"Bearish" Mark Spitznagel Profiting Strongly Since 2009, Warns "Only So Much Debt An Economy Can Take"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2014 - 21:07
Mark Spitznagel, author of "Dao of Capital" and among Wall Street's most bearish investors, is (profitably) holding out for a disaster. Despite noting that "The Fed has taken it further than it has ever taken it before," NY Times reports that Spitznagel's fund Universa has profited strongly even as stocks hit record highs. Large pessimistic bets usually lose a lot of money when stocks are rising, but Universa is saying that its investment strategy has been able to produce consistent gains since then, including a 30% return last year. While ackowledging Fed policy is capable of driving stock prices higher, Spitznagel warns, it will ultimately be self-defeating, "there is only so much debt that an economy can take on."
The following chart-heavy presentation from Grant Williams is among his best as he wends his way methodically from the 19th century to the present day (and into the future) examining "The Consequences of the Economic Peace." From Keynes to Kondratieff and from Napoleon to Nixon, Williams looks at the ramifications of several decades of easy credit and attempts to draw parallels with a time in history when the world looked remarkably similar to how it does now (as he notes "that last time didn’t end so well, I’m afraid.") The real day of reckoning (Williams notes rather ominously), when the unconscionable level of debt that has been built up during the fiat money era finally topples over under its own weight like the giant wave in The Perfect Storm, lies ahead of us.
A “YES” vote for the gold referendum is a first step towards redressing the imbalance that exists between the SNB and the people of Switzerland. A “YES” vote will begin a process to restore restraint, accountability, and transparency on an institution that took advantage of the removal of its previous gold holding constraint already once before to explode its balance sheet, reinvent itself as a hedge fund, and significantly expand into areas of policy far beyond its original remit. Central banks should be lenders of last resort and systemic regulators. In a direct democracy, decisions regarding taxation, membership in trade / political unions, and the autonomy of the national currency should be determined by popular vote not decreed or circumvented by central bank edict.
While the events down in Ferguson play out, back in Chicagoland, HeyJackass reports that the same old bullshit continues day in and day out with nary a peep. In the 107 days since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown – 12:03pm, Saturday, August 9th – the following stupidity has taken place in Chicago: 155 homicides (74% black males), 725 shot & wounded, and 244 teenagers (13-19) shot and wounded... but that's just scratching the surface. So what is it about these stats that hasn’t caused people to lose their collective shit?
Old hands will know that it is virtually impossible to forecast the oil price. The anomalous recent price stability of $110+/- 10 we believe reflects great skill on the part of Saudi Arabia balancing the market at a price high enough to keep Saudi Arabia solvent and low enough to keep the world economy afloat. While it may not be possible to predict the actions of the main players, it is easier to predict what the outcome may be of certain actions may be. A drop in demand for oil of only 1 million barrels per day can account for the fall in price from $110 to below $80 per barrel. The future price will be determined by demand, production capacity and OPEC production constraint. A further fall in demand of the order 1 Mbpd may see the price fall below $60. Conversely, at current demand, an OPEC production cut of the order 1 Mbpd may send the oil price back up towards $100. It seems that volatility has returned to the oil market.
Something appears to be happening to gold. That something is either China finally revealing its true gold inventory, which is unlikely, or, more likely, the biggest fat finger in the history of gold, as a liquidity testing algo goes absolutely insane in the pre-open period (and loses its job on the BIS' payroll). Or, most likely, just an ongoing bad print.
Having rather dramatically failed to quell the emotions of America's unemployed youth last night, as all across the nation, it appears Michael Brown's father's emotional outburst to "burn this bitch down" trumped the President's appeal that "protests should be peaceful," Obama is pivoting rapidly to another raging success - Immigration Reform.
On this day in 1876, a group of influential, yet irate, Americans met in Indianapolis. Their primary purpose was to send a message to Washington on how to get the economy moving again.... So this group decided that what was needed was re-inflation (put more money in everyone's hands, you see). The method they proposed was to issue more and more money. Cynics called them "The Greenback Party". And on this day, the Greenbacks challenged Washington by running an independent for President of the United States. His name was Peter Cooper. He lost but several associate whackos were elected to Congress.
While last night's events in Ferguson raised many eyebrows over the decision to release the Jury decision late into the night, and even more tempers, as rampant destruction and looting quickly became the means by locals express their indignation with the US judicial system, some say they could have been worse. Still, just to make sure the second night of the Ferguson protests is not a replica of what happened yesterday, moment ago Missouri governor Jay Nixon announced he would dispatch a massive 2,200 national guard troops, up from 700 on Monday night: a presence that is set to make the city resembles an all out warzone. One can only hope the similarities end there.
Never in the history of US equity markets has the S&P 500 closed above its 5-day moving average for 28 days in a row... until today. While most indices tracked sideways in a very narrow range today, Trannies outperformed (helped by weaker oil, but even when oil rallied intraday Trannies rallied too). VIX tracked back below 12.5 with an inverted term structure for the 5th day in a row. The USD lost ground for the 2nd day in a row, driven by EUR strength (with notable AUD weakness extending). Silver rallied as gold flatlined and copper tumbled after US GDP beat. However, the two big themes today were the collapse in oil prices (as rumors/news ahead of OPEC sent volatility soaring) to a $73 handle - the lowest close since 2010; and the plunge in Treasury yields (with a very stroing 5Y auction and big block trade in TLT suggesting short-covering). Finally, AAPL broke above a $700 billion market cap briefly today but was unable to hold it.
Guest Post: The Federal Reserve Is At The Heart Of The Debt Enslavement System That Dominates Our LivesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2014 - 15:55
From the dawn of history, elites have always attempted to enslave humanity. Yes, there have certainly been times when those in power have slaughtered vast numbers of people, but normally those in power find it much more beneficial to profit from the labor of those that they are able to subjugate. If you are forced to build a pyramid, or pay a third of your crops in tribute, or hand over nearly half of your paycheck in taxes, that enriches those in power at your expense. You become a “human resource” that is being exploited to serve the interests of others. Today, some forms of slavery have been outlawed, but one of the most insidious forms is more pervasive than ever. It is called debt, and virtually every major decision of our lives involves more of it. At the apex of this debt enslavement system is the Federal Reserve. As you will see below, it is an institution that is designed to produce as much debt as possible.
It has been half a year since it was first revealed that the US has been sending non-lethal aid to the Ukraine: recall that it was in early June when Obama announced he had approved $5 million in body armor, night vision goggles and additional communications equipment for the Ukrainian military. However, as lately has been a recurrent theme, the Obama administration may not have been exactly forthright with the public or the facts. At least that is the conclusion based on hacked documents released earlier today by the Ukrainian hackers group CyberBerkut, which reveal that despite assurances to the contrary, the US has in fact been providing substantial lethal aid to Ukraine's armed forces. As Sputniknews reports, "according to the hackers, the information was obtained during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine last week, when they were able to access confidential State Department documents via a mobile device of a US delegation member."
Long ago, Keynes himself pointed out, perhaps inadvertently, the profound difference between GDP and wealth. If we merely want a higher GDP print - which measures spending, not wealth - governments should handout spoons so that millions of citizens can dig holes and millions more refill them. It would appear that the statesmen of Brussels are fixing to try the modern day equivalent of just that.