The Great Recession Blog
by David Haggith
Lot of people riding the stupid train right now. The stock market opened its third week of the year up 150 points on the Dow and, by midday, proceeded to trip all over its feet again. It is getting funny to watch investors continue to bang their bullheaded, brainless, upper-respiratory junction they call a head against the market’s ceiling.
These people must be dumber than eggplants. So, let me have a little fun with a lesson in stupidity here. First, we start with today’s news:
Gains for US stocks continued to disappear after Tuesday’s opening surge as a fresh drop in oil prices put fresh pressure on the main indexes…. (MarketWatch)
Even though stocks plummeted in the Middle East on Monday when Iran announced it was coming on-line now that sanctions were removed and that it was raising production capacity, stocks in the US went up on Tuesday. Investors didn’t have a chance to bid on Monday because the market was closed for MLK Day. By Tuesday, a tiny spark that said oil prices had nudged up lit fire to a new rally. So, that became reason #1 that the US stock market took off.
It is also proof #1 that storks dancing on a keyboard could produce more intelligent purchases than one finds happening in the US stock market. The big news about Iran was right in front of their faces, and Iran’s oil hasn’t hit the market yet. So, you have to truly be dumber than dirt to think that any uptick in oil prices meant a thing or that it would last more than a few hours. As a result, as oil trickled back down in price, the sludge-brained market rally caved in.
MarketWatch goes on to quote one analyst as saying,
The market appears to be moving from a phase of traders “selling on rumor or anticipation of bad news” toward one of “buyers coming in to … scoop up bargains on the actual news.”
Bargains? Oh my gosh, the stupid train apparently accelerates into the curves. There are no bargains in an all-out economic collapse until all the unwinding is done. Today’s bargain will overnight become tomorrow’s head shaker: “Can you believe he paid that much for THAT? Guy must be dumber ‘n a fence post.” I might as well tank up on gasoline as “a bargain” at $1.90 per gallon when I know a gas station down the road is at 99 cents per gallon.
Moreover, the market analyst above appears to think that today’s minuscule uptick in crude prices was the “actual news,” whereas the numerous stories that took the market down were just “rumors” of bad news. I think this guy needs solitary time in the Idiot Box. I shall award him my Golden Gobbler Award.
The “actual” and enduring news on oil goes something more like this:
- Saudi Arabia intends to crush as many US oil companies as it can and is clearly in this for as long as it can endure.
- More than forty US oil companies have already gone out of business. Many more are in line to go out quickly.
- US banks are already preparing for a lot more junk bond damage from from financing the oil companies the Saudis intend to kill.
- Iran intends to crush Saudi Arabia by driving the price of oil down as hard and far as it can in order to bankrupt the Saudis at their own game because it hates them.
- Iran has some of the cheapest production on earth so can afford to go lower than anyone.
- Iran doesn’t even have to produce the first round of oil. It can flood the markets with oil that is already sitting on ships at sea because it produced that oil while it was under sanctions that kept it from selling.
- China created the highest demand for oil, and will not be expanding its now-reduced demand for a long time.
And that handful of points is just the beginning of actual bad news for the oil industry. I’ll get into more of it in a minute. So, for the stock market to rise because of some minuscule point rise in the price of crude is akin to thinking Bill Gates gets ecstatic when he discovers a dime under the couch cushion.
Now on to stupid stroke #2:
Tuesday’s anemic rebound in stocks after a brutal two-week start came as analysts said a report on the slowdown of Chinese economic growth … comforted investors who had feared worse.
I practically spewed my coffee onto my computer screen when I read that one. Oh my gosh, these people must actually be stoned if they believe statistics put out by the Chinese government and then sigh in relief when the Chinese government tells them what they were hoping to hear! I laughed until the dog came to check me out.
Their brains are addled in anesthesia.
Oh, stupidity would seriously hurt if it were not so funny. Who can bemoan the rich losing over a trillion dollars in the last half year when they are this dumb?
I won’t even quote what the Chinese government reported for its GDP. I’d rather hear Justin Bieber’s guesstimate of Chinese GDP than hear what the architects of the world’s most dysfunctional stock market have to say. These are the same failed flops who jailed investors who shorted the falling market, stole the market keys so no one can get inside and trade, and then “fixed” the market by socializing all corporations that were “bargains,” snapping them up with the people’s money and then saying, “Look, the market has been saved!” Saved like a horse that’s just been put down for having a broken leg.
Oh, my goodness, willful blindness is truly astounding to behold. It is a plucked peacock, proudly spreading its tail skin. Today’s market was a display of true desperation, looking for a reason to rise. It is a herd of lemmings running toward the lovely ocean view.
Is the real news really bad, or is it really, really bad?
I’m just going to lay out the “actual” oily news in bullet points. That way if any of these investors, who have space to rent in their heads, see this article, maybe they can figure things out easier:
- The patriarch of the stock market, Art Cashin, said crude oil prices below $30 per barrel could open a trap door in the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The price of crude has been below $30 for a few days now.
- Forty-two US oil companies have already gone bankrupt just since the beginning of 2015.
- More than 86,000 jobs were cut due to shutdowns of oil companies in the midwest by the time oil hit $47/barrel! By the end of 2015, that number had risen to 130,000 lost jobs.
- Home foreclosures have already begun to spike in Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.
- Wells Fargo has $17 billion at risk in gas and oil financing, and has just budgeted $1.2 billion to cover the losses it anticipates this year alone.
- JP Morgan has budgeted $124 million to cover this year’s anticipated losses in the oil patch but anticipates raising that to three-quarters of a billion if the price of oil stays under $30/barrel for a long time. Jamie Dimon, JP’s head, says he’d reserve for greater losses if accounting rules allowed it.
- Citigroup has set aside $300 million to cover this year’s losses due to oil financing. If oil stays at $30 or less, they expect their losses to be double that much. If it drops to $25, they said they will double that set-aside again to $1.2 billion.
- And those set-asides are just for the junk bonds. They do not account for the rise in home foreclosures due to growing unemployment in those areas or the failure of other businesses that support the oil industry that have bank loans (like restaurants in ghost towns).
- All of these banks have a huge reason to understate their assumed possible losses as much as they legally can since their stocks are already sliding downhill.
- Then there is the unreported exposure of foreign banks.
- Standard & Poors estimates 50% of energy junk bonds are “distressed.”
- Some people are already calling for a national bailout of the oil industry because this problem will take us back to dependence on OPEC. (Didn’t I tell you we’d going another round with cries for bailouts this year? I didn’t think we’d get there this soon, though.)
- Iran will be adding 500,000 barrels of oil per day right away and promises to get this number boosted to 1.5 million barrels of additional oil a day by the end of the year.
- In 2015, the Oklahoma Supreme Court made oil companies legally responsible for earthquake damages caused by injecting disposal wells with fracking waste water, and the USGS determined with certainty that this practice was causing a huge upsurge in Oklahoma earthquakes. Fracking is being slowed down by government regulation due to these concerns, and a new source of costs is hitting oil companies due to the liabilities at a time when they are already crippled.
- Oil dropped in price rapidly as oil storage tanks and vessels filled up. It’s likely to fall even faster when all storage is completely full, and Saudis and Iranians continue to try to pump and sell as much oil as the can.
- Several banks are projecting the price will drop to around $20 per barrel. Meanwhile British bank Standard Chartered doesn’t see any of those rumors as dark enough and is projecting $10 per barrel.
You have to be dumber than sea scum to see all of that and still get frothed up enough to bid up stock prices because oil went up five cents a barrel.
It’s almost enough to make the neocons take the US to war in the Middle East to see if they can cut off a few supply lines. That would be a first — the US government fighting to get the supply of oil lower and the price of oil up?