Something fishy is going on in the markets. Stocks are holding up relatively well this morning, while the credit markets deteriorate. That the market could digest S&P putting Austria, France, and Germany under credit downgrade review this easily is a bit much to stomach.
We know that the Fed and other Central Banks have a tendency to leak information to certain friends in advance, so I cannot help but wonder if stocks are showing this strength based on someone knowing something we don’t.
Alternatively, this could just as easily be stocks showing their usual cluelessness about the true state of affairs in the financial system as traders gun the market higher for whatever misguided reason they come up with.
For certain, all eyes are on Europe where Merkel and Sarkozy continue to claim they have reached new agreements, only for it to be revealed that in point of fact they haven’t come up with anything new, nor are their proposed solutions A) viable or B) palatable to other EU members.
There is a price for kicking the can time and again: every day Germany continues to play with the idea of backstopping Europe is a day it creeps closer to losing its AAA rating. Germany already sports a real Debt to GDP of 200% (when you include unfunded liabilities) and has yet to recapitalize its banks.
Moreover, the German populace will not tolerate either Eurobonds or money printing from the ECB. So all proposed ideas so far won’t fly with German voters anyway (to say nothing of other EU members who will not be too excited about a German-lead Europe).
In other words: so far no one has any REAL solutions. So unless someone is about to unveil a REAL new proposal, stocks are misguided in their enthusiasm here.
Regardless, this is a very dangerous market environment and one that needs to be traded with extreme caution. Only those in the know can guess the Fed’s day to day moves. We’re not in that crowd.
However, big picture, nearly every indicator is pointing towards trouble ahead. The issue is whether we’re going to see another intervention before the stuff hits the fan. But things have reached a critical point in Europe. And we’re now getting some staggeringly bad data out of China as well. Barring more interventions, the trend will likely be down.
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