Andrew Ross Sorkin
"I don't think China's economic slowdown is that severe to threaten the global economy."
"China has managed debt restructurings superbly."
CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin and Becky Quick, donning their finest goose down bubble coats to remind viewers they’re reporting live from scenic Davos, generously took some time out of their busy schedules to chat with Ray Dalio on Wednesday and unsurprisingly, the “zen master” again predicted the Fed will reverse course and embark on more QE.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
Ironic, because it is precisely CNBC's constant cheerleading of what little viewers it had left that pushed the market to such nosebleed levels that on August 24 it suffered its second flash crash in just five years. It is even more ironic, because instead of a rational, objective coverage of the newsflow, the constant stream of cherry-picked, double seasonally adjusted good news is precisely why viewers had left the Comcast cable station in droves realizing the disconnect between the economy and stocks is simply too gargantuan to stomach, and that they are being lied to. As a result, it wasn't until the much dreaded market crash that viewers finally came back. At least some of them.
We want to highlight today's absolute failure at investigative reporting, and the worst example of journalistic capture by the Federal Reserve that we have ever seen because at stake is the criminality, competence and corruption of that most important of organizations in modern society, the US Federal Reserve.
Like Houston, the financial system has been flooded with liquidity over recent years which has ultimately only had one place to flow - the financial markets. That excess liquidity has sent prices soaring to record highs despite weakting macro economic data. While many hope that the Central Banks can somehow figure out how to keeps the rivers of liquidity from overflowing their banks, history suggests that eventually bad things will happen. Of course, for investors, that translates into a significant and irreperable loss of capital.
As the following update of CNBC's perhaps most popular (if least watched, lagging even Mad Money) day breaking segment, SquawkBox, the show that features Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin just suffered its worst quarterly Nielsen rating in the show's history.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
As if the market needed any further proof it is not only manipulated and rigged (at least under a legal system that classifies trading on insider information as illegal), but is constantly abused by those with material, non-public information - i.e., insiders - here comes a study conducted by professors at McGill and New York Universities, which, as the NYT summarizes, finds that "A quarter of all public company deals may involve some kind of insider trading."
Never in a million years did we think we’d ever use an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin as the basis of a blog post, but here we are. While probably entirely unintentional, his article serves to further solidify as accurate the prevailing notion across America that former head of the New York Federal Reserve and Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, is nothing more than an addled, crony, bureaucratic banker cabin boy. Simply put, "Geithner is so bad, he actually makes Larry Summers look good."
Mike Krieger brings to our attention this clip from the Daily Show, in which Jon Stewart takes on the orgy of crony capitalists, vacuous celebrities and corrupt politicians that is the World Economic Forum in Davos, or as he calls it, "The Money Oscars."
Events in Cyprus stem from precisely the same source as the surge in US home prices, namely monetary expansion by the Fed.
We couldn't have said it better: "Bank of America blocks users from accessing websites that present certain risks to the bank."
While the theater of the presidential election hits peak season, and InTrade odds for this candidate or that are approaching flash crash territory, the one person who truly runs not only the US, but the entire "developed" world, Ben Bernanke, is going nowhere. At least not until January 2014. At which point he may be going somewhere - retirement. Reuters cites the NYT: "U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has told close friends he probably will not stand for a third term at the central bank even if President Barack Obama wins the November 6 election, the New York Times reported." In other words: the republican Fed Chairman who mysteriously became a Democrat president's bestest friend (and has been publicly threatened by every other GOP candidate, including Romney, although that would be merely to replace him with Bill Dudley, not Glenn Hubbard) that $4 trillion that the Fed will have in assets at the time of Ben's departure, and $5 trillion at December 31, 2014, just became someone else's problem. Good luck to that someone else unwinding a Fed balance sheet which as we explained previously, will at one point in the next 2 years hold well over half of the marketable US Treasury debt inventory. How the sale of this inventory will happen in a time of spiking rates (because that's what the Fed wants - inflation) is literally anyone's guess, because in practice it will never happen.