Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stock Market Up, Up and Away, Elliott Wave Analysis for Week Starting 21st Feb

For the eleventh week in a row the SPX made new bull market highs this week. Statistically that is quite a run as this seven month uptrend continues to extend. Economic reports were plentiful and positive. Thirteen were positive or improving, four negative or weakening, and one flat. The negatives were declines in industrial production, building permits and the M1-multiplier, plus an increase in weekly jobless claims. The NAHB housing index remains flat and bouncing along the bottom. On the positive side; the PPI/CPI were positive, along with import/export prices, retail sales, the leading indicators. On the improve were the NY/Philly FED, business inventories, capacity utilization, the monetary base and the WLEI.

For the week the SPX/DOW were +1.0%, and the NDX/NAZ were +0.75%. Asian markets gained 2.4%, European markets added 1.2%, the Commodity equity group rallied 1.8%, and the DJ World index rose 1.8% as well. US Bonds were +0.5%, Crude added 1.6%, Gold rallied 2.3% (Silver was +8.8%), and the USD declined 1.1%. With the FOMC minutes and Options expiration now behind us we look ahead this week to housing, consumer confidence/sentiment and friday’s second estimate on Q4 GDP. Monday is a national holiday in the US: Presidents Day.

LONG TERM: bull market

This week we will take another look at the OEW characteristics of a typical bull market. Keep in mind a bull market is not confirmed by OEW until there is a long term uptrend. We have been in one for over a year now. Gold, in contrast, has been in a confirmed long term uptrend since 2001.

When we review the SPX weekly chart above, which displays a bear market sandwiched by two bull markets, we observe several technical characteristics. First, during the 2002-2007 and the 2009 bull markets the RSI spends most of its time in an overbought condition and only gets slightly oversold during corrections. Inversely, during the 2007-2009 bear market the RSI spends most of its time in an oversold condition and during rallies gets only slightly overbought. Second, during bull markets the MACD generally remains above neutral during the entire bull market. Then during a bear market it remains below neutral. Lastly, during bull markets the OEW wave patterns unfold in impulse waves (five waves up). While during bear markets they unfold in corrective waves (three waves down). The technical evidence clearly suggests we have been in a bull market since March 2009. This is certainly one picture that is worth a thousand words.

MEDIUM TERM: uptrend high @ SPX 1344

In September we published the following bull market projection based upon the characteristics the stock market had displayed up until that point in time. The market at the time was at SPX 1149: In this tentative projection we estimated a six month uptrend from July10 to Jan11 topping around the OEW 1313 pivot. The market hit that pivot range on February first. But the uptrend displays no signs of reversing yet and we are clearly into its seventh month.

Also noted in the report was the tendency for the uptrends to unfold in three month intervals, or their multiples: Mar-Jun, July-Jan and early Feb to late April. The next window for a potential top, using this bull market characteristic, would be April: nine months.

In regard to price. Since our first price objective of the OEW 1313 pivot has already been met. And, this uptrend continues to extend. Our second price objective of the OEW 1440 pivot is next. Between friday’s close at SPX 1343 and the 1440 pivot is nearly another 100 SPX points (7.2%) and four OEW pivots: 1363, 1372, 1386 and 1440. Notice the large gap between the 1386 and 1440 pivots. This gap is similar to the current pivot gap between 1313 and 1363 pivots.

Are we projecting SPX 1440 by April? Only if the SPX clears the 1386 pivot and remains in this uptrend. In fact, it is possible that this uptrend can extend all the way out until July, twelve months, and then hit the third price objective at the OEW 1552 pivot. If this did occur it would probably be all of Primary wave III, not just Major wave 1. All the anticipated Major waves would have unfolded within the context of one uptrend. Rare, but it did occur once before in the early 1950′s. For now, lets take this bull market one OEW pivot at a time.


Support for the SPX remains at 1313 and then 1303, with resistance at 1363 and then 1372. Short term momentum ended the week just above neutral. Tracking an extending uptrend, such as this, is quite testing for even the best technicians. We’re quite comfortable with the labeling of the four Intermediate waves noted in the chart above: wave i SPX1129, wave ii SPX 1040, wave iii SPX 1227 and wave iv SPX 1173. From that November Intermediate wave four SPX 1173 low, Intermediate wave five looked like it would complete at the OEW 1303 pivot in late January. But this uptrend was not done yet, and after the largest pullback since that low the market turned right around and the uptrend started to extend.

Currently the most probable wave count would suggest that Intermediate wave five is extending, and it is currently in Minor wave 3 of that extension. This suggests we still have a Minor waves 4 and 5 ahead of us before the uptrend ends. Minor wave 3 should run into resistance at the OEW 1363 pivot. Which also matches a cluster of fibonacci relationships (SPX 1360-1364) noted in last weekend’s report.
We are also carrying one other potential SPX wave count, which is labeled on the NDX daily chart. We will be moving that count over to the DOW daily chart shortly. The NDX, btw, has already exceeded its 2007 high by 7.4%, and the NAZ is less than 1% below its 2007 high. The very low probability alternate bearish count, labeled on the NAZ chart, will be eliminated. Best to your trading!


Asian markets were all higher on the week for a 2.4% net gain. India’s BSE and Hong Kong’s HSI may have both bottomed in their downtrends, India with a positive divergence, and are both rallying. The other three indices are uptrending.

European markets were also all higher on the week for a 1.2% net gain. All five european indices are in uptrends.

The Commodity equity group was mixed on the week for a net gain of 1.8%. Brazil’s BVSP looks very much like India’s BSE, with a downtrend low on a positive divergence and rallying. The other two indices are in uptrends.

The DJ World index remains in an uptrend and gained 1.8% on the week.

COMMODITIES: the bull market continues

Bond prices remain in a downtrend but bounced off of recents lows to gain 0.5% on the week. 10YR yields nearly hit 3.75% recently, their highest level since the spring of 2010.

Crude is still in an OEW uptrend, despite the recent weakness, and gained 1.6% on the week.

Gold continues to rally from its recent downtrend low at $1308. It gained 2.3% on the week. Uptrending Silver gained 8.8% for the week and made new bull market highs.
The downtrending USD lost 1.1% on the week. It has remained in a DXY 76-81 trading range since November.


Monday is a national holiday. Tuesday kicks off the economic week with the always interesting Case-Shiller housing report. Identifying the end of this bear market, when it occurs, will impact the largest part of the population. Also on tuesday we have the Consumer confidence reading. On wednesday Existing home sales will be reported. Then on thursday, weekly Jobless claims, Durable goods, the FHFA housing index, and New home sales. On friday Q4 GDP and the Consumer sentiment reading. The FED has only one thing on their agenda. On friday vice-chairman Yellen gives a speech in NYC. Best to your extended weekend!

Continue reading this article >>

Economic Sentiment is Split

By Barry Ritholtz

Floyd Norris points out an oddity of the general sentiment: People seem to think the economy is improving — but their personal finacial situation is not:
“AMERICANS are becoming more optimistic about the prospects for the economy, but are still concerned about their own financial situation.
For the first time in six years, at least half of Americans questioned for the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index said they believed that business conditions had improved over the previous year, according to the preliminary results from the February survey.”
Optimism for the Economy, Less for Themselves
click for ginormous chart

Many Americans See Economy Improving, but Not for Them
NYT, February 18, 2011

Want To Know When US Stocks Will Fall? Just Use This Simple Chart

It was another semi-unbelievable week of machine-like advances in the stock market.

What will it take for stocks to fall?

Perhaps this chart, which we published earlier, will help. It shows the booms and busts of the Nikkei, and notes that peaks almost always coincided with tightening measures of some form.

If the US is Japan, then just wait for the Fed to move, or (perhaps more likely) the Congress to seriously turn off the stimulus tap. If history repeats, that's when we're going to fall.
japan nikkei

Stock Market Rapidly Approaching Long-term Resistance.......

What a great ride this has been for us. Fun for sure. Bigger picture, as long as printing press Ben is active, the fun should last a lot longer. That doesn't mean the market won't take some time out to pause and sell down some. There are a plethora of reasons to expect a sell off some time soon. The three primary ones are major resistance on the Nasdaq (chart included) at 2861. Add strong resistance on the transports and small caps (charts also included), and you have a lot of sectors close to major resistance. The second reason is overbought daily charts, and finally, you have confirming, very overbought, weekly charts on the major indexes. RSI's in the upper 70's on the Dow and S&P 500 on those weekly charts. Stochastic's a hair under 100. It doesn't go higher than 100.

The froth is building. We've loved every second of it, but the froth is getting old and still building. You can see the primary reasons to think we'll sell off soon, but again, you never short a primary bull market, because you simply can not time the moment the move will begin. You can go very broke waiting. This doesn't mean you shouldn't, or can't, start raising more cash. I believe you should. Again, no shorting, but short-term it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to be going ultra long. It's best to be cautious, because historically, the market has had some very nasty pullbacks when the oscillators have gotten this high for an extended period. On the weekly charts in particular. Can take another week. Who knows, but again, not getting overly aggressive, because the risk reward is definitely the way to go for now.
Now let's talk about this market. Do not mistake a strong pullback for the end of the bull market. Once this pulls down hard most will think the bull market has come to an end. It is not going to be over. Earnings are powerful for sure, and ultimately, that's what moves a market. If earnings are strong people will want in, and if the current trend continues, as it is likely to thanks to Ben, then the bull market should hold very well over the rest of the year.

Look at the selling as an opportunity to get very long. It won't be easy knowing when to go back in hard, but the market oscillators will lend a hand in that arena. The market will bring about some fear in the near future, and that's what it will need. We've had a 30-plus spread on the bull bear ratio for weeks, if not longer. Retail is rocking in and buying all dips. The put-call buying is exploding on the up side. These are all hints that sooner than later we'll have to see a strong selling episode. Welcome it.

When looking at today's market it is very interesting. We saw some major sell off from the recent leaders, especially those in technology and the commodity world. Apple Inc. (AAPL), Mosaic Co. (MOS) , Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT), Agrium Inc. (AGU), and Walter Energy Inc. (WLT), to name just a very few of them. All of them put in topping candles for the near-term, yet, these leaders didn't take the overall market lower, which is really bullish behavior. Classic bull market behavior for sure. Rotation! This is the very reason why I tell you to never short a bull market. Stocks can pull back very hard, yet, not affect the overall market.

Normally, when leaders, such as these, pull back and put in topping candles, you'd expect the whole market to come racing down with them. But that's just not happening right now. This is also what makes calling the top of the move so difficult. The market has yet to show that it's going to come down hard and correct, although, as I said, that could happen at any moment. It's also why you have to have at least a drop of exposure, even at extremes of overbought such as we have. Stay with the trend, and use corrections to buy, rather than trying to time a shorting period.

Support is all over the place for this market, and the reason why It will be very tough for the bears going forward with respect to getting too much down side action, before we reverse back up as things unwind. There are gaps galore and critical exponential moving averages so close together. When one is taken out, then immediately there's another one to deal with.

You don't get a lot of "thin air" moving lower. Just too many levels of support in a small area. For the Nasdaq, we have first support at 2812, which is gap support. Below that we have support at 2800 down to 2780 where there is the 20-day exponential moving average. For the S&P 500, we have gap support at 1329. Below that is the 20-day exponential moving average at 1316. Just one percent below that first gap support. On and on we go with support after support close together.

In closing, the daily index chart RSI's are in the low to upper 70's. The weekly index charts are in the mid to upper 70's. 79 on the Dow. This means there is extreme risk short-term for a powerful reversal lower to correct this intense level of overbought. Stochastic's 99.5. Can't last, but again, you can't accurately predict the moment this caves in. Keeping some long exposure is what you do, but don't go overboard.

Give yourself a break and have a great 3-day weekend.

GOLD RED ALERT: U.S. Government Plans Confiscation of Gold and Silver This Year

Sherrie writes: I received an email with the words "RED ALERT".  I received this from someone heavily involved and an expert in the metals and mining.  I highly respect both men involved, as they know and always telling the truth about what is happening in the world of metals.

David Morgan of Silver-Investor, an absolute expert in silver and the mining field and has a wonderful and very insightful news letter.  I am a member and get the newsletter due to the amount of his knowledge of silver/gold and mining.  In fact, David Morgan has given me the green light to post bits of information from his paid subscription newsletter.  I am thankful he is allowing that, as there is information in it that is not found any where else on the internet.  His newsletter gives investment information of metals and mining as no other person I have read.   I believe many benefit from the newsletter and I hope what small blurbs I reproduce here will also help others in keeping the value of their money as it is (but it is dropping fast every day - so action needs to be taken by all - in my opinion).  I will start doing some postings with his insight within days.  But I encourage anyone who wants to be on top of silver and mining and ahead of the game, subscribe to his newsletter! 

David Morgan passed on to me a "RED ALERT" email he received from Roger Wiegand.  Roger Wiegand is someone else I follow in regards to the truth about the gold and silver markets.  I love reading his articles on Kitco and his website -WeBeatTheStreet.  I have had his website as a bookmark for years on my computer.  A site for radio interviews with Roger, besides others like Jim Willie (who I follow, also) is Korelin Economics Report.  In my opinion this is another bookmark needed for those who follow what is happening in metals closely.

I highly respect Roger Wiegand's articles and information and highly recommend everyone to follow him!

Both David Morgan and Roger Wiegand are about Truth of the metals market and do not sensationalize their information.  So when I received this Red Alert email, I have confidence in this actually being very real in  potential.

Roger Wiegand sent out a RED ALERT email to other metal experts/analysis, due to information from multiple high level inside sources of his, of the potential of confiscation of gold and silver from the American Public, this year for a new world currency.  

Roger and I have exchanged a couple of emails regarding this Red Alert, with my asking permission to publish it.  He has given me the green light to release this to the public, as long as I made sure to say this is not absolute, but a potential from his high placed inside sources. This is the email sent out - without any changes and exact!
Editor: There is a plan to use the IMF (AKA US Treasury and Wall Street) to be the front man for the new world order and one currency.We also got disturbing news yesterday from an impeccable source that when gold touches $2,000 it’s confiscated in the USAfor about $200. Then it’s to be reissued by the Treasury for $10,000 per ounce to back the new IMF world currency using SDRS in 2011.  Large physical gold is being moved to
I very much thank both David Morgan and Roger Wiegand for allowing me to post this information as I believe it will help all who read it to become aware of what is being discussed as a potential of future events.
The article in the email links to the IMF calling for a new trading currency in place of the U.S. dollar.  The writing is on the wall.  I just have to ask, has everyone been paying attention?  Also when an email like this goes out from a very well respected metals expert to other experts in the field, everyone should sit up and pay attention!

Continue reading this article >>

Gold and Silver Rally is Not Over Yet

As per the World Gold Council, precious metals demand will stay high this year with growing Indian and Chinese appetite for the yellow metal, but fresh buying in developed markets of jewelry will depend on economic outlook. At this juncture, market news suggests positive momentum for precious metals. Investment and industrial demand are set to witness an upsurge in the upcoming months. Let’s have an outlook on the present status of precious metals market.

Gold has recently touched its rising resistance level but no confirmation of a local top has been seen. The current short-term trend therefore has not been invalidated and the outlook remains bullish. Silver has broken out above previous highs on strong volume and this too is a bullish development. In fact this is what we wrote to our Subscribers on Monday, Feb 14th:

The recent rally in the general stock market has greatly contributed to silver's strong performance relative to gold and - based on the fact that stocks have decisively moved above their August 2008 highs - the continuation of the outperformance [of silver] appears probable also in the days ahead.

Amid anticipations of positive moves in precious metals, let’s have a close look into gold market moves. Relationship between currencies and precious metals, gold in particular, is one of the major indicators in predicting market direction, so let’s take a look how gold moved in comparison to the key currency indices (charts courtesy by

In the short-term Euro Index chart this week, the bearish head and shoulders pattern continues. Nothing has really changed since last week and further development of this pattern gives us a bearish outlook for the euro which is bullish for the USD Index and precious metals overall.

Gold has been moving along with the dollar and has been somewhat “euro weakness driven”. It seems that perhaps many European Investors in the Euro-zone are protecting themselves against the weakness of the euro. This contributes to the bullish outlook for the dollar and also for gold.

Moreover, we can see the same on the medium-term USD Index chart.  The uptrend is continuing here although a bit of sideways movement has been seen within the trend channel. It’s important to note that the short-term trend is up as proven by higher highs and higher lows seen in the past weeks.

Concerning the cyclical turning points, we are just past the midpoint of the two turning points: last local bottom and the next local extreme. No bearish signs have been seen yet which implies we are not likely close to a local top. It will likely be seen in two to three weeks.

Overall, the Euro – USD Indices suggests positive momentum for precious metals in the upcoming weeks. Precious metals depict a positive correlation with gold and a negative correlation with Euro, indicative of bullish market trend at this time.

While the influence of the currency market is important, an insight into gold market seasonality at this moment is also promising.  On 10th February, we wrote that,  based on the findings of our new tool – True Seasonals, a rise in the price of gold was possible in mid-February. As a matter of fact, these findings turned out to be accurate in the past few days. After the publication, one of our Subscribers, who was particularly interested in True Seasonals (note that this is not the same pattern as you see on other websites – in fact we don’t know of any other source that provides seasonal patterns while taking into account expiration of options/futures – that’s why we call them True Seasonals), made a request to include the seasonal chart for March in the next Premium Update.

Today, we are pleased to make a positive response to that request. The chart below presents the seasonal pattern corrected for the expiration of derivatives for March. As the price of gold for March 1st, 2011 is yet to be known, we have assumed that this price is equal to the last known price of gold ($1379 – February 17th, 2011).

The use of True Seasonals is particularly important when there are no other market signals about the possible direction gold might go. When there are no clear signals, one should resort to the seasonal pattern. In other words, the analysis of the current market situation and the use of True Seasonals are complementary – when the current market situation is inconclusive, True Seasonals may offer you the clarification you need.

The chart also implies that the recovery of gold in the second part of the month might be relatively slow (compared to the possible decline) and bumpy (please, notice the slight decline after March 18th). Another implication is that gold might not be able to reach the price level from the beginning of March by the end of the month. Please note that this outcome would be in tune with the cyclical tendencies present on the USD Index and the fact that the dollar and precious metals have been moving mostly together in the recent months.

On a side note, we strongly believe that providing True Seasonals for April and following months in the above form will not be necessary, as by the time they are needed, the interactive version will be available on our new website (please take a look at our homepage for a short video featuring it).

Summing up, the USD Index is likely to move higher as the bullish sentiment prevails here. In the Euro Index, a continued downtrend is likely and the outlook is bearish. The situation in the USD Index and the general stock market is positive for the precious metals as a whole. Consequently, we believe that the rally in gold, silver and mining stocks is not over yet.

To make sure that you are notified once the new features are implemented, and get immediate access to my free thoughts on the market, including information not available publicly, I urge you to sign up for my free e-mail list. Sign up today and you'll also get free, 7-day access to the Premium Sections on my website, including valuable tools and charts dedicated to serious PM Investors and Speculators. It's free and you may unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you for reading. Have a great and profitable week!

Gold Bull Market Big Picture, Time for a Rest

By Mary Anne & Pamela Aden

If we had to pinpoint a time during the last 10 years when the gold price broke out into a full on bull market, it was in 2005 when the $500 level was clearly broken. That was a key level at the time and this break out coincided with the launching of gold's ETF, GLD.

It was also clearly a break away from the dollar as gold began jumping up in all currencies. This is when the bull market started heating up and gold never looked back until it surpassed the 1980 record high in 2008.

The financial crisis pushed the gold price down in the sharpest correction in the bull market, yet gold closed 2008 up on the year, which was only bettered by bonds at the time. Most impressive, it didn't take gold but a few months to reach a new high once again.

Most important and the reason why we are going over the bull market is because the gold price has been on a tear with not even a 14% decline since the crisis low in Nov 2008. Gold entered a stronger phase of the bull market along the way in September 2009, and once again it never looked back.

Interestingly, the Nov 2008 crisis low was near the recurring 8 year lows that gold has followed since the 1970s. That is, gold tends to reach a low every 8 years (see Chart 1). If this pattern continues, this means that gold has several more years ahead for an exciting bull rise to develop. In many ways it feels like 1976 again... only this time around the world is more complex and involved. The emerging world is carrying the load, while the developed world strangles on debt.

Bull: Time for a rest

For now, however, gold is in a downward correction that began with the new year and it's been moderate, only declining 7% so far. Is that all there is or will gold decline further? That's the big question... Will it be a decline similar to the one last February when gold fell 13.30%, or will it be milder, like in the summer when gold lost about 8%? We'll soon find out, but a correction at this point is not at all unusual. In fact, gold's strong rise was overdue for a normal correction.

Gold Timing

The key now is to watch the guidelines to measure gold's weakness. Our best guideline is shown on Chart 2. This indicator is our favorite in helping to time intermediate moves in the gold price.

The best rise in gold's bull market is a rise we call "C". The latest one had been in process since April 2009. This rise peaked on January 3rd. This means gold rose almost 64% in this 21 month time period... a super rise indeed and the strongest C rise of the last 10 years.

Our focus now is on the current decline, we call D and to measure its likely depth. A 10% - 15% decline would be a healthy one and it would still show overall bull market strength. This means a decline to the $1280-$1200 level would be a normal decline within gold's strong bull market. This level also coincides with the 65-week moving average, the major support level, now at $1230. D declines tend to fall to this average, but the exception was the 2008 extreme during the financial meltdown. Whether this decline ends up being mild or more severe, it's providing a good buying opportunity. Use upcoming weakness to buy with both hands.

Gold/Silver Ratio

by Bespoke Investment Group

While gold is currently moving higher, the metal is still just about in the middle of its trading range and has a ways to go to get back to new bull market highs.  Silver, on the other hand, has moved back to new bull market highs in recent days, and it is currently trading more than two standard deviations above its 50-day moving average.

While gold has gotten most of the attention in the metal space in recent years, silver has outperformed by a wide margin.  This outperformance has pushed the gold/silver ratio to its lowest level in more than a decade.  A move below 40 (it's currently at 42.75) would put the ratio at its lowest levels since the early 1980s!

Continue reading this article >>

6 Charts Which Prove That Central Banks All Over The Globe Are Recklessly Printing Money

by Economic Collapse

If the U.S. dollar is being devalued so rapidly, then why does it sometimes increase in value against other global currencies?  Well, it is because everybody is recklessly printing money now.  The 6 charts which you are about to see below prove this.  The truth is that it is not just the U.S. Federal Reserve which has been printing money like there is no tomorrow.  Out of control money printing has also been happening in the UK, in the EU, in Japan, in China and in India.  There are times when one particular global currency will fall faster than the others, but the reality is that they are all being rapidly devalued.  Unfortunately, this is a recipe for a global economic nightmare.

Right now you can almost smell the panic as it rises in global financial markets.  Investors all over the world are racing to get out of paper and to get into hard assets.  Just about anything that is "real" and "tangible" is hot right now.  Gold hit a record high last year and it is on the rise again.  In fact, it just hit a new five-week high.  Demand for silver is becoming absolutely ridiculous right now.  Oil is marching up towards $100 a barrel again.

Agricultural commodities have exploded in price over the past year.  Many investors are even gobbling up art and other collectibles.

Paper money is no longer considered to be safe.  All over the globe investors are watching all of the reckless money printing that has been going on and they are becoming alarmed.  An increasing number of investors and financial institutions are putting their wealth into hard assets that are real and tangible in an effort to preserve their wealth.

The other day, a reader of this column named James sent me some charts that he had put together.  I thought they were so good that I asked him if I could include them in an article.  These charts show how central banks all over the globe have been recklessly printing money.  Over the last 30 years virtually the entire world has developed a great love affair with fiat currency....

So is everyone printing money?

The U.S. is printing lots of money.....

The Bank of England is printing lots of money.....

The EU is printing lots of money....

Source: The ECB
Japan is printing lots of money.....

China is printing lots of money.....

Source: The People’s Bank of China
India is printing lots of money.....

Of course anyone with half a brain can see where all of this is ultimately headed.  In the end, inflation is going to spiral out of control and we are going to witness financial implosion on a global scale.

So why don't these nations just adopt sound money?

Well, it turns out that if you are a member of the IMF, you are specifically prohibited from having gold-backed currency.

Yes, you read that correctly.

In fact, U.S. Representative Ron Paul once sent an open letter to the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve asking about this and he received no response.  The following is the content of that letter....
Dear Sirs:
I am writing regarding Article 4, Section 2b of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s Articles of Agreement. As you may be aware, this language prohibits countries who are members of the IMF from linking their currency to gold. Thus, the IMF is forbidding countries suffering from an erratic monetary policy from adopting the most effective means of stabilizing their currency. This policy could delay a country's recovery from an economic crisis and retard economic growth, thus furthering economic and political instability.
I would greatly appreciate an explanation from both the Treasury and the Federal Reserve of the reasons the United States has continued to acquiesce in this misguided policy. Please contact Mr. Norman Singleton, my legislative director, if you require any further information regarding this request. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Ron Paul
U.S. House of Representatives
Sadly, the truth is that the global elite don't want nations to start adopting gold-backed currencies.  They want countries to use fiat currencies that they can openly manipulate for their own benefit.

At this point, every nation on earth (to the best of my knowledge) uses a fiat currency.  All of the major global currencies are being continually devalued.  In fact, there are times when counties will purposely devalue their currencies even more rapidly in order to gain a competitive advantage in world trade.

This is why so many investors now have such an aversion to paper currency.  It starts losing value the moment you take possession of it.

In some areas of the world, "gold fever" is absolutely exploding.  For example, China imported five times as much gold in 2010 as it did in 2009.  On the Shanghai Gold Exchange, trading volume soared 43 percent during the first 10 months of 2010.

Gold, silver and other precious metals are now seen as a great hedge against inflation worldwide.  Investors all over the globe are demonstrating a strong preference for "real money" over "paper money".

So what does all of this mean?

It means that some tremendous imbalances are being built up in the global financial system.  The central banks of the world must continue to inflate these bubbles with constantly increasing amounts of paper money and debt in order to keep the game going.  If at some point the reckless money printing comes to a screeching halt it is going to unleash hell on global financial markets.

But if all of this reckless money printing continues we are eventually going to see horrific inflation all over the planet.  In fact, we are already seeing significant inflation happening in many areas of the globe.  Almost every single day a new headline about inflation in China seems to pop up in the financial news.  Rising food prices are sparking unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Even U.S. consumers are starting to see some uncomfortable price increases at the gas pump and in the supermarket.

So it is not just Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that is off his rocker.  The whole world is going crazy with money printing.

Hopefully this whole thing is not going to end as badly as many of us fear that it will.  But right now the central banks of the world are pumping unprecedented amounts of cash into the global financial system, and those in the global financial system are funneling a very large percentage of that cash into hard assets.  Unless something changes, that is going to mean that prices for basic necessities such as food and gas are going to continue to rise.

This is quite a fine mess that we are in.

Does anyone see a way out?


By Guest Author

Nobody’s Leaving the Euro

Frequently I have been asked how would Greece leave the euro if it so chose. My answer, which I have alluded to in The Dismal Optimist, has been look at what Argentina did in January 2002 when in a process dubbed pesificacion it forced the conversion of dollar deposits back into pesos which almost immediately lost the bulk of their value against the dollar.

Taking Argentina as a guide, here’s what Greece would have to do. To begin, the Greek finance and prime ministers would adamantly declare that Greece was staying in the euro. Then one fine night when everyone was asleep they would issue an order converting all euro deposits back into a resuscitated drachma. 

Henceforth, only drachmas would be available at Greek banks and only drachmas would be usable as legal tender in Greece. The drachma in international markets would immediately go to a huge discount against the euro. Of course, when the Greek people woke up and realized their euro deposits had been transmogrified into a devalued substitute and they had in fact been cheated, the country would go up in flames.

I recited this scenario to a Greek professor friend in Hong Kong who quickly pointed out the naiveté and incompleteness of my model. Assume Greece did that, he rejoined. Then the very day Greece was going up in flames every Italian, Portuguese, Spaniard and Irishman would pull his or her euros out of their banks. What would be launched would be the MOTHER OF ALL BANK RUNS. Europe’s banking system would go up in flames.

It won’t be allowed to happen.

I do not want to underemphasize the yet unresolved banking and sovereign debt problems that afflict the euro area. Probable sovereign defaults lie ahead particularly with Greece and probably Ireland. But in the end the euro will survive just as the US did after eight states and the territory of Florida defaulted in the 1840s. The member countries can threaten to check out but as the song says they can never leave. Yes there is no central European government and common fiscal policy. But history, technology, geography and overwhelming financial convenience are powerful forces behind the euro. If necessary the hard working Germans will pay and pay. Post World War II Germany has been determined to comport itself as a model citizen. This, combined with still lingering nightmares from the hyperinflation after the first World War, make Germany the ideal core engine for the euro. And the profligate south will slowly have to give up its wanton ways. Euro Uber Alles.

Looking over to the other side of the Atlantic, can we be even cautiously optimistic about the US whose president in the midst of a cyclical and structural fiscal crisis, dreams of massive railroad and alternative energy expenditures? (sorry “investments”) How long can the US government stay in this fiscally irresponsible dream world when the rest of the world including US states are biting the bullet of contracting government? The respected financial historian, Barry Eichengreen, in several of his books has pointed out how in the interwar period the dollar and the British pound shared the limelight as the world’s reserve currency. Competition among reserve assets is not unhealthy. The headless euro, powered by its German locomotive and disciplined by the bond markets, may give the dollar significant competition. As will gold.

Hong Kong –The Great Mall of China

Average citizens don’t always realize how invisible monetary and macro forces play dominant roles their economic decisions. And investors often suffer from the same ignorance. Nowhere better is this illustrated than in today’s Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a place investors should keep an eye on, if only because of its currency US dollar currency peg puts it at the intersection of the US and Chinese economies.

Hordes of newly rich Mainland tourists are continuously descending on the city like the northern tribes that overran the Great Wall of China a thousand years ago. But unlike the invaders of old, the Mainlanders haven’t come to pillage. They are happy to buy. And buy. And buy. (And gamble in nearby Macau) Condominiums, LV and Prada bags, Cartier and Bulgari jewelry, Gucci clothes, Rolex watches, baby’s milk – everything. The Mainlanders wear Prada. Every day the newspapers tell of the closing of another venerable Hong Kong retail establishment, often a restaurant or food store, to be replaced by an upscale store selling some chic European brand.

All this is great for landlords renting to the European brands, apartment owners selling to the Mainlanders and merchants running the upscale stores. Or operating a Macau casino. (Macau gambling revenues are now approaching four times that of Los Vegas and the Macau gambling stocks have soared.) But this is also sparking a populist reaction in Hong Kong whose citizens feel like they are being priced out of their own city especially with regard to non-tradable goods like apartments. Their ire is directed at the Hong Kong government which is supposed to do something about this. And the government in Hong Kong has duly responded with a variety of punitive measures against so-called speculators in high end apartments. But these measures attack symptoms and ignore underlying causes which are monetary and macro in nature.
I will offer two causes and one so-so solution:

First as I have been arguing the Peoples Republic of China is a very protectionist place and one where the newly rich Chinese consumers get a bad deal. Tariff and non-tariff barriers drive up the cost of imported luxury goods in China and restrict their availability. Gambling in China is forbidden. Interest rates on bank deposits are held down below inflation. Restrictions on the free flow of information contribute to shoddiness of locally produced goods and whistle blowers on subjects like poisoned baby’s milk are treated as troublemakers.

So what are the new rich and middle classes of Chinese cities supposed to do with their money? Travel restrictions have now been relaxed. Across the border lie Hong Kong and Macau, with totally wide open tax free non-protectionist free market economies. Just like residents of U S states with high cigarette taxes buy their smokes in neighboring states with lower taxes, Mainlanders head for Hong Kong and Macau.

Second, the Hong Kong dollar has now become undervalued relative to the renminbi. Six years ago the Chinese currency was trading at 8.27 to the US dollar. Now the ratio is 6.57. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar at a central target rate of 7.80. (The Macau pataca is pegged one to one to the Hong Kong dollar. Therefore the pataca is also pegged 7.80 to the US dollar.) As the renminbi has risen against the US dollar, the Hong Kong dollar has become cheaper for the Mainlanders even as the Hong Kong and Chinese economies become more integrated. Actually, as Treasury Secretary Geitner has finally figured out, in real terms the renminbi has been revalued even more than the change in nominal exchange rate because of the acceleration of inflation in China. For the Mainlanders, Hong Kong and Macau are huge bargains just because of the currency misalignment alone. For the Mainland-oriented Hong Kong vendors and the Macau casino operators, the price signals say “keep expanding.” Just like in 2002 when the Greenspan low interest rate policy signaled “leverage up and buy a house.”

Unless the renminbi suddenly becomes overvalued against the dollar, sooner or later the Hong Kong authorities are going to have to do something. The authorities of course know what is going on. But their options are limited. The simple solution – repeg the Hong Kong dollar to the renminbi – is not a solution because any such peg is not workable because the Chinese currency is not freely convertible on capital account. Meanwhile as the US irresponsibly continues with QEII, high powered money is flowing into Hong Kong. The December CPI for Hong Kong was up 3.1% yoy. Expect that to rise if the current monetary structure is not changed.

One solution might be to repeg the HK dollar (sometimes called the HONKY) at a higher rate to the US dollar. There is nothing eternal or sacrosanct about the Hong Kong US dollar peg. Certainly in the past at various times the Hong Kong dollar had floated, been pegged to sterling and earlier to silver. But do this once and the markets may start anticipating further changes encouraging all kinds of speculative flows.

And the political problems with this could be formidable. At the time of the 1997 Handover back to China, many worried that PRC troops would come marching into Central (Hong Kong’s financial district) and kill the golden goose that was and is Hong Kong. But they were wrong. The PRC troops did march into Central. But then they disappeared into what used to be called the Prince of Whales building and only come out for the rare ceremonial occasion.(As opposed to the British troops who would regularly emerge on Friday nights for some manly brawling in Wan Chai’s bars.)

Rather an army of populists, one of which was the last British Governor, has invaded Hong Kong. They are quite visible. They have brought with them such things as more generous welfare payments and minimum wage laws. Fiddle with the peg and they will start poking their noses into managing the currency.

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By Carl Swenlin

The daily number of New Highs and New Lows (NHNL) refers to stocks reaching their highest or lowest price during the most recent 52-week period. Below is a NHNL chart for the stocks that compose the S&P 500 Index, and we can learn a few things from it.

First, we can see that the main problem is that new highs are contracting as prices move higher. This is a negative divergence and is also almost certain to be a setup for a price decline.

Another feature on this chart is that the new high structure for this bull market is much more massive than at any time during the 2002-2007 bull market. Even though they represent a contraction from earlier new highs, the most recent new high readings are nearly as high as the highest new high readings of the the preceding bull market. This attests to the strength of the market rebound off the bear market lows in 2009.
Note also that the price advance from the 2009 low has taken about half the time as the same amount of price gain took during from the 2002 lows — we’re talking 22 months versus 54 months. Again, this has been a very powerful move.

Another thing I wanted to mention — something that has nothing to do with the subject of NHNL — is the Flash Crash Correction. I have named it thus because I believe that its depth and duration were more exaggerated than they would have been were it not for the Flash Crash. In hindsight we can see that this event took place in the middle (so far) of a strong bull market. 

Notably, there was no significant deterioration before hand that could have given us a credible warning. We are told that it can’t happen again. I wonder.
Bottom Line: New highs are presenting a negative divergence, but the level of new highs remains very high, and the strength of the price advance better than normal, in spite of the Flash Crash Correction. Corrections are inevitable, but there is no indication that the next correction will be unusually difficult.

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