• ilene
    01/28/2015 - 19:33
    Suppose you could print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Fun, you think? Here's how it plays out. 

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"New Normal" Fundamentals Hit Chinese Stocks

Fun-durr-mentals...



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Is China Starting To Crackdown On Alibaba's "Illegal Operations"?

It appears the Chinese government has decided it is time to remind the nation's richest man (and millions of retail investors in America) who is in charge. According to a report released by the Chinese government - citing closed-door meetings in July 2014 that were kept quiet so as not to affect the September IPO - there are at least 19 problems with Alibaba's various platforms. As Bloomberg reports, Alibaba failed to properly oversee merchants and allowed the sale of counterfeit products on its e-commerce platforms, according to a Chinese government report. The report concludes, rather ominously, "Alibaba not only faces the biggest credibility crisis since its establishment, it also casts a bad influence for other Internet operators trying to operate legally." While Alibaba has tried to clean-up its image, the report cites issues with counterfeit goods, merchant screening, false advertising, and lax controls.



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"Equities Will Be Devastated" Crispin Odey Warns, Looming Recession Will Be "Remembered For 100 Years"

"I think equity markets will get devastated," warns famed $12bn AUM hedge fund manager Crispin Odey in his latest letter to investors. Having been one of the biggest bulls of this particular central bank artificial-bull cycle, his dramatic bearish tilt (as we discussed what he thinks are the biggest risks underpriced by the market previously), is notable. Finally, Odey fears major economies are entering a recession that will be "remembered in a hundred years," adding that the "bearish opportunity" to short stocks looks as great as it was in 2007-2009.



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Fear And Dread Of Deflation - The Keynesian Big Lie At Work

The fear of deflation has become the cornerstone of Keynesian economic thought. However, it is the height of hypocrisy that Keynesians use the specter of deflation to frighten us into believing we need to endlessly dilute the value of our currencies and take the rate on our savings to zero percent; but then, at the same time, take every data point that points to falling prices as another reason to be bullish on markets and the economy. Their mantras are: Lower commodity prices–a boost to the consumer, plunging interest rates–an increase in mortgage refinancing. How can Keynesians celebrate deflation, while at the same time use it to scare us into accepting ZIRP forever? The easy answer would be, they are, by definition, cheerleaders for the stock market...



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How Much More GDP "Growth" Will Be Due To Obamacare?

Now that the soaring dollar and plunging crude are sure to punish the Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 GDP growth rate by more than half, with estimate now sliding to the mid to low-2% area, what "benefits" to the US economy can one expect from the tax that is Obamacare? As the following chart courtesy of Goldman shows, thanks to contributions from Medicaid and Medicare and, drumroll, Exchange subsidies, the "benefits" from Obamacare will be with us, well, maybe not "us", but certainly with the way GDP is calculate for a long, long time, as the recent health spending ramp is only just getting started.



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Caption Contest: When Barry Met Sally

Having cut his visit short with his other best friend - India's Narendra Modi - President Barack Obama (escorted by his wife Michelle) hopped Air Force One over to Saudi Arabia to pay respects to the dead King and meet-and-greet the new King Salman. The meeting full of pomp and circumstance was, however, not without controversy - with videos circling social media showing Michelle Obama's image blurred out and claims that she was snubbed by King Salman - all apparently untrue.



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New Gold Rush? 10 Ounces Of "Historic Nuggets" Stolen From San Francisco Museum

Three masked men smashed an SUV into the front-windows of The Wells Fargo Museum in San Francisco's financial district at around 230am Tuesday, making off with 10 ounces of "historic gold nuggets." As AP reports, robbers in Northern California have targeted precious metals in museum displays before and the tactics of the heist have marked other recent robberies in the area. The men escaped in a second vehicle, according to KGO, and the vehicle reportedly headed east across the Bay Bridge. Local coin dealers said the robbers may have difficulty selling the nuggets unless they melt them down. No dollar bills, Euros, or Japanese Yen notes were stolen during the robbery.



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Singapore Enters The Currency Wars: Weakens SGD By Most In 3 Years

Today's rambunctiousness in US equity markets as every company (even AAPL admitted this quarter would be more problematic from an FX perspective) rotates from 'weather' excuses to 'currency' excuses is not going to get any better as tonight, yet another world nation entered the 'devalue-or-die' brigade. Singapore's MAS announced a surprise shift in the slope of their policy band - implicitly loosening policy and so the Singapore Dollar dumped over 160 pips against the USD, the biggest drop in almost 3 years, tumbling to its weakest since Mid 2010. Interestingly, against the Japanese Yen this move merely roundtrips SGD strength from yesterday as one wonders who the real enemy in the competitive devaluation game is...



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The New Venezuelan Entrepreneur: Making A living Lining-Up For Toilet Paper

In socialist utopia, Venezuela, not everyone can afford to wait in line half the day just to get a few supplies. Friends and neighbors had started coming to Krisbell, asking her if she could help them get things from the grocery store (they all have to work just to be able to afford the food in the first place, and they can’t spare the time to stand in line). So Krisbell started taking on clients - and now she has enough that she’s earning her entire living from waiting in line. Imagine - an entire cottage industry (absurd as it may be) now exists in Venezuela because of destructive government polices.



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Bonds & Bullion Best Since The Fed 'Spice' Stopped Flowing

Since the end of The Federal Reserve's money-printing machinations (otherwise known as QE3), something odd has happened to global asset markets. US equity markets have suddenly stopped going up, bonds have soared, and physical demand for precious metals is bleeding back into the paper-pricing markets. Furthermore, the ubiquitously suppressed volatility across every asset class has slowly but surely started to decompress.



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Is The BLS Overstating Jobs?

Is the BLS overstating employment growth? I guess it depends on whose data set you choose to believe. However, there is little denying the fact that with over 60% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, stagnant wage growth and declining net worth over the last five years, there is something that simply does not add up. If employment growth were indeed growing as strongly as in the late 90's, it would seem logical to expect that many of the disparities in the economic landscape should be starting to equalize somewhat. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case.



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Medvedev Warns Of "Unlimited Reaction" If Russia Cut From SWIFT

While nations around the world continue to de-dollarize, Russia signed into law its anti-crisis plan today (though details will not be released until tomorrow). Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, was quite vociferous in some of his threats, warning The West that the "Russian response - economically and otherwise - will know no limits" if Russia is cut off from the SWIFT payments system. Additionally, as Royce, the chairman of the House foreign affairs committee, explains Iran nuclear talks "appear to be stalemated," just days after Iran completes its de-dollarization and news today, that Russia and Iran plan to create a mutual account for bilateral payments in national currencies.



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Apple's Cash Is Now Greater Than The Market Cap Of These S&P500 Companies

With $178 billion in cash, AAPL - which is the largest company in the world with market cap of over $660 billion - has a greater cash hoard than the market cap of all but 17 S&P 500 companies. The table below shows Apple's cash holdings in context.



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Apple Reports Blowout Quarter Due To China Sales Surge, Cash Rises To $178 Billion: The Quarter In Charts

While the rest of the tech space has been sucking wind so far this quarter, Apple just reported its most blowout, and record, quarter in recent history. Their Q1  numbers are simply stunning and as follows:



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