FDR and Stimulus

President Herbert Hover eighty years ago offered no stimulus or loans to a crumbling economy. As a consequence bank after bank failed Unemployment rose above 25 % and by the time Roosevelt (FDR) took over in 1932 we were already in the Great Depression . But, FDR made progress and consequently Americans overwhelmingly re elected him to office in 36. By 1937 he had through a massive government stimulus program reversed the growing unemployment figure and reduced it to under 15 %.

Unfortunately FDR, tried to balance the budget too early in 1937 and the recovery slowed. Again Americans showed overwhelming confidence in FDR and reelected him in 1940. American’s vote again confirmed confidence in his stimulus program. WW2 was in itself one big government stimulus program as was the post WW 2 GI bills and other economic measures. We emerged from all this government stimulus far stronger.

Basic economics teaches you to stimulate faltering economies and when times are good you don’t stimulate, but lower deficits. Many ultra right wing zealots are now trying to re write FDR’s historic economic actions and leadership. These are the same voices that believed "free markets" need no regulations, and lead us into the current crisis.

Undoubtedly, the government has done a poor job in transparency and accountability in the current stimulus and loans packages. However, we have not had the cascading loss of banks and insurance companies (AIG) that would have led to other industries collapsing throughout the world. This is NOT a plea for blanket bailouts. Poorly managed companies have to be allowed to fail. But it does clearly show government stimulating and regulating a faltering economy works.

Bill Cosby and Education

Bill Cosby last Sunday on Face the Nation came up with some interesting statistics on why we should be offering more funding for inner city schools. It costs us $41,000 a year to incarcerate a prisoner and only $8,000 educate a child. You pay now or pay later. Add to this that incarcerated prisoners and welfare moms pay no taxes vs someone who enters the work force and pays taxes.

Funding education should be a priority. (more later)



Headline – Citigroup, AA & Retail #’s -Bad news.

Index % Change Volume

Dow -0.30% up
NASDQ +0.50% up
S&P500 +0.18% up
Russell2000 +1.06% –

italics = same comments as yesterday.

US Market & Foreign Markets

Technicals – Major US markets "churned" yesterday. That’s the term Wall Street uses for high volume days where the market went nowhere.

XLF is the financial sector ETF Chart here. As the chart shows financials rose +1.37% yesterday after loosing over -5% the day before. While any gain is positive, a +1.37 gain is not enough to put the bulls back in charge. Financials used to be the largest sector of the market and may no longer hold that distinction. But they are certainly capable of leading all major indexes lower.

The major indexes are at their major support levels (just above or below). Volume is starting to pick up. This is never a good sign as we start to move lower. Foreign markets are following the US lead.

AA is the symbol for Alcoa Aluminum, the first Dow company to report. It went down again another 5% in massive volume yesterday. Early indications are negative earnings and outlook are not built into markets and investors are beginning to realize there is going to be no second half recovery. (Bad news for stocks)

Chart of the benchmark S&P 500

Chart of the Russell 2000

Chart of the NASDQ

Chart of the Dow

FundamentalsWhat’s happened is the Bush administration has asked congress for the second 1/2 of the poorly administered bank/financials (and auto) bailout/loans. The Obama administration will oversee the use of these funds. This has spooked stocks – especially financials. CitiGroup, the mother of all banks, broke support levels and fell 17% in huge volume. City has already twice received bailout funds. Citi is in the too big to fail category and its failure would mean a run on suspect banks worldwide. Citi did recover +5% in reduced volume yesterday. Problem – Citigroup is up to its neck in credit default swaps.

The bottom lineJust the knowledge that the government thinks the bank/financial needs more financial help is enough to make worried investors panic and sell. This time the Panic is a bit more orderly, but with no transparency and no accountability its pretty hard to invest in a financial stock. You know they’re in trouble, especially Citigroup, but who knows which ones will go belly up and what criteria the government is using to hand out loans.

Obama Rally = HOPE A whole bunch of stimulus that has already been thrown at stocks, plus the composition of Obama’s economic team & his proposed stimulus package.

Earnings season begins this week. However, Citigroup remains the stock to watch.

Retail sales numbers out this AM are far worse than expected.

Treasury Secretary Geitner, who Wall Street likes, nomination is in trouble.

Forecasting Future Trends

The following is a group of indexes that are all interrelated and strongly influence how stocks moves. At different times one index may be more influential than the other.

LIBOR – LIBOR is the rate banks charge each other. It price has fallen from 3.4% three months ago to about 1.08% (good news for stocks)

LIBOR chart (3 month)

Treasuries – T Bills yields show how fearful investors are. The lower the rate the more the fear. Short term yields – 3 month rose to +0.07% and longer term treasuries were basically flat. 10 year fell to 2.29% (low yields show fearfull investors flooding to Treasuries instead of stocks – Bad news for stocks)

Treasury Bonds chart

Baltic Dry Index – Measures flow of goods between countries. Yesterday it rose another 2+% yesterday. Almost 85% drop since June. (short term good news a 2, 4, 6, 2, & 2% gains in last 5 days)

BDI chart

We’ve seen a short term pop in international trade to go along with a solid bullish move in inter bank lending rates. Both are bullish signs. However, Panic still rules the credit markets. Prices of major banks are have again started to go south. Looks like at some time another chunk of bailout $ is going to be needed to fix banks in the future. Bush yesterday announced he’s going for the second chunk of bailout/loan money.

Short Term Outlook/Strategy

Reading the Tea Leaves-

PANIC STILL RULES the credit markets

Strategy – Shorting rallies to protect gains is working. (see below) Until we some light at the end of the recession tunnel VOLATILITY continues to be the most predictable major stock market trend. Obama rally (stimulus package) is holding up equities right now.

There are some positives out there but -

Add a falling financial sector, AA news, & now the miserable retail #’s = the Dow 8500 support and other major index support level will NOT hold.


Long Term Outlook – BEARS RULE

Changes to Bottom Line Section Bolded .

Technicals – Series of Lower Lows and Lower Highs = Bears Rule. Obama/stimulus rally phase 2 is underway. Technical Range for 2009 – 7449 (low) and 9654.- This is a wild guess. Any sustained move above Dow 9650 is bullish.

Fundamentals – Financial transparency problem is far far far far far far far far far bigger than anyone thought. It’s looks like the recession will last through 2009 – perhaps longer Hopes of a more competent Obama administration have rallied stocks.

Asset Allocation/Recommended Sectors (long term)

50% to 90% Cash – Long Term Investors (up to 15 to 25+% stocks – only buy big dips) Wait for the next big dip to add 5 to 10%
Be Cautious and PROTECT YOUR MONEY (use ETF’s that short major indexes) when stocks have a big rally

*5+% US Index Funds
UWM (ETF that does 2x what Russell 2000 does) & QLD (ETF that does 2X the NASDQ ) DDM (ETF that does 2X the Dow ) SSO (ETF does 2X the S&P 500)

*5%+ Emerging Markets
EWZ (Brazil) should out perform other emerging markets in a rally and under perform in a fall – highest risk and dependent on oil prices
FXI (China ETF) should outperform USA

*5%+ Alternative Energy
GEX(Alternative energy ETF) Obama administration will focus on this area

*5+% Gold
GLD is the ETF for gold-

Chief Strategy – Buy the DIPS of trending sector – This is not your father’s buy and hold market – over the 8 Bush years the Dow has gone from 11,000 to 9000 and huge uncertainty clouds the future.

The major trend now is volatility.

Traders who have a strong tolerance for risk jump in on dips and invest more. Sell and/or go short into major rallies. Long term Investors who can tolerate risk and are 100% in cash nibble just a little on big dips. (5% on each big dip) Do not buy into rallies.

Shorting – Three ETF that short 2x what the major indexes do.

TWM – ultra short Russell 2000
QID – ultra short NASDQ
SDS – ultra short S&P 500

As Always Do Your Own Research Before Investing

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