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  • May Day empties the trade desks...

    In This Issue..

    * May Day empties trade desks...
    * Chrysler declares bankruptcy...
    * SEC to investigate Paulson and Bernanke??
    * China continues to grow...

    Good day...and Happy May Day to everyone. Most associate May Day with the Soviet Union, where the communists turned it into a 'celebration of the worker'. But its origins are actually in central Europe where it developed from a combination of several pagan holidays celebrating the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It never really took flight in the US, but is still a popular holiday in most other parts of the globe. With the way our government has been using tax payer funds to take over struggling companies, May Day could become a larger holiday here in the US also! Most of the trade desks throughout Europe are closed today, and many of the traders left early yesterday, so the currency and metals markets were pretty quiet....
  • 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!...
  • Paulson throws the markets a curve...

    * Paulson throws the markets a curve... * Goldman says to buy the yen... * RBA intervenes to protect the AUD$... * China provides support to commodities... ** Paulson throws the markets a curve... Good day... Chuck is out today, so I get the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the markets. As many of you know, I spent most of last week in Washington DC giving presentations at the Money Show. On the way to the hotel, the cab driver who had noticed my EverBank luggage tag asked if I was a banker. He said he had seen a lot of us lately. I guess I was one of the few bankers flying into Washington DC who wasn't heading over to the Treasury Dept. to get some of the cheap money they are passing out. I had a great trip to Washington and really enjoyed the opportunity to spread the word about EverBank and the protection that portfolio diversification provides. I don't think Treasury Secretary Paulson is having as good a time as I did in the nation's capital. When he came down from NY a couple years ago to take over the Treasury, he was Wall Street's best paid CEO and looked to cap his career with a high-profile sojourn in public service. But his credibility has really taken a hit over the past year, and his update before congress yesterday didn't quite go as everyone expected. Chuck left me the following to share with readers this morning....
  • The Junk Yard Dog Bites!

    * The dollar rallies big time! * A dollar conspiracy? * Bailing out the automakers? * Weathering the storm in N.Z.? ** The Junk Yard Dog Bites! Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well, the Junk Yard Dog got a hold of the euro yesterday, and even though the U.S. Banks, thus the majority of currency desks, were observing Veteran's Day, the move down in currencies VS the dollar, led by the euro, was drastic! The Junk Yard Dog I'm talking about is Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Euro group... I stopped the euro in its tracks from its nascent rise in the past month, by saying the "euro's recent rise was undesirable"... He also deep sixed the euro, and thus all the currencies save yen, by saying he "didn't see any reason there couldn't be more rate cuts by the ECB"... (the ECB is of course the European Central Bank) Well... These two comments tore through any gains the currencies had mounted VS the dollar in recent weeks, like a Junk Yard Dog tears though some raw meat! It was a knife to the euro's heart......
  • Rescue plan not an instant fix...

    * Rescue plan to take time... * Pound sterling rallies (for now)... * Brazil supports the real... * Iceland cuts rates... ** Rescue plan not an instant fix... Good day...Another roller coaster of a day, as the dollar continued to slide through lunch but then rallied back up in the afternoon. As I walked out the door last night, most of the major currencies were trading right about where they were when I turned the screens on. The dollar has started to fall again in overnight trading, so the up and down of the past few weeks looks to continue. The news stories coming across the wires this morning seem to be as volatile as the currencies. I have now counted three different stories which state the markets are moving back into higher yielding currencies and riskier investments after the coordinated bank bailout plan which was announced yesterday. But several other stories are talking about how investors are moving out of the higher yielding assets because of concern that the bank rescue will take too much time to unfreeze global credit markets. I tend to agree with the latter of these....
  • Govt to follow Buffet's lead...

    * Govt to follow Buffet's lead... * Aussie $ has biggest gain ever... * Yen reverses on carry trades... * China's currency reserves rise... Good day...And what a day it was! As I stated in yesterday's Pfennig, Columbus day is just sort of a holiday for the markets. These 'semi-holidays' can create some volatile trading, as not all of the markets are open and many desks are short staffed. So with the Federal Reserve and the banking system closed, the equity markets had the largest one day gain in over seven decades. I guess the stock jockeys figured they weren't going to get any bad news out of the credit markets, which were closed, so no news is good news!! The rally was certainly welcomed, and hopefully some of the gains will stick today as we return to a normal trading environment. And I guess some of the credit for the stock rally has to go to finance ministers around the globe who finally agreed on a plan which seems to be able to work. The leaders of a majority of the worlds largest economies borrowed a page from Warren Buffet's playbook and decided to invest directly into some of their largest financial institutions. The Bush administration announced it would invest $125 billion in nine of the biggest US banks. The US move came after France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Austria committed $1.8 trillion to guarantee interbank loans and take equity stakes in European banks....
  • Iceland Melts Down...

    * RBA cuts rates 100 BPS! * Iceland to peg the krona... * High Yielders get whacked! * Gold rallies in the face of a strong dollar! ** Iceland Melts Down... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Well... Folks... The wheels, what was left of them, are really coming off this economy. It's a sad sight to see, but it's happening nonetheless, and there's no bailout, stimulus check, mortgage bill, truck loads of money supply, or whatever, that's going to stop this recession bus.. Memo to Paulson and Bernanke... Don't throw yourself under this recession bus... Well... The dollar continued to push the envelope against a handful of currencies yesterday. Up front and center, the high yielders got beaten about the head and shoulders by the dollar. Aussie, kiwi, real, rand, all took major hits from the dollar. It was one of the worst days I can remember seeing for these currencies. This huge sell off showed two things going against the high yielders... 1. Commodities (other than Gold) are getting whacked, and 2. The Carry Trade is Dead......
  • Financial storms claim two more...

    * Financial storms claim two more victims... * Yen and Swiss Francs move back up... * Euro approaches 1.45 before reversing course... * Oil below $100... ** Financial storms claim two more... Good day... The financial storm claimed another victim this weekend as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy after being unable to find a buyer. Bank of America, who was rumored to be bidding on Lehman ended up buying Merrill Lynch & Co and AIG Inc. is asking the fed for an emergency loan. All of this financial turmoil has sent the dollar lower vs. most of the major currencies as investors are beginning to realize the situation in the US markets is worse than the rest of the world. Over the past three months, currency traders have rallied the dollar on the basis that the US was in better shape than Europe. They will now need to rethink their strategies, as the past few weekends show just how bad the US financial sector is ailing. And unfortunately, their will likely be more to come. Risk aversion is a popular theme in the markets again, and the purchase of US treasuries actually helped to keep the US$ from falling further....