|Dow||+40.59 to 17,652.79|
|S&P 500||+1.08 to 2,039.33|
|Nasdaq||+5.01 to 4,680.14|
|10-YR Yield||-.012 to 2.347%|
|Gold||+$1.20 to $1,160.30|
|Crude Oil||-$2.56 to $74.62|
Russian President Vladimir Putin is pushing west … and stock markets just keep pushing higher!
It may seem like a strange new world. But it’s the one we live in, thanks to the Global Money Tsunami, so you better get used to it!
Just in the last 24 hours, NATO officials warned that Russia is sending several columns of tanks, troops, artillery, and air-defense systems across the border into eastern Ukraine. Artillery skirmishes are raging near the city of Donetsk as well, suggesting the September cease fire is in tatters.
|Russia could soon make the crisis in Ukraine explode.|
In addition, officials with Russia’s military say they’re now planning to send long-range bombers as far afield as the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to conduct maneuvers. Those kinds of long-distance flights haven’t been conducted since the depths of the Cold War.
Now I seriously doubt Putin’s pilots plan to bomb New Orleans during Mardi Gras, or land in Tampa to join the pirate-themed parties at the annual Gasparilla fest. But the message is clear. Putin is pushing harder and harder against the West, despite the threat of ratcheted-up sanctions from Europe and the U.S.
Yet even as those pressures increased in the past few days, the markets seemed not to notice. The Dow set yet another record high of 17,705 earlier today, while the S&P 500 extended its rally from the mid-October lows to more than 220 points (measured from intraday low to high).
|“I seriously doubt Putin’s pilots plan to bomb New Orleans during Mardi Gras.”|
The catalyst? That flood of money that keeps sloshing from riskier overseas markets and lousier economies to ours here in the U.S. And it doesn’t appear to be drying up yet based on currency market action. Even as the euro attempted to stabilize briefly today, the British pound sank to a fresh 14-month low against the dollar, while the Japanese yen plumbed depths not seen since October 2007.
So what are you doing here as an investor? Do you look to hedge against the risk Putin launches a full-scale shooting war in Eastern Europe? Or do you just go along for the ride as the money that unleashes drives U.S. stocks higher? Let me know via the Money and Markets comment section!
|Our Readers Speak|
Incensed about bankster rip offs? You’re not alone! Many of you chimed in on the website in the wake of the latest multi-billion dollar settlement between regulators and mega-banks.
Reader Linda G. pulled no punches, saying: “Put the scandals behind them? Why should they? Nobody is ever prosecuted for grand larceny, which is what it is, and the fines are always a small fraction of what they stole from investors and pension funds by lying and cheating.
“They are a mob of gangsters, and I fear the opportunity Obama had to break them up was a once-in-a-lifetime shot that will never come again. Now they are so powerful they literally run the government, making the entire federal government and all members of Congress party to their crimes.”
Reader Mark also jumped in with these comments: “We have the Libor rigging, Forex deception and theft, as well as the now-documented rigging of the gold fix … The regulatory bodies are so corrupt that it’s obvious that much of the financial world is merely a charade and that free markets are quickly becoming extinct.”
Finally, Reader Jeff added the following: “Mega-bank scandals … billions in fines … will it get them in line? Probably not. Two things seem wrong:
“First, what does the government do with that money and does it ever trickle down to an individual who was screwed by the scams?
“Second, the only thing that will change behavior is jail time including for board members. Fines become a cost of doing business … jail time gets personal.”
I wouldn’t argue with a single word any of you said! It seems like mega-banks are trying to rig virtually every market they’re involved in, and yet we see no real jail time, slap-on-the-wrist penalties, and so on. And regulators refuse to wield the biggest cudgel they have — breaking up the behemoths!
Any other thoughts? Then please don’t hesitate to share them here.
|Other Developments of the Day|
Warren Buffett is at it again! His Berkshire Hathaway investment company just agreed to buy the Duracell battery business from Procter & Gamble (PG, Weiss Ratings: B). The deal’s price tag comes to about $3 billion, and is in line with P&G’s stated goal of spinning out the business in one way or another.
The Obamacare law is coming under fire, with Republicans threatening to dismantle or scale back parts of it as they gain control of the Senate in addition to the House. Economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the original proponents and crafters of the health care law, didn’t help matters either.
At a 2013 event, he said that Obamacare passed because of the “stupidity” of average voters and a “lack of transparency” about how it’s funded. A video of that event then circulated online this week, sparking outrage among the political class. Oops!
The European Space Agency managed the amazing feat of landing the small Philae probe on the surface of the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkohas comet (try saying that three times fast! LOL). The problem? It’s not securely latched onto the surface, and it may not be able to generate solar power because it landed in a shadowed area.
Until next time,
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