Monday, October 27, 2008

Start Looking for Capitulation

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. In addition to the term helicopter economics, we have also coined the term, helicopternomics, to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government and to update the old-fashioned term wheelbarrow economics.

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Another market bloodbath took place in Asia last night. The Nikkei fell a further 6.4% and took out its 2003 low of 7603 to close at 7162. This is now a 26 year low and it's not clear that even 18 years of selling has been enough to establish a long-term stock market bottom in Japan. The surging Yen is crushing exporters there. Drops were even bigger elsewhere, with the Hang Seng in Hong Kong falling 12.7% to close at 11,016. The 10,000 support level, broken during the Asian financial crisis in 1997, seems to be acting as a magnet for the index. The Philippines market, after dropping 12.3%, halted trading. Only Korea was up slightly after it cut interest rates three-quarters of a point, the largest cut ever there. The U.S. Fed, which is meeting this week, almost certainly took notice.

While the Yen is going up against the dollar, the euro continues its fall and hit 1.2461 in overnight trading. Oil hit 62.20 and is now down 57% from its mid-July high. The drop has been so sharp and so quick that gas prices in the U.S. have fallen 53 cents in only two weeks - just in time for the November election, where the high cost of fuel was a major issue eroding voter support for the Republican party. The U.S. dollar's strong rally against almost all currencies other than the Yen, engineered by central banks acting in concert starting this summer, is partially responsible for the fall in oil prices. Their dollar support activities have been so 'successful' that the trade weighted dollar was above 87.50 early this morning. If the rally continues, this could cause U.S. exports to drop off a cliff, as they did in the early stages of the Great Depression, and take the economy with them. The American financial media, which published one story after another about the beneficial effects of a falling dollar when the U.S. currency was sliding, has so far ignored the flip side of this story.

European markets, down in the 4% to 6% range in early trading, started paring their losses by mid-day. The U.S. markets did not open down that much, but it's the close that will be important. The Treasury announced today that it would begin distributing it gift bags of money from the Wall Street bailout bill to banks and this may be helping to limit selling. The U.S. Fed will be meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday and a 50 basis point rate cut is expected - more is possible and that would rally the market if it occurs. The New York Investing meetup predicted in fall 2007 that the Fed would move rates close to zero and this prediction seems to be coming to fruition.

Stocks are extremely oversold and resistance to further selling has been evident for the last few days of trading. Buying on any major drop should now be considered. It is likely that soon some event will take place that will rally the market and its beaten down segments. While the financials may still be overpriced (doesn't mean they can't rally substantially in the short term), sectors like the precious metal miners have been fallen to truly bargain level prices. Buying at a real discount is always a good way to make money in any market.

NEXT: Short Covering Rallies, Explosive and Brief

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer, New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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