ECB

The Markets or the Mattress: I Know Where My Money is Going

The next 1,000 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in either direction are going to be determined by what happens in two cities thousands of miles from our own shores...
Athens and Berlin.

What's more, the risks associated with Europe's redemption, or its failure, are more concentrated now than they were before the crisis began.

There are two reasons: a) Europe won't help itself and b) Wall Street may still have $1 trillion or more in exposure to European problems.

What makes me crazy right now is that European chatter is what's driving the markets.

Every sound bite from Europe is critical these days. Not because there is anything relevant in the political babbling from financial ministers tasked with fixing this mess, but rather that there is a cascade of events that could take us in either direction.

Fix this mess and the markets will take off for a 1,000 point gain that will leave anybody who is on the sidelines hopelessly behind.

Fail and the markets could tank.

It certainly fits the pattern established in recent months. News leaks suggesting solutions have brought on rallies, while negative leaks have caused a ripple effect that has quickly dumped stocks into the hopper.

Yet, it's not really the numbers that matter at the moment - even with the Fed rumored to be considering another $1 trillion stimulus and reports that the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be seeking as much as $600 billion each.

No. The market swings we are seeing are all about confidence or, more specifically, the near complete lack thereof.

The Mattress vs. The Markets

A recent report from TrimTabs shows that checking and savings accounts attracted eight-times the money that stock, bond and mutual funds did from January to November 2011.

That is a whopping $889 billion that went under "the mattresses" versus only $109 billion that went into the markets.

In fact, CNBC is reporting that the pace of money headed for plain-Jane savings and checking accounts from September to November accelerated to nearly 13-times the average monthly flow rate of the preceding nine months from September to November.

What's significant about this is that the money has headed for the sidelines when the markets have rallied. Usually it's the other way around. Normally money floods into the markets when they move higher.

The other notable thing here is that, generally speaking, up days this year have had thinner volume than down days. This means that most investors just can't handle the swings. In other words, every time the markets dip, they're packing it in.

Pessimism is the Breeding Ground of Opportunity

Bottom line: Investors are making a gigantic mistake - especially those with a longer-term perspective.



To continue reading, please click here...

ECB Held Hostage By Europe's Sovereign Debt Crisis

European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet earlier this year resisted pressure to intervene when Greece's budget deficit spurred investor concerns about the viability of the Eurozone and its single currency, the euro. But a bond market sell-off forced Trichet's hand and the ECB began purchasing government debt.

Now budget deficits in Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain - the remainder of the so-called "PIIGS" - have again forced Trichet and the ECB out of their comfort zone. After signaling last month that the ECB could start limiting access to its funds, the central bank yesterday (Thursday) said it would delay its withdrawal of emergency liquidity measures.

"Uncertainty is elevated," Trichet told reporters after meeting with the ECB's Governing Council. "We have tensions and we have to take them into account."

Read More…

As QE2 Looms, Is the Fed Focusing on the Wrong Things?

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is looking forward to 1932.

That's not a misprint. Actually, Bernanke is looking forward to a point when the challenges facing today's U.S. economy mirror the problems of that particular Great Depression-era year. And he wants that to happen for a very simple reason.

He knows how to solve those problems.

Unfortunately, "1932" isn't likely to arrive. And the preparations the Fed is making in the meantime are likely to deepen the United States' economic woes.

Let me show you what I mean...

To see where the central bank has gone wrong, please read on...

QE2: How New Quantitative Easing Will Launch Emerging-Market Stocks

 In Wall Street circles, it's known as "QE2" - for "Quantitative Easing - Round 2."

The U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England (BOE) are moving rapidly towards it, and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has pledged to enact it.

That Bank of Japan pledge ignited a $23.50 spike in the price of gold on Tuesday. But that's nothing compared to what would happen after a Fed move. An additional easing by the U.S. central bank would cause gold and commodity prices to spike - and emerging-market stock markets to soar.

We should be prepared for this eventuality.

To see how you can profit from "QE2," please read on...

Money Morning Mailbag: Jaded Investors Cast Wary Eye On Scope of Bank Stress Tests

The results of Europe's bank stress tests are due July 23. But the question remains whether the tests will shed enough light on the banking sector to restore investor confidence.

"All these stress tests mean that we are peeling away layers of the onions, but chances are we are not going to get the full clarity that we as investors deserve," Neil Dwane, chief investment officer for Europe at equities specialist firm RCM, told The New York Times.

Readers who are already on guard from Wall Street manipulation and stalled financial reform have pulled back from volatile markets and are skeptical about the effectiveness of bank stress tests:

Read More…

Banks and Investors Both Rattled by European Debt Concerns

European debt concerns continued to weigh on investor sentiment today (Thursday) as rumors circulated that the European Central Bank (ECB) was planning an intervention into the continent's banking sector.

The ECB is buying government bonds and increased its lending to banks, but that has done little to alleviate concern that the nearly-$1 trillion (750 billion euros) Eurozone bailout package announced last month won't be enough to prevent a collapse in the banking industry.

The ECB said on Monday that European banks will have to write off more loans this year than they did in 2009. The region's banks are expected to write off some $237 billion (195 billion euros) in bad debt by 2011.

Read More…

Global Recovery Gaining Momentum, but Obstacles Remain

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it has lifted its economic growth outlook, but warned that governments must enforce strict fiscal policies to sustain the global recovery and balance global expansion.  

The OECD reported that the combined economy of its 31 members would grow 2.7% this year and 2.8% in 2011. Troubles of debt-plagued developed economies will be offset by the rapid economic growth of emerging markets. The numbers have been revised upward from November predictions of 1.9% growth in 2010 and 2.5% growth in 2011.

The OECD estimated global gross domestic product (GDP) would rise 4.6% this year and 4.5% in 2011, up from the previous expectation of 3.4% and 3.7%, respectively.

Read More…

Is Europe on the Verge of a Liquidity Crisis?

The euro's recent struggles have done more than bring the currency's viability into question. They've put the European Central Bank (ECB) on a collision course with a liquidity crisis.

The ECB is running low on dollars, and that problem could escalate when the U.S. Federal Reserve closes swap lines that were temporarily reinstated as the Greek debt crisis escalated. Additionally, more deposits are being yanked from the central bank as holders question whether or not the ECB has enough juice to stop a classic bank panic.

The euro yesterday (Wednesday) remained at a near four-year low against the dollar, tumbling 0.5% to $1.2306. The beleaguered currency dropped against the yen and British pound, as well.

Read More…

Gold Prices Surge and Will Keep Climbing as Investors Protect Against European Debt Crisis

Gold prices yesterday (Wednesday) broke through to a record high, as investors feared the Eurozone bailout plan would debase the euro and escalate inflation.

Gold for June delivery continued its record-breaking Tuesday climb to hit $1,243.10 an ounce Wednesday. The contract reached an intraday high of $1,249.20 an ounce. Spot gold prices hit $1,244.45 an ounce, up almost 20% in the past three months.

Gold's reputation as a "safe haven" investment causes the metal's price to move inversely to investor confidence, which has been rattled by the Greece debt crisis and last week's 1000-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Read More…

Taipan Daily: Trillion Shmillion – Europe's "Common Currency" Is Still Doomed

As far as the euro goes, the trillion-dollar "shock and awe" program was a shocking disappointment. Here's why.

"... while Europeans no longer fear foreign armies, they are starting to fear foreign bondholders. Europe's existence as a "lifestyle superpower' has depended on an ample supply of credit... "
- Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

"...this is just another example of a short-term, leveraged solution, that merely adds to the burden of future problems..."
- Marc Ostwald, Monument Securities

Read More…

Odds of IMF Bailout Increase as Greek Bond Prices Plummet

Prices for Greek 10-year bonds plummeted to record lows today (Thursday) on speculation Europe's most troubled economy is about to unravel.

Economists expressed new doubts over the country's banks and short term funding plans and warned that recent developments now threaten to create a vicious cycle of bad news.

"The fear factor is beginning to creep in. In fact, it's galloping in," Neil Mellor, a senior currencies analyst at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) in London told The Wall Street Journal.

Read More…

Irish Banks Get Bailout as Ireland Continues Drastic Moves to Leave PIGS Behind

Ireland's government will extend more aid to the nation's banks in an effort to salvage the economy and avoid going down the same path as struggling Greece.

The Irish government has set up a "bad bank" to help the banking sector rebound from massive losses on loans to property developers. The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) will apply an average discount of 47% to $21.5 billion (16 billion euros) of loans in the first tranche. The bank will take over a total of $107 billion ($80 billion euros) of loans, transferring the debt from the balance sheets of Ireland's biggest banks - Allied Irish Banks, PLC (NYSE ADR: AIB) and Bank of Ireland (NYSE ADR: IRE).

"It looks like they are going to try and take all the pain now," said Stephen Taylor, strategist at Dolmen Securities. "It looks likely that at this stage the state is going to have to increase its ownership of the banks."

Read More…

Beware of Eurozone Plans for Greek Debt Bailout

An old proverb dating back to the Trojan War tells us to "beware of Greeks bearing gifts."

Today, with the fate of the European euro and perhaps even the entire Eurozone region hanging in the balance - and Greece needing a bailout to avoid default on its massive public debt - a more-appropriate warning might be: "Beware of Greeks seeking gifts."

Unfortunately, European finance ministers are looking at a bailout proposal that would amount to little more than an outright gift.

And it's a gift that - in my opinion - should never be given.

To understand the risks posed by a bailout-plan for Greece, please read on.

Read More…

Germany: The "Must-Invest" Economy

If you're a U.S. investor, you can't be happy about the prospects for your portfolio. After all, you're mostly trapped in an economy with a gigantic and dangerous financial-services sector, a central bank that can't stop itself from printing money and a government that overspends wildly.

But there is an answer: You should consider allocating some of that "at-risk" capital to a country that has none of those problems - Germany.

Germany has a banking system, of course, but that banking system is not the overgrown financial-services monster that we have here in the United States (or, for that matter, in Great Britain). It's impossible to get a subprime mortgage in Germany: Even now - and even after mortgage levels have crept up in recent years - the average down payment for the purchase of a new home in this key Eurozone nation is 50%. As a result, the homeownership rate in Germany is only 43%, the lowest rate in the European Union.

That's actually healthy; far less of Germany's capital is tied up in unproductive housing and the savings rate is correspondingly higher. (Let's face it, most Americans don't accumulate 50% of the cost of a house in savings over their lifetimes - unless forced to do so in a company pension scheme).

To find out how to profit from Germany's promise, read on...

ECB Holds Steady in Fight Against Inflation, Despite Contracting Economy

By Jennifer YousfiManaging Editor Despite economic contraction in the second quarter, the European Central Bank (ECB) yesterday (Thursday) maintained its hawkish stance on inflation. Led by President Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB’s monetary policy committee voted to hold interest rates steady at 4.25%. “Upside risks to price stability prevail,” Trichet said at a press conference in […]

Read More…

© 2015 Money Map Press. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including the world wide web), of content from this webpage, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Money Morning. 16 W. Madison St. Baltimore, MD, 21201, Email: customerservice@MoneyMorning.com