9/25/12…marching through Georgia

Bloomberg Quotes of the Day:

“To be ignorant of ignorance is the malady of the ignorant.” – A.B Alcott

“All I know is what I learned after I was thirty.”- Clemenceau

Just an update on our vacation. We left Minneapolis Thursday morning and drove to St. Louis where we spent two days…or what was left of the first after a 600 mile drive! The size of the Peace Arch cannot be appreciated until you try to photograph it. We drove through several of the neighborhoods and visited the Soulard Market which is an epicurean’s dream. Especially the spices!

Then on Friday we drove about 250 miles to Memphis…saw Graceland and it is interesting to see how relatively small the home was…narrow stairway’s and it drives home how little material things should be in or lives as those ’gotta haves’ of decades ago look pretty stupid today. We met several people, including two wonderful Canadian women who TB discussed healthcare with.

The reason for the discussion was the Romney ad showing the Canadian woman who ’would have died’ if she had not come to the U.S. for treatment. TB’s take on that was she would have died in the U.S. too if she couldn’t have afforded health care or insurance! They said there were very clear shortages in Canada but all in all affordability is key. Note also that they can go elsewhere and have a large portion reimbursed by the government. It isn’t that they don’t want to provide the service it is the lack of availability. TB once saw where there were more MRI’s in Boston than in all of Canada…that also means overusing them to pay for them and that drives insurance costs higher…capiche?

We stayed at the beautiful Peabody Hotel…famous for the ducks who reside in the lobby fountain from 11am to 5pm daily then amid a big show are led back up to their ’palace’ on the roof. It is a great story of history and tradition…something that is increasingly lacking in our society. It is one of the great hotels!

The next day we drove to Savannah…clearly the gem of the south. In our travels so far we have been lucky to avoid road construction as there was a long stretch along the way that would have taken us a couple of hours longer on a weekday!

Savannah is clearly the gem of the South. Saved during the Civil War (most of the homes there had been built in the late 1850’s), by the town fathers meeting Gen. Sherman outside of town and offering no resistance spared the town from Sherman’s march to the sea. That was a blessing as this is one beautiful city. The historic section is dotted with small square that provide shade and unbelievable photography opportunities. TB’s wife found a wonderful boutique in on the waterfront, The River Street Inn. It is entered from Bay St. which is the edge of a 40 foot bluff and thanks to the elevators takes you down to River Street and the fun restaurants and shops on the river. The rate was about half the Peabody and most of the surrounding hotels…and was beautiful in every way. Highly recommended.

Today we drive to Charleston, S.C. for TB’s ship’s reunion (USS Ingersoll DD-652) and a private tour of the CSS Hunley, the first submarine which sunk in the Civil War and was recently restored. We also have a tour of Fort Sumpter and will hold our memorial service. Coincidentally, TB’s 50th high school reunion was last week but TB opted for this one in memory of friends who lost their lives in the Viet Nam war.

Driving through the south (1500 miles so far! From here there will be no more 600 mile days!), we saw a large number of right to live billboards…after all this is the Bible Belt. Also, listening to conversations and talking with people it is clear where they get their news…FOX…they were quoting the 47% of Americans being lazy as if IT was gospel. For TB, mum was the word.

– – – – – – – – – – – – —

Now for a market update. TB was correct in his warning about the quadruple witching last Friday. Here’s why:

While the market was up almost all day, in the final 20 minutes it gave up all the gains so despite 509 new 12-month highs all indices were +/- 0.1% – except the sagging Transports again…on Thursday they fell 2.8%! They are now DOWN 0.7% ytd…and the ONLY index with negative returns…something is wrong, right Dow Theorists? Even Utilities are now up slightly ytd: after being down every day of the stock rally they have been up the last three sessions as well as this morning and are now up 2.7% ytd! Caution!

Friday’s NYSE volume was 4.56B shares…AND excluding electronic trading networks REAL volume was 1.8B shares…but remember that the day’s rally fizzled at the end. Furthermore the volume 17minutes before the close was just 800 million shares (400 million f that was in the first FIVE minutes due to the options expiry). That extra 1 Billion shares was due to the S&P 500 index rebalancing so all the activity intraday was pure gamesmanship. Don’t be deceived!

Gold continues to be strong although it gave back Friday’s gains yesterday, but on Friday it had a new rally high of $1790, just $10 below key resistance. It is now $1773. Crude not so lucky as its breakout was a false one and it is now back down to $92 and struggling. Yesterday it broke below both the 40 day and 50 day moving averages and closed at $91.93 -.96. It is above $92 again but safely below the 50 day which resides at $93.43! This too is telling us something…as is the fact that the gold rally is not only NOT helping the miners but now hurting CAT – this is strictly a flight to safety rally…same as treasuries…note that the 10 year is back to 1.73% and the 30 year 2.92% from over 3%. We do live in interesting times.

Will update when there is something useful to say rather than gyrations over whether or not the EU is imploding…have fun!

TB

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