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Gary Smith’s Market Take

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Here’s my take on the markets today, August 13, 2012. If you’d like to read more of my articles, click here.

Credit gauges are mixed today. The FRA-OIS Spread is falling -4.7% to 26.50 bps. The 2Y Swap Spread is falling -3.7% to 19.6 bps. The 3M EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap is rising +1.6% to -36.81 bps. The Germany sovereign cds is down -1.0% to 64.87 bps. The Spain sovereign cds is down -1.2% to 508.25 bps. The Spain 10Y Yld is falling -.9% to 6.84%. However, the TED Spread is rising +.8% to 33.81 bps. The France sovereign cds is rising +.3% to 147.12 bps. The UK sovereign cds is climbing +2.0% to 57.5 bps. The Portugal sovereign cds is gaining +1.2% to 776.85 bps. The Israel sovereign cds is jumping +6.4% to 150.03 bps. The Emerging Markets Sovereign CDS Index is rising another +1.6% to 245.92 bps(+8.0% in 5 days). The China sovereign cds is rising +.46% to 105.55 bps. The Russia sovereign cds is gaining +1.9% to 174.16 bps(+10.0% in 5 days). The Italian yield curve is flattening too much again, with the spread down -60.0 bps in 6 days to 2.41%.

Major Asian indices were mostly lower overnight, led down by a -1.5% decline in China. Chinese stocks continue to sit out the global equity rally off the June lows, which remains a big red flag. Major European indices are mixed as a +.5% gain in Spain is being offset by a -.3% decline in UK shares. The Bloomberg European Bank/Financial Services Index is falling -.1%. Brazilian equities are falling -.9%.

The euro is seeing a bounce today, despite worrisome weekend headlines, but continues to look lower over the intermediate/long-term, in my opinion. Lumber is jumping +3.0% today, but is still down -6.7% since 9/8/11. As well, Copper still trades poorly and is falling -1.4% today. The China benchmark Iron/Ore Spot Index is falling another -.8% today and is down -37.6% since 9/9/11. The UBS-Bloomberg Ag Spot Index is down -1.3%, but is +23.1% higher since 6/1. Oil is down -.9% today despite a significant uptick in Israeli rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear program. The 10Y T-Note continues to trade too well, with the yield down -2 bps to 1.63%.

I continue to believe recent investor optimism over Europe’s potential can-kicking is misplaced. Focus Magazine reported over the weekend a recent poll by TNS Emnid found that 52% of Germans don’t want European countries to share debt even if the EU takes control over budgets of individual countries, while 31% were in favor of this. For Merkel to agree to this would appear to be political suicide and if Germany isn’t willing to destroy its own balance sheet in an attempt to “save” the euro then the can-kickings will quickly lose their investor luster.

As well, as I have been saying for several weeks, a new massive China stimulus round isn’t as likely as perceived as worries over their real estate bubble and soaring food prices intensify. Apple(AAPL) is once again helping to boost the major averages off their morning lows on more iTV rumors and optimism over the new iPhone release. While Apple will likely consolidate this year’s gains awhile longer, I still expect the shares to outperform over the intermediate-term. Long AAPL. I added to my index trading hedges this morning and I am positioned 25% net long.

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Gary D. Smith

Gary D. Smith

Gary Douglas Smith actively trades his portfolio as well as the portfolios of family members. In addition, Mr. Smith maintains Between the Hedges, an investment-oriented blog. Previously, he was founder and managing member of Olympus Capital Management, an alternative investment firm. Olympus consisted of a long/short diversified hedge fund and a long/short technology sector hedge fund. Prior to the formation of Olympus, he spent five years as Vice-President of Research and Portfolio Manager for an independent money management firm. Mr. Smith has been engaged for the past 23 years in the analysis and selection of equity and other investments. His expertise is in long/short U.S. equity investing across all market sectors with an emphasis on technology stocks. He uses a top-down investment approach, investing in securities at a reasonable price relative to their growth prospects. As well, technical analysis plays a role in the timing of his investment decisions. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and subsequently received an MBA, with a concentration in finance, from Vanderbilt University’s Owen School.
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