Category Archives: Finance

Bernanke’s Burn Notice – Why Now? Research Reveals Insight Into Fed Chairman’s Popularity

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By Elliott Wave International

Like a spy who gets a burn notice, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has suddenly lost his support.

Bernanke has gone from being Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 2009 to … what? A Fed chairman embroiled in a controversial reconfirmation process before U.S. Congress. Why the sudden turnaround in his fortunes?

Robert Prechter, president of the research firm Elliott Wave International, has written about the history of the Fed and its chairmen several times over the years, and his research shows that their popularity rises and falls with social mood, which is measured by the stock market. Here is a compilation of excerpts from Prechter’s monthly market letter, The Elliott Wave Theorist, from 2005-2009 about the trouble he sees brewing at the Fed.

Can the Fed Stop Deflation? Robert Prechter answers this all-important question in his Free Deflation Survival Guide. The guide gives you a 60-page ebook that will help you understand deflation and its effects on society; you’ll even learn how to survive and prosper in such an environment. Download Your Free 60-Page Deflation eBook Here.

(November 2005) The Coming Change at the Fed | Public figureheads have a way of representing eras. This is certainly true of entertainment icons and politicians. The history of Fed chairmanship implies a similar tendency for changes of the guard to coincide with changes in social mood and therefore stock prices and the economy. [The chart below] depicts our social-mood meter—the DJIA—since the Fed’s creation in 1913, marked with the reigning chairmen according to a list on the Fed’s website.

FED Chairman and their ERAs

The first chairman, Hamlin, presided over a straight-up boom. As it ended, Harding took over and presided over an inflationary period that accompanied a bear market, exiting just as a new uptrend was developing. Crissinger took over at the onset of the Roaring Twenties, and Young presided over the boom, the peak and the rebound into 1930. Meyer took over just as confidence was collapsing and left the office in early 1933 at the exact bottom of the Great Depression. The next three chairmen struggled through the choppy years of the 1940s. Then Martin presided over virtually the entire advance from the early 1950s through 1969, exiting just before the recession of 1970. Burns and Miller presided over a bear market and exited as the new uptrend was developing. Volcker, after weathering an inflation crisis, presided over the explosive ’80s. Greenspan has presided over the manic ’90s and the topping process. [Ben Bernanke] will have his own era. Given the eras that have immediately preceded the coming change in leadership, the odds are that this new environment will be a bear market.

(June 2006) Economists are convinced that the Fed can “fight” inflation or deflation by manipulating interest rates. But for the most part, all the Fed does is to follow price trends. When the markets fall and the economy weakens, the price of money falls with them, so interest rates go down. When the markets rise and the economy strengthens, the price of money rises with them, so interest rates go up. The Fed’s rates fell along with markets and the economy from 2001 to 2003. They have risen along with markets and the economy since then. Regardless of the Fed’s promise to keep raising rates, you can bet that the price of money will fall right along with the markets and the economy. Pundits will say that the Fed is “fighting” deflation, but it will simply be lowering its prices in line with the others.

It is highly likely that the next eight years or so will test the nearly universally accepted theory—among bulls and bears alike—that the Fed can control anything at all. The Great Depression made it look like a gang of fools, as will the coming deflationary collapse. We have predicted unequivocally that the new Fed chairman will go down as Hoover did: the butt of all the blame, and if you are reading the newspapers you can see that it’s already started. “When Bernanke Speaks, the Markets Freak” (San Jose Mercury News, June 10, 2006); “Bernanke is being blamed for spooking Wall Street” (USA Today, June 7, 2006); “Bernanke to blame for volatility” (Globe and Mail, Canada, Jun 13, 2006). The new chairman had a brief honeymoon (which we also predicted), but it’s already over.

By the way, I heard his commencement speech at MIT last week, and in it he spoke eloquently of the value of technology and free markets. But he also opined that economists have successfully applied technology to macroeconomics. We believe that the collective unconscious herding impulse cannot be tamed, directed or managed. In our socionomic view, the Fed cannot control the mood behind the markets, but rather, the mood behind the markets controls how people judge the Fed. We’ll ultimately find out who’s right.

Can the Fed Stop Deflation? Robert Prechter answers this all-important question in his Free Deflation Survival Guide. The guide gives you a 60-page ebook that will help you understand deflation and its effects on society; you’ll even learn how to survive and prosper in such an environment. Download Your Free 60-Page Deflation eBook Here.

(December 2009) Bernanke’s greatest achievement was not the measly $1.25t. of debt that he arranged to have the Fed monetize; it was convincing the government to shift the burden of debt default from the speculators and creditors to taxpayers.

(September 2009) Thanks to the Fed Chairman and two Treasury Secretaries, profligate bankers have been cashing checks off the Fed’s and the Treasury’s accounts, and the poor savers and taxpayers who fund these institutions are unaware that their personal bank accounts are being tapped by counterfeiters and thieves.

That lack of awareness may soon change. Declining social mood is fueling the drive to expose the Fed’s secrets. [Ed. note: Bloomberg News has sued the Fed under the Freedom of Information Act; Congressmen Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Barney Frank, D-Mass., are leading a charge to audit the Fed.] Exposing the Fed’s secret deals could lead to scandal and the collapse of major money-center banks. But most important to our monetary outlook, it will serve to curb the Fed’s reflation efforts. As I have written many times, deflation will win. Social mood is impulsive and cannot be stopped. The downtrend will claim its victims by whatever measures it must take to do so.

(August 2009) On July 26, in a speech in Kansas City, MO, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke declared, “I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression.” (WSJ, 7/27) We think this implication of a fait accompli is premature. Clearly, the Fed Chairman and the majority of economists are of the opinion that the worst of the financial crisis is past and that the Fed’s unprecedented lending has averted deflation and depression. But wave 3 down in the stock market will dispel these illusions. Years ago, we suggested that Chairman Greenspan quit if he wanted to keep his lofty reputation. He didn’t do it. Now Chairman Bernanke should consider this option.

So will Bernanke serve a second term as Fed chairman? The January 2010 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast says, “Social mood is still too elevated to deny Bernanke reappointment as head of the Fed. … But rising political tension confirms that his next term will be far more stressful than his first.”

Can the Fed Stop Deflation? Robert Prechter answers this all-important question in his Free Deflation Survival Guide. The guide gives you a 60-page ebook that will help you understand deflation and its effects on society; you’ll even learn how to survive and prosper in such an environment. Download Your Free 60-Page Deflation eBook Here.


Robert Prechter, Chartered Market Technician, is the founder and CEO of Elliott Wave International, author of Wall Street best-sellers Conquer the Crash and Elliott Wave Principle and editor of The Elliott Wave Theorist monthly market letter since 1979.

How To Profit In This Market, With Maximum Portfolio Protection (F.R.E.E. Webinar)

Options University

I’d like to invite you to a very special webinar happening this Wednesday evening.

This webinar has a provocative topic:

“Why RIGHT NOW Is the Best Time Ever to Be Learning  Options… and How You Can Use Options in Today’s Markets For Maximum
Protection and Profit!”

On this webinar, Ron Ianieri, superstar options trainer and former floor trader, is going to reveal some of his easy to learn yet very effective and HIGHLY PROFITABLE  options trading strategies, and how YOU can master every one of these techniques FAST.

These are the same powerful techniques he learned through the hard-knocks training of live floor trading on the Philadelphia Exchange where he “honed his chops” for over 15 years.

And these strategies were (formerly) the closely-guarded, little-known, “hush-hush” techniques kept confidential among the hard-core, battle-hardened floor traders.

These strategies are THAT POWERFUL. They had to be! Because they gave the floor traders the “edge” they
needed to stay in business.

After just a few minutes with Ron, you’ll begin to get a feel for his intense knowledge – and equally intense passion – for options.

And it will undoubtedly begin to rub off on you!

But be warned – once you see how Ron unveils the unique and many advantages of options trading “his” way you will never see stocks in the same light again and you may actually decide to change the way you trade stocks (at least the way you have in the past) forever.

Here’s the link for more information, and to register for the webinar:

http://www.optionsuniversity.com/iscript.php?3440_A97484_21674

Just think.

You can now get your hands on the EXACT INFORMATION Ron used to train some of the top traders on Wall Street.

Some of these traders have gone on to amass millions of dollars of options trades for their respective trading firms.

Nope.

This is not your ordinary options training class “everybody else” teaches, where you simply learn a handful of trading strategies without HAVING A CLUE about HOW and WHEN to use each of the strategies.

Not knowing that will get you KILLED in options trading.

Ron will supply the details of how you can avoid killing your
portfolio this Wednesday night.

And that’s just one example of how OU’s optionstraining differs from every other training company out there.

To see what I mean, why not join Ron this Wednesday night for a LIVE session with him ONE-ON-ONE?

One evening spent with Ron could change your whole life.

I can say that with complete confidence, since Options University now has dozens and dozens of student testimonials on file saying that very same thing.

Here’s that link again to register for the webinar:

http://www.optionsuniversity.com/iscript.php?3440_A97484_21674

I hope to see you this Wednesday night on the webinar.

To your success!

Alan

P.S. Wouldn’t you like to know how a world-class options trader decides which options to trade each day?

And how a small army of savvy options traders scored BIG GAINS (while cutting risk) in the recent financial meltdown and then once again GOING ALL IN on the subsequent “melt-up”?

Well, now you can!

Join me this Wednesday night for a f.r.e.e. LIVE webinar and discover how YOU TOO can master options trading in the fastest time possible.

Options are the PERFECT HEDGE for rough times in the market, and are the vehicle of choice among the pros to protect their portfolios during those tumultuous times.

Don’t you want to know what THEY know?

Here’s that web page again for more information…

http://www.optionsuniversity.com/iscript.php?3440_A97484_21674

How to Connect the Market Dots In 2009

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One of the easiest ways to determine the trend in new year is to simply connect the dots. In this five minute video, I explain how you can connect the dots in any market to determine its trend. I will show you three examples of connecting the dots.

1. How to determine a downtrend.
2. How to determine an uptrend.
3. How to determine when a market is making a change of direction.

One of the key components I look for is how a market closes on a Friday or the last trading day of the week. This is when traders have to decide what they want to do with their positions. It also tells you with a high degree of probability which way the market is headed for the upcoming week. I learned this trading secret on the floor of the exchange in Chicago and it is one I would like to share with you today. I feel that this technique has a lot of validity, particularly in light of today’s volatile markets.

Enjoy the video.

http://www.ino.com/info/269/CD3336/&dp=0&l=0&campaignid=3

Adam Hewison
President, INO.com
Co-creator, MarketClub

Protect Yourself From the Financial Crisis

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Get 5 FREE Chapters From Bob Prechter’s New York Times Bestseller

Elliott Wave International (EWI), the world’s largest market forecasting firm, has just released a free 15-page report featuring 5 chapters from Bob Prechter’s New York Times bestseller, Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression.

The new report covers these critical subjects:

• What to do with your pension plan
• How to identify a safe haven (a safe place for your family)
• What should you do if you run a business
• Calling in loans and paying off debt
• Should you rely on the government to protect you?

If just ONE of these issues is YOUR issue (or for family or close friend), can you really afford not to get this completely free report?

Visit Elliott Wave International to Download Your Free Report


About the Publisher, Elliott Wave International Founded in 1979 by Robert R. Prechter Jr., Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Why Your FDIC-Backed Bank Could Fail

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With big bank bailouts dominating the news, there’s no better time to get the truth about bank safety.

This informative article has been excerpted from Bob Prechter’s New York Times bestseller Conquer the Crash. Unlike recent news articles that are responding to the banking crisis, it was published in 2002 before anyone was even talking about bank safety. However, you may find the information even more valuable today than ever before.

For even more information on bank safety, visit Elliott Wave International to download the free 10-page report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks. It contains details on how you can protect your money from the current financial crisis, updated for 2008.

Risks in Banking

Between 1929 and 1933, 9000 banks in the United States closed their doors. President Roosevelt shut down all banks for a short time after his inauguration. In December 2001, the government of Argentina froze virtually all bank deposits, barring customers from withdrawing the money they thought they had. Sometimes such restrictions happen naturally, when banks fail; sometimes they are imposed. Sometimes the restrictions are temporary; sometimes they remain for a long time.

Why do banks fail? For nearly 200 years, the courts have sanctioned an interpretation of the term “deposits” to mean not funds that you deliver for safekeeping but a loan to your bank. Your bank balance, then, is an IOU from the bank to you, even though there is no loan contract and no required interest payment. Thus, legally speaking, you have a claim on your money deposited in a bank, but practically speaking, you have a claim only on the loans that the bank makes with your money.

If a large portion of those loans is tied up or becomes worthless, your money claim is compromised. A bank failure simply means that the bank has reneged on its promise to pay you back. The bottom line is that your money is only as safe as the bank’s loans. In boom times, banks become imprudent and lend to almost anyone. In busts, they can’t get much of that money back due to widespread defaults. If the bank’s portfolio collapses in value, say, like those of the Savings & Loan institutions in the U.S. in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the bank is broke, and its depositors’ savings are gone.

Because U.S. banks are no longer required to hold any of their deposits in reserve, many banks keep on hand just the bare minimum amount of cash needed for everyday transactions. Others keep a bit more. According to the latest Fed figures, the net loan-to-deposit ratio at U.S. commercial banks is 90 percent. This figure omits loans considered “securities” such as corporate, municipal and mortgage-backed bonds, which from my point of view are just as dangerous as everyday bank loans. The true loan-to-deposit ratio, then, is 125 percent and rising. Banks are not just lent to the hilt; they’re past it.

Some bank loans, at least in the current benign environment, could be liquidated quickly, but in a fearful market, liquidity even on these so-called “securities” will dry up. If just a few more depositors than normal were to withdraw money, banks would have to sell some of these assets, depressing prices and depleting the value of the securities remaining in their portfolios. If enough depositors were to attempt simultaneous withdrawals, banks would have to refuse. Banks with the lowest liquidity ratios will be particularly susceptible to runs in a depression. They may not be technically broke, but you still couldn’t get your money, at least until the banks’ loans were paid off.

You would think that banks would learn to behave differently with centuries of history to guide them, but for the most part, they don’t. The pressure to show good earnings to stockholders and to offer competitive interest rates to depositors induces them to make risky loans. The Federal Reserve’s monopoly powers have allowed U.S. banks to lend aggressively, so far without repercussion. For bankers to educate depositors about safety would be to disturb their main source of profits. The U.S. government’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantees to refund depositors’ losses up to $100,000, which seems to make safety a moot point. Actually, this guarantee just makes things far worse, for two reasons. First, it removes a major motivation for banks to be conservative with your money. Depositors feel safe, so who cares what’s going on behind closed doors? Second, did you know that most of the FDIC’s money comes from other banks? This funding scheme makes prudent banks pay to save the imprudent ones, imparting weak banks’ frailty to the strong ones. When the FDIC rescues weak banks by charging healthier ones higher “premiums,” overall bank deposits are depleted, causing the net loan-to-deposit ratio to rise.

This result, in turn, means that in times of bank stress, it will take a progressively smaller percentage of depositors to cause unmanageable bank runs. If banks collapse in great enough quantity, the FDIC will be unable to rescue them all, and the more it charges surviving banks in “premiums,” the more banks it will endanger. Thus, this form of insurance compromises the entire system. Ultimately, the federal government guarantees the FDIC’s deposit insurance, which sounds like a sure thing. But if tax receipts fall, the government will be hard pressed to save a large number of banks with its own diminishing supply of capital. The FDIC calls its sticker “a symbol of confidence,” and that’s exactly what it is.


For more information on bank safety, including how to choose a safe bank during the current financial crisis, download EWI’s free 10-page report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks.

Has Cash Been King for the Past 10 Years?

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If you’re like most investors, you’ve been nearly brainwashed with conventional market “wisdom” that stocks are the best way to grow your portfolio.

You would be crazy not to have your money in the markets, right?

But when markets drop, as we’ve seen in this credit crisis, it’s amazing how quickly the story changes.

Steve Hochberg and Pete Kendall, editors of Elliott Wave International’s Financial Forecast, challenged the notion of stocks’ superiority years before this latest downturn.

Learn how cash has been king – and will remain so – far longer than the latest news headlines may have you believe in this free excerpt from Elliott Wave International’s Credit Crisis Survival Kit.

Elliott Wave International has also made the full Credit Crisis Survival Kit available free for a limited time. In addition to this excerpt, it contains 14 other articles, reports, and videos that reveal how to survive and prosper during the credit crisis. Visit EWI to download the kit, free.

Cash’s Invisible Reign Made Visible
[excerpted from Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, August 2008]

With respect to cash and its status as the preeminent financial asset, however, we are starting to wonder if investors will ever come around to our point of view, which, as we explained in the March special section, is that there are times when “the phrase ‘focus on the long term’ means “get out and wait.'” As we also pointed out, the last eight years are clearly one of these times, as cash has outperformed all three major stock averages over this period. A July 3 USA Today article shows how this outlook is actually becoming more farsighted as the bear market intensifies:

3-month Treasuries Beat
S&P 500 for past 10 Years

The article says, “Investors who bought stocks for the long run are finding out just how long the long run can be.” But the farther back in time cash’s dominance stretches and the rockier the stock market gets, the farther investors seem to move from ever taking anything off the table. After stating that “there can be times, long times, when stocks won’t beat T-bills,” a professor and popular buy-and-hold advocate is cited as “optimistic that the next 10 years will be better than the past decade.” In March EWFF stated, “Cash will continue to outperform until stocks are no longer fashionable.” There is no sign that such a condition is even close to happening.

It’s somewhat amazing that cash is not capturing anyone’s fancy because a tremendous society-wide thirst for cash is spreading fast. “In a deflation,” the Elliott Wave Financial Forecast has stated, “Rule No. 1 is to unload everything that isn’t nailed down. Rule No. 2 is to sell whatever everything remaining is nailed to.” The banking system is surely deflating, because, echoing Elliott Wave Financial Forecast’s wording again, “Desperate American Banks Are Selling Everything That Isn’t Nailed Down.” SunTrust is selling its stock in Coca-Cola, an asset the bank held for 90 years. Merrill Lynch sold its founding stake in Bloomberg as well as various other subsidiaries.

Meanwhile, “Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.” Pawnshops and auction sites are booming. At Craigslist.org, the number of for-sale listings soared 70% in eight months. This fits with our review of Craigslist’s prospects when it was getting started in 2005: “This is just the set-up phase. Once the global garage sale really gets rolling, truly astounding volumes of dirt-cheap goods will be available on-line and elsewhere.” The global garage sale is on. The chart of the U.S. savings rate shows that the bull market in cash has come to life.

A 30-year downtrend in savings rates ended at minus 2.3% in August 2005. In May 2008, the savings rate skyrocketed to 5%. This jolt may be somewhat overstated due to the arrival of the government’s stimulus checks, but the burst should be the start of a critical new mindset among consumers. When the government showered the economy with $600 checks, many did something they never would have thought of through most of the bull market: They put the money in the bank, which is exactly what the administration did not want. In fact, federal, state and local governments are desperate for the tax revenue that a little ripple-effect spending would have generated.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states must close a $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year. “The problem today is that tax revenue is vanishing,” says a story about the sudden appearance of the worst fiscal crisis in New York since 1975. Even cities like East Hampton, New York, where someone paid $103 million for an oceanfront house last year, are out of money. “Nobody understands how it happened,” says one resident. The pages of this newsletter show otherwise. If we are right, a deflationary decline is depleting and destroying cash flows in novel new ways that no one alive has experienced before.


The previous analysis was excerpted from Elliott Wave International’s Credit Crisis Survival Kit. The kit, featuring 15 free resources to help you survive and prosper during the credit crisis, is available free. Visit EWI to download the kit, free.

Forex – Dollar sinks after Bernanke speech

The dollar sank across the board, hitting a new 26-year low against sterling, in the immediate aftermath of comments from Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke. The central bank chief said the Fed stands ready to counter the inflation risks caused by high oil prices — suggesting it could raise interest rates — but underlined the economic damage that oil prices could also provoke.

‘Further sharp increases in crude oil prices have put renewed upward pressure on inflation and may impose further restraint on economic activity,’ he said.

Rhonda Staskow at Thomson’s IFR Markets said: ‘There is no Goldilocks scenario from Bernanke, who sees risks from inflation and an economic slowdown – the worst of both worlds.’

At 15.15 GMT the dollar was trading around 1.4695 to the euro, from 1.4665 just before the details of the prepared comments were released.

The pound spiked above 2.11 usd before settling back to around 2.1090 usd.

The dollar was also weaker against the yen, Swiss franc and other currencies.

European Central Bank is not concerned by euro strength

Hmm, it appears the Euro keeps on rising and rising in value, but here is what the European Central Bank (ECB) has to say on this matter:

A member of the European Central Bank (ECB) governing council has played down concerns about the rising value of the euro versus the dollar.

Yves Mersch has given newspaper interviews reportedly claiming that present currency issues were not to be feared, predicting the potentially damaging fluctuations and spiraling crude oil prices to be a temporary phenomenon.

Mr Mersch was responding to recent pressure placed on the Eurozone by dollar weakness; while oil and gold prices have spiraled in response to the falling greenback, France has expressed concern that its exports could be held back by euro appreciation.

He reported response was that “the euro is strong because the external accounts are in balance and growth prospects are strong”, with a weak dollar identified as problematic only if changes were extreme.

“What’s bad are abrupt exchange rate movements. It’s normal that the economic slowdown in the United States is reflected in the exchange rate. But it’s important that this does not disturb economic flows unduly.”

Insight was also provided into what the ECB considered as ‘speculative’ buying in oil and gold, with the governing council member predicting that current levels of price inflation could not last