TARP Testimony Today...
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In This Issue..

* What will Paulson say?

* Dollar remains well bid...

* How long for Safe Haven buyers?

* G-20 Schmee 20!

And Now... Today's Pfennig!

TARP Testimony Today...

Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I've been away for a few days to deal with something, I want to thank Chris once again for taking the conn on the Pfennig since last Thursday. He'll get it again at the end of this week and the beginning of next week, as I hope to get to Marco Island for the Wealth Masters Conference.

Well... Nothing has changed since I left you last Wednesday. The awful economic data just keeps piling on, and the dollar gets bid up on safe haven purchases. We did see the Eurozone and Japan announce that they are in a recession... Chris was kind enough to leave me the following, so here's some more Chris....

"The dollar weakened slightly after the US Industrial production numbers showed a rebound in October. The 1.3% monthly gain sounds great, but it followed September's drop of 3.7% due to the Gulf Coast hurricanes. After adjusting for the effect of the hurricanes and a strike at Boeing, output dropped .7 percent during each of the past two months. The trend continues to be very weak, and the recession which currently grips the US is now expected to last through 2010.

The US was rescued from the last two recessions by US consumers, who continued to borrow and spend right through the previous slowdowns. But we can't count on consumers to pull us out of this one. Plummeting home values, dwindling incomes and the near disappearance of credit have proved a potent mixture for the US consumers. The number of personal bankruptcy filings jumped nearly 8 percent in October from September. Filings totaled 108,595, surpassing 100,000 for the first time since the bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005. The number of filings were up nearly 34 percent from October 2007, and are expected to total over 1.2 million for the year.

Not only are bankruptcy filings up, but most filers have much more credit card debt than in years past. A recent study found that the typical family who filed for bankruptcy in 2007 was carrying about 21 percent more in secured debt, and about 44 percent more in unsecured debts like credit cards than those that filed in 2001. Don't count on US consumers to rescue us this time, so who will? Pelosi and President elect Obama are already talking about increasing government spending to try and borrow and spend our way out, but any stimulus or massive government projects will only add to the overall debt and increase the deficits. We are already being crushed by our debt load, and increasing it won't be a long term positive for the US. The dollar continues to be propped up by safe haven purchases and the global deleveraging, but this dollar strength can't continue. Once we return to the underlying fundamentals, the dollar will fall."

OK... Thanks once again, Chris!

The BIG NEWS today should come in the form of a testimony by Treasury Sec. Paulson, regarding his TARP... This should be interesting folks... You see there is a whispering campaign to withdraw the "blank check" that lawmakers gave to Paulson and Fed Chairman, Big Ben Bernanke, and any attempt to not fully disclose the details of what has been given out to date, or... Any more changing of horses in the middle of the stream, could cause a ruckus. It could also cause the safe haven boys and girls to go "all in" on their safe haven purchases, because, it will be just like last week, when Paulson did change his course for the $700 Billion bailout money, and the blanket of "unknown" was cast upon the markets, and the risk takers ran for the hills.

In other words... The Trading Theme that is in place that rewards the dollar when things look darker in the U.S. will be working overtime, buying dollars...

For the sake of honesty... And not that I'm cheerleading the currencies (I get real tired of this... Recently I've had some readers turn on me and accuse me of "knowing nothing" and being nothing more than a "cheerleader") Come on! Can't you see the forest from the trees? This is simply telling it like it is... WE have a HUGE deficit problem, and unless you are willing to begin paying taxes that amount to about 75% of your income to pay the deficit down, then we need to get the dollar weaker now, for that's the only way we're going to be able to pay down the interest alone on these debt obligations is with a cheaper dollar! So, yes, I push for that dollar to get weaker now, so that the tax obligations of my kids and grand kids aren't oppressive!

OK, sorry but I had to get that off my chest... So, for the sake of honesty, let's hope Paulson comes to the lawmakers with a cup of honest, and let the chips fall where they will. Oh! And yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Paulson is unlikely to launch new bailout (the used "rescue" but we all know what it is!) programs, saving his unused horde of cash to hand over to the new Treasury Sec. and say, "here you go, spend it wisely, but just between you and me, this isn't enough to help anything"

Judging from happened in the overnight stock markets, with the risk takers nowhere to be found, the consensus being the overnight markets don't believe Paulson will deliver the goods, and stocks sold off in Asia and early Europe... I suspect that the U.S. market will take a cue from those overnight markets as well, at least until Paulson talks... And the Dow only has 273.58 points to give before falling below 8,000... UGH!

All those "Safe Haven buyers" must really be "scaredy cats" because as I look at the bond screens, I see that you will get 13 basis points for a 3-month T-Bill, and 80 basis points for a 6-month T-Bill... By the time the broker takes his fee or commission you are left with nothing! So, that's the same as putting the money under your mattress or stuffing it in coffee cans and burying it in the back yard! And, if you want to talk long notes and bonds... Well, you'll have to go to the 30-year bond before you can get yield that comes near to covering the inflation rate! Uh-Oh! Negative real earnings for the "safe haven buyers"...

How long can that continue? How long... Can this be going on? How long... Can this be going on? How long are these guys and girls going to accept negative real earnings? That's the $64 question... But, I have to believe that once these "safe haven buyers" decide that they've had enough, the unwinding will go very quickly, and the whiplash we'll receive from watching yields turn around will hurt!

And, with the unwinding of the "safe haven buys" one would think that the dollar gets put on it ear once again... That is unless there's a new "hoola-hoop" for investors to move into... But since there's no "hoola-hoop" to speak of, and probably won't be, given the fact that the regulators will be scrutinizing "new instruments" to make sure they "don't get fooled again"...

Did you see the news yesterday that Citgroup plans to cut 50,000 jobs? That's just awful! And if true, will be the latest jolt to Wall Street! Chief Executive Vikram Pandit addressed employees in a town hall-style meeting Monday morning, giving them the bad news. These job cuts won't take place overnight... And that they plan to be finished with them by the 3rd QTR of 2009.

The data cupboard today will give us a look at the Producer Price Index (PPI) (wholesale inflation), which is expected to fall from previous printings, as Oil prices have fallen faster than anyone and I mean anyone could have imagined. We'll also see the TIC Flows (net security purchase by foreigners) for September... This data should see some improvement, but remain well below the figure needed to finance the current account deficit.

Yesterday, Capacity Utilization printed for October, and improved (on first glance, wait for the revision) on September's revised downward figure of 75.5%... Capacity Utilization has long been a fave piece of economic data of mine due to the fact that it is one of the very few / rare pieces of data that is forward looking. Capacity Utilization weakness was one of the factors I used in calling the recession in the U.S. back in January. Capacity Utilization and the ISM Index (manufacturing)...

So, how about that stirring communiqué' from the G-20 crowd! I was moved! The chills went down my spine, my eyes filled with tears of joy, it was something to behold! Oh? They didn't do all that? I must have been dreaming, eh?

What a joke! These leaders from around the world met and didn't come up with anything other than rhetorical direction only? Fire them all! Throw the bums out! This is ridiculous! It just shows me that they are probably more interested in pointing fingers than actually agreeing to work together to deal with this global problem.

So... Look for more of the Trading Theme today, folks. The deeper, darker, more dangerous clouds are moving back in over the U.S. economy.

Currencies today 11/18/08: A$ .6465, kiwi .55, C$ .8115, euro 1.2635, sterling 1.5040, Swiss .8345, ISK 182, rand 10.2850, krone 7.0180, SEK 8.0425, forint 214.40, zloty 3.0475, koruna 20.4280, yen 96.10, baht 35, sing 1.5270, HKD 7.75, INR 49.65, China 6.8280, pesos 13.22, BRL 2.3215, dollar index 87.07, Oil $54.80, Silver $9.35, and Gold... $736.75

That's it for today... This summer I began to have a vision problem in my left eye, but having been to the eye doctor and being told about floaters, I figured it would go away. And it did for about 3 weeks... But then came back, and this time was worse, the eye was cloudy. So I went to the eye doctor again, and this time was told I had a mass behind my eye that was causing the problem. Last Thursday, I spent the day at a Cancer Center dealing with this mass that is attached to the back of my left eye. The procedures involved a laser and a shot, which resulted in some massive pain... This is just a setback folks. The doctor believes my vision in that eye will be saved, and that's all I know for now... I had to live like a hermit for 5 days because of the dye they put in me, so here I am... Back in the saddle... I know that I'm in good hands...

My beloved Missouri Tigers got out of Dodge with a win on Saturday, as their recent trips to Ames, Iowa haven't been good, but they prevailed this time, and are Big 12 North Champions for the 2nd year in a row! They still have the border war with main rival, Kansas, in two weeks, which they need to take care of before playing in the Big 12 Championship Game. I took my family to the Big 12 Championship Game in San Antonio last year... This year the game is in Kansas City, I think I'll stay at home in the warmth of the house and watch it on TV! OK... Mike's here, so I must be running late... I hope Your Tuesday is Terrific!

Chuck Butler


EverBank World Markets



Posted 11-18-2008 10:03 AM by Chuck Butler