US Knocked Out, Equities Trying at Higher Low

Monday, June 28, 2010

Donovan in US World Cup loss to GhanaUS World Cup hopes crushed in OT against Ghana

The US lost in overtime to Ghana, a solid squad that moves on to play Uruguay. US players were apparently, once again, not prepared to play when the stepped on the field and gave up another goal just 4 minutes into the game. This follows giving up a goal in the 3rd minute to England and one in the 12th minute against Slovenia. It is tough to win the World Cup when you step on the field flat-footed in 3 of your first 4 games.

The Ghanans dominated the first half after Clark foolishly lost the ball while trying to beat a guy in midfield leading Howard to be beat on a weak shot to the near post. US players, many from the MLS, were not prepared to play at the pace Ghana set for the game. Ghana closed quickly and never allowed the American side more than a touch on the ball before feeling pressure. Though, the second half was won by the US in my book. We created a number of chances and Dempsey smartly drew a tackle in the box yielding a penalty kick which Donovan expertly put away.

The overtime goal was equally disappointing. A wild clearance from the Ghana defense was terribly defended and the Ghana striker was given time after a bump in the back to rip a full volley into the back of the net. I must say I place some blame on the coaching, Bob Bradley must be held accountable. Conceding three very early goals shows that the team was not ready to play. His choices of players and substitutions in the Ghana match were questionable at best.

Overall, a disappointing match but I was happy to see us exit the group stage. The tie against England almost makes it all worth it. Donovan proved to be a world-class player scoring 3 out of our 4 goals. Good luck to the remaining teams and until 2014...

Equities whacked last week, now what to do?

China's weekend announcement to unpeg the renminbi from the dollar and allow a slow appreciation marked the top of the bounce off the 1,040 level in the S&P. The 8.5% bounce from early June lows quickly evaporated last week with a 4.8% pull-in. There seems to be plenty of fervent bulls and bears out there arguing both sides of the coin. Clearly, there was buying at the 1,040 level but another test of that area seems likely to lead to a breakdown. Equities finally found a bid on Friday to close off lows.

I have some longs and I will be looking to the long side early this week while trying to judge the action and gauge the strength of the buying. Frankly, at this point I do not know but I am leaning long after the higher high was made and now possibly a higher low could be formed. The VIX remains high at just under 30% offering continued volatility. Doctor copper is offering us some bullish clues breaking the downtrend since April last week and regaining the $3 handle. Natural gas is also finally seeing increased demand rebounding from sub-$4 prices of May trading up to $4.75 now.

Gold testing all-time highs

Gold futures are sitting just under all-time highs seemingly awaiting any news item to spark buying through the level. I continue to think aggressive buying will eventually pick up in the shiny metal and now is not the time to sell. For now I am holding NYSE:GLD and awaiting an expected move to $130.

Twist in financial reform, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd dies

A wrench has been thrown into passage of the financial reform bill with Robert Byrd passing away this morning at age 92. If Senator Scott Brown decides to vote against closing debate, Democrats may be unable to secure the needed 60 votes to move the bill to final passage. Barry Ritholtz has an excellent analysis of the bill ultimately giving the bill a C- grade with F's given to the bill's addressing of too big to fail, leverage limits, credit ratings agencies and corporate pay. I could not agree more on the leverage front, how can there be no basic limits on leverage?

Disclosure: Long SPY, GLD.
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