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Kohl's And The Rest Of The Retailers Are In Deep Trouble

When you see the headlines touting strong retail sales, you need to consider what you are actually seeing in the real world. RadioShack will be filing for bankruptcy within months. Wet Seal will follow. Sears is about two years from a bankruptcy filing. JC Penney’s turnaround is a sham. They continue to lose hundreds of millions every quarter and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next couple years. Target and Wal-Mart continue to post awful sales results and have stopped expanding. And as you drive around in your leased BMW, you see more Space Available signs than operating outlets in every strip center in America.



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Why The Rigging Of The Gold Market Matters

So why does it matter if the gold price is rigged? A freely-determined gold price is central to ensuring that reality and not financial bubbles guides us in our financial and economic activities. Suppressing the gold price is rather like turning off a fire alarm because you can’t stand the noise.



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The Biggest Risk For Investing In Alibaba Is...

What is the biggest risk for investors in China's e-commerce giant Alibaba? In one word: politics.



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Why The Collapse Of Abenomics Is Important: It's A Large-Scale Failure Of Keynesian Stimulus In Real Time

We have frequently discussed the nonsensical attempt by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda to print and spend Japan back to prosperity. By now it is well known that devaluing the yen has not achieved the desired effect, but rather the opposite. Not only have exports not really received the expected boost, but Japan’s trade and current account surplus have decreased markedly, even posting negative numbers for the first time in decades. Of course, currency debasement never works: it cannot work. This is Keynesian logic and brilliance in all it splendor.



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The Iraq Proxy War: Mapping Whose Troops Are Involved

There is another "broad coalition" in The Middle East. With fighter from Sudan and Sweden to Spain and Switzerland, the following map shows where all the foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq's 'new crusades' are from...



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China Bad News & Scotland No News Send Futures Lower

While USDJPY is not moving much, no clear news from Scotland (GBP is modestly weaker) and an opposition win in Sweden (Krone weaker) along with China's dismal data (and Securities Journal note that no rate cut is coming anytime soon from the PBOC) sparked some significant selling in US stock futures at the open (-13 points). Treasury futures are modestly higher as S&P future are stabilizing around -7 points for now extending losses from Friday as AUDJPY slides...



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The World Order Becomes Disorder

The S&P’s rally has been sustained through near-zero-cost money used to: (1) buy back stock to enrich insiders and please activist hedge funds which have borrowed big to buy big; and (2) prop up the overall market because investors have learned that buying on margin when the costs are minimal - and below dividend yields - just keeps paying off. Stein’s law says, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Too bad it doesn’t say when. Gold loses its luster when: (1) inflation seems to be as remote as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; and (2) even a concatenation of crises fails to send investors rushing into the time-tested crisis consoler. We see geopolitical risks expanding from here - not contracting - and stick to our investment advice that the broad stock market is precariously valued. A range of options is available for those who wish to hedge themselves against even worse news. Gold is part of any such risk mitigation. So are long government bonds. Most importantly, we have entered an era when wise investors will devote as much time to reading the foreign news as they allocate to reading the investment section.



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What Happens When "Scotland" Comes To Spain?

Friday saw the largest demonstration in the history of Barcelona with 1.8 million people showing up, exceeding all previous records, calling for Catalan independence... and as Deutsche Bank warns "Catalonia matters!" seeing four key scenarios.



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It's The Debt, Stupid

The fundamental failing of today's global economy can be summarized simply: Too Much Debt.



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ISIS' Next Target: The Suez Canal

Following ISIS blitzkrieg in which it took over nearly half of Iraq and a third of Syria in the blink of an eye, at which point it created its own Islamic State Caliphate resulting in Obama's own personal war against the jihadists, some have wondered what is ISIS' next step: surely its leadership will not merely stagnatte as one after another US predator drone bomb away the capital Reqqa until ISIS figurehead leader al-Baghdadi is killed or gravely wounded. To be sure, the one thing ISIS, which stunned the world with the speed of its ascent, can not afford is to stand still. So what is next on the strategic timeline for the Islamic State? According to one source, Al Arabiya, which cites Egyptian experts, the answer is none other than the Suez Canal, and the country it is located in: Egypt.



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Bob Shiller Warns Of "Parallels To 1937"

The depression that followed the stock-market crash of 1929 took a turn for the worse eight years later, and recovery came only with the enormous economic stimulus provided by the second world war, a conflict that cost more than 60 million lives. By the time recovery finally arrived, much of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. The current world situation is not nearly so dire, but there are parallels, particularly to 1937. Now, as then, people have been disappointed for a long time, and many are despairing. They are becoming more fearful for their long-term economic future. And such fears can have severe consequences.



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Obama's 'War On Terror' Simplified

Strategy - check. Coalition - check. Blowback - check.



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Former BP CEO Warns "Sanctions Will Bite West" As US Gives Majors 14 Days To Wind Down Russian Activities

while sanctions until this moment had been largely intended to specifically allow energy companies to continue their status quo in Russia, as of this Friday, it is precisely the E&Ps that are being targeted, as we noted on Friday, and as Reuters follows up today, reporting that some of the world's largest companies, namely Exxon, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Norway's Statoil and Italian ENI, will have to be put their Russian projects on hold:  to wit, the companies will have 14 days to wind-down activities.  And yet Russia may once again have the last laugh: enter Tony Hayward, the infamous former CEO of BP (and current Chairman of Glencore) who may have been disgraced by his handling of the Macondo spill but his comments on how the Russian sanctions will play out, are spot on. As the FT reported moments ago, "US and EU sanctions against Moscow are in danger of turning round and biting the west by constraining global oil supply and pushing up prices in coming years, the former chief executive of BP has warned."



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On The Cliff At The Edge Of The "Permanently High Plateau"

The uncorrected half-cycle advance since 2009 has been accompanied by a resurgence of proponents advocating that stocks should simply be bought and held indefinitely, regardless of price. As Graham & Dodd warned, "it is important to note that mass speculation can flourish only in such an atmosphere of illogic and unreality." The over-arching reality is that there is a cliff at the edge of what appears to be a permanently high plateau.



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Inflation Watch: How Much $1 Used To Get You!

Despite promises that inflation is "contained," the dollar ain't quite what it used to be...



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