21 March 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Providence, the Hidden Hand

"Wonderful providence indeed which is so silent, yet so efficacious, so constant, so unerring.  This is what baffles the power of Satan.  He cannot discern the Hand of God in what goes on; and though he would fain meet it and encounter it, in his mad and blasphemous rebellion against heaven, he cannot find it.

Crafty and penetrating as he is, yet his thousand eyes and his many instruments avail him nothing against the majestic serene silence, the holy imperturbable calm which reigns through the providence of God."

John Henry Newman, Parochial Sermon 17

Unless you were buried by a snowdrift you know that the Fed did the expected today, increasing their benchmark rate by 25 bp and maintaining their vectors for three interest rate increases this year, and two next year.

There was some feeling based on remarks in their statement that the Fed was signaling a bit more hawkishness based on increasing employment levels and a recovering economy. This also sparked some indications that three rate increases for this year are fully priced in, and the possibility for a fourth has increased somewhat.

Gold and silver, which had been showing some perkiness, took off higher, rallying quite a bit more than our most recent experiences.

And conversely the Dollar took a swan dive, at least for the day. I have posted a chart of that action below.

However, it should be noted that in the bigger picture the Dollar and the Metals are still just wriggling around in trading ranges. While there is some real potential on the charts, that potential has yet to be confirmed.

Bonds rallied, perhaps because the hawkish of the statement was snot as much as expected, and it was tempered even more by Jay Powell in his press conference.

Oil rallied along with gold and silver, helping boost the commodities.   There was another larger than expected drawdown in oil supplies.

It has been announced that Trumpolini will be announcing  new tariffs aimed at punishing China for their transgressions in abusing US corporate Intellectual Property rights.  It could be important to watch how China responds.

For today those who were positioned well can take some comfort from the results.

And for all those many more who don't chase the wiggles, but hold on for the longer term, things continue unwinding, slowly but surely, with much that can give them some rightful optimism.

There will be a stock option expiration for the precious metals next Monday the 26th. I have included that calendar below.

Let's see how the rest of the week unfolds.

The nor'easter, which has been passing through all day, is under-achieving itself so far. But the snow is now sticking, slowly but surely, and the forecasters are saying that we are in for heavier bands of snowfall from a bit later for about six hours. This is how the other nor'easter also worked its devices— deceptively slow to start, and then all in a rush.

As for me, I have the young man to assist me, and a very capable snowblower at the ready. And from her serene perch indoors, Dolly views all this with her usual disdain for all things that are snow or rain.

Have a pleasant evening.

A Breed Apart Without Conscience - Psychopaths and Systemic Crisis

Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets.  Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.

Psychopaths often come across as arrogant, shameless braggarts—self-assured, opinionated, domineering, and cocky.  They love to have power and control over others and seem unable to believe that other people have valid opinions different from theirs.

What makes psychopaths different from all others is the remarkable ease with which they lie, the pervasiveness of their deception, and the callousness with which they carry it out.

The most debilitating characteristic of even the most well-behaved psychopath is the inability to form a workable team.

The majority of people and therefore workplaces are easy prey, because we still want to believe that people are inherently good.  We don't really want to believe that such people exist...Wherever you find money, prestige and power you will find them.

We are far more likely to lose our life savings to an oily-tongued swindler than our lives to a steely-eyed killer.

Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience

And this is why people must come together, to create a system of laws and transparency, of checks and balances, of objective oversight.

It is difficult to believe that we have to remind otherwise intelligent adults, who might be temporarily, but too often enthusiastically, blinded by some utopian ideology too often crafted by devious intents, that not everyone is good, law-abiding, and honest.

20 March 2018

But If Not...

Excerpt of the Sermon "But If Not" by Martin Luther King

The God of the Markets
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.

But if not, even if he does not preserve us, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the images of gold you have set up and commanded us to worship."

Daniel 3:16-18

Now I want you to notice first, here, that these young men practiced civil disobedience.

Civil disobedience is the refusal to abide by an order of the government or of the state or even of the court that your conscience tells you is unjust. Civil disobedience is based on a commitment to conscience. In other words, one who practices civil disobedience is obedient to what he considers a higher law.

And there comes a time when a moral man can't obey a law which his conscience tells him is unjust. And I tell you this morning, my friends, that history has moved on, and great moments have often come forth because there were those individuals, in every age and in every generation, who were willing to say "I will be obedient to a higher law." These men were saying "I must be disobedient to a king in order to be obedient to the king."

And those people who so often criticize those of us who come to those moments when we must practice civil disobedience never remember that even right here in America, in order to get free from the oppression and the colonialism of the British Empire, our nation practiced civil disobedience.  For what represented civil disobedience more than the Boston Tea Party.

And never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was legal. It was legal to do everything that Hitler did to the Jews. It was a law in Germany that Hitler issued himself that it was wrong and illegal to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. But I tell you if I had lived in Hitler's Germany with my attitude, I would have openly broken that law. I would have practiced civil disobedience.

And so it is important to see that there are times when a man-made law is out of harmony with the moral law of the universe, there are times when human law is out of harmony with eternal and divine laws. And when that happens, you have an obligation to break it.

And I'm happy that in breaking it, I have some good company. I have Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I have Jesus and Socrates. And I have all of the early Christians who refused to bow...

And this is what I want to say finally, that there is a reward if you do right for righteousness' sake...Don't ever think you're by yourself. Go on to jail if necessary but you'll never go alone.

Take a stand for that which is right, and the world may misunderstand you and criticize you, but you never go alone, for somewhere I read that "One with God is a majority," and God has a way of transforming a minority into a majority.

Walk with him this morning and believe in him and do what is right and he'll be with you even until the consummation of the ages. Yes, I've seen the lightning flash, I've heard the thunder roll, I've felt sin breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul but I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on, he promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone; no, never alone, no, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.

Where you going this morning, my friends, tell the world that you're going with truth. You're going with justice, you're going with goodness, and you will have an eternal companionship. And the world will look at you and they won't understand you, for your fiery furnace will be around you, but you'll go on anyhow.

But if not, I will not bow, and God grant that we will never bow before the gods of evil."

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - FOMC Tomorrow

'Life is a school of probabilities.'

Walter Bagehot

Stocks were largely unchanged today. There are going to be watching Jay Powell's first FOMC meeting as Chairman when they issue their decision and guidance tomorrow afternoon.

Gold and silver were off a bit, based on a stronger 'King Dollar' as Larry Kudlow likes to say.

I thought it was interesting that China has apparently given some signals that in response to any US trade tariffs they might be inclined to take some action in the debt and currency markets.

The Fed is widely expected to raise their benchmark rate by 25 bp tomorrow. To do anything else would likely shock the markets.   Since they are raising rates for their own purposes, to get as far off the zero bound as possible before this latest asset bubble collapses, I imagine that they will keep pressing on until the economy starts to sputter so obviously that there will be no denying it.

I hope this is not one of those scenarios where the first undeniable indication of a serous problem will be a heart attack in the equity and bond markets.

So they will be updating their wording and 'dot plots' possibly, and traders will be watching to see if they indicate three or four rate hikes in 2018.  It's not clear to me that it makes a beans worth of practical difference whether the Fed raises three or four times this year.  But this is the kind of thing that these money-printed, risk-mispricing markets like to do.

It appears that this latest nor'easter named Toby is going to be much less benign than originally forecast, and is going to be clobbering the NYC metro and tri-state area tomorrow with about a foot of snow.

Dolly and I are enjoying some home made soup, and snuggling down for a long winter's day tomorrow.  I think the young man will be spending the night since NYU will be closed tomorrow.  He and Dolly have a remarkable rapport.

This is the fourth nor-easter we have had in three weeks. Its nice not to have to go anywhere if you don't want to.  Just like its nice not to have to play in these utterly crooked markets.

Have a pleasant evening.