Wednesday, December 28, 2011 9: 05 am ET
DJIA: 12,291 S&P 500: 1265.43
CONCLUSION: Trading volume during the last two days has been light, but that can change. I don’t see the market’s action as a “coiling spring,” ready to dramatically uncoil with stock prices surging, but I see the potential for stock prices gradually gaining traction as the market eyes April 29 highs (DJIA: 12,810 and S&P 500: 1363).
Presently, the market is locked in a trading range roughly between DJIA 11,195 and 12,300 (S&P 500: 1160 and 1275). It may need to consolidate in here, even pull back before breaking out on the upside.
The mood is positive as the market opens today, nothing dynamic, but sneaky strong, suggesting institutions MAY BE ramping up buying programs - too early to tell, as cross currents add inconsistency to market action this time of the year due to tax selling and portfolio window dressing.
For a change, Europe made a positive contribution to investor sentiment today as news of a successful sale by Italy of 9 billion euros ($11.8 billion) of six-month bills which were oversubscribed at a rate of 3.25 percent vs 6.50 percent in November.
Prime Minister Mario Monti gained parliament approval for a comprehensive budget plan was obviously helpful.
President Obama will ask Congress for approval of the government’s authority to borrow $1.2 trillion. The Budget Control Act of 2011 gives Congress 15 days to pass a joint resolution rejecting this request, but the President can veto that. The Act is designed to prevent another injurious showdown over the debt ceiling. Another request is not expected until 2013.
This issue could produce some unsettling press, since the last standoff prompted a reduction in the government’s credit rating, but as it is written, it appears the Act prevents a stand off.
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 sovereign member states with origins going back to 1958, but which was officially established by the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. Its goals are a free movement of goods, services, capital and people differing in life style, language, economies, geography, religion, politics and history.
Its 27 Members include: Austria, Belgium Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The EU comprises a population exceeding 500 million people a GDP exceeding 16.2 billion USD, some 20% of the world’s GDP.
Important components of the EU include: European Parliament, European Commission, Council of European Union, European Council Court of Justice and European Union, and the European Central Bank.
The euro area (eurozone) is an economic and monetary union (EMU) of 17 member nations that use the “euro” as their common currency and sole legal tender. Its members include: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
While the goal of single currency originated with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1969, it was not until 1993 that members were legally bound to start the monetary union no later than January 1, 1999. At that point, the euro was launched after which it was an “accounting” currency until January 1, 2002 when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies phased out in the eurozone.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the eurozone. Governed by its president, Mario Draghi, and a board of the heads of national central banks, the ECB’s primary responsibility is to maintain the euro’s purchasing power and price stability within the eurozone.
The Eurosystem is the monetary authority of the eurozone comprised of the ECB and the central banks of its member states, which are charged with applying the ECB’s policy.
The European Commission, comprised of one commissioner from each of the 27 member states, represents the interests of the EU, drafts proposals for laws, and manages the day-to-day business and disbursement of funds.
European Banking Authority (EBA): Established on Jan. 1, 2011 as a regularity agency to conduct stress tests of banks in order to detect weaknesses in capital structure. It has the power to overrule national regulators if necessary to prevent unfair competitive advantages between jurisdictions. It issues a report, Common Reporting Framework (COREP) covering capital requirements regarding credit risk, market risk, operational risk, fund and capital adequacy ratios.
The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF): created by eurozone members to safeguard financial stability in Europe. Authority includes loans to countries in need, intervention in primary and secondary markets pursuant to ECB analysis, finance recapitalizations of financial institutions. It is backed by guarantee from the eurozone members for a total of 780 billion euros and has a lending capacity of 440 billion euros. (not considered adequate)
One euro = 1.3035 U.S. dollar (12/21)
Prominent names: European Union President: Herman van Rompuy, European Central Bank President: Mario Draghi, European Commission President: Jose Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor: Angela Merkel, French President: Nicolas Sarkozy, Italy Prime Minister: Mario Monti, EFSF President: Klaus Regling
Super Committee: While the committee failed, I am keeping this up FYI, since it will continue to get press coverage prior to the “trigger” in January.
Jan. 15, 2012: Date that the “trigger” leading to $1.2 trillion of future spending cuts goes into effect if the committee’s legislation has not been enacted.
Feb. 2012: Approximate time when first $900 bn of debt ceiling runs out.
Feb./Mar.2012: Deadline for Congress to consider a resolution of disapproval for the second tranche ($1.2 – $1.5 trillion) of debt limit increase.
Fall/Winter 2012: When additional $2.1 - $2.4 trillion of borrowing authority from this law runs out.
Jan.2, 2013: OMB orders sequestrations for defense and non-defense categories of spending necessary to meet spending cuts required by the “trigger.”
Recent blog headlines:
Dec. 6, DJIA: 12,097, “Mounting Uncertainties Call for a Pullback of 200 – 300 Dow Points”
Dec. 7, DJIA: 12,150, “Easy Does It ! No Room For Disappointment at Euro Summit
Dec. 8, DJIA: 12,196, “Getting Close to Tectonic Shift- Pessimism to Optimism.”
Dec. 9, DJIA: 12,184, “Good Summit – Uncertainties Linger”
Dec.12, DJIA: 12,184, “Summit’s Success Questioned – Market Seeks Comfort Level”
Dec.13 DJIA: 12,021, “Money Managers Pondering Risk/Reward”
Dec.15, DJIA: 11,954 “More Consolidation Needed”
Dec. 16, DJIA: 11, 568 “ Market Probing for a Level that Discounts Euro-Uncertainties”:
Dec. 19, DJIA: 11,866 “BIG Week: Economic Reports – Watch Housing”
Dec. 20, DJIA: 11,766 “ The U.S. Economy – Last Man Standing ?”
Dec. 21, DJIA: 12,103 “ Housing Turnaround = Wealth Effect Rebound = Economic Expansion”
Dec. 22, DJIA 12,107, “Trading Range Intact
Dec. 23, DJIA 12,169 “Don’t Take the Day Off”
Dec. 27, DJIA: 12,254 “Selective Opportunities”
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