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Last night was the celebration of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards -- also known as the Oscars -- during which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized excellence among actors, directors, writers and a number of other film industry professionals. The Academy Award of Merit is more commonly known as the gold statue called "Oscar".
Oprah Winfrey presented the Oscar for the Best Documentary Feature to director Charles Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs for the film Inside Job. Upon accepting the award Ferguson said, "Forgive me, but I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that's wrong."
I haven't seen this movie yet, but plan on doing so. Apparently, it's about how deregulation before the financial crisis allowed firms to develop more complex trading systems and increased levels of risk-taking. It further suggests that several conflicts of interest surfaced, in which the rating agencies were involved.
I agree with Mr. Ferguson that those who perpetrated this financial collapse, the cost of which fell on to the shoulders of the American taxpayers, should have been held accountable. Instead, we hand out statues to people who created a movie that most of us have never seen.
When no one is held responsible, it encourages others to behave in the same way as the perpetrators. We haven't really learned our lesson. Risk-taking is on the rise, once again, and those firms that were considered too big to fail have become dramatically bigger in the last couple of years.
However, that's all history. Today, we know that the economy expanded by 2.8% last year -- the strongest annual growth in five years -- but that followed the worst one-year contraction since 1946. The recent tax cuts and the daily Federal Reserve's purchase of Treasury paper are making a mark on the economy.
Who is orchestrating this recovery? None other than Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. He is the writer, producer, director and lead actor in the day-to-day events that shape our global financial system. He is the most powerful man in the world when it comes to monetary issues. So far, everything is going according to script (except for the unrest going on in the Middle East), and the U.S. economy is growing
The U.S. dollar has been falling for several years and is testing support just below today's price. Since it is the world's reserve currency, as the dollar falls everything else priced in dollars should theoretically go up in value. That seems to be the script that Mr. Bernanke is using to convey an economic recovery.
PowerShares Deutsche Bank US Dollar Index Bullish Fund
closed Friday at $22.18. UUP has held support above $21.85 four times since its inception in 2007. Should UUP fall below that level, it could drop precipitously, which could signal the end of the U.S. dollar as the world's global monetary exchange.
Should UUP break below support, buy the
PowerShares Deutsche Bank US Dollar Bearish Fund
. UDN closed Friday at $27.69. Should UDN close above $28.05 it could have a run up to $32 per share. Wait for the dollar to make its move before investing into either UUP should the dollar hold support or UDN if the dollar breaks below support.
If the recovery continues and the U.S. dollar regains its footing here then Ben Bernanke deserves an Oscar. If the economy loses its strength in spite of all the current government support then Mr. Bernanke may earn a much different distinction. History would not view his anti-U.S. dollar policies favorably and he may perhaps receive a "Razzie." The Razzie Award recognizes the worst in moviemaking of the previous year. Let's hope it doesn't come to this. The next few weeks could be very interesting.
At the time of publication, Slusiewicz held no positions mentioned in this article.
Jerry Slusiewicz has over two decades of professional investment experience. He has worked with individuals and institutions to manage monies for both short and long-term investment horizons. This extensive experience through various stock and bond market cycles enables him to offer a unique blend of professional investment counsel and personal service.