21 May 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Philosopher's Stone - Recession Warning

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee...

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.

George Herbert, The Elixir

Today was one of those days in the market when a great deal seems to happen, but then by the close, there is little to show for it.

Stocks rallied early on fabulously on hopes that the China-US Trade discussions were going well. And then all that optimism collapsed under its own weight, and sent stocks to the lows of the day.

But by the close most everything was back again to nearly unchanged.

There will be a Comex precious metals option expiration on Thursday, that will likely be more significant for gold.

Perhaps this is why gold took such a gut shot to test the will of the longs this morning.

Earlier today I posted an indicator that suggests that the US may be falling into another economic recession. To see it click here.

It is *possible* that the tax cuts and other stimulus may do something to defer this risk.   But given the strong bias in the cuts, and lack of a financial policy change to go with them, there may not be a significant impact on the real weekly income at the median level. 

The money seems to continue to be directed to the top.  And their spending does not provide sufficient stimulus to aggregate demand, especially when it is directed at more stock buybacks and increased predatory monopolies.

Have a pleasant evening.

Decline to Negative In Personal Median Income Growth Precedes Economic Recessions - Recession Warning Now?

The data seems to indicate that a sharp decline in Real Median Personal Income to a negative growth year over year seems to precede an economic recession.

As for the causes of this correlation, one might well wonder.   But given that the US economy tends to be consumption driven, a sharp decline in real median personal income would seem to be something worth considering.

And one might well ask, are we headed for that same experience today, with a broad slowing in aggregate demand because of a decline in growth of median income?

I am not happy that this is based on annual data.  I would have been monthly, or at least quarterly. 

Below this I also include a chart that shows the growth of average hourly wages of non-supervisory workers.  I looked this up because of a minor debate going on between two popular media economists, Baker and Krugman, about the start of wage stagnation, whether it has been since 1980, or the last recession.

As always it seems, I was not able to find my exact desired data, which would have been median real wage growth in non-supervisory, non-salaried workers.   But the case for 1980 as the start of stagnation seems rather good.

But I did stumble upon this phenomenon of declining personal income preceding recessions, which seems much more important, if true.  So it was not a complete waste of time to pursue this quibble over whether we are at full employment now, and why wage growth is not yet appearing.

18 May 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Seth the Arbiter of Chaos

"Friday, April 20, was Hitler's fifty-sixth birthday. The radio announced that Hitler had come out of his safe bomb-proof bunker to talk with the fourteen to sixteen year old boys who had 'volunteered' for the 'honor' to be accepted into the SS and to die for their Fuhrer in the defense of Berlin.

What a cruel lie! These boys did not volunteer, but had no choice, because boys who were found hiding were hanged as traitors by the SS as a warning that, 'he who was not brave enough to fight had to die.' When trees were not available, people were strung up on lamp posts. They were hanging everywhere, military and civilian, men and women, ordinary citizens who had been executed."

Dorothea von Schwanenfluegel, The Battle For Berlin

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.  By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

That really is the problem isn't it, as captured in those two seemingly disparate quotes by Bonhoeffer.  How does one speak out without judging, or rather falling into the fault of being judgmental?  And yet not to fall into that more terrible complicity of silence?

What complicates the matter is that the people tend to enjoy when someone is speaking out against those things which they do not like. But they tend to react with almost violent indignation when anything with which they have emotionally identified themselves is brought up for judgement. Not intellectually, but emotionally identified.

The more a thing may disappoint them, the more it may be proven false, the more readily it is debunked and shown to be a falsehood, or even evil, the more strongly some will embrace it, as if by sacrificing their own integrity, and perhaps even their souls, for something so unworthy will silence the criticisms and redeem it.

As noted in the first quote, I was always puzzled by the mass hangings of those who were not showing sufficient enthusiasm for the Fuhrer during the Battle of Berlin, even as the Russians were rolling into town and the war was obviously lost.  Why weren't these brave SS fanatics fighting for their city, rather than going around and hanging boys and old men?

But it makes perfect sense, if one thinks of it in terms of the credibility trap.

For to admit that the Reich was a lie, and a mistake,  that they were fanatical fools, and Hitler an incompetent creature of evil would be to admit that one was wrong, a failure, and worse, had become an accomplice to an unimaginable evil.

To accept that guilt, to admit one's complicity in such a horrendous assault on justice, to humble oneself and ask for forgiveness,  would have taken a heroic act of self-awareness, humility and repentance.  And worse, for these fanatics, it would diminish their pride, which was at the foundation of the most fervent supporters of such flamboyant excess.

That, and a desire to become beasts, to lose themselves in their mindless fanaticism, and escape the pain of being men.  And so they struck out, and killed everything that held up a mirror to their darkened souls, and showed them their pride was based on a lie.

So odd, that after having lost a long and costly war that was based on hatred and lies for the economic benefits of a few, that men would dress up in their costumes, which in any other context would be ridiculous, and rampage around, lynching the innocent.

Pride is the mother of all sin. This is the descent into hell.  This is the unwillingness to let go of the lie, for the sake of pride and its power, and cling to evil as it draws one into the abyss.

This is why some thinkers say that the door to hell is indeed locked—  from the inside.

And not all violence in the service of evil has to be physical.   In modern times the weapon of choice is often economic and financial. 

Stocks ended the week quietly, having struck their level for the stock option expiration today.

There will be a precious metals option expiration on the Comex next Thursday the 24th. I have included those calendars below.

Have a pleasant weekend.

17 May 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - No Conscience, No Fear - No Hands But Yours

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference."

Thomas Jefferson, Notes On the State of Virginia

"Do not be deceived, for God is not mocked.  What a man sows, so shall he reap."

Gal 6:7

"'Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart?  You have not lied to man, but to God.'  When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.   And a great fear came upon all who heard of this. Some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, carried him out, and buried him."

Acts 5:4-6

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”

Teresa d'Ávila

Stocks were showing strength earlier in the day.  They were buoyed by a much better than expected Philly Fed report, due largely from expected orders.

Then some discouraging words were said about the trade negotiations between the US and China.   Thereafter stocks sold off, but recovered a bit into the close.

The US Dollar was marginally higher.  Precious metals gained back a bit.

The immanent hand of God is moving over this world.   Who can tell where it may fall?

Tomorrow will be a stock option expiration.

Have a pleasant evening.

In the garden of our Savior
No flower grows unseen
His kindness rains like water
On every humble seed
No simple act of mercy escapes His watchful eye
For there is One who sees me
His hand is over mine

[Verse 2]
In the kingdom of the heavens
No suffering is unknown
Each tear that falls is holy
Each breaking heart a throne
There is a song of beauty in every weeping eye
For there is One who loves me
His heart, it breaks with mine

O the deeds forgotten
O the works unseen
Every drink of water flowing graciously
Every tender mercy You’re making glorious
This You have asked of us:
Do little things with great love
This You have asked of us:
Do little things with great love
Little things with great love

[Verse 3]
At the table of our Savior
No mouth will go unfed
And His children in the shadows
Stream in and raise their heads
O give us ears to hear them and give us eyes to see
For there is One who loves them
I am His hands and feet
There is One who loves them
I am His hands and feet