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David Stockman On The Real Evil Of Monetary Central Planning

The 2008 Wall Street meltdown is long forgotten, having been washed away by a tsunami of central bank liquidity. Indeed, the S&P closed today up by nearly 200% from its March 2009 low. Yet four cardinal measures of Main Street economic health convey nothing like a 2x pick-up from the post-crisis bottom.



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Goldman Goes Schizo On Gold: Boosts Price Target To $1200 Even As It Is "Selling It With Conviction"

With less than 6 months to go until the end of the year, with various gold ETFs suddenly seeing the biggest buying in years, and with gold continuing to outperform most asset classes YTD, what is Goldman to do? Why follow the trend of course, and just like David Kostin had no choice but to boost his S&P 500 price target using the idiotic Fed model as a basis, so earlier today Goldman just upgraded its gold price target from $1,066 to $1,200. Probably this means that after accumulating it for the first half of the year, Goldman is finally preparing to sell the precious metal. Not so fast: because while Goldman did just raised its price target, it continues to have a Conviction Sell rating on Gold, which is its second most hated commodity after iron ore. Go figure.



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Japanese Exports Tumble For 2nd Month In A Row, Worst Since Abenomics Began

Japanese exports have disappointed expectations for 6 of the last 7 months. June saw exports drop 2.0% (versus an expectation of a rise of 1.0%). This is the first consecutive month drop in exports since Dec 2012 (before Abenomics was unleashed). Despite eysterday's incessant bullshit from various BoJ member about the economy being on track for receovery etc. the adjusted trade balane has now been in deficit for 39 months in a row with June's unadjusted trade-deficit dramatically worse than expected at JPY822billion. For a sense of how much this disaster means to markets that have become so numbed thanks to central bank intervention, USDJPY fell 2 pips on the news... it's not the economy, stupid; it's the BoJ.



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Congress Brings Socialism To America With This Proposed Law

In yet another development that seems as if we are all living within the pages of Ayn Rand’s seminal work Atlas Shrugged, the United States Congress latest brainchild is to set up a new government bank, stuff it full of taxpayer funds, and loan the money to American workers for the exclusive purpose to help them form collectives and buy the companies they work for. It’s called the United States Employee Ownership Bank Act.



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Senate Democrats Push To Triple Israel's Iron-Dome Aid To $576 Million

U.S. Senate Democrats included $225 million for Israel's Iron Dome rocket interception system in an emergency funding bill on Tuesday, which, as Bloomberg reports, in addition to the $351 million that’s already under discussion for Iron Dome in fiscal 2015 would bring the potential new funding to $576 million, compared with the $176 million currently requested by the Pentagon. "Iron Dome has saved countless Israeli lives," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a letter dated yesterday and while the Iron Dome system is built by Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, an agreement with Israel calls for more than half the funds the Pentagon provides for Iron Dome to be spent in the U.S..



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Head Doctor Fighting Africa's "Out Of Control" Ebola Epidemic Contracts The Virus

Tragically, the "out of control" epidemic has taken a major turn for the worse when the head doctor fighting the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has himself caught the disease, the government said. According to Reuters, the 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected and there is no cure or vaccine.  Khan told Reuters in late June that he was worried about contracting Ebola. "I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life," he said in an interview, showing no signs of ill health at the time.



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China Seals Off Yumen City After Outbreak Of Bubonic Plague

With Colorado suffering from pneumonic plague, and the dreadfully sad report of Sierra Leone's chief Ebola doctor contracting the virus, it appears China is taking no chances. As Yahoo reports, Chinese officials have blocked off parts of Yumen, a city in northwest China, preventing about 30,000 of the city's people from leaving after one resident died from bubonic plague. About 150 people who had contact with the plague victim have been placed under quarantine but US experts are perplexed at the response, "there's something here that we don't know, because this seems a very expansive response to just one case."



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The Decline Of Influence

From Alexander the Great to British rule, history, if it has a lesson, teaches us that no group of men can conquer the world. It’s simply too big, too vast, and too complex. Humanity is far too restless to sit and take orders from dictators halfway across the globe. The mindset that wishes one country to have an iron-grip on world affairs is horribly naïve. Empires are not free. Washington’s credit card can’t be charged to infinity. The need for prudence is growing larger by the day. For the sake of average Americans, and peaceful citizens across the world, let’s hope it gets here sooner than later.



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Chart Of The Day: For Caterpillar The "Great Recovery" Is Just As Bad As The Great Financial Crisis

If we call that first period of 19 consecutive months of CAT sales decline the "Great Financial Crisis", we are confused: is the proper name of this identical 19-month period of declines beginning in December 2012 the Great... "Recovery?"



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IRA Contributions Hit Record High As Unpatriotic Americans "Save More, Pay Off Debt, Spend Less"

In what could be the most unpatriotic report ever, Fidelity reports that average IRA contributions for tax year 2013 reached $4,150 - an all-time high. That's great news, right? Not if you ask Janet Yellen as Fidelity notes younger investors, those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, are adopting the strongest savings behaviors as Americans are "saving more, paying off debt, and spending less." This is not acceptable in the new normal, don't they know "debt is the bridge between hard work and play?"



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Where Facebook's Second Quarter User Growth And Revenue Generation Was In Charts

Moments ago Facebook, unlike AT&T which missed on revenue and EPS, beat both the top line expectations of $2.81 billion print reporting $2.91 billion on EPS of $0.42, higher than the $0.32 expected.  Here is the full breakdown.



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No Data, Mo War, No Worries: S&P Hits New Record High

On a day with no macro data and more warmongering, it only makes sense that stocks should continue to levitate. Aside from The Dow (troubled by weakness in Boeing dragging 20 points off the index), US equity markets rose with the S&P 500 breaking to new all-time record highs just shy of 1990 (2000 tomorrow?) Treasuries were very quiet, trading in a 2bps range and ending basically unch. Gold and silver limped lower (but were also quiet) as the USD pushed modestly higher (with AUD strength on the inflation print overnight the big story). Oil prices recovered yesterday's losses closing back above $103. Biotechs were a notable mover (on M&A hopes) as they retraced all Yellen's warning losses. This is the 3rd day in a row that "most shorted" stocks were snap-squeezed higher at the open.



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5 Reasons Why The Market Won't Crash Or Will

One of the biggest mistakes that investors make is falling prey to cognitive biases that obfuscate rising investment risks. Here are 5 counter-points to the main memes in the market currently...



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High-Yield Bonds "Extremely Overvalued" For Longest Period Ever

The high-yield bond market has been "extremely overvalued" for a record nine consecutive months, according to Martin Fridson, a money manager at Lehmann, Livian, Fridson Advisors LLC. As Bloomberg Brief's Matt Robinson notes, the streak breaks the previous record of eight months set in October 2006 to May 2007. As Fridson notes, "overvaluation (whether extreme or non-extreme) has put together an unbroken streak of 25 months, nearly double the previous record." It appears Yellen was right about something as Frisdon warns "the pressure to find yield is causing investors to rationalize investing in paper that is subject to major price risk... this has to be a concern to those who believe, as I do, that the market distortions of 2007 aggravated the subsequent dislocations experienced in 2008."



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The Rot Within, Part II: Inflation Is Not "Growth"

Just as the Federal Reserve cannot directly force you to stick the needle of monetary heroin (debt) into your arm, it also can't force employers to pay employees more. The ultimate hubris of the Keynesian Cargo Cult (which includes the global economy's central banks) is the naive notion that they can manipulate an entire system with a few levers such that the desired outcome--and only the desired outcome--is the output. The idea that you can change one input in an interconnected system of systems and only affect the one output you want is not just naive and simplistic: it requires a level of blindness and incompetence that is off the charts.



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