Joining its partner in economic destruction and currency devaluation (Argentina), Japanese stocks have just crossed over to the dark-side. After a glorious "well, the market is up, so everything must be great" rally of 85% in six months, the Nikkei 225 is now down over 20% from its highs - signifying a 'bear market'. This is the largest 10-day plunge in 27 months as volume has exploded on the downside. We wonder how the herds representing these five charts are feeling now? At the same time, JPY has broken back below 99 against the USD (and AUDJPY is at 5 month lows) as the entire JPY-funded rampage comes undone - seems like the message from the FX option market was spot on again. This is the lowest level in two months since Kuroda first spoke at the BoJ. Get that porta-potty ready, Abe... What next? Blame speculators? Short-sale ban? Shorting ban?
After getting within 40 points of the 20% correction level, the Nikkei 225 - aided by a 60 pip ramp in JPY - staged a solid 400 point rampapalooza off the pre-market lows. But... JGBs started to sell off in a hurry as equities surged and something had to be done. By the close of the morning session, TOPIX is back at its opening levels -1% from the close, Nikkei 225 -0.5% (down 250 from the earlier highs), JGBs are unchanged, and JPY is practically unchanged, Japanese corporate credit spreads are notably wider (worse).
The last war America fought openly through proxy was the Vietnam War. The sad and disturbing reality is that most wars fought by our country over the course of the past century have not been fought on principle. Instead, they have been fought for profit and for the consolidation of power and oligarchy. The war in Syria will not be about Syria. It will not be about the freedom of the people. It will not be about dethroning Assad or establishing democracy. It will not be about defusing violence in the region. Syria will not be the target; we will be the target — our society, our rights, our nation. America is in the middle of the most insidious consolidation of power in history and Syria is merely a stepping stone in the game. If we cannot maintain our vigilance and allow ourselves to be sucked into the proxy war façade, the elites will get their global conflict with little to no home opposition. The globalists will win, and everyone else will lose.
The IRS has a known history of scandalous behavior. With Nixon, Johnson, Hoover, Kennedy, and the FBI using the IRS to intimidate their enemies, it's no surprise that people have their eye on the IRS. Now under President Obama, they're at it again, which begs the question: bureaucratic blunder or political profiling?
If you look at the history of financial crises in Argentina, you will see there is almost no 10-year period when there isn't a financial crisis. Argentines have become masters at dealing with things like inflation and ridiculous government policies. How can the actions of the Argentine government give us insight into what a desperate government is capable of and what might be in store for the United States? The current Argentine government is dominated by true believers – young people who have that idealistic notion of equality for all, and who believe that government mandates can fix anything that ails. They are hardcore socialists, leaning towards communism. But, as is the case in the United States, they really don't know what they are doing and so pursue policies that are incredibly shortsighted. They are uninformed as far as history and economics are concerned and blunder from one harebrained policy to another. There is literally nothing that they will not try. It is like a textbook case in government gone mad. There is a lesson to be learned from all of this, and I think it is a very important one. When it comes right down to it, any government – not just the Argentine government, but the US government as well – will simply do whatever it thinks it needs to do to keep the status quo intact, with no moral or ethical considerations.
The first time we wrote about the Volcker-led Group of 30 recommendation to crush Money Markets in January 2010 by effectively imposing capital controls and fund "gates", whose purpose was simply to scare investors out of the $2.6 trillion liquidity pool and force said capital to reallocate into a much more "reflation friendly" asset classes such as stocks, many were concerned but few took it seriously. After all, such a coercive push into a "free" market at the time seemed incomprehensible (if, in reality, turned out to be just a few years ahead of its time). Fast forward two years to July 2012 when the same proposal of "risk-mitigation" by allocating a portion of the balance to a "loss-absorption fund", which would "create a disincentive to redeem if the fund is likely to have losses" was not only re-espoused by Tim Geithner, and the NY Fed but the SEC put it to a vote and the proposal would have almost passed had it no been for a nay vote by Commissioner Luis Aguilar opposing Mary Schapiro in the last minute. Still, once more many largely unconcerned about the implications behind this urgent push to intervene and establish pseudo-capital controls in this major source of potential stock buying "dry powder." Today, with a brand new leader, Mary Jo White, now that the clueless and co-opted Mary Schapiro is long gone, the $2.6 trillion Money Market Fund industry is one step closer to finally being gated. But don't it call it that - the SEC prefers the term "protecting investors"
History may not repeat but it certainly rhymes and when it comes to the animal spirits of human fear and greed, nowhere is that more evident than the 'surveys' of confidence that US citizens have undertaken for thelast 30 years. As the following two charts show, while many are exuberant at the rise in confidence of late, it is a pattern we have seen play out twice before - and both previous times - it did not end well...
More than 97,000 rail carloads of crude oil were delivered in the United States during the first quarter of the year.That's 20 percent more than the fourth quarter of 2012 and 166 percent more than during the same period last year. Rail shipments of grain, metallic ores and minerals declined, however. Oil companies are moving more of their oil by rail because pipeline capacity can't keep up with North American production gains. Last week, a pipeline planned from Texas to California was shelved because of the lack of shipper interest, though for rail, there's been relative surge in crude oil traffic. It remains to be seen if that can be sustained, however. The debate over pipelines versus rail hinges on access, price and reliability.
It's one thing for broke Argentina to nationalize assets of just as broke Spain. However when tiny west-African country Gabon decides to "seize" assets from three international oil companies including China's petrochemical giant Sinopec, things not only get interesting, but puts a brand new pawn on the global geopolitical chessboard. But why is Gabon seeking to antagonize some of the primary participants in its crude extraction supply chain? Simple: leverage, or its own perception thereof. As the FT reports, this surprising move comes as Gabon prepares to "launch a licensing round for the deep waters off its coast. Experts say reserves in the Gabon Basin could rival deep offshore discoveries in Brazil."
Those tens of thousands of outstanding delivery requests against JPM are finally starting to make their way through the pipeline: following the withdrawal of 28,380 ounces of gold after nearly one month of radiosilence out of the vault located below 1 CMP, today the CME reported that another 21k troy ounces of eligible gold were withdrawn from the bank (coupled with the reallocation of another 8.8K registered into eligible), taking the total to a fresh record low of 767,752 ounces.
As more and more "baby boomers" head into retirement the need for high quality, independent, registered investment advisors will continue to grow. The need for firms that do organic research, analysis and make investment decisions free from "conflict," and in the client's best interest, will continue to be in high demand in the years to come as more "boomers" leave the workforce. While the "Wall Street" game is not likely to change anytime soon; the trust of Wall Street is fading and fading fast. The rise of algorithmic, program and high frequency trading, scandals, insider trading and "crony capitalism" with Washington is causing "retail investors" to turn away to seek other alternatives.
Treasuries appear to be shrugging off the Taper talk in favor of safe-haven status as they rally 6-7bps - the best yield compression since mid-February. US equity markets did not close off the lows (as the Nikkei is within 45 points of the dreaded bear market 20% correction level). Credit markets anxiety yesterday bled through today and they led stocks lower (with no Hindenburg Omen today). The VIX term structure bear-flattened dramatically as the 'picking-up-nickels-in-front-of-the-steamroller' trade finally got its fingers caught - the front-end of the curve smashed higher and is now at its flattest to the midcurve in 2013. The USD weakened as JPY was bid (and AUD sold hard) amid heavy carry unwinds. Volume was heavy today but the selling was very broad-based across the sectors (homebuilders remain worst on the week). The Dow ended with its biggest points drop in almost two months - no buy-the-dip-mentality victory today eh Maria?