The rally rolls on. We closed yesterday just below 1100 on the S&P. The futures are up strong after the close as the bulls continue to get emboldened by their recent winning streak.
I am not surprised we got back up here. I had said a few days ago that the market becomes an interesting short at the 1100 area. However, I did not think we would get here so quickly so this rally may have some more legs as we head into OpEx.
With all of the speculation that we are seeing in the markets the economic data simply doesn't matter right now. Traders have gone hog wild buying calls as the shorts are forced to cover which exacerbates moves higher in the market.
This is why I basically avoid the market altogether at this point. As I have said many times recently: The stock market has turned into nothing but a speculative casino where the odds are stacked against you because you are not on the inside.
If I want to gamble, I would rather take some money out of the ATM and go to the casino and play some craps. This seems far more prudent versus trying to trade or invest your life savings in the Wall St. casino.
The idea of "buying and holding" makes even less sense if you have a bearish fundamental view as to where we all end up when this roller coaster ride finally ends. I expect equities to look like the the NASDAQ did in 2000/2001.
Like all gamblers, most of the traders will end up broke. The problem this go around there will be no jobs to make back their losses this time like they were in 2001 as the housing bubble got started.
Some final advice on trading before I get into some analysis: If you decide to speculate in this market, use the same amount of money you would take to a regular casino. Expect to lose it. If you make some good calls then take some profits and save them. You are going to need the money to survive on when this whole economy collapses.
Please don't get stuck holding the bag like many did earlier this decade.
Alright, let's get to Mr. Market:
Is the US Dollar in Trouble?
I am seeing some really smart money starting to bet on a weaker US dollar and inflation.
I will explain why below. First, let's take a look at the euro versus the US dollar the past couple weeks (click to enlarge):
As you can see, the euro has been soaring in recent days versus the USD. What's interesting about yesterday's move is the Euro rose sharply despite the bearish news on Portugal: Portugal’s government bond ratings were cut to A1 from Aa2 at Moody’s Investors Service yesterday.
So why didn't the dollar strengthen against the euro after such bearish news?
IMO, investors are starting to change their views since Europe has announced severe austerity measures. If they are able to implement these austerity measures things will dramatically improve when it comes to their debt markets.
If the United States does not come along for the ride it's going to find itself in hot water.
As Europe begins to dig themselves out of debt, the bond market will start worrying less about debt downgrades in Europe because they understand that things should improve following massive spending cuts. We saw an example of this yesterday when the Portugal news was basically ignored.
I think the smart money is beginning to bet that the US does not have the political will to implement severe austerity measures. The Fed appears to still want to spend like drunken sailors. They have given us no other indications to think otherwise.
If we continue to spend as Europe tightens it's financial belt the US dollar is going to get slaughtered. Inflation will then become a serious threat.
John Paulson seems to be taking this trade with his recent moves by going long housing mainly in Florida and gold. Here is an excerpt from a recent speech in London:
But Paulson's own investments -- his fund is rated no. 1 in the world by Barron's -- reflect his inflation concerns: His firm is the largest holder of gold exchange-traded funds in the world. Paulson told his London audience that he fears future currency instability and inflation "due to the large amount of quantitative easing."
Paulson said he denominates all of his assets in gold and is bearish on the dollar. And he thinks we'll see high single and perhaps even double-digit inflation in three to five years, which he why he has been known to advise buying as many homes as you can stuff in your pocket.
The Bottom Line
Now do I think John Paulson is really long housing? Not one bit. But he is scared to death of inflation. One way to protect yourself from inflation is to own housing.
If you are going to buy housing as a hedge to the dollar, the smartest way to do it would be to find the worst performing housing market and buy. Florida is the perfect place to do so because prices are 70% from the highs in some areas.
I have been reading about other hedge funds that now share this inflation concern. Bill Fleckenstein is another smart one who has the same take except he prefers gold.
The bottom line here folks is the world is understanding that Keynesian Ponzi spending isn't working. Europe is finally concluding that the only answer to this crisis is to suck it up and start digging out of debt.
The problem we have over here is the politicians in DC and the Fed refuse to accept real austerity because it means that many of the elite in this country must be forced to take huge losses.
We are doomed in my opinion unless we are able make some serious changes in Washington. We need to stop listening to the banking lobbyists and start doing whats best for the country fiscally. If we attempt to ignore austerity and instead try to attempt a QE2 I think the US Dollar is in serious trouble.
I would advise that you hedge yourself out by holding some assets like gold, TIPS, and other commodities.
If you are 100% in the deflation trade then you risk holding a currency that might get destroyed as a result of our failure to realize losses and accept the pain that eventually will be unavoidable.