Google and China

The financial media is jumping to the conclusion that recent weakness for stock prices is related to the ongoing Greek bailout saga. But considering that Greece would prefer to have the IMF involved in its bailout plans because emergency loans would be cheaper, I’d suggest we need to look elsewhere for the real cause of the recent mini-sell-off.   


The Indian rate hike is certainly a more likely candidate. Not because India’s economy is driving the global economy, but because this move is another sign that central banks around the world are ending their stimulus policies.   


India’s move comes a full month ahead of the next scheduled central bank meeting. The timing suggests that perhaps inflation is becoming problematic. And it also raises the possibility that India will hike rates again when it meets next month.   


Don’t underestimate the significance of Google’s (Nasdaq:GOOG) possible exit from the Chinese market. With the war of words concerning the relative valuation of the yuan heating up, and the possibility that it could lead to trade sanctions, investors are certainly watching the Google saga with interest.   


Of course, it’s not the end of the world for Google. But again, with trade tensions building between China and the U.S., Google’s exit from China may appear to be an omen of things to come.   


Ultimately, I think the U.S. and China know that trade sanctions would be disastrous.  


To add a little technical perspective, TradeMaster Daily Stock Alerts’ Jason Cimpl is telling his traders that the current weakness “…has to be viewed as a buying opportunity until major support levels start to break down. In the near term 1140 is a big level to watch…”  


I can also tell you that Jason is watching biotech stocks carefully right now. The sector has seen massive buying interest lately. In fact, the stock he recommended to his readers Friday is popping 5% in the early going today.   


The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) weekly oil inventory report uses fundamentally flawed data. In fact, the flaws appear great enough to allow for up to 4 million barrels of oil to be erroneously reported from week to week.   


The oil market moves on the weekly oil inventory report. So 4 million barrels is a big deal. That can make the difference between demand appearing to rise or fall.   


It’s hard to overstate how significant this data flaw is. If we can’t trust the weekly inventory report, then it’s virtually impossible to get a reliable read on demand. Or so it might seem…   


Oil has continued to push higher this year, even as inventory reports suggest that demand is not increasing. In fact, many oil pundits have openly wondered how oil prices can continue higher at the same time inventories are building. Some have even gone so far as to call oil a bubble because of this divergence.  


So in this case, I think it makes more sense to pay attention to price than what flawed data may (or may not) be telling us. Oil prices are clearly telling us that demand is rising. Just check the 17% year over year rise for Chinese oil demand from February.  


As Gregor Macdonald tells Energy World Profits readers this week, “[W]elcome to peak oil: when the world’s remaining supply of oil is more diffuse, of lower grade, harder to extract, and is unable to flow in the aggregate at higher production levels.” 

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