U.S. Stocks Extend Sell-Off As Treasury Yields Surge After Retail Sales Data

Following the steep drop seen last Friday, stocks showed another substantial move to the downside over the course of the trading session on Monday. The major averages moved notably higher early in the session but pulled back sharply as the day progressed.

The major averages all closed firmly in the red, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a particularly steep drop. The Nasdaq plunged 290.08 points or 1.8 percent to 15,885.02, the S&P 500 tumbled 61.59 points or 1.2 percent to 5,061.82 and the Dow slid 248.13 points or 0.7 percent to 37,735.11.

With the extended slump, the Dow fell to a nearly three-month closing low, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hit their lowest closing levels in almost two months.

The early strength on Wall Street partly reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Goldman Sachs (GS), as the investment banking company reported first quarter earnings that far exceeded analyst estimates on better than expected revenues.

Traders also initially reacted positively to a Commerce Department report showing much stronger than expected U.S. retail sales growth in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said retail sales climbed by 0.7 percent in March after advancing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in February.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a pullback by sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales jumped by 1.1 percent in March after climbing by 0.6 percent in February. Ex-auto sales were expected to rise by 0.4 percent.

Buying interest evaporated shortly after the start of trading, however, as the retail sales data triggered another spike by treasury yields.

The yield on the benchmark ten-year note surged to its highest levels in five months, as the data led to renewed concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

Following the latest data, CME Group's FedWatch Tool is currently indicating just a 21.6 percent chance of a quarter point rate cut in June.

"The robust gain in retail sales in March followed by upward revisions in the prior two months shows the consumer continues to power the overall economy forward," said Nationwide Chief Economist Kathy Bostjancic.

However, she added, "The lack of moderation in consumer spending and inflation will undermine Fed officials' confidence that inflation is on a sustainable course back to 2% and likely delays rate cuts to September at the earliest and could push off rate reductions to next year."

Sector News

Software stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index down by 2.4 percent to its lowest closing level in almost two months.

Considerable weakness also emerged among networking stocks, as reflected by the 2.0 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Networking Index. The index tumbled to a four-month closing low.

Interest rate-sensitive commercial real estate stocks also saw significant weakness, with the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index falling by 1.7 percent.

Computer hardware, housing and biotechnology stocks also came under pressure over the courses of the session, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index both slid by 0.7 percent, although China's Shanghai Composite Index bucked the downtrend and jumped by 1.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved sharply lower in reaction to the retail sales data. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, surged 12.9 basis points to a five-month closing high of 4.628 percent.

Looking Ahead

Reports on housing starts and industrial production may attract attention on Tuesday along with remarks by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

On the earnings front, Bank of America (BAC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Morgan Stanley (MS) and UnitedHealth (UNH) are among the companies due to report their quarterly results before the start of trading.

BRICS: JP Morgan Issues Major US Financial Warning -Watcher.Guru


by Vinod Dsouza

Leading investment bank JP Morgan has issued a major financial warning that could affect the US economy this year. The CEO Jamie Dimon told investors on Monday that he believes the US economy will be affected by forces from outside of America. The JP Morgan CEO explained that he worries about geopolitical events including the Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the BRICS de-dollarization agenda to create an economic risk on the US markets.

“These significant and somewhat unprecedented forces cause us to remain cautious,” said JP Morgan CEO Dimon.

Dimon stressed that America’s global leadership is being challenged by developing countries including the SCO bloc, ASEAN group, and BRICS. The CEO of JP Morgan said that while BRICS and other countries are looking to uproot the US dollar, the polarized electorate in America is causing further division. He called the development a “great crisis” that threatens free Western enterprises.

The comments from Dimon were made in the Annual Shareholder Letter this year. “America’s global leadership role is being challenged outside by other nations and inside by our polarized electorate,” he said. The JP Morgan head hinted that BRICS will not be the only alliance that kick-starts the de-dollarization agenda. He urged that the US must put aside all differences and work closely with developing countries.


The President's Working Group on Financial Markets

known colloquially as the Plunge Protection Team, or "(PPT)" was created by Executive Order 12631,[1] signed on March 18, 1988, by United States President Ronald Reagan.

As established by the executive order, the Working Group has three purposes and functions:

"(a) Recognizing the goals of enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of our Nation's financial markets and maintaining investor confidence, the Working Group shall identify and consider:

(1) the major issues raised by the numerous studies on the events in the financial markets surrounding October 19, 1987, and any of those recommendations that have the potential to achieve the goals noted above; and
(2) the actions, including governmental actions under existing laws and regulations (such as policy coordination and contingency planning), that are appropriate to carry out these recommendations.
(b) The Working Group shall consult, as appropriate, with representatives of the various exchanges, clearinghouses, self-regulatory bodies, and with major market participants to determine private sector solutions wherever possible.
(c) The Working Group shall report to the President initially within 60 days (and periodically thereafter) on its progress and, if appropriate, its views on any recommended legislative changes."

Plunge Protection Team
"Plunge Protection Team" was originally the headline for an article in The Washington Post on February 23, 1997, and has since been used by some as an informal term to refer to the Working Group. Initially, the term was used to express the opinion that the Working Group was being used to prop up the stock markets during downturns.[5 Financial writers for British newspapers The Observer and The Daily Telegraph, along with U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, writers Kevin Phillips (who claims "no personal firsthand knowledge" and John Crudele,[8] have charged the Working Group with going beyond their legal mandate.[failed verification] Charles Biderman, head of TrimTabs Investment Research, which tracks money flow in the equities market, suspected that following the 2008 financial crisis the Federal Reserve or U.S. government was supporting the stock market. He stated that "If the money to boost stock prices did not come from the traditional players, it had to have come from somewhere else" and "Why not support the stock market as well? Moreover, several officials have suggested the government should support stock prices."

In August 2005, Sprott Asset Management released a report that argued that there is little doubt that the PPT intervened to protect the stock market.[10] However, these articles usually refer to the Working Group using moral suasion to attempt to convince banks to buy stock index futures.

Former Federal Reserve Board member Robert Heller, in the Wall Street Journal, opined that "Instead of flooding the entire economy with liquidity, and thereby increasing the danger of inflation, the Fed could support the stock market directly by buying market averages in the futures market, thereby stabilizing the market as a whole." Author Kevin Phillips wrote in his 2008 book Bad Money that while he had no interest "in becoming a conspiracy investigator", he nevertheless drew the conclusion that "some kind of high-level decision seems to have been reached in Washington to loosely institutionalize a rescue mechanism for the stock market akin to that pursued...to safeguard major U.S. banks from exposure to domestic and foreign loan and currency crises." Phillips infers that the simplest way for the Working Group to intervene in market plunges would be through buying stock market index futures contracts, either in cooperation with major banks or through trading desks at the U.S. Treasury or Federal Reserve.

 What is the Plunge Protection Team?

(PPT) is an informal term for the Working Group on Financial Markets. The working group was created in 1988 by then U.S President Ronald Reagan following the infamous October 1987 Black Monday crash. It was formed to re-establish consumer confidence and take steps to achieve economic and market stability in the aftermath of the market crash. The U.S president consults with the team during times of economic uncertainty and turbulence in the markets.

The Working Group on Financial Markets’ informal name “Plunge Protection Team” was coined and popularized by The Washington Post in 1997.

What does the Plunge Protection Team Do?

The Plunge Protection Team was initially formed to advise the president and regulatory agencies on countering the negative impacts of the stock market crash of 1987. However, the team has continued to report to various presidents since that stock market crash and has met various U.S presidents on important financial matters over the years.

The team was believed to be behind the rally in the stock market shortly after a hefty drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) on February 05, 2018. As per some market observers, after the plunge, the market made a smart recovery in the following days, which may have been a result of heavy buying by the Plunge Protection Team.

Who is on the plunge protection team?

The PPT several top government economic and financial officials. The Secretary of the Treasury heads the group, while the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, are also part of the team.

Why is the PPT secretive?

The Plunge Protection Team’s meetings or activities aren’t covered by the media, which gives rise to speculations and conspiracy theories about the team. The probable reason behind the secretive nature of its activities is that it reports only to the president. Some observers opine that the team’s role is not only limited to giving recommendations to the president; rather, the team intervenes in the market and artificially props up stock prices.

Critics claim that the members connive with big banks and profit from stock markets by carrying out trades on different stock exchanges when prices decline. They then artificially prop up the prices as part of their market stabilization efforts and profit from their transactions.

When does/have the PPT meet?

Although very little has come out in the mainstream media about the group’s activities, there have been some instances when the team’s meetings were reported. For example, in 1999, the team proposed to congress to incorporate some changes in the derivatives markets regulations. The last reported meeting of the group, at the time of this writing in June 2022, was in December 2018 when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin headed the teleconference with the group’s members. Representatives from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Comptroller of the Currency also attended the meeting.

Before the teleconference that took place on December 24, 2018, the S&P 500 and the DJIA had been under pressure for the whole month. But after Christmas, the DJIA and the S&P 500 both recovered and reversed most of the losses in the next few days. Conspiracy theorists attribute the recovery and gains in the indices to the intervention by the Plunge Protection Team.

Final Thoughts

The Working Group on Financial Markets serves an important function: to advise the president on financial markets and economic affairs. Because the exact nature of the group’s activities or recommendations haven't been made public, some critics of the group blame the group for market intervention and artificially propping up stocks’ prices. However, some market observers believe that the team’s quiet activities are excused as it reports directly to the president.

The Exchange Stabilization Fund protects the FED.   

We already know the FED is lying that raising interest rates will reduce price inflation. The Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) is an emergency reserve account that can be used by the U.S. Department of Treasury to mitigate instability in various financial sectors, including credit, securities, and foreign exchange markets. The U.S. Exchange Stabilization Fund was established at the Treasury Department by a provision in the Gold Reserve Act of 1934.


Gold market manipulation: Why, how, and how long? (2021 edition)










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