It seems only apropos the current exuberance that, having been put on hold due to the economic crisis, an ambitious project to build the world's biggest ship and create "a community that offers unique lifestyle opportunities" is back on track and seeking investors. With calls for wealth taxes increasing and "the 1%" becoming increasingly separate from the rest of the world, what better way that the ironically named "Freedom Ship," which as IBTimes reports, will be a vast floating city that will be more than a mile long and 25 storeys high. It will cost $10bn to build and will constantly circumnavigates the globe; and while US residents may still need to pay taxes, residents of other countries "may realise tax savings by residing in or running businesses in the Freedom Ship Community."
A mere two months after the last widespread blackout to hit Venezuela, major parts of the nation are once again dark tonight as a power outage hit during President Maduro's evening address laying out his new economic philosophy (the inverse of Bernanke's):
*MADURO SAYS VENEZUELANS MUST SAVE MORE, CONSUME LESS
The blackoutt has affected some of the nation's oil refineries (even though they are often powered by separate generator plants). Maduro himself said this evening's blackout cause was "strange," hinting at "sabotage" and not caused by excess demand (since the same substation that was sabotaged in September has failed). Perhaps it is time to spend what little discretionary reserves the nation has left on infrastructure instead of Samsung trinkets and military bonuses to keep the people at bay.
"Surely this can't go on forever", asks a pensive Lou Rukeyser on New Year's Ever 1999, to which a youthful Liz-Ann Sonders replies ever-exuberantly, "this is a magical environment for the stock market, for the year 2000, things look terrific." The other guests in this wonderfully brief moment of deja vu from the peak of the previous bubble are just as cock-a-hoop, "the danger signs are still a ways off," and none other than Laszlo Birinyi concludes, "the individual is flush with cash, and continues to be positive," confirming once again that the money-on-the-sidelines fallacy is just that.
As might be expected as political and economic policy failures pile up and citizens become increasingly mad, the status quo is becoming increasingly authoritarian. In the latest disturbing news from a desperate power structure, the conservative government in Spain has passed an Orwellian bill titled the Citizens’ Security Law, which allows for fines of up to 600,000 euros ($816,000) for “unauthorized” street protests, and a 30,000 fine for merely having signs with “offensive” slogans against Spain or for wearing a mask. This law is a perfect example of the increasing neo-feudalism being implemented across the globe by a corrupt, decadent and depraved status quo.
As we showed back in April, the marginal cost of production of gold (90% percentile) in 2013 was estimated at between $1250 and $1300 including capex. Which means that as of a few days ago, gold is now trading well below not only the cash cost, but is rapidly approaching the marginal cash cost of $1125... Of course, should the central banks of the world succeed in driving the price of gold to or below its costs of production (repressing yet another asset class into stocks) then we fear the repercussions will backfire from a combination of bankruptcies, unemployment, and as we have already seen in Africa - severe social unrest (especially notable as China piles FDI into that region).
"NSA's Mission Is Of Great Value To The Nation" - The Complete "Authorized" NSA Thanksgiving Dinner Talking PointsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/02/2013 - 19:00
It seems getting an 8 pm "escape" from friends and family this Thanksgiving to rush into the nearby World Wrestling Federation Walmart may have been a welcome reprieve for some. Those some in question being NSA agents, and just in case their friends and family got a little too pesky, boisterous or simply inquisitive, all the employees of the National Security Agency and the Central Security Services received a prepared memo with preauthorized talking points designed to "guide" conversations over the Thanksgiving dinner table. Plastered at the head of the 2-page propaganda is a Douglas Adams-like (or was that Isaac Asimov) in its simplicity bullet point: "(1) NSA's mission is of great value to the Nation." How was it that "defenders" of the fatherland during the Third Reich were being brainwashed again? But we digress.
Until early May of this year, trends in US macro fundamentals and US stock markets were 'relatively' well correlated. However, since the first stirrings of Taper concerns, the relationship has seemingly explicitly inverted. Day after day we see markets react to "good" or "bad" news but over time, as the following chart shows, the Fed's total farce has been exposed. Simply put, if the last 7 months of market-macro relationships hold (which makes sense in a world entirely driven by Fed liquidity), the Bulls should be praying for the economic fundamentals to collapse or things will get painful fast for stocks.
The two bullet points below from a just released update by Yum Brands explain all you need to know about the "magic" of half-off retail discounts.
- YUM BRANDS- IN CHINA, LIMITED-TIME "HALF PRICED" BUCKET PROMOTION YIELDED AN ABOUT 16% INCREASE IN KFC SAME-STORE SALES FOR FIRST 10 DAYS OF NOVEMBER
- YUM BRANDS - IN CHINA, KFC SAME-STORE SALES WERE DOWN APPROXIMATELY 8% FOR THE REMAINDER OF NOVEMBER
So, sales were up 16% for the 10 days in which margins were crushed, then down 8% for the remaining 20 regular margin days. And the net impact on the bottom line is...
As far as our well-being is concerned, government intervention in the economy is no more effective than the straw aeroplanes and wooden headphones of some bewildered “cargo cult.” In truth, it probably does more harm.
In Bernanke's centrally-planned, inverse Robin Hood world, record stock prices for the few unfortunately mean record homelessness for the many: this is what the state of Massachusettes found out the hard way after it was flooded with a record number of homeless families who are overwhelming the state's emergency shelter system. As the Boston Globe reports, citing a recent report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the number of homeless people in shelters and living on the streets in Massachusetts has risen 14 percent since 2010 to a record 20,000 in January 2013, even as homelessness has declined nationally. However, in what may be the most curious twist, and yet another example of how perverted the incentive and capital allocation system in the US is, the nearly 2,100 families who could not find place in shelters, were housed in motel rooms at a greater cost to all US taxpayers amounting to tens of millions.
Retirement is still on for now. Late-minute desperation (in EURJPY) dragged the Dow just back over 16,000 and the S&P limped above 1,800. Bonds were sold (though less aggressively than gold and silver) and the USD rallied as early exuberance gave way to an uglier realization that good-news-is-really-bad-news after all following today's data. Volume was average as VIX continued to rise to 14.3% - its highest close since mid-October as we see the 4th session in a row with selling into the close. Today was the worst frst-day-of-month for the S&P since May.
From the start of 2012, the S&P 500 up over 40% with the bulk of that surge coming since QE3 (and 4EVA) was unleashed. Until that point, Goldman's global risk and macro models had stayed relatively well synced with stock market 'reality' but once that torrent of liquidity was released, all bets were off. As the following chart shows, more than half the equity market performance is due to factors unrelated to risk, macro fundamentals, or country-specific factors. So, BFTATH of course?
The rock is reality. The squishy place is the illusion that pervasive racketeering is an okay replacement for an economy. The essence of racketeering is the use of dishonest schemes to get money, often (but not always) employing coercion to make it work. Some rackets can function on the sheer cluelessness of the victim(s).
Spot Silver is trading back to early July 2013 levels as it drop 4.1% - its biggest down-day since the SeptTaper debacles began. Gold is also being monkey-hammered; down 2.9% for the biggest drop in 2 months. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is on the rise...