Yesterday, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was the keynote speaker at KPMG’s 2014 Insurance Industry Conference Tuesday, where he answered questions such as 1) where the economy is going, 2) why, and 3) when (if ever) is it likely to improve. The answers, as reported by Property Casualty 360, are: 1) nowhere fast, 2) because nobody is willing to invest, and 3) eventually, but nobody can tell when. He listed 9 specific reasons why the "economy stinks", although surprisingly, nowhere did he mention the fact that the current and future economic disaster is all a direct result of his ruinous reign at helm of the Fed where as a result of his "great moderation" and the Fed's catastrophic monetary policies conceived mostly under Greenspan himself, the economy is now perpetually stuck in a boom-bust cycle, and where every time a bubble bursts another has to replace it or else the entire western way of life will be gone in a heartbeat.
We have now done the math and compiled the Q2 earnings for the S&P 500 and we can indeed confirm that (at least in the second quarter) the buyback part is not only over but has ended with a thud, with the total notional amount of buybacks completed in Q2 plunging by 27% in Q2 to "only" $117 billion - the lowest since Q1 of 2013!
If you were raised in a religious household, or were sent to a Catholic school, you have heard of the seven deadly sins. These transgressions -- wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony -- are human tendencies that, if not overcome, can lead to other sins and a path straight to the netherworld. In the investing world, these same seven deadly sins apply. These "behaviors," just like in life, lead to poor investing outcomes. Therefore, to be a better investor, we must recognize these "moral transgressions" and learn how to overcome them.
Scottish voters are going to the polls in just over a week to decide if they should break away from the UK. And from the looks of things, the independence movement has a very strong chance of winning. Whenever major changes happen, this brings opportunities as well. For example, a newly independent Scotland would create its own tax and corporate laws, potentially providing a number of major incentives to attract foreign talent and productive companies. A Scottish passport would also be attainable for many people. Some basic guidance has already been issued...
These are questions that arise as a consequence of the digitization of the global/local supply chain in the peer-to-peer model. Just as we have reached Peak Central Planning and Peak Central Banking, we may have reached Peak Centralization not just in government and finance but in the corporate-cartel model of "low quality at high margins."
UK In "Full Panic Mode", Rains Brimstone, Bribes On Scotland As "Yes" To Independence Poll Crosses 50%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/07/2014 22:59 -0400
All pundits who over the past few months have been saying the possibility of Scottish independence as a result of the September 18 ballot, is at best a pipe dream got a rude wake up call overnight, when Scottish YouGov poll for the Sunday Times put the "Yes" (for independence campaign) on top for the first time since polling began, with No below the majority cutoff line for the first time, at 49, when undecided voters are excluded, and even when including undecideds "Yes" is still ahead by two points at 47-45. As the Spectator reports, "in the space of four weeks, "No" has blown a 22-point lead."
"We had a relatively dry period during the Medieval Warm Period, 900-1400AD. There were several prolonged periods of drought that lasted decades to over a century during that time. That period was followed by a cooler, wetter period (the Little Ice Age) that continued until the 19 century. However, the tree-ring records suggest that the 20 century was unusually wet, meaning we had fewer droughts on average than the previous 1000 years.... the past decade in California and the West has been pretty dry, and the concern is that these climate conditions could continue for several more decades. We've seen these broader cycles of wet-dry in the past."
Given the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia and escalating conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, JPMorgan asks, where is Russia on the road to recreating something like the Soviet Union as an economic, political and financial counterweight to the West?
This past week has seen the market repeatedly attempt new "all-time" highs only to be found wanting. There has been plenty of headline data for the "bulls" to feast on from the ECB announcing a program to buy bonds, surging ISM data and improvement in productivity. However, the underlying data has kept the "bears" in the game with new orders and employment showing weakness, unit labor costs shrinking and the realization that the ECB's plans are likely be ineffectual.
Markets crash not from "bad news" but from the exhaustion of temporary stability. The longer that temporary stability is maintained by manipulation, the greater the severity of the resulting crash.
We believe independence terrifies some people because it requires a human being to challenge the unknown and take responsibility for the consequences if he fails. Followers trade in their mental and spiritual freedom to governments, oligarchs and gatekeepers so that they never have to face these difficulties. Sometimes, they are simply lazy. Sometimes, they lack confidence in their own abilities. Sometimes, they are just cowards. In any case, the result is the same: a life of relative ease riding the tides in a vast school of self-serving minnows but always prey to the ever circling sharks. We say don’t be a minnow; man-up, and build something of your own.
Market reversions, when the occur, are extremely rapid and tend to leave a rather brutal "scar" on investment portfolios. There is clear evidence that economic growth is being impacted by deflationary pressures on a global scale. This suggests that the sustainability of current and projected growth rates of profits is questionable given the magnitude to which leverage has been used to boost margins through share repurchases. Here are three things to consider that may help you question your faith.
It has been a while since Tepper warned of "nervous time" and told his hedge fund pals "don't be too freakin' long." Since then the manipulated equity market bubble has gone straight up with every single dip bought massively by the algos, in the process surely eliminating any nervous thoughts Tepper may have had. So in a world starved for pundit philosophy, Bloomberg just reported that the bond market bubble is about to pop, at least according to the folicularly challenged billionaire. The reason, paradoxically enough, the ECB's decision to monetize private assets and cut rates.
Encouraging and supporting asset bubbles is essentially the only force remaining to keep the system intact as we know it.