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Oil edges higher, gold fidgets

Oil prices spike higher When one looks back at oil’s price volatility over last week, what stands out is the short-term gnomes rush from one side of…

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This article was originally published by Market Pulse

Oil prices spike higher

When one looks back at oil’s price volatility over last week, what stands out is the short-term gnomes rush from one side of the range to the other on a daily basis. So, despite a lot of intra-day noise, prices really went nowhere last week. Friday was much the same, the rally almost exactly unwinding the falls of the day before as the theme of the day became Hurricane Ida disrupted US production, despite no one really caring the previous session. Nobody is better at fitting the most esoteric news stories to fit/justify the price action than oil markets.

Brent crude rose by 2.13% to USD 72.85 on Friday, with WTI climbing 2.40% to USD 69.60 a barrel, cancelling out Thursday’s price drops. Things have got a little more interesting in Asia with oil rising once again today, perhaps driven by the North Korean cruise missile test or news that Russia is struggling to raise production to meet its OPEC+ quotas. Either way, Brent crude is 0.40% higher at USD 73.15, and WTI is 0.55% higher at USD 69.95 a barrel. The latter may also be getting some post-Ida tailwinds.

Although it would not surprise me in the least if oil prices unwound their gains later today, with looking bid-at-the-top and offered-at-the-bottom oil’s Modus Operandi at the moment, today’s rally in Asia could potentially change the technical picture.

A rise by Brent crude through USD 73.70 a barrel could signal the rally has legs and target gains to the USD 76.00 a barrel area. Support is USD 72.70, followed by a big hole to USD 71.00 a barrel. Similarly, if WTI rises through resistance at USD 70.80, its rally could extend to USD 74.00 a barrel in the coming days. Support is at USD 69.60, followed by a very little until USD 67.60 a barrel.

Gold nervously steady

Gold continues to range between USD 1780.00 and USD 1800.00 an ounce, with a slight rise in the US dollar on Friday, pushing it 0.38% lower to USD 1787.50 an ounce. Another directionless session in Asia has seen it creep 0.23% higher to USD 1791.60 an ounce.

Gold’s price action continues to be seriously underwhelming, unable to rally when the US dollar falls and moving lower when it rises. Gold needs to recapture and hold above USD 1800.00 an ounce this week, preferable $1830.00, to soothe the nerves of nervous long-positions.

The balance of probabilities is increasing, though, that gold has more downside ahead. A daily close below USD 1780.00 opens further losses to USD 1750.00 an ounce. Failure of the latter could see gold fall as low as USD 1700.00 an ounce. Resistance in the USD 1800.00 to USD 1805.00 an ounce area continues to cap insipid attempts at recovery.

Economics

Where Do Monetarists Think the PCE Price Level Is Going To?

From an email from Tim Congdon, at the International Institute for Monetary Research (9/20): I suggest that a more plausible figure for end-year PCE annual…

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From an email from Tim Congdon, at the International Institute for Monetary Research (9/20):

I suggest that a more plausible figure for end-year PCE annual inflation is between 5½% and 6%. (The consumer price index – up by 4.5% in the first seven months of 2021 – may finish the year with a rise somewhere in the 6½% – 7½% area.)

The conclusion is based on the following reasoning:

In the background here is the huge overhang of excess money balances. In the year to mid-May 2021 the M3 measure of broad money increased by 35%. The evidence over many decades is that – in the medium term – the growth rates of money, broadly-defined, and nominal gross domestic product are similar. So – unless that 35% number is now followed by a big contraction in the quantity of money – the US economy will continue to be affected by two conditions, specifically,

• ‘too much money chasing too few assets’, and
• ‘too much money chasing too few goods and services’.

Of course the two conditions are interrelated and also interact with each other. Our research emphasized last year that rapid money growth was likely to boost asset prices first, and that has been right. (Incidentally, to attribute the behaviour of the prices of US tech stocks to bottlenecks and supply shortages would be daft. Does one have to say these things?)

What’s the implied path of the PCE deflator, relative to nowcasts and forecasts? See Figure 1, where I’ve used the mid-point of Congdon’s forecast (5.75% December y/y), shown as the red square.

Figure 1: Personal Consumption Expenditure deflator (black), Congdon midpoint forecast (red square), Cleveland Fed nowcast as of 9/23 (sky blue +), Survey of Professional Forecasters August median forecast (green line), FOMC 9/22 projections (blue square). Source: BEA, Cleveland Fed, Philadelphia Fed/SPF, Federal Reserve, and author’s calculations.

The FOMC median forecast is surprisingly similar to the Survey of Professional Forecasters’ median forecast from the preceding month (mid-August). The FOMC members then still perceive a deceleration in inflation in the last half of 2021.

Congdon’s forecast looks plausible given the August PCE deflator nowcast (and even more using the September). However, it’s far outside of the range projected by the FOMC, as shown in Figure 2, which includes the high/low inflation forecasts.

Figure 2: Personal Consumption Expenditure deflator (black), Congdon midpoint forecast (red square), Cleveland Fed nowcast as of 9/23 (sky blue +), FOMC 9/22 projections (blue square), high and low forecasts (dark blue +). Source: BEA, Cleveland Fed, Federal Reserve, and author’s calculations.

In other words, the monetarist view (if I can use Congdon’s view as a proxy) differs from both a mixed bag of mainly mainstream economists (proxied by the Survey of Professional Forecasters) and policymakers (the FOMC).

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Economics

US stocks march on, lifted by business optimism

Benchmark US indices closed higher for the second consecutive day on Thursday September 23 lifted by positive sentiments from Fed s economic outlook…

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Benchmark US indices closed higher for the second consecutive day on Thursday, September 23, lifted by positive sentiments from Fed’s economic outlook.

The S&P 500 was up 1.21% to 4,448.98. The Dow Jones rose 1.48% to 34,764.82. The NASDAQ Composite rose 1.04% to 15,052.24, and the small-cap Russell 2000 was up 1.82% to 2,259.04.

Traders ignored the weak unemployment data released by the Labor Department on Thursday, which showed new jobless benefits claims rose by 16,000 to 351,000 in the week ended Sep 18.

Economists consider the rise in benefits claims to be because of Hurricane Ida and forest fires and not due to flawed policy action. On Wednesday, the Fed said that it might start withdrawing stimulus support from November. The statement raised confidence in the economic recovery.

Financial stocks were among the top movers on S&P 500 Thursday, while energy and real estate stocks declined. Stocks of BlackBerry Limited (BB) rose 12.08% a day after reporting quarterly results. Its revenue rose to US$175 million in Q2, FY21, from US$174 million in the year-ago quarter.

Accenture plc (ACN) stock jumped 2.63% after reporting its fourth-quarter results. Its net income was up US$1.43 billion from US$1.30 billion in the same quarter of the previous year.

Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM) stock rallied 7.38% after it raised the full-year revenue guidance. It expects its FY 2022 revenue to be US$26.35 billion, up from its earlier forecast of US$26.3 billion.

In the energy sector, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) rose 3.58%, Chevron Corporation (CVX) gained 2.51%, and ConocoPhillips (COP) gained 2.45%. Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI) and EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG) advanced 2.51% and 2.76%, respectively.

In the consumer discretionary sector, Nike, Inc. (NKE) increased by 1.26%, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) gained 1.25%, and General Motors Company (GM) rose 2.24%. Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST) and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT) ticked up 1.62% and 4.30%, respectively.

In financial stocks, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B) rose 1.65%, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) jumped 3.35%, and Bank of America Corporation (BAC) rose 3.79%. Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) jumped 1.58% and 2.86%, respectively.

Also Read: Top five communication stocks that rode the Q2 rebound

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US stock indices closed higher on Sep 23 on positive economic outlook.

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Futures & Commodities

Gold futures were down 2.05% to US$1,742.40 per ounce. Silver decreased by 1.71% to US$22.515 per ounce, while copper fell 0.48% to US$4.2317.

Brent oil futures increased by 1.38% to US$77.24 per barrel and WTI crude was up 1.37% to US$73.22.

Bond Market

The 30-year Treasury bond yields was up 5.04% to 1.941, while the 10-year bond yields rose 7.71% to 1.434.

US Dollar Futures Index decreased by 0.39% to US$93.100.

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Economics

Culture As An Asset

#CKStrong Stunning. Hedge funds hoovering up trading cards as an “alternative to equities” with the same passion Brooks Robinson hoovered up ground…

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#CKStrong

Stunning. Hedge funds hoovering up trading cards as an “alternative to equities” with the same passion Brooks Robinson hoovered up ground balls?

This is usually a sign of the endgame for markets, i.e,, the precursor to a bear market. Think the “Great Beanie Baby Bubble” of 1999.

In general, there are two types of assets,

  1. They can be rare—gold bars, diamonds, houses on Victoria Peak, bottles of 1982 Pétrus, Van Gogh paintings, stamps, beanie babies, or Baseball cards or
  2. They can generate cash flows over time  – GaveKal

Creating An Illusion Of Scarcity

Scarcity relative to the money stock is what its all about now, folks. 

It probably won’t be long before the Fed has to bailout the baseball card market, no?

Full disclosure,  I do own a Mike Trout rookie card

Given the extreme valuations of all most all asset classes, coupled with the massive amount of money in the global financial system, markets are now really stretching, looking for, and actually attempting to create scarcity as a useful delusion to rationalize and drive speculation. 

Maybe I will start collecting poop as an “anthropological asset,” put it the blockchain, and super charge the price ramp by snapping a pictures of each sample and converting them to NFTs?

Then again, maybe all this is signaling the start of a big, big inflation cycle?  

Can you believe it, folks? 

 

 

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