As the world awaits to see if following his speech, Israel's PM will now proceed with launching a full on assault on Iran just to show he means business, or at least stage yet another false flag intervention to greenlight war in the middle east, several hundred kilometers to the northeast, the biggest offensive in the "war on ISIS" is now taking place after thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shi'ite militiamen seek to retake the northern Iraqi town and birthplace of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit. And since there is much confusion all around since pretty much everyone in the middle east is now involved in this war on Iraqi/ISIS soil, here is a simple map showing who controls what..
A running theme here has been the great rotation of bubble-blowing credit from subprime housing to subprime auto-loans. Amid government probes of underwriting standards and soaring delinquencies, it appears when the least-creditworthy Americans are cut off from debt servitude, bad things happen in car sales... FORD FEB. U.S. LIGHT-VEHICLE SALES FALL 2.0%, EST. UP 5.8% (miss!). Worst Still - US Domestic Vehicle Sales Worst Start To The Year Since 2010. Of course, the real blame - as we will be told - is the weather... It seems Obama's new American Dream of a brand new Ford or GM (or Maserati) in every driveway may be another broken promise.
Just a day after Blackrock saw its biggest Bond ETF outflows in history ($525.8 million pulled on Monday), Actavis sold $21 billion of almost-junk 'BBB-' rated debt (at a minsicule yield of only 3.5%) in the 2nd largest bond issuance ever (2nd only to Verizon's massive $49 billion deal in 2013). The issue was oversubscribed 4.5x (around $90bn in the order book) as a ten-part offering varying from 18-month floaters to 30Y fixeds all went off below guidance. With Treasury liquidty disappearing fast, one wonders just how much rate-locking on this massive deal was responsible for a net short overhang on the Treasury complex the last few days...
Echoing former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ quip, “There is surely something odd about the world’s greatest power being the world’s greatest debtor,” it appears that economic reality is finally beginning to set in for Americans... Only hours ago, Gallup released a new poll showing that only a small minority (just 17%) of Americans still view the US as the world’s economic superpower.
While every other word from talking-heads and policy-makers relates various anecdotes (or simple lies) about US economic growth, The Atlanta Fed appears to have taken a 'data-dependent' perspective on the real economy (as opposed to smoke and mirrors). Based on their GDPNow "nowcasting" model, The Atlanta Fed projects Q1 2015 GDP growth os just 1.2% (less than half current sell-side economist consensus) and getting weaker...
The following video of LAPD officers gunning down a homeless man in broad daylight is rightly getting a lot of attention. It’s not as if it was one officer dealing with a dangerous situation who panicked. There was a mob of police officers surrounding the victim, and rather than dealing with the situation like courageous, decent adults, they went ahead and treated the man like target practice.
Just yesterday we warned that, among the 'solutions' the Greek government was exploring in its scramble for cash to pay back The IMF loan, was 'borrowing' from the nation's pension funds. Today we get the sad confirmation that indeed Greece will raid cash reserves in pension funds and other public sector entities to cover its funding needs. As Reuters reports, Greece will use short-term repo transactions to transfer the cash, but one government official said they could not be used to repay the IMF. As the radical left-wing government takes from the implictly wealthier Greeks (pension funders), it is giving free electricity, a rent allowance, and food stamps to the poor.
Are oil prices heading for a double dip? The surge in shale production has produced a temporary glut in supplies causing oil prices to experience a massive bust. After tanking to a low of $44 per barrel in January, falling rig counts and enormous reductions in exploration budgets have fueled speculation that the market will correct sometime later this year. However, there is a possibility that the recent rise to $51 for WTI and $60 for Brent may only be temporary. In fact, several trends are conspiring to force prices down for a second time.
Fake orders, fake customers... And that's just the beginning! Completing the bizarro circle, one can now buy classes on Alibaba that teach you how to fake Alibaba customers!
In a 'ripped from The Onion'-esque headline, WSJ reports that David Petraeus - the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency - will plead guilty to a charge of mishandling classified information. The reitred military general, whose career was cut short by a very public affair with his biographer, reached a plea deal over sharing unauthorized information with her, in order to avoid an embarrassing trial. To summarize, the man trusted with all of the America's most secret secrets just plead guilty to pillow-talk-sharing of classified information...
Going into 2015 the economic outlook held by the U.S. investment establishment could not have been much more positive, and more unified. Pundits saw all the variables aligning to create the best of all investment worlds, a virtual "no-brainer" of optimism. High degrees of certainty can be dangerous. Herd mentality can cause investors to chase returns en masse and pile into positions that may already be overvalued. But herds can be spooked, most often by unexpected developments which can catch the herd wrong-footed and spark major movements when the masses scatter at the same time. When that occurs, those who resisted the herd may find themselves rewarded. We believe that we are approaching such a point.
Yesterday we warned that with the BOJ greedily sucking up all gross JGB issuance and stoking volatility in the process, all it will take is a couple of more weak debt auctions for things to go awry — and that’s just what happened overnight as demand was tepid at March's 10-year auction.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress this morning at 11ET to issue a high-profile warning against what he considers an ill-advised nuclear deal with Iran. This brings to a head weeks of tension between Israel and The White House and numerous politicians (including The President) will boycott be absent during Bibi's speech. In what NYTimes calls an 'implicit challenge to Obama', Bibi plans to outline his case for a tougher strategy to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and to dissect the flaws of an agreement that has been emerging from American-led negotiations; gambling that disclosing compromises the U.S. made in trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran will delay or derail any agreement.