22
Nov
2010

Monday - When Irish Banks are Ailing

Monday - When Irish Banks are Ailing

By Phil of Phil's Stock World

$130 Billion!

That's how much money Ireland will be getting in the bailout package they said they didn't need as recently as Friday.  I just want to make it perfectly clear that I also DO NOT need a bailout of tens of Billions of dollars so whatever you do - DON'T give me a bailout this weekend.  Let's hope that works! The U.K. and Sweden may contribute bilateral loans, the EU said in a statement. Irish Finance Minister Lenihan declined to say how big the package will be, saying that it will be less than 100 billion euros but Goldman Sachs said yesterday the government needs 65 billion euros to fund itself for the next three years and 30 billion euros for the banks.

Ireland's annual deficit is the worst in Europe at 30% of GDP (that would be like the US having a $5Tn annual deficit) and the nation is expected to slash its budget by $20Bn next year just to keep it under that level. Prime Minister Cowen holds a very thin majority and now faces a "no confidence" vote that could lead to further turmoil with a special election coming on Thursday for a vacant parlimentary seat.  "The likelihood of this government surviving long beyond the first month or two of next year is virtually gone now," says David Farrell, professor of politics at the University College Dublin.

I already put out a special note to Members early this morning on the Dollar and the markets, so I won't get back into it here but suffice to say we are VERY concerned about any instability that may drive people back into the dollar. I also have nothing to say on the US Economy that John Mauldin didn't say in his great article this weekend "O Deflation, Where is Thy Sting?" so please read that and catch up on Market Tamer's very nice chart series and then we can move ahead with current events.  All caught up now?  Great, let's go!

Also featured at PSW this weekend was Ed Harrison's notethat perhaps some of the great Q3 performance in tech names was the result of good old-fashioned "channel stuffing," where companies inflate sales figures by forcing more products through a distribution channel than the channel is actually capable of ultimately selling.  In other words, be it the salespeople or the management trying to get better-looking results, they shove deliveries out the door in overly-optimistic anticipation of demand that is not likely to show up. This goes a long way to explain the discrepancy between reported sales and the lack of actual activity measure in the Baltic Dry Index (down 25% since early Septemberand rail traffic reports (flat).

Even mighty German export growth is slowing according to the Ifo Economic Institute, which showed October's Export Climate index fell for the sixth consecutive month to 1.0, which is the lowest reading since last December. India is facing a mini crisis as micro-lenders begin to fail en masse and the S&P downgraded New Zealand to NEGATIVE on concerns over that country's finances. Keeping in mind that it's ALL about the Dollar (see note to Members) - the bulls should be VERY concerned about these developments.

Another thing you need to see is this weekend's Stock World Weekly which features, among other things, the amazing Beta 3 tracker and, as we're still in free Beta, I can still print the chart for you here.  UNFORTUNATELY, the chart has not let us down so far and woe unto the markets if we hold this pattern through December:

Keep in mind that we are completing the Beta 3 as it's the up-trending pattern we've been following for months. If we begin to break down, that's going to be a different pattern and it's not likely to be driven and distorted by a "flash crash" like our May dip was although we can't discount the possibility and THAT'S WHY WE'RE BACK IN CASH!  I'm bored with saying it so you must be bored hearing it but I still see too many people asking "what's good to buy" when my answer is generally "nothing" at the moment.  If you think the above chart is depressing, take a look at this little piece of pattern recognition panic:

The big news in the US this week will be the "vastinsider trading probe of US markets that will, as usual, include our friends at Goldman Sachs.  US banks are looking at another $100Bn in potential mortgage losses, according to Barron's this week and, of course, China continues to try to flight inflation, which some estimate will move over 6% next year despite measures already in place.

Keep an eye on copper $3.80, that's a canary in the coal mine for the global markets as is oil failing the $80 mark if it comes to that (now $81.67) but today is the last day of December contracts on the NYMEX and our bet is they dump off in the morning and climb back over $82.50 into inventories this week - as long as the Dollar stays below that 79 mark (now 78.67). We will get a lot of data for a short week with GDP and Existing Home Sales tomorrow morning and FOMC minutes, which are always fun, at 2pm.   Tuesday is all of the week's data stuffed into one day including oil inventories plus Mortgage Applications, Personal Income and Spending, PCE Prices, Durable Goods, Jobless Claims, Michigan Sentiment, New Home Sales and the FHFA Home Price Index.

As I said this morning to Members in the Weekly Outlook:

If you are a new reader - I swear to you that I may be a cynic but I am NOT a pessimist - this is just a crappy market to invest in and I call them as I see them. Did you know that newsletter revenues go down significantly when the outlook is pessimistic? People don't want to hear bad news so the pressure is on most to give you the sunshine and lollipops point of view as much as possible.

Yes there are bearish newsletters but they are always bearish and have a niche audience. I'm talking about the neutral ones, not to mention the vast majority of funds are bullish funds and that can't change so they NEED you to be bullish on something and put your money into the market so they can charge you fees. You won't hear very many hedge fund managers saying "I think you should be in cash" because they are not "Cash Fund Managers" and they don't get paid for doing nothing.

So beware the charlatans, they have the floor and they will tell you ANYTHING to get your money off the sidelines. We have a short week, we're heading into the holidays and these are very uncertain waters so why not just relax and have a happy Thanksgiving with the family as there will be tons of opportunities to invest in December and, of course, next year so we're not going to miss anything by skipping this low-volume BS and having a nice, relaxing week.

Will I still make picks? Sure I will, I love making picks! But let's just keep things in context and have some fun rather than trying to come up with an investing premise in an uninvestable market.

Ilene, Phil's Stock World
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