On This Day 15 Years Ago...

Exactly 15 years ago today, who said it?

"You want winners? [This] is what my fund is buying today to try to make money tomorrow and the next day and the next? You want my top 10 stocks for who is going to make it in the New World? You know what? I am going to give them to you. Right here. Right now. OK. Here goes. Write them down..."

Fifteen months later, Money magazine reported that [his] list had cratered 82%... Accountability ruins the game.

Retirement At The End Of A Rope

“They were people with great dignity,” Ivo Costamagna said of his neighbors who committed suicide in 2013. Romeo Dionisi, 62, and Anna Maria Sopranzi, 68, hanged themselves after Ms. Sopranzi’s pension evaporated. “Romeo just wanted a job.” But no jobs were available in the dismal Italian economy.

In what may be another case of research confirming common sense, a new study finds, in all four regions of the world studied, “unemployment was related to an increased relative risk of suicide by 20-30%." While the tragic consequences of ZIRP, bailouts, and multiple QEs have so far been ignored, a tsunami of suicides are coming as the under-saved American baby boom generation faces the stark reality of having to work until they die to survive.

The Internet Of Things: A Dystopian Nightmare Where Everyone And Everything Will Is Monitored

Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and that opens up some wonderful possibilities.  But there is also a downside.  What if we rapidly reach a point where one must be connected to the Internet in order to function in society?  Will there come a day when we can’t even do basic things such as buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without it?  And what about the potential for government abuse?  Could an “Internet of Things” create a dystopian nightmare where everyone and everything will be constantly monitored and tracked by the government?  That is something to think about.

The Problem With The Forward EPS Hockeystick: Millions Of Americans Are About To Lose Their Jobs

yes: the S&P may well be "fairly priced" here, if one assumes an 18x (rounded up) forward P/E multiple to be fair - a number which is above the prior 5-year average forward 12-month P/E ratio of 13.6, and above the prior 10-year average forward 12-month P/E ratio of 14.1. And in order to achieve that, not much has to happen: instead of hiring millions, America's corporations just need to fire about 2-3 million people in order to extract the kinds of net margin efficiencies that are already priced in!

Janet Yellen Is A Coward

There is no exit strategy…there is only a continuation strategy... and The Fed’s cronies have always known this. Yellen is simply paralyzed with fear that the markets will violently react to a tightening of policy. The Fed is being held hostage to the financial markets but, ironically, is in no mood to escape its captors despite so many clear opportunities. The lack of action, by Yellen, can only be described as cowardly.

A Who's Who Of Awful Times To Invest

When investor preferences are risk-seeking, overly loose monetary policy can have a disastrous effect by promoting reckless speculation and enhancing the ability of low-quality borrowers to issue debt to yield-starved investors. This encourages malinvestment and financial distortions that then collapse, as we saw following the tech and housing bubbles. Those seeds have now been sown for the third time in 15 years. In fact, the present moment likely represents the best opportunity to reduce exposure to stock market risk that investors are likely to encounter in the coming 8 years.

Heroes, Villains, & Empty Suits

The poet W.B. Yeats was right in 1919 when he said the center cannot hold, as if, following the first great industrial slaughter of modern times, he discovered the lethal vacuum at the center of modernity itself. Although, perhaps most remarkable in our time is not merely the presence of evil, but the eerie dearth of heroes.

"World-Leading Economist" And Advisor To Chancellor Osborne Busted For Smoking Crack

One of Chancellor George Osborne’s senior advisers on economic policy has been captured on video smoking crack cocaine in a drugs den. Prof Douglas McWilliams, who last year ­estimated we would all be £165 a year better off by the election, is seen inhaling it through a glass tube at a flat in North London. Red-faced and slurring his speech, he later told the dealer he had “too much” and that he had spent the day on a binge. Two rocks of the deadly drug can clearly been seen on a table beside the dazed professor. The grainy footage, seen by the Sunday Mirror, will heap embarrassment on the Chancellor and raise serious ­questions about his choice of adviser.

As Greek Default Fears Return, Government Considers "Borrowing" Pensions To Repay IMF

Greek short-term default risk jumped over 300bps today putting the odds of a restructuring at 50-50 within the next year as the warnings we issued last week with regard Greece's imminent default on its IMF loan loom. Seeking to reassure its lenders (and avoid yet more capital flight), Reuters reports the Greek government said it was "exploring solutions," including delaying payments to suppliers or try to raise up to 3 billion euros by borrowing from state entities such as pension fundsWe are sure the Greek people will be enthused when they find out what the 'radical left' has in store for their funds...

NYC Residents Pay $2-3,000 A Month For “Micro-Apartments” As Luxury Car Sales Outpace Regular Car Sales

It’s an oligarch’s world, you’re just living in it. One of the main reasons that hyper-luxury cars are outselling regular cars, is because all of the wealth gains from the oligarch recovery are going to, well, oligarchs ... Global policies implemented since the oligarch created financial melt-down, have been used to cover up its criminality, and further advance the status quo’s consolidation of wealth and power. A continuation of this trend presents the greatest threat to liberty, free markets and an evolution of human consciousness on the planet today.

VIX Broke A Major Record Last Week

After trading at its steepest (short-term volatility lowest vs medium-term volatility) in 5 months last Monday, VIX rallied notably (and the curve flattened) on the week to 2015 lows. At the same time, in the 'traded' VIX product world, 2 rather notable things happened: first, VIX futures, which were at a record net long positioning at the end of January, have plunged to a net negative (short VIX) positioning once again; and second, and more stunningly, VXX (the VIX ETF) saw the biggest surge in units created since record began. Between these violent swings and the push-pull weights of oil's high vol and AAPL dominance of any dispersion, we suspect VVIX (vol of vol) will pick up notably from its 3-month lows. However, it is the fragility that this kind of move exposes that worries us the most.

The Fairy Tale Of Portugal's Successful Turnaround

Even a brief glance at the facts suffices. Portugal is no less bankrupt than Greece. The country’s government debt, at 124% of GDP, might be lower than in Greece. However, government debt is just one – even though important – part of the full debt picture. On an aggregate level, Portugal’s overall debt level - at 381% of GDP when also including private households and non-financial corporations - is well above Greece’s total debt level (286% of GDP). So while Greece’s problems mainly manifest themselves via government debt, Portugal suffers from too much debt in all three sectors of the economy.

How Badly Did Hedge Funds Underperform In February

"The diversified hedge fund index was up 0.4% for the month of February, while the S&P 500 was up 6.0% on a price returns basis. CTAs unperformed the most in the month, down 1.9%, while Event Driven were up 2.4%."

- Bank of America

Russia Warns NATO: Any Threat In Ukraine Will See Military Response

As Russia announces the expansion of its Navy by 50 vessels this year, including two new nuclear-powered submarines and an aircraft carrier, it appears NATO's sabre-rattling has drawn a response/threat/warning. Following British plans to send military 'advisers' into Ukraine (which NATO has stated are not confirmed), TASS reports, Russia's NATO envoy, Alexander Grushko, warns Russia will take all measures against possible NATO threat in Ukraine, adding that Russia’s response may include military measures. Of course all this military machismo comes as Russia and Ukraine hold emergency talks in Brussels over gas supply amid imminent cutoff threats for non-payment.

US Will Never Gain Oil Market Crown, IEA Chief Says

No matter how much oil the United States produces over the next few years, it will never become the next Saudi Arabia in the global oil market, according to Fatih Birol, the new executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). What's especially interesting about this forecast is that it directly contradicts what Birol said only three months ago, and he gave no explanation for his change of mind. “The United States will never be a major oil exporter. Their import needs are getting less but the US is not becoming Saudi Arabia,” Birol told the conference. “Their production growth is good to diversify the market but it will not solve the world’s oil problems.”