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Teachers' Retirement Funds Are Piling Into Manhattan Real Estate At Record High Prices

Wondering who the greater fool is, wonder no longer. TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund) essentially manages the investments of people who know the least about investing, i.e., muppets. As such, it came as no surprise that TIAA-CREF might serve as an important bag-holding vehicle for bubble assets just before a fall (when the latest Central Bank bubble pops), tempted by juicy 4% yields... in other words, teachers and nurses are shattering property records to fund their retirement.



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Norway Regulator Fears Housing Bubble "Isn't Sustainable"

Amid the collapse in crude oil prices, the Norwegian central bank cut rates in December (after 1000 days on hold) and is likely to cut again as economic growth stalls. However, the country's financial regulator is warning falling interest rates risk pushing the Norwegian housing market beyond its breaking point into a "self-augmenting spiral." With prices up 8.1% YoY, and up 85% nationwide in the last decade, even Robert Shiller warned of Norway's housing bubble in 2012 - and since then household debt (and home prices) have surged. As Bloomberg reports, Morten Baltzersen, head of Norway’s Financial Supervisory Authority stressed "continued rapid growth in debt and house prices isn’t sustainable." Unintended consequences?



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Jeff Gundlach Warns "The Fed Is About To Make A Big Mistake" (& That's Why Bond Yields Are Crashing)

Since The FOMC's "hawkish" statement, bond yields have utterly cratered as near-record speculative short positioning in bonds unwind the long-end (and worries about international problems - "and readings on financial and international developments"). However, fundamentally speaking, DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach explains, the Federal Reserve is on the brink of making a big mistake simply put, "if Fed Chair Janet Yellen goes ahead with this plan (to raise rates for 'philosophical reasons'), she runs the risk of having to quickly reverse course and cut interest rates."



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Lies And Deception In Ukraine’s Energy Sector

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly claimed it is doing its best to improve the oil and gas investment climate, but official statements are the opposite of the reality, as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is leading the great deception.



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The Homebuilder Hope Trade Deja Vu

We warned recently that the most highly correlated commodity to economic data was flashing red, but today we note that Lumber and Homebuilders are diverging in a dreadfully deja-vu-ic manner (just as they did in 2005, marking the top). While the relationship is 'loose' it seldom diverges for long...



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Chinese Stocks Drop 3rd Day In A Row On Margin Crackdown As Yuan Tumbles To Record Discount Versus Fix

Chinese stocks are trading lower again (on margin crackdowns) - the first 3-day drop in 3 weeks - back into the red year-to-date. Despite weakening the fix this evening, the 'market price' for USDCNY is trading at a record 1.93% discount to the official rate - inching ever closer to the 2% peg limit. At 6.2522, the market is just 40 pips away from forcing policy makes to intervene (selling the USD and and buying Yuan) - which realistically is perhaps a positive for the Chinese to unload some USD reserves. This move comes as China’s currency overtook Canada’s dollar to rank fifth for global payments last month with a record market share of 2.17% and HSBC this evening forecast the Yuan will overtake the Japanese Yen as Asia's most-used Global FX in Q2. De-dollarization continues...



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"Monetary Policy Has Lost Any Semblance Of Discipline," Stephen Roach Slams "QE Lemmings

In the QE era, monetary policy has lost any semblance of discipline and coherence. As Draghi attempts to deliver on his nearly two-and-a-half-year-old commitment, the limits of his promise – like comparable assurances by the Fed and the BOJ – could become glaringly apparent. Like lemmings at the cliff’s edge, central banks seem steeped in denial of the risks they face.



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Crude Contagion: California's Kern County Declares Fiscal Emergency Due To Plunging Oil Price

At this point only an act of god, or a sudden Saudi change of heart to cut crude production by 50% (unclear which is more probable) can prevent a recession in Texas. However, one state that few thought would be impaired as a result of the crude plunge, is California. Yet as the LA Times reports, it is precisely California, and specifically Kern County located in the middle of the state and containing the farmer town of Bakersfield and countless oil rigs, that yesterday declared a state of fiscal emergency during the weekly supervisors' meeting on Tuesday. The reason: predictions of a massive shortfall in property tax revenues because of tanking oil prices.



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Why The U.S. Shale Boom May Come To Abrupt End

U.S tight oil production from shale plays will fall more quickly than most assume. Why? High decline rates from shale reservoirs is given. The more interesting reasons are the compounding effects of pad drilling on rig count and poorer average well performance with time.



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Another Ex-Central Planner Speaks Up: Currency War Policy "Risks Major Downward Shock To Asset Prices"

Merv "The Swerv" King - former governor of The Bank of England - has joined the ranks of those ex-central-planners-who-feel-the-need-to-protect-their-legacy-by-rewriting-history-and-admitting-the-entire-thing-is-crazy. Speaking in Tokyo overnight, King said he’s concerned that financial markets believe real interest rates will remain very low for a very long time which has created "a significant disequilibrium in the world economy," adding that he does "not believe and expect a market economy to thrive on real interest rates that are close to zero." Warning that many nations realize "they have pushed monetary policy as far as it can go," King added that with the additional risk of currency wars, "markets will discover that they have been pushing asset prices to an excessively high level and there will be a major downward shock to asset prices."



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The Surprising Consequences Of The Global Frenzy For Positive Yield

As central banks rush to depreciate their currencies and push yields into negative territory, what's becoming scarce globally is real yield in an appreciating currency.



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Fired Before Hired: How Corporations Rigged The Job Market And Killed The American Dream

The latest corporate scam is to blame workers for the high unemployment rate. They say there is a skills gap. Even President Obama is in on the joke. The real skills gap is the other way around: too many skills for the low-wage menial jobs that pervade the labor market. The person who makes your coffee or your Big Mac might be able to design the next major bridge or write for The New York Times. Instead of high school kids cooking up your lunch, true professionals are behind the counter, and the future of the country is behind it too. The longer they stay there, the odds increase that America will take a permanent backseat in global power. In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people.



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McDonalds CEO Retires Following Horrible Year: New Boss Seen Here Wearing At Least 37 Pieces Of Flair

The Board of Directors of McDonald's Corporation today announced that Don Thompson will retire as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors after nearly 25 years of service to the company, effective March 1. The Board has elected Steve Easterbrook to replace Thompson as President and CEO. Easterbrook was also elected to the Board of Directors, filling the vacancy created by Thompson.



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President Obama's 'Middle Class Economics' Policy Simplified

A "Robbing" hood...



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