21 March 2019

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Blind Among the Fortunate - Stocks Celebrate the Levi-Strauss IPO

“There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen, and who lived each day in luxury.   At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, who was covered with sores.  As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his sores.

Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham.  The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity!  Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue.  I am in anguish in these flames.’

But Abraham said to him, ‘My son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing.  So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.  And there is a great chasm separating us.  No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home.  For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them.  Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded, even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Luke 16:19-31

"Heads of the top sovereign wealth funds from the Gulf states, Russia and other emerging markets were in fighting mood in Davos.  Leading the calls for tighter regulation and codes of conduct was Larry Summers, the former US treasury secretary. 'What would happen in a 1992-type situation, he asked, if SWFs were involved in speculating against a currency as George Soros speculated successfully against the pound?   It would create intolerable diplomatic tensions.  We need ex ante assurance that this type of situation will not happen.  That is why we need a code of conduct.'

Not so, retorted the funds. We have always been and remain responsible investors. We do not need any of your codes of conduct imposed on us. On the contrary, it is up to you in the heartland of your famous capitalist system to get your act together.  You have lectured us for decades on the need for tighter bank regulation, anti-money-laundering rules and so on and now you are in a bigger mess than we ever got ourselves into.  It is your banks who are coming cap in hand to us because they made such a mess of their business under your much-touted regulatory regimes.  Get your own houses in order.

Central Banking Publications, 29 January 2008

“Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist— and into them enters suffering, in order that they may have life.”

Léon Bloy

Here is a Lenten meditation at no extra charge today.

The sin of the rich man in the parable of Lazarus was not that he had been given great wealth, even though has no gratitude, and thinks that it is all because of his own merits.   No, his sin is that he allowed his preoccupation with worldly possessions to blind himself to the suffering of Lazarus, his poor brother, who sat every day on his doorstep.  And he gave him nothing.

It was only in the torment of the afterworld that the rich man's eyes were opened, and looking across the great gulf finally sees holy Abraham and Lazarus.  And the first thing that the rich man does is to beg for comfort for himself, and ask for favors.  He feels no repentance, never once saying that he is sorry.  For even as his eyes were opened, his heart remained hardened, and firmly in the grip of his sins.    His sins were the chasm that separated them;  the door to his torment was locked from the inside.

So too, nations that have been blessed can sometimes blind themselves to their excesses and offenses.  And so they misuse their power and wealth and great fortunes, granted to them by God, to oppress and subjugate others, merely to suit their own vain purposes.  They would mount themselves aloft to rule over all.

And in their hardened hearts they hold their rapaciousness high, profanely, as the greatest good, the exceptional—  even as they oppress and plunder and murder.  Until at long last God humbles them, and breaks the backbone of their power.

Let us thank God then, for both our consolations and our trials, which cause us to pause and reflect, and keep a righteous understanding of who we are and whom we serve.  For both good and ill come with the ease of His good Providence, from the endless ocean of His incomprehensible love.

Truly one has come back from the dead and spoken, spoken plainly to we who abuse the weak and murder our prophets, if only we can open our hearts, and listen.

Stocks were in risk on rally mode today, in some part in rejection of the dovish implications of the Fed's statement yesterday, a 'better than expected' Philly Fed number, good financial results from Darden, due largely to The Olive Garden (ugh 🤮 ), and last but certainly not least, in exuberant support for the largest IPO of the year, Levi-Strauss.

It looks like we might have another blow off top in the works.  The tech sector was rampaging higher today.  When in doubt break glass and recycle the last bubble.  Let's see how much more these jokers can squeeze out of this.

Gold and silver were off quite a bit in the morning, but managed to gather most of it back into the close.

The existing deadline for Brexit is in about 8 days, although there is quite a bit of talk about the EU granting a brief extension.  PM Theresa May was blaming Speaker Bercow for her inability to stage a third vote, which she assured the Europeans that would have passed.   Uh huh.

There is quite the nor'easter blowing through here today.  It is bringing heavy rains, and strong winds tomorrow from the back end of the storm.   Dolly has barricaded herself in her blankets and chair, and is not receiving requests to go out in this.  That's fine with me.

Now I am really glad that I did all that lawn work yesterday, spreading lime and lawn soil and grass seed.

Have a pleasant evening.