Senate leaders failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance The USA Freedom Act - which would have limited the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records - and as Bloomberg reports, it's unlikely a new version can be drafted for another vote before the congressional term expires this year. The 58-42 vote to move the measure forward came mostly along party lines as Senator Saxby Chambliss - the top Republican on the intelligence committee - rambling that the bill "eliminates tools critical to the intelligence community’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks, and its adoption would greatly degrade our ability to fight domestic terrorism in particular." In other words - it's for own good, now shut up!
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its annual report on “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes” analyzing data through 2011 on American households. The major finding of the CBO report is that the households in the top income quintile are the real “net payers” of the US economy. The highest income quintile is basically financing the entire system of transfer payments to the bottom 60% and the entire operation of the federal government. And yet don’t we hear all the time that “the rich” aren’t paying their fair share of taxes and that they need to shoulder a greater share of the federal tax burden?
Iron Ore prices crashed below the critical $70/mt level overnight, lows not seen since the bottom in 2009, as China's home prices fell for the second month in a row, accelerating losses. Average property prices across China dropped 2.6% YoY in October (a bigger drop than September's 1.2% YoY slip) with only 1 out of 70 cities seeing any positive price change (Zhengzhou +0.2% MoM). What is perhaps most entertaining is the 38.6% YoY rise in new home starts China just experienced - the biggest jump ever - as the first sign of demand (or hint from PBOC that they would 'help' with mortgages) and supply floods the market. The 'market' appears not to believe the hype.
3 days and 1400 NKY points roundtrip and all is once again well in the world according to Abe. The Nikkei 225 has just recovered all its losses from the dismal GDP downside 'surprise' thanks to a never-ending levitation in USDJPY back over 117.00. For now, the momentumn has stalled for stocks... but we are sure another regurgitated headline-full of Japanese policy-maker bullshit will send USDJPY to 120 and NKY back to 40,000 any day now - thus proving to all that Japan is indeed 'recovered'.
Confused at just what Jonathan Gruber, friend (or not friend) of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, said (and didn't say)? Here is the two-minute idiot's guide to the Obamacare architect (or not Obamacare architect)'s controversial comments (and just who did and did not know him)...
"Back in the heyday of the old Soviet Union, a phrase evolved to describe gullible western intellectuals who came to visit Russia and failed to notice the human and other costs of building a communist utopia. The phrase was “useful idiots” and it applied to a good many people who should have known better. I now propose a new, analogous term more appropriate for the age in which we live: useful hypocrites. That’s you and me, folks, and it’s how the masters of the digital universe see us. And they have pretty good reasons for seeing us that way."
Despite the apparent economic and profit news improvements recently, JPMorgan CIO Michael Cembalest notes there are a few instances where people are still flipping out. It’s worth reviewing them, he suggests, as they're indicative of risks and opportunities in financial markets heading into 2015, and of the continued presence of central banks affecting asset prices.
To put the events of October 15 in context, here is a 1-minute clip courtesy of Nanex showing the daily history bond market liquidity starting with 2008 and going through November 2014.
Update: Sorry Mary, the No's just hit 41 meaning the bill failed to procure the required 60 Yes votes. Which is good news for Obama who is spared from enforcing the Veto and ruining his "compromiser" image.
Today's primetime Congressional spectacle has begun, with the Senate now voting to pass a bill to approve the Keystone Pipeline. In largely a moot vote, in which 60 Ayes are needed to pass the bill, there will certainly not be enough support for the bill to prevent an Obama veto, which he is certain to impose and reignite the animosity between the GOP and Democrats once again. Ultimately, the only outcome will be whether Mary Landrieu's political career will be terminated as a result of a failure to pass the legislation: with one vote said to make all the difference, it will be a nailbiter, if for nobody else, then for the Louisiana senator.
As Kyle Bass once eloquently noted, the brevity of financial memory is about two years; and nowhere is that more clear than in the explosive resurgence of demand for new subprime-mortgage-backed products. As Scotsman Guide reports, some subprime lenders are reporting strong investor appetite for the once-reviled mortgage products (for borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 and with debt-to-income (DTI) ratios as high as 50 percent). "It's out of control; it seems like there’s 10 times the amount of demand to buy this paper as there are borrowers that want the loans," said one lender. As Bass may have also said "proceed with caution."
From its lowest 5-day range in history and near-longest streak of closes above its short-term average, the S&P 500 broke to new record highs today (as did the Dow) above 2,050, leaving every other asset class in the dust (besides USDJPY of course). The incessant push for the stops above 117.00 dragged the S&P higher on no catalyst whatsoever. Treasury yields traded 2-3bps lower on the day (and HY credit spreads widened) in the face of equity exuberance. The USD faded on the day back to unchanged on the week on the back of EUR strength (post-Germany). Gold rallied to $1195 (+0.5% on the week) and silver rose modestly but the USD weakness did nothing for the rest of the commodity complex. Copper was whacked (after China housing data) but the big story is WTI Crude plunged again (-2% on the week) closing just shy of 4-year lows. Russell 2000 and Trannies close in the red for the week. In summary: Stocks Up, Gold Up, Bonds Up... USD Down, Oil Down, Copper Down ahead of Fed Minutes tomorrow (credit and stocks protected).
Goldman FX Trader Fired For Participating In Currency-Rigging Cartel Even As Goldman Avoids Any ChargesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/18/2014 - 15:35
Moments ago the WSJ reported that Goldman Sachs - which managed to go unscathed in the recent currency market rigging settlement - just fired a currencies trader who "allegedly was involved with the misconduct before he joined the firm." So how is it possible that Goldman, which housed one of "The Cartel's" (or was it Bandits?) riggers, was never busted in the first place? Because apparently Goldman had no clue of his impeccable FX-rigging chat room credentials when it hired him from HSBC back in 2012, credentials which he allegedly never again used while employed by Goldman because the moment he walked through the door at 200 West, he was a changed man, doing merely god's work and nobody else's.
If you were forced to admit that everything you believed about markets and monetary policy was in fact completely fallacious, as this week's Japanese GDP collapse proved of Abenomics and devaluing yourself to prosperity, could you do it? Or would you stick to your blinkered views of the world... The following characters continue to have faith in the self-proclaimed ponzi scheme...
Add easy profits from needless tests to defensive medicine and no cost controls or real competition, and we have the perfect formula for waste, fraud, profiteering, bad medicine and dysfunctional, unaffordable healthcare.