Dark forces in the stock market

What we are witnessing in the stock market is unprecedented with moves mostly lower, but with a record-breaking break out to the upside on Wednesday.

The 1,086 point move on the Dow was the highest point move ever. The question Tuesday morning is why will we give back more than 400 points to the downside?

These moves and the huge slide before Christmas feel like a tug of war between two factions.

One with a need to damage the economy along with President Trump’s claims that he is succeeding where his predecessor failed.

The other side is somewhat muted in its response to this highjacking of the markets.

How else do you describe the latest moves?

Fed chief Jay Powell appears to be in with the first camp. How else to categorize four rate rises this year while enjoying full unemployment without finding inflation in the couch cushions.

In all my years of market watching I have no other idea of what we are witnessing in the markets. The moves are unprecedented, so therefore a new thought n the cause is needed.

The dark forces in the market are attempting to take the economy into recession through cratering consumer confidence by taking the wealth effect away from Americans. Next will be to repeal the tax cut in the House in 2019.

With these initiatives the Democrats feel they have a better shot of gaining the White House in 2020. It’s a nefarious plan backed by Democratic money in the markets.

Let’s see who will ultimately will win the war for hearts, minds and wallets.

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Fed chief Powell just hiked rates for last time

Federal Reserve chief Jay Powell hiked rates a fourth time this year on Wednesday to 2.5% for the Fed Funds Rate. He also told reporters that the committee is looking at two additional hike in 2019, taking one prospective hike away for next year.

This is the classic overshoot by the Fed. Seeing inflation that’s not there, Seeing bogeyman that will never materialize.

In the face of a global trade slowdown as Europe falls into a rioting mess over socialist policies to curb emissions with higher taxes on fuel consumption and other government intrusions into the people’s lives.

The Asian market has been weakening for all of 2018 as demand for tech goods have cratered. Apple has little market penetration for its new iPhones as consumers say $1,000+ models are too rich. I’ll stick with my older model.

Tariffs — in an attempt to level the trade playing field — have rocked China after decades of favorable trading terms. No longer having advantages against domestic producers is producing a boom for US manufacturers.

So where are Powell & Co. looking for this bogeyman called inflation? Gas is trading below $48 a barrel, however you still see problems here in the US.

Fedex reported troubling results this week in their quarterly results. This in the face of allegedly growing online sales the trucking industry is moving less freight.

This pullback by the US consumer can be put at the feet of Powell & Co. since there jawboning and hikes have taken 401(k)s into the red for the year, which has Americans pulling back. The numbers for this will come out in early 2019.

I’ll put myself on the line today, this is the last rate rise Powell will oversee. It will go so horribly wrong in 2019 that the Fed will actually have to cut rates by September 2019. This will be because of how the global slowdown will affect US growth.


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Trump has every right to be Fed up with Powell

As the Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting Tuesday, to presumably raise rates to 2.5%, President Trump is out there battling the central bank on its direction and policy.

Trump tweeted Monday:

It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike. Take the Victory!

Trump is correct in his brief economic assessment on global growth, where America’s say 2.5% rise in GDP looks a lot better than Europe or China. As well as the lack of any meaningful domestic inflation.
The Fed’s concern earlier this year was asset bubbles leading to inflation. What does that mean in layman’s terms: Americans were starting to do well in the stock market and their paychecks with the tax cuts after a decade of economic malaise were bringing them a sense of pride and contentment.
Well we can’t have that, the Fed seem to say. And sure enough with four hikes this year in rates the Fed has wiped out all gains in stocks this year and then some.
So what is the end result for America because of the Fed’s policies?
The rate hikes have muted the economic benefits of the tax cuts, by taking away revenue growth to pay for the tax cuts. Tax revenue is up slightly this year over the last couple, but if the Fed was not slamming on the brakes, then the economy would be moving ahead at closer to 4% GDP.
This tax revenue growth could allow the federal government to actual pay for the runaway entitlement programs and actually be able to cut budget deficit growth.
I don’t anticipate the Fed pausing and not raising rates at Wednesday’s meeting since it was telegraphed to the market for the last three months. Yes, the market would spike if they did pause, but then start asking itself what does the Fed know and probably sell of again.
I do agree with the President on the need for Fed chief Jay Powell to “take the victory” and pause after this hike. Let’s see where the economy sits in June 2019. It takes six months before you get the full meaning of how your economic policies are working.
I’m assuming that’s all that is at work here, a disagreement on economics and not something broader.

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Stock market gyrations, Google’s China fire

What is going on in the stock market?

The volatility and price swings of shares just does not ring true to this veteran market watcher. The year-end market moves this year defy logic. As many economic reports — while always questionable, but the only barometer used by the Street — show things are still better than the numbers from the Obama era economic malaise, they seem to fall on deaf ears.

This type of volatility has to be coming from institutional investors since the gyrations are so violent and sudden. I don’t think the incoming Democratic-controlled House is the root, since markets prefer divided government as they’re less likely to get any meaningful regulations through Congress.

Fed chairman Jay Powell needs to step aside and let his previous rate hike work through the economy and see where we stand in six months. Since there are words to that effect the Fed will more likely raise rates next week and that is baked into the market, but the language in the press conference will have greater impact.

One theory I believe is that the black box computer trading programs may have reach a critical level where the algorithms control far more shares than human decision makers, which gives you markets swing back and forth with more than 500 points in less than an hour on very little news.

Many market pros have their own interpretations, which are rooted in the past, but I think this market is being honed to towards more non-traditional sources of “news”. While veteran market makers would here rumors that could create price swings but there was discretion. Now these algorithms may take “rumors” or fake news with more seriously without discernment.


Does anyone else find it odd that hours after Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on a host of issues including the search giant developing a censored product for China a fire develops in its offices there.

Breaking: Fire breaks out in Raycom Info Tech Park, which houses Google’s office, in the Zhongguancun technology hub in Beijing, China.

https://twitter.com/PMBreakingNews/status/1072705722746585088📁

Was the order given to cover tracks on the program called Dragonfly, which was a government-approved search engine for the Chinese market, which is heavily censored by Google for access to the market.

On Tuesday Pichai was questioned numerous times during his testimony of censored search. Each time he answered with a variation of “We have no plans at this time to launch in China.”

Perhaps that comment is now true since the fire has pushed back the launch of any product.

 

 

Connecting the dots on global arrests

The global arrests of seemingly disparate individuals and international probes of banking corporations have been adding up over the last two weeks to show a more common thread.

Deutsche Bank and Danske Bank have been at the center of these financial probes with investigators seizing hordes of documents.

A global money laundering operation appears to be investigators’ focus. Illegal dealing with Iran and Russia outfits — despite sanctions existing to bar the banks from doing business with these rogue actors — is the initial reason for these probes.

Now it appears the individuals on the other side of the dealings are very well-known American and European billionaires working at the urging of once powerful political leaders from the EU and US.

We will have to wait until Dec. 13 for US Attorney John Huber’s congressional update of his Clinton Foundation investigation. His testimony was pushed back due to the funeral of ex-president George HW Bush.

On Wednesday Sabrina Meng, CFO and daughter of the founder of Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, was arrested in Vancouver at the urging of the US Justice Department. The feds allege Huawei was dealing with Iran violating the sanctions.

That’s the initial charges, but it probably goes much deeper.

We also have Saudi leader Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s troubles appear to be wrapped up in this global financial upheaval. Whether he gave the order to kill Jamal Khashoggi as the initial charges have been made, will probably never be prosecuted and if charged will not be prosecuted.

Look at the fear and loathing in the stock market. The Dow plunges 800 points on Tuesday and appears to be looking at shedding another 500 points on Thursday’s open.

I am not buying the China tariff war as the culprit for this sell off. It appears that large selling by institutional investors, which cater to moneyed individuals. There appears to be a great need to be liquid at this time. The economic numbers being put out by the feds do not warrant a fear or panic in the market.

With great change, comes some pain and we may be at the beginning of something huge about to break.