As if the OMICRON Hysteria evaporated, and there were no new lockdowns, travel restriction, vax mandates, protests and other COVID War 2.0 battles being fought, yesterday, the U.S. equities snapped back with the hope that the OMICRON will be a mild variant.
The S&P 500 gained back nearly all its losses of last week, the Dow jumped 650 and the Nasdaq climbed 0.9 percent.
And despite the travel bans and restrictions being imposed, the biggest gainers in the S&P yesterday were travel and entertainment stocks.
In fact, despite 10 passengers aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship approaching New Orleans testing positive for COVID-19, and the ship, according to company officials, “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel,” the Cruise Line stocks jumped up nearly 10 percent.
Operating in a world outside of reality, with the belief that energy demand will increase as lockdown fears recede, the energy sector was the third best performer in the S&P’s 11 sectors.
Today was more of the same. “Reassessing the OMICRON risk” equites across the globe moved higher, while in the U.S. the Dow jumped 492 points, the S&P moved up 95 points and the Nasdaq spiked 3.03% percent.
TREND FORECAST: Also easing pressure on the economy—and the worker shortage of those who are employed by companies that President Joe Biden had mandated to get vaxxed, but refuse—the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia told Biden he exceed his authority and to halt enforcement “in all covered contracts in any state or territory of the United States of America.”
Repeating what we had long forecast, the court said, the mandate is “costly, laborious and likely to result in a reduction in available members of the workforce.”
This indeed was a positive note to push equities higher, but with the long list of COVID War 2.0 restrictions in place across much of the globe, and people living in fear—masked-up indoors and out—many economic sectors that we identified will continue to decline.
GOLD/SILVER: Both precious metals continue to trade in the near low-ranges they have been moving in-and-out of over the past few months. We maintain our forecast that as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and the dollar gets stronger, both precious metal prices will stay in their current ranges and slide a bit lower. Today gold was up $7.50 closing at $1,786 per ounce and silver was up 1.16 percent closing at $22.48 per ounce.
TREND FORECAST: As we note in this and previous Trends Journals, the economy cannot run without cheap money. Thus, as a result of the cheap money drying up when interest rates go up, the economy and equity markets will sharply decline… which will in turn strongly drive up precious metals and cryptocurrency prices as investors seek safe haven assets.
OIL: Last week oil prices tanked over fears of the new OMICRON variant and that the vaccines that were sold to the public a year ago of having a 96 percent efficacy rate (which is now down to 39 percent according to the Israel Health Ministry) were even less effective against the new variant.
Brent crude had dropped some $17 from its October high closing the week at around $69 per barrel.
But now, despite new travel restrictions and fear spreading among the general population that they will catch the OMICRON variant and die, oil prices have sharply rebounded. In part, what brought them up is America’s anointed “top infectious disease official,” Anthony Fauci, telling CNN yesterday that the new variant “does not look like there’s a great degree of severity” so far.”
So, “so far” was good enough to drive equities and commodity prices higher.
Also, on Sunday, Saudi Arabia raised its monthly crude prices, and expectations that there will be no nuclear deal with Iran, so they will not be pumping more oil into the market, also helped push prices higher.
Today, Brent Crude was up 2.25 percent closing at $74.95 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate rose 2.85 percent to close at $71.45 per barrel.
Even though oil prices are down some $10 from October highs… the higher oil prices move, the higher inflation will rise.
TREND FORECAST: Keeping the tensions rising, the United States, following the latest failure to strike a nuclear deal with Tehran, hit Iran with more sanctions today for “serious” human rights abuses.
And on Saturday, Iran’s main nuclear-enrichment plant was reportedly hit with an explosion that shook the area. “Is third sabotage the charm at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility?” headlined the Jerusalem Post.
Should tensions continue to escalate and military conflict erupt between Iran and Israel, oil prices will spike to the $100 per barrel range, which in turn will have a devastating impact on equities and economies globally. (See “ISRAEL KEEPS BOMBING SYRIA.”)
BITCOIN: When equities got hit last week over fear of the OMICRON variant, Bitcoin got hit hard. On Friday it was selling for around $55K but fell to $42,300 on Saturday. It bounced up from its lows and is now trading in the $50.7K range.
TREND FORECAST: We maintain our GSB—Gold, Silver, Bitcoin—forecast that all three will maintain and then pass their current and previous highs when interest rates rise, equity markets sharply fall and the economies sink into Dragflation: Declining Gross Domestic Product and rising inflation.
We also maintain that a major factor in forecasting the future price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies is dependent upon government regulations. However, that threat in the U.S. and Europe will lessen as more banks, businesses and investment funds are going crypto, thus, the upward crypto trends, especially bitcoin, will continue to gain momentum.
(For more on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, please see our “TRENDS IN CRYPTOS” section.)