April 16, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
We had an incredible shock, but look how fast we’re bouncing back,” said Alan Sinai. “We’re in the early stages of recovery and we’ve got three to five years to go. I think we’re going to end up in a boom.” That boom might have a potentially troubling side effect. Inflation, as measured by the consumer-price index, is expected to jump sharply from 1.7% in February when March data is released Tuesday. “It makes it hard for a forecaster because I’ve never seen anything like this ever,” Mr. Sinai said. – Gwynn Guilford and Anthony DeBarros. “Forecasters Brace for Uncharted Liftoff,” Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2021.
Congratulations to those who want higher inflation. You’ve got it. The U.S. has never before pursued government-spending and monetary expansion of this magnitude with a hot economy and the Fed says it will wait for durable inflation to appear before changing. Good luck. “Inflation Arrives. Is it ‘Transitory’?”, Wall Street Journal Opinion page. April 12, 2021.
They came of age just as the twisted pathway to a new, warped version of the American Dream first came into focus, one built not on morality but on money, not on personal freedom but on personal indulgence, not on the promise of a future but on the mouthwatering appetite for the present. – Glenn Stout, “Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid,” as book-reviewed by Edward Kosner in the Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2021.
Another record week for U.S. and other world stock markets as this bullet train keeps humming along at full throttle. The party inside just keeps getting more and more wild amidst the never-ending stream of cash and talk of more stimulus that keeps fueling this record run. You would think the Sun is in Aries. Oops! It is! And along with Mars (ruler of Aries) in Gemini, both of these fiery planets have been in a strong harmonious aspect with Jupiter and each other the last two trading days. Continue reading…
April 09, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
The global economy is likely to expand this year at the fastest pace in at least four decades as vaccine rollouts accelerate and advanced economies spend aggressively to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. The IMF expects the world economy to grow 6% this year, the most since 1980. – Yuka Hayashi, “IMF Lifts 2021 Growth Forecast to 6%,” Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2021.
A thousand years ago when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now the Chinese government is minting cash digitally, in a re-imagination of money that could shake a pillar of American power. Beijing is also positioning the digital Yuan for international use and designating it to be untethered to the global financial system, where the U.S. dollar is king.– James Areddy, “China is Creating Digital Currency, First for a Major Economy,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2021.
It was another positive week for global stocks, consistent with the recent history of the month of April. In 15 of the past 16 years, this has been a favorable month for U.S. stocks. Last week didn’t change that trend. In the U.S., both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P made new all-time highs on Friday, April 9, and the NASDAQ Composite is close to doing the same. In Europe, the Netherlands AEX and German DAX indices made new all-time highs last Tuesday. The Zurich SMI closed less than 30 points away from its all-time high and the FTSE rallied to its highest mark since the pandemic crash of March 2020. There were no new all-time highs in Asia or the Pacific Rim, although their markets were higher than the prior week in most cases. The Australian ASX index also rallied to its highest level since the March 2020 pandemic crash. Continue reading…
April 02, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
Employers added 916,000 jobs in March and the gains from February were revised higher to 468,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the addition of 647,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, ticked down to 6%, its lowest level since the COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses to at least temporarily close their doors in March of last year. The unemployment rate peaked at a record high of 14.7% in April 2020. – Jonathan Garber, “U.S. Economy Adds 916,000 Jobs in March – The Unemployment Rate Fell to 6%,” www/foxbusinessnews.com, April 2, 2021.
Mr. Biden says he wants “other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations” so nations like Ireland can no longer compete for capital with lower tax rates. Only in Washington would the left punish American employers in the hope that the rest of the world would be as self-destructive. “Here Come the Biden Taxes,” Opinion Page, Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2021.
Let’s do a quick review of what has happened in world financial markets this year, and particularly since the first passage of Saturn/Uranus square on February 17. As a point of reference, keep in mind that the Saturn/Uranus waning square is the most significant and the longest planetary cycle in effect in 2021. It is the 11.25-year quarter cycle (third quarter phase) to the greater 45-year Saturn/Uranus cycle, which will reset when these two planets conjoin again on June 28, 2032. It is this writer’s position (backed by actual studies) that the Saturn/Uranus cycle and its quarter cycle phases are the most important of all geocosmic signatures correlating to the culmination of long-term financial market and political cycles. Continue reading…
March 26, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
Just a few days ago, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly spoke on the issue and said the Fed has no intention of tightening policy even in the face of roaring bull markets across several asset classes. “We won’t be preemptively taking the punchbowl away,” Daly said during a virtual Q&A Wednesday. – Jeff Cox, “The Fed Has Embraced the “Punchbowl” and Has No Intention of Taking It Away,” www.cnbc.com, March 26, 2021.
U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, led by bank shares and economic reopening plays as investors cheered data showing subdued inflation. Financial stocks rose after the Federal Reserve announced that banks could resume buybacks and raise dividends starting at the end of June. The central bank originally said it would lift pandemic era restrictions in the first quarter, but even the delayed move gives investors more clarity. – “Dow Closes Up 450 Points at its Session High, Posts a Winning Week,” Yun Li and Jesse Pound, www.cnbc.com, March 26, 2021.
Global stock markets were down for most of last week but then began another robust rally on Thursday-Friday, March 25-26. Some European indices, like the Netherlands AEX and Zurich SMI, soared to new yearly highs.
A typical example of last week’s erratic (Saturn square Uranus) market activity was apparent in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ. The NASDAQ had made a new all-time high on February 16, one day before the first passage of the Saturn/Uranus square, the strongest geocosmic signature in effect in 2021. Several other world equity markets also formed yearly or multi-year highs within one day of this aspect (i.e., ASX in Australia, Shanghai Composite in China, Hang Seng in Hong Kong, the NIFTY Index in India, and the Nikkei in Japan. Continue reading…
March 19, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
The U.S. has (or had) 30 million small businesses employing almost half the workforce. The Main Street Lending program in last year’s Cares Act set aside $75 billion in loss provisions so the Federal Reserve could facilitate $600 billion in loans to small businesses. Here is the report card: As of October, MSLP has made fewer than 400 loans, totaling $3.7 billion. That’s it! A dud. – Andy Kessler, “Small Business Loans are MIA,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2021.
Spending packages, such as ARPA (the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act) can’t fix supply-side problems. Since the economy no longer suffers a demand shortfall, the main effect of the law will be to redistribute resources from productive, market-driven activities to unproductive politically driven ones. This bill was never intended to jump-start the economy…. It is reasonable to dedicate federal resources to increase vaccine production. ARPA does little of this, devoting $16 billion to vaccine distribution and another $50 billion to virus testing. But this is far from satisfactory, given its $1.9 trillion total. – Alexander William Salter (economist), “America Doesn’t Need More Stimulus,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2021.
We got the new moon in Pisces rally that we expected in global equity markets. It is interesting because just three weeks ago, during the full moon, the market was falling, and it seemed everyone was calling for a crash. We took exception to that and suggested that this particular new moon in Pisces, conjunct Venus and Neptune as well, has a stronger correspondence to euphoria ad irrational exuberance. Yes, when it isn’t euphoric, it could instead be panic and hysteria. But the majority of past cases with a similar dynamic were bullish for equities. Now that the market has reversed and made strong rallies into last week, more analysts are calling for a further “melt-up.” We will take exception to that group-think forecast too, based on the principle of Saturn square Uranus this year. We have dubbed this as “The Year of the Contrarian.” If everyone thinks the market is going to crumble, it is more likely to rally. If everyone thinks the market will rally, it will crumble. The latter dynamic is now dominant, a complete reversal from three weeks ago. Continue reading…
March 12, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Thursday afternoon. The plan, his top priority as president, sends direct payments of up to $1,400, extends a $300 per week unemployment insurance supplement, expands the child tax credit, and puts funds into vaccine distribution. Democrats passed the bill in Congress without a Republican vote through the budget reconciliation process. – Jacob Pramuk, “Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion Covid Relief Bill, Clearing Way for Stimulus Checks, Vaccine Aid,” www.cnbc.com, March 11, 2021.
Soon after I went to work in institutional sales at Montgomery Securities, in the early 80’s, our managing partner brought in a consultant to instruct us on macro considerations affecting markets. The most important thing, he said, is that the key determinant of constructing an investment strategy is to assess the liquidity cycle. If liquidity is improving you should be looking to go long something. If liquidity is contracting you should look to be short something. Len Oppenheim, “Observations From the Middle End,” March 7, 2021
And so it was last week as the U.S. stock market – and several other world stock indices (not including the NASDAQ) – soared to new or multi-year highs, following the passage of yet another huge stimulus relief package by the U.S. Congress. It feels really good to be getting all this free money in the form of stimulus checks, increased unemployment payouts, and Payroll Protection Loan Forgiveness Programs. And this is just to name just a few of the giveaways compliments of our U.S. government’s decision on how to handle all the revenues we pay to the U.S Treasury in the form of our tax payments. They obviously know better than us on how to spend our hard-earned money they receive through taxing our income. Continue reading…
March 05, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, evidence the labor market’s recovery is gaining steam nearly one year into the pandemic as coronavirus caseloads fall nationwide and many states ease restrictions on business activity. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.2% — well below the April peak of 14.7%, but about twice the pre-crisis level, the Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report, released Friday. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the report to show that unemployment remained unchanged at 6.3% and the economy added 182,000 jobs. – Megan Henney, “February Jobs Growth Surges Above Expectations,” www.foxbusness.com, March 5, 2021.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield jumped Friday after the February jobs report topped expectations, sending the benchmark yield to its highest level this year. The prospect for strong economic growth and budding concerns about inflation have pushed down the prices for bonds. The climb in Treasury yields has led some to speculate that the Federal Reserve may adjust its policy to hold down parts of the yield curve or even ease up on its dovish stance, but so far, the central bank has not shown a willingness to alter course. – Maggie Fitzgerald, Vikki MeKeever, “10-Year Treasury Yield Jumps to Yearly High 1.62% After Strong Jobs Report,” www.cnbc.com, March 5, 2021.
This was a wild week in world equity markets. In fact, it was quite brutal for short-term aggressive traders when you look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past seven days. The prior week ended with the DJIA down 559 and 469 points on Thursday and Friday, February 25-26. All technical and chart pattern indicators looked very bearish coming into March. But then Fed Chair Jerome Powell made a statement that the Fed is quite comfortable with inflation continuing to rise even in light of the collapse in long-term Treasury prices. The market was up 603 points on that news. But then the DJIA turned down -144, -121, and -345 points over the next three days, looking very weak again going into Friday’s job’s report. Continue reading…
February 26, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
So much for Jerome Powell’s reassurances. Only a day after the Federal Reserve Chairman’s two-day, nothing-to-worry-about turn of Capitol Hill, financial markets suddenly found plenty to worry about on Thursday. Stocks fell sharply as the 10-year Treasury Note yield had its largest one-day advance since November to its highest level in a year. – “The Markets and Mr. Powell,” Wall Street Journal Opinion page, February 26, 2021.
A wave of selling in U.S. government bonds intensified on Thursday, sending yields soaring after new data indicated a strengthening economic recovery…. Investors tend to sell Treasuries when they expect faster growth and inflation. If yields continue to rise, that could pressure stocks…” – Sebastian Pellejero and Sam Goldfarb, “Treasury Selloff Intensifies,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2021.
Mercury ended its retrograde cycle last weekend (January 30-February 20). Saturn completed the first of three passes in its 11.25-year quarter cycle to Uranus (also known as a waning square) on February 17. Almost all global stock markets peaked out within a week of those two cosmic events and fell hard by the end of last week.
This sudden trend reversal fits the dynamics of both geocosmic signatures. However, the synchronicity of retrograde and direct planetary stations like Mercury was described in detail last week as follows: Many financial markets, like stock indices, will often form a major or primary cycle (high or low) within three trading days of Mercury turning retrograde. These markets will often end that counter-trend move within three trading days of turning direct. We are there now, and from the lows of January 29, many stock indices are making new cycle or even longer-term highs as we enter this three-day trading time frame. Is this the top? Looking only at the Mercury retrograde cycle, an argument can be made for that possibility. Continue reading…
February 19, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
How much debt is too much and when does it begin to have corrosive economic consequences? No one knows, but one economic benchmark for harm has been 90% of GDP…. Debt held by the public – the kind the government has to pay back – broke above 100% of the economy in 2020. Even without new Biden spending… We’d better hope renewed inflation doesn’t force the Fed’s hand as it did in the early 1950’s during the Korean War – and that the world keeps faith in the U.S. Dollar… But then the U.S. has never conducted a fiscal experiment like this one. The laws of economics haven’t been repealed, no matter what the modern-monetary theorists say. – “The Pandemic Spending Hangover,” Wall Street Journal Opinion page, February 13-14, 2021.
According to reports, Ms. DeLauro and Senate Chairman Patrick Leahy will soon announce that earmarks are welcome in annual spending bills. A few English words to describe what’s returning: Pork. Logrolling. Sleaze. Bridges to nowhere… In reality, there could be no more dangerous moment in congressional history to reintroduce earmarking. Congress’s budget process is more dysfunctional than ever. – Kimberley A. Strassel, “Return of the Swamp Creatures,” Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021.
Global equity markets began to run out of steam last week. So did the speed of Mercury’s movement as seen from the earth as it approaches the end of its retrograde cycle this weekend. Given that many equity markets made a major cycle bottom on Friday, January 29, the day before Mercury turned retrograde, it is no surprise that the rally might end close to the time it turns direct. Continue reading…
January 29, 2021
REVIEW AND PREVIEW
A surge of trading volume in shares of GameStop and AMC Entertainment, as well as Bed Bath & Beyond and BlackBerry, has stunned Wall Street firms that were betting that those stocks would fall. The share prices had instead spiked this week as retail investors, spurred by the online Reddit forum WallStreetBets, piled into the stocks. The volatility continued Wednesday as platforms like Robinhood and Interactive Brokers limited trading on certain stocks. Robinhood, which has billed itself as a democratizing force in the market, in particular took criticism. – Paul Connor, “GameStop, AMC Trading Frenzy Roils Wall Street,” www.foxbusiness.com, January 28, 2021.
Game on! GameStop! Robinhood! Wall Street hedge funds get ripped off?
It’s a classic case Saturn square Uranus, with the volatile, unpredictable Uranus in Taurus (the stock market) storming the gates of the establishment’s (Saturn) Wall Street professional hedgers, causing unimaginable and exaggerated price movements (Jupiter is involved too) in heavily shorted stocks. And the gate-stormers were winning! Well, they were winning until the rules (Saturn) were suddenly changed (Uranus) and the newbies (Uranus) were restricted from trading in these companies. So much for the concept of “free markets.” Intervention (a Plutonian dynamic) took over as Venus (money) was also conjunct with Pluto (liquidation and intervention). Continue reading…