February 2009 - Daily Pfennig

A free, quick-reading daily e-letter on world currencies, economic trends, and the occasional baseball score.

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  • The Trading Theme Returns...

    * U.S. data prints awful! * Eastern Europe gets 24.5 Billion euros! * More Problems for Citi... * Gold at a discount... ** The Trading Theme Returns... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! I'm going to go out on a limb and say it will be a Fantastico Friday! I don't know why, it's cold and rainy here, and we're supposed to get snow tonight... But Shoot Rudy, why not? Every day is a blessing, and Friday's are special! At least in my book! Well... Chris left me a note last night about the day's happenings, as I was "out of touch" all day. So... I guess it would be best to let Chris give us the recap on yesterday, eh? Here's Chris... "The big news on the day was the durable goods orders, which came in even worse than expected. The dollar had lost ground vs. most of the currencies up until the durable goods number came in. The bad data for the US sent the dollar back up as investors headed back to the 'safe haven' of US Treasuries. Initial jobless claims also came in well above expectations with continuing claims climbing over 5 million for the first time ever. Continuing claims have only climbed above 4.5 million twice since the data has been recorded. They hit 4.6 million in May of 1975 and again in October of 1982. These peaks were very short lived as the came at the height of these two recessions. The problem with today's numbers is that we are still at the beginning stages of our recession and the jobs numbers look to only get worse....
  • Housing stats show more rot on the housing vine....

    * US$ continues to be propped up... * SEK moves up vs. the US$... * Japanese yen falls.... * Gold prices come down ... ** Housing stats show more rot on the housing vine.... It has been a while since Chuck turned over the reigns of the Pfennig to me, so I'm a bit out of practice. But there was a lot of movement in the currency markets over the last 24 hours, giving me plenty of Pfennig fodder. I'll get right to it. The 'Safe Haven' status of the US$ continued to prop it up yesterday as bad housing data in the US scared investors. Sales of previously owned homes fell 5.3% in January, after rising slightly last month. And even worse for US homeowners, the median price of a home fell to $170,300, down nearly 26% from its peak in July 2006. These numbers reflect a worsening housing market which will weigh on the US economy through most of 2009. The inventory of unsold homes did fall, but still stands at 3.6 million. At the current rate of sales, it would take 9.6 months to exhaust the excess supply of homes. And this is assuming no more homes come into the market. The housing downturn will continue well into 2010, and will likely keep the US economy in the doldrums....
  • Shrove Tuesday!

    * No follow through on the Eurozone bond idea... * Mirror, mirror on the wall... * AIG to set record for losses... * Finding another Pfennig Reader! ** Shrove Tuesday! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! A Shrove Tuesday to boot! Shrove Tuesday you say with a tone of thinking that I have made up another word for a day? Yes... Shrove Tuesday! For Catholics in some regions of the world (Ireland originally), the day before Ash Wednesday is Shrove Tuesday... Or here in the U.S. it's Pancake Day! You see, long ago, pancakes would be served up on this day as a popular way to use up fat, butter and eggs before Lent got underway. So... Happy Shrove Tuesday!...
  • A Eurozone Bond To Compete With Treasuries?

    * The euro gets some wind in its sails... * Citigroup is seeking more bailout funds? * Gold hits $1,000! * The ghost of Humphrey-Hawkins... ** A Eurozone Bond To Compete With Treasuries? Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Sure seems as though I went from Friday to Monday, as I went out of town this past weekend, and before I knew it, I was driving to work this morning! UGH! There was a rumor on Friday that really sent the euro higher, and there was another rumor this past weekend about the Asian currencies... So... Let's look at those two items and more of course, as we begin the last week of February!...
  • Labor Market Continues To Deteriorate...

    * Merkel leaves us wanting... * Gold soars higher overnight! * Indian rupees' worst week! * Greenspan = Very Bad Idea! ** Labor Market Continues To Deteriorate... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! It got cold here again... I can't wait for my March trip to a warmer climate! GM's Swedish unit Saab is filing for protection from creditors, so that it can reorganize into a business independent of GM... Hmmm... Everyone is jumping the GM ship... Well, it's Friday, and that means yesterday we saw the print of the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims... And once again, the rot on labor's vine was exposed... The total Claims files last week was 627K, the experts had forecast 600K... But here's the thing that really hits home... The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits has jumped to 4.99 Million, and each week and new record number is established... It certainly tells me that the labor market is still deteriorating......
  • Bank Losses Mount... Globally...

    * The dollar continues to rally... * Loan ratios figure big now... * Bank nationalization returns to Germany... * Gold pushes the envelope further... ** Bank Losses Mount... Globally... Good day... And while I hope it's a Wonderful Wednesday to you, I have sad and shocking news for us at EverBank. Yesterday, we were shocked to learn that a colleague and friend, John Kimsey has passed unexpectedly. Thoughts and prayers are with the family. John had joined the World Markets desk in November of last year, after a career in our Mortgage Division, and made an immediate impact with his personality, and his love of his family. His laugh, and smile were contagious, and will be missed. I have no experience in dealing with the loss of a colleague, so I'll just leave it there, and move on. This will be short this morning, as I'm just not really in the mood to be in a normal writing mood....
  • When Will Foreigners say "No Mas"?

    * G-7 kisses up to China... * The dollar swings a mighty hammer... * Eastern European loans weigh on the euro... * Gold kicks tail and takes names later! ** When Will Foreigners say "No Mas"? Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I trust your weekend was grand. I was lucky enough to have a 3-day weekend, and brother did I need one! Rest was the order of the weekend! Of course Saturday was Valentine's Day... Here's a thought for all us men that were standing in line at the flower shop... We need a "Hallmark holiday" where our significant others buy us tickets to baseball games! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OK... Well, Friday ended on a sour note for the currencies, and while yesterday was a holiday here in the U.S. the currencies continued to sell off, with the dollar swinging a mighty hammer. G-7 said very little about currencies, left yen alone, and praised the Chinese for their continued move toward flexibility of the renminbi......
  • A Retail Sales Surprise!

    * 623K new unemployment claims filed.. * G-7 begins today.. * Dealing from a position of strength.. * Valentine's Day tomorrow! ** A Retail Sales Surprise! Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! Front and center this morning, a Continental regional plane crashed near the Buffalo airport overnight, and all 48 on the plane were killed, along with 1 person in a home. Not Happy news for a Friday morning, for sure... Our thoughts should be with the familes of these people today... I want to say thank you to all who responded yesterday to me regarding my hissy fit I had yesterday morning regarding the minority objections to my opinions... The vote is in... It was a landslide in favor of me being me, and not what the few objectors want me to be. So, I will continue writing the Pfennig in the manner the majority expect... I don't want this to sound cold, but those that feel the need to send me nasty emails, could you please just unsubscribe instead?...
  • It's Not My Fault, It Must Be Yours!

    * What's $78 Billion among friends? * Currencies fade with bias to buy Gold... * Could the Carry Trade Unwind be done? * U.S. soccer beats Mexico... ** It's Not My Fault, It Must Be Yours! Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! Well... Front and center this morning, I'm going to tell you something that will surprise a few and make a few happy. I've had my say on the Bailouts, TARP, Stimulus, and spending. I've beaten them to a pulp, and some readers have expressed their contempt with me carrying on with this beating. So... Unless something cracks, I'll just leave it all as it stands, and go on with life. This all has been too much for my blood pressure to take! I'll report the facts on this stuff, and leave the commentary for people that think they "know better"... For instance, it was reported the other day that the Treasury Dept. has overpaid for stock received from TARP recipients by $78 Billion. You see, for every $100 given in TARP, the Treasury was to receive $100 in stock / assets, but when all the beans are counted, the Treasury is $78 Billion short on stock /assets... But, what the heck, what's $78 Billion among friends?...
  • Geithner's Plan Disappoints...

    * Trade Deficit to narrow further... * Currencies rally, then sell off... * Obama's stimulus loses backers... * Riksbank cuts 100 BPS unexpectedly... ** Geithner's Plan Disappoints... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well... Tim Geithner didn't experience a Terrific Tuesday, as I had wished for him... And now, it looks as though the shine is coming off the new President as more and more individuals are "not buying" his appeal to the nation to get a stimulus package passed... The currencies rallied and then sold off after Geithner gave the details of his "new and improved" plan... We've got some potential market moving data printing today and more! So... Let's go to the tape!...
  • The Geithner Plan Day!

    * Talking stimulus again...* Currencies rally, then sell off... * Aussie Business Confidence slumps... * The Mogambo on Gold... ** The Geithner Plan Day! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! The President talked to us last night regarding the "new and Improved" Stimulus package. He sounded a bit defensive, don't you think? But, I will say this, he tried to stay on the high road, when defending the package. He really ripped people like me, that oppose the package, and see it as spending only. I think he forgot to mention that people like me that oppose it, oppose it because we can't afford it! But the President firmly believes our economy could completely collapse without this, so I can see where he feels the urgency to get this bill signed. OK... Enough of that! I don't like talking about stuff like that, because I'll have 100 people write me nasty emails about politics, and 100 people write me that I was bang on!...
  • Jobs Jamboree / Horror Show!

    * 598K jobs lost in January... * Currencies rally with stocks... * G-7 this weekend... * More thoughts on Gold... ** Jobs Jamboree / Horror Show! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well, Chris and I returned Saturday night and it was warmer in St. Louis than it was in Orlando Florida! Un-Be-Live-able! I know that it stayed warm there however, as opposed to here! The Money Show was good, not the best one or even close to the best one I've attended, but as I told Chris, I believe it was simply "a sign of the times"... Bad economic times that is! OK... Let's get this ball rolling, eh? The currencies had a nice rally on Friday, as the Jobs Jamboree turned out to be a horror show... But I don't think it was the Jobs Jamboree horror show that pushed the euro and other currencies higher. I think it was the stock market rally. Recall, last week, when I told you that the stocks and currencies had been trading side by side, which wasn't something we normally see, as they have different pricing mechanisms, and a low correlation to each other. But they were trading in tandem, and that carried through on Friday......
  • It’s a Jobs Jamboree Friday!

    * BOE cuts 50 BPS... * ECB keeps rates unchanged... * Initial Jobless claims hit a record! * Recession or Depression? ** Jobs Jamboree Friday! Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday, and Jobs Jamboree Friday to boot! You should have seen the crowd that gathered for my second presentation yesterday... WOW! Jason tells me that he had to turn away about 50 people that couldn't jam into the room! I guess people are still interested in what I have to say... Either that or, no one else was speaking at that time! HA! Another very tight trading range for the currencies yesterday, with a bias to buy dollars... And for once this bias to buy dollars didn't include buying Japanese yen, as yen fell 2 whole figures yesterday! You have to wonder if the words coming out of Capitol Hill that they will vote on the Stimulus package soon, has the risk takers dipping their toes back into Carry Trades, for yen is weaker and the Aussie dollar (a high yielder, even in today's zero rate environment) is stronger... It's not just a co-in-que-dink!...
  • Gold As An Inflation Fighter!

    * BOE to cut rates today... * ECB will wait to cut for now... * Black clouds forming for India? * German factory Orders plunge! ** Gold As An Inflation Fighter! Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! Day One at the Orlando World Money Show (WMS) went well. My room for the presentation was packed! It was standing room only, and the good part was the fact that there were only about 30 Pfennig readers in the crowd. I say that not because I have something against Pfennig readers, oh Lord, they are dear readers! The reason I say that is I like to know how many of the non-readers I can convert to Pfennig readers!...
  • Talking Stimulus Deux

    * Pending Home Sales surprise! * Eurozone Retail Sales slump! * Tax cuts don't create jobs... * Failure to follow through for the A$ ** Talking Stimulus Deux... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well... I'm here! The Orlando Money Show... And guess what? Looks like I brought that artic cold front that had hit St. Louis, all the way down to Orlando! It's cold here! UGH! Well, not "cold" like at home, but "cold" for here! OK... Front and center this morning, we had a stock rally yesterday after the Pending Home Sales data printed a surprise number. And since stocks and currencies have been trading together the past few days, (we talked at length about this yesterday) that meant a currency rally as well! But! Neither stocks or currencies could break on through to the other side, break on through, yeah! So... That left them vulnerable to profit taking, and that's exactly what we've seen with the currencies overnight. We'll have to wait a couple of hours to see how stocks open up......

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