Today's 3-Step Manipulation To S&P 2,000

The last couple of hours of today's US session were quite surreal for many cross-asset-class traders. As the following chart shows, the "need" for the S&P 500 to achieve 2,000 (and green post-FOMC) was evident in a 3-step process of manipulating VIX, USDJPY, and Gold. All they could achieve was 1,999.79 highs but not without an epic last minute VIXtermination effort...

Miracle Panic-Buyer Lifts Stocks Green From 50DMA

Do you believe in miracles? With death-crosses crossing, Hindenburgs Omening, bonds and credit diverging, breadth deteriorating, stocks on the verge of the worst run of thge year, and the S&P 500 testing the crucial 50-day moving average... it should be no surprise that a combination of VIX-slamming, USDJPY-ramping, PBOC-firing, Fed-speaking sent stocks to their biggest gains in 7-weeks after the worst selling in 5 weeks (and people think the BoJ is the only one buying stocks). Treasury yields rose but nothing like the exuberance in stocks. HY credit markets deteriorated notably (bounced with stocks but notably less so). The USD surged (apparently on PBOC rumors) early (+0.3% on the week). Gold & Silver dropped, copper rose modestly but WTI oil prices exploded higher with stocks' exuberance (and Benghazi headlines). VIX was banged from over 15 to under 13.5. S&P 500 2,000 (1,999.79 achieved) and getting back to green post-FOMC was all that mattered today - and Mission Accomplished... before a slightly weak close.

Household Net Worth Just Hit A Record High: Here Is Who Benefited

If the US economy had boosted everyone's income by $1.4 trillion in the past quarter, USD GDP would now be growing at a double digit pace. It did not. So to get a sense of just whose net worth rose by the noted amount, we go to Stone McCarthy which answers the question who benefited from holding stocks directly. Bottom line: the gains in net worth associated with holding stocks directly have been concentrated among a relatively small number of households.

Bank Of Japan Buys A Record Amount Of Equities In August

Having totally killed the Japanese government bond market, Shinzo Abe has - unlike the much less transparent Federal Reserve, who allegedly use their proxy Citadel - gone full tilt into buying Japanese stocks (via ETFs). In May, we noted the BoJ's aggressive buying as the Nikkei dropped, and in June we pointed out the BoJ's plan tobuy Nikkei-400 ETFs and so, as Nikkei news reports, it is hardly surprising that the Bank of Japan bought a record JPY 123.6 billion worth of ETFs in August. The market 'knows' that the BoJ tends to buy JPY10-20 billion ETFs when stock prices fall in the morning. The BoJ now holds 1.5% of the entire Japanese equity market cap (or roughly JPY 480 trillion worth) and is set to surpass Nippon Life as the largest individual holder of Japanese stocks. And, since even record BoJ buying was not enough to do the job, Abe has now placed GPIF reform (i.e. legislating that Japan's pension fund buys stocks in much greater size) as a primary goal for his administration. The farce is almost complete as the Japanese ponzi teeters on the brink.

On Our Failed Measures Of "Prosperity"

In the current GDP-based way we measure "prosperity" (i.e. "growth"), healthy living, low-cost lifestyles and capital accumulation are catastrophes for the economy rather than tremendous benefits. Clearly, we need an entirely new set of metrics and ways of measuring them. This will instantly create an entirely new set of agendas, priorities and incentives that change day-to-day choices without any central-state coercion, bureaucracies or top-down Central Planning.

$35 Billion Sold In Weak, Tailing 5 Year Auction

If yesterday's 2 Year auction was surprising strong, then the week's second, today 5 Year auction which conluded moments ago, was the very opposite, and can only be described as weak.

Making Up For Lost Time: US Drops 'A Month Of Bombs' On Syria In One Night

Never one to miss out on some heavy "shock and awe", Bloomberg reports that the U.S. dropped almost as many bombs and missiles on Islamic State positions in Syria in its first night of airstrikes there as it did in the first month of attacks on the extremist group in Iraq. It appears American foreign policy comes down to this, "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission," as the offensive unleashed 200 precision-guided munitions including 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and also got to play with its new F-22 toy in its first combat mission. The first night of airstrikes was “only the beginning,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters.

Disconnected Deja Vu Double-Take

US equity markets ramped vertically this morning, catching up to USDJPY's early exuberance... the trouble is - we've seen this before (yesterday) and as Europe closes maybe Bonds and Credit are on to something...

Obamacare Architect Says Society Would Be Better Off If People Died At 75

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, says that society would be far better off if people quit trying to live past age 75.  His new article entitled “Why I Hope To Die At 75” has the following very creepy subtitle: “An argument that society and families—and you - will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly”.  In the article, Emanuel forcefully argues that the quality of life for most people is significantly diminished past the age of 75 and that once we get to that age we should refuse any more medical care that will extend our lifespans.  This is quite chilling to read, considering the fact that this is coming from one of the key architects of Obamacare Of course he never uses the term “death panels” in his article, but that is obviously what Emanuel would want in a perfect world.  To Emanuel, it is inefficient to waste medical resources on those that do not have a high “quality of life”.  So he says that “75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop”.

ISIS Splinter Group "Caliphate Soldiers" Beheads French Hostage In Algeria

A new armed group in Algeria calling itself the "Caliphate Soldiers"  - a re-splinter from Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS - has, according to AP, beheaded a Frenchman abducted in Algeria in a video posted online on Wednesday, after giving a 24-hour deadline to Paris. Herve Gourdel, a 55-year-old hiker from the southern French city of Nice, was kidnapped on Sunday by Jund al-Khilifa, which demanded France stop its air strikes against IS in Iraq.

"Get To Work Mr. Chinese Chairman": China Set To Fire Its Central Bank Head, Unleash The Liquidity Floodgates

In what is certainly the most impotant news of the day, the WSJ reports that China's long-serving central banker Zhou Xiaochuan, "the face of the Chinese economy to markets globally" is about to be given the boot. According to the WSJ, "Chinese leader Xi Jinping is considering replacing Mr. Zhou, say party officials, as part of a wider personnel reshuffle that also comes after internal battles over economic reforms." And while it is true that at the age of 66, Zhou has passed China's retirement age, and his departure will be spun as an old man spending more time with his family, the reality is that this is part of a major Chinese shift in the "balance of power between reformist and reactionary forces, with the momentum for reforms being eroded by the loss of growth momentum in the economy," said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University China expert. Zhou's replacement: a career banker, who will do the bidding of, you guessed it, banks, which means "liquidity to the max."

A Nation Dividing: Mapping The World's Significant Separatist Movements

The Scottish referendum and waves of secession movements - from Spain's Catalonia to Turkey and Iraq's ethnic Kurds - are working in different directions to the world's status quo sustaining leaders' hopes for increased centralization and 'planned' economic growth. More than half a century after World War II triggered a wave of post-colonial nationalism that changed the map of the world, buried nationalism and ethnic identity movements of various forms are challenging the modern idea of the inviolable unity of the nation-state, not just in Europe, but across the entire world...

New Home Sales Explode Higher Thanks To... Record High Average New Home Prices?

New Home Sales rose a magnificent (seasonally-adjusted annualized rate) 18% in August - the biggest monthly rise since January 1992 albeit with a 16.3 90% confidence interval, meaning the final number may well be +1.7%. At 504k, new home sales are back at May 2008 levels (though obviously massively below the 1.4 million homes sold at the peak in 2005). As a reminder, May's 504K new home sales print was later revieed later to 458K. But even more stunning, new home sales in The West rose a mind-numbing 50% in August (and up 84.4% YoY - nearly double).  And just to confuse matters, the average new home sale price rose to a new record high of $347,900. So as existing home sales are sliding (and prices dropping), new home sales are surging (to new record highs) - makes perfect sense. We await the extrapolations for how great this move is. (or the realization that it is entirely seasonal-adjustment-biased and unsustainable given the realities of mortgage applications).

President Obama Addresses The United Nations General Assembly - Live Feed

"We did it for your own good," could perhaps be the mantra of President Obama's address to The United Nations' General Assembly this morning as the Nobel Peace Prize winner looks his fellow world-leaders in the eye and explains why the US unilaterally invaded Syria to save them all from the Dread Pirate Roberts ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State (and now The Khorasan Group). As AP reports, on Wednesday afternoon, Obama will convene an unusual meeting of the U.N. Security Council, during which members were expected to adopt a resolution that would require all countries to prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters preparing to join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State group. Good luck with that.