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Market Tea Leaves - AIG Sues USA?


Pre-Market Global Review - 1/9/13 -AIG Sues USA?





The purpose of this newsletter is to hopefully provide the novice trader with some insight as to market direction. The idea is to provide some clues or “tea leaves” as to what the market is doing or is likely to do.

January 9, 2013

Good Morning Traders,
As of this writing 5:10 AM EST, here’s what we see:

US Dollar –Up at 80.535 The US Dollar is up 95 ticks and is trading at 80.535.
Energies – February Oil is down at 93.00.
Financials – The 30 year bond is down 5 ticks and is trading at 144.02.
Indices – The March S&P 500 emini ES contract is unchanged at 1452.25.
Gold – The February gold contract is trading up at 1662.50 and is up 3 ticks.

This is not a correlated market. The dollar is up+ and oil is down- which is normal and the 30 year bond is trading down which is not correlated. The Financials should always correlate with the US dollar such that if the dollar is lower then bonds should follow and vice versa. The indices are unchanged with no sense of direction. Gold is trading up which does not correlate with the US dollar trading up. It would appear as though the fear factor has returned as Gold is trading higher so the culprits today are Bonds, Gold and the indices. I tend to believe that Gold has an inverse relationship with the US Dollar as when the US Dollar is down, Gold tends to rise in value and vice-versa. Think of it as a seesaw, when one is up the other should be down. I point this out to you to make you aware that when we don't have a correlated market, it means something is wrong. As traders you need to be aware of this and proceed with your eyes wide open.

With the exception of China's Shanghai Index and India's Sensex the rest of Asia closed higher. As of this writing, Europe is mixed as the Paris CAC is slightly lower is trading lower but the rest of Europe is higher.

Possible challenges to traders today is the following:

- Crude Oil Inventories are out at 10:30 AM EST. Whereas this is not considered major, it can impact the crude market.
- 10 Year Bond Auction starts at 1 PM EST. This is not major.
- Lack of major economic news.

Yesterday we stated that we weren't dealing with a correlated market. The net result? The Dow closed 55 points lower as we didn't have any major economic news to drive the market in any one direction and the global markets were pretty much sitting on their hands awaiting earnings season to start. Last night most of Asia closed higher and currently Europe is mixed. We don't have any major economic news to report today, so we may get more of the same.

Yesterday Alcoa Aluminum reported after hours. Whereas they met their estimate of 6 cents a share; the important news for them is that the company swung to 242 million dollar profit after a year ago loss of 193 million dollars.  This was mainly achieved thru cost cutting measures but is impressive nonetheless. Today we are hearing that the former CEO of AIG Hank Greenberg is meeting with the AIG Board to discuss the prospect of suing the United States government for the bailout of AIG in 2008-2009. Yes, you read that correctly. Hank Greenberg was ousted in 2005 over reports of insider trading. Reportedly, he would contact Dick Grasso who headed up the NYSE (during the course of the trading day) and inform Dick Grasso that he didn't like the price of AIG. By some miracle the price of AIG wound up in positive territory. In any case Mr. Greenberg is heading up a group of stakeholders to sue the US government over voting rights relative to the conversion of preferred shares over common stock. The US government held 79.9 percent of AIG at one time. That isn't the case now as AIG has repaid the US government it's outstanding debt. This group is claiming that the conversion diluted the shares of common stock claiming that billions of dollars were lost because of this. Ironically AIG has created TV commercials thanking the US government (and of course, taxpayers) for bailing them out!! 

Perhaps you'll understand why I don't trade equities. While we're on this discussion, let's define what is meant by a good earnings report. A company must exceed their prior quarter's earnings per share and must provide excellent forward guidance. Any falloff between earning per share or forward guidance will not bode well for the company's shares. This is one of the reasons I don't trade equities but prefer futures. There is no earnings reports with futures and we don't have to be concerned about lawsuits, scandals, malfeasance, etc.

On the political front it seems as though the GOP is starting to restate its pledge to hold down spending as Senate Minority Leader McConnell has stated that he is through talking about taxes but wants to focus on spending. This is ironic because President Obama wants to start shutting down tax loopholes for large corporations. McConnell has also claimed that the GOP will use whatever political capital they have to combat spending. I'm wondering what political capital he's referring to.

The passed Fiscal Cliff bill does not address spending and this was a sore point for the GOP. Sequestration will start two months from now as Secretary Geithner has taken "extreme measures" to buy two months to address spending cuts. We are now hearing that as opposed to the two months Secretary Geithner originally stated; the US will start to run out of funds in mid-February as opposed to the March time frame. This would mean that the debt ceiling issues could start much earlier than originally planned. It would seem to me that this year we will have political dogfights in DC over spending. Ironically enough at around the same time that we have sequestration issues we will also have issues over the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is far more lethal than the recent fiscal cliff as this can effect the rating of US government debt. This will be liken to Summer, 2011 whereby Standard & Poors dropped the triple A rating of US government debt to double A. The debt ceiling issue must be addressed as it can effect foreign investment in the United States and the US government will in effect run out of money to pay obligations. It's similar to getting an increase on your credit card limit.

Anytime the market isn't correlated it's giving you a clue that something isn't right and you should proceed with caution.. Today market correlation is calling for a lower open. Could this change? Of course. In a volatile market anything can happen. We'll have to monitor and see. For awhile now we've promised a video on how a trader can use Market Correlation in tandem with their daily trading. A good friend of Market Tea Leaves: Carl Weiss of Sceeto and I produced a video on December 22nd that shows this. Here it is:

Please note the video is about a half hour in length and we plan on producing more in the near future.

As I write this the crude markets are trading lower and the US Dollar is advancing. This is normal. Think of it this way. If the stock market is trading lower, it's safe to assume that the crude market will follow suit and vice versa. Crude trades with the expectation that business activity is expanding. The barometer of which is the equities or stock market. If you view both the crude and index futures side by side you will notice this. Yesterday Crude hit an intra-day low of 92.67 a barrel and held. That would suggest to me that $90 a barrel is now the support threshold for crude. In terms of resistance it would seem at the present time that is the 94.00 a barrel area. We'll have to monitor and see. Remember that crude is the only commodity that is reflected immediately at the gas pump.

Future Challenges:

- Sequester spending cuts to commence around early March
- Debt Ceiling also around the early March time frame.


Crude oil is trading lower and the US Dollar is advancing. This is normal. Crude typically makes 3 major moves (long or short) during the course of any trading day: around 7 AM EST, 9 AM EST and 2 PM EST when the crude market closes. If crude makes major moves around those time frames, then this would suggest normal trending, if not it would suggest that something is not quite right. If you feel compelled to trade today then consider doing it after 10:30 AM EST when the inventory numbers are released and the market gives us direction. But as always watch and monitor your order flow as anything can happen in this market. This is why monitoring order flow in today's market is crucial. We as traders are faced with numerous challenges that we didn't have a few short years ago. High Frequency Trading is one of them. I'm not an advocate of scalping however in a market as volatile as this scalping is an alternative to trend trading.

Remember that without knowledge of order flow we as traders are risking our hard earned capital and the Smart Money will have no issue taking it from us. Regardless of whatever platform you use for trading purposes you need to make sure it's monitoring order flow. Sceeto does an excellent job at this. To fully capitalize on this newsletter it is important that the reader understand how the various market correlate. More on this in subsequent blogs.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: Markets Trading Ideas


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