"It's Impossible To Work Your Way Through College Nowadays"

"It's impossible to work your way through college nowadays"...is the hard-to-swallow (but not entirely surprising) conclusion of Randal Olson's research into just how extreme national tuition costs have become in the US. As The Atlantic notes, the economic cards are stacked such that today’s average college student, without support from financial aid and family resources, would need to complete at least 48 hours of minimum-wage work a week to pay for his courses.

Is This What a Credit Bubble Looks Like?

There’s been some buzz recently about a pick-up in business lending. Unlike some pundits, though, we’re not convinced that a surge in business credit is such a good thing. We don’t doubt that more lending to small businesses, in particular, might do some good if it doesn’t go too far. Lending to large corporations, on the other hand, is a different story. Corporations are already borrowing at a pace that’s only before been seen near cyclical peaks...

Retail Store Closures Soar In 2014: At Highest Pace Since Lehman Collapse

What a better way to celebrate the rigged markets that are telegraphing a "durable" recovery, than with a Credit Suisse report showing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that when it comes to traditional bricks and mortar retailers, who have now closed more stores, or over 2,400 units, so far in 2014 and well double the total amount of storefront closures in 2013, this year has been the worst year for conventional discretionary spending since the start of the great financial crisis!

Keynesian Knightmare: US Savers Outnumber Spenders By Record Numbers

"Janet, we have a problem," is the resoundingly loud message from the latest Gallup poll of Americans preference (and relative enjoyment) of "saving" vs. "spending". It seems, despite all the hoop-la and exuberance about an 'economic recovery' that is pent-up due to weather but about to break out to escape velocity, the majority of Americans continue to enjoy saving money more than spending it, by 62% to 34%. The 2014 saving-spending gap is the one of the widest since Gallup began tracking Americans' preferences in 2001. How long before a discussion of negative rates re-appears as the rich and powerful Oz-ians contemplate the latest effort to 'change' people's mass psychology...

VIX Is Where The Volume's At

Despite tumbling volumes overall as the rally of the last few days progresses, today's terrible equity market volume is absolutely not evident in VIX - which has already traded more volume than an average day in 2014... "unrigged"

China Goes Dark: PBOC To Keep Goldbugs Clueless About Its Gold Buying Spree

Now that everyone is breathing down the PBOC's neck to finally reveal - with a five year delay - just how much gold it does hold, the Chinese central bank has done a U-turn on its indirect transparency and, as Reuters reports, has begun allowing gold imports through its capital Beijing, sources familiar with the matter said, "in a move that would help keep purchases by the world's top bullion buyer discreet at a time when it might be boosting official reserves."

John Kerry Admits Geneva "Deal" Worthless

As we warned numerous times in the last few days since the "de-escalation deal" was reached over Ukraine (sparking an instantaneous risk-on short-squeeze in stocks), the de-escalation has not happened. It seems even John Kerry has faced up to that reality now:

  • *KERRY SAYS GENEVA ACCORD ONLY 'PIECE OF PAPER' WITHOUT ACTION

So now what? More red-lines? More sanctions? Just don't tell the headline-buying algos... Of course, he blames the Russians for the worthlessness of the deal.

Forget Ferrari, The $803,300 Red Flag L5 Is The New Must-Have Car In China

For the wealthy Chinese with 5 million Yuan (around $800,000) burning a hole in their pocket, there is a new must-have 'toy'. Instead of the latest Ferrari or Lambo, it is none other than the provocatively named "Red Flag L5" that is popping eyeballs and leaving the wealthy Chinese breathless...

Ron Paul Warns The Nevada Standoff Is A Symptom of Increasing Authoritarianism

A government that continually violates our rights of property and contract can fairly be descried as authoritarian. Of course, the politicians and bureaucrats take offense at this term, but how else do you describe a government that forbids Americans from grazing cattle on land they have used for over a century, from buying health insurance that does not met Obamacare’s standards, from trading with Cuba, or even from drinking raw milk! That so many in DC support the NSA spying and the TSA assaults on our privacy shows the low regard that too many in government have for our rights. History shows us that authoritarian systems, whether fascist, communist, or Keynesian, will inevitably fail.

Hubris. Greed. Distraction. Denial.

The wonder is that more Americans are not ticked off about the state of our country than whatever is happening ten thousand miles away. The disintegration of Ukraine would be best understood by Americans as a mirror of ourselves and our sclerotic republic, poised to sink into poverty and disorder. Everything we do and say rings hollow now. What used to be called The Establishment has run out of ways to even pretend to save itself. We have no idea what’s next, but it’s not going to be more of what’s been.

A Summary Of What Hedge Funds Are Buying And Selling

Large speculators reduced ther S&P 500 positioning to net short this week and their NASDAQ longs to a one-year low as BofAML reports on CFTC data. Macros funds decreased their long exposure to S&P500 and NASDAQ to now hold short exposure. They also decreased their long exposure to US Dollar (raising their AUD longs to a record high) and maintained their long exposure to 10-year Treasuries. They decreased their long exposure to commodities and increased their long exposure to EM. Across all asset classes, positioning is at extremes.

Fukushima Manager Admits Water Woes "Out Of Control", Refutes Lies By PM Abe

Last September, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe told Olympic dignitaries in Buenos Aires in an address that helped Tokyo win the 2020 Games: "Let me assure you the situation is under control." It would seem, just as he 'assured' his people that Abenomics would 'fix' Japan, in the case of Fukushima, he lied. As Japan Times reports, the manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has embarrassingly admitted that repeated efforts have failed to bring under control the problem of radioactive water.

POMO Pump-And-Dump Leaves Stocks In The Red

Volume is light, as Europe remains on Easter holiday, but the volatility is back. Biotechs opened notably higher, dumped to unch, ripped to new highs, then dumped again... The S&P 500 managed to regain all last week's dump losses - but stalled then as POMO struck (the biggest in April) and AUDJPY took off in its front-running way but left stocks behind. Of course, there's no need to worry though - tomorrow is Tueaday after all.

Sorry Janet: Technology Is Deflationary

We all know the Federal Reserve is terrified of deflation, because they keep telling us that deflation is the equivalent of death and inflation is the equivalent of oxygen. What they fail to mention is that inflation is only oxygen for debtors barely able to service their debt and those who profits from debt, i.e. bankers and financiers. For everyone earning a wage or salary, inflation is the equivalent of death by a thousand cuts and deflation is the elixir of life. When prices decline, our money goes further, i.e. our purchasing power increases. Only bankers, governments and other parasites that live off the carrion of debt fear deflation and try to destroy the purchasing power of wages with everything in their power.

Have No Fear, Joe Biden Is Here (Or Rather, In Kiev)

John Kerry (and more secretly, John Brennan) came, saw, and failed miserably, and repeatedly, to "de-escalate" (or, re-escalate in the case of the CIA visit) the Ukraine situation. So the time has come to bring out the bug gun. Sure enough, heeeeere's Joe, as he arrived in Ukraine. And now sit back and watch as world peace breaks out in 5.... 4.... 3....

APC Sporting Russian Flag Parades Around Separatist Occupied Slavyansk

While no business cards were left this time, a Russian-flag-toting APC has been spotted driving through the center of Slavyansk - the pro-Russian held city where several people were killed over the weekend. Of course, it is unclear whether this is yet another brazen attempt at provocation - proving the truce has been broken - as we can't help but notice how comfortable the military vehicle seemed to be posing for the cameras...

What Do Janet Yellen, Uri Geller, And Jesus Have In Common?

Meanwhile, we are still puzzling over the miracle produced by the Fed. Uri Geller could bend spoons. The Fed bends the entire economy. Hardly a single price is unaffected. Hardly a single business plan or investment strategy goes forward without an eye on the central bank. Jesus turned water into wine and multiplied loaves and fishes. But the Fed make Him seem like a two-bit shell game hustler. The loaves and the fishes couldn’t have had a market value of more than a few thousand shekels! Every year, more resources must be drawn from the future and enjoyed in the present. Every year, the claims on future earnings increase… and every year the debt becomes even more unsupportable. Somehow. Someday. Those claims on the future will be marked down.

Russia Warns It May Enter Recession As Soon As This Quarter

While hardly coming as a surprise to anyone, Russia is getting increasingly more vocal about the near certainty that the country is about to slam headfirst into a technical (at first), and then outright recession.

  • RUSSIA MAY ENTER `TECHNICAL RECESSION' IN 2Q, ORESHKIN SAYS
  • RUSSIAN 2014 CAPITAL OUTFLOWS MAY REACH $70B-$80B: ORESHKIN
  • RUSSIAN 2014 CURRENT-ACCOUNT SURPLUS MAY EXCEED $50B: ORESHKIN
  • RUSSIAN GDP MAY CONTRACT IN 2Q OR 3Q VS YR EARLIER: ORESHKIN

Depositor In Failed Russian Bank Loses It, Takes Hostages, Demands $700,000 Ransom

Earlier today, the Central Bank of Russia announced that starting April 21, it would revoke the license of Moscow’s Bank Zapadny. According to reports, "the bank had cooked its books and failed to comply with regulations on the amount of assets a financial organization must maintain to ensure its stability, the central bank said." In other words, your typical FDIC Failure Friday only on Monday morning. Hardly notable. It is what happened next that was shocking. Shortly after the bank shutdown announcement, an armed man took three hostages at a Belgorod branch of precisely this failed Bank Zapadny. Tt appears this may simply be the latest case of a disgruntled bank client taking matters into his own hands.  As RT reports, "he may be a client of the bank wishing to withdraw his deposit despite the bank losing its license.....Life News tabloid says it has identified one of the attackers as 46-year-old Aleksandr Vdovin, a client who holds the bank’s promissory notes for a large sum, and who decided to reimburse them at gunpoint."