Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2019

Good day…. And the Merriest Christmas ever to you!

Pfennig tradition says this is what’s in store, so here you go!

Twas the night before Christmas
And Chuck’s feeling low…
He’s stuck in St. louis,
With all the ice and snow!
To warmer climates he wishes he was…
And then looks at the calendar
To see when he leaves for the cause…

 

The stockings are hung by the Chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nick would soon be there….
In Chuck’s stocking he’s hoping for austerity
From Congressmen who have no propensity
To stop deficit spending, it’s really a shame
And one day, something will stop this game. ..

So, I sneak down the stairway to attempt to get a glimpse
Of the real St. Nicolaus, I’ve hears he’s as big as two blimps!
But that’s unkind, so I take it back…
And hope he doesn’t do the same with his great big sack!

Ahhh, the sack of toys for all good girls and boys…
That will fill them with happiness and joy!
For Chuck’s grandkids we will leave something cool
For his darling Delaney, who just simply loves school,
I stuff her stocking with song books and such
Because she’s become a great dancer and singer
It’s really become so much!

To Everett, you’re second in line, but number one
In the hearts of the fans!
A guitar is what I’ve hear you want
Maybe your uncle Alex will teach you to play
Or maybe even me, some fine day!

To Braden, you love your Nintendo Switch
I can’t wait for your little sister to snitch
On you for playing too much
I hear video gaming is a big business,
So maybe you’re onto such…

And that brings us to my newest granddaughter
Little Miss Evie!
You’re cute as a button, and your smile endearing,
Your General promises to sing to you without tearing…

To my former colleagues on the trading desk
I’ll send them one weak dollar trend
And maybe they’re business will be on the mend!

To my friends, who are too many to name…
But I’d like to single out a few, just the same:
Two Mike K’s… Yanks, and Rick, and my longtime
Spring training buddy, Duane…
I’ll stuff their stockings with cold ones all around
They’ll all be so happy, I didn’t let them down!

To the rest of my family… I give them love…
You are my support system, I couldn’t have
Made it these 12 years without you…
Please don’t ever change!

And finally, to you dear reader…
You’re really the best!
You read and come back, you passed the test!
I do not know how much longer I’ll continue to write
But for now, it just all feels right!

So, I sneak back up the stairs having not seen St. Nick
And jump back into bed, and then hear the jingling of…
His sleigh bells ringing! He’s here! I shout, and then cover my mouth!
He can’t know I’m awake…

Please Santa, austerity, that’s what we as a country need…
Not al the silly stuff that goes on each day
But if you can’t deliver what I ‘ve asked for
I’ll be just as happy with a Gold Bar!

Then I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight
Merry Christmas to all…
And to all a Goodnight!

Chuck Butler Dec. 2019

PS… I’ve put an additional message on these each year, that’s the same one, and decided to switch it up this year… so… MERRY BE YOUR CHRISTMAS, PEACEFUL BE YOUR HOME, JOYFUL BE YOUR FAMILY, BLESSED BE EACH ONE…

 

Will This Phase One Be A “One And Done?”

December 16, 2019

* Currencies lose a little ground on Friday

* Rubles are best performing currency in 2019

Good Day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well, we’ve come to that time of year, when Chuck goes on his annual Winter Vacation… That will start tomorrow and go through the 26th… When I used to work for a living, I always wanted to be away from the desk at Christmas, because I didn’t want to have to be the guy that made them work and not frolic and be giddy about Christmas! So, my annual Christmas vacation is a tradition, and even though I don’t have a crew any longer… I still honor traditions! So… I know, I know, you’ll miss me… HA! Longtime readers know that there’s a special Pfennig that will come on Christmas Eve… I’m already putting some thoughts into that one! The late, Great Marvin Gaye greets me this morning with his song: Mercy, Mercy Me…

Well… the currencies lost a little ground on Friday, and I’m trying to find out the reason for that given the poor print of Retail Sales here in the U.S. Gold found a way to fight through all the short Gold paper trades and eke out a profit of over $6 on Friday. Given the normal trading in Gold, I’m expecting the JPMorgans of the world to show up with arms full of short Gold Paper traders today… 

Oh, I know what all the pundits that go to the NY Times for their news will say about the dollar rebound on Friday, and that is, that the U.S. and China agreed to Phase One of the Trade Agreement… So, when did trade agreements get done in phases? I’m curious… Because, to me, this has all the inklings of a “one and done” with regards to the Trade Agreement. So, will it be a “one and done”? I’m betting a dollar to a Krispy Kreme that it will turn out to be just that!

Speaking of China… I keep reading about bond defaults in China… Well, that’s a good and bad sign… the Bad sign is that it’s not a good Omen for the economy, but on the other hand, it’s a good sign that Communist China is allowing these bad deals to fail… In a way, they’ve become more Capitalistic than we are! I can hear you saying… Yeah, Chuck, China still manages their currency, so put that in your oatmeal and stir! Ahhh, grasshopper, sit, listen to what I have to say…. China manages their currency in plan view of the world… The U.S. keeps a handle on the dollar in the shadows of the dark alleys!

You see, this dollar management began with Paul Volcker… This story begins in 1971, Richard Nixon, removed the Gold backing from the dollar, and the dollar began to float. It also began to fall in value VS other currencies and Gold… In 1977 the dollar was about to fall off a cliff, never to be seen again. But eventually, along came a white knight to save the dollar, and his name was Paul Volcker… And in his quiver were more rate hikes than any country had ever seen before, and soon interest rates were 18%, and when you’re the U.S. and you have yields above 18%, Countries all over the world were stumbling over themselves to buy U.S. assets with those high yields, and the dollar weakness ended…. Then in 1987, the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) was formed by then President Reagan, and the rest is history… The dollar has been under semi-management since. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! HA!

So, I read where the Fed is going to inject a HUGE amount of dollars into the repo market at year-end so that there are no liquidity problems… The amount? Well, for those of you keeping score at home, it’s going to be around $500 Billion! But, I thought it wasn’t a “liquidity crisis”? That’s what the Fed Heads keep telling us, that it was just a one-day mess up… That now has gone on 3 months! And to end the year, the Fed will inject $75 Billion on 12/30, and $200 Billion on 12/31… With a total of $500 Billion in guarantees for 12/31… 

Isn’t it nice that the Fed can just print money when it wants to? I know I throw a lot of shade at Woodrow Wilson who allowed the Fed to be shoved down U.S. citizens’ throats back in 1913, but I doubt that he even knew back then that the Fed would simply trash the Constitution, and print dollars out the wazzoo! Yes, for all of you who don’t know this, but probably should… The Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Par. 5) does NOT authorize Congress to circulate currency. Article 1, Section 10, Par. 1) prohibits the States from coining money, circulating currency, or making anything but Gold & Silver coin a tender in payment debts.

The Folks at Hillsdale College, gave me a pocket Constitution years ago, and I’ve kept that near me at all times… You know, the one thing that I can’t let pass by here… I’ve been through the Constitution a few times now, and I’ve never come across a passage in it that says, “When times get tough, you can scrap these articles, and start willy nilly printing money”…

Why has this gone this far? Because We The People, didn’t do a damn thing about it, we let Wilson shove the Fed down our throats in 1913, and we’ve let every variance from the Constitution be implemented without even a whimper from us… I’m just saying…

Well… as we come to the end of the year, and barring any major moves… The number one currency VS the dollar for 2019, is…. Drum roll please…. The Russian ruble… It’s up over 10% y-t-d. And then you add in the fact that it pays 4-5% interest APY, you’ve got a 14-15% total return in 2019… Not too shabby for a a currency that’s saddled with economic sanctions! And the fact that most U.S. investors still have that “I hate the Russians’” thing, and forget that in investing, the idea is to make money, or at least preserve what you have… And, oh there’s no need to go on with this… Either you “get it, or you don’t….  The Eagles sang a song titled: Get Over It! 

Gold had a good 2019, but Palladium had a “spectacular” 2019!  The Dollar Index has basically been flat for the year. On 12/17/19 it traded at 97.10, and today it is trading at 96.97…  That was a strange view for me, as I was under the assumption that the dollar had kicked tail all year and taken names later…  And leads me to believe that this is the “Capitulation” we’ve been waiting for with the strong dollar trend…  IF that’s correct, then the next step is for a reversal to begin of the strong dollar trend…  I’m just saying… 

The U.S. Data Cupboard last Friday, was a read dud! November Retail Sales only increased 0.2%, not the 0.5% that was forecast. And when you only look at core Retail Sales, they were only up 0.1%… I said last week, that this report would have the Black Friday Christmas sales… Well, what does this report tell you then? Right! It tells us that the Christmas shopping season didn’t get off to a good start, and I can’t believe that this isn’t an omen, for the rest of the shopping season, which in reality only has 8 more days… Or….. will cyber Monday (Dec 2nd) pull the season numbers to more respectability? From what I carry in from the front porch each day, that’s a real possibility!  But, I have a sneaky feeling that it won’t, and that will be a clear indicator that the U.S. Consumer is “tapped out”…  

The Data Cupboard this week, has a few real economic prints spread out through the week… Tomorrow, we will see Industrial Production, and Capacity Utilization, and on Friday, we’ll see Personal Income and Spending… The other prints this week are not that important… And certainly won’t move markets… But then with everything in “opposites” these days, who knows?

To recap… Phase One of the Trade Agreement was put to bed on Friday last week, and that led to a rebound in the dollar, which should have been on the ropes from a weaker than expected Retail Sales print for Nov.  Rubles are the best performing currency in 2019,  Chuck gives a mini-lesson on the Constitution regarding the Fed printing money…  And the Fed is going “all-in” in liquidity for 12/31… 

For What It’s Worth… OK, every now and then I throw something at the FWIW wall and see if it sticks… It may be something 180 degrees from what I think, but it’s a think piece, so it gets played here… This is an article about how a guy on Wall Street thinks that his clients should throw caution to the wind and back up the truck for stocks… And it can be found here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/back-up-the-truck-and-buy-buy-buy-because-there-is-no-risk-says-mufg-economist-2019-12-13?mod=MW_section_top_stories

Or, here’s your snippet: “Back up the truck and buy, buy, buy.”

That was the advice from Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, who sent a rousing note to clients late Thursday, on the heels of trade optimism that is lifting global equities at the week’s end and a decisive election outcome in the U.K. “All over the world, markets are falling love. Buy it. Buy it all,” reads the headline of that note.
Rupkey said a pair of geopolitical risks — an elusive U.S.-China trade deal and yearslong wrangling over Brexit — “thought to be strangling world economic growth” incredibly look to be getting resolved in a “big, big way.”

“There is some smoke and mirrors here, but it looks like this is the time for investors around the world to throw months of caution to the winds and take risk off the table, and they are, buying stocks and selling bonds with abandon, as the economic outlook brightens and central banks shelve their plans to cut interest rates further,” he writes.

Investors were waiting for more news on a trade deal after reports surfaced Thursday that the U.S. could trim existing import tariffs on Chinese goods, as well as delaying those set to kick in on Sunday. Notably though, China has remained silent on any deal progress in the wake of those developments.”

Chuck again… well like I said, there are times when the FWIW article will be 180 degrees away from what I think… I think I should forward my Dow Theory Letters article from a year or so ago, when I went through the historic numbers of stock market performance during a recession, to this guy, eh?

Currencies today 12/16/19 American Style: A$.6888, kiwi .6612, C$ .7619, euro 1.1142, sterling 1.3366, Swiss $1.0174, European Style: rand 14.4738, krone 9.0037, SEK 9.3632, forint 295.21, zloty 3.8664,   koruna 22.8773, RUB 62.80, yen 109.47, sing 1.3545, HKD 7.7899, INR 70.94, China 6.9719, peso 19.03, BRL 4.1068, Dollar Index 96.98, Oil $60.07, 10-year 1.84%, Silver $17.04, Platinum $930.81, Palladium $1,961.00, and Gold… $1,476.45

That’s it for today, and for the next 10 days until the 27th of December, when I’ll return… Twitter followers keep in tune, for with all the stuff going on these days, I’ll probably tweet something while I’m on vacation. Last Saturday, I went downtown to the Broadway Oyster Bar for a muffuletta sandwich and some great live music being played by “All Roostered Up”… It was a noon thing, so I was back home by late afternoon! In time to watch the Army / Navy football game, and then watch our Blues make a 3rd period comeback, scoring 4 times in the final period of the game, to beat the Blackhawks! What an exciting game! Yesterday, the snow began to fall around noon, and that initial blast of winter was then followed by some freezing rain… Oh, brother am I glad I don’t have to go out in that this morning! OK, time to wind this down… Jefferson Starship takes us to the finish line today with their song: Miracles…. If only you’d believe in miracles, baby, like I do, we’d get by… I hope you have a Marvelous Monday, and a very Merry, and Blessed Christmas… Oh, and please Be Good To Yourself! Bye~

Chuck Butler

Dollar Bugs Get Sent To The Woodshed…

December 12, 2019

* Currencies & metals rally on Wednesday

* First ECB meeting for Lagarde today… Chuck’s watching… 

Good Day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you… On our triple T-day, we will attempt to unravel the mystery of What The Hell the Fed Is Up to! OK, I’m just kidding… I doubt anyone can figure those guys and girls out! Least of all little old me, down here in my basement, at my writing desk, in my little river town outside of St. Louis, Mo! Although I still try to figure them out… My 2nd day being alone… I kept busy… and the day went by fast! With two men in the house for dinner, I made steak and potatoes… I thought about a salad, but… then I unthought about it! HA! I sautéed some mushrooms, for the steak, and Alex and I ate like Kings! The original band Journey, (sans Steve Perry) greet me this morning with their song: Of A Lifetime…  That’s one of those, classic rock songs, that you might have heard, and wondered who is that? Well, now you know! 

Well, the Fed didn’t pull any surprises yesterday, and left rates unchanged… As far as the word on the street that I told you about yesterday, that a couple of Fed Heads were clamoring for a rate hike, Fed Chair, Powell, said, that “ he’d prefer to let inflation rise and hold above the central bank’s target before considering future interest rate hikes.” So, the dollar bulls were sent to the woodshed for the day for thinking that a rate hike would be discussed… Of course we won’t know for sure for a few weeks what was actually said by whom… But for now, the Fed is on hold, with 1.75% Fed Funds rate…

Like I said above, the dollar bulls got sent to the woodshed, and the euro rallied all the way up to 1.1135… For those of you new to class, the euro is the offset currency to the dollar, so if the dollar gets sold, it shows up first with euro strength… I call the euro the Big Dog that sits on the porch, and the other currencies the little dogs that sit there too, but are ready and willing to chase the dollar down the street, but the Big Dog has to get up from its prone position on the porch, first… The little dogs may outrun the Big Dog, once they get going, but they don’t dare move off the porch until the Big Dog does first….

And yesterday, the Big Dog got up and moved off the porch… Now it will be interesting to see if the Plunge Protection Team steps in and limits the dollar’s fall… Which they have been doing lately…

The strong dollar trend has to end one of these days folks, it might as well be now, right? The trends started in 1971… and have been 7, 7, 7, 9, and now 8 years… Seems a little long in the tooth, doesn’t it? By the way it goes like this… Weak dollar, strong dollar, weak dollar, strong dollar, weak dollar, and now strong dollar, so guess what’s next?

Gold took yesterday morning’s $1.75 gain, and said, to hell with that! And gained $9 on the day to end the day at $1,477… Good day… I guess the Fed’s press conference afterward didn’t help the dollar any, and why should it have?  I read an article this morning that said that Central Banks around the world are buying physical Gold and ditching the dollar… This, of course is not new news to us, right? I’ve been telling you this was going on for some time now… But it’s always nice to see someone else notice it, eh? 

OK, enough on the Fed’s meeting yesterday… They are all somewhat suspect if you ask me… I was asked the other night if I like the St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard, and I said, “yes, I think he’s a smart man, but as far as the rest of those guys and gals, I’m not so sure”….

The European Central Bank (ECB) is meeting while I my fat fingers are flying across the keyboard this morning… This will be Christine Lagarde’s first meeting as the head of the ECB…  So, here’s the thing to look for today… Will Lagarde follow in Mario Draghi’s footsteps and throw the euro under a bus this morning, thus knocking it back down? Or… will she begin to carve out her own identity?  I guess we’ll know in an hour or two this morning…

In the meantime, back at the ranch…  the day for reckoning is coming quickly folks… And that day is the one I talked about yesterday, with all the things that could go wrong for the dollar…  Or better yet, go right for Gold! 

Here around St. Louis, BJC, the health conglomerate, announced that they would cut 200 jobs… I understand that to be 200 jobs in their tech area, as BJC is ready to move their IT jobs to oursourcing… Oh great! So, you have kids that went to college to learn IT and thought, “when I get out of college I’ll be inundated with job requests, and then find a job at BJC, only to find out that they are going to cut your job and replace your job with outsourcing… Lucky you… right? I know this stuff has been going on for years, but never in IT…

I was not upset by my youngest son, Alex’s, choice to go to Physical Therapy School, and not IT school, but I was, at the time, thinking that IT was the future… I guess I was wrong, because, Alex, who will graduate in May with a doctorate degree in PT, will also graduate with a pocket full of job offers! I guess he was smarter than his old man, eh?

The recent runup of pound sterling has been interesting, given the roadblocks ahead on the road for sterling… but yesterday saw some selling of sterling, bringing its price back down below 1.32.  The U.K. has seen a rash of rotten economic data this week, things like Industrial Production and manufacturing production… they were not what you would call, economic prints that would garner a stronger currency…  

In the Eurozone today, besides the ECB meeting, the German think tank ZEW printed their Business Sentiment index, and it was a mixed bag-0-nuts, with the outlook picking up, but the current view being negative…  Usually, the ZEW can be blamed for a slight move in the euro, but with it being printed on the same day as an ECB meeting, it was moved to the back burner this morning… 

The U.S. Data Cupboard still is leaving the markets “wanting” real economic data, that it won’t get until tomorrow, when Nov. Retail Sales will print… I think I said this earlier this week, but this Retail Sales report will include the Black Friday Christmas shopping, so we’ll be able to see if the reports of a great day were really bang on…  The BHI (Butler Household Index) indicates to me that this could be a good strong print…  But that’s tomorrow… 

First… today we’ll have to sit through PPI (wholesale inflation) and the Household net Worth numbers…  Yesterday, the stupid CPI printed, and it showed that there was little inflation…  That’s nice… I just received Alex’s last term tuition payment… And the Gov’t is telling me that there’s no inflation there?  Yeah, that thought and a quarter still won’t buy you a cup of coffee! HA!

My darling daughter Dawn stopped by to see me last night… We talked for a bit, and then I asked if she still wanted me to read to her class… Tradition, has always been that the week before Christmas I would go to her kindergarten class and read: The Night Before Christmas… And she gave me the time to be there! So, once again, I’ll be reading to her class… I absolutely love doing this… I put everything I can into reading it, believe me on that!  And the faces of the kids as my voice grows louder, and I say “to the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, now dash away, dash away, all”  I don’t know how Dawn gets them settled down after I’m there, but that’s her problem! HA! 

To recap…  The Fed did as promised and left rates unchanged yesterday, and Fed Chairman Powell, quieted those rumors that a couple of Fed Heads were talking about a rate hike… This news was not taken as good news for the dollar bugs, and soon the dollar was getting sold…  The euro climbed back over 1.11, and Gold gained $9 on the day.   Central Banks are ditching the dollar and buying Gold instead…  That thought is really catching on these days… 

For What It’s Worth…  OK, I’ve beaten this dead horse (no animals were actually hurt here! ) quite a bit through time, and I’m going to go back and beat the dead horse again. I’m talking about the fact that so many jobs that have been created in the last 10 years have been low wage jobs, and that doesn’t help the economy… And this article talks about that very thought, and can be found here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52686.htm

Or, here’s your snippet: “A Brookings Institution study shows 44 percent of all American workers toil in “low-wage” jobs, with median earnings of $18,000 a year. Most of them are adults in their prime working years, whose paychecks provide the main sustenance for their families, 20 percent of which live at below 150 percent of the poverty line. Blacks and Latinos are overrepresented in low-paid employment, but more than half of these bad jobs are held by whites.

The corporate consensus, shared by its monopolized media, is that the economy is booming – which only confirms that the Race to the Bottom is ruling class policy, no matter how much the “liberals” at places like Brookings bemoan the hardships inflicted on the working poor.

Working class precarity is built into the system, by design. Another study, measuring the Job Quality Index , shows that the proliferation of low-paid work isn’t a hangover from the 2008 meltdown, but a characteristic of late stage capitalism. “In 1990, the jobs were pretty much evenly divided” said one of the creators of the index.

“We discovered that 63% of all jobs that were created since 1990 were low-wage, low-hour jobs.” The data show the Race to the Bottom has accelerated for U.S. workers under both Republican and Democratic administrations: the elder and younger Bushes, Clinton, Obama, and now Trump, who is running for re-election on the strength of the economy.
“Precarity is built into the system.”

The duopoly system is a magnificent mechanism of corporate rule and working class ruin. When only corporate parties are permitted to govern, and corporate mouthpieces monopolize the media, capitalist-inflicted misery is made to seem natural and inevitable. The highly-educated researchers at Brookings can imagine only one way out of the downward spiral for those localities where bad jobs are the norm: “attract and grow more high-wage jobs by drawing new companies in and helping existing companies grow and increase their productivity.” In other words, more capitalism, of the more socially-conscious kind. But clearly, the stock market favors precarity capitalism, which it rewards with high returns, and punishes capitalists that don’t immiserate their employees or farm them out to low-wage contractors.”

Chuck again…  Yes, when Chuck says these things not too many people pay attention, but when the Brookings Institute says them, people sit up and listen…  Sort of like that old EF Hutton Commercial… HA! 

Currencies today 12/12/19 American Style: A$ .6892, kiwi .6588, C$ .7587, euro 1.1133, sterling 1.3282, Swiss $1.0175, European Style: rand 14.6523, krone 9.0932, SEK 9.3795, forint 295.87, zloty 3.8450,   koruna 22.9247, RUB 63.48, yen 108.63, sing 1.3566, HKD 7.8055, INR 70.80, China 7.0357, peso 19.12, BRL 4.1323, Dollar Index 97.13, Oil $59.03, 10-year 1.80%, Silver $16.87, Platinum $942.92, Palladium $1,934.90, and Gold… $1,474.73

That’s it for today and tomorrow…  The Big Army / Navy Football game is Saturday… I always take time to watch that game… It’s not the most exciting brand of football, but pageantry, tradition, and all the other stuff make it all worth watching!  I’ll be by myself this weekend, hopefully, I can rest for long periods of time! HA!  Our Blues get back on the ice tonight VS Vegas, and a BIG Saturday Night Special will have the Blackhawks in town… Those games used to be real barn burners…  My beloved Missouri Tigers have a new football head coach… (It’s not who I thought would be good for the program, but I’m sure the AD knows more than I do!)  And there’s just 65 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training! Def Leppard takes us to the finish line today with their song: Bringin’ On the Heartbreak…   I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday, and a Fantastico Friday tomorrow… and Please Be Good To Yourself!

Chuck Butler

It’s FOMC Meeting Day!

December 11, 2019

* Currencies drift up and down on Wednesday… 

* Next week could be BIG…. 

Good Day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well… I attended a holiday party last night that basically is an old Mark Twain Bank reunion, hosted by Frank Trotter, John Dubinsky, and Chris Lissner… I get a kick out of going when I can, because there’s always somebody new to catch up with, and last night it was a former colleague, Janet Rogers! The Usual suspects were also there, with appearances from the wily old veteran, Jack Milner, and too many others to name them all! It was an early evening, and I was able to get home to watch the Blues hockey game, which they lost. UGH! I just can’t stand in one spot very long, and so it was time for me to go! Right off the get-go this morning I must apologize for an error I made yesterday… I said the name of the band was the “Heaters”, and I meant the “Hooters”… Today, The Cure greets me this morning with their song: Almost Heaven…

Well… Today is the day that the Fed’s FOMC meeting will end, and they will announce what it is they are going to do with rates. (spoiler alert, it’s nothing!) And then Fed Chairman, Powell, will have a press conference following the announcement… I mentioned to someone last night that asked me, for I don’t go around parties talking about this kind of stuff without someone asking me, but what they asked was, “do you believe we’ll see negative rates here in the U.S.” Well, at first I was hurt, because IF this person was a Pfennig reader, they would already know that I do believe our deposit rates will be negative in the next year to two years… I pointed out that the Fed, just last week, said they are willing to allow inflation to run up beyond their 2% target… To me that’s greasing the tracks for negative rates… And when that happens, we should see Gold soar!

OK, the currencies, for the most part, saw some buying during the day yesterday… The euro was back to within spittin’ distance of 1.11…  But things in China continue to look weaker and weaker, and those thoughts weighed heavily on the Global Growth currencies, led by what I call the “proxy for Global Gowth, the Aussie dollar (A$).

In the overnight markets we’ve seen some slippage from the levels of yesterday… There was a report last night that the Chinese feel as though the tariffs scheduled to set in on 12/16, will be delayed…  And that gets the dollar bugs all excited… 

When I left you yesterday, Gold was up $5 in the early trading, but much like the day before, when Gold couldn’t hold all of its early gains, it closed up yesterday only $2.50…  So, let’s see, on Tuesday, Gold was up $3 in the early trading and ended the day up $1.50… On Wednesday Gold was up $5 and ended the day up $2.50… today, Gold is up $1.75 in the early trading, what does that mean for the closing price today?  

How much longer can the dollar bugs be on top and have the conn? Well, we could look to next week, when a few things will come together at or about the same time… They include: The Impeachment vote, The new round of tariffs due to kick in, and Quarterly tax payments due… If the banks thought they had a liquidity problem before… just wait for the quarterly tax payments to remove liquid cash from their coffers…

Those all kick in next week folks… So… what are you waiting for? I strongly suggest you call my good friend, and former colleague, whom I call the metals guru, Tim Smith@1-800-926-4922, back up the truck and buy some Gold… or Silver… or Platinum… but I would not be interested in buying Palladium while it’s near $1,900…

The banking situation is unsustainable folks… In 2007-08, the Gov’t had to bail out the banks, and then take on all their toxic debt they had accumulated that no longer had a value worth recording… What will be the flavor of ice cream, I mean bail out, the Gov’t offers up this time around? 

I read a report the other day where the author, an economist, believes that this next downturn will turn into something worse than 2007-08… And while I was reading it, I wondered if, the economist had been handed a printout of the Pfennig, where I said the same thing months ago? Oh, well, nice to see someone side with me… That gets printed!

Well, it seems that everyone that goes before the Banking & Finance folks on Capital Hill, have the same story to tell… When asked about the repo crisis, they say it was a one-time event, and not anything to worry about… But I say differently…  And so do a lot of other people that are following this mess. I have a piece on the repo crisis in the FWIW section today, so you’ll not want to skip over that!  I’m just saying… 

The U.S. Data Cupboard had revisions to the 3rd QTR prints of Productivity and Unit Labor Costs, and both of them got downward revisions! Productivity is now negative at -0.2%, and the Unit Labor Costs, which I told you yesterday that I thought would be revised downward, saw it’s previous figure of 3.6% get revised downward to 2.5%…   these aren’t market moving numbers per se, but…. the Fed Heads have to be wondering where they are going to get the inflation they want to see, if the Unit Labor Costs are falling….   

Today’s Data Cupboard has the stupid CPI report that’s about a useful as a pay toilet in a diarrhea ward!  In addition, the Federal Budget will print. I read a piece the other day that said the Office of Management Budget (OMB) leaked this report and were scared out of their wits, by the size of the Deficit in the first two months of our Fiscal Year…  Our annual Budget Deficit will be more than $1 Trillion this year folks, you can bet your sweet bippie on that! 

And then after those prints, the Fed’s FOMC Meeting will start and end… Bloomberg ran an article this morning that said, that there are a couple of Fed Heads calling for a rate hike… Really?  With the economic data falling down all around us? I shake my head in disgust at their doltness! 

To recap…  Another day of drifting for the currencies, who did move up a bit during the day, only to slip back in the overnight markets… Chuck talks about how much longer can the dollar bugs have the conn…  The Chinese believe the next round of tariffs scheduled for implementation next week, will be delayed…  Hmmm….   The Fed’s FOMC meeting starts and ends this afternoon… no drama is expected, but Bloomberg seems to think that a couple of Fed Heads are thinking that rates need to rise… 

For What It’s Worth… a month or so ago, I received an email from a reader who requested that I keep on top of the repo crisis… And so with that in mind, today’s FWIW is an article on Wallstreetonparade.com and they have done a fabulous job of keeping on top of the repo crisis, and so I’m happy to be able to have them in the FWIW section today, and that article can be found here: https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/12/congress-held-a-hearing-on-the-feds-bailout-of-the-repo-market-heres-why-you-havent-heard-about-it/

Or, here’s your snippet: “Last Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was the sole witness called before the House Financial Services Committee to answer questions on the state of financial stability in the U.S. Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, the U.S. Treasury Secretary also heads the Financial Stability Oversight Council (F-SOC) which is charged with monitoring any threats to the stability of the U.S. financial system in order to prevent a replay of the epic financial crash of 2008 and attendant devastation to the U.S. economy.

During the hearing, Mnuchin was grilled time and again by numerous Republicans and Democrats on what is necessitating the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) to be pumping out hundreds of billions of dollars per week to Wall Street trading houses via the repurchase agreement (repo loan) market.

During last Thursday’s hearing, Mnuchin attempted to pass off the repo loan crisis as a two-day event that occurred on September 16 and 17. The lack of reporting on the matter by the New York Times would tend to support that narrative in the public’s mind.

The reality is that the New York Fed has now pumped a cumulative total of more than $4 trillion into this black lending hole on Wall Street and has been making upwards of $100 billion a day in loans to Wall Street trading houses every business day since September 17.

During the almost three months that the New York Times has not reported on this flashing red sign of a new crisis on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve has dramatically increased its original level of support to the repo market. It has expanded its overnight loans to include loans of up to 43 days; it has increased the dollar amount of overnight loans to as much as $120 billion available daily; and it has announced that it will be buying $60 billion a month in U.S. Treasury Bills, effectively creating a new round of Quantitative Easing (QE-4) – a tactic it has not used since the financial crisis.”

Chuck again… There’s a lot more in the article to read here folks… so, if you’re interested in this ongoing crisis, then I suggest you click the link above.

Currencies today 12/11/19 American Style: A$.6840, kiwi .6548, C$ .7555, euro 1.1077, sterling 1.3238, Swiss $1.0148, European Style: rand 14.7695, krone 9.1683, SEK 9.4395, forint 298.28, zloty 3.8668,   koruna 23.0320, RUB 63.52, yen 108.71, sing 1.3598, HKD 7.8120, INR 70.77, China 7.0354, peso 19.22, BRL 4.1418, Dollar Index 97.53, Oil $58.87, 10-year 1.82%, Silver $16.65, Platinum $922.86, Palladium $1,899.85, and Gold… $1,466.16

That’s it for today…  Billy Joel sang… Mama Leone left a note on the door, said Sonny move out to the country….  I was singing that yesterday late afternoon, when I was leaving a note for Alex, that he was on his own for dinner…  I arrived home last night to see a pizza box on the island in the kitchen, and thought… “Yeah, he’s my son, alright!”  Pizza is the answer to all questions about what to have for dinner in my book!  I’ll have to think of something to make tonight…   OK, I got lost in thought there for a moment, but I’m back now… I was intently listening to the Allman Brothers as they take us to the finish line with their song: Statesboro Blues… I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday and will Be Good To Yourself! 

Chuck Butler

Markets Redirect Their Focus To Tomorrow’s FOMC…

December 10, 2019

*Currencies & metals drift throughout the day on Monday

* RIP… Paul Volcker… 

Good Day… and a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Well… How are you today? Good I hope! I watched a 30 for 30 last night, and it was about the 1983 N.C. State Basketball team. Longtime basketball folks will recall that the late Jim Valvano coached that team with a 10 loss season, to not only the ACC Tournament Championship, but also the NCAA Championship… Jim Valvano died of cancer 10 years after winning it all, and I’ve used his words at the 1993 ESPY Awards as my guiding light through my ordeal with cancer… “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. Those three things are going to carry on forever.”

OK… a long intro today… I’m always touched when I hear or see him make that speech, don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t ever give up… Alrighty then… A band called Romeo Void greets me this morning with their high intensity song: Never Say Never

The currencies and metals did very little yesterday… No data, no Fed Head speeches, and no movement in the currency and metals markets yesterday… That’s fine with me, because that meant that everyone had already forgotten the hype and hysteria regarding the BLS Jobs Jamboree last Friday… All the focus has been redirected to the Fed’s FOMC meeting that will take place tomorrow. There’s no drama surrounding this meeting, as Fed Chairman Powell, told us all 6 weeks ago, that the Fed was taking a pause for the cause with rate cuts… And that further rate cuts would be data dependent…

Let’s see, we saw the Manufacturing Index remain below 50 since they last met… Factory Orders print negative, Durable and Capital Goods print negative, and a whole lot of other data prints come across as not so pretty… The only one that stands out, is the Job report last Friday… Man-o-Man was that a doozie… But, as I explained to some folks yesterday… It doesn’t matter how many jobs you add, if they are for the most part low paying jobs! Part time jobs… and what have you… These types of low paying jobs won’t fuel an economy… And what you get, is people running up their credit cards, because they’re sure they’re going to be able to pay them down, but when the bills arrive, there’s no money to pay them off… And now they’ve done spent what they had, and what will suffer from that besides their losing their self respect? The economy… Because once the card is maxed out… There’s no more spending, and the U.S. economy needs consumer spending to function and grow… I needn’t say more…

Well, I received some strange looks after something I said yesterday… There I was at lunch, and I was asked what my forecast is… Of course, I went into a 5 minute dissertation on debt, and the funny reports out of the Gov’t, and derivatives, and repo markets, and so on and so forth… It was then that I realized something… that I was a dinosaur… I don’t get the fact that video gaming, and having someone watch you play the video game; are big business, nor do I get the idea that to deal with debt your must spend more. Has time passed me by? Does the world no longer work the way I was taught, in school, or at the private lessons from Hy Minsky? I get it… I really do, for what seems to be so darn stupid to me, turns out to be brilliant! So, maybe I am a dinosaur… I still believe that you need to make more than you spend, that economies need recessions to clean out the excesses, that having money is not wealth, that Corporations need to invest in Capital goods, or go bust, and that when you’ve dug yourself into a debt hole, you do not keep digging to get out!

I still believe in the magic of Christmas, spring training, and birthdays ARE to be celebrated! I’ve become more emotional about things since my first cancer surgery, and I truly believe in how family needs to be together, and of course My belief of God…

So… call me T-Rex if you want to, but I’m still going to spout off about debt, bad data, and an economy that can’t seem to get out its own way, and how we’re destined to relive the past… Again, and again, and again… I wanted to get this out there today, because from the look I got at the lunch table, from people younger than me, I realized I had gotten old… Old in my ways, old in my thinking, but I’m too old now to change…

We received word yesterday that Morgan Stanley is going to cut 1,500 jobs from their New York and London locations… Hmmm… Maybe if they had announced that last week, before Fed Head Quarles spoke so glowing about the banks, that maybe he would have backed off a bit with the glow… I’m just saying…

I’m going to remember those two days of talks by Fed Head Quarles as the time goes on and we continue to see the rot on banking’s vine… Speaking of banks… The 5 Minute Forecast, said it pretty good yesterday, I’ll let Dave Gonigam from the 5 tell you… “Lately we’ve been hear an alternative explanation with the certain financial circles: The Biggest banks are refusing to lend because they want looser regulations. In other words, they’re holding the repo market hostage until the Fed and other regulators ease up on their lending rules”…

Chuck again… I have to say that this throw a spanner in the works as far as I’m concerned, because I have thought that it was the Biggest Banks refusing to lend to some bank or banks that were viewed as risky…

As I said yesterday there just isn’t much in the U.S. Data Cupboard until Friday of this week. We will see the FOMC meeting results tomorrow afternoon, but first in a line of 2nd and 3rd Tier data reports, today, we’ll see the 3rd QTR revision of Productivity, and the 3rd QTR revision of the Labor Cost Index… Not too much attention is paid to these two, even though Productivity in the U.S. is down big in the past few years… And judging from the Jobs Jamboree data last week, I would expect the Labor Cost Index to be revised downward…

So, the FOMC tomorrow is the big kahuna for this week…  The Fed Heads are put on hold with their speeches ahed of the FOMC meeting this week. Speaking of Fed Heads… A true Fed Head… RIP… Paul Volcker, the Fed Chief that slayed inflation…  

Longtime reader, Bob, sent me an article last night that talked about the best performing currencies for the past 15 years…  And do you know which one was the top performer for that period?  Well… if you guessed the Thai Baht, you would get a Gold star today!  But seeing the Thai baht being mentioned brought back very bad memories of being on my annual Christmas vacation, and receiving a phone call from the trade desk telling me that that there had been a leadership coup in Thailand, and that all trading of the baht was cut off…  So, for weeks following the coup we had to work our tails off to get rid of the baht that our clients owned, but could no longer hold due to the restrictions on the currency…  The interesting thing about selling the baht after the coup was that it was stronger!  Stranger than fiction, and probably the start of the “opposites rule” stuff we see everywhere today! 

Gold was up $3 in the early trading yesterday, but closed the day with only a gain of $1.50…  The shiny metal is up another $5 in the early trading today, so let’s see if it can hold and add to that early gain today, eh?  I must say that one has to be quite impressed with the price action in Palladium these days… As I look at the metals, Palladium is a hop, skip and a small jump from trading through $1,900… WOW!   As I’ve explained a couple times in the past, this run upward in Palladium is all about a shortage of the metal…  

The U.S. Data Cupboard is still lacking data today, although we will see the 3rd QTR revision of Productivity, along with the 3rd QTR revision of the Unit Labor Costs…  Unless one of those is so far off base it could get picked off by a right hander, they’ll make no difference in the market’s direction today…  When you think about the Jobs Jamboree last Friday, it had some very distressing hourly wage numbers in it, which makes me think the unit Labor Cost Index will be revised weaker today, in case that floats your boat!

To recap…  the currencies and metals moved very little yesterday, which tells Chuck that the markets have already forgotten the hype and hysteria over the Jobs Jamboree last Friday.  It appears that the markets’ focus has been redirected to the Fed’s FOMC meeting tomorrow. Chuck believes that there will be no drama at this meeting, because the Big Cheese, Powell, told us so in the last meeting 6 weeks ago!  RIP… Paul Volcker…   And Chuck realizes that he’s become a dinosaur…  T-Rex…  the most feared dinosaur at that! HA! 

For What It’s Worth…  This morning we have a special treat because you rarely get an interview with John Williams of Shadowstats.com. But that’s what we have for today…  For new readers that don’t know who John Williams is… Quickly, he’s a former gov’t accountant that recalculates data using the old formulas before the hedonic adjustments…  I found this on Zerohedge.com and you will be able to find it there too by clicking here: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/williams-theyve-effectively-lost-control-system

Or, here’s your snippet: “What the Fed has done with their easing, according to the Fed, is they created a circumstance of sustainable moderate economic growth. So, they don’t need to cut rates anymore. That’s nonsense. You don’t have sustainable moderate growth. For example, look at this last month, industrial production is in a state of collapse… Manufacturing is negative… Oil production is collapsing year to year as oil and gas exploration has plunged. . . . Retail sales have been overstated in employment… That’s going to be revised lower… We have been getting better numbers as of late, and the economy is still falling off a cliff.”

Maybe that explains the Fed’s panic moves with $60 billion a month QE, which it says is not QE, and extreme intervention in the repo market where the Fed routinely pumps out tens of billions of dollars in liquidity a night. Williams says, “The system is not stable, and it probably is insolvent…”

“They blew the system back in 2007. They gave up on the domestic economy to save the banking system…

They spent all their resources propping up the banks, and they are still doing the same thing, and it’s still costing us in terms of economic growth.”

So, the Fed is pumping out billions of dollars every month, and yet, the economy keeps sinking. What does this tell Williams?

“The system is not operating properly. These are stopgap measures, stopgap liquidity that the Fed is putting into the system. If they understood what was going on, they would not be doing that. They wouldn’t have to do it. They have lost control of the system effectively,” says Williams.

Williams goes on to say, “It tells you the underlying system is unstable…”

Chuck again…  yes… John Williams goes on to say, “don’t put too much faith in the good employment numbers that came out last week because “It’s not as happy of a picture as it looks.”   Sounds a lot like me, eh? 

Currencies today 12/10/19 American Style: A$ .6815, kiwi .6545, C$ .7553, euro 1.1080, sterling 1.3240, Swiss $1.0144, European Style: rand 14.7620, krone 9.1877, SEK 9.5289, forint 298.41, zloty 3.8680,   koruna 23.0312, RUB 63.63, yen 108.56, sing 1.3596, HKD 7.8254, INR 70.84, China 7.0370, peso 19.20, BRL 4.1399, Dollar Index 97.57, Oil $58.69, 10-year 1.80%, Silver $16.67, Platinum $907.25, Palladium $1,894.46, and Gold… $1,466.73

That’s it for today…  Back to being alone during the day for the next 10 days… Oh well, worse things could happen! Our Blues get back on the ice tonight in Buffalo in hopes of putting a stop to their 2 game losing streak…  You know… I’ve explained this before, but by writing desk has a board in front of it, that has a ton of pictures through the years, pinned to it… One big one that I see every time is sit down here is a picture of my dad, my younger brother, David, and me sitting on our dilapidated back porch on a summer’s night… I’m probably about 10 in the picture…  My dad looks great…  OK…  The Heaters take us to the finish line with their song: All You Zombies…  My good friend, Rick B. will get a kick out of that 80’s song, and the one that started out day today!   I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, and please Be Good To Yourself! 

Chuck Butler

 

 

 

The Rot On Trucking’s Vine Is Being Exposed!

December 9, 2019 

* Currencies and Metals get sold on Friday… 

* Ted Simmons Goes to the Hall of Fame!  YAHOO!!!!

Good Day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! I was one happy camper last night, when the news came across the screen that my all-time favorite Cardinals baseball player, Ted Simmons, had been elected to the National Hall of Fame! I had long hoped that the committee would see the error of their ways by correcting the baseball writers, who are so heavily focused on the East and West Coasts, and didn’t elect him in his first go ‘round. Ted’s stats speak for themselves, but I can tell you this… I watch a lot of baseball, and I’ve never seen a hitter that consistently hit line drives with authority like Ted Simmons did! Plus… Ted worked in the offseason in the winter of 1982, with me at Mark Twain Bank! I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill that was for me at the time! A few years ago, at a spring training game, we saw Ted scouting the teams, and after the game me and my friend Rick walked up to him, and we talked for a bit, with me expressing my frustration that he wasn’t in the HOF… Then, I asked to get a picture with him, and he said, “no, I don’t do pictures”, and then I said, but don’t you remember working with me in 1982 at Mark Twain Bank, and he replied, “Chuck!, yes, take the picture!”… I don’t know where that picture is, but I believe I stored it away in a safe place! Led Zeppelin is getting me all fired up this morning with their song: Kashmir…

Well, Friday was an awful day for the currencies and Gold… It all started when the BLS reported that 266,000 jobs were created in November… You may recall, me telling you last Thursday that the ADP report showed only 67,000 jobs created in November… I’m going to go on a rant on this in a minute, but first… The euro, which was within spittin’ distance of 1.11 on Thursday, dropped over a ½-cent on Friday, and Gold lost $15… So, you can see where I’m coming from when I rant and stomp my feet over the Jobs report…

In the overnight markets, the currencies and Gold are seeing some healing, as the selling was quite overdone on Friday. The euro is stronger than the 1.1025 it traded at on Friday, and Gold is up $3 in the early trading today, so maybe… just maybe, because you never know…  The euphoria by the dollar bugs over the trumped up BLS jobs report will fade into the background…  Maybe… 

OK… riddle me this Batman…. How does the ADP Employment report only show 67,000 jobs created in November, and the BLS report show 266,000 jobs created? Which of these two does the payroll systems for just about every corporation in this country? ADP… Which of these two should know by the last number the total jobs created in a month? ADP… And which one of those two do the markets pay all kinds of attention to, when they shouldn’t pay one Iota of thought to them?… The BLS… So, you tell me which one should we be paying attention to? ADP… Right! But, there’s an old adage in the markets, and that is you don’t fight the markets… Their pockets are way too deep for you… Keynes once said, “the markets can remain irrational longer than you can stay solvent” But I still have fun throwing darts at the BLS… And will continue to do so, as long as they continue to allow the surveys to be hedonically adjusted each month!

Well, Gold got the snot knocked out of it on Friday, losing the $15 it had earned the previous Friday… The Jobs report got most of the credit for moving the dollar higher, but then the price manipulators made things worse for Gold, when they decided to jump on the idea that jobs were strong…

Speaking of Gold… I know I’ve been pretty hard on the Beaver… AKA Lola… or AKA Goldman Sachs these past few years… But Lola recently said something that made me like her…. Well, I like what she said, but I’m sure there was an ulterior motive for making the statement, that is here, and I’ll discuss what I feel is their ulterior motive after we see what it is She had to say… Oh, and I got this from the good folks at GATA…

“Gold cannot fully replace government bonds in a portfolio, but the case to reallocate a portion of normal bond exposure to gold is as strong as ever,” Goldman analysts including Sabine Schels said in a note today. “We still see upside in gold as late cycle concerns and heightened political uncertainty will likely support investment demand” for bullion as a defensive asset.”

OK… for Chuck’s view on what could be their ulterior motive for making this call…. Could it be that they have a very large position in Gold, and need their clients to purchase Gold to drive the price higher, and when it gets to the price that makes them a big fat profit, they pull the rug out? Hey! It’s certainly possible… I learned that years ago, many years ago, in fact, that you always have to look at a Gift horse in the mouth, when it comes to companies having a revelation about needing to own something… I’m just saying…

OK, we left off last week, asking Fed Head, Randal Quarles, a question… If Banks, as you have stated are stable, then why do they need hundreds of Billions of dollars in repo loans? Quarles had to go before the Senate on Thursday last week, and there the Senators really grilled him on what the Fed was doing, so on and so on… Quarles stuck to his guns… I’ll give him that! But his guns weren’t exactly shooting straight… To put it bluntly, there’s a bank or banks out there that the other Banks don’t feel comfortable lending money to, which is the whole purpose of the Repo Market… But Quarles wouldn’t admit to that…. But if little old me, down here in St. Lous, Mo. A thousand miles away from NYC, can see this for what it is… Everyone can see it, including a Fed Head! I’ve about had it with the Fed, folks…

BTW did your mother ever utter those words to you and what you were doing at time? I can hear my mom saying, “I’ve had just about enough of your attitude!” And then being a momma’s boy, I would hug her, and tell her I was sorry, in hopes that some good warm cornbread with honey was on the way! HAHAHAHA!

OK… Longtime reader Bob sent me a chart yesterday that showed the CEO outlook… And this brings up another question about the jobs report… Because the CEO outlook showed a drop like a rock off a the side of a cliff! The Index hasn’t been this negative since 2008… And yet the BLS expects us to not put two and two together here… CEO’s are very negative about the outlook, but they’re hiring like there’s no tomorrow? Come on BLS, give me some credit here, I’m not as dumb as I look!

The U.S. Data Cupboard is empty today, and will need to be restocked for the rest of the week. The Fed’s FOMC meets this week on Wednesday… I fell in my bones that Fed Chairman, Powell, is going to stick to his guns that he displayed last month after cutting rates for the 3rd time, and that those guns were saying that the Fed is going to pause on the rate cuts for now…  And he can point to the trumped up BLS jobs report as his reason for doing so! 

The Data this week is 2nd and 3rd Tier stuff until we get to Friday, when the November Retail Sales will print… This data will include the Black Friday Christmas sales, so expect a robust Retail Sales figure this week… But remember, all those purchases that were done with credit cards, this is something that’s going to come back to haunt U.S. Consumers, folks… I’m just saying…

This week in data overseas, we’ll see a boat load of data in the U.K… which should put the kyboshes on the recent sterling rally…. And we’ll see the German think tank ZEW’s print on Economic Sentiment for this month. Then later in the week the Eurozone will print Industrial Production for November, and the European Central Bank (ECB) wll meet…  This will be Christine Legarde’s firs meeting leading the ECB, so I will be listening intently to what she has to say…  

Before we head to the Big Finish today… I have this for all those that love baseball stats… If you’re not one that does love baseball stats, then go ahead on skip ahead…  OK? Ready?   From 1971-80  Ted Simmons averaged .301 with a .367 on-base percentage. He finished in the top 10 a combined 15 times in either batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Compared to other HOF catchers.. Carlton Fisk had 9 finishes in the top 10, Johnny Bench had 6, and Gary Carter had 4… The thing that always for me riled up about this oversight of Simmons, was that Gary Carter, because he played in New York, was in the HOF, and Simmons had better stats than Carter! But he finally made it… I know Ted is very happy with this election to the HOF…. I know I AM!

To recap… The BLS report shouted from the rooftops that the ADP report is worthless on Friday…  I disagree, but it’s difficult to fight city hall (the BLS) here…  And that blowout of jobs created, with the world “created” the key here, the dollar bugs went on the warpath, and began buying dollars and selling currencies and Gold…  The overnight markets have seen some healing in the two asset classes, so maybe, just maybe, because you never know, that the eurphoria from the jobs report will fade quickly… 

For What It’s Worth… Well, will all the hoopla from the stock jockeys to the people in D.C. over the jobs report, there was something that should have been able to throw cold water all over the jobs report, but very few people saw it, until now that is! This is a report from zerohedfge.com and it’s about the Trucking business collapsing right before our eyes! And it can be found here: https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/november-heavy-duty-truck-orders-resume-collapse-down-39-weakest-2015

Or, here’s your snippet: “The collapse in heavy duty trucking is getting tougher to blame on difficult YoY comps and is more and more looking like the symptom of a real manufacturing recession in the U.S.

Class 8 orders against collapsed in November, culminating a dismal year that some thought had seen a reprieve with October’s improved bookings. But new data from FreightWaves shows that the collapse has continued its trend, indicating that the sluggish economy is to blame for lackluster replacement demand.

Orders totaled 17,300 units for the month, which marks the slowest November since 2015 and a 39% collapse from November 2018. The slowdown in orders is prompting layoffs of hundreds of production workers by companies like Daimler Trucks North America, Volvo Trucks North America, Paccar Inc. and Navistar International Corp.

Other names in the Class 8 supply chain are also dealing with the negative effects. For instance, engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. is “laying off 2,000 white-collar employees globally in the first quarter of 2020”.

Meanwhile, November used to be a month when fleets would be busy placing orders for the upcoming year. After October’s slight tick up in orders, many analysts thought November could follow suit. That didn’t happen, and sequentially November’s order book was down 21% from October.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles commented: “The stalling of freight growth is causing fleets to exercise caution in placing orders for 2020. There will still be plenty of freight to haul, so we expect fleets will continue to be profitable and to replace older equipment.
However, there won’t be a need for much additional equipment on the roads.”

“The industry thrives on stability, but we are now on a rocky road,” Ake concluded”

Chuck Again… You bet your sweet bippie that you are now on a rocky road! And, the road is going to get even rockier! So, you better strap yourselves in…. And just this morning, there’s a report that Trucking Giant, Celadon, is going to file for bankruptcy this week… It’s poised to be the largest truckload bankruptcy in history – and its drivers are already getting slammed. 

Currencies today 12/9/19 American Style: A$.6823, kiwi .65555, C$ .7540, euro 1.1072, sterling 1.3165, Swiss $1.0098, European style: rand 14.6223, krone 9.1442, SEK 9.5235, forint 299.35, zloty 3.8684,    koruna 23.0598, RUB 63.64, yen 108.50, sing 1.3596, HKD 7.8278, INR 70.98, China 7.0343, peso 19.25, BRL 4.1394, Dollar Index 97.60, Oil $58.53, 10-year 1.82%, Silver $16.62, Platinum $891.53, Palladium $1.885.30, and Gold… $1,463.52

That’s it for today…  Well, Saturday was the observance of our first day of infamy, Pearl Harbor Day…  I visited the Pearl Harbor Museum a few years ago, what a moving place…  Our neighborhood progressive dinner party Saturday night was a blast, as usual… A good time was had by all! Well, come tomorrow I’ll be all alone again, as my wife is heading South today. (don’t tell her I talked about her!)  No wait! Alex is here some of the time! So, not completely alone, until this weekend…  Chris Stapleton takes us to the finish line today with a real bluesy song: Tennessee Whiskey…  I hope you have a Marvelous Monday, and please Be Good To Yourself! 

Chuck Butler

 

 

Quarles Says Banks Are Stable… Why Do They Need Repo Money Then?

December 5, 2019

* Currencies drift higher on Wednesday… 

* Gold backs off by $3, and starts today in the red… 

Good day… And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! Another day, another day of weak data… what else is new here in the U.S.? These are strange days, because everyone, and I mean everyone has this feeling, whether they want to admit it or not, that something awful is about to happen to the U.S. economy… Our Blues played in Pittsburgh last night, after beating the Penguins at home last week, convincingly, they lost….. Home ice in hockey used to be a BIG DEAL But now-a-days teams go on the road and win all the time… It’s all good though… The Blues are playing better now than they were last spring on their way to their first Stanley Cup Championship! So, watch out NHL! Baseball’s winter meetings are going on, and I just don’t think the Cardinals have it in them to make a deal this year… That’s sad, because we’re one hitter, from taking the league by the horns! Pink Floyd greets me this morning with their song: Us and Them…

OK… It was another day of drifting for the currencies… Dollar traders really want to sell the dollar, folks, but can’t find it in themselves to part with their beloved green/peachbacks… But they eventually will… There’s smoke coming from the data folks, and you know what I’ve always said… Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… And the fire may just be burning embers right now, but we all know what burning embers can turn in to… there’s going to be armegeddon in the streets… I hate to be the messenger on this, but there’s no two ways around it… the U.S. economy is going into a funk that it won’t come out of for over a decade… And when all that happens, will people remember the famous line that Deficits don’t matter? I doubt it…. I’m just saying…

I hate being Mr. Gloom and doom… I’m a very upbeat kind of guy for someone that has lost part of a femur, and kidney, and eye, and almost his right mandible to cancer… But I would rather be Mr. Sunshine… Sunshine lollipops and rainbows everything that’s wonderful when ever we’re together! But I just can’t close my eye to what’s going on here folks… I’ve never really written about the “Deep State” that’s trying everything in their power to remove the President of this country… This is not a political letter, and I won’t let it slip into one either, but what’s going on in this country is a tectonic shift from Capitalism to Collectiveism… And removing the President is their way of achieving this goal…

And that’s all I say about that today… Get me on the Butler Patio, which would be quite difficult given the cold days now, and I’ll go into this with proof that this is happening right before out eyes… But not here, for this is not the place for that discussion… All I’ll say here is…. Got Gold?

And don’t look to hear these things from any Fed Heads… One of which, Randall Quarles, appeared before Congress yesterday, and… now keep in mind while you’re reading this, that for two months now the Fed NY had been providing Billions of dollars to Banks in the repo market… OK, got that?

Here’s what Fed Head Quarles had to say yesterday, ““The Board’s latest Supervision and Regulation Report, which we published last week, confirms the current health of the banking system. It depicts a stable, healthy, and resilient banking sector, with robust capital and liquidity positions… It describes steady improvements in safety and soundness, with a gradual decline in outstanding supervisory actions at both the largest and smallest organizations.”

Wait! What? How can banks need hundreds of Billions of dollars in loans each day, when they are “stable, healthy, safe, and sound? Why didn’t someone on Capitol Hill ask him this? Were they afraid of the answer they might get? But you know what else I think is even more important here? Who’s doing the examining and auditing of these banks? For they sure aren’t doing a very good job now are they? No! I’ve chronicled the 3 felony charges that JPMorgan has accepted, and the racketeering charge that is yet to be tried. We had Goldman Sachs get caught with their hands in the cookie jar in Malaysia… And just last week during Thanksgiving dinner, Morgan Stanley announced a huge loss in currency trading… Who’s in charge of keeping these banks in line?

When I was at much smaller banks than these behemoths, we were dragged over hot coals by the examiners and auditors, made to change the way we did business, and…. And this is the biggest sham I was ever around, they charged us over $1million dollars for a technicality in the way we did business! These regulators were all over us like a cheap suit, but they turn their eyes away from what the Big Banks are doing? I wonder why that is? No seriously, I don’t wonder, because I know!

So, here we are, as in olden days, happy golden days of yore… faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us, once more…. You have no idea what that last phrase is going to mean in a year or two from now… But you’ll find out…

I’m just being Mr. Bear today, ain’t I? But I’m not bearish on all things… Gold for instance will be a saving grace, in my opinion, which could be wrong, for holders of the shiny metal… I was with a few friends last night at our local watering hole, and my good friend, Kevin, aka webbie, was making fun of me for being a Gold Bug… Well, we’ll see who laughs last… I’m just saying…

I know that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the U.S. lately, but in reality, with the state of the currencies, bowing to the dollar bugs it’s going to take something here in the U.S. to change all that, so that’s why I’m watching the U.S. more these days…  Have no fears, I’ve got my eye on the goings on elsewhere, it’s just that they don’t carry the weight right now… 

For instance, I’m watching pound sterling ratchet higher every day for the last two weeks and I’m wondering what’s going on here… Just the other day the U.K. printed a virtual collapse of their Retail Sales, and the currency rallied?  And then I’m reminded of the “opposites” thing that’s going on these days…  UGH! 

And I’ve gone this far into the letter today, and not mentioned Gold! What’s up with that, Chuck?  You know me, when I get on a roll, I’m like the guy in the movie Animal House!   So, Gold lost $3 yesterday, and is down another buck or two in the early trading today…  I think gold is doing a very good job of holding on and not falling further and falling victim to the price manipulators’ boatloads of short Gold paper trades… 

The U.S. Data Cupboard didn’t have much for us yesterday, but what it did have was ugly… The ADP Employment Report for November, which I told you yesterday morning was forecast to show 125,000 jobs added in November, actually printed at just 67,000!!! That’s right, just 67,000 jobs added in November… Now, I don’t know what kind of shenanigans the BLS will play with their version and the one the markets follow, of the jobs report for November, but I’m sure they will NOT accept a 67,000 number to print… No way, No how… So, put that in your pipe and smoke it, BLS! We know what you’re up to, and we just don’t care any longer what BS you put out each month! 

Today’s Data Cupboard has Rocktober Factory Orders, which in September were a negative -0.6%…  the forecasters think there will be some healing here and gain 0.2% for Rocktober…  Again, I’m from Missouri, and I’m going to have to be shown that, because I don’t believe it all!  We’ll also see the Trade Deficit for Rocktober…  In September’s report, we saw a narrowing of the Trade Deficit from $52 Billion to $48 Billion, which was probably a direct sign of the Trade War…  It’ll be interesting to see what kind of movement this data has on it today…  Another large narrowing, and I’m sure the President’s will to turn on more tariffs on 12/15, will be even stronger… 

Before we head to the Big Finish today… I received an email from good friend, the retirementor, Dennis Miller yesterday, who by the way, is progressing nicely from his 9 month ordeal with cancer. Dennis said to me, “You sounded pretty upbeat today” (talking about yesterday’s Pfennig) And I replied to him: “Yes, I’ve been off chemo for two weeks… they sent me home two weeks ago, and told me allow my stomach to heal, before beginning to take it again… I was so happy to be off it during Thanksgiving and now, well it’s been two weeks, and I need to go back on… But I think I’ll wait until Monday next week, I like this feeling of a clear head, no running to the bathroom every half hour, and not needing to nap each day… but as they say… All good things must come to an end… and so it will end on Monday next week! 

To Recap…  Not much went on with the currencies yesterday, they did drift higher VS the dollar, but the move saw slight…  Chuck thinks that the dollar Traders think they should be selling their dollars, but just can’t part with their green/peachbacks….  Chuck wants to know who’s in charge of watching the Big Banks, because whomever it is, if there is anyone at all, they’re doing an awful job!  And Chuck picks apart Fed Head Randal Quarles speech yesterday, you won’t want to miss this… 

For What It’s Worth…  The Threat of the U.S. having to go to negative deposit rates is hanging over us like the Sword of Damocles…  I said in an interview recently that I believed that deposit rates would, in the next recession, go negative, but didn’t think Treasury yields would go negative, unless the recession is very deep….   And I’ve sounded like a broken record with the thought that negative rates don’t help an economy…  So, I’m on board with the discussion that will take place in this article on negative rates that can be found here: https://wolfstreet.com/2019/11/20/fear-of-reversal-rates-sets-in-says-the-fed/ 

Or, here’s your snippet: “There is now a new theory cropping up in Fed-speak and more generally in central-bank speak. It’s not actually a new theory. I have been saying the same thing for years. In fact, it’s not even a theory, but reality. But it’s newly cropping up in reports from the Fed and the ECB. It’s the concept of what is now called “reversal rates.”

It’s an official admission that “reversal rates” exist. The term crops up alongside the fear that countries with negative interest rates are at, or are already beyond, those “reversal rates.”

The idea of interest rate repression is to induce businesses to borrow and invest, and to induce consumers to borrow and spend, and the hope is that all this will crank up the overall economy as measured by GDP.
“Reversal rates” is the term for a situation where interest rates are so low that they’re doing more harm than good to the overall economy, and that lowering rates further will screw up the economy rather than boost it.

Central bank monetary policy, such as cutting interest rates and doing QE, takes wealth and income from one group of people and delivers it to another group of people. This is how monetary policy works. It’s not a secret. In central-bank speak, it’s called the “distributive effects of monetary policy.” The idea is that for the overall economy, this income and wealth transfer from these people over here to those people over there translates into more overall economic activity that adds to GDP.

The problem for central banks arises when too many people and businesses get screwed by these policies and when they alter decision-making in absurd ways – which is what low and negative interest rates do – to where the overall economy actually takes a hit when rates drop further.”

Chuck Again… the article talks about how the Fed fears that a reversal rates scenario could come into play if they continue to cut rates…  And that’s a bunch of hogwash! the fed doesn’t fear going negative with deposit rates, it’s what they’re destined to do, they know it… Shoot Rudy, back when Janet Yellen was the Fed Chair, she brought up negative rates when no one had asked her about them, and told Congress that she checked and that negative deposit rates are legal…  As I said then… Just greasing the tracks…  

Currencies today 12/5/19 American Style: A$ .6827, kiwi .6425, C$ .7589, euro 1.1098, sterling 1.3135, Swiss $1.0121, European Style: rand 14.6486, krone 9.1505, SEK 9.4996, forint 298.03, zloty 3.8523,   koruna 22.9993, RUB 63.98, yen 108.87, sing 1.3613, HKD 7.8284, INR 71.07, China 7.0554, peso 19.38, BRL 4.1996, Dollar Index 97.47, Oil $58.58, 10-year 1.78%, Silver $16.90, Platinum $896.05, Palladium $1,868.50, and Gold… $1,476.29

That’s it for today and tomorrow…  I’ll go back to the wound treatment center tomorrow morning, to see what’s gone on with my leg wound in the past 10 days…  They wrap it up in what’s called a Una-boot each week, so when they cut it off the next week, is the only time I see what’s going on… The pain has been bearable this week, so maybe… fingers crossed… more healing has taken place.   Alrighty then! I got to get together with a former Mark Twain Bank colleague last night… It was great to see Ellie once again! She never ages!  I was telling her about my darling daughter Dawn, and how she never seems to age, and all the while I’m thinking the same thing about Ellie! The Youngbloods, led by Jessie Colin Young, take us to the finish line today with their iconic rock classic song: Let’s Get Together…  We used to play that song, and did a good job with it, if I recall correctly! I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday, and a Fantastico Friday tomorrow… I Hope you will Be Good To Yourself! 

Chuck Butler

 

Have You Ever Heard Of A Debt Bomb?

December 4, 2019

* Currencies drift with no data on Tuesday…

* Talking with Elvira, makes Chuck smile… 

Good day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! I was reminded yesterday by our local newspaper that it was the day to look back to December 3, 1990, when a man named Iben Browning predicted that we would experience an earthquake that would devastate the St. Louis region, with seismic shifts that would equal 1811-12… We were prepared, with lots of canned goods, bottles of water, large bottles not the kind they sell today for $4 a piece! We had backup plans and the whole shootin’ match, and the earthquake never came… I don’t believe anyone has heard from Iben Browning since… but it was a good thing, in reality, for companies and individuals all had to come up with backup plans… Disaster Recover Plans… I was responsible for coming up with the one we would use at our location… An interesting time no less, for sure! Chicago greets me this morning with their song: In The Country… the 4th song on the 1st side of the Chicago ii double album, which featured the Ballad for a girl in Buchannon… I still recall the day I first put this album on my old record player, and music, and sound coming from it blew me away! That was 1972… the album cost me around $12… Today, if you wanted to buy it you would fork out more than $44 for it!

OK… A long intro with little news in it… but I always have a story to tell about something, and once it gets in my head, it filters down to my fat fingers, and voila! Here we are!

The currencies didn’t give back their Monday gains on Tuesday, as there was little disappointing data in the U.S. to print… Vehicle Sales were supposed to print, but I never saw them! With nothing to move traders to sell more dollars, the currencies drifted, higher albeit, on the day… Gold, got a real nice booster shot in the arm and rallied as much as $17 on the day, but settled in for a $15 gain and close at $1,477 on the day… No need for safe havens,  behind the refrigerator was a piece of glass, I sat upon and broke my little, ask me no more questions, I’ll tell you no lies…. HA!

Neener, neener, neener… I told you traders that you would rue the day that you sold your safe havens! Shoot Rudy, even the one safe haven that I don’t believe should be called on, Japanese yen, has recovered its losses it took when traders thought safe havens weren’t needed!

OK, along with all the disappointing data prints we’ve seen the last couple of months, now comes word that the potato crop was really bad this year, due to cold, wet weather all spring and summer… That means we’re going to experience a French fry shortage… And you  will recall what I’ve told you for years that my dad taught me… There’s no such thing as a shortage, only something that’s in need of a price adjustment… So, with that in mind, what we’ll experience is more expensive French fries! Oh, the Humanity!

I read a report yesterday in the Russian Times (RT.com) that talked about how the cold war between Russia and Europe was ending, with Europe being quite impressed with the way Russia handled the economic sanctions that both the U.S. and Europe had place on Russia. And while the economy is still not up to snuff in Russia, it is positive, inflation is down, and they keep accumulating physical Gold… Imagine there’s no country… It isn’t hard to do… and so on… If the article is on to something it could mean the end of the European sanctions for Russia… Now…. If only that pesky price of Oil would move higher, so that the Russian ruble can spread its wings…

We’re getting back to the price level in Oil that pushes all the Shale producers out of the drilling market for awhile… We’ve seen this game with the price of Oil going on for years now… the price rises, the Shale producers hit it hot and heavy, flood the market with supplies, and that causes the price to fall, and the Shale producers get back out… What goes up, must come down… Spinning Wheel, to go around… Ahhh, a little BS&T for me this morning!

Speaking of going up but not coming down… The stock jockeys must be dancing in the street, these days, every day is a new record high…. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but does this scenario remind you of another period of time when stocks didn’t seem like they would ever lose again? We had just turned over to a new century… hint, hint… The dot.com collapse, which made sense because the majority of those dot.com companies had never earned a dime during their existence, but had unbelievable prices attached to them… Well, at least for a short-while they did… And then one day they didn’t, and they didn’t, and they didn’t, until very few of them were left standing…

The companies today at least have some earnings..c. But their price to earnings ratios are very skewered and out of control, so while it’s not really “the same scenario”, the current one in in the ballpark of the dot.com rise to fame and then the fall… I’m just saying…

OK… many of you have commented to me in the past about my insistence on talking about Russia and the ruble… And yesterday, I had the pleasure of reading a short interview with the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) Gov. Elvira Nabiullina… I’ve long said that she was a Central Banker that did what Central Bankers used to do… Be prudent, control inflation, and promote economic growth, but knowing all too well that their policies don’t guarantee economic growth… I liked the article so much that I have it featured in the For What It’s Section today… But there was one comment in the article that she (Nabiullina) was quoted saying that sounded like it came out of my mouth! Check this out and tell me if you haven’t heard me explain inflation like this many times in the past… Here’s the CBR Gov. Elvira Nabiullina:

When asked about inflation, she replied, “ Indeed, everyone has their own kind of inflation. Different families consume different sets of products. There are the kinds of products and services by which people primarily judge the increase in prices in stores. We pay special attention to such kinds of products and goods: gasoline, housing and public utility services, foodstuff, and everyday products. People react very quickly to these products.”

And people wonder why I call her the best Central Bank Gov. around….

I know I’m getting quite wordy these days… I’m using up all my thoughts and research now, since my annual winter vacation is just around the corner! So, with that in mind, here’s another scary thing that’s going on here in the U.S. Everyone knows that the low interest rate environment has brought on Borrowing from individuals, to Corporations, to Gov’ts… Well, the Corporations have gone quite overboard with their borrowing, and in an article that longtime reader Bob, sent me, the amount of Corporate debt is detailed… The article can be found at www.themostimportantnews.com

Corporate debt in the U.S. is almost $10 Billion, which is 47% of our GDP! And here’s the really scary part of this… Defaults on the riskiest class of Corporate Debt are on pace to hit their highest level since 2008… And we all remember what happened in 2008, when Lehman Brothers couldn’t meet their debt liabilities, now don’t we? Longtime analyst, Michael Snyder, calls this a “debt bomb”… And I wouldn’t argue with him one bit… 

The U.S. Data Cupboard opens up for business again today, with the ADP Employment report, which at this time is forecasting a total of 125,000 jobs created in November… I keep saying this and sooner or later it will stick, and actually be true, but the ADP report is supposed to be a harbinger for the BLS Jobs Jamboree which will print Friday this week… And the ADP print probably would be each month, IF the BLS didn’t go adding jobs from thin air to the surveys they receive… And that’s all I’ll say about all of this, because, as I’ve said before, I really don’t care how many jobs are created.

You see, the jobs that have been created since 2008, have been mostly min. wage, or low wage jobs, that can’t support the economic growth that an Unemployment Rate like we supposedly have, would bring… And the low wages don’t bring on wage inflation, which is what the Fed Heads are waiting for… 

We’ll also see the services indexes from Markit and the ISM for last month… These data prints don’t really move markets… unless they go rouge either way…

I haven’t been very prudent about reviewing the Pfennig Replies email box, lately… Sorry about that! If you sent me a question, I’ll attempt to get to it soon…  I know that we’re only promised today… But I’m betting a dollar to a Krispy Kreme, that we’ll all be here tomorrow….  I’m just saying… 

And speaking of weak data, wait! what? I wasn’t speaking of weak data, but I should be, each and every day!  But what I’m getting at is that last week the 10-year Treasury’s yield had bumped higher to 1.83%, but after the weak ISM earlier this week, the bond boys have the 10-year’s yield back down to 1.74%…   Just to repeat what I had said previously to today, The 10-year’s yield is destined to revisit it’s low from a few years ago at 1.38%… 

To recap… The currencies held their gains yesterday, and drifted a little higher as the day went along. Gold had a good day, closing up $15 on the day, and is flat in the early trading today.  Ever hear about a “debt bomb”? Well, Chuck talks about one today!  Along with a glowing review of the CBR’s Gov. Elvira Nabiullina…  The ADP Employment Report prints today, but other than that there isn’t much in the Data Cupboard today… 

For What It’s Worth…. OK, as aforementioned, this is an article that is about an interview with Elvira Nabiullina the Central Bank of Russia’s Gov. And if you don’t come away with a stronger opinion, liking her, well… I don’t know what else I can do to cure your “Russia phobia”… Ok, the article can be found here: https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=3216440&cid=4441

Or, here’s your snippet: “Could Russia face a crisis in the near future?
Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Central Bank of Russia: Well, Russia could be affected, but we have laid the foundations for stability. We worked a lot to make the internal development of Russia less dependent on any external shocks and fluctuations. External shocks are primarily sanctions.

– Russia has been living under them for five years. The United States is threatening to impose new restrictions, first of all, against banks. Is our financial system ready for this?

– We got used to living under sanctions as well as in the context of constant discussions about new sanctions. That’s why we’re getting ready for this. We always calculate risk scenarios in order to best withstand the possible pressure of sanctions. We look at different aspects of financial stability to be ready for anything at any time.

– Despite sanctions, the ruble has even grown against both the dollar and the euro this year.

We did a lot to ensure long-term confidence in low inflation among people. We wanted to convince them that this is not a short-term period, that we’ll always have inflation under control.

Stability in the banking system is also under control. The amount people have in savings is growing along with the number of mortgages granted while home loan rates are going down. Today, they’re just above 9%.”

Chuck again… Com’n admit it, you’re wondering why the Fed, the ECB, the BOE, the BOJ, and any other Central Bank can’t find someone like her!

Currencies today 12/4/19 American Style: A$.6838, kiwi .6426, C$ .7533, euro 1.1080, sterling 1.3098, Swiss $1.0114, European Style: rand 14.5617, krone 9.1815, SEK 9.5183, forint 298.53, zloty 3.8598,  koruna 23.0320, RUB 64.12, yen 108.68, sing 1.3632, HKD 7.8287, INR 71.40, China 7.0511, peso 19.52, BRL 4.2112, Dollar Index 97.67, Oil $57.13,  10-year 1.74%, Silver $17.15, Platinum $915.44, Palladium $1,857.93, and Gold… $1,477.58

That’s it for today… Man, it’s been quite some time since I was woken up by my alarm… I set it each night, but usually, I wake up before it goes off, but not today, and by the time I actually woke up to it, the alarm had been gong off for 14 minutes!  (sorry Kathy!) Well, with November behind us, the sun had decided to return, and it has been quite a nice couple of days here… I passed a Salvation Army Kettle person, ringing her bell, yesterday, and said to her, “At least it’s not bitter cold today” She smiled…   For over 25 years our subdivision has held a Progressive Dinner Party, where we all visit different houses for a course and then finish at the last house for cocktails and dessert. We’ve always been the “last house” and will be that again this Saturday…  And with that, Matthew Sweet takes us to the finish line today with his song: Girlfriend…  Chuck, Kathy, Chris and Tina Gaffney, along with friend Michelle Camp, saw Matthew Sweet in concert many years ago…  I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday, and please Be Good To Yourself!

Chuck Butler 

 

 

U.S. Data Continues To Disappoint…

December 3, 2019

* Currencies & metals rally on Monday

* Waiting for a short squeeze in Gold? 

Good Day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Well, have you recovered from your Thanksgiving weekend, of… maybe travel, eating, celebrating, etc.? I had forgotten last night, that the Blues were playing the Blackhawks… But remembered just in time to turn the game on, only to see the first goal of the game… I can’t remember a Blues/ Blackhawks hockey game with very little rough stuff going on… Blues won 4-0… More decorating went on yesterday… The house is ready for Christmas! I love Christmas lights… Trees… ornaments, gifts under the tree… And I love the way the world seems to be under the trance of magic… At least for a few days that is… The Gin Blossoms greet me this morning with their song: Until I Fall Away…

I don’t want to spoil your appetite for more Pfennig today, so I’ll just touch on the note that the U.S. Data continues to be sketchy at best, and probably was the reason the dollar lost ground yesterday to the currencies and Gold. The euro was able to gain ½-cent on the day, which doesn’t sound like much, but in the whole scheme of things, and in the words of my longtime friend, and former Big Boss, Frank Trotter, it was “better than a sharp stick in the eye”…

On a sidebar, as many of you know I lost my left eye to cancer back in 2010… But before it went completely dead, I used to get shots in my eye of chemo… I can tell you that while it’s not as bad as it sounds, it’s still not the most pleasant thing in life! So, one day, after getting a shot in my eye, I mentioned something to Frank, and he came back with his “better than a sharp stick in the eye” comment, and I said, “you mean better than a sharp needle in my eye”! I don’t think he ever used that saying around me again after that! HA!

So, the currencies rallied about as much as they were going to be allowed to rally on the day, and the same thing went on with Gold who erased most of the $6 loss in early trading to close at $5 to $1,461 on the day… In the never changing back and forth trading of the shiny metal, Gold is up $7 this morning…. 

I read a lot about Gold yesterday, and from what I read, I garnered that some big time analysts, are calling for Gold to take off to the upside soon… It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks now…. Remember when I would say that there was a “short squeeze” in an asset that caused it to rally? Well, I got to thinking about all the short positions that are out there in Gold and Silver… For instance it would take 100 days of current production to cover the short positions on the books in Gold… And for Silver it would take 210 days of current production to cover the short positions on the books…

And those two numbers are what I’m thinking about seeing a short squeeze… And that could beget more buying back of short positions, taken along with the actual physical Gold & Silver and we could be in store for a major upward move… IF a short squeeze happens to take place, which would come about if the physical buying of the two metals really makes a difference in the next positions each day… So, if we begin to see Gold & Silver begin to take off to the upside, we might very well, be in the first inning of a short squeeze…. I’m just saying…

There are times in one’s life when they are witness to something amazing… My first dance with seeing something amazing was the birth of my 3rd Child, Alex, who was born 14 years after our last child. My second dance with amazement has been seeing myself in the mirror each morning, when all the data says I should be 6 feet under by now… And now I’m hoping to see another amazing thing, and that is the collapse of the COMEX when all the short positions get jammed up…

OK, enough on short squeezes, COMEX problems, and the rest of that stuff for today… I think I sufficiently beat the dead horse on that one… (no animals were hurt here!)

Remember when all the talk was there was no need for safe havens because the Trade War was coming to an end? Well, they may want to rethink that strategy, as China balked yesterday at a Blacklist and the presence of it could threaten the Trade Talks… And now President Trump said there was no deadline for the Trade Talks, and he would prefer to wait until after the election… Recall that the next round of tariffs on China kick in on December 15th…  What will the markets think about that? 

Another thing for the markets to think about is the Fed making an announcement yesterday that they are going to, by policy shift, allow inflation to grow greater than 2%…   Mark my words on this folks… Once inflation gets going it will fly past whatever level the Fed is thinking they can stop it, and won’t be able to…  

The Eurozone Administrators sure are doing some back slapping, as a recent report showed that while the Eurozone economy is weak, that stimulants are working… And one of the things they point to was the fact that last week it was reported that Eurozone unemployment had dropped to an 11-year low! Eurozone unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 7.6%, to represent the lowest figure since July 2008…

If I were a Eurozone Administrator, I would be backing away from any backslapping… There’s no proof that negative rates stimulate an economy… Again, if I’ve said this once I’ve said it 100 times, that if negative rates were “all that and more” then Japan would have the best performing economy on the face of the earth! And they certainly don’t have that, and haven’t had it for 2 decades, and won’t have it any time in the near future!

And I told you yesterday that the Chinese PMI (manufacturing index) had surprised the markets with an upward tick and that had the Global Growth campers in a happy state of mind. So much so that the Aussie dollar (A$) rallied and took its kissin’ cousin across the Tasman, kiwi, along for a nice upward ride… 

Australia hasn’t been receiving a lot of love from analysts lately, so it was good to see the A$ spread its wings again…  The problem with these kinds of moves is that, they, for the most part, don’t carry through… So, we’ll ahve to see with this one, eh? 

Now for the aforementioned Data report….Well, the Data Cupboard wasn’t so kind to the dollar yesterday, as the prints were quite ugly to say the least… Let’s start with the ISM Manufacturing Index… I told you yesterday that I didn’t agree with the forecasters call for the index number to improve… And I was correct to say that! Here’s the skinny on the data… The ISM for Rocktober was 48.3… The forecasters said it would improve to 49.2, but instead it slipped further to 48.1… That makes 3 consecutive months below the line in the sand number 50… In addition to the ISM, we also saw the color of Rocktober’s Construction Spending, and it was not colored so brightly, as it printed negative -0.8%…

The economic data hasn’t completely gone into “recession awareness mode” but it’s getting there, folks… I know, I know I said we would be in a recession by year-end, and while we still have 4 weeks, I don’t see how that will happen, not with the Fed not only cutting rates, but printing money like it’s going out of style with the repo operations in NY…. Oh, well, they say, that good things come to those who wait… Not that a recession would be a good thing, but… it’s what we need to clean out the excesses and start over… Let the bad companies and banks fail… Those that survive will scoop of the failed business and be stronger!

To recap… The Trade Talks take on water… The U.S. Data is weak… and a combination of those things sent the dollar to the woodshed yesterday, and through the overnight markets. The currencies all look a little healthier this morning, and Gold is up $7…  China’s uptick in their CAIXIN PMI was responsible for a mini rally in both the A$ and kiwi, as the Global Growth campers had a day in the sun. I have no idea what the Fed is up to now… they have me scratching my balding head! 

For What It’s Worth…. Oh brother… Two weeks ago it was JPMorgan in the sites of Russ and Pam Martens of Wallstreetonparade.com, and now it’s Morgan Stanley… And from what I read, They’re being very courteous to the folks at Morgan Stanley… Bloomberg announced a HUGE trading loss in currencies on Thanksgiving, when no one was paying attention… The skinny on that, and other problems at Morgan Stanley can be found here: https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/12/the-new-york-fed-has-some-explaining-to-do-over-morgan-stanleys-unreported-trading-losses/

Or, here’s your snippet: “Today, the New York Fed will only say that it’s making these new loans, which tally up to hundreds of billions of dollars each week, to some of its 24 “primary dealers.” For the most part, those “primary dealers” are the high-risk trading units of big commercial banks in the U.S. and abroad. 

One of the primary dealers that is eligible to be taking these multi-billion dollar loans from the New York Fed is Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC. Morgan Stanley describes that unit as follows: “Its businesses include securities underwriting and distribution; financial advisory services, including advice on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, real estate and project finance; sales, trading, financing and market-making activities in equity and fixed income securities and related products, and other instruments including foreign exchange and commodities futures; and prime brokerage services.

At 11:36 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, when households across America were either watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV or hustling in the kitchen, Bloomberg News dropped the bombshell report that foreign currency traders at Morgan Stanley had hidden a trading loss of upwards of $140 million. Two of the traders involved in the losses were based in London, according to the Bloomberg report.

There are a number of curious and noteworthy aspects to this report. First, only Bloomberg News was privy to this information. Morgan Stanley had not informed its shareholders via any public statement nor had it informed the Securities and Exchange Commission via a public filing. Thus it is also highly likely that it had not informed the New York Fed, another of its regulators, despite the fact that its CEO, James Gorman, sits on the Board of the New York Fed. The Bloomberg article suggests that the firm itself is just now investigating what actually happened, meaning that an outside news agency attempting to place a realistic figure on the amount of the losses is suspect at best.

In 2012, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, called news reports of its derivative trading losses in London “a tempest in a teapot.” Those hidden trading losses turned out to be over $6.2 billion.

Morgan Stanley, however, can top JPMorgan’s historic trading loss. During the financial crisis, one of Morgan Stanley’s traders, Howie Hubler, lost $9 billion betting on subprime debt. But Morgan Stanley survived the financial crisis because the New York Fed secretly pumped more than $2 trillion into Morgan Stanley from 2007 to the middle of 2010 according to a Fed audit performed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and released to the public in July 2011. The audit occurred as the result of an amendment attached to the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 by Senator Bernie Sanders and others.”

Chuck again… These major banks are taking on water folks… and as Russ and Pam Martens said in their ending of the article: “If you’re thinking this is the banking structure from hell, you would be spot on.”

Currencies today 12/3/19 American Style: A$.6845, kiwi .6520, C$ .7515, euro 1.1075, sterling 1.2989, Swiss $1.0111, European Style: rand 14.6267, krone 9.1696, SEK 9.5295, forint 299.17, zloty 3.8648,   koruna 23.0490, RUB 65.25, yen 108.85, sing 1.3648, HKD 7.8283, INR 71.55, China 7.0360, peso 19.57, BRL 4.2279, Dollar Index 97.81, Oil $56.02, 10-year 1.79%, Silver $17.00, Platinum $901.08, Palladium $1,852.68, and Gold… $1,469.56

That’s it for today… That’s really something isn’t it, that on one day the markets are thinking there’s no need for safe havens, and the next day the thought is reversed?  Crazy, fickle traders!  Our Blues sure seem to be a streaky team, in the early season so far… multi-winning streaks are followed my multi-game losing streaks. So far however the winning streaks like the one they are on now that totals 4 games, have occured more! I saw that the folks at Roger Dean Stadium charged me for my Spring Training tickets already…  But in reality Spring Training is only 2 months away…. Yay!  The report from the wound treatment center last week was that there was 30% healing in the leg wound… It’s a start! The original Doobie Brothers take us to the finish line today with their song: China Grove…  I watched a documentary about the Doobie Brothers yesterday, learned some new stuff, rehashed the rest…  I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, and please Be Good To Yourself! 

Chuck Butler

 

 

Someone Is Betting On $4,000 Gold….

December 2, 2019

* Currencies succumb to the dollar’s strength

* We may, after all, find out who needs repo money…. 

Good Day… And a Marvelous Monday to you!  And Welcome to December! I hope you all had a very Blessed Thanksgiving, with family, friends, whomever, and that you took the time to hug someone and tell them you love them and that you’re thankful they’re in your life… I got to hold my darling granddaughter, Evie, once again on Thursday… I sang to her, she was happy, and not fidgety for me… By the time everyone ate, there was very little but scraps and legs of the two turkeys we cooked, left… And Alex wasn’t even here! I guess next year, I’ll need to cook a third one on the Big Green Egg! My Mizzou Tigers won their last game of the year on Friday, beating rival Arkansas… And then they fired the head coach the next day… So, now we’re looking for a head coach once again… UGH! Procol Harum greets me this morning with their iconic rock classic song: A Whiter Shade of Pale…

Man, did I listen to a lot of Pandora’s Smooth Jazz Christmas station this past weekend! The house is beginning to get dressed up… It’s my fave time of year, too bad it’s cold outside! Oh well, it is what it is…

The currencies lost a little ground as they went into the weekend. There wasn’t much going on with the U.S. on holiday on Thursday, but in reality, from about noon on Wednesday thru to Saturday, there was a holiday especially by traders, and market participants… So, the euro, for instance was 1.1050 on Wednesday morning, and ended the week 1.2025… No biggie, just a small downward movement, as witnessed by the Dollar Index which on Wednesday was 98.34 and on Friday to close the week it was 98.37…

Gold got an opportunity to trade without the price manipulators breathing down Gold’s rise… And so the shiny metal, even with little volume, found a way to end the week up about $10 from where I last talked to you last Tuesday… I would have like to have seen Gold’s move be greater in numbers without the price manipulators, but I’ll take $10 and be a happy camper! But guess who’s back at their desks today?  And from the looks of it, they are already catching up, as Gold is down $6.40 in the early trading this morning… 

Speaking of Gold… Jared Dillian of the 10th Man newsletter recently ran a survey, and among the questions he asked, was this one: What do you think the best medium term investment is with a time horizon of 4 years? Of individual stocks, mutual funds/ index funds, real estate, bonds, savings/cd’s, and Gold, guess which one was the leader? That’s right Gold! Gold beat individual stocks! Now that was a survey of 10,000 responses… I guess he asked the right people, because, from my view in the cheap seats, I would think the average joe six pack would say individual stocks, and not Gold…

And here’s another ditty about Gold… I got this from the good folks at GATA… “The gold options market today saw $1.75 million in block trades betting the precious metal could almost triple in more than a year, surpassing the record.

Around noon in New York, 5,000 lots for a gold option giving the holder the right to buy the precious metal at $4,000 an ounce in June 2021 changed hands. The bets were sold at $3.50 an ounce.”

Chuck again…. Seems to me, that whomever it was that bought the $4,000 / oz. Gold options knows something that we don’t… And may I throw an idea out there? Of course I can, it’s my letter! HA! Here’s my thought… if this person (s) want to buy Gold @$4,000 then they must believe that Gold will be much higher than that price… Therefore they must know something we don’t… And I’ll only throw this out there for everyone to take shots at, but my spider sense was tingling when I read that… So, it’s either a hoax, and the trades will be pulled back…. Or, the great price reset for Gold is coming… Got Gold?

Palladium continues to move higher and higher with each trading day, and late last week it traded over $1,800!  They say that there’s a shortage in Palladium and that’s the reason for the moonshot price…  Well, as I’ve said before, if that’s good for Palladium it should be the same for Silver! 

OK… There was a horrible attack on citizens in the U.K. this past week, and the focus was taken away from the BREXIT negotiations, although I did read that the two opposing sides were blaming each other for the attacks… Dolts, all of them! Here’s my memo to them… Just focus on getting the BREXIT agreement put to bed, so life can go on in the U.K. and they can get back to spending money they don’t have…

I say that last part with a bit of cynicism because everyone is spending money they don’t have… Debt is growing by leaps and bounds everywhere… And especially here where we live… I read this weekend that it was a record spending weekend for Christmas shoppers. The caveat was that the stores weren’t crowded, that most of the sales were done online… Oh, and the last report on Consumer Income and Spending showed the income was flat, while spending was up 0.3%, which means we’re spending more than we have…

On a sidebar, do you ever wonder if there will come a time, when you won’t be able to find a bricks and mortar store around, and that the only business will be done online? First it was the Catalog business going to the curb, next it will be the bricks and mortar businesses going to the curb… I’m just saying… it sure seems like where this is heading…

Speaking of spending what we don’t have… I read a report on Bloomberg.com this weekend that talked about the ways to get out from all this debt… It’s common knowledge that economic growth would certainly help, but since that’s not coming, and hasn’t been around for nearly a decade, that is unless you count 2.1% per annum growth… There was not one mention of austerity measures… Wait! What? Are you kidding me, they got all these economists in a room and the two things they talked about was 1. The need for economic growth, and 2. That the only thing to do now is to spend more… They pointed out that the rate structure being what it is, does help the debt burden, but come on…. So, they had all these economists together, and best they could do was to tell us not to worry about the debt hole we’ve dug for ourselves, and to keep digging?

OK… enough of that! Gov’ts are going to keep spending because that’s all they know to do! And the U.S. is no different, even though we should be better than all other gov’ts… And there’s nothing I can do about all this debt spending…

Remember a week or so ago when I told you that the GATA folks had been told by the Fed NY that it would be two years before they would reveal the banks that needed assistance? Well, there’s been some developments there in the meantime. The GATA request asked for “all loans” for this year, and the Fed ducked under the Dodd Frank rule of not having to reveal receivers of funds at the Discount Window… So, if GATA or anyone else is looking for the banks that need repo money, then they’ll have to request that specifically… I’m sure the will, so there’s more to this story that will come to us as the days go by…

As I look across the globe for things that might markets, I find the news that the dollar is at a 6-month high VS Japanese yen…  Which makes sense given the selling of Gold. I talked last week about how it seemed there was this feeling in the markets that a save haven was no longer needed… And while I would argue with whomever, until the cows came home that yen was not a Safe Haven, it sure gets treated like one these days, so if Gold is no longer needed, neither is yen… 

That’s all hogwash to me folks… No need for a safe haven!  It’s as if the markets have lost their marbles…  They’re acting like Tootles in Peter Pan!

OK, in the U.K. they will have an election on Dec. 12th, and right now there are fears that the result will be a hung parliament… So, the U.K. has that going for them!  

In China over the weekend, the private print of the CAIXIN Manufacturing Index showed there was still life in the Chinese economy, as the index number rose from 50.2 in the previous month to 51.8, thus giving the global growth currencies a little room to bask in the sun, at least until the sun goes down! 

The price of Oil dropped in the past 5 days by over $2…  I guess the Thanksgiving driving wasn’t what it once was?   I hear that our friends at OPEC (NOT!) are talking about more production cuts… I also read that OPEC is making a bet that the U.S.’s golden shale age is coming to an end…  I would be the one driving the car on that bet if I were a Chinese OPEC member, as I’ve talked a lot about how the Shale business is waning… 

So, the price of Oil being what it is right now, is of no help to the Petrol Currencies, and the likes of Russian rubles, Norwegian krone, Brazilian real, and Canadian loonies, can’t seem to find a bid right now… UGH! 

The U.S. Data Cupboard has a boat load of data prints for us this week, starting today and ending Friday with the November Jobs Jamboree. The real economic data prints this week will include: Factory Orders scheduled for later in the week, and the ISM Manufacturing Index that will print today. Recall that the ISM slipped below 50 a couple of months ago, and didn’t recover, but instead, it slipped lower in the following month…  So, for Rocktober it was 48.3….  The forecasters say that we’ll see some healing in this index number for November…  I say, I’m from Missouri, you’ll have to show me!

To recap…  The U.S. was basically on holiday for 3 days last week, and so the trade volume was thin, and the currencies didn’t move much, while Gold gained $10 during the holidays… Gold is down more than $6 in early trading today, and the dollar looks like its ready to kick some butt and take names later…  Debt is everywhere, but more importantly it’s here, in the U.S. and there’s nothing anyone can figure out what to do with, so economists think that we should strap on the feed bags and create dollars until the sun don’t shine any more…

 

For What It’s Worth…. Geez, you know, there are sometimes I wish I could just be like most people and believe everything the media, Gov’t, Fed, and Treasury tell us… It sure would make things easier for me, I could print the Polly Anna, lollipops and rainbows that I have to sift through every day … But then I thank God that I’m not like most people! For who would have the gumption to report the things I talk about to you? It sure wouldn’t be Paul Krugman, or any other gov’t economist! Well, with all that in mind here’s today’s FWIW article. This article come to me from longtime reader Bob, and it’s about subprime loans defaulting again, and it can be found here: https://wolfstreet.com/2019/11/28/whats-behind-the-subprime-consumer-loan-implosion/

Or, here’s your snippet: “OK, we’ve got a situation in subprime consumer loans. The delinquency rate on credit-card loan balances at the nearly 5,000 smaller commercial banks in the United States – this means all banks except the largest 100 – is blowing out, according to Federal Reserve data. In the third quarter, the delinquency rate at these banks rose to 6.25%. That’s higher even than during the peak of the Financial Crisis.
Back in 2016, the credit-card delinquency rate at these banks was in the 3% range. It has more than doubled in two years.

Credit card balances are considered delinquent when they’re 30 days or more past due. This delinquency rate means that out of the banks total credit card balances, 6.25% are 30 days or more past due. This is a disturbingly large rate.

But delinquencies are a flow. Balances are removed from the delinquency basket either when the customer cures the delinquency, such as catching up with past-due payments, or when the bank “charges off” the delinquent balance against its loan loss reserves. But as these delinquent balances were taken out of the delinquency basket, even more new delinquencies fell into the basket, and the delinquency rate rose.

Subprime auto loans have also been blowing out. In the third quarter, the serious delinquency rate of the $1.3 trillion in auto loans has risen to 4.71%, the highest since the worst months of the Financial Crisis, when the auto industry collapsed, and when the US was facing the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. In the third quarter, about 21% of all subprime auto loans were seriously delinquent – meaning 90 days past due.”

Chuck again… yes… Hello Houston, we’ve got a problem kept coming to my mind when I read this article… And then we can circle back to the top today when I talked about all the online purchases… those are made with credit cards, folks… And when the bills come in, guess what will happen then….

Currencies today 12/2/19 American Style: A$ .6785, kiwi .6473, C$ .7520, euro 1.1017, sterling 1.2933, Swiss $1.0023, European Style: rand 14.6590, krone 9.1938, SEK 9.5683, forint 302.08, zloty 3.9020,   koruna 23.1688, RUB 64.31, yen 109.55, sing 1.3685, HKD 7.8285, INR 71.54, China 7.0316, peso 19.54, BRL 4.2350, Dollar Index 98.32, Oil $56.36, 10-year 1.83%, Silver $16.88, Platinum $891.83, Palladium $1,857.55, and Gold… $1,457.59

That’s it for today…   Well… let’s see, there are a few birthdays this month in addition to Christmas, so it will be a month of parties, get togethers, and good cheer…  I think I remember that former colleagues, Jennifer, and Ty will celebrate birthdays this month. My wife’s birthday is the day after Christmas… (please don’t tell her I mentioned her!)   My sister, Terri, will celebrate a birthday, and there are probably more that I’ve forgotten about. UGH!  It was quite the cold weekend, with no sunshine… Typical for November… I’m sure glad that’s over with! We’re supposed to warm up a bit for a couple days this week with sunshine, that will sure be welcomed! Well, did you overeat on Thanksgiving? I didn’t…  I don’t know what was wrong with me that day, but I just wasn’t into eating!   I was more interested in the pies!  And with that…  The Beautiful Dusty Springfield takes us to the finish line today with her song: Wishin’ and Hopin’ ….  I hope you have a Marvelous Monday, and please Be Good To Yourself!

Chuck Butler