Those who scorn inflation today will
hail it tomorrow as the
last bastion of profitability... Ed Bugos
technicians, including myself, view the rising wedge as a completion
pattern. It is not an easy pattern to discern, especially if the market
has fooled you with so many more easily visible bearish sucker plays.
A rising wedge, as distinct from the corrective bounce that is often
interpreted as a flag when it takes on the same shape and shorter
duration, is often a final extension to a long running bull leg. Even
if one is seen, it is difficult to believe because of the bullishly
misleading sequence of higher highs and higher lows coming at a high
point in confidence for the market.
Yet, even though not a certainty until prices begin to fall from and
therefore confirm the pattern, its implications are thought to be
large enough that many speculators try to anticipate the break. In
theory, these patterns are defined by a narrowing in the rising price
channel on diminishing volume, and can last anywhere from two to six
months, sometimes even a little longer. A diminishing, or petering
out, in fresh investment interest explains both their price behavior
and volume behavior. And when they do fall out of this humdrum pattern,
the degree of the move is almost always substantial.
Virtually all of the stock charts below, and which I use for my report
come from www.stockcharts.com,
my favorite free (for now) charting website1.
Inside the Dow 30; a few important "possibilities"
have deliberately omitted marking up the charts so that you may make
your own interpretation, but I am sure that you will find, in all
cases, that long existing trends are already in place, that volumes
have visibly diminished over the past six months (of course it is
summer, but a wedge is a wedge), that the intermediate trend channels
have noticeably narrowed, and that outside of GE, momentum has been
generally diverging, even so far into September. Ask yourself, where
is this index without these component stocks? Naturally, if this assessment
...That Will Not Be Good
both of the blue chip indexes above, momentum appears so negligible
as to cast aside the significance of the breakout in the broader NYSE
composite (to the right), which itself almost appears to be developing
a six month rising wedge. However, that being said, there is indeed
a few things happening in the stock market that deserve special attention.
A potential theoretically perfect negative correlation
Wall Street bulls will sell the powerful rally in the Dow Utilities
Average as a double whammy. If their slow growth scenario pans out,
these puppies should benefit from the lower interest rate environment,
they will claim. If the energy crisis escalates on the other hand,
there is a powerfully bullish story in that direction for the Utilities!
Before I go on, which of the two preceding outcomes do you think that
the below charts have already been discounting?
If you guessed the latter, you are dead on. At least four American
Utility icons are positioned to take advantage of a growing global
need for alternate power infrastructures less reliant on oil and gas.
These companies are clearly the global leaders of choice in such an
undertaking, many of them having been around as long as the Fed and
perhaps more necessary, if the energy problem literally turns into
a crisis. Therefore, I would suggest that the developing negative
correlation with the Dow Transports supports this latter, more interesting
While both averages may benefit from lower interest rates, only one
can truly benefit from an energy crisis. The following companies have
spent significant resources, and perhaps even time, positioning themselves
to benefit from this, globally. They have the knowledge and capital
to offer many oil dependent economies an alternative, higher tech
solution to their energy problems. So put down your Benjamin Graham
textbook and check out these charts:
Glancing at these stock charts, one might conclude that there are
some big things happening here. Undeniably, he or she would be correct.
There are, but again, they have nothing to do with lower interest
rates or defensive investing, and they have everything to do with
increasingly bullish expectations for global demand to step up for
alternative power infrastructures. Comically, if Wall Street really
gets behind this "remarkable" story, they will have to denounce their
Goldilocks allegiance! There is no double whammy here. Let me put
it to you this way; without a potential oil crisis, there is no real
potential for this Utilities play.
Additionally, if OPEC's 800,000 daily barrel addition doesn't quell
oil prices immediately this week and inflation numbers come in on
the high side of expectations, momentum may carry these stocks further,
at least for a week or so. However, I personally am inclined to wait
out the highly probable second bear leg in the rest of the market
to unfold first. That's right, second.
On the other hand, go Goldilocks go
Rumors surfaced in Germany midweek that Europe's biggest banking group,
Deutsche Bank AG, is in talks to acquire the mighty JP Morgan. Can
anybody appreciate the politics behind this supposed deal as much
as I can? I never saw it coming. Anyway, by the end of the week, Morgan's
CFO, Peter Hancock handed in his resignation to pursue longstanding
entrepreneurial interests. In the end, this may turn out to be nothing
but a difference in opinion, at worst. But if it were nothing, why
would he not put off his resignation until after this whole thing
was over, being sort of a key person in a major acquisition and all?
Anyway you slice it; it still is a red flag.
Is the US investment business for sale? This is the thought that had
crossed my mind when I first heard this merger talk on Wednesday,
before Mr. Hancock's resignation. It is the thought that crossed my
mind when DLJ sold out to Credit Suisse Group recently. The seed for
that thought, however, actually occurred immediately after the UBS
acquisition of Paine Webber. The reason is that I had just finished
The Politics of the
Dollar, where I had put forth that the US is now vulnerable to
political extortion on account of potentially discontent foreign dollar
owners. In other words, the balance of political power will shift
to foreign dollar owners as long as US politicians will want to keep
them from selling off the currency (to prevent inflation). Let me
These events have been driving M&A speculation in the US financial
sector to new heights, dragging along with it the Dollar/Euro exchange
rate. The big monetary problem facing the financial system is the
circulation of excess dollars. Therefore, I suggest that it is in
the US interest, in order to forestall a dollar crisis at this point,
to convert foreign short-term deposits into long-term foreign direct
investment. And I believe that it is in Europe's dollar owner's interests
to find something useful to do with all of their excess dollars. So
while the Europeans are busy buying US banks from day traders at record
highs, American financial interests may be buying failed Asian banks,
cheaply. This is nothing but an observation at this point but it is
interesting, because in my second to last report, Inflation
versus Deflation, I suggest that Japan is a net global creditor
and therefore most likely to survive the currency debacle that is
right around the corner.
Even worse, however, is that these headlines take away from all the
other garbage that the Europeans are buying. I have observed, in previous
research, the relationship between the falling Euro and the rising
issuance of US Asset Backed Commercial Paper, specifically finance
company debt or consumer installment credit. My conclusion was that
the US financial sector has been monetizing low quality debt in this
last cycle. This argument can also be found in the report Inflation
versus Deflation. Interestingly, in an August 31 issue of "Capital
Issues2," entitled "Watch
Reserves, not Rates", the author points to a striking 0.88 correlation
between US commercial bank paper and the European Central Bank assets.
This is the first time I had read their quality work.
"Operation Discredit GATA," is well under way!
Normally, I stay away from arguing any claims that I cannot properly
bear out, which is why you will find little on the topic of manipulation,
other than the occasional restrained inference, in any of my other
research. There are two reasons for this. First, conspiracy theories
are far too easy to discredit, and should the allegations actually
be true, the theorists will surely be targeted. Second, I have long
ago accepted that many markets, especially gold, just simply get manipulated
anyhow. Why wouldn't they? In fact, Mr. Greenspan himself said this
recently while speaking about the rapid pace of change and innovation
in the international financial system:
The rapidly changing international financial climate is certain to
create nostalgia for the gold standard among those of us engaged to
replace it - Paraphrase.
Some skilled traders, as well as myself, purport to see it in the
tape on far more occasions than the average person might want to believe.
The whacked out gold/silver ratios, gold/oil ratios, and gold/asset
ratios are enough to at least legitimize any inquiry into such manipulation.
Global bankers who declare that it represents an unprofitable investment
in the new economy easily meet every rise in the demand for gold with
their own supply, unwittingly improving its fundamentals with each
ounce that is sold from their vaults to the public. And even while
global monetary fundamentals arguably improve to gold's advantage
relative to the international reserve currency's outlook, revealing
an enormously conspicuous anomaly on the chart, the World Gold Council
claims that it is certain that there exists no such manipulation.
It is common knowledge that the Fed manipulates interest rates, and
until recently, money supply as well. It is also well understood that
the government manipulates (under the guise of regulation or some
misguided policy directive) many other economic dynamics in our interest,
presumably. Do we need a special briefing by the CIA to believe what
we already know is likely true? The question therefore is why are
they trying so hard to deny it? Perhaps because it is so difficult
to come up with a plausible argument as to why it is in our best interest,
but possibly also because they have learnt how effective outright
denial of any wrongdoing can be, especially in dealing with a public
that has a vested interest in their paper.
Whatever the case may be it can be treacherous as a professional trader
not to assume that someone is playing market games. There is always
The Harder They Try, The More Obvious They Become
So suddenly, I find myself talking about a subject that I had always
personally viewed as an overly mashed potato. The reason is that as
a broker, when a promoter would approach me with a deal and become
aggravated by my questions, he would pull out a thick technical report,
sometimes as long as 100 pages or more, in the hope that I would be
satisfied with the project simply because someone else already undertook
the due diligence, presumably on my behalf. Though, to his negative
surprise, upon reading through the mumbo jumbo, I would find not only
that I had even more annoying questions, but also that I suddenly
knew more about the entire venture than he did.
Similarly, Dr. Jessica Cross' recent 200-page report called "Gold
Derivatives Growth Unsustainable" released on 4 September 2000,
has literally dragged me out of the closet on this mashed potato.
The Definition of Spin
Lots of spin is going on out there these days, though it used to be
called nonsense in the old economy. My 1984 Pocket Oxford uses terms
like spinning, twisting, and manipulating a yarn to define the term
in its linguistically intended form. But by far, Mr. Don Mathews at
mises.org wrote the most interesting definition I have ever come by,
which I view as relevant to the business of money also. In an article
titled "Gore on Oil," he said that:
His (Gore's) charge of conspiracy and price gouging is spin. Spin
is the political class euphemism for calculated mendacity, for planned
distortion, for twisting and contorting fact and reason until truth
becomes all but impossible to decipher. In the normal world, spin
is thought of with disgust. But in the political world, spin is a
tool, and the handiest tool at that; and those who use spin with skill
rise high in politics.
In the financial business as well, he should have added. For as the
price of gold declines and bankers continue to satisfy excess demand
with their own gold "reserves," the spin they have found most opportunistic
is that gold's monetary significance has diminished. And they have
done much to twist and contort fact and reason until truth has
become all but impossible to decipher. In fact, the same brute
force tactics appear to have evolved in the financial stocks of late
mention, and the spin they weave (if that makes sense) is European
endorsement of the legitimacy of US financial interests.
Where is the Motive, they ask?
Oddly, unlike manipulating interest rates or exchange rates or oil
prices or dairy prices or labor prices or what have you, "speaking"
about the manipulation in gold prices is a grave taboo.
And there is an excellent reason for that. It is simply this: There
has never been such a comparably long period of paper money prosperity
as during this past thirty years or so, evidently. It is normally
perceived that this kind of prosperity would not be possible on a
gold standard; in as short a time as it is without one, at least.
That is because on a gold standard, we have to accept some monetary
discipline from time to time. On a "paper" monetary system, we can-will-and-have
postponed the unkind "discipline," despite the fact that it comes
at the expense of what is referred to as the lender-of-last-resort
model. At some nearby point in the future this will probably come
at an enormous cost. Conversely, on a theoretically proper gold standard,
the average entrepreneur can at least be reasonably confident that
he can keep any wealth that is conquered for longer than, say a couple
We have established this position many times in the past, and if you
would like to review our arguments, please visit our homepage (www.safehaven.ca)
and pick out any one of our archived reports. You ought to at least
agree that there has been a visible lack of financial discipline in
recent years, whatever that may mean to you. So, when Dr. Jessica
Cross suggests, through the FAZ3, that organizations like
GATA have not even touched on possible motive, she has clearly under
read the content at any of the websites that we publish through, including
In short form, it is my contention that ultimately this cost will
manifest in a loss of confidence and purchasing power of the paper
currency with the weakest fundamentals, which have less to do with
any deceptive productivity edge, than they have to do with other more
complex monetary issues, such as the natural consequences of profligate
dollar imperialism. Nevertheless, by then we shall see where all of
the false wealth has been transferred to, and we may then possibly
even lose faith in the spin weaving banking system - dare I say it.
And if we were so brave as to try and revert back to the coherent
economic logic behind "sound money," which was responsible for many
of the enormous and real economic expansions of previous centuries,
the Federal Reserve System that was developed in 1908 may have to
completely dismantle. That certainly explains the taboo, don't you
me warn right now, that this line of reasoning, as logical as it indeed
may be, ranks very high on the controversy scale. Why don't you practice
it on your nearest neighbor and watch his or her haughty reaction,
just for fun? This does not mean the argument is wrong, but will only
reveal that your neighbor owns stocks. It took a long, long time for
the Fed to become as powerful as it is today, where millions and millions
of investors watch Mr. Greenspan's every single move, as if they knew
what to do with the worthless information.
all of these circumstances, how hard do you think that it would be
for any powerful financial interest today to persuade an "expert"
to denounce such manipulation that everyone already knows exists?
And if our economics are right, which they probably are, the motive
for manipulating gold prices could not be greater at any time in history
than it is today.
Irony of Power
The only real mistake that the Fed had ever made, in terms of defending
its power, was to allow the monetary inflation to overcome the economy
and manifest in profuse quantities of low quality securities, which
are now owned by too many weak hands. Here is the irony; these "hands"
now have the power to decide the Fed's destiny. So yes, expect the
"expert" nonsense to intensify, as there are few markets other than
gold, where "they" may still exert an advantageous, and more direct
influence. The next few years should prove very interesting to this
Gold And Paper Have Become Mutually Exclusive
In her report, Dr. Jessica Cross examines the whole argument about
gold derivatives and whether there exists any manipulation of gold
prices at all. When I first glanced at the 200-page phase one project,
I thought to myself, what a waste of %#&! time and money. Mine too.
Nonetheless, it is my obligation to answer the call. In the preamble,
Jessica states that:
"As Virtual Metals noted in the initial proposal for this study, any
detailed research into the derivative phenomenon would probably generate
as many questions as it provided answers. This has indeed been the
case and consequently, it is acknowledged that further work is warranted."
Here are a few of my "initial" stupid questions:
1. Who is going to actually study this enormous intimidating looking
pile of bureaucratic nonsense before the presidential election is
2. Why did the World Gold Council assert their confidence in previous
numbers at the Gold Conference in France only a few months ago, if
they had yet to even complete such a study?
3. If there are many more questions now than before, where does she
get off making any conclusions whatsoever about anything?
I suppose that one has to justify the scarce resources (she apparently
is doing this work for the supposedly impoverished gold industry)
allocated to this project undertaking that appears to be motivated
mainly to discredit GATA's conclusions, and that is going to be hard
to do if the conclusion is that GATA may actually be right.
Everybody Has A Vested Interest in Something
The FAZ reported the discovery that many of GATA's supporters have
personal monetary interests behind their accusations. I am glad they
noticed. I certainly do.
If these people want to accuse the little pissed off guys of having
a vested interest in what they are talking about, I demand that they
show me an example where that isn't the case for anyone else!!! I
gather that I do not need to list many examples here.
The WGC and GFMS, representing the gold industry, unquestionably have
a vested interest in keeping gold prices down, for example. At least
until the industry's most important producers unwind their offside
hedges. The evidence suggests that a significant "majority" of gold
producers could lose a lot of money should gold prices double too
quickly. In fact, such an event could easily escalate as the weaker
producers would run into solvency problems and consequently, into
production delays because they suddenly cannot afford to finance their
daily operation. So yes, even the gold industry has a bearish vested
interest in the Gold business today!
If these "people" really want to use that angle, I am sure that GATA
can multiply it tenfold!
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Almost one year ago now, on the eve of the signing of the Washington
Agreement, a friend of mine dubbed the situation a "prisoner's dilemma"
because as long as no one else would cover their shorts all would
be Ok, but under this theoretical quandary, such an outcome is obviously
a Utopian fantasy. The Dr. Jessica Cross document looks more like
a "prisoner's tale" than a revelation, created only to buy the prisoners
some badly needed time while they all continue to cheat on each other.
Though I have only studied a part of it so far, I am particularly
thrilled with this comment in her report:
"This swift evolution (toward derivative products) is evidence
that the derivatives are a natural and thriving concomitant of a free
market in gold. Perhaps for this reason alone their presence should
be accepted rather than eschewed."
The document must have been written by at least two different people!
For one thing, in the first sentence of the overview on page 14 it
is claimed that:
"This research neither endorses nor denounces the use of derivatives
These contradictory comments are only a few pages apart. Where is
her credibility? Again, I will repeat for her own benefit if she ever
reads this, that derivatives are indeed a natural evolution in a global
economy that has developed on top of an unstable fiat monetary experiment,
blah, blah and blah.
I really do not care what your credentials are. If you do not accept
this argument because you are a paper bull, that is one thing, but
if you do not accept this argument while you are supposedly representing
the "gold" industry, you either don't know the first thing about money
and credit, or you are a liar!
No wonder the FAZ claims that GATA hasn't sufficiently explained the
motives behind why anyone would even want to manipulate gold prices
- they obviously did not read or understand the diversity of arguments
that GATA has worked hard to present. Dr. Jessica Cross should have
spent more time studying economics than statistics or the anecdotal
consensus in the cab driving industry, for then she might actually
be able to see the forest.
What is so bad about Fiat anyhow?
Mr. Birnbaum, in a 1996 report4 to the Joint Economic Committee,
concludes that the derivatives business is completely unnecessary
were there to be less volatility in the free floating fiat exchange
rate system in the first place. He makes the case, and if he doesn't
I do, that this volatility is also unnecessary, and only exists as
a result of an unstable and misguided (politicized) monetary policy.
Thus, the enormous growth in the unnecessary derivatives business
(which I am sure Dr. Cross has a vested interest in) is a direct consequence
of this unnecessary exchange rate volatility.
A secondary result, he suggests, is that the business of the world
has moved away from the real economy and has been dominated by asset
speculation and general goods arbitrage. He is more right today than
ever. In 1999, I observed this outcome on my own (captured nicely
in the following chart by Alan
Newman) and dubbed the US economy a stock market economy to my
clients. However, many bulls still insist this is all on account of
the new economy!
I'll say. Therefore, in this context, you bet that derivatives are
a necessary evolution. That is not in question. The question is what
happens next? Many economists have been trying to prove the growing
instability of this monetary system, or systemic financial market
risk, and anyone that works for the gold industry should be on the
same bloody page. It seems that the biggest obstacle facing the gold
business today, is that investors have forgotten what the value of
gold really is. Who can blame them? After thirty years of spin, the
facts have obviously become twisted and distorted, rendering the truth
far, far away. End.
A proposition for my readers
In conclusion, I have a big problem with the way this overly lengthy
report was presented. The first 40 pages or so contain summary conclusions,
while the rest of the report (160 pages) details the "extensive" research
put into these conclusions. Of course, I am far too polite to suggest
that was the order in which the report was actually written. My bet
is that only a very small minority of passionately interested parties
will go beyond the assertions made in the first 40 pages. Do you get
So, here is the deal. Being one of these passionately interested parties,
I will omit the conclusions and study the "extensive" research in
the last 160 pages of the report this fall, and before the election!
I will then write my own conclusions based on Dr. Jeckyll's analysis,
and I will then compare my conclusions to the expert conclusions drawn
by the esteemed "Dr." I will try not to make it a lengthy treatise
and will only publish it if I get enough email requests to do so.
Edmond J. Bugos
1. I like the site because it offers lots of interactive options.
Specifically, the chartgallery is presented so that you can view all
of the important global stock market indexes, US sub-indexes, and
commodities one after the other without having to find different indexes
all over the site.
Insight Ltd, email email@example.com
3. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; German Newspaper.
4. Dollar Instability and World Economic Growth; October 1996
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