"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

XLE Rebounds

As you all know, crude oil and its products have been hammered of late. One has to wonder if the Saudis' decision to not reduce output was a deliberate attempt to go after the US fracking industry. Either way, the energy complex has been hit extremely hard over the last six weeks. Just look at the following chart!

The XLE had lost 22% over that time frame before some decent buying finally showed up today which enabled it to close up on a day in which the entirety of the US equity markets were getting clobbered.

Maybe the worst is over for crude? I don't know for sure but I am definitely going to be keeping an eye out on the XLE to see if it shows any upside follow through tomorrow and certainly on Friday.

As I type these comments, crude is down another full dollar to $80.73 in the early overnight trading.

Yet another thing I felt the need to point out and that is related to the reported holdings in GLD. It showed a DROP in the tonnage this afternoon which is really disconcerting if one is a bull. It lends credence to the idea that some are selling gold to keep the margin clerks happy with the equity positions.

Total tonnage fell 2.09 tons from the last reported number and currently sits at 759.14 tons, down 39.08 tons on the year and the lowest level since early December 2008.

Lastly, this is the updated TIPS spread/Gold chart from yesterday. Since then interest rates have fallen sharply (* today ) so it will be interesting to see what numbers we get tomorrow when the update is complete. Notice that gold has been moving in the opposite direction of the spread the last few days, something which is out of the more normal behavior, indicating the  metal is functioning as a safe haven for some.

Late Session buying coming into Equities.

Bulls begin to stir once again as we wind down today's session.

The S&P 500 just missed falling into correction territory ( near 1813) but has since rallied up from near that level. Apparently the "buy the dip" sentiment has not yet given up the ghost.

I am closely watching the resistance zone noted on this hourly chart. If the bulls can take it back through that level they have a chance at having put in a short term bottom. Even so, the big spike back up is giving them a sigh of relief at this point ( although I must admit that the session is not yet ended as I am typing these comments).

Dr. Copper Succumbing to Deflationary Pressures

Even the sharp fall in the US Dollar today has not been enough to keep copper from falling sharply. It is currently down over $.08 as I type these comments, some 2.65% on the day.

The fall in the red metal has completely erased the gains made on Monday and Tuesday of this week as well as those made late last week when it bounced away from the psychological $3.00 mark.

It is threatening to sink below that once more. The meddle of the bulls is going to be severely tested here. If copper falls below the lows made last week and CLOSES below $3.00, I think we all had better pay attention as that would be a horrendous signal that the fall in stocks could become even more serious than it already is.

Dr. Copper would be signaling a sharper contraction in the overall global economy and would bring into serious challenge the idea of "buy the dip" in stocks which has been the featured sentiment for longer than I can remember now. If the equity market sentiment shifts towards one of "sell the rally", look out!
Speaking of equities, let me post up a quick chart of the Russell 2000 index. That is about as broad a basket of stocks as you can get. Two things to note. First - the highs near 1213 are now confirmed as a Double Top on the chart. The reason? Because support zone down near 1080-1075 has failed to hold. Bulls still have a chance to end the week back above that level in the last two trading days but the current negative sentiment seems quite strong for now.
Secondly - the market has officially entered "CORRECTION" territory - which is defined as a move of 10% + off the peak high. Notice however that for the market to be declared officially a "BEAR", it would have to fall to near the 975 level and collapse through that level, preferably on strong volume.
Thus, even though the selloff is incredibly violent at the moment, the market is undergoing a correction and has not yet, from a technical analysis standpoint, entered become a Bear. In other words, the Bull is wounded but not dead yet.
Take a look at the S&P 500. It is quite different from the Russell. The index is flirting ever so dangerously with entering "CORRECTION" territory in today's session.
Note how far down below the current price level it would have to drop to turn the BULL into a Bear. Stay tuned... as usual, time will make things clear for us but for now, the Bears have the upper hand but the Market is moving to levels that might shake the bulls out of their stupor.
What is also rather interesting on a day like this is that while the Dollar has been getting shellacked, on the chart, it is still just bouncing up and down like a ping pong ball going nowhere. It is still stuck in a range between 87 on the top and 85 on the bottom. It did violate the bottom of the range early in the session but has rebounded and move back within the "box".
Cattle are all over the place today. First they sold off quite sharply across the Board. Then the two front months began to move up and turned positive. Then the sellers came back in again and back down they went. The big fund long contingent in this market is fighting for dear life NOT to be flushed. Right now it looks as if they are losing the battle but the close is about 20 minutes off so anything is possible. It is amazing watching the amount of money some players will spend in an attempt to defend a position.
Gold thus far has been able to shrug off the selling pressure coming in from those selling it to cover losses in stocks but is having some difficulty getting through the $1250 level. Silver is being drug lower by copper but getting some buying related to gold's good showing. I fear that if copper cracks $3.00 decisively, silver is going to fall.
With the current equity weakness, unless we get some dose of economic data that is surprisingly strong ( say a jobs number ) instead of the surprisingly weak data we have been getting, gold is drawing support from ideas that any notion of the Fed raising interest rates soon is effectively DOA for the time being.
What a day... I am already ready for Friday afternoon and it is only Wednesday!

Three Strikes and You're Out

and no, I am not talking about the baseball playoffs but rather the triple whammy that completely obliterated both the US equity markets and the US Dollar this morning.

The New York Fed released its business conditions index and it was scary; spooky scary. The index fell to - hold onto your hat - from 27.54 in September to 6.17 in October. Most analysts had been expecting a decline but a more modest one to near 20. This index is a reading of manufacturing activity. If the reading comes in above zero, it indicates expansion but come on already, a plunge of that magnitude is hardly reassuring if one is trying to find a healthy economy!

That was strike one...

Strike two - falling retail sales. They dropped 0.3% in September. Retail sales have been rising since January - albeit not at a breakneck speed but this is the first drop since then. Again, analysts had been expecting a fall but only a meager 0.1%.

Strike three - a fall in the PPI or producer price index. It fell 0.1% in September. That was the first fall in a year!

STocks plunged and so did the Dollar but what is breathtaking is the action in the long bond. The thing SOARED and was up over 4 points in early action. It has subsequently settled down to being up a mere 2 points ( note - this is sarcasm). Yields on the Ten Year just now fell BELOW 2% hitting a low, thus far, of 1.868%.

Can anyone say DEFLATION!

If that were not enough bad news for one day, yet another hospital worker has sadly contracted the Ebola virus. People are getting scared as they know full well that Mr. Happy Face, the current propaganda in chief from the CDC, has been lying to them about the mode of transmission.

Let's see - we have a deadly disease in Africa that is threatening to become a world-wide epidemic, a group of grotesquely barbaric terrorists on the rampage through Mesopotamia and an economy that is looking more and more like it is running out of juice to sustain it - and NO, I am not talking about the bubonic plague, the Ottoman empire Turks and the mess in Europe during the Middle Ages but rather the 21th century. The more things change, the more they become the same.

"That which has been is that which will be so that there is nothing new under the sun, " echoed the wisest man of a former age, one named Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes.

I will try to get some charts up a bit later. The long bond chart is breathtaking.

By the way, the sinking Dollar is having a profound impact on gold as it moved strongly higher. However, there are two schools of thought out there right now impacting the yellow metal. The first is gold is a safe haven. The second is that it is liquid and can be sold to cover losses in equities ( margin related) and could very well sink along with the crude oil and rest of the commodity complex.

IT looks as if the former is winning at the moment.

Soybeans are still being squeezed by whomever it is that has decided to go after the shorts. The excuse this time around is the falling Dollar will make US beans more competitive on the global export markets. I am very concerned however about almost all of the commodities because if indeed this market selloff is the start of something more serious on the economic front, it is hardly going to be conducive to higher grain and bean prices.

Even cattle, that stalwart of the commodity sector is succumbing. That has me sitting up and taking serious notice. Can beans be far behind? We'll see.

Traders - be so very careful in these markets right now. They can run you over in mere seconds.