It is time for a comprehensive audit of Janet Yellen ’s Federal Reserve - and not just for the reasons presidential candidate Rand Paul and others have given. The Fed needs to be audited to see if its ruling body has broken the law by manipulating financial markets that are outside its jurisdiction.
One of the most curiously persistent surrealisms of Washington, DC is the reflexive deference given the Federal Reserve System. The Washington elite tends to accord more infallibility to the Fed than do Catholics the Pope.
Attempts to explain exactly what happened last Monday when prices for a whole host of ETFs and mutual funds diverged markedly from fair value abound and while there's no way to know for sure exactly what went wrong, FactSet has drawn some tentative conclusions after conducting a bit of "voodoo, tea-leaf reading."
A glitch in the Matrix (if you will) that affected pricing for 1,200 mutual funds and ETFs still wasn't wholly resolved as of Sunday evening after executives worked through the weekend in a frantic attempt to resolve the issue ahead of Monday's open. Remember, if anyone asks, none of this has anything to do with flash-crashing, broken markets.
During Monday's flash crashing mayhem, the fragility of the ETF pricing system was exposed for all to see. While common sense dictates that the extreme market moves, trading halts, and tripped circuit breakers may have had quite a lot to do with the epic divergences between NAV and unit pricing, the real culprit was a "computer glitch" caused by a botched "systems change" last Saturday. The fact that the trouble calculating NAVs across nearly 800 mutual funds happened on the very same day as the flash crash is strictly coincidence.
Perhaps the biggest market moving event of the day, more so than the Durables data, was Bill Dudley's speech. However, at least based on the prepared remarks there is no discussion of the economy. From Bloomerg. Now all eyes turn to the Q&A which is where any questions relevant to the recent move in markets will most likely emerge.
A half-century ago, America - and then the world - was rocked by a mighty stock-market crash that soon turned into the steepest and longest-lasting depression of all time. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it - except that now, with gold abandoned and each nation able to print currency ad lib, we are likely to wind up, not with a repeat of 1929, but with something far worse...
Here is the paradox as succinctly summarized by Deutsche Bank, which notes that the current -29% year-over-year drop in the CRB index implies YoY headline CPI inflation falling from 0.1% to -0.9% over the next couple of months, or just in time for the September or December FOMC meetings both proposed as the "lift off" date. This would be the largest year-over-year drop since September 2009 (-1.3%) and one of the lowest prints in modern history.
"I was appalled to hear of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's decision last week to demote Alexander Hamilton from his featured position on the ten dollar bill... a better solution is available: Replace Andrew Jackson, a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president, on the twenty dollar bill. Given his views on central banking, Jackson would probably be fine with having his image dropped from a Federal Reserve note."
"Starr alleges in its own right and on behalf of other AIG shareholders that the Government’s actions in acquiring control of AIG constituted a taking without just compensation and an illegal exaction, both in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.... Having considered the entire record, the Court finds in Starr’s favor on the illegal exaction claim. As the Court noted during closing arguments, a troubling feature of this outcome is that the Government is able to avoid any damages notwithstanding its plain violations of the Federal Reserve Act. "