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  • Riksbank Holds Off On QE...

    In This Issue..

    * Currencies trade in a tight range...
    * German Investor Confidence rises!
    * Thoughts from Jim Rogers...
    * Kohn on the economy...

    Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I'm staring at all this white space on the Pfennig template, and I absolutely drew a blank... I couldn't think of, or can't think of a thing to say! Whoa there partner! That can't happen! There's got to be something, anything, to talk about... OK! I'm back now, I really have no idea where that was going, it was an out of body experience! HAHAHAHA!

    OK... The currencies traded in a very tight range yesterday, after the dollar had ambushed them on Friday and in the Sunday night trading sessions. It's been a week since we saw currency strength, other than Japanese yen. So, we should be due for a bounce. There continues to be more whispering about the eventual dollar weakness, but for now, it's not enough to get us back to where the dollar should be trading on a fundamentals basis....
  • Bad news for GM and Chrysler rallies the US$...

    In This Issue..

    * Bad news for car makers rallies the US$...
    * Yen comes back strong...
    * Singapore to devalue?...
    * German Chancellor Merkel gives warning...

    Good day... And good Monday morning to all of you. I can't believe March is nearly over, it seems as though it just started. March will end up being a pretty good month for the currency markets, as investors exited the safety of US treasuries and started moving funds back into higher yielding assets. But the markets continue to be volatile, and news released on Friday and over the weekend has sent these investors rushing back to the safe haven of the US dollar.

    The Japanese Yen and US dollar benefited after a US Government official said Friday that bankruptcy may be the best option for GM and Chrysler. The dollar continued to gain strength this morning after US Treasury Secretary Geithner warned yesterday that some financial institutions will need 'large amounts' of aid. When the Treasury Secretary says large amounts, you know it is going to be billions or trillions! Geithner was making the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows to try and justify the money already spent and prepare the taxpayers for another request of funds....
  • Geithner tanks the dollar, but then pushes it back up...

    In This Issue..

    * Geithner sends the dollar on a thrill ride...
    * A failed UK gilt auction...
    * China set to recover first...
    * AUD and NZD rally again...

    Good day... The currency markets took back what little strength the dollar mustered over the past two days with the Euro moving back above popping back above 1.36 and the Australian dollar moving back up over .70. The cause for this dollar weakness? Data released in the US yesterday was surprisingly strong again, so investors dumped the 'safe haven' holdings of Treasuries and moved money back into higher yielding investments.

    At one point yesterday the dollar index dropped precipitously (more than 1.5% in less than 10 minutes), and then bounced back up within a half hour. Jennifer McLean, who takes care of our currency trading while Chuck is away from the desk, said the sudden moves were due to Treasury Secretary Geithner's comments. Apparently Geithner was asked about China's call for a new international reserve currency yesterday at a NY event. He said that while he hadn't read the proposal, he understood it as a plan 'designed to increase the use of the IMF's special drawing rights. And we're actually quite open to that.' After hearing those words, currency traders immediately starting selling off the dollar. After all, if the Treasury Secretary of the US says the administration is open to a new international reserve currency, why do you want to hold dollars? I guess Geithner got wind of what he had done to the currency markets pretty quickly (the power of Blackberries!) and 15 minutes later he clarified his comments to say the US dollar should remain as the world's reserve currency....
  • A New Year’s Jobs Jamboree Friday...

    * Will the ADP report be a good indicator? * China to slow treasury purchases? * Gold as a store of wealth... * Dealing with the devil... ** A Jobs Jamboree Friday... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday, as it is forecast to get to 50 degrees today here in St. Louis. Never mind that tomorrow's high will be 29! It doesn't take away from today! What a trading day in the currencies yesterday... Whew! It's a Jobs Jamboree Friday, so let's not beat around the bush... It's time to Jamboree! Today is the day the Gov't prints the December Jobs Jamboree, and if Wednesday's ADP report did what they said it was going to, and that is change their methodology to mirror the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) then this morning's Jobs Jamboree will be a nightmare. Of course not the kind of nightmare that the over 2.5 million people that lost jobs in 2008 had! I was once in those numbers, as our old Bank, Mark Twain Bank, was bought by a bigger bank, Mercantile Bank, and Mercantile decided after a few months to perform ethnic cleansing of Mark Twain employees... I called it "my retirement" but with a 3 year old at home and on my lap most of the day, "retirement" couldn't last too long! My point is that you don't know the emptiness and failure you feel when they show you the door... So my thoughts are always with those that lose their jobs......
  • A New Year!

    * Currencies range trade... * With a bias to buy dollars... * Recession deepens in Eurozone... * India cuts rates... ** A New Year! Good day... Happy New Year! And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday, I bet it will be, as most people are still on "holiday". I hope your New Year's celebration went well, mine did, spent with good friends, after a simply scrumptious dinner! Yesterday, we spent the day with friends again, as good friend Rick, had everyone and their brother to his new house to celebrate the New Year... I'm worn out! Good thing this is a quick shot work day, and then onto the weekend, because I'm spent! Well, enough of all that! The currencies traded in a very tight range on Wednesday, and I expect more of that today. The bias has been to buy dollars going into the year-end, and it looks as though that might be the case today, as there's been no data to speak of in the U.S., while the Eurozone printed a very weak manufacturing index report, indicating that the Eurozone's recession is deepening. Of course if we compared apples to apples the bias would be to buy euros, but since there hasn't been any "real" economic data in a couple of days from the U.S. this report from the Eurozone gets all the attention....
  • 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....
  • Fed brings rates down to near zero...

    * The Fed fires its last bullet... * Euro breaks back above $1.40... * AUD and NZD rally... * Happy Birthday Jen... ** Fed brings rates down to near zero... Good day... The 'noise' from the street which I wrote about yesterday turned out to be correct, as the FOMC cut 75 basis points to put the Fed Funds target at .25%. The US now has the lowest interest rates in the industrialized world, even below those in Japan. The dollar lost ground quickly after the announcement and continued to fall overnight to a 13 year low vs the yen and the weakest vs. the Euro in 4 months. With both Chuck and Frank out of the office, I fielded the calls from reporters after the FOMC cut, and the most popular question asked was what the near zero interest rates would mean for the man on the street. Well it was great news for those on Wall Street, but I told the reporters that the rate cut really wouldn't have much of an impact on US consumers. After all, interest rates at 1% weren't stimulating the banks to start lending so why would .25% rates cause any change?...
  • 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$....
  • 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....
  • 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....
  • 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!...
  • 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....
  • 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!...
  • The NBER Finally Says So!

    * RBA cuts 100 BPS... * It IS a recession! * Paulson to ruffle feathers? * Yen to rally hard? ** The NBER Finally Says So! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Quoting one of my all time fave Christmas songs, Baby, it's Cold Out There! Winter has arrived, and I had to drag out the big heavy winter coat this morning. So... The seasons pass us, which is a good thing, because without winter, we couldn't have spring, and spring training! OK... Right out of the starters blocks this morning, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) pulled the rug right out from under the "high yield status" of their economy, with another HUGE rate cut overnight... This time, the RBA cut 100 BPS, to an internal cash rate of 4.25%. This brings the total since September to 300 BPS! WOW! Talk about effectively unwinding seven years of tightening! The statement following the rate announcement leads me to believe that the RBA is probably finished cutting rates for now... It will be a wait-n-see what happens globally, before the RBA entertains any talk of further rate cuts... At least that's my opinion!...
  • Back to Risk Aversion...

    * Japanese yen rallies... * Renminbi stumbles... * A very tough data week in store... * Rate cuts all around the world... ** Back to Risk Aversion... Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! In addition, Welcome to December! We had our first "dusting" of snow over the weekend, after experiencing wonderful weather Thursday and Friday. As much as they tried, even my beloved Missouri Tigers losing to ultra-rival, Kansas on Saturday, couldn't ruin what was a very fun and relaxing weekend for yours truly! Well... When I left you last Wednesday, I had thought that we could be on the cusp of a "change" in the currencies, as the Trading Theme that had held a tight grip on the currencies since July, was thrown to the side for a couple of days... But, I doubt "that" has happened, as a return to risk aversion is back on the table, which means the currencies and precious metals get sold, while Japanese yen, and U.S. Treasuries (read dollars) get bought....