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.
For all the talk about rate hikes, the bond market seems to be completely oblivious to any threats of an imminent start of tightening by the Fed, and in the just concluded 2 Year auction, the Treasury moments ago sold $26 billion in 2 Year paper at a high yield of 0.598%, pricing through the When Issued of 0.601% and tight of last month's 0.603%. While the yield dipped following the recent relapse of the US economy into a growth rate just above contraction, the Bid to Cover rose from 3.45% to 3.46%, perhaps driven by a jump in Direct take down, which allotted Direct dealers 18.3% of the final paper, Indirects holding 45.7% and Dealers left with just 36% of the auction, the lowest Direct takedown since October 2012.
“Right now we are at the cusp," billionaire George Soros tells Bloomberg TV in this brief clip, the chances of Greece leaving the euro area are now 50-50 and the country could go "down the drain." The 84-year-old fears that talks between Greece and 'the institutions' could "break down," adding that "Greece is a long-festering problem that was mishandled from the beginning by all parties," concluding that the chances of Greece leaving the euro area are now 50-50 and the country could go "down the drain." Finally, Soros notes, what worries him the most is Ukraine.
Where things get really scary is not only when looking at global trade volume, which is sliding, but the actual value of trade calculated in USD. It is here that the real devastation for a world whose global reserve currency is still the USD, does the recent collapse in global trade, as a result of the soaring value of the US dollar (for all the wrong reasons) become truly apparent.
It’s time for the Japanese to get seriously scared now. Like many other countries, Japan – and its political class – creates a false image of enduring prosperity by letting its central bank increasingly buy up ever more of its sovereign bonds. It’s a total sleight of hand, there is nothing left that’s real. There’s no there there. This is of course the same as what happens in Europe. And it’s precisely because central banks buy up all these bonds, that their yields scrape the gutter. It’s a blueprint for killing off the last bit of actual functionality in an economy.
Former Fed governor who warned of overheating credit markets is headed to the hedge fund world as a consultant.
Orwell and Kafka have come to America - a nation that once was a democracy and could once claim to live under rule of law. Wake up and smell the stench of a gilded gulag, America; we're living in one whether you care to admit it or not. Due process and rule of law have been replaced with "legalized" looting by government in America.
Greek FinMin Yanis Varoufakis has an island villa he would like to rent to you...
Despite Markit's PMI exuberance, it appears the awesomeness did not reach Richmond. Printing at a disastrous -8, against expectations of +3, Richmond Fed is the lowest since January 2013. The last 5 months have seen the index drop at its fastest rate since Lehman.
Markit just issued the results of their Manufacturing PMI survey... and it shows everything is awesome again. Printing at 55.3 - the highest since October 2014 - it is utterly incredulous that this represents any reality as US macro data has completely collapsed in the last 2 months. Exports are down for the first time since November, but Markit is very excited, pitching deflation as good and careful to not be too sanguine about the rise for fear of sparking some Fed action...
The Biggest Threat To The S&P 500 In The Next Month: "Biggest Buyer Of Stocks In 2015" Enters Blackout PeriodSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2015 - 09:36
For those curious what the biggest threat to the S&P's making new daily all time highs is, here is the explanation from Goldman: "The majority of companies just entered the buyback blackout period leading into the 1Q earnings season, and high valuations in the absence of corporate demand may weigh on stock prices."