July 2009 - 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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Have You Seen This?

  • The U.S. Treasury Moves The Goal Posts...

    In This Issue..

    * A 4-day rally gets stopped at the border...
    * Home Prices fall at a -18.12% pace...
    * Alice Rivlin gives her 2-cents...
    * Kiwi bond maturities galore next month...

    Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! As tradition with the Pfennig would have it, here's my introduction to July... There I was... On a July morning... Looking for love... With the strength of a new day dawning, and... The beautiful sun...

    Yes, for those 'old rockers' from the 70's like me... That's Uriah Heep, at their best!

    OK... So, welcome to July! The last day of June was quite the volatile one to say the least! There we were waiting for the S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Index to print, and show that home prices were still down by quite a bit, when it did, it did, it printed at -18.12%... But! The media was all over that like a cheap suit, clamoring that the spiral down in Home Prices had come to and end! Which, may be true... But wouldn't you want to wait to see if next month's report confirms it? And... By the way... Since when does -18.12% fall in home prices beckon a rally? Yesterday, would be that answer!...
  • A Lost Decade?

    In This Issue..

    * An Up and Down day for currencies...
    * Jobs Jamboree moves to Thursday today...
    * China to buy more Gold!
    * Sweden cuts rates!

    Good day... And a Thankful Thursday to you! I'm reminded that we all need to be thankful for the patriots that led this country to victory and thus our freedom. The freedom for me to write a letter like this, each day, that allows me to say what I want to say (well, with the governor of the legal beagles of course!). And since this weekend we will celebrate our Independence, I thought this to be a good time to have a Thankful Thursday!

    Patriots... You know, the ending story for those 56 Patriots that signed the Declaration of Independence is not a happy story... So, when we learn of their collective fates, we realize that freedom does not come free......
  • China Is Back On The G-9 Docket...

    In This Issue..

    * Risk Aversion is strong once again...
    * Currencies get sold...
    * What's China really up to?
    * RBA to leave rates unchanged?

    Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Some people have the day off today, so we'll probably not be back in full force until tomorrow... Not that we've been in full force, as a workforce in the U.S. for some time... But that's another story for another day! Today is a new day, and new week!

    Friday's thinned out markets were not what the currencies wanted to see, as the bias to Risk Aversion was magnified in the thinned out markets, only making the selling of the currencies even worse... Some 'levels' were hit in the thinned out markets, and that caused even more selling in the overnight markets as Japan and Asia came on board....
  • Risk Returns... Slowly...

    In This Issue..

    * Currencies rebound...
    * G-8 has no fireworks...
    * Aussie / China and coal...
    * Entitlements...

    Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! I'm late, I'm late! I don't believe I ever heard the alarm go off this morning! I overslept by more than an hour, and will still be here more than an hour before any sign of someone else! But! That puts me behind by more than an hour today... I've got to play catch-up! So, let's get this Tub Thumpin' Thursday going!

    Well... Let's see... G-8 never had the opportunity to shoot fireworks because China's leader had to return home to deal with the street riots going on in his country. So... The call for a replacement for the dollar as the reserve currency will have to wait for another day! And, with that news, the dollar got to remain in the sunlight, and bask in the glory of being the reserve currency and so-called 'safe haven' another day......
  • Frightened investors move back into US treasuries.....

    In This Issue..

    * Jobs data skewed by 'seasonal adjustments'...
    * BOE surprises the market...
    * Oil falls below $60...
    * China's reserves continue to grow...

    Good day...Chuck has a bevy of doctor's appointments today, so he decided to let me take over the Pfennig. Unfortunately it will go out a little later than usual, as I always struggle to get all of my thoughts together so early in the morning. Its not that I come in late (I was here two hours before everyone else) but it just takes me much longer than Chuck to get it all on paper. But enough of the excuses, I've got to get writing.

    Weekly jobless claims released in the US yesterday morning fell below 600k for the first time since January but the continuing claims continue to rise, hitting another record. The slight improvement in the weekly numbers was distorted by the automotive sector. Car companies typically shut down plants in early July in order to change over to the new model year. Bankruptcy forced many of these plants to shut down much earlier than normal, and some temporarily started up production again during the past few weeks....
  • Back To Risk Aversion Again!

    In This Issue..

    * Earnings reports begin this week...
    * Dollar, yen, francs get bought...
    * Medvedev shows off new coin!
    * A busy week!

    Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! A Home Run Derby Monday to boot! I have no Idea what's going on this morning, as I just woke up, and it's very late in the morning! I was very careful to set my alarm last night, and I've never been one of those people that hit the snooze button when it goes off, but here I am, waking up late... UGH!

    So... I'm writing from home, and then I'll shoot in to work... We're short handed this week, so, I'm sure everyone will be arriving to the office, not see my car, and be a little ticked... So, I've got a surprise for them, something they've never seen... Me come in late!...
  • Blood in the streets.....

    In This Issue..

    * Red ink flows...
    * Japan suggests diversification for their reserves...
    * Commodity currencies rebound...
    * Data galore for the rest of the week...

    Good day... Chuck had a late night down at the ballpark watching the home run derby, so he asked me to take the helm of the Pfennig this morning. I'm going to try to get this one out a bit earlier than I did last Friday, so I'll get right to it.

    The biggest news to hit the markets yesterday was the Treasury Department's report that the deficit in June totaled $94.3 billion. This monthly deficit pushed the deficit for the fiscal year to over $1 trillion dollars for the first time, and we still have another quarter to go until the fiscal year ends in September. It comes as no surprise to readers that the deficit is above $1 trillion, but what is a bit unnerving is the speed at which the red ink is flowing....
  • Currencies Rebound...

    In This Issue..

    * Goldman posts a nice profit...
    * I smell a rat!
    * Euro nears the 1.41 mark... Again!
    * Gold manipulation?

    Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Another All-Star Game, another win for the American League... I truly believed that with Tim Lincecum going for the National League, that we would win this year... But that didn't work out... I did truly enjoy the game though, and got to experience it with sons, Andrew, and Alex, with Darling Daughter Dawn's husband, Jerry... A truly memorable night...

    The currencies slowly moved a bit higher yesterday, and the euro is back to 1.40 this morning... The move came as stocks rebounded some, after reports of a better than expected earnings report for Goldman Sachs. Hmmm... Now, doesn't that just tick you off a little? Here's Goldman Sachs who just months ago, changed to a Bank Holding Co, so it could take TARP money, then paid it back a month ago, and now, prints a Moon Shot profitable earnings report... I guess I should be happy for them... Unfortunately, I smell a rat......
  • Feds Say NO To CIT...

    In This Issue..

    * Currencies have strong day...
    * What are the qualifications?
    * JP Morgan posts 36% increase in earnings...
    * RBA attempts to keep A$'s in check...

    Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! The first day this week that I've gotten up and to work at my normal time. I hit the wall yesterday afternoon, went home, watched about 10 minutes of the Wizard of Oz (my all-time fave movie) with granddaughter Delaney Grace, and then went to sleep! Crazy, I know, but when you hit the wall, you hit the wall!

    Yesterday was a strong day in the currencies. I wrote yesterday about how the euro was inching toward 1.41, but the level had been a tough row to hoe, with the euro giving back ground each time it went higher than 1.41... And... That was the case yesterday! The euro did trade higher than 1.41. It was 1.4120 when I left the office! But, as I turn on the screens this morning, the single unit has fallen below the 1.41 figure......
  • Risk aversion returns…

    In This Issue..

    * Risk Aversion returns...
    * Money Multiplier dampens stimulus effects...
    * TIC flows show concern of foreign investors...
    * China back on growth track...

    Good day... Chuck got an early start on a two week hiatus from the desk, so you will be stuck with me writing the Pfennig for the next two weeks. But don't worry, you will still get a small dose of Chuck over the next week as he typically emails me his thoughts while on the road (I call it Pfennig Pfodder). Risk aversion dominated the currency markets overnight, as terrorists set off two separate explosions in Jakarta and investors moved money back into the 'safe havens' of the US$ and Japanese yen.

    Chuck wrote about this move yesterday, believing the bad news regarding CIT would probably cause a risk reversal. But the US stock market shook off the CIT news and rallied higher after a big earnings report by JP Morgan and a somewhat positive statement by Nouriel Roubini. Roubini, the New York University economist who is credited with predicting the financial crisis, said in a speech yesterday that the US economy might be close to the bottom. The stock jockeys took this statement along with the positive earnings reports and ran stocks up. But Roubini later tried to caution these bulls against reading too much into his statement, and reminded everyone that he has not changed his thoughts on a US recovery: 'I continue to see a shallow, below par and below trend recovery.'...
  • Risk aversion disappears again...

    In This Issue..

    * Risk aversion has left the building...
    * CIT survives without Fed help...
    * SNB tries to fight the markets...
    * Light week for US data...

    Good day... We had just an amazing weekend of weather here in St. Louis, and this morning is shaping up to be another beautiful day. Friday turned out to be a beautiful day for those who have taken our advice and diversified their holdings out of the dollar. Risk aversion was placed on the back burner again, and investors moved money back out of the dollar into higher yielding currencies. The dollar and yen got sold but all other currencies rallied, and investors also turned back toward gold pushing the metal above $950 for the first time in over a month.

    So what caused all of this confidence? First, the housing data released Friday morning in the US showed a slight pick up in both building permits and housing starts. While the housing markets have a long way to go, the data have given investors an indication that construction may have found a bottom. Not to throw cold water on investors confidence in the building numbers, but while the residential market may be bottoming out, the commercial market continues to tumble. I spoke to a good friend over the weekend who is a commercial real estate developer down in Memphis. He told me that his development pipeline has completely dried up, and even the brokerage side of his business has slowed. The only part of his business which has picked up is the marketing of foreclosed properties. He has shifted his concentration to helping banks and lenders 'work out' of commercial projects which they have taken back onto their books. The economy has kept most companies from opening new stores, and many continue to shut down under performing ones. My good friend tells me most of the people he talks to don't believe the commercial real estate market will turn around until the end of next year. Not good news for the banks who are still reeling from the residential real estate bust....
  • US leading indicators push higher...

    In This Issue..

    * US leading indicators push higher...
    * Labor department admits errors...
    * Ben Bernanke heads to the hill...
    * PIMCO suggests buying emerging markets...

    Good day... A quiet trading day to start the week off yesterday. As I turn on the computers this morning the dollar index is trading right at the level it was yesterday morning. The currencies were up a bit through most of Monday's trading day, but the dollar came back in Asian trading leaving us right about back where we started.

    The only data released yesterday was the index of US leading indicators which rose slightly in June for a third consecutive month. The numbers gave a bit of hope for all of the bulls, with many exclaiming that the US economy has turned a corner and the recession has ended. I am not so sure, as rising unemployment and continued weakness in the housing market will likely hold any recovery back....
  • Bernanke sticks to his script...

    In This Issue..

    * Bernanke sticks to the script...
    * Pound sterling comes under pressure...
    * China starts shopping for assets...
    * BRIC MarketSafe lights up the phones...

    Good day... We had a very busy day on the desk yesterday, as our newest MarketSafe offering, based on the BRIC currencies, is making the phones ring off the hook. But while we were busy, the currency traders had another slow day as the dollar just drifted throughout the day. The return chart for the last 24 hours shows only one currency made more than a .5% move vs. the US$; and that was the South African Rand which increased .75%.

    The markets were watching Ben Bernanke's congressional testimony through most of the day, but those waiting for a surprise were disappointed. Bernanke stuck to the script which he had laid out the day before in the Wall Street Journal, and the members of the House Financial Services Committee couldn't get him to commit to any 'new' stimulus programs. Bernanke said the economy is showing 'tentative signs of stabilization' but the central bank intends to continue to maintain its 'highly accommodative' monetary policy for 'an extended period'. He indicated that the Fed stands ready to tighten policy, but only after the economic recovery takes hold and pressures holding down inflation diminish....
  • A broken record...

    In This Issue..

    * Mixed bag of housing numbers...
    * Foundation work...
    * High yielders...
    * Commodity currencies again...

    Good day...and a Terrific Thursday to you. As Chris mentioned yesterday, I'll be steering the ship for the next couple of days while both he and Chuck are out so I look forward to being your relief captain. The fall like weather in the middle of summer has continued yet for another day in St. Louis, not that I'm complaining, but that out of the ordinary trend certainly hasn't carried over to the currency markets. In fact, I could probably cut and paste yesterday's Pfennig and you wouldn't miss a thing as the currencies traded in a very tight range, so there wasn't much exciting to report on...Oh well, instead of wasting space, I'll get right to it......
  • Home sales improve...

    In This Issue..

    * Home sales improve...
    * Are we there yet...
    * Intervention talks...
    * Buying on dips...

    Good day...and a Fabulous Friday to you. As I was sitting here this morning collecting my thoughts, it just hit me like a ton of bricks that we're already towards the end of July and next weekend brings us into August...where's the pause button when you need it. Anyway, yesterday started out like any other quiet morning so far this week but we did see a nice little run in the currencies only to see profit taking as we moved into the late afternoon. As I turned the computer screens on this morning, I see where the overnight markets brought us right back up to the levels we began with this time yesterday. The big story that moved the markets was the better than expected housing numbers that, again, gave investors that warm and fuzzy feeling that I touched on yesterday. Since I already let the cat out of the bag, I'll jump right in...

    ...

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