Gold Tests 5-Week Highs. "Should Continue Pushing Higher": Citi

On the back of dismal data this morning merely compounding the belief that whatever happens, there will be no Taper anytime soon (and record high physical premiums over spot as Indian demand surges), gold prices broke back above $1360 this morning to five-week highs. Of course, that 'rise' was very quickly squelched as stocks POMO'd higher from the US open; but, as Citi's FX technicals group notes, the break of $1343 points to a test of $1430 and a bias to testing back above the $1522-32 region.

Did The Fed Kill The Long-Term Investor?

Gone are the days where people looked towards next year when building their portfolios, or five years down the road as they approach retirement. Now from a combination of apprehensiveness and shear paranoia in our unstable markets, investors are looking only as far as they can throw for their personal investment decisions. In more than 30 years of money management, Lance Roberts has never seen such a rapid change in the way people make financial plans. Instead of saving for the future, many are opting for fast gains - yet at the same time they want low risk. Others are playing it completely safe. In fact, in a quarterly poll, 83% of respondents said they were holding on to their cash versus investing in the stock market.

White House To Stop Spying on Allies, Dianne Feinstein Promises

Continuing to play Obama like a fiddle, the Snowden revelations have done more to change US foreign policy in a few short months, than all laws passed since the advent of the Patriot Act. In the latest example of just this, moments ago, USA Today first and the WSJ and others subsequently, reported that according to Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and an NSA supporter, the National Security Agency has stopped gathering intelligence on allied political leaders, a practice that has drawn global criticism. "The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support," according to Feinstein. It was not immediately clear if this is an implicit admission that the White House actually did know about the NSA's spying on foreign leaders over the past decade, and lied about being unaware. Recall that Obama denied just this last night, but at this point the pit of lies is so deep, few actually care or are keeping track.

5 Years & 6000 Points: Can Janet Yellen Make It Different This Time?

The NYSE Composite is indicating some uncomfortable symmetry currently. As NewEdge's Brad Wishak notes, the index (which represents 61% of the market capitalization of globally listed companies) has risen about the same amount over the same period as in the run-up of the last debt-fueled bubble (only this time the valuations are notably richer). Will Janet Yellen make sure this time is different...? Or is the right question, 2007 USA or 2006 Zimbabwe?

Guest Post: Culture Of Ignorance - Part I

The kabuki theater that passes for governance in Washington D.C. reveals the profound level of ignorance shrouding this Empire of Debt in its prolonged death throes. Ignorance of facts; ignorance of math; ignorance of history; ignorance of reality; and ignorance of how ignorant we’ve become as a nation, have set us up for an epic fall. It’s almost as if we relish wallowing in our ignorance like a fat lazy sow in a mud hole. The lords of the manor are able to retain their power, control and huge ill-gotten riches because the government educated serfs are too ignorant to recognize the self-evident contradictions in the propaganda they are inundated with by state controlled media on a daily basis.

Ron Paul On Faux Fed Transparency: "Believe Me, The 'Big Stuff' Is Done In Secret"

As Rand Paul grows more vociferous with regard the Janet Yellen nomination, he and his father are once again pressing for more transparency into what really occurs at the Fed. While some argue that there has never been a more 'transparent' Fed as we are plagued with volumes of double-speak (projections and prognostications), Ron Paul explains in this brief clip that "the big stuff is done in secret," including international central bank bailouts. His hope, based on the fact that Janet Yellen is a self-described agent of transparency that "the time is ripe," to truly audit the Fed.

Did Apple's Cash Holdings Of $146.8 Billion Just Peak?

While the market is focused on AAPL's income statement, we decided to take a quick glance at its balance sheet, where we looked at - what else - its infamous cash hoard. Once the envy of every company in the universe, AAPL's cash and equivalents, while still very impressive at a record $146.8 billion, is potentially a reason of concern. Because while AAPL's Q4 $9.9 billion in cash from operations were certainly impressive as a result of the company's recent shareholder friendly overtures it has been burning cash at a far faster clip than in prior quarters and spent $7.8 billion in Q4 in dividends and share buybacks. So much so, that the amount by which its total cash holdings grew in the quarter was a tiny $140 million, a far cry from prior quarters when it generated billions in cash in any given quarter. So one wonders: was this the peak for the most fantastic cash balance growth in history?

Apple Beats Q4 Earnings But Guides Lower On Q1 Margin Sending Stock Lower

Moments ago, AAPL beat the top and bottom line as follows:

  • Q4 EPS of $8.26, Est. $7.92
  • Q4 Revenues of $37.5 billion, Est. $36.84
  • Q4 gross Margin: 37.0% vs Est. 36.9%

That was the good news: the bad is as follows:

  • IPad sales of 14.1 million missed estimates of 14.3 million
  • Q1 margin between 36.5-37.5%, below the street estimate of 37.74%, which is what according to some is pushing the stock lower after hours

Welcome to the commodity world: after all this is what AAPL wanted with the 5C right?

Last-Minute Buying Frenzy Sends S&P 500 To New All-Time Higherer High

Shitty data, worse earnings, worst volume, new highs. Among the lowest volume days in NYSE single-stocks, S&P futures trading, and VIX options saw stocks levitate back to overnight highs during the day only to slide lower to around unch by the close. Trannies have managed 11 up days in the last 13 and gained 10.3% - sure why not? S&P 500 hit new all-time highs but ended the day well off its highs. Gold hit 5-week highs but faded back to modest gains. The USD rallied early and faded to unch by the close. Treasuries rallied early on but faded into close +/1bp on the day... The pattern was the same across most assets but a very last minute 4.5 point rampapalooza closed the S&P at all-time highs.

Austrian Economics Hits Mainstream Media

One has to wonder if somewhere deep down a change is occurring in America. While stock prices soar to record highs, it is clear a growing number of 'real' people are realizing the nonsense that watching a 'market' as anything indicative of reality has become. The latest 'shift' is the appearance on New Orleans local TV of a two-minute primer on an "alternative" school of economic thought - Austrian Economics. While the anchor is careful to add the caveat that the mainstream economists think the world would be a terrible place if they didn't help us along, the brief clip begins with some useful common sense, "the market alone should decide the value of products and services. If a company is not successful, it should go bankrupt." Indeed...

JPM Sees "Most Extreme Ever Excess Liquidity" Bubble After $3 Trillion "Created" In First 9 Months Of 2013


To summarize:

In just the first 9 months of 2013, DM countries have injected $1 trillion in liquidity sourced exclusively by central banks; EMs have injected another $2 trillion driven by bank loan demand.
The total global M2 is over $66 trillion, growing at an annualized pace of over 6%.
The amount of excess liquidity, i.e. the infamous "liquidity bubble" in the global fungible system is "the most extreme ever in terms of its magnitude"

And that's really all there is to know: the monetary music is playing and everyone has to dance... just don't ask what happens when the music ends.


The recent strong rise in the so-called CBOE SKEW index is yet another among the various divergences that make the stock market's current advance suspect. Skew measures the perceived tail risk of the market via the pricing of out-of-the-money options. Generally, a rise in skew indicates that 'crash protection' is in demand among institutional investors. An unusual move in the skew index (which historically oscillates approximately between a value of 100 and 150) is especially interesting when it diverges strongly from the VIX, which measures at the money and close to the money front month SPX option premiums. Basically what a 'low VIX/high skew' combination is saying is: 'the market overall is complacent, but big investors perceive far more tail risk than usual' (it is exactly the other way around when the VIX is high and SKEW is low). In other words, a surprising increase in realized volatility may not be too far away.

Ohio Runs Out Of Pentobarbital, Can't Execute Convicts

Ohio said on Monday that it does not have enough of the lethal injection drug pentobarbital to carry out a scheduled execution next month. As Reuters reports, Ohio is the latest U.S. state to face a scarcity after the European manufacturer banned its sale for lethal injections of prisoners sentenced to death. The European Union is opposed to the death penalty (physical as opposed to economic) and has put pressure on US States to stop the practice. If only there was an anonymous online exchange where 'drugs' could be bought and sold to meet the demands of those looking for a quick fix (or multiple executions) despite the oversight of various freedoms by governments.

The Google Unemployment Index

With even the Federal Reserve throwing doubt on the veracity (or usefulness) of the 'official' unemployment data (having finally caught on to the reality we have highlighted for a number of years), Petr Pinkhasov has created a more 'real' unemployment index reflecting the reality of every day for the average American...

Second Tesla Goes Down In Flames Following Mexico City Crash

The last time a Tesla Model S struck an object in the road and burst into flames, it resulted in a rather dramatic stock price demise and a hastily put together PR blitz explaining that "there is nothing to see here, move along." We wondered at the time how soon we would hear the second 'crackle' of battery packs exploding and sure enough, less than a month later, Jalopnik reports (as the clip below shows) another Tesla Model S has caught fire in a Mexico city following a crash. How many Fiskers went up in flames before people started doubting that company's reassurances?

Two-Year Auction Prices At Highest Bid To Cover In 6 Months, Lowest Dealer Allottment In One Year

While on the surface today's bond auction of "only" $32 billion in 2 Year paper (last month and previously it was $33 billion or more, which is now declining alongside the dropping US deficit and net funding needs, if not the absolutely flat amount of debt monetized by the Fed), was uninspiring, there was some stirring beneath the surface. Specifically, the high yield of 0.323% was through the When Issued of 0.328%, while the Bid To Cover of 3.32 was above last month's 3.09, and was the highest since the 3.63 in April. Has the trend of declining Bids to Cover finally ended? Looking at the internals shows a return to some recent normalcy, namely that the Directs took down a substantial 30.97%, the highest since February, Indirects had a modest 29.02% allocation leaving just 40% to the Dealers, which was also the lowest Primary Dealer take down since October of last year. Perhaps most importantly, the flatline in the yield which has been in the 0.3% range since August 2011 indicates that absolutely nobody belives the Fed will hike rates any time before 2016.

Guest Post: Two Forces And Three Bears

In these climax years of industrial technocratic society, two opposing forces shape the destiny of government: the desperate effort to control everything versus the decline of the ability to carry out that effort. The result will be the loss of legitimacy and the collapse of government from the highest levels, moving downward until the real power to make anything work re-sets at a feasible and appropriate level — probably very local. This dynamic is seen very clearly in three spectacles du jour: the “national security” (spying) mess, government-sponsored accounting fraud in finance, and the ObamaCare rollout.


In the paradoxical New Normal media world in which the legacy creators of original content (even if most of it is designed to suit a specific agenda) are hopelessly burning cash at an ever faster pace, while those who (at least for the time being) are profitable and cater to the "social network crowd" do so on the backs of kittens, slideshows and headlines designed to attract the lowest common denominator, what is one to do? One suggestion, as the following XKCD table shows, is to rewrite history, while focusing on the only thing that matters: trolling for reads, bobbing for CPM and clickbaiting, of course.

President Obama "Installs" New FBI Director - Live Webcast

With 'spies like us' who needs enemies. With the world upset at what Obama now claims is all Bush's doing, the installation of a new FBI Director (James Comey) may just have some irony to it; especially since the White House has specifically noted he will be making some 'remarks'. Of course, the hope is that President Obama will use this opportunity to answer a few questions from an uninspired press corps...