While ISIS has issued direct threats against the US in the past week now that the US is officially droning and "humanitarianly advising" it (after having armed it for the past year), until now it was largely broad, diffuse statements. That changed in the last few hours when ABC reported a photo has emerged via Twitter which shows a hand holding up an image of a flag for ISIS, displayed on a smartphone, on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House fence, an area which is frequented by thousands of tourists every day. The photo was tweeted from an apparently pro-ISIS Twitter handle @sunna_rev on Aug. 9.
On the heels of our previous aggregation of all things Fukushima, we were 'shocked' to see the flashing red headline tear across the Bloomberg exclaiming that "The Japanese government has decided to abandon the 'frozen water wall' solution to Fukushima's meltdown." When they unveiled this "Game of Thrones"-esque 1.4km long ice-wall a year ago, we snarkily wished them luck, questioning their sanity. Of course, we got a hint when 2 months ago, TEPCO admitted that "we have yet to form an ice plug because we can’t get the temperature low enough to freeze the water." For now, there is no Plan B - though we 'wasting' JPY 32 billion on so far is helping GDP.
The record-breaking outflows in high-yield bonds are not the only indication that the U.S. economy could be on the verge of very hard times. Retail sales are extremely disappointing, mortgage applications are at a 14 year low and growing geopolitical storms around the world have investors spooked. For a long time now, we have been enjoying a period of relative economic stability even though our underlying economic fundamentals continue to get even worse. Unfortunately, there are now a bunch of signs that this period of relative stability is about to end. The following are 14 reasons why the U.S. economy's bubble of false prosperity may be about to burst...
When considering the catalysts for silver, let’s first ignore short-term factors such as net short/long positions, fluctuations in weekly ETF holdings, or the latest open interest. Data like these fluctuate regularly and rarely have long-term bearing on the price of silver. We're more interested in the big-picture forces that could impact silver over the next several years. The most significant force, of course, is governments’ abuse of “financial heroin” that will inevitably lead to a currency crisis in many countries around the world, pushing silver and gold to record levels; but here are seven more...
Qatar, the world's richest nation per capita (and awkward home of US central command in The Middle East), has used its wealth to fund Hamas in the Gaza Strip, bankrolls (as we detailed here) Islamists fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, and backed the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt - before he was deposed. As Bloomberg reports, they have additionally let other extremist groups raise money in Qatar, according to the U.S. Treasury Department - all in an effort to 'support' the gas pipelines that the tiny nation needs to maintain its uber-wealth. Qatar’s support for militants has angered its neighboring conservative monarchies... so, it is an intriguing shift that now, as Bloomberg reports, finds the terrorist-funding-nation mediating between Israel and Hamas to end the Gaza conflict.
"Far away from Congress is the real forgotten man, the taxpayer who foots the bill... For if human liberty is to survive in America, we must win the battle to restore honest money."
"the paper money disease here may take many years to run its course...but when that day arrives, our political rulers will probably find that foreign war and ruthless regimentation is the cunning alternative to domestic strife."
For everyone curious how the market's favorite "balls to the wall" barometer did in the second quarter (which ended 45 days ago), here is the full breakdown.
The first half of this week has been very interesting from an economic, financial and geopolitical viewpoint. Despite what appears to be globally increasing risks, the financial markets have seemed relatively unfazed. Historically, such calm has always existed prior to the eventual storm. This week’s “3 Things” takes a look at some of the “rising risks” that we believe are being ignored which could potentially be harmful to individual's portfolios.
Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to step aside and support his nominated replacement in the post, according to Shiite lawmakers via AP. In an statement on state-run TV, Maliki declared support for al-Abadi, leaving his post "to not let one Iraqi blood drop be shed because of me." Of course, what really matters is what concessions were offered. In the past, Mr. Abadi has worried that American military presence was exacerbating sectarian tensions. Perhaps most notably, Maliki stated "Intelligence apparatuses behind the sectarian strife in the region." - CIA?
Overnight weakness in Japan and Europe was no big catalysts for markets either way, but the moment Vladimir Putin uttered the words "avoid conflict" (as ooposed to saying 'destroy all of you'?), stocks took off. Weak jobless claims data sparked a dump but once cash markets opened, it was on like donkey kong as the worst volume day of a terrible volume week took stocks higher on the back of USDJPY. For the technically-minded, the S&P is testing up to its 50-day moving-average (DMA), Russell finding resistance at 100/200DMA, Trannies broke back above the 50DMA, and Nasdaq is on course for new highs. All this exuberance in stocks was shared by bonds as buyers bid 30Y yields to a 3.18% handle - lowest in 15 months (gaping divergence to stocks this week). USD oscillated but ended unch. Gold and silver limped higher as copper and crude were monkey-hammered. VIX ended at 3-week lows (after an opening slam lower) for day 15 of inversion. S&P futures volume 55% below average.
In a few moments, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will speak at 4:00 p.m. ET. about the turmoil in Ferguson. As NBC reports, Nixon canceled a planned visit to the state fair and said he would visit the St. Louis suburbs Thursday after a fourth night of civil unrest over the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Nixon said in an earlier statement that the worsening situation in Ferguson was “deeply troubling.”
As we feared during the day yesterday, when night fell in Ferguson, a combination of massive SWAT team presence and an increasingly disillusioned citizenry were a recipe for disaster. Over 70 heavily-armed police enforced quasi-martial-law in the troubled town, at least 10 people were arrested, tear gas and rubber bullets were unleashed, and 2 reporters were (briefly) arrested. Perhaps Rep. Justin Amash summed it up best, "Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov't escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics."
It appears Ukraine's Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko is a glutton for punishment. In 2011, as Reuters reports, he was throttled and pushed to the ground by former Vice-Speaker Adam Martinyuk after he accused him of hypocrisy; and on a separate occasion Martinyuk threw a glass of water in his face. However, this morning, it got serious after he accused Independent Party Deputy Oleksandr Shevchenko of being a "pot-bellied fatty," who "instead of going to the Donbass and helping our guys, people like him go to parliament and raise their hands." Shevchenko's response - solid right cross to Lyashko's jaw, sending the smaller man staggering. One can't help but wonder how this approach to settling political scores would go down in Washington...