Traders Market Weekly: Consumers Along for The Ride

May 12, 2024

FEAR NOT Brave Investors

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War Dance and the propaganda talk

The Week That Was – What Lies Ahead?

Fear and Greed Feed Volatility


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There is no shortage of chaos going on, a top-heavy market, fear and gloom yet despite this we have seen stock markets rally in the green seven days straight. This is the biggest green day streak since December 2023. The major US indices all gained this week. A week after Chair Powell encouraged the markets to keep running, off they took. The KBW Bank Index jumped 2.7% this week. The S&P 500 closing above 5,200 for the first time since April 9, up 1.9% gain this week. The Nasdaq Composite had a 1.1% gain and the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a 2.2% rise. S&P400 Midcaps rose 2.2%, Semiconductors 1.9%.

Gains outside the US were even more powerful, Germany’s DAX equities index surged 4.3% this week (up 12.1% y-t-d), France’s CAC40 gained 3.3% (9.0%), Italy’s MIB 3.1% (14.2%), Spain’s IBEX 2.3% (9.9%), and the UK’s FTSE100 2.7% (9.1%). The Hang Seng China Financials Index jumped 6.2% (18.2%).

Much of this is climbing the wall of worry, FOMO and in the US, households have an abundance of excess savings and high liquidity. These are all factors we watch in our risk matrix. Remember the stock market is not the economy, the stock market is a mountain of human emotion guided by greed and fear.

In the meantime, it’s a bit like Kermit swinging his legs through a baby’s crib feeling no pain.

Chart 1 Difference between total household net worth today minus what a simple, stable trend line fitted to the pre-pandemic era would have predicted to happen to net worth by now.
Chart 2 shows the cumulative change in household net worth by now compared to a trend line; American households have about US$18.9 trillion in ‘excess’ net worth. via Scotiabank

This week’s action left the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite less than 1.0% away from their record closing highs. The equal-weighted S&P 500 was up 2.0% for the week and all 11 S&P 500 sectors in the green. The utilities sector had the largest gain, jumping 4.0%, elsewhere gains were seen in financial (+3.1%), materials (-2.6%), consumer staples (+2.3%), and industrial (+2.3%) sectors. The consumer discretionary sector was the only sector to gain less than 1.4% this week, closing 0.2% higher.

The biggest change at the FOMC was the shift to this: “The Committee judges that the risks to achieving its employment and inflation goals have moved toward better balance over the past year.” Compared to this in the March statement: “The Committee judges that the risks to achieving its employment and inflation goals are moving into better balance.”

If you look deeper, safe haven and inflation reactions are around us. We also saw gold jump $59, or 2.6%, this week to $2,361. Silver surged 6.1%, Platinum rose 4.4%. Palladium gained 3.8%. Copper rose 2.3%, closing Friday at a two-year high. Wheat extended its ‘mini cocoa’ rally (up 6.6%), trading this week to a 2024 high (corn to early-January high).

Calm activity in Treasuries provided support to equities this week. The 10-yr note yield settled unchanged this week at 4.50%. The 2-yr note yield settled six basis points this week to 4.87%.

It was a quiet week for economic releases, Friday’s release of the preliminary University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for May at 67.4 (expected 76.5; prior 77.2) and showed a jump in year-ahead inflation expectations to 3.5% from 3.2%.

What all this does for markets is keep risk measures on, we see in the vicious VIX fails and short-term option volumes. It is when the risk avoidance measures, or tolerance fails this can trip up the whole structure of buying and cycling through risk assets. The latest FOMC communications struck a balance between ruling out nearer term easing, sticking to the line that the most likely next move is down, while pouring water on the risk of rate hikes. Stocks and bonds rallied with Fed Chair Powell’s press conference.

The VIX ended the week at 12.55, the lowest close since January 23rd. The MOVE (bond volatility) Index traded Thursday (93.85) to the low since March. Investment-grade spreads to Treasuries traded Monday at 85 bps, the low since November 2021.

In the backdrop we have war abroad in the Ukraine and Middle East, unsettled relations between Taiwan and China. At home in the US universities and cities to the North have become a quagmire of protest, illegal immigration placement and political vitriol that have deeply divided these regions. The cost of living through it all has sent many working through middle class families to the brink and beyond, insurance costs have risen over 100% in a year in some cases to name just one inflation cost that politicians lie about.

Any pushback to fledgling tightening these days ensures excessively loose financial conditions.

The massive liquidity out there stems the downside and promotes the upside until then. Let’s not forget the carry trade adding to the mix with the yen and Mexican peso at the fore front there. Interestingly it’s a big week for the consumer with CPI and Retail sales, for Mexico with elections nearing and for the Yen with Japanese intervention. These elements popping out of the risk acceptance matrix and the clues going forward for a bit.

Global inflation is surprising to the upside. Bond yields have generally surged back to highs since November.

With all the redirection of blame at the Fed about inflation one has to understand it is a global phenomenon outside the Fed’s Control. With the war drums louder than ever the supply chain issues are out of control. The Federal Reserve is not in control of global energy and commodities prices. Another important aspect is the Fed doesn’t Control corporate pricing or wage decisions. Let us be clear geopolitical, climate change developments and what an out of depth, politically motivated administration are outside the Fed’s sphere of influence.

The question investors have to ask is what he can do to inflation given most of it is supply driven or some would see political managed inflation. The Fed does not have the tools for and how quickly can consumers and businesses alike recalibrate from supply chain issues? The continuing war drums from Biden. Has wag the dog from Biden crossed your mind?

    The downside bias in stocks in the previous weeks was partly related to rising interest rates with Fed officials suggesting they are in no hurry to cut rates because recent inflation reports have not given them enough confidence that inflation is on a sustainable path to the 2% target.

    What now for Israel and Iran?

    Soaring tensions between Iran & Israel

    • Israeli attack on an Iranian compound in Syria,
    • Iran launched an unprecedented assault against Israel.
    • Israel hit Iran with a missile in the early hours of Friday, in what appears to have been a retaliatory strike after weeks of escalating tensions between the two countries.
    • There is also the possibility of a knock-on effect of Russian aggressive opportunism. We saw that with the attack on Ukraine natural gas storage just days before the Iranian invasion.
    • Israel thwarted the attack with its multilayered air-defense network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets. Iran had vowed revenge since the April 1 airstrike in Syria, which Tehran accused Israel of being responsible for. Israel has not commented on it.
    • Should Iran escalate and overwhelm Israeli missile defenses and see larges deaths and casualties in cities such as Tel Aviv, which hosts the Kirya, the Israeli military headquarters Netanyahu will be hard pressed to not take much more drastic action in response. It gives Israel a reason to attack Iran’s nuclear program.
    • The region is a powder keg and there exists possibility of a full-scale war between Iran and Israel, and probably drag the United States in. US President Joe Biden reportedly warned Netanyahu that the US will not participate in any attack by Israel on Iran. In a Presidential election year Biden will most likely take the route that gets him the most votes.

    Geopolitical Tinderbox

    Turkey Geopolitical
    Middle East Risk Monitor

    What has changed in two years?

    We are about two-and-a-half years since bond markets began tightening in anticipation of Federal Reserve rate hikes that began in March 2022 and the economy remains highly resilient. The rise in the two-year and 10-year Treasury yields was based by late 2022 and well ahead of the fed funds target rate that hit last summer. Lags are long and variable, and the US economy is not out of the woods yet particularly given the surge in mortgage rates, the economy has had significant time to adjust to higher market yields and the majority of mortgage holders are in under 3.9%, which presents another issue for Real Estate inventory. Lending conditions have been tightening, but at an ebbing incremental pace Credit spreads remain tight and the S&P500 has only moved slightly off the all-time peak in late March.

    The US consumer has delivered but delinquency rates are rising for several credit categories. Looking deeper much of this has been more about normalization toward pre-pandemic patterns compared to when extreme policy supports, and very low rates meant little to no default activity in the pandemic. Scotiabank points out that “We are at a twenty-three year low in the debt-to-disposable income ratio and still toward record low debt service payments to incomes remain supportive of spending and lessen rate sensitivity compared to, say, strained measures into the GFC. The personal saving rate has normalized, but the stock of outstanding cash and checkable deposits on US household balance sheets remains very elevated “

    What’s more is that US households also maintain very high liquidity with cash and near-cash balances sitting at about US$4 trillion, or four times the pre-pandemic level. Idle cash sitting around is tempting to spend. Overall, these points all taken together suggest that the outlook for US consumer spending continues to be strongly supported by ‘excess’ savings.

    Looking back two years ago from our January 30, 2022, Traders Market Weekly we can see how little has changed and where herd opinion was so wrong.

    The question investors have to ask is what he can do to inflation given most of it is supply driven, which he does have the tools for and how quickly can consumers and businesses alike recalibrate from Supply chain issues? Not to through in the energy crisis engulfing the world and the continuing war drums from Biden with Russia and The Ukraine. Significantly Ukraine’s President Zelensky said that media reports are making the current tension with Russia appear worse than it really is. Wag the dog from Biden crossed your mind? Did we mention Omicron. From our January 30, 2022, Traders Market Weekly

    Well, the Fed is still behind the game on inflation and the tide has turned on Tesla and even more so on electric vehicles. This and inflation are not unrelated. Russia did invade Ukraine and that war is ongoing with the US writing billions in aid checks. This is also inflationary.

    Where is the Fear?

    The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) ended the week at 12.55, the lowest close since January 23rd. The MOVE (bond volatility) Index traded Thursday (93.85) to the low since March. Investment-grade spreads to Treasuries traded Monday at 85 bps, the low since November 2021.

    “We have a market trying to interpret the Fed who is trying to find out how they can interpret their long-only portfolio at a risk parity where rates cannot rise.”– MoneyNeverSleeps

    Our weekly reminder for risk, timely given the V shape to ATH in just a week. The downside is clear with the absence of moral hazard from repeated Federal Reserve market bailouts in an environment of some would say obscene liquidity pumps. Pure greed is the other part, not wanting to miss out on fees. The obvious question is, how deeply ingrained is this attitude through the markets? How do we ween the markets off this continuous dip feed? At this point the Central Banks have kicked that answer down the road.

    Our take remains the Fed is not just focused on inflation but risks such as the commercial real estate debacle. the high US dollar and the massive Federal debt refunding cost.

    How Extended? The Rally: Since the Fed’s December “dovish pivot” Into March

    • S&P500 jumped 17.2%.
    • The Semiconductor Index surged 25.3%,
    • NYSE Arca Computer Technology Index 19.0%.
    • Nvidia has almost doubled at up 98%, with Meta up 52%, Micron 41%, and Netflix 36%.
    • Investment-grade spreads (to Treasuries) dropped from 1.04 to 0.88 – outside of a couple of months in 2021, the narrowest since March 2007 (20-year avg. 1.49).
    • High yield spreads collapsed from 3.63 to 2.92 – that, excluding the six months beginning in June 2021, are the narrowest since July 2007 (20-yr avg. 4.93).
    • “The tightest spreads on AA bonds since 2005” and “Single B Spread Index Makes New 16 year Low.”
    • Gold prices have rallied $185, or 9.4% to $2,165, trading this week to an all-time high $2,221.

    Last quarter continued the short squeeze, followed by asset chasing that began last year as financial conditions loosened further, building on the Fed’s Q4 dovish pivot. The standouts of course were the AI inspired rally led by NVidia and the crypto rip which saw Bitcoin break to new highs. The spectacular risk asset melt-up was ongoing and global, with record highs in the US, Germany, France and Australia indices to name a few.

    We need to grasp all the risks to be wary of but not ignore price reaction. We always talk here about expect the unexpected and now that is front and center, gage the market’s reaction, the market is always right and that’s why we focus on the crowd psychology aspect.

    Unsuspecting investors in their millions have or will lose meaningful amounts of their savings. They bought into the mania, threw caution to the wind, and will suffer the consequences regardless of the warnings of unsustainability. The reason we started TradersCommunity was for situations like this many moons ago. Beware of those ‘experts’ who never saw the sell off and chided you for believing it now claim to be gurus measuring risk. It’s a bit late when some of these stocks and markets are down 50-90%. Beware of those who claim long term investment when it all goes wrong. Anyhoo..

    Our weekly reminder for risk, timely given the V shape to ATH in just a week. The downside is clear with the absence of moral hazard from repeated Federal Reserve market bailouts in an environment of some would say obscene liquidity pumps. Pure greed is the other part, not wanting to miss out. The obvious question is, how deeply ingrained is this attitude through the markets? How do we ween the markets off this continuous dip feed? At this point the Central Banks have kicked that answer down the road.

    PART A – Stock Markets

    Highlights – USA

    • S&P500 gained 1.9% (up 9.5% y-t-d),
    • Dow rose 2.2% (up 4.8%).
    • S&P 400 Midcaps jumped 2.2% (up 7.6%),
    • Small cap Russell 2000 increased 1.2% (up 1.6%).
    • Nasdaq100 gained 1.5% (up 7.9%).
    • Utilities jumped another 3.8% (up 13.1%).
    • Transports gained 1.6% (down 1.9%).
    • With bullion jumping $59, the HUI gold index surged 4.9% (up 12.4%).
    • Banks advanced 2.7% (up 10.4%),
    • Broker/Dealers added 1.1% (up 11.0%).
    • Semiconductors rallied 1.9% (up 15.1%).
    • Biotechs increased 0.6% (down 5.4%).
    Major US Stock Indices

    Highlights – Europe Stocks

    • U.K.’s FTSE equities index surged 2.7% (up 9.1% y-t-d).
    • France’s CAC40 jumped 3.3% (up 9.0%).
    • German DAX equities index surged 4.3% (up 12.1%).
    • Spain’s IBEX 35 equities index gained 2.3% (up 9.9%).
    • Italy’s FTSE MIB index jumped 3.1% (up 14.2%).

     Highlights – Asia Stocks

    • Japan’s Nikkei Equities Index was little changed (up 14.2% y-t-d)
    • South Korea’s Kospi index rose 1.9% (up 2.7%).
    • India’s Sensex equities index fell 1.6% (up 0.6%).
    • China’s Shanghai Exchange Index advanced 1.6% (up 6.0%).

     Highlights – Australian Stocks

    • Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries: Friday +0.4% to 7749.0 (+1.6% for the week).
    • NB: Record intraday of 7901.2 points, Record closing high 7896.9
    • Shares posted their fourth gain in five sessions on Friday, as rising oil prices on optimism about China’s economy pushed energy stocks higher.
    • Shares of Beach Energy jumped 4% to $1.69, Santos rallied 2.1% to $7.86 and Woodside gained 1.9% to $28.63.
    • ASX 200’s third straight week of gain as signs of a loosening in the US labour market stoked optimism around interest rate cuts this year.

     Highlights – Emerging Markets Stocks 

    • Brazil’s Bovespa index declined 0.7% (down 4.9%),
    • Mexico’s Bolsa index gained 1.0% (up 0.6%)
    • Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul National 100 index dipped 0.6% (up 36.8%).
    • Russia’s MICEX equities index added 0.2% (up 11.3%).

    Biggest SPX Stock Winners and Losers Last Week

    Technical Analysis 

    Technical Analysis of key markets via KnovaWave

    S&P 500

    Daily: We saw a violent ABC for the 5 waves up for SPX continue right into bottom of the median line to give us an (a) or C of a 4. with impulse after completing 5. Reversed hard with energy fueled from the power impulse down from near +1/8 ATH. On the way up (just like down) It accelerated after it broke the Tenkan through the rejected Kijun and then the Kijun to close back over the median and 8/8. Bulls this was a (ii) of a 5. Bears this is a a-b of a C off a completive V of degree. We watch if this low was a (iii), (a) or C. Will determine if sharp ABC completed off all time highs around +1/8. We have to respect the number of alternatives of degree of 5. With such trends keep it simple support is Tenkan and Kijun and watch for ABC. No fear is the driving element.

    Daily S&P 500 Flat Top Triangle

    The break up was from above the 200dma. The balance from sharp reversal after the initial 3 wave down from the SPX wave 5 extension as Covid19 fed impulse accelerated under the Tenkan. From there we had seen the ABC or 1-2-3 spinning around the 61.8% of the move. Support began at the October 2019 lows. A manic wave 5 or 3 of some degree was a resolution for the ages. Note the 100% extension from the emotive element and MM levels when the spit kicks in. A manic wave 5 or 3 of some degree was a resolution for the ages. Note the 100% extension from the emotive element and MM levels when the spit kicks in

    Weekly: The weekly shows us the reenergized SPX tripped in 3 to test recent break up at Tenkan from there we had had a powerful rally to ATH. Again notice what happened “Each new high has evolved after testing Tenkan key support which is the next line after Friday’s dump & minor bounce.” We watch for a spit of a spit Extensions are difficult to time, keep it simple.

    S&P500 Weekly Outlook

    Key for the impulse higher was the spit or retest of MM 8/8 and Tenkan San, which held with the previous highs and Tenkan.  To repeat  “We look for 3 waves down and reactions to keep it simple with the alternatives in the daily.”  Keep an eye on the put/call ratio with recognition to the sheer size of contracts AND keep in mind the stimulus distortion. The spit per channel fractal and Adams rule launched back over the cloud where we were encased AND we are back testing it. Watch if a spit or clear break support as Chikou rebalances

    Dow Jones

    DJIA Weekly

    NASDAQ 100

    Nasdaq move to ATH was after it broke and held the weekly Tenkan to see a spit of a spit fail which is completive of 5 of some degree with Chikou rebalancing. From there we sold off right to Tenkan (as did SPX) and bounced hard Support Tenkan to Kijun. Watch Chikou for divergence for continuation or failure. Divergence with Russell also a clue.

    NASDAQ Record Highs

    Russell 2000

    The small cap Russell RUT has been developing a large flag which it did a false break to fuel the selling from there we replicated to the down (Adam’s theory). Unlike SPX and NDX we could not get through Tenkan and Kijun which rejected the bounce. This is the index showing more of the fast money crowd and is trading like it. Closed right at the top of the cloud and at the channel. the flag. Needs to get traction in here for bulls. Support +1/8 through 7/8 (cloud base)

    Russell Index Negative Divergence to NASDAQ

    US Stocks Watch

    Investors (and algos) will focus on the conference calls and outlooks. Last quarter everyone expected the worse, we saw critical updates on production in coronavirus impacted regions and if there is extended halting of operations weighing on multi-nationals. 

    Microsoft MSFT

    Microsoft Weekly Shape

    NVidia $NVDA

    Following the announcement of NVDA 4/1 split some levels off the energy break NVidia hadn’t looked back with many gaps below until it hit the 2.618 target of the exhaustion phase. We saw another power move off the $200 retest (old $800) & earnings off $300 which retested. It is a clear leader of SOX SMH look for cues there and ABC failures for changes.

    Nvidia NVDA stock chart

    Apple $AAPL

    Apple gently motored up to new ATH over the massive $160 then $170 thru to $180 gamma level. These levels will be key energy levels. Support from previous highs, resistance now Fibs and Murrey Math levels. Remember the impact $AAPL has, at least short term on all the major indices.

    Apple AAPL Stock Chart

    Meta $META

    Exxon’s Market Value Tops Tesla’s as Oil Rises, EV Sales Slow

    • Tesla’s market value peaked at nearly $1 trillion over Exxon in November 2021
    • Exxon Mobil Corp. surpassed Tesla Inc. in market value for the first time in more than a year
    • Tesla down 41% this year after sales miss analysts’ estimates
    • Path to electrification may be slower than previously thought. Major players like Ford Motor Co. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. are reassessing their commitments to EVs as they grapple with slow market penetration.
    • Exxon has reversed a decade-long decline in oil production and is capitalizing on rising oil prices
    • Tesla’s shares had fallen to $147.05, a market capitalization of $469 billion.
    • Exxon’s shares has increased to $119.88, a market capitalization of $475 billion.

    Tesla $TSLA

    Exxon Mobil $XOM

    Exxon Stock Chart

    Part B: Bond Markets

    Highlights – Treasuries

    • U.S. Treasuries sideways with losses across the curve. University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment survey for May showed an increase in year-ahead inflation expectations to 3.5% from 3.2%.
    • This week’s underperformance in shorter tenors put some renewed pressure on the 2s10s spread, compressing it by six basis points to -37 bps.
    • Crude oil was little changed for the week while the U.S. Dollar Index rose 0.1% to 105.30 Friday, adding 0.2% for the week.
    • Total money market fund assets jumped $31.1bn to $6.032 TN. Money funds were up $723 billion, or 13.6%, y-o-y.
    • Total Commercial Paper added $8.4bn to $1.329 TN. CP was up $183bn, or 15.9%, over the past year.
    • 2-yr: +6 bps to 4.87% (+6 bps for the week)
    • 3-yr: +6 bps to 4.67% (+4 bps for the week)
    • 5-yr: +6 bps to 4.52% (+4 bps for the week)
    • 10-yr: +6 bps to 4.50% (UNCH for the week)
    • 30-yr: +4 bps to 4.65% (-1 bp for the week)

    “The primary US investment-grade corporate bond market logged its busiest first quarter on record, super-charged by investors clamoring for high yields before the Federal Reserve starts cutting interest rates. Blue-chip firms have capitalized on robust investor demand to borrow a record $529.5 billion this year through Wednesday, far outpacing the previous high of $479 billion in the first three months of 2020… Sales hit a record in January and February and March issuance of $142.2 billion has exceeded expectations.” March 28 – Bloomberg (Caleb Mutua)

    All good while markets hold up but take note that the loosest financial conditions in history have supported record corporate debt issuance. While easy credit availability has supported economic activity, funding new investment whilst keeping vulnerable companies afloat. The combination of urban shifts through virus and riots fears fueled a booming MBS market and record low mortgage rates pushing strong housing markets into Bubble risk territory. What we are seeing now is the same risk, on steroids is in the commercial real estate market (CRE).

    Fed Total Assets

    Highlights – Federal Reserve

    • Federal Reserve Credit declined $25.2bn last week to $7.318 TN.
    • Fed Credit was down $1.571 TN from the June 22nd, 2022, peak.
    • Over the past 243 weeks, Fed Credit expanded $3.592 TN, or 96%.
    • Fed Credit inflated $4.507 TN, or 160%, over the past 600 weeks.
    • Fed holdings for foreign owners of Treasury, Agency Debt increased $1.2bn last week to $3.356 TN.
    • “Custody holdings” were down $25.6 billion y-o-y, or 0.8%.

    Highlights – Mortgage Market

    • Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped 13 bps to 7.09% (up 66bps y-o-y).
    • Fifteen-year rates fell nine bps to 6.38% (up 63bps).
    • Bankrate’s survey of jumbo mortgage borrowing costs had 30-year fixed rates down five bps to 7.42% (up 55bps).

    We do know we have massive speculation pockets, viz a viz the Semi stocks and cryptocurrency mania in just the matter of weeks. The Fed is effectively throwing additional fuel on historic speculative manias. Central banks have been adding liquidity to avoid systematic failure.

    Highlights – European Bonds

    • Italian yields gained five bps to 3.86% (up 16bps y-t-d).
    • Greek 10-year yields rose seven bps to 3.54% (up 49bps).
    • Spain’s 10-year yields increased five bps to 3.31% (up 32bps).
    • German bund yields added two bps to 2.52% (up 49bps).
    • French yields gained three bps to 3.00% (up 44bps).
    • French to German 10-year bond spread widened one to 48 bps.
    • U.K. 10-year gilt yields fell six bps to 4.17% (up 63bps).

    Highlights – Asian Bonds

    • Japanese 10-year “JGB” yields added one basis point to 0.91% (up 30bps y-t-d).

    Part C: Commodities


    • Bloomberg Commodities Index gained 1.4% (up 4.2% y-t-d).
    • Spot Gold jumped 2.6% to $2,361 (up 14.4%).
    • Silver surged 6.1% to $28.18 (up 18.4%).
    • WTI crude increased 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $78.26 (up 9%).
    • Gasoline fell 2.2% (up 19%),
    • Natural Gas jumped 5.1% to $2.252 (down 10%).
    • Copper rose 2.3% (up 20%).
    • Wheat surged 6.6% (up 3.0%),
    • Corn gained 2.0% (down 3%).
    • Bitcoin dropped $1,940, or 3.1%, to $60,940 (up 43%).
    US Futures Performance W/E 5/10/24

    “Commodities will advance this year as central banks in the US and Europe move to reduce interest rates, helping to support industrial and consumer demand, according to Goldman Sachs… Raw materials may return 15% over 2024 as borrowing costs come down, manufacturing recovers, and geopolitical risks persist, analysts including Samantha Dart and Daan Struyven said…. Copper, aluminum, gold and oil products may climb, according to the bank, which also stressed the need for investors to be selective as gains wouldn’t be universal.” March 25 – Bloomberg (Yongchang Chin)

    BDI Freight Index

    • Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, a measure of global shipping costs, was up for the eighth consecutive session on Friday, rising 1% to an over three-week high of 1,919 points. The benchmark index gained about 11% for the week, notching its best performance in over seven weeks, propelled by all vessel segments.
    • The panamax index, which typically carries 60,000-70,000 tons of coal or grain cargo, advanced for the seventh straight day, up 2.1% to 1,916 points;
    • The supramax index increased 2.1% to 1,394 points.
    • The capesize index, known for transporting 150,000-ton cargoes like iron ore and coal, eased 6 points to 2,839 points.
    • Source: Baltic Exchange
    Baltic Dry Index Weekly


    “Copper briefly traded through $10,000 a ton as investors raised bets on Federal Reserve rate cuts, and Goldman Sachs… warned of intensifying supply stress. Metals joined a wider rally in risk assets after soft US jobs data triggered renewed speculation that the Fed will move to lower rates this year… The prospect of Fed easing is adding to tailwinds for copper as bulls predict further gains, with the world’s mines struggling to match growing demand.” May 7 – Bloomberg:

    Copper continued its rally after rebounding sharply off the 50wma pulled up by the flattening Tenkan and Kijun to close right at the channel break – a key juncture. HG shrugged off demand concerns from resurgence in Covid-19 supply disruptions. The power spits of +8/8 and +2/8 were rebalanced by the Tenkan breaking the Kijun with 50wma and cloud below. Copper had been a leader in the risk on movement for commodities.

    “Copper traded near $10,000 a ton, hitting a new two-year high on its way, as investors continue to pile in on a bet that miners will struggle to service a surge in demand for the bellwether industrial metal. Base metals have posted broad gains in recent weeks, and copper opened Monday with a fresh advance to $9,988 a ton. Signs of improvement in manufacturing activity from the US to China have buoyed metals…” April 22 – Bloomberg:

    “Industrial metals including copper and zinc have outperformed global stocks this year as signs of a revival in demand from Chinese manufacturers add to concerns over tighter global supply. An index tracking the performance of six industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange has climbed 8% since the start of 2024… The index, which also includes lead, aluminium, tin and nickel, has risen sharply this month…” April 10 – Financial Times (Stephanie Stacey)

    “Copper rallied to the highest in 14 months as investors flock to the bellwether industrial metal in response to rising supply risks and hopes for a global recovery in demand. Prices climbed as much 1.5% on Thursday after dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell added impetus to a rally that began in early February on fast-mounting risks to supply. Disruptions at major mines have left smelters paying historically steep prices to get hold of mined ore, and Chinese plants — which produce more than half of the world’s refined copper — are moving closer to implementing a joint output cut in response.” April 4 – Bloomberg (Mark Burton and Annie Lee)

    Copper Futures Outlook


    • “Chinese buyers, spooked by a protracted property slump and a recent stock-market rout, are rushing toward gold as economic uncertainty looms… Gold consumption in China rose 5.94% from a year earlier to 308.91 tons in the first quarter, the state-backed China Gold Association said… Meanwhile, China’s imports of gold raw materials surged 78% in the same period, helping the country’s total gold output to jump 21.16%… In January-March, Chinese buyers’ purchase of gold bars and coins rose 26.77% to 106.32 tons, amounting to around a third of total consumption.” Wall Street Journal:
    • Gold hit an all-time record last month week helped by China’s central bank (PBOC) buying for its reserves for a 17th straight month in March. Bullion held by the People’s Bank of China rose to 72.74 million fine troy ounces last month, according to official data released Sunday.
    • Precious metals were the stellar performer in the commodities arena in Q1. Gold surged $167, or 8.1%, to an all-time high $2,230. Silver jumped 4.9% to $24.96.
    • Central bank buying has also been a significant driver of its strength since 2022. Global central banks, led by China and India, continued adding to their gold reserves in February, marking a ninth straight month of growth, according to the World Gold Council.
    • China’s official reserve assets rose to the highest since November 2015. The country’s foreign exchange reserves rose to $3.2457 trillion by the end of March, the highest since December 2021, as the central bank aims to maintain stable holdings to fend off risks. They rose 0.6% from February and were up 1.9% from a year earlier.
    Gold Weekly Outlook


    US Crude Oil (WTI)

    Daily: WTI Crude Oil has continued to rally since retesting the pennant breakout last December after completing the correction in 3 waves. From there it broke the pennant and retested to continue to retest the breakdown last October to break above those descending levels for higher. We are in a completive mode for bulls with this impulse, it’s a question of degree on the topside, use the Murrey math 240/60 grid. Completing a C or IV? Support is previous lows and the bull flag. The bear case is the high was a complete 5.

    WTI Weekly KnovaWave Shape

    Weekly: WTI crude oil futures held the support line from July 2021, having plunged around 50% off 2022 highs. It has broken to the topside of its sphere of influence to close out the quarter over Kijun and Tenkan which are now support. WTI completed 3 waves and powered through the tenkan and 50wma, h and held the retest. Risk support is the grid. Resistance weekly channel, Murrey Math levels and previous breaks (off monthly). Bear case is Wave 5 complete.

    What we broke……. Crude Oil in the past quarter built a huge bull flag. We watch if the recent break was false, or we fail. Very clear pattern.

    WTI Daily KnovaWave

    The key is crowd behavior to help tell the story which in energy is often around geopolitics. A great example of why we watch ABC corrections and from here we get the energy from the break being balanced. This move that was powered by 50 dma Tenkan spit of a spit – hence the fractal energies reverberations.

    US Natural Gas (Henry Hub)

    Daily: US Natural Gas futures are a great example of rebalancing mania. The market is still correcting the manic 5 post the Ukraine invasion and beyond. Since the breakdown of the correction channel with failed breakups we have continued to multi year lows in a pennant formation after holding the daily 1/8. We now look at our Adam’s theory fractal rules with fractal spits powering these moves lower. Two clear alternatives, we are correcting the highs 5 or that was a 3 and we go higher. Resistance is heavy: 2/8 and cloud above. Kijun, 50 dma and cloud. Support is previous lows. Important to watch how this energy was built for shape correlation.

    US Natural Gas KnovaWave Daily Grid

    Like the larger wave on the way up it accelerated through previous highs (flat topped triangle energy) and over the resistance at 8/8 and new highs. We successfully tested that break in a pennant ABC. Previous highs (flat topped triangle energy) and 8/8 and new highs underscore the structure that fed the move and is key longer term in the collapse lower.

    Weekly: Natural gas still correcting the past month when blew through all levels of support after breaking the weekly 50wma and the Kijun gave a kiss of death. From there we Broke down out of the corrective channel (Wave 4 or IV) to new multi-year lows. This week we closed right at the weekly Kijun and 1/8. around the 50wma and tenkan in the cloud. The instability stems from the sharp reversals that have failed indicative of speculative fervor like the previous impulsive spikes. Support is the 1/8 Sphere. Bulls need all the damage down to be rebuilt. Kijun is major resistance given energy higher came from a clean break of the Kijun.

    US Natural Gas KnovaWave Weekly Grid

    Part D: Forex Markets

    John Maynard Keynes, 1920: “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

    The Yen Volatility Continues as Expected:

    The dollar yen traded two Monday’s ago at 160.17, the first time above 160 since April 1990. The yen rallied swiftly to 154.54 after intervention. The Japanese currency had weakened back to 157.94 by Wednesday, before a second round of intervention pushed the dollar/yen down to 153. It was back above 156 on Thursday, before reversing lower to end last week at 153.05. From high to low, it was a range of 5%. This week the downside resumed the Japanese yen declined 1.8%.

    Yen weakness is providing key support to dollar melt-up dynamics with BOJ slow-motion “normalization” in a world of fast-moving dynamics. Bank of Japan left rates unchanged at zero to 0.1% at its Friday policy meeting and maintained its bond-buying program, pushing out the anticipated shift to QT reiterating that conditions would remain easy. The BOJ boosted its forecast of core CPI for the year from 2.4% to 2.8%.

    Governor Kazuo Ueda basically ceded the yen fragility issue to the Ministry of Finance (MOF), affirming Friday it wasn’t in the BOJ’s purview. He conveyed little concern for yen weakness, while downplaying its inflationary impact. The market accordingly took the yen out to the woodshed. The Japanese currency smashed 1.7% in Friday trading to 158.33 to the dollar, the low all the way back to May 1990. From 151.76 to 158.33 in 13 sessions.

    Market concerns are mounting that currency instability is about to intensify. Oil prices off their highs but stay bid soared as war drums continued to beat with Russia over the Ukraine and Israel and Iran going at it.

    We began the week with Month-to-date currency losses:

    • Japanese yen’s 4.0%,
    • Philippine peso’s 2.5%,
    • Indonesian rupiah’s 2.2%,
    • South Korean won’s 2.0%,
    • Taiwanese dollar’s 1.8%,
    • Thai baht’s 1.5%.

    Bonds have been under intense pressure throughout the region.

    • Indonesian local currency bond yields surged 15 bps this week to 7.14%. Yields have spiked 47 bps this month, and now approach the multi-year high from the October spike (7.26%).
    • Philippine (dollar) bond yields added five bps this week (5.51%), increasing the April yield spike to 57 bps.
    • Yields are 31 bps higher this month in Singapore (3.38%), 27 bps in South Korea (3.67%), 20 bps in Thailand (2.73%), and 15 bps in Malaysia (3.99%).


    In the first quarter the dollar rode high against almost every major currency. We saw central banks, from Japan, China and India intervene, or consider intervening, to bolster their currencies. The yen in view of USDJPY 152 and the yuan struggling to break back below 7.2 USDCNH officials have stepped up efforts to stem any further depreciation.

    In Japan it’s been verbal warnings, in China it has been state banks buying yuan and selling dollars.
    Remember these two are major competitors for export dollars. With that there’s a school of thought that Beijing could have grown more tolerant of a weak yuan to maintain its competitive edge against the yen.

    Japan’s predicament is a major issue. Yet the sustainability of China’s currency peg might be the elephant in the market. The yen has devalued 11.3% versus the renminbi over the past year, with the Indonesian rupiah down 4.3%, the Thai baht 3.2%, and the Malaysian ringgit 2.2%.

    With China’s apartment Bubble deflation gaining further momentum, Beijing faces huge challenges to attain growth mandates. Maintaining competitiveness for China’s massive export sector will be a top priority. Especially with its archrival’s economy and stock market booming, Beijing is resorting to increasingly desperate measures to hold Bubble deflation at bay. According to Bloomberg, “China’s sovereign wealth fund likely bought at least $43 billion of onshore exchange-traded funds in the first quarter” – and this was only a portion of enormous “national team” market support.

    Beijing used to claim they had studied and learned from Japan’s Bubble experience. Chinese officials later criticized U.S. and “western” central banks for adopting inflationary QE measures. Well, look who’s now talking central bank bond buying.

    April 22 – Bloomberg: “China’s Ministry of Finance said it supports allowing the central bank to buy and sell government bonds, reaffirming a comment by President Xi Jinping that ignited market speculation about a change of monetary strategy. The ministry called for stepping up coordination between fiscal and monetary policy and ‘improving the mechanisms of base money injection and money supply adjustment,’ in an article written by a study group and published by the People’s Daily… It was based on a recent book that compiled Xi’s statements about finance and economics. In that text, Xi was quoted as saying that the People’s Bank of China should gradually increase the buying and selling of government bonds in open-market operations.”

    As Beijing pushes ever harder to sustain its Bubble Economy and thwart systemic debt crisis, the world is watching. Ongoing massive Credit growth ensures an only greater debacle, while Beijing directives are bringing new meaning to “malinvestment.” Importantly, this is not the good old days when perceptions of a great and infallible Beijing meritocracy had global analysts – and rating agencies – reverent and inhibited. The bloom is off the rose, and skepticism is these days palpable.

    April 24 – CNBC (Evelyn Cheng): “China’s state-directed economy may be creating the conditions for a new wave of bond defaults that could come as soon as next year, according to an S&P Global Ratings report… It would be the third round of corporate defaults in about a decade, the ratings agency pointed out. It comes against a backdrop of extremely few defaults in China amid concerns about overall growth in the world’s second-largest economy. ‘The real thing to watch for policymakers is whether the current directives are creating distorted incentives in the economy,’ Charles Chang, greater China country lead at S&P Global Ratings, said…”

    • For the week the U.S. Dollar Index increased 0.3% to 105.301 (up 3.9% y-t-d).
    • On the upside, the Mexican peso increased 1.2%, the South African rand 0.4%, the Norwegian krone 0.3%, the New Zealand dollar 0.2%, the Canadian dollar 0.1% and the euro 0.1%. The Chinese (onshore) renminbi increased 0.20% versus the dollar (down 1.76% y-t-d).
    • On the downside, the Japanese yen declined 1.8%, the Brazilian real 1.7%, the South Korean won 0.4%, the Singapore dollar 0.4%, the Swedish krona 0.2%, the British pound 0.2%, the Swiss franc 0.1% and the Australian dollar 0.1%.

     Australian Dollar – AUDUSD

    The Aussie dollar is still correcting since completing a 5 at the pysch 80 level to fall under the weekly cloud in emotive fashion. The Australian dollar fell to test of the August lows of 0.7106 with Omicron fears. Should that double bottom go support ia the Murrey Math Levels. Resistance the Cloud, Tenkan and Kijun like many commodities.

    Australian Dollar KnovaWave Weekly Outlook

    Japanese Yen – USDJPY

    USDJPY broke above after weakness with Treasury yields to rush to +2/8 and channel convergence, we have come a long way from that 108.00 massive support for dollar-yen back to test the top of the flat-topped triangle at 151/152. Any change will come from the weekly Kijun. Use your USDJPY Murrey 7/8 8/8 grid for now. EURJPY AUDJPY will determine risk on/off.

    Japanese Yen v Dollar KnovaWave Weekly Outlook

    “The United States, Japan and South Korea agreed to ‘consult closely’ on foreign exchange markets in their first trilateral finance dialogue on Wednesday, acknowledging concerns from Tokyo and Seoul over their currencies’ recent sharp declines. The rare warning from the three countries’ finance chiefs came as receding expectations of a near-term U.S. interest rate cut pushed the yen to 34-year lows, keeping markets on alert on the chance of an intervention by Japan to prop up the currency.” April 17 – Reuters (Saqib Iqbal Ahmed)

    Chinese Yuan – USDCNH

    “Chinese businesses are hoarding dollars because they expect their own currency to weaken, and that in turn is exacerbating a slide in the yuan… This feedback loop has been playing out for months in mainland currency markets, spurred on by the dollar’s rising yield. Foreign exchange deposits have climbed $53.7 billion since September to $832.6 billion… Analysts say one of two things needs to happen to end the downward spiral: the Federal Reserve needs to make deep rate cuts or the yuan needs to hit some form of a trough. Both seem distant.” April 17 – Reuters

    China manages its currency onshore by setting a daily reference rate against the dollar at 9:15 a.m. local time, around which it is then permitted to trade in a 2% range. The PBOC has kept the daily rate in such a tight range this year that a gauge of volatility in the fixing has dropped to the lowest since before the shock yuan devaluation of 2015.

    Canadian Dollar – USDCAD

    The Loonie is holding the Tenkan after a 3 year high in June and corrected that in 3 waves led by the AUD and NZD with oil price impacting direction. Watch flat Kijun and Tenkan at 8/8. Use Fibs for support and resistance.

    Canadian Dollar KnovaWave Weekly Outlook

    Mexico Peso – USDMXN

    “‘Super Peso’ Slides as Middle East Risk Threatens Carry Trade”: “The Mexican peso slumped the most in four years, as increasing conflict in the Middle East sapped demand for the currency that has been one of the favorite targets for carry trades. The peso tumbled more than 6% against the dollar as news began to filter through Friday of an Israel retaliatory strike on Iran, in what some in the market described as a ‘flash crash.’ The currency had climbed to the strongest in almost nine years last month, driven by relatively high local interest rates and low currency volatility.” Bloomberg (Marcus Wong)

    USDMXN KnovaWave Weekly Outlook

    Euro – EURUSD

    Euro continues to bump up against that downtrend line from 2020 and spinning around the 50% of that year’s panic sell. The euro trades in what seems like eternal flags in the channel. We watch if Kijun (pink) testing Tenkan (orange) creates any impulse as EURUSD consolidates at the cloud. Watch 3 waves to see development for continuation. Watch for impulse off Chikou rebalance. Again governed by EURGBP and Bund volatility.  

    Euro KnovaWave Weekly Outlook

    British Pound – USDGBP

    British pound classic retest of daily cloud break with magnet pulls of cloud twist after ABC correction – will need Tenkan to break through Kijun for more strength. The upcoming month will be heavy on UK data and election speculation which could mean an eventful time for the British pound.

    British Pound KnovaWave Weekly Outlook


    Crypto Q1 24 Highlights

    • Bitcoin surged 64% during the quarter,
    • Ethereum gained 53%
    • Binance Coin soared 95%.
    • Having started trading on January 11th, the iShares Bitcoin ETF rose 52%.

    Bitcoin is performing technically to perfection. Impulse begets impulse. To understand panic, understand greed. Bitcoin exploded higher following its correction impulsively upon completing 5 waves up at +2/8. Each Tenkan and Kijun tap saw an explosive kiss of death until we completed 3 waves to around 28,000. From there we have seen extreme volatility to a new record high and retest.

    Bitcoin KnovaWave Weekly Outlook

    We have seen what you would expect from a 5-wave impulse peak and ABC correction, a violent correction and completion. Use Murrey Math levels for corrections and targets as algorithms control the herd here, support is the cloud and sharp ABC, 1-2 moves. From there prices agitated towards those ATHs as news of a Bitcoin ETF fueled the rally, sound familiar? But this time it wasn’t signaling we are in a 3 high probability but a 5.

    On the Risk Radar

    Akio Morita mistakes

     Geopolitical Tinderbox Radar

    The Week Ahead – Have a Trading Plan

    Watch EarningsCentral Bankers and Geopolitics speeches, reports and rate moves.

    Next Week’s Risk Dashboard

    • US households have plenty of excess savings and high liquidity
    • Canadian households are in even better shape on both counts
    • Another warm US core CPI reading?
    • Fed’s Powell speaks pre-CPI
    • US retail sales face a tough act to follow
    • Light Canadian updates on tap
    • Australian jobs and wages may inform RBA pricing
    • Chinese, Japanese economies in focus
    • Have Mexican wages caught up to the minimum wage hike?
    • Mexico’s Morena party is still polling strongly ahead of June 2nd election
    • Colombian economic growth probably picked up
    • Peruvian GDP growth to soften
    • PBOC expected to stay on hold
    • BSP is also expected to stay on hold
    • Other Global macro reports

        US Economic Highlights

        • Monday: New York Fed one-year inflation expectations, April (3% previously)
        • Tuesday: April NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (prior 88.5) at 6:00 ET; April PPI (prior 0.2%) and Core PPI (prior 0.2%) at 8:30 ET
        • Wednesday: Weekly MBA Mortgage Index (prior 2.6%) at 7:00 ET; April CPI (prior 0.4%), Core CPI (prior 0.4%), April Retail Sales (prior 0.7%), Retail Sales ex-auto (prior 1.1%), and May Empire State Manufacturing Index (prior -14.3) at 8:30 ET; March Business Inventories (prior 0.4%) and May NAHB Housing Market Index (prior 51) at 10:00 ET; weekly crude oil inventories (prior -1.36 mln) at 10:30 ET; and March net long-term TIC flows (prior $71.5 bln) at 16:00 ET
        • Thursday: Weekly Initial Claims (prior 231,000), Continuing Claims (prior 1.785 mln), April Housing Starts (prior 1.321 mln), Building Permits (prior 1.458 mln), April Import/Export Prices, and May Philadelphia Fed survey (prior 15.5) at 8:30 ET; April Industrial Production (prior 0.4%) and Capacity Utilization (prior 78.4%) at 9:15 ET; and weekly natural gas inventories (prior +79 bcf) at 10:30 ET
        • Friday: April Leading Indicators (prior -0.3%) at 10:00 ET

        Bond market Highlights

        • Monday: 
        • Tuesday: 
        • Wednesday:
        • Thursday: 

        Central Bank Highlights

        There will be no shortage of central bank speak this week. but just two central bank decision on the docket and neither of them is expected to deliver change.

        • Federal Reserve Chair Powell speaks on Tuesday ahead of the following day’s CPI update. He will be on a panel with ECB Governing Council and President of the Dutch central bank, Klaas Knot, perhaps best said slowly. No topic has been offered by the apparently secretive Dutch Foreign Bankers’ Association. We’ll also hear from several regional Fed presidents mostly later in the week after CPI and so what they say might matter more to markets.
        • ECB speakers throughout the back half of the week as the key June 6th ECB meeting draws closer.
        • Bank of England officials will also reach for the mic (Pill, Greene, Mann), but are unlikely to raise many eyebrows coming after this past week’s BoE decision.
        • PBOC— The People’s Bank of China is widely expected to remain on hold on Tuesday evening (eastern time as always in this publication). The 1-year Medium-Term Lending Facility Rate is expected to hold at 2.5%. The PBOC is dealing with very low inflation at 0.1% y/y and poised for an updated shortly after this publication will be sent, but easing monetary policy while the Federal Reserve’s rate cuts are being tamped down and pushed out could destabilize the yuan and Chinese financial markets.
        • BSP— Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to hold its overnight borrowing rate unchanged at 6.5% on Thursday. It has been on hold since October partly because the peso has depreciated since March as the Federal Reserve’s rate cuts began to be repriced.

          US Earnings Highlights

          The S&P 500 trades at 20.7 times its estimated earnings for the next 12 months, near a more than two-year high of 21.2 hit in late March, according to LSEG Datastream at a time when elevated yields on Treasuries bolster the attractiveness of bonds.

          92% of the S&P 500 is done reporting first quarter earnings, the index is pacing for its highest year-over-year earnings growth since the second quarter of 2022. As of Friday afternoon, the S&P 500 is on pace for earnings growth of 5.4% in the first quarter, notably above the 3.2% expected entering bank earnings in early April.

          Analysts expected to see earnings growth of 5% in the first quarter, according to LSEG data. That would be the lowest since the second quarter of 2023. They expect margins to be squeezed by high interest rates, rising commodity costs, and falling corporate pricing power due to slowing inflation. Earnings grew by 10.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023.

          A big week for earnings ahead lad by Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), and Alibaba (BABA) as earnings season slows down.

          The earnings season is mixed as the earnings beat ratio remains high, but the revenue beat ratio is a coin-toss and other earnings details by sector and company have been highly variable. via ScotiaBank

          • Monday starts us off with BuzzFeed (BZFD), Petrobras (PBR), Stone (STNE), Tencent Music Entertainment (TME)
          • Tuesday includes Alibaba (BABA), Home Depot (HD), Canoo (GOEV), Rumble (RUM), Sony (SONY),
          • Wednesday Includes Cisco (CSCO), Dole (DOLE), (MNDY), Super League (SLE)
          • Thursday includes Walmart (WMT), Applied Materials (AMAT), Baidu (BIDU), (JD), John Deere (DE), Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), Under Armour (UAA)
          • Friday includes No notable earnings.

          US IPO Week Ahead

          Listings are currently scheduled for the week ahead.

          • One IPO is currently scheduled for the week ahead, though some small issuers may join the calendar late.
          • Games Global (GGL) plans to raise $254 million at a $2.0 billion market cap. The company develops and distributes casino-style gaming content, as well as provides B2B solutions to online gaming operators. Its 40 in-house and partnered studios have developed more than 1,300 games over the past 20 years, all of which are now part of its portfolio. The company is profitable and growing, though its revenue has been concentrated to one customer.

          Focus on yourself and what YOU CAN INFLUENCE, set your trading plan and goals in be set for 2024. One suspects it will be a yearlong Groundhog Day for Biden, Trump, the GOP and the Democrats.  Throw on top of that Russia/Ukraine Israel/Gaza and China/Taiwan.

          Trade Smart!

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          Focus on yourself and what YOU CAN INFLUENCE, set your trading plan and goals in be set for 2022.

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