Thursday, December 20, 2007

Currencies, SWFs and our Stock Market

Currencies, SWFs and our Stock MarketSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Ashraf Laidi

I pretty much agree with Frank Barbera's outlook but not necessarily as bearish on the US Dollar in 2008. I think the Greenback will continue showing resiliency vs the British Pound, Kiwi and Aussie into mid Q2 before it starts to weaken again. Euro should start recovering after Q2.

As for our Stock Market, when you consider that the main catalysts to the recent gains were 1) Abu Dhabi buying part of Citi 2) rumors/hopes of aggressive Fed cuts 3) Bush rewriting legal contracts on mortgages, all of these factors fall under the "extraordinary items" category on which the ailing market cannot always count on. Unless of course, Arab Gulf SWFs, will alternate with Far Eastern SWFs every other week to announce new buyouts. The 2002 lows in stocks should come around by next summer.


Editors' Note: Ashraf Laidi will publish his 2008 outlook very soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Housing, US Dollar, Gold, PPI and Inflation

Housing, US Dollar, Gold, PPI and InflationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Frank Barbera

The current downturn in Housing, the worst since the Great Depression has along way to run, with home prices likely to experience downside pressure well into 2009. Overall, a 30% to 40% price decline in high end homes is needed to bring prices back into line with incomes and clear the market. At the same time, the mortgage loan problem, goes far beyond Sub-Prime and will likely end up running into the Trillions of dollars, with the best estimates between2 to 3 Trillion dollars of defaulting bad paper. That's more than enough downside risk in the credit market to bring the US Financial System to the tip of a very deep solvency crisis, where several large institutions will probably fold. As a result, we continue to see the large scale credit contraction now underway deepening throughout 2008 with the Federal Reserve likely forced to continue to lower ratings despite a stagflationary economic condition, one in which yr/yr PPI is now running at the highest levels seen since 1981. The US Dollar is likely heading for a major currency crisis, with a devaluation likely in the year ahead. Gulf State PetroDollar currencies have now moved well off their pegs, as has the Chinese Yuan and HK Dollar. A currency crisis of epic proportions lies ahead, and with it will come soaring long term rates and crashing US Stock Market. For the S&P, a collapse back down toward the 2002-2003 lows near 800 is very likely the next primary direction, with all sectors of the equity market including Gold Stocks vulnerable to this decline. Post a crash type outcome, Gold Stocks are very likely to become the next great capital market mania, as broad scale monetization will be needed to reinflate both the capital markets and the US economy, which is already in a recession. The final outcome, over the next few years,will be more money printing, more currency debasement and in the end, most likely runaway inflation which will help Uncle Sam eliminated his bad debts. Gold and Precious Metals will be one of the few investments able to protect valuable savings and hard earned capital during this time, and we see the price of Gold heading for $10,000 or higher in the next 5 to 7 years, with price of Silver likely to move toward $500 to $1,000 per ounce. The upside explosion in Precious Metals following a serious banking collapse will leave onlookers with a truly once in a lifetime, -- jaw dropping experience, once the metals go higher, they will be going, going gone, right out of the park, as all central banks will also need to print money to keep currency relationships in some degree of balance and protect export advantages. Today, the world is confronted with a camouflaged 'fixed' global currency system masquerading as thematically free floating currency system, held together by currency derivatives and unchecked financial leveraging. The current death of high end Wall Street Finance signals the end of the leveraged speculating era and financial engineering.As the world lurches toward a truly floating exchange rate mechanism, currency volatility will infect consumer prices for basic manufactured goods which in time, will morbidly begin moving around as if tradeable using RSI and MACD....in that climate, the only asset one will want to truly own, will be precious metals. It is very regrettable that the excess of the last decade is likely to create these kinds of extreme economic conditions, and probably at no time in decades, has the average individual been at greater economic risk.The entire universe of paper money is sure to continue debasing against the universe of scarce and depleting commodities in a theme that will likely continue to play out over the next 10 to 15 years, while I hope I am dead wrong,I fear we are heading into very trying times...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Equity Index Update (Special Edition)

Equity Index Update (Special Edition)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Brad Sullivan

Monday December 17, 2007

The index markets were weighed down on Friday with the release of a stronger than anticipated CPI reading. Volume flows were on the lighter side as interest in the trade was pretty muted…however, the SPZ did end the session lower by -1.5% and settled at session lows of 1478.50. This morning, the index is called to open lower at 1473.50 (-5.50) on the session. This marks a new low for the month of December and it is a month that can only be described as schizophrenic thus far.

Consider that this month has a significant historical upside bias and after early selling, the indices responded with a tremendous upside push. That push higher was unwound last Tuesday as the FOMC failed (in the market’s eyes) to respond appropriately to the current credit issues in the global market…throw in a little inflation fear and things are not looking as good as the buy side would have hoped.

Along these lines let us examine the movement post FOMC announcement and the subsequent joint injection of reserves by the chorus of global reserve banks. It is worth noting that in absolute value, it was the greatest move in the history of the SP futures from 1:30cst to the close and close to the 8:30 open on Wednesday…85 total SP POINTS. Since that time the indices have moved lower in a grinding fashion with each bounce failing to attract buyers at higher levels. With the SP now trading at -1.5% for the month and closing about the same distance below its 200 day MA (-1.5%) one has to wonder if the die has been cast and lower prices are ahead.

One thing that appears to be in store is a dialing down of intraday volatility. While the absolute moves have been large, the session range continues to tighten and for day traders that means to tread with caution. It is certainly worth pointing out that in the last 12 years there have only been 7 sessions with a high to low range of more than 45 SP points. The range on Dec. 11 was 56 points and on Dec. 12 46 points. The last time it happened was Jan. 3, 2001 (surprise mid-day rate cut), where a 46 point range was preceded by an 81. Clearly there is some position movement and it appears that the group that has blinked first is the long side.

KEEP IN MIND THAT TODAY AT 9:00 WE WILL HAVE THE FIRST AUCTION OF THE NEW “SYSTEM” ANNOUNCED LAST WEDNESDAY...ALSO TOMORROW BRINGS EARNINGS FROM GS (GOLDMAN SACHS) AND THIS IS QUADRUPLE WITCHING EXPIRATION WEEK.



Editors' Note: Brad Sullivan's comments are posted each day near the Cash Open in our SuperPlatinum Virtual Trading Room.

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