Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transfer of Wealth

Hong Kong, China After decades of excess credit and over-consumption, the developed world is finally being forced to deal with private-sector deleveraging. However, the governments seem to have other plans and they’ve decided to fight these deflationary forces tooth and nail. Their solution – even more credit and consumption!

Rather than accept a painful adjustment period, policymakers are desperately trying to revive the party. And in the process, they are making the situation much worse. All over the world, governments are spending trillions of dollars in order to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, the stark reality is that these governments have no money. So, in most instances, these glorious state-sponsored spending programs are being financed by borrowing and money printing. (more)

Buffett Says U.S. May Need a Second Stimulus Package

June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said the U.S. may need a second economic stimulus package as unemployment is poised to continue rising.

“It looks like we’re going to need more medicine, not less,” Buffett said today in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We’re going to have more unemployment. The recovery really hasn’t got going.” Buffett is chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (more)

FOMC - For Immediate Release

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April suggests that the pace of economic contraction is slowing. Conditions in financial markets have generally improved in recent months. Household spending has shown further signs of stabilizing but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. Businesses are cutting back on fixed investment and staffing but appear to be making progress in bringing inventory stocks into better alignment with sales. Although economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time, the Committee continues to anticipate that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth in a context of price stability. (more)

Right Time For Gold Stocks

Conditions have improved for gold equities, and economic policy decisions being made in Washington could further increase the investment appeal of these mining stocks.

The charts below clearly illustrate the relationship between gold-
mining stocks and the federal budget.

The top chart below compares the total-return performance of the S&P 500 (blue line) with that of the Toronto Gold & Precious Minerals Index* (gold line) going back to 1971, when President Nixon ended dollar convertibility into gold and deregulated the price of gold. (more)

New home sales fall 0.6% to 342,000 yearly rate

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Sales of new homes in the United States were essentially unchanged near record-low levels in May as home builders continued to slash their inventories of unsold homes, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday.

Sales dropped 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 in May from a downwardly revised 344,000 in April. Seasonally adjusted sales have been essentially flat since January, when they dropped to a postwar record low of 329,000. (more)

All Eyes On the FED

Banking Holiday Coming?

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The top-performing letter that predicted the Crash of 2008 now predicts a confiscatory Franklin D. Roosevelt-style "bank holiday." But it's surprisingly sanguine about stocks -- in the (very) short term.

The Harry Schultz Letter (HSL) was my pick for Letter of the Year in 2008 because it really did predict what it rightly called a coming "financial tsunami." But its performance in 2008 was still terrible, albeit arguably for technical reasons. ( See Dec. 28, 2008, column.)

Now HSL has bounced back big-time. ( See April 13 column.) Over the year to date through May, it's up a remarkable 81.7% by Hulbert Financial Digest count, compared to 4.1% for the dividend-reinvested Wilshire 5000 Total Stock Market Index. (more)

Wall Street Journal June 24, 2009

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