Nothing much happening in the markets. Up, down, up…
As near as we can tell, we are still in a bull market, but one that is weakening.
We showed you how our short-term indicator has turned very negative. And the US stock market looks very dangerous. In addition to near-zero growth in the first quarter, there are more and more alarming signals coming our way…
McDonald’s is closing 700 stores….
Major retailers are closing some 6,000 outlets altogether….
Retail investors’ margin debt is at record highs….
America’s non-oil trade deficit hit a new record high in March….
World trade is going soft; China’s containerised trade index just hit a multi-year low…
The bond market seems on the edge of panic, with German Bund yields up 30% in just a matter of hours yesterday and 12 times in the last 20 days…
Spending on non-durables has been this punky only twice in the last 60 years.
According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas — the oldest executive outplacement and career transitioning firm in the US — over 200,000 jobs have been cut so far this year, more than a third of them due to plunging oil prices.
Fracking boom? Goodbye to all that!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
The finest example of womanhood on the planet
Elizabeth’s English class has turned into a lovefest. The girls, aged 7 to 12, are sure that Elizabeth is the finest example of womanhood on the planet. They are determined to model their lives after her.
At least, that is how it looks to her husband. The girls come over, even when there are no classes. They follow her around. They offer to help her in the kitchen. They write her notes, telling her how much they idolise her.
‘I don’t know how I’m going to be able to leave them,’ says the star teacher.
But time is running out here at the ranch. In one more week, we will pack our bags and move on. Argentina allows non-citizens only 90 days in the country, before they are in violation of its tourist visa rules. Our 90 days are up soon.
‘I don’t know what to do. The girls are making so much progress. But it’s going to come to a halt. Then, when we come back next year, we’ll have to start all over again.’
Elizabeth is not the only one to regret moving on. Your editor is just beginning to get the hang of things. He can ride a horse without falling off. He can run the cows through the manga without being a drag on the rest of the gaucho team. He has come to understand the budget…and has an idea of how to stop the red ink.
Still, there are places to go and people to see. He has a job to do and he cannot do it by staying out in the middle of nowhere…no matter how much the middle of nowhere may appeal to him.
‘Yes, well, that’s us and our lives,’ says Elizabeth. ‘But what about the girls? It doesn’t seem fair to them. I’ve started something. It seems to be important to them. Because it opens up the world. They live in houses without plumbing, without heat, without chimneys to let the smoke out and with dirt floors. And when I give them these books…I can see their eyes light up. They’re seeing another way of living. I don’t want to think about those eyes going dark.”
Outflanked by a seven-year-old
The girls know that we are leaving soon.
Mili is the youngest. Seven years old. Very cute. With big eyes and a big smile. Yesterday, she came to my office after her class.
‘’ she asked.
‘Yes, of course,’ we bluffed, not really sure whether she was one of the Diaz girls or one of Juanita’s daughters. It turned out, she was neither. She is Veronica and Javier’s daughter.
‘Do you know my name?’
‘No,’ we had to admit. We were now on the defence, outflanked by a seven-year-old. Then, we were staggered.
‘My name is Mili.’
She raised her cheek, a signal for us to kiss her. Then, she passed a note with a heart drawn on it. Here is what it said:
‘I am Mili.
‘I hope you have a good time and much luck [after you leave].
‘When I see you at the door, I am very proud. And I want to say hello to you. I am happy that you are here.’
At the bottom of the note was another heart, with ‘Mili’ written inside.
for the Markets and Money Australia