Going to London and Paris over holidays. May be able to send abbreviated Updates from Europe.

"Recession Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble to Invest In."

The above headline is from "The Onion" Sometimes humor tell the truth better than analysts. After an internet and housing bubble American’s are looking for the next Ponzi scheme.

Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman expects "were in for months, perhaps a year of economic hell ."

Paulson and Bernanke as Heroes

In the past few month Updates has spent a lot of time punching holes in the TARP bailout and other financial moves. The government loans/bailouts have been termed "Not accountable," "did not fix the lack of regulation problem," "not transparent," "arrogant" and "what looks like Paulson giving $ to cronies (banking buddies like Rubin)" While there is a clear negative side the actions taken it does not necessarily add
up to failure.

Herbert Hover failed to act. He let bank after bank go under and the end result was the Great Depression . When Lehman Brothers failed this year the almost $400 billion of bad over leveraged debt shook countries and banking systems worldwide.

Twice the entire world economic/financial stood on the brink of the abyss.

  1. The AIG bailout. The world’s largest insurance collapse would have taken down the entire insurance industry. AIG was/is overloaded with credit defaults swap obligations. – just like Lehman.
  2. The TARP financial/bank bailout and the second bailout to the world’s largest bank Citigroup. Again Citi and banks are over leveraged with obligations like credit default swaps.

Paulson and Bernanke have not fixed the problem - but they have kept the entire world’s financial system ticking . The ships been hit by an iceberg, but it is still afloat. Bernanke and Paulson do deserve some credit.

Solutions

There are many. Some of the more obvious ones

  1. We need laws to regulate financial companies, – free markets and especially Financials (credit default swaps etc.) need some structure or else they go wild.
  2. The over leveraged situation needs to get reduced.
  3. Temporarily stop building houses or find some other way to stabilize housing/foreclosure market.
  4. Stimulus – This worked for FDR until he tried to balance the budget too soon in 1937. Then he needed the a huge stimulus package (WW 2) to ultimately fix things.

"What Me Worry" Alfred E Neuman

Huge financial entities (domestic and foreign) knees are trembling with worry.

  1. Banks are not loaning money – they are probably over leveraged and need the cash just to stay in business.
  2. Big money is all hiding in Treasury Bonds. – the Yields are ridiculously low
  3. Corporate bond yields are ridiculously high – this means a whole mess of defaults should happen in the future.
  4. Check out the drop in the Baltic Dry Index (see below)
  5. We’ve entered this mess with an already huge deficit.

Hope Krugman is right and "we are in for months, perhaps a year of economic hell" and not something worse.

Stocks

AS ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH BEFORE INVESTING

Headline – Still Consolidation
Index % Change Volume

Dow -0.69% down
NASDQ -2.04% down
S&P500 -1.83% down
Russell2000 -2.30% –

italics = same comments as yesterday.

US Market & Foreign Markets

Technicals-

This week and next have historically had light trading. Also the next three weeks have historically been positive.

The shorter term mojo is still with the bulls until stock’s close below their opening price on last Tuesday. This area just above 8500 held for three days in a row (last Friday, Mon. and Tues.) and is a short term support level – 8500

The Dow fell below 8500, but rallied to close above it at 8517 So technical support while threatened, held yesterday.

Today again will be a test of this level.

Chart of the benchmark S&P 500

Chart of the Russell 2000

Chart of the NASDQ

Chart of the Dow

Fundamentals-

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

Lots of down grades of companies by brokers was most cited reason stocks fell yesterday.

Here’s about a disastrous an outlook as I can find from a self described Dr Doom and Gloom .

Three Month Treasury Bill & LIBOR

Credit markets are the dog and the Stock Markets are the tail. Without credit the tail won’t wag.

Real progress is being made. LIBOR has fallen from [MISTAKE 4.8 is the European LIBOR rate high 3.4% is the US high] two months ago to about 1.46% LIBOR rates are on their second leg down and have again fallen significantly. LIBOR is the rate banks charge each other, not businesses. Some credit cards, loans and mortgages are tied to LIBOR so this is good news. Some credit cards & mortgage rates are tied to Fed prime rate.

LIBOR chart (3 month)

Treasury Bonds

The 3 month has basically flatlined at 0.01% Longer term rose yeilds rose slightly

Fearful investors are putting their money in Treasury bonds for 3 months to 30 years, they are NOT investing in stocks. Investors are willing to pay an unbelievably low 2.17% for a ten year treasury bond.

Yields keep falling = Continued deterioration of credit market. Low Yields = There is simply NO confidence in the credit markets PANIC RULES

Baltic Dry Index

The Baltic Dry Index is a forward looking indicator that measures pre production materials that are shipped around the world.

Bloomberg data and chart (If the link does not work Google – bloomberg baltic dry index) Set range indicator to one month and you will see this chart.

BDI fall more than -2% yesterday to 801. We have had a significant rally off the lows of @660 two weeks ago week, but again have started to fall. Big long term picture The BDI had seen an almost 90% loss since June. It seems, a least for a week international trade has picked up but has again begun to slowly fall. These shipping figures confirm world wide recession.

Dollar Falling

Dollar was flat yesterday.

Wild ride over the last three weeks – especially last week. Basically, the dollar has gone from a high of $88 to low of $78 and at the end of the last
two days setteled at $81. These are historically big moves for the dollar. Chart.

The dollar is falling because of the low US interest rates and it looks like the Fed will bee printing a whole lot of $ to keep the financial system liquid.

Short Term Outlook

Reading the Tea Leaves-

PANIC RULES the credit markets and its hard to see money flowing into stocks while so many potential investors are putting $ in treasuries at ridiculously low rates. Long term stock rallies simply do not have the money supply to exist as long as the credit panic continues.

Dow 8500 is the technical support level that’s closest and 9000 is the upside resistance level.

Historically the markets turn before the economy, however fundamentally its hard to see signs of any long term economic turn.

Hedges

As I’ve discussed with many of you, personally I am long (bought lots of) FXI (the China ETF) and I’m hedging it with a short position in US equities – SDS or others listed below. The higher FXI gets the more I hedge. The lower it goes the less I hedge.

AS ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE INVESTING

Long Term Outlook – BEARS RULE

Changes to Bottom Line Section Bolded .

Technicals – Series of Lower Lows and Lower Highs = Bears Rule. Obama/stimulus rally part 2 seems to be taking hold. Look for range between 7449 and 9654 for rest of year .
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 fathers market – over the 8 Bush years the Dow has gone from 11,000 to 8,500 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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