56) – all declining. The range is now $79.78-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight weaker at $81.07 -$1.02 but coming off a low of $80.73.

Global equities lower, ex-India: UK +0.2% vs -0.9% vs +1% vs -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France +0.2% vs -1.3%! vs +2.1%!!! vs -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany +0.4% vs -1.4%! vs +2%!!! vs -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan +1% vs -0.4% vs +2.6%! vs -2%! vs +4%!!! vs -1.4% vs -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng -0.1% vs -0.3% vs +1.4% vs +0.1% vs +0.2% vs +0.5% vs -1%! vs -1! Korea -0.3% vs -0.3% vs +1.1% vs -0.8% vs +1.6%! vs -1%!; India +0.2% vs +0.8% vs +0.8% vs +0.6% vs +1.2%! vs +0.4% vs -1.3%. U.S. equity futures little changed after diving following yesterday’s STRONG performance: Dow -8 (range 124); SPX -1.60 (15); NDQ +4.75 (39).
Some random thoughts:
FRUSTRATION!!! Originally was going to write a column on control fraud. TB got interested listening to the Moyers interview with William Black and bought his book The Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. A very difficult book as it starts right off with the aforementioned topic. But what it it? Control fraud is when someone ‘takes over’ a company, either by buying it as Charles Keating and many others did during the S&L crisis, or becoming CEO and inserting a ‘no questions asked’ board, which to TB is either the Citi under Sandy Weill, Countrywide under Angelo Mozillo, or Weill’s understudy, Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan.

When someone from the outside buys a problem bank/S&L, they are ‘opportunists’ as opposed to the insiders. TB is not accusing Dimon of fraud but it was actions like his (London Whale), that led to the crisis. What is amazing is how quickly speculators see the opportunity, while the regulators still can’t figure it out. True, ever since Ronald Reagan, regulation has been lax and only sporadically leads to meltdowns, but the examiners and their supervisors are either out-gunned or become co-conspirators – willingly or otherwise.

On Monday, will discuss further. The other frustration was that TB wrote an entire piece on market volatility which was to replace contract fraud in the market today…will have to re-create because thanks to the new, improved (sic) Microsoft Word, when trying to copy it to this section it was deleted. Never had that happen with the old Word. Damn…double damn!

Have a great weekend,

TB

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10/23/14…from Hoover to Ellison – the 100 foot journey

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “Work is a fine thing if it doesn’t take up too much of your time.” – anon

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “Roots are not in the landscape or a country, or a people, they are inside you.” – Isabel Allende

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*S&P 500 Futures Rise With Copper After Jobs Claims as Treasuries Decline – see commentary!

*Fewest Americans in 14 Years Filed for Unemployment Benefits in Past Month – but: a BIG but!

*Caterpillar Raises Forecast as Earnings Top Estimates on Building Revival

*Credit Suisse Sees a Mixed Start to Quarter as Volatility Boosts Trading – as TB has said…

*GM Profit Exceeds Estimates as Barra Seeks to Assure Investors of Future – fat chance!

*European Manufacturing Unexpectedly Grows With Risk of Recession Receding – u trust that?

*Saudi Arabia Said to Have cut Oil Supply in September; Brent Rises – why is gas price rising???

*Apple Seeks Edge by Making Mobile Payments Seem Simpler Than a Card Swipe – that’s it?

*UnderArmour Shares Fall on Concern That Apparel Maker’s Growth Is Slowing-drawer demand?

*Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Said Wary of Ergen as He Mulls T-Mobile Takeover

*Ottawa Is Returning to Normal After Shooting Near Parliament Shakes Canada

*Canada Youth From Calgary to Timmins Heed Islamic State’s Twitter Calling – U.S. too…bad!

*Obama’s Response to Crisis Seen as Too Cool for Public’s Emotional Needs – thank GOP!

*Suspected Nigerian Islamists Kidnap Women Days After Government Saw Truce – beat goes on!

Wednesday’s Market Summary:

Just when you were lulled into feeling safe, a down day…true volume was lower but A/D’s and Breadth were solid negatives. Worst was the VIX which partially reversed its four straight declines which had a low of 15.56, still bearish, and the BIG negative: the high of 31.06, not seen since 11/28/11! It closed at 17.87 +1.79 with a range of 15.56-18.43 – heed…high freaks are running the market…don’t you believe it is bulls…closest to that is shorts covering! The big loser was Tuesday’s winner, Dow Transports -2.1% vs +3.1%!!! Next was the Russell 2000 -1.4% vs +1.6%! The Dow, S&P 500 and both Nasdaqs were off from 05% (NDQ 100) to 0.9% (Dow). Meanwhile, Dow Utilities continued their slow and steady rise +0.6% vs +0.3%…their only significant declines was a 1.3% drop on 10/15 and they are now UP 4.6% this month!!! There is a message there folks. YTD they are up in price by 17.4%; now look at total return:20.1%!!! October’s total return is 4.5%: no other index is positive so far this month…even Dow Transports are down 1.6%! – this despite their huge move of 3.1% on Tuesday!

An extremely strong session on higher volume. Even more impressive is the fact that the Dow closed up 215 at 16615 and that was with IBM subtracting 38 points! Even so it managed to close 29 points above its 200 day m/a (note that the 40/50 day are converging on 16900 so that is next resistance. Ditto for the other major indices. Dow Transports +3.1%!!! The NDQ 100 was already above it and closed just shy of the convergence of the 40/50 day at 4011, up 2.6%, Composite +2.4%. Dow +1.3%; S&P 500 +2%Unfortunately, despite gapping up on the open, the Russell 2000 (+1.6%), remains 33 below the 200 day which is now ‘below’ the 40/50 line. Weakest was Dow Utilities +0.3%. The question now is: has this got enough ‘legs’ to resume raising returns for the year? Dow Utilities still lead ytd +16.72% (price only!), followed by Transports +14.7%, the 100 is up 10.6% but the Composite just 5.8%. The Russell 2000 remains in the red at -4.4%. while NYSE Financials are up just 0.8% – ouch! Compare that to Utilities!

Total NYSE Volume was modestly lower at 3.74B shares vs 3.96B vs 3.3B vs 5.05B vs 6.06B: average volume for the first 13 trading days of October was 3.73B, or about 730M more than the recent average. Shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: for October it is 901M shares!!! Trading slightly lower at 802M shares vs 815M vs 742M vs 1.07B twice. For comparison purposes, for the prior 12 months it is a historically weak 709M shares…but thus far in October, 895M shares including Wednesday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19. The lowest was 10/6’s 696M share session. April 30 – September 30 we had just SEVEN 800M shares…for October so far? 13 (this is no time to be superstitious!), including FIVE 900M+ share days.

A/D’s were back to negative: NYSE: -2.2x vs +4.5x vs +2.8x vs +1.9x vs +2.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq -2.8x vs +2.9x vs +2.2x vs 1:1 vs +2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth was worse: NYSE -3.7x! vs +5x!!! vs +3.1x vs +2.9x vs +1.7x vs -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq -2.9x vs +6.3x!!! vs +5x!!! vs +1.8x vs +1.4x vs +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs increased to 161 vs 129 vs 62 vs 83 vs 52 vs 49 – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows rose slightly to 68 vs 56 vs 82 vs 67 vs 311 vs 1043!!! The 2014 range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX staunched it recent declines those bearish extremes that had a high of 31.06 (highest since 11/28/11!!!) climbing back to 17.87 +1.79 with a range of 15.56-18.43, bearish and well above 9/18’s 12.03 The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32!

U.S. bond market was unchanged near the new 12 month low yields (10’s 2.09%; 30’s 2.87%; and long TIP 0.83%), 10’s closing at 2.22%; 30’s 2.99%; and the TIP 0.92%. Weak overnight: 10’s 2.25% -1/4; 30’s 3.01%! -1/2; and long TIP 0.94% -5/8.  

Libor update: 0.231% 3 mos.; 0.323% 6 mos., both just above new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is steady at 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.03%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields little changed overnight; volatile Greece higher (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.88% +1; UK 2.21% –; France 1.29% +1; Italy 2.52% +1; Spain 2.21% +1; Portugal 3.28% -1; Greece 7.20%!!! +9!!! 10/16’s close was 8.54%! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.47% -1.

Gold closed lower at $1245.50 -$5.50 and is back between the 40/50 day m’a’s, following a new recent high of $1255.60, highest since 9/10/14. There have been just two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – 10/3 and 10/6 and soundly rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! SUP is the 40 day at $1235, Res the 50 day $1247, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is weak at $1235.80 -$9.70, with a low of $1234.50. Silver still holding but near support at $17, after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude was pounded falling to $80.22 before closing at $80.52 -$2.29! Last Thursday’s high $84.83, low $79.78…lowest since 6/27/13!!! There have been 28!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($90.21), then the 50 day ($91.21), and lastly the 200 day (98.61) – all dropping. The range is now $79.78-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight slightly higher but coming off a low of $80.05 at $81.42 +.90. How come gas went ‘up’ $3.05 vs $2.92 here (MN)???

European equities mixed, Asia weaker ex-India: UK+0.2% vs -0.9% vs +1% vs -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France +0.2% vs -1.3%! vs +2.1%!!! vs -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany +0.4% vs -1.4%! vs +2%!!! vs -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan -0.4% vs +2.6%! vs -2%! vs +4%!!! vs -1.4% vs -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng -0.3% vs +1.4% vs +0.1% vs +0.2% vs +0.5% vs -1%! vs -1! Korea -0.3% vs +1.1% vs -0.8% vs +1.6%! vs -1%!; India +0.8% vs +0.8% vs +0.6% vs +1.2%! vs +0.4% vs -1.3%. U.S. equity futures STRONG and gapped on the open again: Dow +129! (range 164 +20gap)); SPX +14.50! (27 +24!); NDQ +30 (43 but gap was down? 4???).

 

Some random thoughts:

…to continue on the vein of prior columns this week, headlines today talk of public being disappointed in Obama’s response. True, it has not been the best, but the hysteria over Ebola defies any rational logic…ask scientists! We do not handle bodies…this is not Africa! Sure it is a very bad disease but chances of getting it are small – here! But thanks to politicizing it as the GOP has (as they are degrading women running for office and using a ‘vote count’ of how many times a candidate voted ‘with O-bama and distortions over O-bamacare), and the news – especially FOX natch – scaring people to death (sic), there is no way the government can look responsive enough to placate the critics…at least for another two weeks!

Survey the other day asked if voters had decided on the candidates yet: a solid number said no. Follow-up question: when will you decide? Night before the election! Watching the World Series last night we were inundated with negative ads for Dem candidates…the Karl Rovian kind – some were on twice, even back to back! That is having money to throw around. You cannot fight it but you can educate yourself to what is worse than mis-information…it is DIS-information, got it?!?

Here’s something else and why the Dems haven’t told their story is beyond belief…are they trying to lose? Is the deficit better or worse than when Obama took office? Surely, its higher, right? WRONG! It is now back to the levels of 2008 according to the CBO…yes, before he took office. Yet the GOP continues to preach austerity…even as our infrastructure crumbles around us. We remain in denial over climate change (god-forbid we call it global warming…a lot of new believers though in the valleys of central California!).

Also, healthcare costs are slowing their increase and yes the ACA is working…and it would be better if the GOP governors – to a man – have refused to create insurance exchanges, thus punishing their constituents over flawed philosophical argument.

As mentioned yesterday, Mitch McConnell fell on his floppy- cheeked face when he said he would repeal the ACA…not even replace…just repeal but when asked about Kentucky’s popular exchange he said he would keep that because the people like it and ‘it’s just a website.’ Out of touch? You bet he is…as much as Harry Reid but at least Reid isn’t mean-spirited, just a fool, which is part of the job description these days, no?

Now let’s look at the smallest amount of new jobless claims in 14 years: of course…at some point you can’t keep laying off and firms ARE hiring…forget the crap about no new jobs due the ACA – that doesn’t make economic sense.

Fear of being laid off remains high (and thus impacts spending and vacations), which is strange since the chances of being laid off are now at a 30-year low…but wait…there’s logic in that because it is taking LONGER to find a new job and trying to earn as much as the old job. Once again, the obscene case against raising the minimum wage – driven by big business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hurting the economy…did they skip the part in economics that says if income increases, so does spending? What’s more most millennials are not taking vacations, either because they can’t afford them or are afraid of it affecting their standing at work. That too is bad for productivity….and isn’t productivity what it’s all about? Not to those overpaid CEO’s who think its all about them. Even in Silicon Valley where execs make huge bucks and get big options, employees are not being paid for the long hours they put in…why not, when Oracle’s Chairman and outgoing CEO, Larry Ellison is the highest paid CEO in the U.S. (the world?). This despite being the largest shareholder with 25% of the company in his hands…think it is safe to call him a narcissist…perhaps the penultimate narcissist (despite selling shares for years…finally shareholders said enough is enough and he is turning over day-to-day control to two men (one HP’s flawed former CEO, Mark Hurd…and note HP is going to split up the company…not a sign of strength).

None of the above will mesh with the Hoover Institute on Stanford’s campus…still can’t figure out why an ‘institute’ is named after a president who stood by while the U.S. plunged into a depression…can you? Perhaps like Hoover, they have enough money that they have lost the connection with the masses…dunno…just a thought.

So don’t believe everything you read…including here…even though TB tries to vet what he writes (after all he is a Vet). Think for yourself…something sorely lacking in America today. Just as realizing that we are all in this together is critical to maintain a democracy.

Have a nice day!

TB

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10/22/14…it’s in the news

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “I was in a bar the other day and heard two guys speaking Iranian. I asked them, “why are you speaking Iranian? You’re in America now…speak Spanish.” – Milton Berle ‘Uncle Miltie’

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “Change your thoughts and you change the world.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*Consumer Prices in U.S. Rose 0.1% Last Month as Inflation Remained Muted – CPI +0.1!

*Europe Stocks Rise on Earnings as Dollar Gains After U.S. Inflation Report

*ECB Said to Boost Covered-bond Buying From Spain to Germany in Draghi Plan

*Total Appoints Patrick Pouyanne as CEO WHIle Desmarest Returns as Chairman

*Goldman Sachs Shows Investors Path Out of Economic ‘Alice in Wonderland’

*Credit Suisse Seen Reaping Trading Gain; Deutsche Bank’s Legal Bills Erode

*Coca-Cola and IBM Show Shareholders Punishing CEOs With No-Growth Strategy

*EMC to Absorb VCE Equipment Join Venture with Cisco Keeping a 10% Stake

*Ebola Relief in View as J&J Sees 250,000 Vaccine Doses Set for May Trials

*Iraqi Kurds Will Send 200 Pesmerga Fighters to Kobani With Heavy Weapons

*Nuclear Secrecy Feeds Concern About Rogue States Getting Hands on Weapons

Tuesday’s Market Summary:

An extremely strong session on higher volume. Even more impressive is the fact that the Dow closed up 215 at 16615 and that was with IBM subtracting 38 points! Even so it managed to close 29 points above its 200 day m/a (note that the 40/50 day are converging on 16900 so that is next resistance. Ditto for the other major indices. Dow Transports +3.1%!!! The NDQ 100 was already above it and closed just shy of the convergence of the 40/50 day at 4011, up 2.6%, Composite +2.4%. Dow +1.3%; S&P 500 +2%Unfortunately, despite gapping up on the open, the Russell 2000 (+1.6%), remains 33 below the 200 day which is now ‘below’ the 40/50 line. Weakest was Dow Utilities +0.3%. The question now is: has this got enough ‘legs’ to resume raising returns for the year? Dow Utilities still lead ytd +16.72% (price only!), followed by Transports +14.7%, the 100 is up 10.6% but the Composite just 5.8%. The Russell 2000 remains in the red at -4.4%. while NYSE Financials are up just 0.8% – ouch! Compare that to Utilities!

Volume bounced back to a strong 3.96B shares and once again A/D’s were solid and Breadth was especially strong. New 52 week highest despite doubling are still a low 129 while new lows only dropped from 82 to 56. VIX plunged again but remains elevated at 16.26 -2.11.

Total NYSE Volume came back to 3.96B shares vs 3.3B shares vs 5.05B vs 6.06B : average volume for the first 13 trading days of October was 3.73B, or about 730M more than the recent average. Shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: for October it is 901M shares!!! Trading rose to 815M shares vs 742M vs 1.07B. For comparison purposes, for the prior 12 months it was a historically weak 709M shares…but for the first 13 trading days of October, 933M shares including Wednesday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19. Monday was the lowest since 10/6’s 696M share session. April 30 – September 30 we had just SEVEN 800M shares…for October so far? Twelve, including FIVE 900M+ share days.

A/D’s were solid: NYSE: +4.5x vs +2.8x vs +1.9x vs +2.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq +2.9x vs +2.2x vs 1:1 vs +2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth was strong! NYSE +5x!!! vs +3.1x! vs +2.9x vs +1.7x vs -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq +6.3x!!! vs +5x!!! vs +1.8x vs +1.4x vs +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs doubled to 129 vs 62 vs 83 vs 52 vs 49 – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows rose declined to average at 56 vs 82 vs 67 vs 311 vs 1043!!! The 2014 range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX continues to retreat from those bearish extremes with a high of 31.06 (highest since 11/28/11!!!) to 16.26 -3.11, still bearish and well above 9/18’s 12.03 The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32! Needs a 14 print!

U.S. bond market was weaker but remains near the new 12 month low yields (10’s 2.09%; 30’s 2.87%; and long TIP 0.83%), 10’s closing at 2.22% +1/4; 30’s 2.99% -1/2; and the TIP 0.92% -5/8. Rallying overnight: 10’s 2.20% +1/4; 30’s 2.97% +7/16; and long TIP 0.90% +5/8.  

Libor update: 0.232% 3 mos.; 0.323% 6 mos., both just above new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is steady at 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.03%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields lower, led by Greece and the other PIIGS (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.86% -1; UK 2.17% –; France 1.28% -1; Italy 2.48% -3; Spain 2.18% -2; Portugal 3.24% -13!!!; Greece 6.96%!!! -49!!! from 8.69% last Thursday! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.48% –.

Gold closed higher again at $1251.70 +$7.70 which places it above both the 40/50 day m’a’s, and with a new recent high of $1255.60, highest since 9/10/14. There have been just two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – 10/3 and 10/6 and soundly rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! SUP is the 40 day at $1236 and now the 50 day $1248, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is weaker at $1244.00 -$7.70. Silver still holding in the mid- ’17’s after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude closed little changed for a 3rd day at $82.81 +.10. Last Thursday’s high $84.83, low $79.78…lowest since 6/27/13!!! There have been 28!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($90.27), then the 50 day ($91.286), and lastly the 200 day (98.62) – all dropping. The range is now $79.78-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight slightly higher and tight at $82.79 +.29.

European equity markets higher, Asia strong, led by the highly volatile Japan: UK+0.2% vs -0.9% vs +1% vs -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France +0.2% vs -1.3%! vs +2.1%!!! vs -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany +0.4% vs -1.4%! vs +2%!!! vs -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan +2.6%! vs -2% vs +4%!!! vs -1.4% vs -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng +1.4% vs +0.1% vs +0.2% vs +0.5% vs -1%! vs -1! Korea +1.1% vs -0.8% vs +1.6%! vs -1%! vs -0.4% vs -0.7%; India +0.8% vs +0.6% vs +1.2%! vs +0.4% vs -1.3%. U.S. equity futures slightly higher: Dow +18 (range 94); SPX +1.70 (12); NDQ +5 (20).

 

Some random thoughts:

…so you thought yesterday’s commentary was partisan? If so, you aren’t paying attention to the news…or just listening to FOX NEWS…you know, the one that is ‘fair and balanced’.

Here are some snippets from recent news releases:

*Just announced: CPI +0.1% in September…plunging oil prices mainly!

*Farming

- Just 6% of farmers are under age 35; 33% are 65 and older

-Number of individual farms: 2.1MM 2012; 6.8MM 1935

-Biggest 0.5% produced 32% of value; Bottom 75% just 3%

-Price increases are mainly convenience costs: packaged salad vs lettuce – farmers get nothing!

-Nearly 1/3 of all produce (6B pounds!) is thrown away as not being marketable (bruised, etc.)

-From 1995-2012 govt. provided $256B in subsidies; mainly big farms (ADM,etc), $11M to farms/businesses owned by billionaires (Buffett’s brother gets a huge subsidy on his large farm)

*Energy

-36% of Bakken natural gas is flared off

*Politics

-Republicans are focusing on defeating women running for office – thought they wanted women?

-using stale data from the non-partisan think tanks against their opponents

-blaming everything from ISIS to Ebola on Obama

- distorting data on the ACA so they can destroy it even though a majority thinks it is a good program. Sure, it could be better but they want to repeal and then ‘come up with’ better

-continually saying simplify the tax code knowing full well that that has been tried by every president starting with Reagan. Not unless the lobbyists say so and they say ‘no’!

Just a few of TB’s least favorite things…

Have a nice day!

TB

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10/21/14…democracy or serfdom…it’s up to you!

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same thing.” – anon

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.” – W. Somerset Maugham – what does he ‘mean’?

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*ECB Said to Buy Italian Bonds in Second Day of Purchases Under Draghi Plan

*Europe Stocks Rise With S&P 500 Futures as German Bunds Fall; Euro Weakens – sums it up

*Pimco’s Former Parent Pacific Life Switching Investment Accounts to Janus – good idea?

*Total CEO de Margerie Dies After Plane Strikes Snowplow on Moscow Runway – snowplow???

*JPMorgan, UBS, Credit Suisse Fined by EU After Libor-Manipulation Probes – when are we going to wake up and treat them as CRIMINALS…that is what they are and the worst kind!

*Greece Said to Seek Recycling of Bank Funds to Help Samaras Escape Bailout

*Whither Brazil Anxiety Widens Gap With Emerging Markets to Nine-Year High

*McDonald’s Profit Drops 30% as U.S. Sales Slump for a Fourth Straight Quarter – !!!

*Calling All Accountants After Valeant Earnings Prove Vexing – aren’t they all???

*Ebola’s Economic Fallout Spreads From Infected Countries to Rising Africa – very sad!

*Pistorius Starts Five-Year Jail Sentence for Killing Girlfriend – wait for the civil suits!!!

*Kobani’s Kurdish Fighters Say Iraqis Must Work With Them in Town Defense

*Stronger Ebola Guidelines to Protect U.S. Health Workers Released by CDC

*Forecasting Is Risky, Especially When You’re Predicting the Future Bloomberg View by Noah Smith but sounds like Yogi Berra, no?

Monday’s Market Summary:

All indices were up the entire session…except the Dow which plunged on the open and at the low was off 120 points, then came back to close +19. The obvious question being: why? After all, advancers beat by 4:1. The answer of course is ‘Big Blue’, IBM. Due to management withdrawing their earnings forecast for the entire year it cost the Dow 83 index points, making for an unremarkable day except for the disconnect it would have been up 0.6%. The rest ranged from the Nasdaq’s, both up 1.4%…and a strange bedfellow, Dow Utilities (?), followed by Dow Transports and the Russell 2000 +1%, and S&P 500 +0.9% – a closely bunched lot and you know how TB feels about that, right? Also the Volume plunged by a third to its lowest since 10/6, about when the volatility began – caution! A/D’s and especially Breadth were very positive but new 52 week highs declined by 25% to a weak 62, while new lows rose modestly to 82. Volatility dropped sharply to 18.57 -3.42 but still remains elevated and needs to get below 15 soon.

Total NYSE Volume plunged to near the old average at 3.3B shares vs 5.05B vs 6.06B : average volume for the first 13 trading days of October was 3.73B, or about 730M more than the recent average. Shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: for October it is 920M shares!!! Yesterday’s plunged from 1.07B shares to 742M (595M at the closing bell). For comparison purposes, for the prior 12 months it was a historically weak 709M shares…but for the first 13 trading days of October, 933M shares including Wednesday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19. Yesterdday was the lowest since 10/6’s 696M share session. April 30 – September 30 we had just SEVEN 800M shares…for October so far? ELEVEN, including FIVE 900M+ share days. Will return to the volume of the summer doldrums?

A/D’s were solidly positive: NYSE: +2.8x vs +1.9x vs +2.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq +2.2x vs 1:1 vs +2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth very positive: NYSE +3.1x! vs +2.9x vs +1.7x vs -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq +5x!!! vs +1.8x vs +1.4x vs +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs fell sharply and remain weak at 62 vs 83 vs 52 vs 49 – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows rose and remain above average at 82 vs 67 vs 311 vs 1043!!! The 2014 range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX is retreating from those bearish extremes with a high of 31.06 (highest since 11/28/11!!!) to 18.57 -3.42, but remains bearish and well above 9/18’s 12.03 The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32!

 

U.S. bond market was mixed in spite of the strength of stocks, and remain near their new 12 month low yields (10’s 2.09%; 30’s 2.87%; and long TIP 0.83%), 10’s closing at 2.19% +1/16; 30’s 2.96% +1/8; and the TIP 0.90% -7/16! Starting to slip again overnight: 10’s 2.21% -1/8; 30’s 2.98% -3/16; and long TIP 0.91% -3/16.  

Libor update: 0.231% 3 mos.; 0.323% 6 mos., both just above new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is now 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.03%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields mixed, Greece and other PIIGS rallying after slumping yesterday afternoon (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.87% +3; UK 2.18% +3; France 1.30% -1; Italy 2.52% -7; Spain 2.22% -3; Portugal 3.39% -6; Greece 7.54% -27!!! from 8.69% last Thursday! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.48% –.

Gold closed higher at $1244.70 +$5.60 which places it right smack in the middle of the 40/50 day m’a’s, and very near Thursday’s $1247, highest since 9/11/13 ($1247). Ther have been just two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – 10/3 and 10/6 and soundly rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! SUP is the 40 day at $1237, RES at the 50 day $1249, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is rallying and at its session high of $1254.90 +$10.20. Silver still holding in the mid- ’17’s after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude closed little changed again at $82.71 -.04 in another narrow range session. Last Thursday’s high $84.83, low $79.78…lowest since 6/27/13!!! There have been 28!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($90.81), then the 50 day ($91.86), and lastly the 200 day (98.73) – all dropping again. The range is now $79.78-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight slightly higher and tight at $83.11 +.40.

European equity markets STRONG, Asia mixed , the highly volatile Japan down big this time along with Korea: UK -0.9% vs +1% vs -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France -1.3%! vs +2.1%!!! vs -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany -1.4%! vs +2%!!! vs -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan -2%! vs +4%!!! vs -1.4% vs -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng +0.1% vs +0.2% vs +0.5% vs -1%! vs -1! Korea -0.8% vs +1.6%! vs -1%! vs -0.4% vs -0.7%; India +0.6% vs +1.2%! vs +0.4% vs -1.3% vs closed. U.S. equity futures higher after gapping up again slightly for a 3rd day? Dow +42 (range 184 +7 gap); SPX +8.70 (20 +3); NDQ +29! (57 +12)

Some random thoughts:

…TB doesn’t know which is worse: Koch Brothers, U.S. Supreme Court, or Karl Rove. Doesn’t matter, all are hell-bent on destroying our system of government…i.e. democracy in favor of promoting the wealthy to the detriment of all others. Do GOP’er’s only get their info from FOX NEWS? If so, pity them…pity us…pity the young.

But the real blame lies with the Jamie Dimon-led financial sector. They control Congress and bought Obama the presidency: by throwing money at Obama’s campaign…how else did his fundraising surpass Hillary’s? …and they are getting their money’s worth – in spades.

Make no mistake, TB voted for Obama twice…first because the financial sector-controlled McCain (who chose Sarah Palin for his running mate – disaster!)…second because Romney was part of the financial sector as subsequent information has proved. Obama beat Hillary while a junior senator in his first term in which he avoided voting on key issues…which one has to do if one is to be elected.

Problem is, Obama is a great speaker…but where is the follow-thru? TB tuned him out years ago when the speeches proved to be just ‘feel good’ platitudes…that went nowhere.

Now that that disclaimer is in, let’s go back to Scotus and their ill-conceived (it had to be conceived as it wasn’t based on the Constitution – ask Sandra Day O’Connor!), decision in Citizens United. Yes, a corporation is an individual but it is not a person…you can’t put it in jail. Hell, we can’t even put the execs in jail when they nearly destroyed the entire world economy!

Enough on that though as you all know what a bad, politically motivated decision it was. It was an appeal over a law in Montana which banned outside contributions to political campaigns and Scotus overrode that too allowing the Koch brothers and other Rovian-spewing PAC’s to take control of the state…and many others. Of course, these PAC’s cannot support a candidate but only provide information to voters with no test as to accuracy…ergo disinformation! – of the worst sort which has driven the cost of campaigns to the moon and forced (encouraged?) candidates to go to the extremes for money…and then be beholding to them – mainly Wall Street!

Here are some examples:

*John Doe voted with O-Bama (definitely condescending) 96% (or more, some 99%) of the time.

- wait…how many times did GOP’er vote the party line…it is one and the same thing and assumes that to do so is always bad…gimme a break

*He voted for O-bamacare (for Sen. Franken, he cast the deciding vote – not true), now here is where it gets sick (no pun intended): they want to repeal it ‘first’ then replace – but the problem is they have shown NO plan and won’t – ever! Mitch McConnell in an interview said he would repeal Obamacare…but when asked about the popular Kentucky health care exchange he stumbled – badly: I have no problem with that…after all it’s just a website…talk about his time has went!

*Lies about condition of the state/district’s financial condition quoting stale data from think tanks…- and calling statements by other candidates ‘lies’ when they are basically correct

Enough…TB is feeling ill now…it is time for YOU to make a difference…but you won’t. We have lost the strength to be good Americans and now we and future generations will pay for the destruction of the greatest society in world history…we have thus destroyed over a hundred years of social reforms that created the middle class. Republicans preach Frederic von Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom. This as the attempt to lead us to it while lining their pockets. Dems? Similar but not anywhere close.

Carpe Diem…enjoy it too!

TB

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10/20/14…bankers, ebola, and a correction on Friday’s gold comment

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “It’s going to be fun to watch how long the meek can keep the earth after they inherit it.“ – Kin Hubbard

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “In nature, there are neither rewards or punishments – there are consequences.”                             – Robert C. Ingersoll

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*ECB Said to Start Covered-Bond Purchase Program With French, Spanish Debt – Bad idea?

*European Stocks Decline With U.S. Index Futures as Earnings Miss Estimates –c’est la vie!

*Leveraged Money Spurs Stock Market Selloff wit Record Trade in Treasuries – a warning?

*Secret Slack Weighs on Job Market as Yellen Fed Ponders When to Lift Rates – not now!

*IBM Abandons 2015 Forecast as Rometty Divests Globalfoundries; Shares Fall

*Value Investors Hoarding Cash See Few Bargains After Worldwide Stock Rout – do tell!

*BlackRock Sales in Best October Since 2001 Show Muni Rally Limits – caution flag!

*Canadian Pacific Says It’s Ended Exploratory Talks With CSX on Rail Merger

*S&P Unmoved by Brazil’s CSN Debt-Cutting Plan as Bonds Post Slump

*Unload or Reload Is Question for Investors as Monday Arrives – TB picks the latter, or hold!

*Oil Workers Earning $179,000 Expose Wealthy Norway to Crude’s Price Crash – $2.85 in MN!

*Nigeria Declared Ebola-Free by WHO With Affirmation Disease Can be Stopped – panic here!

*Russia Vows to Refuse Conditions for Ending Sanctions After Ukraine Talks

*U.S. Military Drops Weapons, Ammunition to Kurd Forces in Besieged Kobani

*Efforts to Contain Ebola’s Spread Show Signs of Working Beyond West Africa

*Spain Ebola Patient Seen Free of Virus After Negative Test, Better Health

*Two Female Japan Ministers Quit on Same Day in Blow to Abe’s Equality Push – stocks rally!?!

*The $2 Trillion Megacity Dividend China’s Leaders Are Undermining – heed this!

*Clinton Super-Pac Spending $1,000 an Hour to Build Database, Court Voters

This week’s economic calendar is full of important indicators. The highlight of the week will be the September Retail Sales and September PPI (Wednesday). We will also get September Treasury Budget (Tuesday), October Empire State Manufacturing, August Business Inventories and Beige Book (Wednesday), September Industrial Production and October Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing (Thursday), September Housing Starts and October Consumer Sentiment Preliminary (Friday). Courtesy of Economic Advisory Service

Friday’s Market Summary:

Oh what an options expiry it was! All indices up from 1% (NDQ 100?) to 1.6% (Dow Industrials), except Dow Utilities which were up 0.7% – wait, doesn’t that tell you something…why utilities? Got a better one for you: VOLUME! Sure it was solid but we finally get a rally and the volume is just 4.45B – ok, not ‘just’ but the lowest since 10/10! Trades on the floor were a still well above average 1.07B shares but volume at the bell was 853M shares…the point is that it appears to be more options related than real buying. Color TB ‘skeptical Perma-bear? Dow Futures are down 90 this morning…also the close at 16,380 and even the session high at 16,427,was a far cry short of even the 200 day m/a at 16,586! S&P 500 closed at 1886, 200 day 1906; Russell 2000 1082 vs 1147…if it is more than ‘Memorex’ there is a lot of heavy lifting to do and overnight market suggests there ‘may’ just be a problem. A/D’s and Breadth were positive but the highest was just 2.9:1 – a pittance compared to those down session. New 52 week highs nearly doubled but only to a WEAK 83, while new lows plunged to a more normal 67 from 311…but it is hard to create new lows on a rally that exploded right out of the chute, no? Lastly, the VIX declined but only to a still very bearish 21.99 -3.21…bears watching…

Total NYSE Volume slipped again to a still high 5.05B shares vs 6.06B : average volume for the first 13 trading days of October is now up to 3.73B, or about 730M more than the recent average. To show that the ‘drought’ of trading has ended one needs to look at shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: for October it is now 920M shares!!! For comparison purposes, for the prior 12 months it was a historically weak 709M shares…but for the last 13 days 933M shares including Wednesday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19 while the low was 10/6’s 696M share session. April 30 – September 30 we had nust SEVEN 800M shares…for October so far? ELEVEN, including FIVE 900M plus share days. Yesterday at the bell volume was a high 827M shares but beginning to slip and could return soon to the sub-600M share days of September…worth watching! Nobody said this was going to be easy!

A/D’s were positive but look: NYSE: +1.9x vs +2.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq 1:1 vs +2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth was a little better: NYSE +2.9x vs +1.7x vs -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq +1.8x vs +1.4x vs +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs surged but reamin WEAK at 83 vs 52 vs 49 – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows plunged to a more normal 67 from a high 311 from 1043!!! – lowest for October was 176. But it is hared to get new lows on a strong day like Friday.The 2014 range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX has gone from ‘put’ protection being cheap on 9/18 at 12.03 to 21.99 vs 25.20 vs 26.25 – remains EXTREMELY bearish as indicated by the high Wednesday of 31.06 – highest since 11/28/11!!! The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32!

U.S. bond market was in the red all day – not surprising the strength of stocks on optons expiry but remain near their new 12 month low yields (10’s 2.09%; 30’s 2.87%; and long TIP 0.83%), closing at 2.20% 10’s -3/8; 2.97% 30’s -13/16; and the TIP 0.89% -3/8 Better overnight: 2.18% +1/16; 30’s 2.95% +5/16; and long TIP 0.87% +7/16.  

Libor update: 0.231% 3 mos.; 0.233% 6 mos., both just above new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is now 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.03%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields mixed’ Italy, Spain, Portugal weak (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.84%! -1; UK 2.16% -3; France 1.30% –; Italy 2.52% +3; Spain 2.19% +3; Portugal 3.37% +10!; Greece 7.81% +1: from 8.69% Thursday! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.48% +1.

Gold closed slightly lower in a narrow session, two days after gapping up to its highest since 9/11/13 ($1247), closing at $1238.30 -$2.90. Still only two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – back to back and rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! SUP/RES is the 40 day at $1238, then RES at the 50 day $1251, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is slightly lower at $1236.80 -$150 in another very narrow range. Silver holding in the mid- ’17’s after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude closed little changed at $82.75 +.05 in a narrow inside session. Thursday’s high $84.83, low $79.78…lowest since 6/27/13!!! There have now been 28!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($91.09), then the 50 day ($92.16), and lastly the 200 day (98.79) – all dropping again. The range is now $79.78-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight slightly higher and tight at $8307 +.32.

European equity markets weak. Asia higher, led by the highly volatile Japan along with Korea and India: UK -0.9% vs +1% vs -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France -1.3%! vs +2.1%!!! vs -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany -1.4%! vs +2%!!! vs -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan +4%!!! vs -1.4% vs -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng +0.2% vs +0.5% vs -1%! vs -1! Korea +1.6%! vs -1%! vs -0.4% vs -0.7%; India +1.2%! vs +0.4% vs -1.3% vs closed. U.S. equity futures weaker but off session lows after gapping up on the open for a 2nd day? Dow -76 (range 197 +71 gap!!!); SPX -1.60 (20 +7); NDQ +5 (28 +27)

 

Some random thoughts:

…readers know how disgusted TB has been with the governments decision to fine corporations for their crimes in creating the financial crisis. This has upset me more because of the failure of long term associates in the business to assess blame on OUR industry, instead saying either ‘everyone was to blame’ or denying any culpability of their firms…even those from Lehman and others whose management destroyed them. This is a type of denial on a par with the Germans over the holocaust!

Certainly an obvious ‘culprit has emerged in the retiring Eric Holder, but as the interview with William Black shows…it went up the chain to both Bernanke and Geithner, and even to Obama himself (not that the Bush administration was any better). It is a shocking report by a veteran federal prosecutor of the S&L crisis. How come Paulson preached clawbacks and none have been enforced…none! How come he encouraged banks to pay more in bonuses at a time that investors in the banks were suffering along with Main Street. The answers are all here…and if you want more watch the other interviews shown on the Moyers & Co website…it is a travesty.

As for the ‘record fines’, they are a joke…a pittance compared to the money that was made by the banks, and as Black points out they were to ‘silence’ investigators so no one was prosecuted. Not just the CEO’s but their minions who they feared would testify against THEM! Besides the ‘little people’ (shareholders) paid them while the CEO’s (most notably Jamie Dimon), continued to increase their bonuses…and stock option awards at depressed prices…how sick can it get? Not much sicker…except when you look at the price Martha Stewart paid for just one ‘insider’ trade (which in the end was a bad decision as a year later the stock was higher! Were TB Ms. Stewart – he would be livid.

But the worst part is how Wall Street is using this newfound wealth…to buy Congress and the government…it was this Jamie Dimon-led group that put up the money to get Obama elected (first over Clinton in the primaries, and then over their own brother, Romney!). This has got to stop and we are running out of time. We have forgotten how Sen. John McCain and four others were the Keating Five. Five? Now there are dozens if not hundreds in Congress who owe their well-being to the financial sector. Time is running out.

As Black said, “the biggest enemy of capitalism is…capitalists!” If you doubt this, go on and believe in our stock market being representative of economic well-being…”to the moon, Alice, the moon!!!”

Lastly, Black was asked by Moyers if he thought another financial crisis was possible…possible? He said it was a certainty…the government has encouraged it…and WE, the people, will pay for it…again…and again…until we put the financial sector in its place! This will take a grass roots effort (like the ill-conceived Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street), but do we have the stomach for it? TB finds that dubious…at best.

Bill Moyers – William Black interview

Correcting Friday’s gold story (thanks to a friend!). When I first mentioned the ‘gold cube’ to our guide in Istanbul I said a 50 foot cube…but she was so skeptical I tried to recall and thought it was either a 100 foot or 150’ cube. We were standing in Hagia Sophia at the time so it was all a blur. Here is a correction of what I wrote…note that part of my confusion was that a lot of gold has been mined since then. Changes are in italics:

When TB was working in Nevada 34 years ago, he attended a meeting of mineralogists. They said that in the entire history of the world, the total amount of gold extracted would fit inside a 50×50 foot cube. Think about that…as TB did when he was in Istanbul. His guide looked at him incredulously (obviously more has been extracted since then but certainly isn’t being horded by governments…especially the UK which is why they always say, “God save the queen!” In the U.S. we use another phrase: ”in God we trust” which of course replaced ‘payable to the bearer upon demand in gold/silver’.

Taking it a step further, a 50 foot cube is125,000 square feet, and if you crammed people (6’ tall) in it, it would hold 3,472 people…or more accurately, ‘bodies’, as no one could breath.

This brings us to the Gold ETF’s. Believe it or not there are now 39 funds that are invested in gold/silver…the largest being the Spyder’s (GLD) with a market cap of $30.33 billion! Taking the price per once at yesterday’s close ($1,233), that is 2,459,854 ounces of gold. At the peak that value was equal to nine years of production!!! See why it has plunged? That is not to say these funds don’t have gold to back them up but it does explain why they have fallen 34% since peaking on 8/19/11! All that glitters is not —-…even if it is!

TB’s friend provided information from Warren Buffett from about two years ago: the cube has now grown to 68 cubic feet or 314,432 cubic feet (8,734 people).

So TB was actually correct in his first assessment…another reason to not over-think a question!

Watching the talk shows, the lead-off story was Ebola…with the Republicans, Bill Crystal, Mary Madeline, and a host of GOP congressmen, calling for a ban on Africans coming here. Today, as the headlines show, the crisis is diminishing. It is shameful to use something like this for political purposes but remember, politicians have no shame. That includes the three former public officials running again for office – all convicted of bribery charges and all saying they were wrongfully convicted….just like all of the others would say in a prison. Shame on the voters if they elect them!

Have a great week!

TB

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10/17/14…all that glitters…

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “did you know that in some countries the penalty for shoplifting is marriage?”- Anon

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “The shell must break before the bird can fly,” – Alfred, Lord Tennyson – and before you can scramble the eggs! TB

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*Morgan Stanley Beats Analysts’ Estimates as Trading Revenue Rises – yawn!

*Stocks Jump With U.S. Futures as Italian Bonds Gain on Stimulus Bets – options expiry!!!

*Pimco to Blackstone Preparing to Feast on Junk Bonds After Surge in Yields – caution!

*Yellen Says She’s Greatly Concerned by Growing Inequality in U.S. – Do tell, Janet!!!

*Ten Reasons to Be Optimistic on Global Economic Growth in Cruelest Month – name one!

*Synchrony Profit Tops Analyst Estimates in First Earnings Report Since IPO

*Canada’s Inflation Rate Slowed to 2% in September on Lower Gasoline Prices – $2.85 in MN!  

*Dalio’s Bridgewater Said to Post $1.7% Loss in October During Market Rout – heed!

*Louis Vuitton Can Thrive in ‘Tough Times’ as Chinese Slowdown Hurts Sales – slowdown?!?

*Brazil’s Stubborn China Fever Sticking Farmers With Losses as Soy Plunges – gung hay!

*Monaco Murders Reveal Six Hidden Real Estate Billionaires From Pastor Clan

*Obama Says He’s Open to Naming Ebola Czar as Concern Over Spread Increases L

*Merkel Signals Standstill on Ukraine Talks as EU Leaders Meet With Putin

*Texas Lab Worker Isolated Aboard Carnival Ship on Possible Ebola Contact

*Nepal Rescue Workers Airdrop Noodles to Trekkers After Blizzards Kill 28

*Biden’s Son Said Discharged From Navy After Testing Positive for Cocaine

*Europe Wants Bankers to Stop Worrying About Their Paychecks – but in the U.S.? Hah!

Thursday’s Market Summary:

A mixed day but spent mostly in the RED. Volume was another BIG 5.05B shares (1.07B vs 1.21B shares traded on the NYSE floor!!!), vs that huge 6.06B share day Wednesday! Why so much volatility in the first month of a new quarter? Well, for one, today is options expiration and a lot of folks had the wrong foot on the floor! Now look at this:

  1. Dow Transports rose 1.1%; The Russell 2000 (years big loser) roe 1.3%
  2. Nasdaq Composite up 0.1%; NDQ 100 DOWN 0.6%?

The rest ranged from +0.2% to +0.1%…except NYSE Financials which fell another 0.9%: 2.6% in two days! The S&P VIX declined 1.05 to 25.20 but look at the range: 24.61-29.41 – bad news for bulls! A/D’s and Breadth positive but not compared to the recent negatives! New 52 week lows dropped from that monster 1,043 but to a still high 311 while new highs barely budged to an extremely weak 52 from 49.

Repeating (these are as of Wednesday but you get the point): Before we look at the skeleton, here are the ytd price changes (PRICE ONLY!!!): Dow -2.6%! Dow Transports +7.3% (less than half of 9/30 gains – +8.3% adding dividends)! Dow Utilities…now the unchallengeable leader for the year +13.9%!!! (adding in dividends, UP 17.1%!!!); Russell 2000 despite yesterday’s nice move, DOWN 6.9% for 2014!!! What about the other leader you say? NDQ 100 is now up just 6.4% this year but still up 18.2% for the last 12 months. Lastly, the ‘health’ index…NYSE Financials…recall that they peaked in June 2007 well before the crisis began…a warning shot across the bow! For the 12 months they are now up just 6% since 9/30/13 – and to show the damage of the past two weeks, now DOWN 1% for the year! That includes those niggardly dividends that TB loathes…the only reason to buy ANY bank stock!

Total NYSE Volume slipped to a still extremely high 5.05B shares from 6.06B shares…and that isn’t the worst part: average volume for the first 12 days of October is now up to 3.625B, or about 625M more than the recent average. To show that the ‘drought’ of trading has ended one needs to look at shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: since 4/30 the average Has run just 690M shares…for October it is now 908M shares!!! For comparsion purposes, for the prior 12 months it was a historically weak 708M shares…but for the last 12 days 908M shares including the last two days of 1.07B and Wednesday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19 and the low was 10/6’s 696M share session. Since April 30th we ‘had’ had just SEVEN sessions of more than 800M shares…for October so far? Now TEN…think about that: one day missed by just 10M shares. Crazy! Crazy bearish! Yesterday at the bel lvolume was 918M SHARES vs 992M…retail is scared! The 12-month high was 2.06B shares on 9/20/13!

A/D’s were positive but look: NYSE: +2.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq +2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth was similar: NYSE +1.7x vs -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq +1.4x vs +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs only slightly higher at 52 vs 49 and haven’t been above 77 since ending at 49 yesterday – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows dropped sharply but to a still very high 311 from 1043!!! – lowest for October is 176. The 2014 range is now 24-1043!!! S&P VIX has gone from ‘put’ protection being cheap on 9/18 at 12.03 to 25.20. down just 1.05 from 26.25 – EXTREMELY bearish as indicated by the high of 31.06 – highest since 11/28/11!!! The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32!

U.S. bond market was extremely strong early yesterday before the opening creating more0 new 12 month low yields (2.09% +7/16; 30’s 2.87% +15/16; and long TIP 0.83% +1-1/16!!!), but by the opening these had faded leading to modest losses: 10 yr 2.16% -3/16; 30 yr 2.94% -3/8; and the long TIP 0.87% -3/16 (from a new record low(?) of 0.86? Weaker again overnight: 2.19% -1/4; 30’s 2.96% -1/2; and long TIP 0.88% -3/16.  

Libor update: 0.228% 3 mos.; 0.321% 6 mos., both at/near new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is now 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.02%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields reversed their moves yesterday late in the session, again lead by the PIIGS but in the other direction!?! (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.86%! +5; UK 2.17% +8; France 1.29%! +3; Italy 2.50% -8; Spain 2.16% -5; Portugal 3.32% -13!; Greece 7.79% -85!!! from 8.69% +108!!! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.47% -1.

Gold closed slightly lower a day after gapping up to its highest since 9/11/13 ($1247), closing at $1241.20 -$2.90. Still only two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – back to back and rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! SUP/RES is the 40 day at $1239, then RES at the 50 day $1252, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is sdllightly lower at $1238.80 -$2.40 in another very narrow range. Silver holding that ’17’ handle after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude closed slightly higher at $82.70 +$1.01…but look at the range: high $84.83, low $79.78…lowest since 6/27/13!!! There have now been 28!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($91.37), then the 50 day ($92.46), and lastly the 200 day (98.85). The range is now $79.78-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight little changed and tight at $83.72 +$1.02.

Global equity markets strong, ex-Japan/Korea: UK +1% vs -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France +2.1%!!! vs -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany +2%!!! vs -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan -1.4% vs -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng +0.5% vs -1%! vs -1! Korea -1%! vs -0.4% vs -0.7%; India +0.4% vs -1.3% vs closed vs -0.1%. U.S. equity futures STRONG!!!,gapping up on the open – but remember this is options expiry!: Dow +169 (range 169 +24 gap!!!); SPX +23 (27 +1); NDQ +54 (55 +6)… looks like another ‘E’ ticket ride today!

 

Some random thoughts:

When TB was working in Nevada 34 years ago, he attended a meeting of mineralogists. They said that in the entire history of the world, the total amount of gold extracted would fit inside a 150×150 foot cube. Think about that…as TB did when he was in Istanbul. His guide looked at him incredulouslyi (obviously more has been extracted since then but certainly isn’t being horded by governments…especially the UK which is why they always say, “God save the queen!” In the U.S. we use another phrase: ”in God we trust” which of course replaced ‘payable to the bearer upon demand in gold/silver’.

Taking it a step further, that 150’ cube is 3,375,000 square feet, and if you crammed people (6’ tall) in it, it would hold 187,500 people…or more accurately, ‘bodies’, as no one could breath. That is about double the number of people in the largest football stadiums, right?

This brings us to the Gold ETF’s. Believe it or not there are now 39 funds that are invested in gold/silver…the largest being the Spyder’s (GLD) with a market cap of $30.33 billion! Taking the price per once at yesterday’s close ($1,233), that is 2,459,854 ounces of gold. At the peak that value was equal to nine years of production!!! See why it has plunged? That is not to say these funds don’t have gold to back them up but it does explain why they have fallen 34% since peaking on 8/19/11! All that glitters is not —-…even if it is!

Just one more thing to think about over the weekend…its up to you to decide how much gold has been mined since 1980…but bet it would still fit in that 150’ cube.

Have a great weekend,

TB

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10/16/14…a tale of three worlds…plus stocks: in their own world!

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died”                          – Erma Bombeck

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

Due to lateness…no headlines today. TB
Wednesday’s (and prior two weeks) Market Summary:

…what’s a bear to do? Go away for two weeks, enjoy a cruise and then spend four days in Istanbul…or is it Constantinople…dunno…
TB didn’t miss a single thing…same old, same old…market rallied (occasionally) on light to medium volume, then plunges on big volume (Wednesday was troubled with Dow Transports up slightly (0.2%), but the rest down…hello??? What about the Russell 2000 Small Cap – can’t explain that outlier as it ROSE 1%??? Worst performer, just to confuse even more was Dow Utilities -1.3%, followed closely by The Dow itself, -1.1%! S&P 500 was off 0.8%, then the two Nasdaqs, -0.3% and 0.6% respectively! Oh, almost forgot, NYSE Financials plunged 1.7%…and look at the financial components: NYSE Brokers -1.5%; KBW Banks -3.3%@!!! (didn’t TB warn you of this?); and Nasdaq Banks -2.1%!!! So, you say…just one day…ah, but sadly NO!…and TB hasn’t heard any fat lady singing yet…even in Venezia! – but that’s another story.

Before we look at the skeleton, here are the ytd price changes (PRICE ONLY!!!): Dow -2.6%! Dow Transports +7.3% (less than half of 9/30 gains – +8.3% adding dividends)! Dow Utilities…now the unchallengeable leader for the year +13.9%!!! (adding in dividends, UP 17.1%!!!); Russell 2000 despite yesterday’s nice move, DOWN 6.9% for 2014!!! What about the other leader you say? NDQ 100 is now up just 6.4% this year but still up 18.2% for the last 12 months. Lastly, the ‘health’ index…NYSE Financials…recall that they peaked in June 2007 well before the crisis began…a warning shot across the bow! For the 12 months they are now up just 6% since 9/30/13 – and to show the damage of the past two weeks, now DOWN 1% for the year! That includes those niggardly dividends that TB loathes…the only reason to buy ANY bank stock!

Total NYSE Volume exploded to 6.06B shares…and that isn’t the worst part: average volume for the first 11 days of October ran 3.5B, capped off by yesterday’s 6.06B shares, or about 500M more than the recent average. To show that the ‘drought’ of trading has ended one needs to look at shares traded on the NYSE floor – affectionately referred to by TB as REAL volume: since 4/30 the average Has run just 687M shares…for October it is 893M shares!!! For comparion purposes, for the prior 12 months it was a historically weak 706M shares…but for the last 11 days 893M shares capped off by yesterday’s HUGE 1.22B shared day – highest since 9/19 and the low was 10/6’s 696M share session. Since April 30th we ‘had’ had just SEVEN sessions of more than 800M shares…for October? NINE…think about that: one day missed by just 10M shares. Crazy! Crazy bearish! Yesterday at the bell, volume was 992M SHARES…steady selling all day! The 12-month high is 2.06B shares on 9/20/13!

A/D’s were mixed (?) with NYSE slightly negative and Nasdaq slightly positive (sic): NYSE: -1.1x vs +1.6x vs -3.6x -7.2x!!! vs +4x! vs -3.4x; Nasdaq +1.2x vs +1.6x vs-2.7x vs -5.8x vs +2.5x vs -4.2x! Breadth was similar: NYSE -1.4x vs +1.6x vs -5.8x! vs -12.3x!!! vs +3.8x vs -4.7x!!! Nasdaq +1.03x vs +1.1x -7.2x!!! vs -4.4x! New 52 Week Highs slumped to 40 on 10/1 from a weak 90 on 9/30 and haven’t been above 77 since ending at 49 yesterday – their range for the year is 39-580!!! New Lows surged to 1043!!! From 639 – lowest for October is 176 – 2014 range is now 24-1043!!! S&P VIX has gone from ‘put’ protection being cheap on 9/18 at 12.03 to 26.25 yesterday – EXTREMELY bearish as indicated by the high of 31.06 – highest since 11/28/11!!! The average of the past 12 months is 13.83, with a low of 10.32! ose again to a bearish 16.74 +.46 – highest since 8/1! The range was 16.08–17.56!!!

U.S. bond market continued its rally to new 12 month low yields: 10 yr 2.14%; 30 yr 2.92%! The long TIP closed at 0.86% (isn’t that a new record low???) Very strong overnight to more new 12-month lows: 2.09% +7/16; 30’s 2.87% +15/16; and long TIP 0.83% +1-1/16!!!
Libor update: 0.229% 3 mos.; 0.320% 6 mos., both at new record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is now 0.08-0.10%. T-Bills range from 0.02%, one-month, to just 0.10% one year!!! Foreign bond yields continued their rally to new lows yesterday – but PIIGS were weak and weaker overnight (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.80%! +4; UK 2.05%!!!! +10; France 1.24%! +12; Italy 2.58% +16! Spain 2.18% +8! Portugal 3.54% +28!!!; Greece 8.69% +108!!! – low was 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.48% –.

Gold closed slightly higher $1244.10 +$10.50, gapping up to its highest since 9/11/13 in quiet trading with a session high of $1247 after gapping up by $8 on the open from $1235.90 to 1243.70, its session low. Only two prints below $1200 since 12/31/13 – back to back and rejected! Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! SUP/RES is the 40 day at $1240, then RES at the 50 day $1253, and the 200 day at $1284. Recent high was $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is lower at $1236.70 -$7.40 in a very narrow range. Silver back with a ’17’ handle after falling to $16.64 on 10/3 – lowest since 2/9/2010 and very close to $15.73, a multi-decade low!!!

Crude closed little changed at $81.78 -.06 but only after putting in a low of $80.01, lowest since 6/27/13! There have been 27!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th at $107.73 highest since 9/19/13 (a huge down session which put it in freefall. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 12/30/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($91.70), then the 50 day ($92.730), and lastly the 200 day (98.93). The range is now $80.01-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight it is WEAK with a new low of $70.78, not 28 handles!!!! Lowest since 6/27/13! Currently it is $81.17 -.63

European equity markets weak, led by Japan: UK -0.7% vs -2.8%!!! France -1.1% vs -3.6%!!! Germany -0.4% vs -2.9%!!! Japan -2.2%!!! vs -2.4%!!!; Hang Seng -1%! vs -1! Korea -0.4% vs -0.7%; India -1.3% vs closed vs -0.1%. U.S. equity futures slammed again: Dow -97 (range 108!!!); SPX -3.70 (42!); NDQ -22 (80!!!). Market as of 11am EDT: Dow -47 (low was -158!); SPX -13 (low -39); Transports UP 74??? (-95!!!); Composite -14.50 (-82); NDQ 100 -35 (-46); Russell 2000 UP 4.64 (-14!); Dow Utilities -4.20 (-10).

 

Some random thoughts:

Thoughts from the trip to Venice, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. We had great weather and met some wonderful people…on the cruise and in the ports. We flew from Athens to Istanbul…light years away.

Venice was beautiful as always and unlike the hot, humid summer months was a nice 70 with not so many tourists. We skipped Harry’s Bar having our Bellini’s from the bottle we took back to the ship. George Clooney asked TB where to have his wedding and the obvious answer to TB was at the Cipriani…and that is where he went…still looking for that invitation…must have been an oversight, right? Only disappointment to TB was his favorite ‘wine bar’, the Do Mori, which dates back to 1620. A small featureless place that was suggested by Berkeley wine merchant Kermit Lynch years ago…and the best TB has ever found…wonderful, innovative antipasti, and reasonable wine drunk with the locals who come in for their shot of Prosecco before going back to work in the produce and fish markets. Alas, no more…some jerk…sent it to Zagat and when we got to the place not only was it wall to wall Americans, but about 30 were standing outside. PASS!!!! Never, never, tell Zagat about any place you like…like Gordon’s Wine Bar in London! As TB likes to say: you can always return but you can never go back.

Our ship was wonderful…Windstar’s Star Pride – just 198 passengers and 130 crew to serve your every need. From the first day they knew your name and at the end of nine days you knew them well…about their lives and families. Having served on a destroyer (USS INGERSOLL DD-652), in Viet Nam with 300 of his closest friends, and then taking a Greek island cruise on an older ship with about 300 passengers, TB has shunned these 2,000-4,000 passenger ships. Crystal Concordia proved TB’s point. The service and food was great…no kids…they gravitate with their parents and the ‘lively set’ to the BIG ships…so be it…we were in port early and had more time their…Hvar, Dubrovic, Kotor, Butrint, Zakynthos, Delphi (Glalazidhi), and Hydra (personal favorite), before getting to Athens. Two of our oldest (relationship, not years), friends joined us on the cruise and we all had a great time.

A spectacular treat was passing through the Corinth Canal which cuts off Pelopennesius from the rest of Greece. This six mile canal is the most spectacular in the world. Whereas the Suez is wide and long, and Panama is narrow and with locks, this one can no longer accommodate wide ships (more than 67 feet which was our size). It takes about an hour and a half to pass through (literally), towed by a tug with less than six feet on each side and high cliffs…thankfully no boulder throwing kids were up there! Highly recommended! This was followed up by a feast of an entire suckling pig, lobster, crab, paella with shrimp and mussels, lamb chops, steak and much more…they couldn’t give away the chicken with all those choices…served al fresco after completing the canal.

Flying to Istanbul was to an entirely new world…our hotel was right across from Hagia Sophia, and near the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, and Topkapi Palace. Our guide, provided by Sea Song was Berna, a wonderful woman who had lived in New York for 21 years…we didn’t hold that against her. She was charming and besides the listed sites above took us to the Summer Palace, Sulliman Mosque, and a Greek Orhtodox church that was chock full of icons. Her explanations were interesting and enlightening. We also had dinner with friends one night who happened to be there too! We did in four days what would have taken at least a week on our own! Sea Song was the tour agency…and also highly recommended.

America is not well regarded these days in Turkey…but not the American people. There is much mistrust of our government (and the European nations too), as to our motives…can you blame them after what we did to Iraq? Obama is better liked than Dubya, and our Congress is a joke to them too. Berna said that beggars were totally eliminated in Turkey until the refugees flocked in from Syria…and a lot of Kurds. It is sad and their government’s inability to make a decision on what to do with the ‘allies’ isn’t helping…can’t say as we can blame them though….it is a fine line and one that could have serious repercussions for the country…and just how much will WE support them?

A great trip but it is great to be back to where we can read the signs again. Have to sort through 750 pictures…many redundant of course. If one picture is worth a thousand words, what is…oh, nevermind!

Have a great day!

TB

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