December 2008 - Daily Pfennig

A free, quick-reading daily e-letter on world currencies, economic trends, and the occasional baseball score.

Daily Pfennig

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  • Spending More Money...

    * Turn back the clocks to 1950... * Currencies rally on the day... * Bank of Canada to cut rates today... * Fed Funds to zero? ** Spending More Money... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! It's raining like cats and dogs outside, and that rain is supposed to turn to snow tonight, so we've got that going for us! Always love that rain to snow bit, as it puts a nice layer of ice under the snow! Well... It looks like the new president wants to spend more money... Yes, President-elect Obama, presented his economic plan yesterday, and before doing so, issued a warning that the economy is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. His plan calls for a pledge to spend the most on infrastructure since the 1950's... Now, let me say this... The Big Boss, Frank Trotter, and I talk about this all the time... To spend money on Financial Institutions and things that don't get used more than once like bullets and bombs, isn't our "fave" way to spend money... But building something that could be used over and over again, well, that makes sense... However, this spending could be coming at the absolute most awful timing, as the Deficits are exploding in front of our eyes, and it certainly isn't as appealing as watching the fireworks display in Vancouver!...
  • It's All About The Jobs Jamboree...

    * Currencies rally then fall back... * Rate slashers! * Following Japan? Let's hope not! * Canada's woes mount... ** It's All About The Jobs Jamboree... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday! A Jobs Jamboree Friday! Anything else, Chuck? No, I don't think so, I'll stop there... It's all about the Jobs Jamboree today. It's all about finding out just how badly the rot on the labor vine has gotten... The Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, yesterday, remained above 500K per week, which doesn't bode well for next month's data... But first... November's Jobs Jamboree on the docket! The "experts" have forecast a -335K drop in jobs for November... But, your old Pfennig writer believes that this forecast is low. I think it will be closer to -375K... The reason I say that is the employment piece of the ISM report that printed the other day... The employment index of that report showed some real serious rot on the labor vine... I read a report last night, where an economist was attempting to show how the report should read -750K... As bad as -375K is, I don't think the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) would have anything to do with printing a -750K report!...
  • Bailout failure accelerates dollars decline...

    * Senate rejects auto bailout... * ECB pushes back from the rate cut table... * Goldman and Citigroup predict a dollar fall... * China to continue to appreciate... ** Bailout failure accelerates dollars decline... Good day... Not sure when all of you will be receiving this today, as it took nearly over a half hour for my computer to boot up this morning. But its all good news for currency investors, so I'll get it written and out to you as quickly as I can. The dollar slowed its decent overnight, but continued to fall vs. most of the major currencies as the US Senate rejected the $14 billion bailout for the auto industry. The big winner in the Senate rejection of the bailout plan was the Japanese yen, as Japanese car makers are predicted to grab an even bigger piece of the US auto market. The yen, which has been rallying due to global deleveraging and carry trade reversals, suddenly had another reason to rally. The yen rose to a 13 year high, trading below 90 yen per dollar, and some are now predicting a rise to 80. Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa boosted the yen further after telling reporters in Tokyo that Japan isn't considering intervening in the currency markets....
  • Waiting on the FOMC meeting...

    * FOMC to cut further... * Bernanke turns his back on inflation... * Kiwi and Australia rally... * Gold continues to shine... ** Waiting on the FOMC meeting... Good day...and welcome to another week, hopefully the currency markets can continue their assault on the dollar which began a few weeks ago. The dollar index peaked back on November 21, and with the exception of a few days around the beginning of December, the greenback has consistently fallen vs. most of the major currencies. Friday was no exception, and the dollar continued to give back gains over the weekend with the Euro climbing back over $1.35 for the first time in two months....
  • Santa rally continues...

    * Santa rally continues... * Norway cuts 175 basis points... * Japanese intervention possible... * Indian rupee moves up... ** Santa rally continues... Good day... The dollar is falling much faster than it rose, the euro surged over 6 cents vs. US$ since yesterday at this time. The 5 day return chart for the major currencies vs. the US$ is pretty impressive: Swiss Franc +12.55%, Euro +9.5%, Danish Krone +9.44%, New Zealand $ +8.41%, Australian $ +5.08%, Swedish Krona +4.85%. And it continues. The past two weeks have been the most dramatic move by the dollar that I can remember. The dollar index, which tracks the US$ vs a group of major currencies is back trading right where it was at this time last year. I pulled a chart of year to date currency returns vs. the US$, and there are now 5 major currencies which have appreciated vs. the greenback: Yen +26.44%, Swiss + 8.07%, and Singapore, Danish Krone, & Euro + 1%. And with the recent big moves, our phones have been lighting up with investors moving back into currencies. I love the fact that all of these investors are diversifying, but the speed of this recent move demonstrates why we suggest keeping your investments spread across all asset classes. Trying to time into or out of a market can be frustrating, while keeping consistent asset allocations is the key....
  • A HUGE Currency Rally!

    * Another currency rally.... * SNB cuts another 50 BPS! * Budget Deficit continues to widen! * Treasury yields go south for the winter! ** A HUGE Currency Rally! Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! It's been quite the rally this week in the currencies led by the euro, which is like old times, eh? The Big Dog on the porch finally gets to stretch its legs and chase the dollar down the street! It's been a long time since we've seen this go on for more than a day. Yes, we've seen one day spikes, and even two day rallies turn into false dawns, but this one has lasted about a week now. Ever since last Friday's awful Jobs Jamboree, the tide has turned, and the Trading Theme that has held the currencies in a full nelson since the end of July, could very well be on the way out the door. I said that about the Trading Theme earlier this week, so I just wanted to repeat that to emphasize the point!...
  • Wild Swings!

    * Euro gains, then loses, then gains... * Inflation and Commodities... * The euro turns 10! * Risk Aversion remains but is waning... ** Wild Swings! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Well, it happened way too late for yours truly to witness it, but my beloved Missouri Tigers rallied and won the Alamo Bowl in overtime. Go Tigers! Hopefully they can fix the defense before next fall! OK... Remember those Wild Swings I talked about yesterday? The Wild Swings that could be a result of thin volumes in this the second week of Christmas. Well... We witnessed them in earnest yesterday! As I signed off yesterday, I told you that the euro had rallied 2 whole figures to 1.43 and change. Well, that rally dissipated throughout the morning, and by late in the day the single unit was 1.39 and change... WOW! Now that's a Wild Swing! You can point to profit taking as the reason for the move, and with the volumes thinned out by Holiday trading, one profit taking sell begot another, and before you knew it, the euro was looking at a loss on the day....
  • Another HUGE Currency Rally!

    * Gaza bombing has dollar on the run... * More proof we're turning Japanese... * Adding to the debt burden... * What will deflation do for the dollar? ** A HUGE Currency Rally! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well... It's been a long time, now I'm coming back home! Actually, I've been home all of my winter vacation, but I'm referring to the trading desk and EverBank's office. I had a vacation that had a split personality, as I was sick for the first part of it, then went to the eye doctor to get another shot / injection in my eye. So much for the first part! The second part went quite well, with lots of rest and time spent with family. Are there two better ways to spend your time? Not in my book! So... The currencies had a split personality while I was gone too... At first, they rallied like there was no tomorrow, but then sold off, and then range traded. So, we'll finish the year on a down note for most of the currencies, but knowing all too well that the markets are beginning to realize that the debts the U.S. is chalking up are not going to go away, and in fact they're just going to get worse, and that spells bad times for the dollar... Eventually......
  • Dollar bounces back up...

    * Dollar bounces back up... * Paulson heads back to congress... * BOJ cuts rates to below the US... * China to continue increasing the value of the Renminbi... ** Dollar bounces back up... Good day... The currencies took a breather overnight as the dollar bounced back up. When we left last night, the Euro was still holding above $1.42, but the single unit dropped 3 cents overnight and is now hovering around the $1.39 level. This move back down was to be expected, and serves as an excellent opportunity for investors who were afraid they had missed out on getting back into the currency market. I have searched the news wires this morning and can't find any good reasons for the dollar's turn around other than it had simply gone too far too fast. Mike Meyer and I were talking about this yesterday morning, as we were looking at the trading screens in amazement. The dollar's move down over the past two weeks was even faster than the move up earlier this year. Chuck had warned readers all during the dollar rally that the strength was only temporary, but the reversal was just too quick. This move back up is healthy for the markets, and will allow investors another opportunity to move back in....
  • Currency markets stabilize...

    * Currency markets stabilize (for now)... * Data packed holiday shortened week... * China cuts rates... * Indian rupee falls... ** Currency markets stabilize... Good day...The dollar settled in at the slightly higher levels it reached Friday morning and is trading in a narrow range heading into a holiday shortened week. Trade desks across the globe will be mostly staffed by the backups as the big bosses take Christmas week off. Volume will likely be lighter, which can sometimes lead to an increase in volatility. The data calendar is empty today, but chock full tomorrow and Christmas eve. Markets will be closed on Christmas day, and most will be closed again on the day following Christmas (known as boxing day). GDP, Personal Consumption, U of Michigan consume confidence, New Home Sales, Existing Home sales, House price index, Richmond Fed Man. Index, and ABC Consumer confidence numbers will all be released tomorrow. On Christmas eve the US will release MBA Mortgage applications, Personal Income, Personal Spending, PCE deflator, Durable Goods orders, and the weekly jobs numbers will all be released. I told you we will be packing in a weeks worth of data in the next two days!!...
  • A Bailout For The Big 3...

    * Another currency rally.... * Bank of Canada cuts 75 BPS! * A Santa rally? * What Asia thinks... ** A Bailout For The Big 3... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! We didn't get that snow I talked about yesterday, I guess the milk and bread on the grocery store shelves are safe today! Had to get "all dressed up" last night for a function that brought together a ton of old Mark Twain Bank people, among others. It was great, but I stood for two hours and I'm paying for it this morning... UGH! OK... Another day of "healing" for the currencies, as the 1.29 handle was achieved and held on to in the overnight markets. Slowly... Like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of currency healing! HA! That show, Days of our Lives, was burned into my brain as a kid, as it was my mother's fave soap....
  • Its all about the yen...

    * Japan dominates news wires... * US retail sales to drop... * Russia devalues the ruble again... * Happy Birthday Kathy Butler... ** Its all about the yen... Good day...Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, I had a great Christmas and Christmas eve. I ate entirely too much, but that is one of the joys of the holidays! Most of the markets were closed yesterday, and trading was very light on Christmas eve. The Asian markets were open, and the dollar did sell off a bit vs. most of the major currencies with the one exception being the Japanese yen. Unless we see a big bounce today, the yen will end the day with the first weekly loss vs. the US$ in two months. With a majority of markets closed, most news stories centered around the Japanese yen. Japanese industrial production fell the most in 55 years as reported on Wednesday. Factory output plunged 8.1% from October, more than 6.8% estimated by economists. Other data released in Japan showed the jobless rate climbed to 3.9% from 3.7%, and household spending slid .5%, a ninth drop....
  • The Worst Jobs Report Since 1974!

    * Will -533K turn to -600K? * A glimmer of light brings back risk takers... * Another week of data... * Fedspeak today... ** The Worst Jobs Report Since 1974! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! What a Whirlwind Weekend for your truly, as it came and went, I did a ton of stuff, but no rest, and this morning, I was reminded that I had not gotten any rest! UGH! But! It was all fun! A great time in Jacksonville at the Headquarters' version of a Holiday Party... It was great to see the folks there that I know. OK... Did you see the rot on labor's vine Friday? The Jobs Jamboree was very unkind to many, with a 533K jobs lost in November. That number was the worst figure since 1974! The tally of 1.9 million jobs lost this year surpasses the losses of the past two recessions, and according to the Wall Street Journal, signals that the current downturn could be the worst since the years immediately following World War II....
  • Santa rally for the currencies...

    * A Santa Rally for the currencies?... * Waiting for the FOMC... * AUD and NZD rally... * China to try and keep growth above 8%... ** Santa rally for the currencies... Good day...It was actually a Great day for the currencies yesterday as the dollar index dropped another full point. The Euro moved past $1.35 and then blew through $1.36 to end the day over $1.37. And the Euro wasn't even the best performer, as the New Zealand dollar rallied over 2.1% vs. the US$ to take the title of best performing currency against the greenback. The South African rand was the only currency turning in a negative performance yesterday with the other commodity driven currencies of Norway and Brazil just barely holding their ground vs. the US$....
  • Holiday pause...

    * US data may wake up the markets... * Toyota reports a loss... * NZD falls, AUD gains... * Will the Rupee shine in 2009?... ** Holiday pause... Good day... The currency markets remained in a tight range through the day yesterday with no movement from the majors currencies vs. the US$. Japan has a public holiday today, so trading this afternoon will be very quiet. Jennifer, who is doing all of our currency trading while Chuck is out, let me know that the trading desks were extremely quiet yesterday afternoon. But the markets may wake up a bit this morning, as we wait for data on 3rd quarter growth in the US. GDP is expected to have fallen .5% in the 3rd quarter, and Personal Consumption is also predicted to have dropped last quarter. Later in the morning we will get reports on the sagging housing market. New home sales and existing home sales are both expected to have dropped slightly during the month of November. And with sales dropping, prices of both existing homes and new homes are also expected to have dropped. Finally, this afternoon we will get the ABC Consumer Confidence number which will likely show another drop in consumer sentiment....

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