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  • The ECB Clash Over Policy Again...

    In This Issue..

    * Initial Jobless Claims rise...
    * PPI does too!
    * Euros get hung out on a line...
    * Gold makes a comeback!

    Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! It may not be Thunderin' where you are, but apparently it was yesterday in my little river town, as I heard we had some shingles blow off... And... It certainly is Thunderin' over in the Eurozone this morning, I'll tell you why in a minute. So, let's get going don't want to get caught in any of that Thunder!

    I finished the last of my 3 presentations yesterday, and called it quits, as far as walking back and forth to the Conference Center. They'll just have to do without me at the booth! But the presentation was good, I think, and I made some very important points. None of which, were brand new to Pfennig readers!...
  • A shrinking US economy puts pressure on the US$...

    In This Issue..

    * US GDP falls more than expected...
    * FOMC holds course...
    * Canadian dollar has a great week...
    * Oil helps commodity currencies...

    Good day... Yesterday was a big day in St. Louis as President Obama came to visit on his 100th day in office. I can't believe it has been 100 days since the inauguration. Time sure does fly! I'm sure Obama and the rest of his administration would like the calendar to move even faster as this recession will likely last through the end of 2009. While the government has thrown trillions of dollars at the markets in an attempt to turn them around, the key ingredient for recessionary cycles to reverse is time. There is now 'quick fix' for the problems we are in, and the policies the administration has begun will take time to have an impact on our shrinking economy. Obama said as much in his nationally televised press conference last night....
  • 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....
  • Awful Data!

    In This Issue..

    * Weber opens Pandora's Box...
    * A record low for Capacity Utilization!
    * Do I hear a Chicken?
    * China's economy grows 6.1%

    Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! The 'Day After' Tax Day... It still hurts! And to think, one of these days, I'll be paying even more, thanks to the direction of our country... And you will be too! There's no two ways about it, the Deficit in funding in Washington D.C. which will be a result of all the spending, is going to require greater revenue... Where does the Gov't get the revenue? From taxes... Of course if it wasn't a debtor nation, it would not have to pay out the large sums of interest on the Treasuries it issues... But, that... Is a discussion for another day.

    The currencies saw more dollar strength yesterday, but it wasn't a result of anything the dollar had going for it... In fact, the results of the data yesterday was all dollar negative... No, this time it came from the Eurozone. Right about the time I was hitting the send button yesterday, European Central Bank (ECB) minister, Axel Weber Opened Pandora's Box of questions regarding future direction of the ECB... Let's go to the tape!...
  • 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....
  • UK data boosts the dollar...

    In This Issue..

    * UK data boosts the dollar...
    * US GDP falls further...
    * Norway cuts rates...
    * Big wins by MIZZOU and BLUES...

    Good day... I want to start this mornings Pfennig with a big congratulations to the MIZZOU Tigers who pulled off what most believed was an unlikely win over Memphis last night. What a game! They move on to the Elite Eight to play powerhouse UCONN on Saturday.

    The currency markets weren't as exciting as the basketball games yesterday, as the dollar held in a fairly tight range. The big move came in early morning trading as a report was released in the UK showing their economy's contraction was worse than previously thought. This news was GDP in the UK fell 1.6% in the 4th quarter of 2008 vs. the previous quarter. And the outlook presented by the Bank of England is not rosy. BOE Chief Economist Spencer Dale said this morning that the British economy's short term prospects are 'bleak'. Chuck has brought up the comparison between the UK and US economies several times, as the UK economy looks like mirror image (albeit smaller) of the US. The UK economy has been slightly ahead of the US in the race toward economic meltdown. Unfortunately the US Fed seems to be shadowing every move by the UK, cutting rates to near zero and then using 'quantitative easing' to force them down even further....
  • A Day Of Healing...

    * Currencies have a mini-rally... * Only to see profit taking overnight... * Gold rebounds too! * Retail Sales on board today... ** A Day Of Healing... Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! It was a Tub Thumpin' Wednesday yesterday for the currencies and Gold, after seeing them back off earlier this week! I'm in Jacksonville for a company event, and then on Friday morning, I head south to start my spring vacation! But first, some work to do here, and then on to the south! It was 29 degrees when I got in the car to leave for the airport yesterday morning... And it was 77 degrees when I finally arrived in Jacksonville! YAHOO! But even as loud as I can say YAHOO for the warm weather, which I've said over and over again, I've got to go where it's warm, it wasn't as loud as a the YAHOO yelped by currency owners as the euro led the currencies higher and higher all day long!...
  • Auction Week!

    * Currencies have a mini-rally... * Deficits do matter, eh? * Turning Japanese... * Gold fails to respond... ** Auction Week! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Sometimes I'm right, and I can be wrong, my own beliefs are in a song... I just heard that great old song on the radio, and thought, that's a great credo to live by... Oh, well... That's just me I guess... Let's go to work! The currencies, led by the euro, made a valiant effort during the trading day in the U.S. yesterday to mount a rally, and they did! They have gained even more ground in the overnight markets, with the euro trading with a 1.27 handle... OK, I hear you saying... But, Chuck, tell us what pushed the currencies higher yesterday? Ahhh... Grasshopper... Of course I'll tell you that! Let me first set the table with the background story, then lead into the real meat with a building crescendo!...
  • Housing stats show more rot on the housing vine....

    * US$ continues to be propped up... * SEK moves up vs. the US$... * Japanese yen falls.... * Gold prices come down ... ** Housing stats show more rot on the housing vine.... It has been a while since Chuck turned over the reigns of the Pfennig to me, so I'm a bit out of practice. But there was a lot of movement in the currency markets over the last 24 hours, giving me plenty of Pfennig fodder. I'll get right to it. The 'Safe Haven' status of the US$ continued to prop it up yesterday as bad housing data in the US scared investors. Sales of previously owned homes fell 5.3% in January, after rising slightly last month. And even worse for US homeowners, the median price of a home fell to $170,300, down nearly 26% from its peak in July 2006. These numbers reflect a worsening housing market which will weigh on the US economy through most of 2009. The inventory of unsold homes did fall, but still stands at 3.6 million. At the current rate of sales, it would take 9.6 months to exhaust the excess supply of homes. And this is assuming no more homes come into the market. The housing downturn will continue well into 2010, and will likely keep the US economy in the doldrums....
  • Shrove Tuesday!

    * No follow through on the Eurozone bond idea... * Mirror, mirror on the wall... * AIG to set record for losses... * Finding another Pfennig Reader! ** Shrove Tuesday! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! A Shrove Tuesday to boot! Shrove Tuesday you say with a tone of thinking that I have made up another word for a day? Yes... Shrove Tuesday! For Catholics in some regions of the world (Ireland originally), the day before Ash Wednesday is Shrove Tuesday... Or here in the U.S. it's Pancake Day! You see, long ago, pancakes would be served up on this day as a popular way to use up fat, butter and eggs before Lent got underway. So... Happy Shrove Tuesday!...
  • When Will Foreigners say "No Mas"?

    * G-7 kisses up to China... * The dollar swings a mighty hammer... * Eastern European loans weigh on the euro... * Gold kicks tail and takes names later! ** When Will Foreigners say "No Mas"? Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I trust your weekend was grand. I was lucky enough to have a 3-day weekend, and brother did I need one! Rest was the order of the weekend! Of course Saturday was Valentine's Day... Here's a thought for all us men that were standing in line at the flower shop... We need a "Hallmark holiday" where our significant others buy us tickets to baseball games! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OK... Well, Friday ended on a sour note for the currencies, and while yesterday was a holiday here in the U.S. the currencies continued to sell off, with the dollar swinging a mighty hammer. G-7 said very little about currencies, left yen alone, and praised the Chinese for their continued move toward flexibility of the renminbi......
  • Euro Rally Fizzles Out...

    * Yen continues to kick! * Jim Rogers disses sterling... * China's 4th QTR GDP... * Singapore announces stimulus... ** Euro Rally Fizzles Out... Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! A nasty day in the currencies yesterday, except Japan of course. The Dow jumped 290 points yesterday, maybe an Obama bounce? You all know that I subscribe to an Obama bounce for stocks and the dollar in the first part of this year... But given what I know about, and what you now know about, after I drew it all out yesterday, the additions to the deficit that Obama will make, the focus on the fundamentals should return by late spring, early summer... That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Well... As I said in the opening, the currencies led by the Big Dog, euro, suffered through a nasty trading day, with the euro touching below 1.29 for a good part of the day. The risk takers are nowhere to be found. Where have all the risk takers gone... Long time passing... A Reuters reporter asked me yesterday if I was still of the opinion that the yen had more to rally or was it overbought? I said, that as long as the risk takers are nowhere to be found, yen should continue on its path higher VS the dollar, euro and sterling. The RSI (Relative Strength Index) for yen, shows that it is a tad overbought, but that's not enough to change my mind. Nor is it enough to change the mind of a currency trader at the Bank of New York (BONY), who believes yen may rise to 85 VS the dollar by midyear... Another currency trader at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) believes the Bank of Japan will step in and intervene to stem the yen's rise.......
  • A Jobs Disaster!

    * Retail Jobs are cut in December! * Dollar rallies on renewed Trading Theme... * Looking for the Obama bounce... * High yielders get sold... ** A Jobs Disaster! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! A grand weekend for yours truly with time spent resting, watching football, Alex play basketball, dinner with friends, and finally a wonderful dinner with my kids as we celebrated my oldest son, Andrew's, birthday. Whew! I'm at work about an hour earlier than usual this morning, as I couldn't sleep, and just decided to get up and come in... UGH! OK... Well, the big news this morning, is that the Jobs Jamboree was just awful, but "not as bad as some forecast" and therefore the dollar rallied. OK, I'm shaking my head in disgust too, but that's what the headlines reported later in the day on Friday, as the reason for the dollar rally. But let's get to the meat of the Jobs report... First of all, jobs lost in December were -525K, which was bang on the forecasts. But here's the two things I found to be very scary in the report... First of all, November's awful print of -533K was revised downward to -584K (recall, I questioned a month ago if it would reach -600K on the revision)... And here's the really scary number... -67K Retail jobs were cut in December... That's right, December! The month when retailers are supposed to be on fire!...
  • 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......
  • 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....