Lately the Greek finmin is far more in the media for things he doesn't say, or "allegedly says" (or which fingers he extends during his speeches), than for his official statements, however his statements are still relevant especially with the Greek endgame according to many having started. So feel free to watch him without any lost in translation moments as he speeks at the Brookings Institute, the place where Citadel's latest trader Ben Bernanke blogs out of, on the topic of "the Greek economy and its global partners." It may be a short speech.
Over the past several weeks we have heard repeated comments that you should ignore the recent retail sales weakness for a variety of reasons such as cold winter weather, consumers don't believe the drop in gas prices, etc. Putting aside the fact that cold weather almost always occurs during winter (which is why the data is seasonally adjusted to begin with), or that more than 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, should we dismiss the data entirely?
Late last year, Grexit "expert" Willem Buiter decided that he was a greater expert on the topic of monetary metals than on geopolitics by stating that "Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble." Now, he has decided that after gold, it is best to just do away with any physical currency altogether and the time to ban cash has arrived.
If you said these are all things that current or former IMF heads are or have been accused of, you are 100% correct.
It is almost too coincidental to be a coincidence: on the day Ben Bernanke, who until a year ago was the biggest fixed income portfolio manager in the world courtesy of the Fed's $4.5 trillion in assets, joins Citadel as an advisor, the massively levered "market-neutral" hedge fund which as we showed earlier has $176 billion in regulatory assets, "loses" its global head of fixed income, senior managing director Derek Kaufman. Well not exactly loses. The reason for his "voluntary" departure: according to Bloomberg Kaufman is leaving Citadel not because he is about to be replaced by the former Fed chairman but because last year he lost $1 billion "in a variety of trades."
Just yesterday, German FinMin Schaeuble bent the truth, proclaiming that there was no sign of contagion from Grexit concerns. Today, it appears, he will be eating his words, as Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese bond spreads have exploded higher (up 15-30bps this week) amid the collapse of Greek sovereign and bank bonds. All we need now is for some EU leader to claim "Grexit risk is contained," and we know trouble is ahead.
It has become conventional wisdom that the wave of the future is “smart home” technology from smart utility meters that read a houses energy usage automatically to smart lights that turn off when not in use. Smart home technology marries two of the most talked about trends in business right now – the internet of things and green technology. How useful are smart home devices really though? A recent report by the British government suggests that the smart home revolution may be starting to hit some bumps in the road.
Vladimir Putin holds his annual live Q&A event where, over the course of more than four priceless hours, the Russian President takes questions from across the country and discusses everything from foreign relations, to military might, to his sleeping habits, to not wanting to be cloned.
Here is Bernanke's new job: to make sure that Citadel's 7.4x leverage only keeps rising, and that its "true" regulatory assets of $175.8 billion follow. Because if there is one thing Bernanke has experience with, it's lots and lots of leverage.
Fed vice-chair Fischer speaks and markets must show that what he says is important. Shortly after uttering the following:
*FISCHER: MARKETS CAN'T DEPEND ON FED STAYING ON HOLD FOR EVER
Bond yields spiked and gold and silver prices tumbled (because it's all about the signal). Stocks initially ignored his comments, but are starting to lose ground now.
After crashing from November to January (oh that's just weather), the Philly Fed factory index has failed to do anything but limp higher in the last 3 months. Printing at 7.5 in April (slightly better than the expected 6.0, Philly Fed continues to hover around 1 year lows. The post-weather rebound is entirely missing as New Orders plunged to 2 year lows (though employment surged) with more firms reporting price decreases than reporting price increases.
Conformity and being able to navigate stifling bureaucracies no longer creates value or helps employers solve real-world problems. This is why college graduates can send out hundreds of resumes and not even receive a single reply, much less an interview or job offer. An entire new feedback loop of accreditation is needed...