Friday, March 11, 2016

The Morning Call---Draghi's last stand?

The Morning Call


The Market

The Market consolidation process continued with yesterday’s mixed closing in the Averages (DJIA 16995, S&P 1989).  Volume was flat, breadth mixed. The VIX declined 1 ½%, ending in a short term trading range and below its 100 day moving average.

The Dow finished [a] below its 100 day moving average, now resistance, [b] below its 200 day moving average, now resistance, [c] above the lower boundary of a short term downtrend {16671-17410}, [c] in an intermediate term trading range {15842-18295}, [d] in a long term uptrend {5471-19343}, [e] and has now made a third higher high.

The S&P ended [a] below its 100 day moving average, now resistance, [b] below its 200 day moving average, now resistance [c] within a short term trading range {1867-2104}, [d] in an intermediate term trading range {1867-2134}, [e] in a long term uptrend {800-2161} and [f] has now made a second higher high. 

The long Treasury fell slightly, but closed well within its short term uptrend and above its 100 day moving average.  It is building a pennant formation bounded by the upper boundary of a very short term downtrend and above a key Fibonacci retracement level.   Patterns of this type usually resolve themselves to the downside (higher yields)---which is exactly opposite of what I assume would happen in a declining interest rate environment.

GLD rose 1 ½%, finishing within very short term and short term uptrends, as well as substantially above its 100 day moving average.  It continues its very strong pin action.

Bottom line: intraday volatility aside, the indices remained overbought but, impressively, unwilling to give up much ground.  On the other hand, they tried unsuccessfully for a third time to challenge their 100 day moving averages.  I would have thought that yesterday’s news event would have prompted a forceful move in one direction or the other.  No such luck.  The bulls and bears are duking out at current levels; and I do not want to get in the middle of that fight.



            Another slow day for US economic data: weekly jobless claims declined more than expected while the February US budget deficit was larger than projected. Overseas, February Chinese CPI rose 2.3%.
            Nobody really noticed because the big news of the day was:

(1)   Draghi didn’t just roll out a bazooka, he brought an ICBM---giving the Market all it had hoped for and more: lower rates, more QE and an expanded list of securities available for central bank purchase.   Afterwards, he said that there would be no more rate cuts.  That sort of bummed investors.  But for pete sakes, this may be the most intelligent thing that he has said in the last ten years.  How much deeper into QE/negative rates does he need to get before crying uncle on the entirety of this failed policy? 

I suspect that Draghi knows that this latest move is the last hoorah for QE/negative rates.   If it doesn’t work, there is nothing left for him to do other than slink out the back door and join Brother Love’s salvation show.

In a perverse way, I think this move is good because the ECB is going ‘all in’ on QE and if it fails [which if history is a guide, it will] then maybe our central bankers will recognize the need to try something different, like normalizing monetary policy.

                  QE and inequality (medium):

(2)   the Chinese joined in, even upping the ante on irrational central bank policy.  It announced a proposal [***overnight it was upgraded to ‘drafting a rule’] to have banks convert nonperforming loans into equity which would free up their balance sheets to make more loans.  So let’s see if I have this right.  First, banks are going to exchange the nonperforming loans of a bunch of poorly run companies for the equity in those companies, thereby trading a senior position in their capital structure for the most junior position.  Then, the Bank of China is going to inject liquidity into the bank balance sheets so that they can turn around and make more s**tty loans to poorly run companies.  Yeah, that ought to work.  

Chinese money chasing unicorns (medium):

(3)   OPEC renounced the Wednesday press release that a meeting had [supposedly] been scheduled for all major oil producers on March 20.  That allowed them to cover the shorts they had laid out following the original announcement.  Just kidding [maybe].

Bottom line:   Draghi delivered, just as hoped for.  Now it is ‘put up or shut time’.  If this new improved version of QE works like the past installment, not only will it not work, it will likely make economic conditions worse.  If that happens, all that will be left of the EU economy is popcorn sacks and wagon tracks.  The good news is that maybe, just maybe, when it happens, these clowns will realize the uselessness of the last seven years’ monetary policy. 

In my opinion, the current rally represents an excellent opportunity to raise cash reserves by selling either a portion of your profitable investments and/or sell your losers.

            Global liquidity tracker (short):

            Update on valuation (medium):

       Investing for Survival
            Retail venture capital.

    News on Stocks in Our Portfolios
            Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) declares $1.02/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
Forward yield 4.25%


   This Week’s Data

            The February US budget deficit came in at $192.6 billion slightly greater than forecast.

            February import prices fell 0.3% versus consensus of down 0.8%; export prices declined 0.4% versus estimates of down 0.5%.


            Update on household net worth (short):



  International War Against Radical Islam

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