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August 1, 2005

Pancake Mix

Today's action was flatter than upstate Michigan. No sector was particularly outstanding except for energy, which traded higher on the back of a dollar gain in crude oil. Apparently the risk premium was increased in response to Iran's decision to begin enriching uranium. Some deadbeat journalists blamed the move on the death of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, but his death is really a non-event as far as the markets are concerned. He hasn't been running things since his stroke in 1996. The Iran situation, though, has the potential to seriously move markets, especially if their activity results in a U.S. or Israeli-led bombing.

Just in case no one has noticed, 10-year Treasuries now yield over 4.3 percent. The stealth rise in yields has taken some steam out of the housing stocks, all of which have spent the last two weeks retreating off all-time highs. Whether the homeys break out again or slide into the abyss, I think, really depends on which direction 10-year Treasuries eventually break from their trading range. From a technical standpoint, the homeys haven't broken down, yet. If Treasuries fall far enough to push the homeys into a negative technical reading, I think we could see a lot of long traders flee to safety. Afterwards, we could get a rally which would either fail into capitulation (if Treasuries keep falling) or succeed (if Treasuries manage to rally again). There are a lot of hypothethicals here, but it helps to have scenarios thought out in order to be prepared.

A final observation for today: the metals spent July rallying despite a sideways-moving dollar. I think more and more people are starting to recognize the macro situation and add metals to their holdings for safety. If the dollar starts sliding again, which is very likely once the Fed gives up on its rate-hike campaign, the metals have the potential to explode to the upside.

Disclosure: None

 

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