While the saying "cash on the sidelines" is patently wrong as all cash represents is a form of risk, asset and liquidity preference (and yes, for every buyer of stock there is a seller: repeat as many times as necessary until it clicks), we are confident the fact that the world's record number of billionaires, 2,325 in 2014 up from 2,170 a year ago, holding a record $7,291 trillion in assets or a little under half of the US GDP, have a record $600 million in cash on average, up from $540 million the year before.
What's the opposite of government efficiency? In a double-take-instigating headline, the federal government’s Obamacare enrollment system has cost about $2.1 billion so far, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of contracts related to the project. BGOV’s analysis shows that costs for both healthcare.gov and the broader reform effort are far greater than anything publicly discussed. However, that pales into insignificance when considering health reform has cost American taxpayers $73 billion in the last four years... and counting.
Beneath the surface wealth of bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the one gripped by a deepening social depression. Japan is the global bellwether in social depression, and we can already see the same symptoms and official panic to mask these symptoms in Europe, China and the U.S.
It appears Vladimir Putin is willing to hit'em while they're down. Early European equity weakness (and safe-haven flows) on asset-freeze threats have accelerated as Bloomberg reports, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak threatens gas supply disruptions if the EU continues to re-export Russian gas to Ukraine. 3Y German bond yields have plunged to -4.1bps, a record low close and European stocks are closing on their lows of the day.
Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama became president on a platform of pacifism, and withdrawal from America's numerous conflicts. 6 years later, he is where Dubya was a decade ago, only on the other side, according to the latest Economist cover (and story).
- ISLAMIC STATE CELLS PLOTTING US, FRANCE ATTACKS, ABADI SAYS
- TARGETS VIEWED MAY INCLUDE SUBWAYS, ABADI SAYS
- IRAQI PRIME MINISTER ABADI SAYS HE GOT INFORMATION THIS MORNING
- ABADI SAYS INFO FROM CAPTURED FIGHTERS IN IRAQ SEEMS CREDIBLE
- U.S., FRANCE INFORMED BY IRAQ, ABADI SAYS
And now, for the best news of the day, we go to NPR which reports that Eric "Too Big To Prosecute" Holder is resigning. From NPR: "Eric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress."
A "huge" institutional sell order, covering almost 200 individual stocks, is rumored to have been responsible for getting this morning's weakness across stocks going as equity indices catch down to bonds and credit. The S&P 500 broke key support at its 50-day moving-average (for first time in 2 months) and is back at 6 week lows. The Russell 2000 is now down 4.25% from the FOMC meeting last week...
As we have reported since May 2013, when we explained the role of Commodity Funding Deals in Chinese "trade" and especially in the laundering of hot money flows, and most recently when we followed up on the first revelations that unknown amounts of physical commodities had been corizined in China's port of Qingdao, one of the key uses of monetary commodities in China is for purposes of "trade" in the form of FX loans, and especially to artificially boost exports by way of fake trade invoicing. Well, like a recovering junkie addicted to fabricated data, China finally admitted it has a problem when overnight it "uncovered almost $10 billion in fraudulent trade nationwide as part of an investigation begun in April last year, including many irregularities in the port of Qingdao, the country’s currency regulator said today." “Some companies used the trade channel to bring in hot money,” said Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. SAFE’s investigation “will likely further cool down hot money inflows and commodity imports could slow as banks will likely conduct more careful checks on documentation.”
For those to whom the recent US campaign against Syria seems a deja vu of last summer's "near-war" attempt to ouster its president Bashar al-Assad, which was stopped in the last minute due to some very forceful Russian intervention and the near breakout of war in the Mediterranean between US and Russian navies, it is because they are. And as a reminder, just like last year, the biggest wildcard in this, and that, direct intervention into sovereign Syrian territory, or as some would call it invasion or even war, was not the US but Saudi Arabia - recall from August of 2013 - "Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War." Bin Sultan was officially let go shortly after the 2013 campaign to replace Syria's leadership with a more "amenable" regime failed if not unofficially (see below), but Saudi ambitions over Syria remained. That much is revealed by the WSJ today in a piece exposing the backdoor dealings that the US conducted with Saudi Arabia to get the "green light" to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria."The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority."