Notes From Underground: Further Into the Fray

February 20, 2018

On Tuesday the news was filled with the release of an analysis by the research combine at Goldman Sachs warning about the negative outcomes from the increasing amount of debt as interest rates rise, lifting the negative percentage of interest payments relative to GDP. (See the CNBC story, “Goldman Sachs Sees Red Ink Everywhere,Warns U.S. Spending Could Push Up Rates and Debt Levels.”) This is another voice warning about the ill-timed fiscal stimulus and budget deficit increase late in the economic cycle. In an interesting juxtaposition, the WSJ had an article published last week titled, “Cohn Downplays Concerns Over Rising Inflation, Bond Yields.” Speaking in his position as Trump’s top economic advisor, Cohn maintained that the White House is not worried about an overheating economy. Cohn emphasized, “We know how to deal with inflation. We don’t know how to deal with deflation in this country.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Let’s Enter the Fray

February 19, 2018

First, thank you to all the readers and friends who posted condolences and sent private notes on the passing of my dear brother Ralph. If you want to see his creativity, search for Dwight Ralphy on YouTube. They have provided me a laugh and reminder of how forward Ralph was as this work was created in the ’80s and ’90s.

For the past couple of days I have been reviewing market action and news stories that purportedly raised the volatility levels of equity, bond and currency markets. In my February 5 post I mentioned that the synchronized key reversals of the three major U.S. indices–Dow, Nasdaq and S&Ps–provided a backdrop that we have not experienced in many, many years. In June and August 2017, the Nasdaq 100 futures put in a weekly key reversal. An outside key reversal is when a market makes all-time highs and closes below the previous week’s low. This technical indicator has been a mainstay of the week of high quality technicians and last year’s failure of this long trusted indicator drove market seers crazy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Synchronicity

February 5, 2018

We have had many false key technical signals over the last 12 months. BUT LAST WEEK there have been THREE KEY REVERSALS. The DOW, S&Ps AND NASDAQ all made all-time highs and closed below the previous week’s low. SYNCHRONICITY indeed. Pay close attention as the world is all aflutter with fears of higher interest weeks forcing a reassessment of equity values. I believe Monday’s massive selloff IS A RESULT OF THE MASSIVE EFFECT OF THE RISK PARITY PARADIGM. I have warned that all the synthetic mimics of DALIO’s risk parity profiles were going to create a small door in which to exit. I am posting a podcast I recorded with Anthony Crudele on January 30, but just released this morning. Learn from actual traders, CHI GIRL and YRA HARRIS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: This Is A Week Filled With …

January 29, 2018

This week for global macro traders is packed with data and policy statements that can ignite the volatility fuse. On Tuesday night, President Trump, the conquering hero of Davos, will deliver the State of the Union address. Chair Janet Yellen will oversee her final FOMC meeting this week. There are also several data releases Thursday and Friday, culminating with the unemployment report.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald?

January 25, 2018

It seems that the White House emptied and traveled to Davos in an effort to gain control at ground zero for access journalism. The fawning media has been the epicenter for President Trump’s assault of the airwaves. The anti-globalist, drainer-of-the-swamp has become the story emanating from the Alps in an effort to destroy the memory of Chinese leader XI at last year’s conclave. President Donald was the perfect foil for the globalist masquerade party just after his inauguration but in 12 months he has hijacked the entire soiree. On Wednesday it was Trump’s minions, Mnuchin and Ross, threatening the world’s money lords with the commencement of a global trade/currency war as the U.S. Commerce Secretary was sending soldiers to the ramparts with threats of throwing dead green presidents to their doom.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Please, Please Pepper Spray Davos

January 24, 2018

The U.S. dollar fiduciaries wreaked havoc on markets as Secretary Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hit dollar bulls with a one-two punch that sent the dollar index to three-year lows. I sure hope that Mrs. Mnuchin mirrored the behavior of previous Swiss National Bank (SNB) Chairman Phillip Hildebrand, who was forced to resign in January 2012 when it was discovered his wife made a currency trade three weeks prior to an SNB policy announcement. I am sure that no White House Davos participants acted in any kleptocratic fashion (sarcasm intended). The price of a $650,000 ticket to Davos has to be of some value. Now, moving beyond sarcasm, Secretary Mnuchin broke with tradition to openly suggesting that a weaker DOLLAR is good for American trade and thus economic performance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Some Issues to Contemplate

January 16, 2018

On Tuesday, Rick Santelli and I spoke, and, as usual it was way too short as we couldn’t cover anything in the depth we would’ve liked. Regardless, it allows us to get out front of many investment ideas. Rick has a stable of high quality guests: Bianco, Boockvar, Biderman, Trichet, Lazear … the list goes on and sometimes I wish my readers would let CNBC know how important Rick is for a larger discussion about ideas besides the most recent Apple price and latest Trump tweets.

Click on the image to watch me and Rick discuss the euro and the central banks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Europe Takes Center Stage (Again)

January 15, 2018

It is always a pleasure to talk with the Richard Bonugli at the Financial Repression Authority. Like Anthony Cruedele of Futures Radio, Richard is a very astute financial mind, which allows for deep discussions in a longer format. We cover several issues discussed in Notes From Underground so I’m sorry if it seems redundant, but I will say that we take a deeper dive on the issues. The segment taped on Wednesday, January 10 so from a trading perspective the information may be stale. But from an investors’ perspective it will still be relevant as the markets begin to unravel the mysteries of a new year. We dive deeper into Europe as I am certain the continent will provide much of the tinder for market volatility in 2018. This weekend proved the case as several stories from Europe propelled the DOLLAR lower as U.S. markets were on holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Feeding the Ducks (Part Two)

January 10, 2018

Tonight, I’d like to expound on the recent musings from Chris Whalen, titled, “Bank Earnings &Volatility.” Whalen stresses that the FED will not be selling assets but merely ending “its reinvestment of cash when securities are REDEEMED,” (emphasis mine). In what I consider a key point raised, Whalen said, “Yet as we and a growing number of investors seems to appreciate, the FED cannot force up long-term rates so long as it is sitting on $4 trillion worth of securities THAT IT DOES NOT HEDGE. More given that the Treasury intends to concentrate future debt issuance on short-term maturities, downward pressure on long-term bonds yields is likely to intensify.” Whalen also said, “What the FOMC has done to the markets via QE is essentially reduce potential volatility by holding securities and not hedging these securities.” The key point is enhanced by the fact that both the ECB and BOJ do not hedge their security exposure either so volatility has been diminished by the reduced hedging.

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes From Underground: Feeding the Ducks When They Quack

January 9, 2018

Since the unemployment data, I have tried to write an appropriate blog but “all my words came back to me in shades of mediocrity” so I refrained from adding to the stream of vapid commentary that fills the Internet. But let’s proceed as the markets provided movement based on some sense of heightened inflation expectations. There is certainly money flowing into commodity based investments as OIL, COPPER, GOLD, and a litany of other natural resources have become a repository for money concerned with investments other than crypto currencies. The U.S. employment data was well within the range of expectations. The important average hourly earnings and the average work week were close to the consensus forecasts. The Canadian data beat estimates for the second consecutive month. The consensus was for an unemployment rate of 6% and addition of 2,000 jobs. The actual data was 5.7% unemployed and almost 80,000 new jobs, with two-thirds being part-time.

Read the rest of this entry »