23 February 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Wall Street Noir

“Berlin.  I used to love this old city.  But that was before it had caught sight of its own reflection and taken to wearing corsets laced so tight that it could hardly breathe.  I loved the easy, carefree philosophies, the cheap jazz, the vulgar cabarets and all of the other cultural excesses that characterized the Weimar years and made Berlin seem like one of the most exciting cities in the world.”

Philip Kerr, Berlin Noir: March Violets

“What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?”
“My health, I came to Casablanca for the waters.”
“The waters?  What waters?  We’re in the desert.”
“I was misinformed.”

Casablanca, 1943

Stocks were rallied sharply and steadily into the weekend close, after the rest of the world had gone home.

Great success.

Gold and silver went sideways, as did the US Dollar.

Dropbox has filed for an IPO.

After the close President Trump said he wants a 24% import tariff on global steel imports and a lesser import tax on aluminum.

Let the games begin.

Have a pleasant weekend.

22 February 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Sign of Jonah - Comex Option Expiration

"Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater. How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."

George Washington Carver

“What we would like to do is change the world— make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute.

We can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and dear God— please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.”

Dorothy Day

"A wicked and adulterous generation asks for yet another sign. But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."

Matt 12:39

Today was an option expiration for precious metals on the Comex. Both gold and silver were able to hold their ground. Let's see how they go into the weekend.

The US Dollar (DX) lost all the ground it gained yesterday.

Stocks had another wide ranging day, with broad highs and lows, and then finishing almost unchanged.

This swinging represents uncertainty about valuations and the future. This is not a constructive foundation for a bull market, especially one that has been based on bubbles and bullshit for so long.

I just finished 'binge watching' the German TV series, dubbed in English thankfully for Netflix, called Babylon Berlin. It is very engaging and well done.
As you know I have a keen interest in the Weimar era. It is fascinating to watch their daily struggles, and excesses, and schemes in the late 20's and early 30's, knowing full well what wickedness and utter ruin was coming their way.

As to the present, American professionals are preoccupied in addressing the great emptiness of their lives through the fevered acquisition and retention of power and money for its own sake. Our hypocrisy knows no bounds. And our estimation of ourselves and expectations for the future are excessive to say the least. Well, this is how it is at the tail end of almost any anomalous era, when a select group of men would be as the gods of their adulterous generations. And because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

Lets see how we go into the weekend.

Have a pleasant evening.

Establishment Democrats Need to Stop Fear-Mongering and Start Proposing Real Economic Policies

"It's a giant land mine of a story that could go either way. Mueller could leak the pee tape tomorrow, or we could be sitting here two years from now talking about a money laundering indictment that has nothing to do with Russia, or, who knows, the president might even turn out to be innocent (in this matter), at which point we'd have to start asking some questions about what this was all about.

We just don't know, and I know a lot of reporters from the start found the whole matter confusing, unsure of what it means. A few are even beginning to say so publicly. That we've resorted to denouncing people for saying so, or for offering alternative opinions, just shows how out of control this whole thing has gotten."

Matt Taibbi, RussiaGate Skeptics Take a Beating

The Democrats, in a pale imitation of the Republican juggernaut, gave themselves up to Big Money starting back in the 1990's.   And because of this, they cannot take the expected stands on issues of economic policy to counter the GOP. Instead they endlessly resort to ad hominem attacks and fear-mongering, to strike the 'lesser of two evils' chord, and avoid saying anything that might alienate their corporate money masters.

Yes, there *might* be more to this RussiaGate story, given all the claims lacking real evidence, just like there *might* have been real names on the list of Commies in the State Department and the Army that Senator McCarthy liked to wave around.

And when that evidence hits the table, and something more than innuendo and claims by authorities who have perjured themselves shamelessly in recent memory, I think skepticism is not only called for but entirely appropriate for the press, an obligation of the fourth establishment.  Especially given their own complicity in the Big Lies in the past that have taken us into endless wars.

The Democrats seem to have settled into the quisling like behavior of trying to serve both the people and Big Money.  Until they get back to their own roots and drop the highly cynical lesser-of-two-evils strategy they will never be able to achieve a return to the successful platform that was the basis of their glory days before the Clinton-Obama phenomenon of catering to the wealthy and professional class.

I understand how a viral dislike of Trump can be tempting to toss one's principles aside, and go along to get along.  After all, the liberal media did the same thing with the Iraq war, and the bailouts of the banks who were held virtually without serious penalty for serial felonies.   But tossing aside your principles when it favors your cause is not moral, but expedient, and hypocritical.

As the liberal dislike of Trump urges them to embrace any anti-Trump messaging, no matter how reckless or specious or veiled in secrecy it may be, keep in the mind how easily that same campaign is turned to stifling any dissent or contrary policy opinions, including Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein.

It is an old, old game, the scapegoat and the boogeyman, and this particular crew that rules the Democratic Party plays it extremely well.  In doing so, they make themselves no different from the Republicans, and that is the greatest irony of those who would be standing for reform, in name only.

There seems to be a grass roots movement within the Democratic Party towards more progressive financial issues, more supportive of the broader working public.   And it is being relentlessly and almost ruthlessly resisted by the party bosses and their establishment, casting aside all their principles, that makes them ineffective at best, and simply ridiculous and useless at worst. 

And woe be to anyone who stands up and points this out to them.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

21 February 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Faith, Force, and Fraud - Comex Option Expiration on Thursday

It is in the upper 70's here today, so I will keep this brief because it looks like a good time to toss on a pair of summer shorts and do a little straightening up outside before the cold weather comes back again.

The markets today were 'whippy' to say the least.

Most of this churning was due to the release of the January FOMC minutes, and speculation about what this means for interest rates and the Treasuries markets.

Silver held its ground, albeit rather undervalued as it is. Gold took a hit again ahead of the Comex option expiration and more importantly perhaps another day of a strong Dollar.

The dollar is being driven higher on expectations of higher dollar-denominated interest rates. That will only take it so far.

The three major components if a currency are Faith, Force, and Fraud.

Unless it is backed by something, some external standard or a peg to such a standard, a currency relies on the faith of the holders of that currency and its associated debts.

Granted a sovereign can 'print' as much of its own unanchored currency as it likes. That is what is meant by 'fiat' currency.

However, the more of the currency it prints, and the criteria it uses to print more or less of it, affects the faith placed in its value.

Force should be familiar to anyone who has studied modern currencies. A sovereign can dictate the use of its own currency, and even set a value for it for some period of time, largely within its own sphere of influence.

The example of the former Soviet Union and its satellites is a fairly good recent example. The State can decree the use of its currency, in both official and ordinary payments and transactions. And it can even dictate the relative value of it by declaring an official exchange rate. The more out-of-whack that this official valuation becomes, the more use of force will be required to impress its will within its sphere of influence.

And this discrepancy in valuation, the conscious mispricing of risk if you will, can be covered for quite some type by fraud. This fraud includes the misstating of official actions, secret agreements with both foreign and domestic banks, and of course sheer market manipulation,

But all value pools, all such artificial schemes eventually crumble and fail, all other things being equal, as long as the mispricing of risks proceeds.

This applies not only to the official currency, but for semi-official and systemic financial assets and instruments as well.

Money is power. And like most forms of power, it proves attractive to all the worst sorts of behavior and unscrupulous market participants. This is why people create governments and laws, to restrain the powerful and wealthy, given the uneven performance of human nature over time.

Have a pleasant evening.