With continued volatility in global markets, today one of the greats in the business sent King World News a fascinating piece about what is happening with stocks, bonds, gold, silver, oil, the frustration of markets, plus a bonus Q&A.
May 21 (King World News) – Back in the original stock mania in 1999, when a friend would call from the road and ask, "Hey, what's the market doing?" I would often joke, "Well, it's open" — because by definition, if it was open, it was higher. That is pretty much what we've evolved to once again, as the indices were marginally higher through midday before the Nasdaq led the way to slightly better gains in the afternoon, adding 0.5% on the day.
Currencies, Bonds, Oil And Metals
Away from stocks, green paper was weaker, though fixed income was higher, while oil gained a couple of percent and the metals were slightly lower.
The Beat of Market Doldrums Goes On
Regretfully, we are back in the mode where nothing matters and market action of all stripes is not all that interesting, nor is it yielding many clues. Yes, bonds act funky and the dollar may have topped out, but stocks are on automatic pilot until they aren't.
All of this, of course, will end in a huge amount of pain and chaos, but every reader of this column has known that for some time. All that really matters is when will something start to change that is actionable? As unsatisfactory as it is, we can't predict that, we can only react to it once that scenario starts to play out.
Included below are two questions and answers from today's Q&A with Bill Fleckenstein. The questions are from his subscribers and they get to read these every day.
Question: Re: confirmation bias, sentiment shifts and can-kicking:
What's to prevent a couple or more big central banks from talking down gold, maybe way down, by announcing plans to sell their bullion?
Done "right" wouldn't this help string out QE/easy money policies and postpone what we all see is inevitable, at the same time as providing the banks with a fine buying opportunity?
Lies and moral hazard are everywhere and we all know the power of waffle — the CB's are guiltier than most.
Answer from Fleck: "First of all, most central banks are busy buying gold and few are selling gold.
Secondly, gold hasn't stopped any QE. Not even close. So why would they even need to contemplate what you think they actually do? And which "banks" do you think the central banks want to give this "opportunity" to?
Sorry, but I think you are being a bit paranoid."
Question: Hey Bill,
Have you an investigated any avenue to play the potential meltdown in student loans from the short side?
I am uninformed beyond the general. Sallie Mae split itself up, if I recall correctly. SLM is the student loan business which has $45 billion in market cap currently.
The government could do almost anything here at the burden of the taxpayer, but Sallie Mae equities could disappear a la Fannie and Freddie. Conversely, student debt as of now is legally not default-able in bankruptcy.
Timing, as always will be critical, but I was wondering if you had a vehicle I hadn't thought of?
Answer from Fleck: "No, I haven't really tried to plan too far out, because there is too much lunacy. Who knows what will be best when it is finally time to get short?" ***To subscribe to Bill Fleckenstein's fascinating Daily Thoughts CLICK HERE.
***ALSO JUST RELEASED: As The Risk Of A Total Meltdown Increases Exponentially, How Much Gold Do China And The West Really Possess? CLICK HERE.
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