10/30/15 …God Bless America – PLEASE!

Years ago, TB was fed up with Congress (think it was about the time they shut down the government the first time, when The Newt was Speaker of House). He noted that in some states the legislature only meets every other year but the Governor can call a special session in the off year but only for specifically named issues.

Thinking about it, TB wondered if a state can have government every other year, perhaps we should try that with Congress, AND if that worked out maybe eliminate Congress altogether. Silly thought, no? NO!!! But TB now wants to add the presidency to the proposal…and don’t forget the Supreme Court that brought us the Citizens United decision…splendid!

Speaking of Citizens United, which fully empowered the Koch brothers, who own more Congressmen…not to mention local politicians thanks to the Superpac that spreads crap and prevents those running for office from getting their pitch on TV. Before you say that the decision was strongly for, note that former Justice Sandra Day O’Conner (you do recall she was a Reagan appointee), was appalled by it. Imagine a corporation as an individual…you can’t send a corporation to jail, and if youi fine them as AG Eric Holder did (recall he said he couldn’t sleep at night considering what would happen to those poor investors if their senior officers went to jail?), putting shareholders in double jeopardy after seeing share prices fall and then having to pay the miscreants fines!

But guess who is scared now? Besides you and me! The Koch’s because The Donald is a loose cannon who has stated he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy…never mind that he doesn’t know what he is talking about, and makes you wonder about the people who admire him for saying what he thinks, which he does…but that isn’t necessarily what the ‘thought’ in the past, or even yesterday. Frankly, Trump is a narcissist and egocentrist. He avoided the draft, and brags that the money he is spending is all his…good, Donald…keep spending because you still won’t be president. You’re fired!

Don’t know what to think about Ben Carson except his concept of economics has no resemblance to reality…and you nearly fall asleep when he speaks; then there is Sen. Ted Cruz…what a guy…even after Boehner got the debt ceiling raised in the House, he pledged he would filibuster…guess his kidneys are weak because the Senate also passed it…along with a budget resolution. Note to Hillary: it doesn’t take a village…just for the House Speaker to resign…his last task was his best. Sen. Mark Rubio comes across well but again…what does he stand for…Jeb Bush likewise. Whose left? Ah, Carly. master at keeping the lie alive.

Ms. Fiorina says that Tom Perkins who was on her board and called for her ouster at HP, now says she was the greatest CEO. Huh? About that she is right: Perkins took out a full page ad in the WSJ? or the NYT, whatever saying just that. Now let’s dig deeper: Tom also contributed $25,000 to her campaign which to him is about the same as a Starbucks Coffee. Wait a minute, didn’t JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs, contribute to Obama?…and Romney? You betcha, just a matter of amounts. Carly also has an inability to admit when she is wrong…like the ‘film’ that only she saw a fetus squirming in after an abortion while the docs decided where the brain should go..so even when the mother came out and said it was still-born. Now that’s Chuzpah – the same thing the destroyed her in her ill-advised run against Sen. Boxer.

But here’s the worst thing about Carly: first she said that as soon as she is elected she will “scrap the tax code”. Please remember that only Congress can do that and who do you think keeps making the tax code longer? Special interest groups, duh! Then she said she wanted it so you could file your return on a postcard…hey, didn’t the Gipper say that 35 years ago and in the meantime the returns have become more complex. There is only one phrase that describes this: pandering to the people. It is an insult. By the way, a friends ex-boss was appointed by Reagan to head the IRS. He was excited about all the changes he wanted to make, and he was a partner in a Big 8 CPA firm. He quit in disgust a year later failing to get any changes made…and he isn’t the first.

Huckabee…not unless you are a born-again. This leaves John Kasich…who does understand government budgets and spending…yes he does…but when he punctuates every statement jabbing his forefinger at you, it gets tiring and offends a lot of his potential voters. Wonder if that is how he would do a SOTU speech? Hopefully not.

Ok, to the Dems…Bernie Sanders can sure stir up the pot but he isn’t election material…scratch him. Hillary is OWNED by Wall Street so we will get more of the same…TB says this because while Obama said he respected Volcker he listened instead to Clinton cronies, Summers, Emanuel, and Daley…what a guy! If TB was Volcker he would have sued to have his name removed from the ‘Volcker Rule’ – make it the Obama Rule instead. it is a sham.

Now let’s go back to the 2000 election…Bush, aka Dubya was the pick of the GOP…but they needed someone with experience…so who did they choose to add ‘gravitas’? Dick Cheney, who along with Rumsfeld convinced Bush to go to war against Saddam in something only Don Quixote could appreciate. By they way, Bush 41 tried to advise his son to stay away from the neo-cons having dealt them in the Reagan administration. His son hung up on him! On the ruse of getting Osama Bin Laden we went into Afghanistan…we were going to be out as soon as we caught him…but he had already fled and we’re still there in what along with Iraq are the two longest wars in U.S. history. We succeeded in destroying the balance of power for the first time since the Brits did it a hundred years earlier, and now WE, the people and the world are paying for it.

That little (?) segue brings us to Hillary who the GOP is doing their best to get elected to the Oval Office by harping on Benghazi even when they and we know, ad nauseum, that the Ambassador went to Benghazi despite being warned not to go…got it? Now forget it! If the GOP looses to Hillary this will be the root cause…and it won’t help the American people.

Hillary is smart and fully competent for the job, it’s just that the Clinton’s believe everything can be fudged when it comes to them. That is why I was so disappointed to see Biden decide not to run. Because if he had, and if he chose Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, we might actually get something done against Wall Street. He isn’t a genius but he has gravitas and common sense and an ability to work with Congress while Warren cut her teeth on Jamie Dimon and the rest of Wall Street and is hurting them so bad in the Senate that I bet Dimon wishes he had let her head up the consumer protection commission.

America is supposed to be for the people and when we are told that the Constitution is a sacred document that must be upheld, they just don’t get it. It was written for the mind of fifth grade education and made to be FLEXIBLE. Imagine if we had made the changes that would have prevented anchor babies, and so many other things that we squabble about today but nobody does anything about.

You know why TB admires Abraham Lincoln? Because he said if keeping slavery would hold the nation together he would be for it, and if abolishing it would he would do that. THEN, after the war he showed his brilliance even more by the Emancapation Proclamation that shouldn’t have even been necessary if we had done what we said in the Declaration of Independence: that ALL men are created equal …and that should have extended to women.

We are a nation in decline, we don’t respect others – or ourselves. People died for this country…for this? Tom Brokaw was right: our parents and grandparents were the greatest generation…hang your heads in shame with me…we are a part of the problem. Why? Because OUR parents didn’t want us to suffer the hardships that they did…now what have we got.

A disgruntled American,


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10/13/15 …how big should a brewery be?

Certainly, not so big that it dwarfs all competitors! SABMiller and AmBev are already the two largest in the world. SAB’s portfolio includes Miller, Stella Artois, Peroni and more…they recently bought a 50% interest in Lagunitas…will it go the way of Sam Adams? Probably, if they do the same and boost production…Lagunitas isn’t even a micro brewery anymore, and it shows.

Lots of talk about a monopoly…DUH!!! It will be left up to the EU to decide…and since SAB is paying $106 BILLION for AmBev, and get this…if it is deemed a monopoly, AmBev will collect a $3 billion termination fee. To TB, this implies that the fix is in! Either that or SAB is downright stupid! Most likely, they will be fined and on their way. Is this a great world, or what?



Note: TB is writing this at the request of a reader who noted it has been more than six months (9 actually!), since a blog was written here. He requested that I not do all the daily research and just write when something interests me. Sounds like a splendid idea. My new vocation…writing http://www.traderbillonwine.com is more fun and hopefully will turn into a book, and TB will be famous and rich!!! Hey, if Roxie Hart in Chicago, but without the murder!

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4/20/15…the future of America and how we got to this juncture…

This is a letter in response to a friends email to TB on Paul Volcker’s attempt to tighten regulation of  banks:

Thanks, I hadn’t seen that. It is tragic that Obama said that Volcker was his idol, yet acted on advice of his ‘trusted’ allies (Emanuel and Bill Daley – who came from Citi and got a $900k kiss from them). Volcker said he was too old to lead a committee but would have been glad (eager?) to have been kept in the loop.

The most disgusting and degrading act Congress did with Dodd-Frank was the ‘Volcker Rule’ which he should have threatened to sue them for defamation over!

Jamie Dimon, the ‘much-loved’ CEO of JPM led the charge, not only against the legislation but against Elizabeth Warren who has come back to be his worst nightmare. She is who should be the Dem nominee for President. I am disgusted with the media for all but handing the nomination to Hillary Clinton, a horrible choice as he proved in the Senate changing her stance on equal pay for women (as Warren made clear), to do the bidding of her Wall Street donors.

Sadly, I believe were are where the Venetian and Roman Senate were just before the downfall. We don’t even have an oligarchy, we have a handful of people owning the Congress and the President (the two biggest donors to Obama’s campaign were Goldman, and JPMorgan).

Next, we come to Jon Corzine who was effectively kicked out of Goldman, then spent millions to become governor and then a senator. He then had the backing of two exclusive clubs. He was asked to be CEO of MF-Global to find a buyer. Instead, he practiced the same risk-taking he did at Goldman, only they didn’t have the capital to do it, so, at his direction, they ‘borrowed’ money from customer accounts, yet he tried to blame it on an underling. It was investigated but before charges were filed it was dropped. Why? Answer is above.

More on MF-Global: I was at L.F. Rothschild when they were becoming a primary government dealer. We had to jump through hoops for this privilege. Only when MF went down did I learn that they were a primary dealer! How could this happen? The NY Fed said they are not responsible for the financial condition of its dealers! Really!!! Since when? This leads back to Volcker’s recommendations. One of the ‘evil’ things the banks did by diversifying was to come under the control of several regulators. They then chose the weakest one to supervise them. That should have been the Federal regulators for any financial organization operating in multiple states. This is also why the GOP is dead wrong on ‘states rights’ and why insurance companies should be able to be national. Had this happened AIG would not have gotten into the mess they were in (oddly it was the Texas regulators who blew the whistle, but AIG solved that by cleaning up their act in the Texas subsidiary, and putting it in other states who did not do their due diligence.

I got to know Bill Dudley when he was government economist at Goldman. Met and had lunch with him on two occasions at their SF institutional bond buyers conference (about 20 people at each!). So I wrote him as President of the NY Fed. I told him how saddened I was to see what had happened to the Fed and this only added fuel to the fire that Goldman controls the Fed (he was NOT a GS insider and did not fit the mold). The letter went unanswered, as I expected.

It is the banking lobby that is pushing to have the Fed brought under control of Congress – they have already proven in their grilling of Fed Chairman that that would be the worst thing they can do.

How did we get here? In the Reid interview by Bill Moyers (which thankfully you brought to my attention), he laid out exactly how Glass-Steagall was brought down: thanks to Rubin (who was later well-rewarded for his blessing), Summers (the academic dictator and fool), and Greenspan (the true believer in Ayn Rand – how in hell did we get a Fed Chairman that was anti-regulation?).

William Donaldson, SEC Chairman in 2000, at the time of the demise of Glass-Stegall, came up with a plan to monitor the big five banks, which were to be exempted from regulation, by performing ‘random audits’ on the banks to keep them in line. He was, however, replaced shortly thereafter by former GOP Congressman Christopher Cox, who abandoned the idea, which had to contribute to the problem, as well as naked shorts of financial institutions, which he saw as no problem.

Now back to the beloved Gipper, who did four things:
1. destroyed labor unions and federal unions while municipal unions became virtual dictators);
2. by bailing out Continental over the objection of my former boss, Don Regan, created TBTF;
3. deregulated the S&L industry causing two crises and allowing Keating to cause the biggest S&L debacle – with the help of FOUR congressional members – no one had ever controlled more than one before;
4. appointed Greenspan as Fed Chairman in 1987, by Reagan, then re-appointed by three successive presidents

This is the idol of the GOP, who, by the way is not conservative enough to get elected – or even nominated today.

Now that I have vented – have a nice day!

Trader Bill

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3/31/15 …is the GOP in self-destruct mode?

…or does it simply not care about anyone but its big-bucks supporters (a poor term since they are more the controllers of the party than supporting it and will only do so as long as the duly-elected people they pushed for do as they say)?

Look at what they have done since gaining the majority in both houses:

1. right after the election they acted the same way as the Dems did when they gained control: pure hubris. The leaders, Boehner and McConnell showed no willingness to work across the aisle – except for a ‘few’ things they agreed upon. For example: fixing the infrastructure…oh yes, they said we want to do that. Ah, then they are in favor of raising the gasoline tax. Both paused, then said they had no intention of doing that but would fix the infrastructure ‘as funds became available’.

2. Harry Reid may not have been the best Senate Majority Leader but he never showed the mean-spirited side of Mitch McConnell – the poster grumpy old man.

3. The House invited Netanyahu to address both house of Congress – while he was losing support and in the middle of an election, thus not only violating protocol, but assisting him in a re-election bid. This solidified his power and he was re-elected: just what we need…another example of the U.S. meddling in elections. Foul! But it gets worse: right after that the GOP sent a letter to Iranian President Rouhani saying he should not agree to the treaty as the U.S. would not have to abide by it. This act was atrocious as it is not a treaty and not subject to Congressional approval and goes along with Netanyahu’s desire to not have any agreement with them and make demands (which the GOP wants too) that have no chance of being implemented. A bad agreement is better than no agreement as the only solution then is to put boots on the ground alienating most Iranians. Something that the American people don’t want but gives the GOP a better argument to increase defense spending (which benefits the private contractors since our army is not of sufficient size to take on an enemy on yet another front). Remember, G.W. Bush & Co. cut taxes (mainly benefiting the wealthy), three times while fighting two wars – Iraq and Afghanistan – the latter a country we ‘entered” for the express purpose of getting Bin Laden with a promise that we would then leave: we didn’t and still are there in another expensive and fruitless action. It seems the GOP learned nothing from Lyndon Johnson’s ‘guns and butter’ Viet Nam war,or from the result which along with the current two (three if the Israeli’s and GOP have their way) wars, have been costly and detrimental to our image abroad. We seem to never learn, but hey, there’s big money in war.

4. Why do they support Netanyahu, who has declared there is no room for both Israel and Palestine? Because he is an American turned Israeli, and that is why Sheldon Adelson wants it and what Adelson wants, he gets…it is also likely that he was behind the Iran letter. Another force that even the GOP can’t control is the Koch brothers who do their own thing to push for what they want and don’t give a whit about the party…they just buy the candidates. Look at the examples of what this has done for us in the past. We supported: Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Batista in Cuba, Nguen Thu in Viet Nam, to name a few. What has that done for the image of America?

5. The GOP is proud of the number of Republican governors, but should they be? Scott Walker is not all good; Texas has a history of bad decisions; and now Indiana Governor Mike Pence who just lowered himself to signing into law a bill that would make it legal to refuse service to gays and lesbians ‘on religious grounds’. A legislature can do stupid things but a governor is supposed to be the adult, a voice of reason. Now Indiana is paying for it…in spades. Several corporations have written that they will not do business in Indiana, and conferences are being cancelled. Think about this: isn’t this going back to the ‘white’s only’ signs in the South? The KKK must be licking their chops. Indiana will pay for this and hopefully its elected Republicans in the 2016 elections. TB would say the Supreme Court would overturn this but given the composition of the court…

Is TB anti-Republican? Pro-Democrat? None of these. He is an American who is disgusted with the path we are on: a downward spiral like the ones that have doomed previous great nations. The Roman Empire seems to be a ‘good’ example. Awww…what’s that got to do with us? Nothing…absolutely nothing. Got that?

Wake up, America…neither party gives a wit about you…only your vote…and if projections for the 2016 elections topping the $2 billion spent in the last election…estimate is FIVE billion…even your vote won’t count, because either candidate may have been (likely?) picked by a few wealthy people. Wall Street will contribute to both parties as they did when Obama was first elected (more to him then McCain), and again they will be in control. One has to blame Obama for not standing up to them. He had the support of Main Street, and had the chance to ‘make a difference’ as he said, the only thing he has to show for it is the ACA, which the GOP continues to bash despite having the approval of a majority of Americans (true, they don’t like parts of it, like having to pay and some young folks say it is more costly, BUT it is portable and your insurance can’t be cancelled, a truly important rule). If you think it is costly, try paying the COBRA from your former employer after you leave or are laid off or fired.

America is in a sad state, and the apathy of the people is truly shocking…perhaps they have PTS, from all of the freedom’s we have lost since 9/11. It’s time for us to wake up, and get involved.



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3/30/15…President Cruz…say it isn’t so…please!

(Before we begin, there is an issue in the Constitution which should be addressed, however with our Citizens-United-believing, 5-4 conservative SCOTUS, it won’t. First, those strict-constructionist members of the bench miss the point about the flexibility that the founding fathers deemed of utmost importance if the country was to survive. There was not even rail travel, let alone, airplane, and most people around the world never ventured more than fifty miles from their home towns. Yet if a foreign woman is visiting here and has a baby, her child is deemed an American citizen. Same goes for the illegals who have come here that upset Republicans so much. There is no way the founding fathers could have anticipated this, especially at a time when we needed people to come.

But a more troubling one is the issue that makes a Ted Cruz presidency a dangerous precedent: he was born in Canada but of an American woman, thus making him a citizen and eligible to be president – remember that Obama was only a junior Senator, elected president early in his first term! Let’s say a boy was born of a mother who had moved to Germany and supported Hitler, remained there and then her son returned to seek office as president…he would be eligible to run and what would he do as president? Worse, what if a woman was an Isis convert. That is precisely why the founding fathers wanted only naturally-born U.S. citizens eligible for the highest office. Think about it…

The GOP has run amok…they have lost interest in contributions except from major donors like Sheldon Adelson, whose beck and call is their raison d’etre. On another tack are the Koch brothers who now want to control elections in all states and even what is taught at colleges by contributions with strings to endowment funds. What has the American political system come to? These ‘true believers’ in Milton Friedman’s ‘free-market capitalism (which has been proven to be a myth in the recent financial crisis), as well as von Mises, while extrapolating the theories of Adam Smith (he would no doubt roll over in his grave, as would our founding fathers), are now serving the top 0.1% – or less – of America. But what about the growth of the black and latino vote? If you have no say on who the candidates are as they are predetermined by the money spent getting to the primaries, your vote is meaningless, which makes wonder why the GOP is so concerned over voter fraud and making it more difficult to vote – oh, forgot, the other party could get elected, but like Obama, neutralized by the contributions of the financial sector.

But first, what is happening in the Democratic Party? Which is to say, why won’t the media say anything about other possible candidates than Hillary? Especially when all of her baggage since Benghazi has piled up like the dock before a cruise ship departure. While the Benghazi claims have been defrayed…except on the ‘fact-filled’ Fox channel that caters to the old and senile with their fearless leader in search of truth, Bill O’Reilly (problem is he doesn’t search within for truth). The foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation are problematic enough since they came in while she was secretary of state, but the destruction of those thousands of ‘personal’ emails will dog her all they way to the elections (you can’t disprove a negative, even assuming they truly were personal).

What about the most honest person in politics today, Elizabeth Warren? She has been given short-shrift by the media which is sad. Look at the attention on the GOP side to Scott Walker, and even the inelectable Mike Huckabee, and of course the subject of today’s blog: Senator Ted Cruz from the great State of Texas which brought us such luminaries as Senator Phil Gramm (and of course his lovely wife Wendy, who was a director and on the audit committee of Enron), Gov.Rick Perry, and current Governor Greg Abbott…will skip over G.W. Bush for you to evaluate.

Hillary is most likely not electable…ah, but Warren is an unknown…not exactly, and she has shown she had the guts to stand up to Jamie Dimon and the rest of the financial lobby, which cost her confirmation as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which was her creation. That of course came back to haunt Dimon when she ran for and was elected Senator from Massachusetts, where she has continued to fight valiantly for the people of Main Street over the robber barons of Wall Street.

All that said, isn’t it amazing that the first person to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP nomination for president is none other than first-term Senator Ted Cruz? He has all the markings of a narcissist, and made his rep on his 21 hour and 19 minute filibuster – the longest since the great ones of the Civil War era – over Obamacare, while reciting Dr. Seuss – how charming and how he proved he should not be POTUS!

No matter how much TB dislikes him he has to admit the man is brilliant, just not presidential material.  By all counts he is a brilliant and accomplished debater…he wears down his opponents by continually coming back at them. Is that a good trait in a president? (Note that one of his professors at Harvard Law, Alan Dershowitz, declared him to be “off the charts brilliant”

The comments from former friends are not all so favorable: controlling, pedantic, but he befriended one black student at a time of need and they remain close friends. Cruz’ father was a Cuban emigrant but despite that Felito – his given name, wants to seal the borders…the same old, please close the gate after I get in.

I feel there is little chance of him becoming the nominee, let alone president, but that has been said before…Harry Truman?

Decades ago someone wrote an article on who should be president. He said they don’t have to be smart (look at Wilson, Hoover, or Carter) to do well, and can be dumb and lucky (his example then was the man who became vice president, Dan Quayle), after all it is a matter of luck whether a president has problems unless they are self-induced. Think about it.

There is a tremendous grass roots drive to nominate Elizabeth Warren…is she the last hope for the Democrats? Otherwise, looking at the insane actions of the new majority GOP, and ask how this country can continue as a democracy or democratic republic. The power is now in such a small group that even oligarchy is not the correct term. We are heading for the death of the middle class. That is TB’s biggest fear and why he is bothering to resurrect this blog, only when he has something to say, not on any regular schedule.

As for Mr. Cruz’ ethics, he says he had a voice tell him to run for office, if you believe that. Could he be The Messiah? Also, he says he told his wife that they should sell all their liquid assets to finance his campaign and she agreed. Not her recollection: when he told me he was going to run for president I told him if he does he better find some wealthy donors. End of story.

Thank you for reading,


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3/27/15…America the beautiful; land of the brave? Is it?

It has been about a month since the last post. TB will try not to bother you with blabber but this is important.
Friends, we have lost our moral compass and honor as Americans. Sadly, I believe we no longer deserve this country. We have become irresponsible and are setting up our kids and grandkids for a change of what it is like to be America,
It began with Reagan because it was his administration and Art Laffer’s flawed supply-side economics that has destroyed the middle class. It was Reagan, who over the objections of my former ML boss Don Regan, created too big to fail by bailing out Continental. At first it all seemed good, yet we forget two S&L crises (does the name Keating ring a bell?), due to deregulating and disempowering regulators while Congress was on the take (Keating Five, yet Congress turned their backs). Since Continental was the eighth largest bank, deposits flowed in to the bigger banks from around the world and stole them from the regional and community banks. He also destroyed labors ability to bargain…yet while labor unions have little power any more, municipal unions have driven up the cost of state and local government. THAT is what he should have fought. The Gipper was bigger than life (reality) and it has now come home to haunt us.

Moyers may be off the air but he is alive and well on the internet.Here is one of the best articles I have seen – the best? – on the destruction of America by the wealthy. This is just one of the links in his column and it is truly shocking:

No one other than the author has shown such an understanding of what has gone wrong in America. Between the Supreme Court (Citizens United), and the Koch brothers, the cost of getting elected has gone off the charts. I thought we were headed for oligarchy but the article shows how it is worse – much worse.

The Netanyahu affair is discussed and shows how the GOP, my former party (independent now as Dems aren’t much better), has deteriorated into a money machine with total disregard for the people…see the section on the budget and why they are so eager to get in wars…it’s just business! Disgusting to this Viet Nam veteran.
Disagree? Then how come the presidents rating got to the 20’s and Congress as low as single digit? Harry Reid is now leaving “at the top of his game” (now that is a stretch), and it is time for Boehner and McConnell to do likewise. GOP has come to be grumpy old men and women who castrate hogs “to hear them squeal.”
We can either do something or stand by idly and watch as the scenario in the article plays out, but if we do the results will be on us…as they well should be. Right in the footsteps of Rome…what is it about people who ignore the lessons of the past…oh sorry, I forgot we are creating a different world. Can we stop it and let me off?
Trader Bill

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3/2/15…end of the trail…hasta luego, baby!

Keep calm and carry on…by drinking wine! TB

Thanks for following the blog…into oblivion…all the best to my friends and readers,


Next week’s economic calendar is full of important indicators. The highlight of the week will be the ISM Manufacturing (Monday, ISM Non-Manufacturing (Wednesday) and Employment Situation (Friday). We will also get January Personal Income and January Construction Spending (Monday), February Motor Vehicle Sales (Tuesday), February ADP Employment (Wednesday), Q4 Productivity & Costs Final (Thursday), January International Trade and January Consumer Credit (Friday).                                   Courtesy of Economic Advisory Service

Friday’s Market Summary:

The question continues: where is there a trend? Dunno, and don’t walk, run, from anyone who tries to ‘splain it to you. On Friday (monthend by the way), all indices were down from 0.3% (S&P 500) to 0.6% (Dow Transports). With the exception of SPX every index (except Dow Utilities +0.1%) was off from 0.5-0.6% – how’s that for uniform? Here’s an anomaly: The S&P VIX, despite all the indices being down declined to 13.44 -.47 –sounds strange but then it was monthend, so could be a countertrade? Volume only slightly higher at 3.5B shares – compare to end of February – 1B share higher! Think!

A/D’s and Breadth were mixed on NYSE and this time slightly negative on Nasdaq, while new highs dropped sharply from 300 to a weak 237; new lows rose again to 68 vs 51, recovering Wednesday’s dip to 41. As Seinfeld would say, “it’s about nothing.”

The ytd scoreboard remains volatile (can’t recall ever seeing it this much before): Dow 30 +1.6%; Dow Transports -1.2%.; Dow Utilities -3.8%; S&P 500 -2.1%; Nasdaq Comp +4.9%; NDQ 100 +4.7%; Russell 2000 +2.1%. NYSE Financials -0.7%: KBW Banks -2.8%; Nasdaq Banks -2.3%. Note those are through February…annualize that!

Total NYSE Volume continued to edge higher and has now reached 3.5B shares, the average of the first 10 months of last year, but still historically weak, especially for a monthend – vs 3.4B vs 3.3B vs 3.19B vs 3.05B, the 2nd lowest of 2015 – ytd low is 2.7B on Jan. 2; while 12/24’s 1.4B shares is the 12-month low. Shares traded on the NYSE floor are no longer available – 646M is the ytd low while 12/24’s 349M is the 12-month low…average is 745M shares! Since 1/5 the average is 846M shares and steadily declining! The Dec. average peaked at 979M shares on Dec. 22nd.

Advance/Declines were mixed this time with NYSE slightly positive and Nasdaq modestly negative: NYSE: +1.1x vs -1.2x vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs 1:1; Nasdaq -1.6x vs +1.3x vs +1.2x vs +1.4x vs -1.3x. Breadth was negative: NYSE -1.2x vs -1.9x! vs +1.2x vs +1.6x vs -1.8x; Nasdaq -1.5x vs +1.3x vs +1.2x vs +1.1x vs -1.1x. New 52 Week Highs sharply lower at 237 vs 300 vs 301 vs 261 vs 312 vs 315 vs 290 vs 238 vs 297 vs 346 – their range for the last 12 mos. is 39-612!!! New Lows slightly better at 68 vs 51 vs 41 vs 52 vs 68 – 2015 high is 386 (12/16’s high was 712!!!) The 12-month range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX was slightly higher again at 13.91 +.07, Tuesday was the lowest (most bullish) since 12/26, and below the 200 day (14.65). The recent high is 12/16’s 25.20, second only to 10/17’s (31.06!) – highest since 11/2/11!!! Average of the past 12 months is 14.61, with a low of 10.28!…high close was 26.25 on 10/15/14!

U.S. Bond Market ended the week with a rally. All things considered bonds look pretty good since setting new low yields on 2/4 on Greece: 10’s 2.00% +9/32 (1.64% low yield); 30’s 2.60% +3/4 (2.22% low); Long TIP 0.66% +5/8 (0.49% low!).

Gold managed yet another small gain with support at $1200 holding, closing at $1212.40 +$2.30, but has done little since l2/18’s $1197.80, lowest since 1/5 It peaked at $1307.80 on 1/22. $1130.40 is the current 12-month low! 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! RESISTANCE is the 50 day, $1230, the 40 day $1235, then the 200 day at $1250. The 12-month high is $1392.60 on 3/17/14, highest high since 9/4/13. Silver closed a tad lower at $16.54 -.07. The 200 day ($18.32) is resistance with res at the 50 day, $16.80, and the 40 day, $16.87. $14.12 is the recent low (12/1/14), first time in more than five years!

Crude had to struggle to close higher and even then couldn’t get back to $50, closing at $49.20 +$1.03 – would someone please tell the guys at the pump who keep charging more? 2/18’s $47.36 was lowest since 2/5, negating the Greece rally. 1/28’s low was $44.08, lowest since 3/09. $50-52 is again resistance. 12/17’s high was $58.98. Consider: 10/25/14’s high was $84.83. There have been 64!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th, highest since 9/19/13, and it is off 59% since then! The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08. Res is again the 40 day ($49.91), with support at the 50 day ($50.52), and major res at the 200 day ($82.84). The range is $43.58-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Note that following the financial crisis it traded down to $32.40 on 12/31/08 from a high of $147.27 just three months earlier (-78%!!!). Recall TB’s prediction of a bounce at $43.83? WILL it test that $32.40 March ’09 low?…by the way, the decline from the 9/20/08 high to the low took EXACTLY 6 months – we are now in the 9th month of decline!!!

It has been TB’s pleasure writing this column and it is he who derived the most from its content. May the rest of the year go your way and your portfolios reflect it. As for TB, he is just focusing on the next three weeks in the Basque country of northwest Spain. Seeing the sights, drinking the wine and sampling the tapas…meeting new people and working on his wine blog and hopefully his book.

The blog will remain ‘open’ and at some point might be resurrected but not in the current format. Perhaps more economically related: the ‘blend’ of the financial and political.

All the best,


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