• Tim Knight from...
    12/21/2014 - 09:37
    The five remaining equity bears on Earth are all saying the same thing: "We'll get 'em in 2015." To which I ask: why? What's going to change?

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The Secular Extinction Of Stock Market Bears

This week's Investors' Intelligence survey responses highlight the unprecedented reluctance of financial advisors to turn bearish...



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Previewing Putin's "Moment Of Truth" Annual Press Conference And Address To Russia

For those wondering how Russia managed to contain the rout in its currency today, when it dropped from highs of USDRUB 80 yesterday to about 60, and leading to the biggest stock market surge in decades, the answer will be revealed tomorrow at noon Moscow Time, when Putin's annual address press conference will take place. As the rumor goes, both the central bank, the finance ministry and the Prime Minister, did everything in their power to stabilize the Ruble ahead of Putin's appearance, both through direct sales of dollars as well as with the already noted 7 measures to stabilize the financial system. And this year, perhaps more than ever, Putin's role will be simple: restore confidence.  As Bloomberg reports, citing Mashla Lipman a political analyst in Moscow,  "This is a moment of truth. It’s no longer possible to go on in the same fashion. The economy is tumbling. The time has come for a definitive choice. Doing nothing won’t solve the problem."



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Veteran EM Fund Manager Warns "The Youngsters Are About To Be Schooled"

With Emerging Market debt, equity, and FX rates coming under significant pressure once again, 48-year-old veteran EM fund manager Stephen Jen has a message for the new breed of EM fund managers, brace for more pain. As Bloomberg reports, with echoes of 1997-98's crisis at hand, Jen explains, "many [current managers] became EM specialists after the term ‘BRIC’ was coined in 2001 and don’t know any serious crisis," adding "they are about to be schooled."



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"Neoconica" - America For The New Millennium

"...so many still maintain that America is the greatest nation in the world.  They swear that America represents all that is good; freedom, democracy, merit based capitalism and the rights of the individual.  That is true America does represent such things.  However, it is fraudulent to consider our current nation America.  America was a concept that promoted all that is good.  And so it would seem that the nation in which they find themselves cannot be America.  Their nation today represents the will of the political class at all costs, period.  Their sole motivation is themselves.  Very different from America.  And so perhaps a renaming on the nation is required, at least until or if the people decide to take it back and reintroduce the world to the concept that is America for as discussed below you cannot destroy a concept and so there is hope to bring her back.  But until then we need a name for this geographic region and its new societal system... It seems"Neoconica" is most fitting."



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Caption Contest: Dry-Cleaning Edition

Just the girl next door...



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How To Save Up To 100% On "Purchases"

While likely considered blasphemy in America, land of the free-to-consume-moar, there is another way...



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A Pessimist's Guide To The World In 2015

Skirmishes in the South China Sea lead to full-scale naval confrontation. Israel bombs Iran, setting off an escalation of violence across the Middle East. Nigeria crumbles as oil prices fall and radicals gain strength. Bloomberg News asked foreign policy analysts, military experts, economists and investors to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2015.



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This Wasn't Supposed To Happen: 7 In 10 Americans To Save, Spend Gas "Tax Cut" On Bills Not Gifts

The lower-gas-price-tax-cut is "unequivocally good" meme is becoming more and more full of holes by the day. All that extra disposable income means moar iPhones, moar dining-out, and moar GDP... right? Wrong! As CBS reports, a new poll finds 73% of Americans will not use any extra cash from lower gas prices to buy additional gifts. What is even worse for America's credit-growth-dependent economy - 69% of Americans will use this extra disposable income to pay down outstanding bills and expenses. The final nail in the coffin of exuberance, two-thirds of Americans say they see no benefits from lower gas prices. But apart from that... keep the narrative going...



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Socialist On The Line Caption Contest

A busy day for The White House phone lines... If Cuba is "good" socialism and Venezuela is "bad" socialism, what does that make America?



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The Fracturing Energy Bubble Is the New Housing Crash

Let’s see. Between July 2007 and January 2009, the median US residential housing price plunged from $230k to $165k or by 30%. That must have been some kind of super “tax cut”.

The global oil price collapse now unfolding is not putting a single dime into the pockets of American households - the CNBC talking heads to the contrary notwithstanding.  What is happening is the vast flood of mispriced debt and capital, which flowed into the energy sector owning to the Fed’s lunatic ZIRP and QE policies, is now rapidly deflating. That will reduce bubble spending and investment, not add to economic growth. It’s the housing bust all over again.



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Russian Food Suppliers Have Begun Halting Shipments

While the adverse impact on the Russian banking system has been mostly confined to the upper class - since there is virtually no middle class in the country to speak of - the second cold war of words, which rapidly morphed into a very hot financial war, is about to hit the very ordinary Russian on the street, because as Russia's Vedomosti reports, citing vegetable producer Belaya Dacha, juice maker Sady Pridoniya and others, Russian suppliers are suspending food shipments to stores because of unpredictable FX movements. And it is about to get worse: very soon Russians may have to live without imported alcohol because at least on supplier of offshore booze, Simple, halted shipments in "a two-day pause” to see what happens with the ruble, Vedomosti reports.



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Mortgage Applications Tumble As Citi Warns Oil-Drop Risks Housing/Jobs Slump

Mortgage applications for home purchases fell almost 7% last week, fading recent gains and hovering once again back at 20 year-lows (entirely unable to reflect the housing 'recovery' for the average joe). The plunge in applications comes as mortgage rates crash back to 4% - the lowest in 19 months. The reason - apart from unaffordability - is explained by Citi's Will Randow who notes the spillover effects of the "unequivocally good for everyone" drop in oil prices has a dramatic effect on both jobs (prolonged price drop means a loss of ~200k jobs) and housing (starts expected to drop 100k if oil prices remain low). Maybe talking-heads should reconsider that "unequivocally good" narrative.



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The Terrorist Hackers Win: Sony Pulls Release Of "The Interview" Due To Fears Of "9/11-Style Retaliation"

One of the biggest conspiracy theories in recent weeks has nothing to do with the stock market and the Fed, or with HFT manipulation, or with Ukraine's gold, or with who brought down the two Malaysian airliners, but whether the now beyond ridiculous drama surrounding Seth Rogen and James Franco's latest movie, The Interview, which has its very own cast of C-grade characters, including an alleged furious North Korean dictator and his hacker disciples, a mega corporation whose servers were hacked releasing the content of thousands of emails into the open, and of course, delighted marketing stuiod execs, has been staged and planned from the beginning. Because the latest development in this soap opera is almost as surreal as today's shocking detente with Cuba: as the Hill reports, America's top five movie theater chains have decided to pull the Sony Picture's comedy "after cyberattackers on Tuesday threatened Sept. 11-style attacks against any theater showing the movie."



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The End Of Exuberance?

"Back in the halcyon days of summer, it seemed nothing could go wrong; but now, ...the uncertainties presently being generated have the potential to undermine two crucial kinds of trust – that one must have in the merits of one’s own exposure and that equally critical faith in the reliability of one’s counterparties. If it does, the third great bull run of the 20-year age of Irrational Exuberance could well reach its culmination, after a rally of almost exactly the same magnitude as and of similar duration to the one which ushered it in, all those years ago."



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"A Couple Means Two" - Why This Is Important

Moments ago, after Yellen earlier explained that the Fed may hike rates at any moment, and certainly not only during press-briefing days, she also explicitly, and very unexpectedly, said that the Fed will likely not hike for a "couple" of meetings. And when she was subsequently asked to explain what "a couple" means, she further explained that it means "two." As a reminder, this comes from a Fed chairwoman who had a trial by fire when, fresh after replacing Bernanke, she locked herself in the "6 month" calendar interval. In other words, she knows not to give the market a timing bogey. And still she did so. Which, quite explicitly, means that anything starting with the 3rd meeting, currently scheduled for April 28-29, 2015, and onward is very fair game and the market will be foolish to expect the Fed not to follow through with this warning, a Fed which is already dangerously close to losing all credibility it has.



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