At the end of every quarter there is a scramble by the financial public to peek at what the biggest hedge fund holdings were as of 45 days ago. And yet, one wonders why: as Goldman notes, "the low dispersion market continues to challenge stock-pickers as the average hedge fund lags the S&P 500 for the seventh straight year (2% vs. 4% YTD)." In fact, even the barbarous relic known as gold has outperformed the average hedge fund YTD. Then again, as we have said since 2012, the only informational value comes not from looking at hedge fund longs, but their biggest shorts, since short squeezes remain perhaps the only source of major outperformance. So for all those curious, here are the biggest hedge fund shorts as of March 31, 2015.
As we detailed earlier, in a chaotic scene during the wee hours of Saturday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill known as the USA Freedom Act - backed by President Barack Obama, House Republicans and the nation's top law enforcement and intelligence officials - which would have preserved the government's ability to search phone company records for suspected spies and terrorists. As AP reports, the failure to act means the NSA will immediately begin curtailing its previously-secret bulk data collection progreams with The DoJ noting that while it will take time to taper off the collection process, that process began Friday (according to an administration official). Sen. Rand Paul called the Senate's failure to allow an extension of the surveillance programs a victory for privacy rights, adding "we should never give up our rights for a false sense of security."
Lately, not a day seems to pass without news of NATO jets being scrambled to intercept/reroute a Russian warplane or reconnaisance jet. As a result, David Cenciotti's The Aviationist blog has compiled the recent history of all the "close encounters" between Russian and NATO warplanes since 2013. Here are the results.
The financial world today is now an island on its own – separated from the real economy, as can be seen by the paradox of record high valuation in the stock market coinciding with record low inflation, employment , productivity and no hope. There is asset inflation, but deflation in the real economy. When the world has been this long at the zero-bound, the misallocation, the inability to reform, and a toolbox without new tools creates a mandate for change. "I expect stocks to trade sideways for the balance of 2015 and have now sold all my fixed income, increased my gold exposure, and I’m looking to buy mining companies and overall to increase my exposure to commodities beyond the normal allocation."
While an extension of the Patriot Act, that landmark bill which ushered in the America's Big Brother, "turnkey totalitarian state" (previewed here long before Edward Snowden's shocking revelations), is just a matter of time, supporters of the Fourth Amendment scored a brief victory last night when following yet another marathon 10 hour filibuster and refusal to play by the script by Rand Paul, the Senate failed to extend the Patriot Act, leaving the future of America's "war against terrorists" but really against "enemies domestic", i.e., anyone who uses email, has a cell phone or in any other electronic way communicates with others, in limbo.
The present Chinese leadership appears to be trying to gain (regain?) more - if not full - control over the country’s economic system, while at the same time (re-)boosting the growth it has lost in recent years. President Xi Jinping, prime minister Li Keqiang and all of their subservient leaders – there are 1000?s of those in a 1.4 million citizens country- apparently think this can be done. We truly doubt it. We don’t think that they ever understood what would happen if they opened up the country to a more free-market, capitalist structure. That doing so would automatically reduce their political power, since a free market, in whatever shape and form, does not rhyme with the kind of control which the Communist Party has been used to for decades, and which the current leaders have grown up taking for granted.
One year ago, we explained "How The Market Is Like CYNK." Earlier this week, China's richest man found out how right we were, in the hardest way possible
The first rule of “Project Bookend” is that you don’t talk about “Project Bookend.” In retrospect, maybe the first rule should have been “you don’t accidentally e-mail ‘Project Bookend’ to a news agency.”
The US is now considering the possibility of sending so-called "spotters" to Iraq, a move ostensibly aimed at making airstrikes against ISIS more effective. Meanwhile, the militant group has claimed responsibility for Friday's suicide bombing in Saudi Arabi that killed 21.
It's official: after seeing it work so well for years in China, the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Statistics has officially replaced all of its excel models with just one function. The following.
“Ignorance is not bliss – it is oblivion. Determined ignorance is the hastiest kind of oblivion.” As investors, we have all been warned. Not by the future, but by the past.
In downgrading the city, Moody’s said it expected “Chicago's credit challenges will continue, both in the near term and in the long term [as] unfunded liabilities of the Municipal, Laborer, Police, and Fire pension plans grow and exert increasing pressure on the city's operating budget.” That looks to have been an accurate assessment, because as Bloomberg reports, Chicago’s budget gap is set to triple by 2017.
At the heart of Nazism was a desire to control everyone and everything, and that is exactly what we are seeing in America today. The history books tell us about how evil and wicked the Nazis were, so why aren’t we more alarmed that the United States is becoming more like Nazi Germany with each passing day? And even though our politicians are socializing our economy and destroying our constitutional freedoms, the American people keep sending most of them back to Washington time after time. It is an incredibly sad thing to watch the country that you love slowly die right in front of your eyes.
"China said on Friday it was 'strongly dissatisfied' after a U.S. military plane flew over part of the South China Sea near where China is building artificial islands, and called on the United States to stop such action or risk causing an accident."