RF's Financial News

RF's Financial News

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This Week in Barrons - 11-11-2012

This Week in Barrons – 11-11-2012

“Opportunity is missed by most people because opportunity is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” … Thomas Edison

It’s the morning after the election, and we need to get back to work fixing our country.  Obama has been re-elected, and the market rewarded him by falling about 450 points in 3 days.  Previously I suggested that the market may ‘pout’ if Obama won, and I'd call 450 points a pretty big tantrum.  Small businessmen are blogging that they’re going to be shutting down due to the regulations and taxes.  Financially – SK writes that: “Several sectors such as defense, energy and financials may well encounter headwinds during Obama’s second term.”   My thinking is that traditional energy companies may suffer from both increased and enforcement of EPA regulations.  The financial sector will also face increased regulatory implementation and oversight, especially with Elizabeth Warren being elected to the Senate.  Also think thru your municipal bond investments because the value of municipal bonds is partly determined by the value of their tax exemption.  An increase in tax rates could increase the value of these bonds, while a limit on tax exemptions could reduce the value.

Mathematically we cannot tax our way out of our country’s fiscal dilemma.  Nor can we ‘mathematically’ cut spending (in a short enough timeframe) that will make a difference.  A true global reset like Bretton Woods (where 170 World leaders gathered and hammered out the new global reserve currency and re-priced all currencies) could be the last shoe to fall.  We (as a country):
-       Still have $700 Trillion in derivatives to contend with. 
-       Still have $90+ Trillion in National debt and unfunded liabilities.
-       Still have over 43M people on food stamps, and over 80+ social programs to support.
-       Still take in less in taxes than we pay out.
-       And we need to make sure that we hold steadfast the concept of: Hard Work + Personal Responsibility = Success and Wealth Creation!

We all need to get to work planning for:
-       Small businesses going out of business due to increased taxes and healthcare costs,
-       Much higher inflation,
-       The ultimate demise of the European Union (with Spain leading it’s downfall and Greece being the prime example), and
-       Plan for a major market crash – while the timing is suspect it is inevitable.

We’ve chosen the path of printing more money – that leads to hyperinflation – that always ends with a crash; rather than clearing out the dead wood, letting the bankrupt banks fail, raising interest rates, stabilizing savings, and relying on our innovation, our small businesses, our entrepreneurs to dig us out of this mess. 

With the 450-point drop – this ‘wild ride’ has already started.

The Market:

Obama won the election.  The market greeted him with a 450-point plunge.  Welcome back Kotter.  Why the big selloff?  One reason I’m hearing is that most of the people running the EU are Goldman Sachs alumni – and they were told to keep the EU stable until after the election.  Don't you find it interesting that we didn't hear a thing about Europe going down the toilet for two months, and the VERY DAY Obama wins, Greece goes up in flames with riots over austerity?

And now we have the "Fiscal Cliff" to contend with.  What is the “Fiscal Cliff”?  The “Fiscal Cliff” is the penalty for a bi-partisan committee’s (along with President Obama) not reaching agreement on a financial direction for our nation.  A series of consequences (laws) will go into effect at midnight on December 31st, 2012 that:
-       End last year's temporary payroll tax cuts (resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers),
-       End certain tax breaks for businesses,
-       Shift the Alternative Minimum Tax resulting in a larger individual and corporate tax bite,
-       End the ‘Bush Era’ tax cuts,
-       Begin the “Obama Care” taxes, and
-       Begin all the spending cuts agreed upon, as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 (such as a 10% decrease in defense spending). 

By going over the “Fiscal Cliff”, the CBO tells us that the combination of higher taxes and spending cuts would:
-       Reduce the deficit by an estimated $560 billion,
-       Cut our 2013 GDP by 4% sending the economy into a massive recession and/or depression,
-       Increase unemployment by over 1%,
-       Be responsible for a loss of approximately 2 Million jobs.

According to J.P. Morgan economist Michael Feroli, $280 Billion would be pulled out of the economy by the sun-setting of the Bush tax cuts, $125 Billion from the expiration of the Obama payroll-tax holiday, $40 Billion from the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits, and $98 Billion from Budget Control Act spending cuts.  In total, the tax increases and spending cuts make up about 3.5% of GDP, with the Bush tax cuts making up about half of that.

Our economy is in no position to weather that kind of storm.  So in one day we changed focus from who’s going to win, to “Oh no - Europe's going down the toilet".  In one day we went from standing in voting lines, to "Oh no – in less than 2 months, our GDP will go horribly negative". 

Now the question is, can they get their act together and make a year end market run?  They could, but the real question is why?  The economy isn't going to magically heal itself because Obama's still in office.  Corporate sales are not mystically going to increase.  The only way the market could make a move higher is if Obama calls The Ben Bernanke and says: "Print up A LOT MORE DOLLARS and pass it around the stock market so it rises and people love me".  

The issue is that technically the DOW has lost it's 50 AND it's 200-day moving averages. The S&P lost it's 50, but is still clinging to it’s 200-day moving average at 1380.  That is the line of demarcation.  If the S&P loses that 200-day average, then I'm going to go (in a big way) to cash; however if we hold that 200-day, they might use that as something of a support and build sideways and upward from there.  Again, even though the DOW is the most watched and reported index on earth, it's the S&P that all the fundies use as a benchmark.  If the S&P doesn't hold, this could turn (very quickly) into a really interesting pull back.  Don't get brave and try and buy the dip, not yet.  If it's going to hold, we'll know soon enough. 

Factually, the internals are a mess, and there's an awful lot of "stuff" being sold – more than the averages suggest.  The world looks fairly worried about "something", and I don’t blame them.  Things couldn't stink much more, and if someone tries to tell you that the millions of folks on the NJ/NY coast are going to be out spending for iPhones and Christmas tech gear – well – don’t bet on it.  Hurricane Sandy money will be spent, just not on the ‘usual’ Holiday items.

In 2011 over $100B dollars came out of mutual funds, and in 2012 over $78B more was pulled out of the market.  Some of this is going to bonds, some to gold, but a big percentage of this is going to pay the monthly bills.  Don’t forget that when a postal worker is laid off – they get 2 years of unemployment.  When the small business guy is laid off – all he has is his 401k.  So, I expect the huge outflows to continue, only to be countered by The Ben Bernanke giving banks billions to try and support the market.  While a "bounce" is certain, what isn't certain is if the bounce will hold and whether they will work us higher into year- end?  There was a lot of damage done on Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday didn't do much to undue that damage. 
Until things quiet down, sitting on your hands isn't a bad play, and we’ll make our trades when we see a trend develop.


I continued to be somewhat of a “deer in headlights” this week – not wanting to catch the proverbial “falling knife” – but not wanting to ‘go short’ for fear of The Ben Bernanke.  This coming week – if the S&P fails its 200-day moving average (1380) – I will continue to move to cash in order to ride out this storm. 

For those of you unaccustomed to trading ‘options’ – you may want to consider the ‘inverse’ ETF’s offered by ProShares …
-       Short the DOW 30 – ticker symbol = DOG
-       Ultra Short the DOW 30 = SDOW
-       Short the ‘Financials’ – ticker symbol = SEF
-       Ultra Short the Financials = FINZ
-       Short the Nasdaq = PSQ
-       Ultra Short the Nasdaq = SQQQ
-       And if you LOVE SILVER = Ultra Silver = AGQ

My current short-term holds are:
-       SIL – in at 24.51 (currently 23.88) – no stop yet
-       SLW – in at 38.50 (currently 40.51) – stop at entry
-       GLD (ETF for Gold) – in at 158.28, (currently 167.76) – no stop ($1,730.30 per physical ounce), AND
-       SLV (ETF for Silver) – in at 28.3 (currently 31.57) – no stop ($32.59 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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R.F. Culbertson

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