This Week in Barrons – 10-21-2012
“Many times the Questions are Complicated – the Answers are Simple.” ... Dr. Seuss
On Monday night, there will be the last Presidential debate. But like all of these debates, the questions will be hand picked soft balls. Just once I’d like to hear someone in the audience stand up and ask the tough – ‘complicated’ questions:
1. "Mr. President, with almost 11 million people living in their homes without paying the mortgage and/or taxes – tell me why your administration changed the banking regulations concerning foreclosures and bank accounting, so that people could live in their homes – not paying their mortgage – but rather purchase cars and iPads?”
2. OR – “Mr. President, previous to your administration – when a mortgage went 3 months late, a bank would start foreclosure proceedings because the bank had to take the entire loan value as a loss. Banks would then move quickly to get that house back on the market, repackaged and sold – so as to remove the loss from their books. Why did your administration change the banking rules so that banks now only have to count the missed payments as a loss, and not the entire value?”
3. OR – “Mr. President, your administration lowered the rules to make it easier for people to be granted permanent disability. And last month, more people were granted disability than actually got jobs? Is it true that in order to reduce the unemployment rate, your administration no longer counts the people on disability as unemployed?
4. OR – “Mr. President, you stated in your last campaign that you would "Fundamentally Change" America. Did you mean change it from a nation of rugged individuals, competing for the top, and being rewarded for it’s efforts – into a European Union?"
5. OR – “Mr. President, during your first term you have chosen to concentrate your efforts on Obama-care (giving a majority of the people something that they did not want) – rather than fixing the jobs and economic problems in the middle class. Aren’t you elected to give the people what THEY want?”
6. OR – “Mr President, when you took office gasoline was less than half of what it costs now. Yet while your green companies are going bankrupt and costing us billions, you continue to beat up on our proven methods of energy production such as coal, and oil. Will you ever change your mind and realize that if we cut the red tape we could again get gasoline down to a buck a gallon, saving billions for the American people?"
In my view, the economy (in the upcoming months) is going to go through a rough patch. If Obama wins, our economy will crash outright. If Romney wins, it will contract to very unhealthy levels. Therefore, I don’t think that there is anything either candidate can truly do about our short-term economic outlook. But I do believe that capitalism, entrepreneurship and significantly less regulations will get us out of the coming recession/depression faster. To quote Jack Welch: “If you can’t be right, at least be quick.”
Sometimes I make predictions that come true. One thing I mentioned a while back was: “Companies have cut their staff to they bone, and accounted their books into fantasyland; I’m wondering at what point do lower revenues equate to little or no profits?” Well – the answer is now. We’re in the middle of a war between The Ben Bernanke's QE dollars, and horrible earnings. We have seen some our largest corporations miss earnings: Microsoft, Google, IBM, McDonalds, GE, Federal Express, UPS, and Intel – to name a few. The globe is racing toward a depression. Currently The Ben Bernanke is pushing about $80 billion a month to the banks in “Operation Twist” and "QE3". I’m wondering when the big buyers of stocks (the BlackRocks, T. Row Prices, mutual funds, etc.) stop buying stocks because they will view them as being over-priced, and having falling profits?
Right now every single investor is scratching their head (confused) because Wall Street has taught them that the market goes up due to strong fundamentals, increased profits, and growth. Investors are now seeing companies that have gone higher and higher – tell us that they have no growth, no increased profits and no strong fundamentals. Does every individual investor sell? Well, individual investors have removed $470B from mutual funds thus far. So how is the market within 220 points of a 4-year high – with so much money coming out of the market? The answer is Benji Bucks.
In the past if IBM and Google would have missed earnings by as much as they did – we would be down a thousand or more DOW points – not the couple hundred we saw on Friday. Could this snowball – absolutely – but what we’re seeing is that with $80B coming IN from The Ben Bernanke – is enough to temporarily offset the $470B (in total) that is going OUT by investors.
I thought we would see horrible earnings and we are. I still feel that Benji Bucks will support the market, and (at some point) cause buyers to ignore earnings and warnings and move the market higher. I also think that at some point next year we are going to enter a monster bear market. It will be so powerful, that The Ben Bernanke will have to pump close to $200B a month to stave off a depression. This experiment has never been tried before, so nobody knows how this book will end.
On Friday we closed the day below the 50-day moving average on the DOW. That is a problem in the short-term. I’m honestly surprised that the market didn’t rally and bring us back over that level for Friday’s close. That is a significant change from the last couple of times we dipped below the DOW 50-day moving average. But the S&P 50-day moving average is considerably more important, and it has held it’s 1,427 support level, as we closed at 1,433 on Friday. In a nutshell:
- I am cautious investor with the DOW under 13,600.
- If we close a couple days over DOW 13,6000 I would get very bullish.
- If the S&P drops below the 1,427 level, I would get very bearish.
Thanks to DS for this: The biggest upside catalyst for gold is a massive re-evaluation by the Basel Committee of Bank Supervision (BCBS). The BCBS sets the international rules for banks. Currently gold is rated as a Tier 3 asset. This means banks can only carry 50% of its market value as capital. This could change in a few short months as it is rumored that the Basel Committee is planning on turning gold into a Tier 1 asset so that it can be carried at 100% of its value. The more Tier 1 assets that a bank has, the more money it can lend. What nations would this impact, well let’s see who’s carrying the most in gold reserves:
- USA = Gold reserves: 8,133.5 tons
- Germany = Gold reserves: 3,395.5 tons
- Italy = Gold reserves: 2,451.8 tons
- France = Gold reserves: 2,435.4 tons
- China = Gold reserves: 1,054.1 tons
- Switzerland = Gold reserves: 1,040.1 tons
- Russia = Gold reserves: 936.7 tons
- Japan = Gold reserves: 765.2 tons
- Netherlands = Gold reserves: 612.5 tons
- India = Gold reserves: 557.7 tons
Hmmmm – imagine that!
This week I purchased some: TCK, RIG, CLF, WYNN, and DE. I stopped out of: FDX for a $2 gain, DE for a $2 gain, and WYNN for a $4 gain. I am still holding the Silver stocks – breaking my discipline – as a hedge against inflation and our currency. I temporarily removed my stops on TCK, CLF and BRCM because the last 90 minutes of trading on Friday were horrific!
My current short-term holds are:
- TCK at 32.22 (currently 31.63) – no stop just yet
- RIG at 48.00 (currently 48.52) – stop at entry
- CLF at 44.66 (currently 44.10) – no stop just yet
- BRCM at 33.52 (currently 33.34) – no stop just yet
- SIL – in at 24.51 (currently 24.47) – no stop just yet
- SLW – in at 38.50 (currently 39.02) – no stop just yet
- GLD (ETF for Gold) – in at 158.28, (currently 166.67) – no stop ($1,722.80 per physical ounce), AND
- SLV (ETF for Silver) – in at 28.3 (currently 31.00) – no stop ($32.07 per physical ounce).
To follow me on Twitter and get my daily thoughts and trades – my handle is: taylorpamm.
Please be safe out there!
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Until next week – be safe.