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Ron Paul Recants The GOP, Just Says No To Keynesians

As we anticipate more demand-rigging, pump-priming, can-kicking experiments from Bernanke today, Ron Paul just came out with his latest stream of truthiness (via Bloomberg):

  • *REP. PAUL SAYS BOTH PARTIES KEYNESIANS, GOP 'NOT HIS PARTY'
  • *REP. PAUL SAYS FED PRICE FIXING
  • *REP. PAUL SAYS FED FLOODING MARKET WITH MONEY

Indeed, what is the opposite of 'between a rock and a hard place' when deciding on just who will provide 'change' in November.



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Hilsenrath Sets Off To Preserve Bernanke's "Legacy"

Yesterday, when the market was plunging (by less than a whopping 1%, yet magically defending the 13K "retirement off" threshold in the DJIA), we wondered: where is the Fed's favorite messageboard: WSJ "journalist" Jon Hilsenrath. We found out at 3 am, when instead of releasing another soon to be refuted rumor of more easing, we discovered that the scribe was busy doing something very different: discussing the pros and cons of the Chairsatan's legacy.



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Frontrunning: August 31

  • Romney Promises to 'Restore' U.S. (WSJ)
  • Dirty Harry Makes Surprise Appearance (WSJ)
  • It has always been about the gold: Time for eurozone to reach for the gold reserves? (FT)
  • EU Plan Said to Give ECB Sole Power to Grant Bank Licenses (Bloomberg)
  • More attempts to marginalize Germanty: Brussels pushes for wide ECB powers  (FT)
  • Justice may be blind but it has geographic limits: Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit Against Samsung in Japan (BBG)
  • ECB Said to Use Greek Myth for Security on New Euro Banknotes (Bloomberg)
  • Alberta deficit set to triple on slumping oil prices (Globe and Mail)
  • Reid's ties to China-Nevada solar plan draw ire (Reuters)
  • Bernanke may hint at QE without boxing Fed in (Reuters)
  • Berezovsky loses against Abramovich  (FT)
  • Spain Considers Bankia Re-Capitalization Without EU Money (Bloomberg)


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Overnight Recap And Today's Key Events

Following a series of bad economic news (Eurozone unemployment, rising inflation, plunging retail sales in Germany, Spain and Greece) out of Europe, and the usual sound and fury out of the ECB signifying nothing (was there finally news that Weidmann and/or the Buba are endorsing anything Draghi is doing - instead of seeking to potentially quit his post leaving the ECB in limbo? No? Then stop flashing red headlines which are completely irrelevant), the EURUSD has decided to go on its usual countersensical stop hunt higher in hopes an algo or two will push it even higher on nothing but momentum, with has one purpose only: to allow the pair enough of a buffer so that when it does fall after the J-Hole disappointment, it has more room to drop. And as European newsflow fades into the periphery, everyone is once again focusing on Wyoming where Bernanke is now broadly expected to do absolutely nothing. What else are market participants focusing on? Here is the full ist courtesy of Bloomberg daybook.



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Stagflation: Eurozone Unemployment Hits Record High As Inflation Rises Above Expectations

In July European unemployment rose to 11.3% - a record post-Euro rate, and the highest since 1990 for the constituent countries. While this was in line with estimates, what surprised the market, and has sent the EUR paradoxically higher (paradoxically, because all a continent in stagflation, which Europe by now most certainly is, is to have its currency rise just when it needs to export more goods, in the process entrentching its economic plight even further) is that inflation in August picked up from 2.4% to 2.6%, beating expectations of a 2.5% increase, allowing the European misery index to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world.



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Chart Of The Day: With All Of QE3 Priced In, The Only Way Is Down Should Bernanke Disappoint

The following chart from Bank of America shows that with a few short hours ahead of the dangling strawman known as Bernanke's J-Hole address (now that Mario Draghi has more pressing issues to deal with elsewhere), expectations for QE3, in the form of what is actually priced in, just hit an all time high. So is, by implication, the potential for disappointment and that the petulant market, no longer caring about such trivia as fundamentals, technicals, newsflow or frankly anything except what the Chairsatan ate or what side of the bed Bill Dudley woke up on, will not get what it demands. It then begs the question: if the S&P is at 1400 with virtually all of QE3 priced in, what is the "fair value" if there is, gasp, no QE3 announced either today, in two weeks when the FOMC delivers it periodic oracular address to the plebs, or until the post-election FOMC meeting, which will take place on December 12, and just days ahead of the Fiscal Cliff arrival (which will certainly not be resolved by then)?



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Bundesbank's Weidmann Wanted To Resign Last Week, Bild Reports; Is Goldman's "Ambassador" To Germany In Play?

Confirming that the ECB soap opera must go on, German Bild reports overnight that Bundesbank head, and most vocal critic of Goldman's pro-inflationary European policy, conducted by the firm's Italian alum Mario Draghi, last week considered joining other such German luminaires as Axel Weber and Jurgen Stark in following the red Egress signs at the Bundesbank headquarters, ironically located in downtown Frankfurt. From Bild: "In recent weeks, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann has repeatedly seriously considered his resignation." Citing unnamed sources, which is merely a polite way of denying the other side's just as credible "unnamed sources", Bild says Weidmann discussed the possible resignation with the Bundesbank's board. Bild condludes that Weidmann has decided against resignation for now because hwants to fight against the ECB’s bond-purchasing program at next week’s meeting, and that the German government has urged Weidmann to remain in post. In other words, just as has been expected all along Merkel may say this, or that, but in the end she will adamantly fight Goldman and its inflation spreading tentacles in Europe as long as she has to (with recent German data of accelerating inflation and unemployment merely helping her cause).



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Guest Post: Paul Krugman’s Mis-Characterization Of The Gold Standard

With a price hovering around $1,600 an ounce and the prospect of "additional monetary accommodation" hinted to in the latest meeting of the FOMC, gold is once again becoming a hot topic of discussion. Krugman, praising 'The Atlantic's recent blustering anti-Gold-standard riff, points to gold's volatility, its relationship with interest rates (and general levels of asset prices - which we discussed here), and the number of 'financial panics' that occurred during gold-standards. These criticisms, while containing empirical data, are grossly deceptive.  The information provided doesn’t support Krugman’s assertions whatsoever.  Instead of utilizing sound economic theory as an interpreter of the data, Krugman and his Keynesian colleagues use it to prove their claims.  Their methodological positivism has lead them to fallacious conclusions which just so happen to support their favored policies of state domination over money.  The reality is that not only has gold held its value over time, those panics which Krugman refers to occurred because of government intervention; not the gold standard. Keynes himself was contemptuous of the middle class throughout his professional career.  This is perhaps why he held such disdain for gold.



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Charting The Unprecedented 'HFT-Driven' Rise In Intraday-Trading Volatility

Sometimes a picture can paint a thousand words; in the case of these two charts from Nanex, it paints more as it is abundantly clear that since Reg NMS, the 'noise' in our daily trading markets has risen exponentially as the apparent price we pay for the 'liquidity-providing' machines is up to 15-times more normalized 'price-changes' - or put another 'smoothed' way: averaged over a 20-day period, intraday volatility has doubled since HFT began (and was six times larger during the flash crash). How's your mean-variance efficient-frontier look now? Or your delta/gamma hedging program?



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What To Expect From Bernanke At J-Hole

Expectations for tomorrow's J-Hole speech by the venerable Ben Bernanke vary from the mundane "things-we-can-still-do; monitoring-situation" to the exuberant "we'll-print-our-way-out-of-this-mess-no-matter-what-and-I've-got-your-back-for-anything-more-than-a-1%-drop-in-the-Russell". We suspect, like Morgan Stanley's Vince Reinhart that a lot of people are going to be grossly disappointed  as the FOMC (C for Committee) meeting is so close and the election being just around the corner means playing-down any miracle-making. Instead we suspect it will be more of the same - disappointment in economic performance, could do better, closely monitoring, Fed-has-tools; i.e. a replay of most of his recent speeches in tone. Reinhart does see some room for surprise though - especially on conditional policy rules (and the potential problems with over-reaching their mandate).



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What Americans Actually Do All Day Long - In Three Charts

The average American spends 9 hours, 12 minutes, and 36 seconds 'Working & Commuting' on an average workday. Wonder what they do with the rest of their precious 'unproductive and non-tax-providing' day?



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The Election: It's The Food-Stamps, Stupid!

In November 2008, President Barack Obama won the popular election for President by 9.5 million votes.  A burgeoning financial crisis and weakening economy helped his candidacy at the time, but four years on the sluggish pace of economic recovery is a headwind to his re-election.  Consider, for example, that there are currently 12.8 million people unemployed in the U.S., or that an estimated 8 million adults entered the SNAP (Food Stamp) program since November 2008 (total increase in enrollment: 15.6 million).  Presidential elections are won in the Electoral College, of course, so in today’s note ConvergEx's Nick Colas parses out this employment/food security economic stress for the key “Battleground” states.

Seven of the 8 swing states this election year are more economically stressed than the national average in terms of unemployment and/or food stamps, while 2 of the 3 states “leaning” toward Obama are worse off than the national average.  Romney, behind in the electoral vote count by most analysts’ figures, theoretically stands to gain from a weak national economy, but he’ll have to earn the vote of an estimated 4 million Americans in 14 key battleground states to have a shot at the White House.



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As Bank Profits Plunged In 2011, Banker Bonuses... Rose

It will come as no surprise to many but everyone's favorite enemy #1, the US banker, decided to give himself a well-earned pay-rise in 2011 - according to data from Moody's Analytics (via Crain's). What is perhaps a little more surprising is the sheer gall of it given that the financial industry profits plunged over 70% from $27.6bn in 2010 to a mere $7.7bn in 2011. While the rise in salaries is not large, and the average man on the street actually saw a bigger rise, the critical point is that for two years in a row - from 2009 to 2010, and now from 2010 to 2011 - banking industry profits have dropped like a stone but the average salary of those oh-so-deserving 'Wall-Street'ers has risen.



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