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USA Is Number 1 Again...

...In Foreign Bribery.



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Obama: "We Don't Have A Strategy Yet"

UPDATE: Damage Control Spin begins... Josh Earnest: "In his remarks today, POTUS was explicit - as he has been in the past - about the comprehensive strategy we'll use to confront ISIL threat."

President Obama 'knows' how to handle Putin's 'continuation' (not 'invasion') - more sanctions (and costs for Europe) - but when it comes to beating the most "barbaric" terrorists known as ISIS, ISIL, or The Islamic State; he had this to offer... "I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet." Rest assured Americans - who have been told that ISIS could be crossing the borders every day and a constant threat, President Obama is 'working on it'. Perhaps most crucially, while we 'joke' that the administration has no strategy, it is noteworthy that Obama stated it was "not US policy to defeat ISIS, only reverse gains."



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This Has Never Happened Before

Presented with little comment aside to ask rhetorically just how screwed up markets and macro data are to allow 'this' to happen...



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A World Without Fractional Reserve Banks And Central Planning

"In a very real sense, it is fractional reserve banking and not money itself that is the root of so many of today’s evils. Whenever fractional reserves are permitted, the banking system – including the one that exists today throughout the world – comes to resemble a classic Ponzi scheme which can only function as long as most people don’t try to get at their money."



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Obama's National Security Council Meeting Has Concluded: Here Are The People Bringing You ISIS "Strategy"

Shortly after Obama admitted to the world he has no strategy how to deal with ISIS, about two weeks after the "humanitarian" bombing of Iraq started, he rushed into a meeting of his National Security Council. Two and a half hours later, the meeting has finished and we hope the president finally does have a strategy, one that isn't determined solely by Qatari natural gas pipeline interests.



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What Obama Meant To Wear...

Aside from his "we don't have a strategy" comment, the loudest statement President Obama made this afternoon appeared to be his choice of a "taupe" jacket. However, with everyone discussing Obama's "tan pan", we wonder isn't the President's 'green' fixation a more relevant topic?



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Abegeddon: Household Spending Re-Collapses As Japanese Unemployment Jumps To 9-Month High

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... In a veritable deluge of data from Japan tonight, there is - simply put - no silver lining. First, Japan's jobless rate unexpectedly jumped to 3.8% - its highest since Nov 2013 (despite the highest job-to-applicant ratio in 22 years). Then, household spending re-collapsed 5.9% for the 4th month in a row (showingh no sign of post-tax-hike-recovery). Industrial Production was up next and dramatically missed expectations with a mere 0.2% rebound after last month's plunge (-0.9% YoY - worst in 13 months), quickly followed by a 0.5% drop in Japanes retail trade MoM (missing hope for a 0.3% gain). That's good news, right? Means moar QQE, right? Wrong! Japanese CPI came hot at 3.4% YoY with energy costs and electronic goods 'hyperinflating' at 8.8% and 9.1% respectively. As Goldman's chief Japan economist warns, "the BOJ doesn’t have another bazooka," adding that "The window for reform may already have been half closed." We're gonna need another arrow, Abe!



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German Finance Minister Tells EU Leaders: Free Money Party's Over

Has Germany had enough? Hot on the heels of Mario Draghi's 'demands' that EU leaders undertake "structural reforms" to boost competitiveness and overcome the legacy of Europe's debt crisis, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble unleashed perhaps the most worrisome statement tonight for all the free-money-party-goers - the music is about to stop. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Schaeuble blasted "Europe needs to find ways to foster growth." In a clear shot across the bow of his 'core' cohort, Schaeuble said he "understood" Hollande's demands but shot back that "monetary policy can only buy time," adding that "the ECB has reached the limit in helping the Euro Area."



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Why Americans Are So Sensitive To Even The Smallest Increase In Prices

In the last year, even the 'smartest men in the room' PhDs with advanced degrees have seen their wages shrink, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute. As The WSJ notes, inflation has been low by most measures in recent years, but wage growth for the majority of workers has been even lower. That means even small amounts of inflation have been painful for vast swaths of the workforce. In recent years, one thing is clear: Neither monetary policy nor labor market policies nor fiscal policies have been able to boost earnings for most Americans. Only workers in the 80th percentile and up have seen their wage gains outpace inflation, though not by much.



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Summarizing The West's Russia-Ukraine Propaganda

With regard to the goings-on in Ukraine, quite a few European and American voices piping in, saying that, yes, Washington and Kiev are fabricating an entirely fictional version of events for propaganda purposes, but then so are the Russians. They appear to assume that if their corporate media is infested with mendacious, incompetent buffoons who are only too happy to repeat the party line, then the Russians must be same or worse. The reality is quite different.



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The Fed's "Mutant, Broken Market"

Financial markets are broken. Fundamental analysis and Modern Portfolio Theory are relics of the past. Investors used to care about maximizing a portfolio’s expected return for a given amount of targeted risk. Fed policies have led to (investor) herd behavior that has plunged market volatilities and manipulated asset prices and correlations to lofty levels. The allure of the Fed’s magic spell has lapsed investors into a soporific state of cognitive dissonance, with them focusing more on trying to justify valuations, rather than on the Upside Downside Capture Ratio. Markets have thus mutated into one of two possible combustible states. Either financial assets have all transcended into prodigious bubbles, or stocks and bonds are signifying two completely separate outcomes. Either possibility will have dangerous repercussions for the economy, and for portfolios and investors.



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Pump And Dump VC Style: Kleiner Perkins’ Gambit To Shear The IPO Sheep

That was quick! Last November Snapchat was valued at $2 billion in the private VC market; by Q1 that had risen to $7 billion; and yesterday it soared to $10 billion. Gaining $8 billion in market value in just nine months is quite a feat under any circumstance - but that’s especially notable if you’re are a company with no profits, no revenues and no business model. How much does it cost to manipulate an entire market? Apparently not much. And it’s getting cheaper!



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I Blame The Central Banks

The current bubbles in financial assets -- in equities and bonds of all grades and quality -- raging in every major market across the globe are no accident. They are a deliberate creation. The intentional results of policy. Therefore, when they burst, we shouldn't regard the resulting damage as some freak act of nature or other such outcome outside of our control. To reiterate, the carnage will be the very predictable result of some terribly shortsighted decision-making and defective logic.



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"Markets In Turmoil" S&P 500 Loses 'Crucial' 2,000 Level As Bond Yields Slump

Good news was bad news for stocks (and great news for bonds) today as GDP's best sent stocks reeling early on, only to ramp back magically into the European close. For the next 4 hours, the S&P 500 traded in a 1.5 point range. While stocks dumped and pumped, Treasury yields went only on direction, lower (30Y -3bps today and -8bps on the week). FX markets were less chaotic than yesterday with early EUR weakness leaking back as the US day rolled on (USD -0.15% on the week). Silver, gold, and oil rose on the day (though well off spike highs during the EU session as Russia 'invasion' headlines hit). Copper tumbled the most in over 4 months. While equity markets closed modestly lower (Trannies red on the week), VIX and Credit markets weakened somewhat further.



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Obama Makes Another Ukraine Statement: Live Webcast

In the endless series of public statements by the Chief Golfer on the Ukraine.... situation... which nobody knows exactly what to call, here comes the latest one. Expect the GOTUS to dangle more threats of sanctions, red lines, hash tags, in short an all out European depression, as to how the US will respond to the latest regurgitated story of a Russian "invasion" (at least pre-retraction). The statement is scheduled for 4 pm, so expect Obama to talk around 5 pm.



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