Fed's 'Bad Cop' Lacker Sees "Substantial" FOMC Support for June Rate Hike, Economic Weakness "Transitory"

We've heard from uber-dove 'good cop' Kocherlakota (demanding moar QE), Dudley's admission of Dow-data-dependence, and now its Jeff 'bad cop' Lacker's turn to stir things up. Speaking to reporters this morning, lacker explained that recent economic weakness is "transitory" due to weather, and that the FOMC Minutes, despite economists' spin, show substantial support for a June rate hike. Markets are unmoved (for now).

Today's Money Regimes Are Doomed To Failure

Centrally issued money centralizes wealth and generates systemic inequality. This is equally true of all centrally issued currencies.  But the inequity that is intrinsic to this system is politically, socially and financially destabilizing, and so this system is unsustainable.

How GE Will Fund The Largest Stock Buyback In History

Back in April 2013, Apple shocked the world when in a dramatic U-turn to Steve Jobs beliefs, it announced what was "the largest single share repurchase authorization in history" when it boosted its share repurchase authorization to $60 billion from $10 billion. Today, GE did its best to match this number, when it reported that as part of a massive business restructuring, it announced a "new Board authorization of up to $50B buyback." This is how it will fund it.

Gold Jumps After India Reveals Import Surge

Gold prices jumped overnight on initial rumors and again in the last hour as Indian officials note that March Gold imports surged to 125 tons (more than double last March's 60 tons). As Reuters reports, Gold imports in the fiscal year 2014/15 ended March 31 jumped to 900 tonnes, up 36% from a year ago. Surging imports are helped by a falling price since the beginning of the year combined with the relaxation of government (capital control) import restrictions, and despite further efforts by the government to "monetize gold."

Auto Import Prices Tumble Most On Record As Import Prices Plunge Most Since Financial Crisis

Import Prices dropped YoY by 10.5%, the biggest sequential drop since Dec 2008 (following the Lehamn shock). Priod data was revised lower and March's MoM import prices dropped 0.3% after rising 0.2% in Feb (revised lower from a 0.4% rise). US Auto import prices suffered their biggest YoY drop on record as currency wars and implicitly the strong dollar start to bite (even as imported fuels prices rose 0.4%). Other good news for Americans is that food prices are down 1.1%.

Frontrunning: April 10

  • Nikkei tops 20,000, Europe hits 15-year high (Reuters)
  • GE to sell real estate holdings, sets $50 billion share buyback (Reuters)
  • Iran’s Middle Class Plans for Life After a Deal (BBG)
  • Walgreens to Close 200 Stores as It Expands Cost Cuts (WSJ)
  • Hillary Clinton expected to announce presidential run as soon as this weekend (Reuters)
  • It will cost $1.5 billion to keep Deutsche Bank Libor Manipulators out of prison  (USA Today)
  • Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own (WSJ)
  • Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea (Reuters)
  • Investors Revive Appetite for Asian Junk Bonds (WSJ)

GE Announces One Of Largest Buybacks In History, Will Repuchase $50 Bn In Shares After Selling Most Of GE Capital

Moments ago, General Electric showed why April is much more likley to be a rerun of February than January or March when it announceed that it would go ahead and repurchase half of the total record stock buybacks announced in February, or some $50 billion in what may be the largest stock buyback announcement in history! How will GE fund this massive distribution to its shareholders, of which the most concentrated one will once again be the biggest winners? Simple: by dumping the division that nearly caused its insolvency during the financial crisis, the hedge fund known as GE Capital. As part of the just announced mega transaction, GE announced an agreement to sell the bulk of the assets of GE Capital Real Estate to funds managed by Blackstone. Wells Fargo will acquire a portion of the performing loans at closing.

Asia Superbubble Unstoppable: Hong Kong Up 10% In Past Week; Soaring Dollar Pushes Euro Back Under 1.06

Overnight market news was once again driven by the Asian superbubble, where as expected, the Hang Seng (+1.22%) soared once more and is now up 9.5% for the week, following news the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx) expects it will "substantially increase" quotas for the stock connect program between Hong Kong and Shanghai, HKEx Chief Executive Charles Li said on Friday. The exchange could boost the current quotas, which cap how much mainland investors can buy Hong Kong stocks and vice versa under the trading link, by more than 20 or 30 percent, Li said at a media briefing in Hong Kong. Li did not give a precise date for when the quotas would be raised, but one thing is clear: everyone in China, and Hong Kong, must be all in stocks if the Chinese housing bubble can not be reflated. The Shanghai Comp closed higher by almost 2.0% following better than expected Chinese inflation data, while HK stocks continued their recent rally to closer higher by 9.5% for the week.

Spelling Out The Big Reset

Wiping out creditors by inflation is the easy part. Re-establishing money to restart the world economy is the harder one.

ISIS Is Just Miles Away From Assad's Presidential Palace In Damascus

ISIS, in possible cooperation with rival al-Nusra, has taken control of a strategic Syrian refugee camp in Damascus just miles from Bashar al-Assad's Presidential palace, prompting Palestinian militimen to rethink their allegiances and plunging the camp — where 18,000 people are trapped — into what the UN Secretary General calls "the darkest circle of hell."

China Made Military History Three Times Last Week

"China’s military made history practically every day last week," FT notes, adding that Beijing may now be looking to establish a wider role for China's military on the world stage by ramping up defense spending and participating in international rescue efforts.

19 Signs That American Families Are Being Economically Destroyed

"The systematic destruction of the American way of life is happening all around us, and yet most people have no idea what is happening. Unfortunately, in our society the value that we place on individuals has a tremendous amount to do with how much money they have."

Why The BRICs Are Less Worried About The Next Crash

When even Jamie Dimon warns that "another crisis is coming", and points to the utter lack of market liquidity and the likelihood of another flash crash, it probably means that not only has he been reading this website, but that JPM's chief prop trading group, the Chief Investment Office, infamously long three years ago is already short and just waiting for the bottom to fall out of the market. One group, however, that is not be too worried about the next global financial crash - at least superficially - are the BRICs, because according to the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, "the creation of the BRICS reserve currencies pool worth $100 billion will allow member states to depend less on negative processes in the world economy and bypass market volatility."

When You Think The Financial World Can’t Get Any Crazier… This Happens

Who’s dumb enough to buy this stuff—10-year debt at negative yields and 100-year debt in a doomed currency?  Institutional investors, of course—large pension funds and the like. You might look at news like that and think, well, that’s crazy, I’d never do that. But the fact is, it’s being done with YOUR MONEY. Just like Winston Churchill commented that it’s false to characterize the fighting at places like the Somme, Verdun etc. in WWI as battles, when they were actually more like prolonged sieges, what’s happening in the financial world today is similar. The financial world today is the same. Billion dollar stimulus packages. Quantitative Easing 1, 2, 3… Negative interest rates. Negative long-term debt yields. Cash withdrawal and transaction controls. Higher taxes. Capital controls...

Wall Street's Biggest Banks May Have To Make Good On $26 Billion In Oil Hedges

"The fair value of hedges held by 57 U.S. companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Independent Explorers and Producers index rose to $26 billion as of Dec. 31, a fivefold increase from the end of September," Bloomberg writes, noting that the very same Wall Street banks on the hook for the hedges also financed the shale boom.

"Do Not Worry! Do Not Panic!" Warns Hong Kong Exchange CEO Ahead Of Today's Market Open

As everyone settles down in anticipation of another session of parabolic Hong Kong euphoria driven by desperate housewife traders, or a manic plunge straight down, none other than the CEO of the Hong Kong Exchange, Charles Li, found some time to pen a blog post to give "a little advice to investors", providing vivid aphorisms "Investment is like swimming: if you do not enter the water, you will never learn to swim" and to caution speculators that the opportunity is "not to quickly make a  fortune, but ... to provide long-term wealth preservation and appreciation" and that there is also such a thing as risk as everyone scrambles to chase the latest bubble breakout. His blog post's punchline: "Do not worry!  Do not panic!" We doubt anyone will panic, at least not until the selling begins.

"Another Crisis Is Coming": Jamie Dimon Warns Of The Next Market Crash

The Treasury flash crash and similar recent events in currency markets are "shots across the bow," Jamie Dimon says in his latest letter to shareholders. The JPM chief goes on to warn, as we have for years, that declining liquidity in credit markets is likely to exacerbate future crises: "The likely explanation for the lower depth in almost all bond markets is that inventories of market-makers’ positions are dramatically lower than in the past. For instance, the total inventory of Treasuries readily available to market-makers today is $1.7 trillion, down from $2.7 trillion at its peak in 2007. The trend in dealer positions of corporate bonds is similar."