WASHINGTON, March 13, 2013 – This morning we learned that allegedly anemic U.S. retail sales jumped 1.1 percent in February, the biggest gain in this number in 5 months. That’s funny. We thought that January’s payroll tax “increase” was going to kill the economy. Maybe not.
On other fronts, Investors.com reports that 36 of the Obama Administration’s “do as I say, not as I do” redistributionist and elitist staffers currently owe the IRS some $833,000 in back taxes, reminiscent of outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s equally cavalier treatment of the government’s tax collection agency. Or big Democrat donor Warren Buffett’s ongoing tax wrangle with the IRS dating back to early in this century for that matter.
It’s kind of funny how the rest of us are expected to cough up our taxes without complaint while lefty fashionistas—richer and smarter than us—can play IRS dodge ball with impunity. Just who are we all redistributing the wealth to, anyway?
But the media will shuffle on from this one. Nothing to see here folks, let’s move along. So it looks like we’ll just have to get back to the market now. And, as of 9 a.m. EDT, the market has opened slightly iffy, starting out with a bit of red ink, but flirting with green. We’d actually expected things to take off a bit before really pulling back after Friday’s quadruple witching maneuvers are completed by the Big Boys, aka them. But so far, we’re lacking that big opportunity to lighten up further that we expected, so we may have to start lightening up anyway.
Our advisory services, and others as well that we occasionally can access through the ones we pay for, are all throwing up their hands more or less, at the relative uselessness of their predictive systems amidst the boatloads of money the Fed is handing out via QE. The economy, in fact, after a very slight recovery mode, has been in stasis for the better part of three years now. Corporate profits continue to look swell, which individual balance sheets, while somewhat repaired, will pretty much never heal again, at least in the Maven’s sadly waning lifetime.
The reason for this is that a huge number of the jobs that were lost in the early part of Great Depression II will never return. The mighty economic engine that provided generations of Americans with the unprecedented opportunity to move up a class or even two each generation, have likely vanished, never to return, as Obamanation’s Euro-socialism—failed and now being slowly dumped by its originators even as we fail to learn from their mistakes here—continues to embrace the Nation in its slow, anaconda-like death squeeze.
Fearing Obamacare—as does cartoonist A. F. Branco in our header graphic above—corporations here, particularly the largest ones, have gained in efficiency while shedding workers they’ll never hire back. Hence, the greater profitability that drives this market forward even as no real gains have been made for half a decade in hiring.
The one growth area today is in the lower and middle echelons of the healthcare mega-conglomerate. Plenty of jobs are now happening in this area as government and private bureaucracies are slowly growing by an order of magnitude to accompany this real time wealth distribution—toward the bigwigs of hospital management companies, medical conglomerates, and big pharma and biotech. Yet even these jobs barely offset those that have been permanently lost. Hence the current stasis. It’s a real mess.
But uninformed voters, and an absurdly out-of-touch-with-the-Constitution Chief Justice guaranteed in 2012 that this hydra-headed healthcare, Death Panel monster can now never be stopped. That’s what a failed educational system will do for you. By the time people figure out what’s happened (if they ever do) they will be unable to stop it.
Dr. Joe Duarte, in an incredibly insightful article, explains this at length. We’re able to access occasional Duarte reports via Carl Swenlin’s Decisionpoint, our longtime favorite chart and chart-reading service, as several independent investing services offer occasional free material here to promote their sites.
We’ve been so impressed at Duarte’s reasoning lately that we may open our generally tightly-closed purses and add his service to our mix. In any event, you can sample his key report on the developing medi-centric, redistributionist economy at the above link and judge for yourself. Also, take a look at Decisionpoint’s publicly available material as well. If you work with a discount brokerage, having a few independent research resources of your own can be incredibly useful in our complicated markets.
In any event, markets are looking a little anemic this morning as we approach 10 a.m., so we’ll just have to wait and see how this low-volume melt up in the averages eventually concludes.
Before we get to our minimal stock calls this morning, we’d like to let our readers know that the Maven will be briefly donning his more political glasses and heading across the Potomac River to the People’s Republic of Maryland starting this afternoon. His mission: to hunt down whatever useful business news he can find at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Convention, located this year in the sparkling and still-growing National Harbor complex in Prince Georges County.
Our multi-reporter coverage of this event is already underway, and you can access our special report area via the above link.
As a result of helping cover CPAC and the resulting unpredictability of his hours starting this afternoon, the Maven and this column will likely be a movable feast tomorrow and Friday or, possibly, might not reappear until Monday. However, we’ll try to file reports both at our special site and at our alternate column, The Prudent Man, to keep you up to date.
Be sure to follow our coverage here at WTC. It’s likely to be lively, unpredictable, and could signal either new unity or new divisions in the Conservative ranks as politicians and the faithful try to figure out how to solve the Nation’s surprising and unwelcome turn toward Euro-socialism and statism, which, for some, are one and the same. These forces are threatening the viability of our markets, and we all need to get a better handle as to what’s going on, why, and whom we’ll need to support among the up-and-coming generation of Conservatives and Libertarians to counter the ongoing threat against the American way of life.
Off the soapbox now and onto the market, which continued to sink as we lobbied out CPAC coverage above.
Trading today’s market action:
As we’ve just noted, trading today started a bit anemic, tried to get positive, but so far at least, is down in the doldrums at 10:15 a.m. with the Dow off about 30 points and the other averages moping around. Aside from more QE—and a rumored giant infusion of free money that will allegedly shower the market on quadruple witching Friday—volume has remained mind-blowingly low during the current rally, indicating the Big Boys are probably leaving or, likely, already mostly gone from the long side as they ready their short positions to kill what’s left of the little guys.
The Fed’s money printing seems to have been holding off the inevitable, but a nasty bust of at least short term duration seems inevitable here. The political comity of the last few days in DC will likely give way again to the highly partisan Obama attack machine, against which the ever cautious Boomer Republican leadership has never mounted even an adequate response. Neither side has any new tricks and the New Kids on the Block—the supposedly nonexistent Tea Partiers—still lack the numbers to prevail.
All this may eventually kick this thinly traded market into reverse, possibly on very short notice, so again, after doing a little accumulation in the current run up, we’re paring down again lest the Big Boys sweep all our winning chips into their fat-and-getting-fatter moneybags.
We decided to forego the IPO of Silver Spring Networks (SSNI) last night, and wouldn’t you know it—we missed a modest pop upward of about 4% as of this writing. We’ll see if that’s sustained if the market corrects over the next 30 days—the period Schwab would expect us to hold this or any other new issue we purchase through them.
On other fronts, we’re getting hammered on Marathon Petroleum (MPC) which, like other refiners, is currently getting backlashed by the ongoing ethanol blend nonsense; as well as in our modest holding of IBB, the biotech ETF, which, for reasons unknown (like maybe short-term profit-taking) is also getting beat up this morning. Our beloved REITs have had a little air let out of their tires, and ditto MLPs and most anything in the energy sector. And the natural gas ETF, FCG, is off-gassing a bit as well. Even financials (the XLF ETF) are anemic this morning.
Our only clear winner today is truck-maker Hyster-Yale, a relatively unknown spinoff from the once much-larger NACCO Industries, although it got its own shellacking yesterday. So it’s been going.
We might not dump anything today, but we’re sure disinclined to buy stuff in this market. That said, wait for this afternoon, sometime after 2:30, when the bulls may ride back in and take the averages modestly up, like they did yesterday. Or not. It depends on whether they care at this point.
Back when we can—or via Prudent Man or our CPAC link above.
Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate.
Any positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.
Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.
References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any ar500ticle under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.
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