Amid firey austerity protests at the site of its new headquarters, the ECB has a job opening available.
"...markets can turn from tranquil to turbulent in short order. It is worth noting that in 2006 volatility was low, and companies were generating record pro?t margins, until the business cycle came to an abrupt halt due to events that many people had not anticipated. Although investor appetite for equities may remain robust in the near term, because of positive equity fundamentals and low yields in other asset classes, history shows high valuations carry inherent risk... potential ?nancial stability risks arising from leverage, compressed pricing of risk, interconnectedness, and complexity deserve further attention and analysis."
Against expectations of a 4.75 million barrel build (according to Bloomberg), API reported a 4.8 mm barrel build overall but the Cushing build (2mm barrels) was less than last week's 3mm build. This is the 11th weekly build in a row - the longest streak of builds since October 2004. The last 11 weeks have seen inventories build over 20% - the fastest pace on record.
In light of the social and economic devolution of the world, it should hardly come as a surprise that as SocGen attempts to quantify the biggest Black Swans risks (and hopes) of 2015 (yes, a foolish endeavor since nobody can actually envision what a black swan may be, by its very definition an event that was predicted by no one), it notes that "political and financial risks now outnumber real economy risks."
Janet Yellen noted that everything was awesome and that stocks were now slightly "on the high side" of their historical range. It appears no one showed her the Russell 2000 which has a valuation multiple of just about 90x LTM earnings (as reported by the 2000 companies which comprise the index, and which were certified as accurate by 4,000 CEOs and CFOs on penalty of jail time). The mystery of how the Fed remains so stubbornly bubble blind - just like it did during the dotcom and housing bubbles - is thus revealed. The self-evident reason is that the purported geniuses who comprise our monetary politburo drink the Wall Street Cool-Aid about forward ex-items EPS. The Fed is driving a two-ton bubble machine, but has no clue that it has become a financial death trap.
Back on June 3, 2013, following what was merely the latest observation of how broken the market is thanks to central banks manipulation and HFT rigging, we wrote some snarky commentary. And as happens with nearly 100% regularity nowadays, our snarky commentary on what takes place behind the scenes was once again almost 100% accurate. Because earlier today we learned precisely what happened...
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Israel secretly gathered information regarding nuclear talks between Iran and the US then shared the information with members of Congress in an attempt to undermine support for the talks in what turns out to be a comically absurd game of spy vs. spy.
Following its "visual to the world" message last night by test-firing an ICBM, America appears to shifting to 'big stick' diplomacy. Following Iran's naval drills last week (attacking a replica US aircraft carrier), Sputnik News reports that as the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations come to a head, the US begins Eagle Resolve, a massive military exercise in the Persian Gulf. Eagle Resolve will involve tactical exercises from the US Army, Marines, and various other military branches "with simulated portions of the exercise based on a fictional adversary." Careful to ensure Obama does not lose his Nobel Peace Prize, a CENTCOM official explained, "the exercise is not intended as a signal to Iran."
This is how ridiculous goverment data has become: in the same month in which both Housing Starts and Existing Home sales significantly missed expectations, misses which were promptly blamed on the weather, the Census Bureau moments ago released a stunner of a New Home Sales number, which supposedly rose from an upward revised 500K to 539K, a 25% spike from a year ago and up 7.8% from January, which incidentally is also the highest number since February 2008, even as the median home price dropped to the lowest since September. All of this would be great... if it was remotely credible. It isn't.
While the White House, seemingly an expert in determining airplane crashes causes within hours if not minutes of the accident (see flight MH-17) has already opined on the tragic crash of the Lufthansa Germanwings airplane:
WHITE HOUSE: NO INDICATION OF TERRORISM IN AIRPLANE CRASH
This will hardly be comfort to the families of the 148 people who lost their lives the crash which took place in the south Franch alps, and where the first images of the debris have just been released,
The top 5% of San Francisco households (the highest 'high income' city in a recent study on income inequality) earns over 47 times the income of the bottom 20% in Detroit (the lowest 'low income' city). As WSJ reports, a recent Brookings Institution study finds Atlanta, GA has the widest gap between rich and poor in the nation (followed by San Francisco, Boston, and Miami) and Virginia Beach, CA has the least income inequality. As Brookings concludes, these findings confirm that income inequality remains a salient issue in many big cities today.