• ilene
    01/28/2015 - 19:33
    Suppose you could print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Fun, you think? Here's how it plays out. 

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On The Morality Of The Fed

"Finally, we must question the morality of Fed programs that trick people (as if they were Pavlov's dogs) into behaviors that are adverse to their own long-term best interest. What kind of government entity cajoles savers to spend, when years of under-saving and over-spending have left the consumer in terrible shape? What kind of entity tricks its citizens into paying higher and higher prices to buy stocks? What kind of entity drives the return on retiree's savings to zero for seven years (2008-2015 and counting) in order to rescue poorly managed banks? Not the kind that should play this large a role in the economy."



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Markets & Macro - 2008 And Today

It seems left, right, and center we hear that fundamentals are currently supportive of equities. However, dismal earnings outlooks (and historicals) aside, we have seen the current pattern of macro-economic data 'outperforming' economists' expectations while stocks don't appear to fully play along before - it was mid-2008. As is clear from the chart below, the rapidity of the collapse in macro data should be greatly concerning to any and all who think there is even a possibility we go over the cliff - as, for sure, economic expectations are not priced for that at all (and stocks for at worst a modest macro weakening only).



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Guest Post: The Unadulterated Gold Standard Part 3

Following Part 1 (History), and Part 2 (Interventionism), Part 3 provides a more technical look at the key features of the unadulterated gold standard.  It could be briefly stated as a free market in money, credit, interest, discount, and banking.  Another way of saying it is that there would be no confusion of money (i.e. gold) and credit (i.e. paper).  Both play their role, and neither is banished from the monetary system. There would be no central bank with its “experts” to dictate the rate of interest and no “lender of last resort”.  There would be no Securities Act, no deposit insurance, no armies of banking regulators, and definitely no bailouts or “too big to fail banks”.  The government would have little role in the monetary system, save to catch criminals and enforce contracts.



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How 10,000 Contracts Crashed The Market: A Visual Deconstruction Of Last Night's E-Mini Flash Crash

On December 20, 2012, there was an Event in the eMini futures at 20:18:40 ET. The data exhibits many hallmarks of a HFT (High Frequency Trader) market maker absorbing sell orders up to their limit, and then turning around and dumping those contracts as fast as possible. Exactly what happened in the Flash Crash on May 6, 2010 (this documentary on youtube has a great explanation). Only in this case, the original seller appears to be much more aggressive than Waddell & Reed's algorithm. The drop came in 2 seconds, and halted trading for 10 seconds. The flash crash halted eMini trading for just 5 seconds. A mere 10,000 contracts (or $700mm notional) was enough to do all that damage - enjoy.



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The One Thing Everyone Is Forgetting About The Fiscal Cliff

While everyone is hypnotized by the melodramatic theater in D.C., it is worth reminding readers just what the one most important statement so far uttered by anyone on the topic of the Fiscal cliff is. That statement belongs to Chairman Bernanke, it was uttered during the December 12 Fed press conference when QE4EVA was announced, and is his response to Peter Cook from Bloomberg TV who asked "if the policy makers were not to agree to some sort of deficit deal by the end of this year and we were to go over the fiscal cliff, that the size of these asset purchases could indeed grow in response to that?' Bernanke's response: "if the economy actually went off the fiscal cliff, our assessment, the CBO’s assessment, outside forecasters, all think that that would have very significant adverse effects on the economy and on the unemployment rate. And so, on the margin, we would try to do what we could. We would perhaps increase a bit." And there you have it, and there goes any sense of urgency, at least until the real deadline in late March, when the Treasury will have tapped out the G-fund and can't extend the debt ceiling any more.

"Get to work, Mr. Chairman."



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Guest Post: Santa Keynes and the Hayekian Grinch

We are now approaching the fourth Christmas of the great debate between the benign supporters of Santa Keynes and the walnut-hearted acolytes of the Hayekian Grinch. Or at least that’s how Keynesians seem to see it. Far from being a success, Keynesian policies have retarded recovery and extended the downturn, just as they did in the 1930s and the 1970s. They’re the “moral” policy present that keeps on taking, supported by those who claim that their opponents have hearts “two sizes too small.”



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75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

What a year 2012 has been!  The mainstream media continues to tell us what a “great job” the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class. Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic “adjustment” that America has ever gone through.  We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done.  Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that we have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.



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Twas The Last Obama Conference Before Cliffmas...

... and all through the collocated server house, GETCO algos were stirring, hoping (as this is the only "strategy" left) that maybe, just maybe, Obama can pull a unicorn out of his skittles-dispensing hat. He won't, and most likely we will get one last does of stern fingerpointing, harsh language and accusative condemnation of those wascaly wepublicans. But find out for yourselves in 15 short minutes, when the market may be closed, but futures will still be open, although at least subject to the limit down rule. Of course, if the news was good, it would have come before 4 pm...



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VWAPalooza Keeps Risk Anchored (For Now)

After last night's craziness, equity markets anchored off the synthetics and the synthetics anchored to VWAP. We clung there at VWAP all day long in S&P 500 futures with some rumor-driven angst into the close to try and get some levitation. Much was made of VIX's decline from its opening highs, however, a look back at the week and it is obvious that this was hedgers unwinding their positions (leaving VIX still notably more worried than stocks). Equities in general collapsed down to where yesterday's risk-assets had languished and cross-asset-class correlations were very high today (which makes sense as every algo in the market was working over time to hold us together after the flash crash overnight). The USD ends the week unchanged (with AUD 1.5% weaker and SEK 1.9% stronger) and early winners and losers in commodities reverted (oil down and silver/gold up today) leaving Silver -7% on the week still! Treasury yields ended only 7bps higher on the week (well off the 15bps on Tuesday) as Financials remain the week's winners (+2.5%) and Staples the losers (-2.25%).



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It's 3:30 PM: Here Comes The Rumor

This manipulated market has become so predictable a blind, retarded monkey with a dartboard should have made enough money by now to retire 3 lifetimes over.

From 9:39 am:

Sure enough, at 3:19 pm:

  • White House Said to Consider Smaller Fiscal Cliff Deal: Politico

And cue melt up.



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The 2012 Financial Crossword

In case you need some reading material for that next all-important bathroom break; we've got you covered.



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One Simple Question You Need To Ask Yourself

Everyone has a catalyst. A breaking point where we finally say, "enough is enough" and finally begin to take action. It seems quite obvious now. There can be no discussion. And at some point, a reasonable human being has to reflect on the society that has developed around him and wonder, "Do I have anything in common with these people anymore...? Do we share any core values? Or do we simply share the same passport cover?" It's certainly a question worth asking... ideally before you reach your breaking point.



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David Rosenberg's 35 Charts For 2013

How does one of the best strategists view the world as we close the page on 2012, and look toward 2013? Find out with the help of these 35 charts.



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Why The Manufacturing Jobs Are Not Coming Back

There are a plethora of reasons underpinning the fact that manufacturing jobs are not coming back to the USA. Perhaps the simplest is purely economic. As McKinsey notes in a recent report, manufacturings' role in job creation shifts over time as manufacturing's share of output falls and as companies invest in technologies and process improvements that raise productivity. A critical finding is that as manufacturing's share of national output falls, so does its share of employment - following the inverted 'U' curve below. Manufacturing job losses in advanced economies have been concentrated in labor-intensive and highly tradable (read globalizable) industries such as apparel and electronics assembly. Thanks to the increased productivity and a 'high' credit-enabled standard-of-living, the US has simply priced itself out of the global manufacturing business (and so is China as its GDP per capita rises). Unless Americans are willing to put the twinkie (and iPad) down, those jobs will continue to bleed overseas (to India based on the chart below) building the ever-more self-fulfilling vicious circle of a nation dependent on state-aid to survive as only the 'unlucky' few remain employed.



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Monti. Out.

The rumors have been flying around all morning, but now it's news...

  • ITALY PRIME MINISTER MONTI RESIGNS, PRESIDENT SAYS

Italian credit spreads leaked wider all morning and EURUSD lower though the correlation to losing a technocrat is perhaps a stretch. And so the great "Mark-to-Monti" Goldman rotation (as described previously) is complete, with Goldman losing a technocratic scribe, who is no longer needed thanks to yet another Goldmanite now in charge of the ECB, but far more importantly, Goldman has now gained control over that most prized of central planner jewels: the Bank of England.



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