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Key Events In The Coming Week





There is a reasonably quiet start to the week before we head into the highlights of the week including the start of US reporting season tomorrow, FOMC minutes on Wednesday and IMF meetings in Washington on Friday. On the schedule for today central bank officials from the ECB including Mersch, Weidmann and Constancio will be speaking. The Fed’s Bullard speaks today, and no doubt there will be interest in his comments from last week suggesting that the Fed will hike rates in early 2015.

 
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And The World's "Most Powerful" Nation Is...





In terms of economic might, BBVA has created an index of "world market power" enabling an at-a-glance view of a nation's impact on the global economy via relevance of exports, exposure to external shocks, technological content, and retained value-added. And the winner is... Hint, not USA...

 
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The Chinese Are Buying Large Chunks Of Land Across America (And Zillow Is Now Enabling It)





Has the United States ever experienced a time when a foreign nation has attempted to buy up so much of our land all at once? As Michael Snyder details below, it appears the Chinese are on a real estate buying spree all over America as they are now the dominat 'buyers' of investment green cards. This is occurring as private equity buyers and hedge funds exit the buy-to-rent business en masse and are, as Mike Krieger explains, are desperate to pitch American property to anyone willing to keep Housing Bubble 2.0 inflated... it seems Zillow is more than happy to enable that, "Zillow agreed to make its U.S. property listings available to Chinese consumers through a partnership with a Beijing-based website."

 
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Have We Reached Peak Wall Street?





Though the mainstream financial media and the blogosphere differ radically on their forecasts - the MFM sees near-zero systemic risk while the alternative media sees a critical confluence of it - they agree on one thing: the Federal Reserve and the “too big to fail” (TBTF) Wall Street banks have their hands on the political and financial tiller of the nation, and nothing will dislodge their dominance. In addition, the U.S. dollar’s status as a reserve currency is a key component of U.S. global dominance. Were the dollar to be devalued by Fed/Wall Street policies to the point that it lost its reserve status, the damage to American influence and wealth would be irreversible. What if there is another possibility to the consensus view that the Fed/Wall Street will continue to issue credit and currency with abandon until the inevitable consequence occurs, i.e. the dollar is devalued and loses its reserve status. What if Wall Street’s power has peaked and is about to be challenged by forces that it has never faced before. Put another way, the power of Wall Street has reached a systemic extreme where a decline or reversal is inevitable.

 
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Best And Worst Performers In March And Q1: Full "Consensus Crushing" First Quarter Summary





For those used to smooth, undisturbed, Fed-assisted, no-risk-all-return, sailing, both the month of March and the entire first quarter were quite the wake up call.

 
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Why Did BRICS Back Russia On Crimea?





The BRICS’ support for Russia shows the Western-dominated post-Cold War order is eroding.

 
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"Are The Bubbles Back?" - Live Feed





"Either way you look at it, it's time for the Fed to stop inflating housing assets, and stop buying mortgages" is how Alex Pollock introduces the following live streamed event by AEI. With speakers such as Chris Whalen we suspect, as the moderator explains, they will explain why "financial markets never seem to grow smarter when it comes to real estate."

 
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Iraq Buys Massive 36 Tonnes Of Gold In March





The Central Bank of Iraq said it bought 36 tons of gold this month to help stabilise the Iraqi dinar against foreign currencies, according to a statement from the bank that was emailed this morning. It is very large in tonnage terms and Iraq’s purchases this month alone surpasses the entire demand of many large industrial nations in all of 2013. It surpasses the entire demand of large countries such as France, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, Japan, the UK, Brazil and Mexico. Indeed, it is just below the entire gold demand of voracious Hong Kong for all of 2013 according to GFMS data (see chart).  Iraq had 27 tonnes of gold reserves at the end of 2013 according to the IMF data and thus Iraq has more than doubled their reserves with their allocations to gold this month. Gold remains less than 5% of their overall foreign exchange reserves showing that there is the possibility of further diversification into gold in the coming months. The governor of the Iraqi Central Bank, Abdel Basset Turki, told a news conference that, "the bank bought 36 tonnes of gold to boost reserves and this move is to strengthen the financial capacity of the country and increase the elements of security and insurance reserves of the Central Bank of Iraq." He added that "the central bank seeks through the purchase of large quantities of gold to stabilize the Iraqi dinar against foreign currencies.” Iraq quadrupled its gold holdings to 31.07 tonnes over the course of three months between August and October 2012, data from the International Monetary Fund shows.

 
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Stocks Levitate Into US Open In Yet Another "Deja Vu All Over Again" Moment





With another session in which US futures levitate into the open, despite a modest drop in the Nikkei225 (to be expected after the president of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest pension fund, said that a review of asset allocations into stocks is not aimed at supporting domestic share prices) and an unchanged Shanghai Composite while the currency pair du jour, the USDCNY, closes higher despite tumbling in early trade (which also was to be expected after a former adviser to the People’s Bank of China said China is headed for a “mini crisis” in its local- government debt market as economic reforms lead to the first defaults) everyone is asking: will it be deja vu all over again, and after a solid ramp into 9:30 am, facilitated without doubt by the traditional Yen carry trade, will stocks roll over as first biotech and then all other bubble stocks are whacked? We will find out in just over two hours.

 
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James Montier: "The Market Is Overvalued By 50%-70%" And "Nothing At All" Is Attractively Valued





A month ago we presented a must read interview by Swiss Finanz und Wirtschaft with respected value investor Howard Marks, in which, when explaining the motives driving rational investing he summarized simply, "in the end, the devil always wins." Today, we are happy to bring our readers the following interview with one of our favorite strategists, GMO's James Montier, in which true to form, Montier packs no punches, and says that the market is now overvalued by 50% to 70%, adding that there is "nothing at all" that has an attractive valuation, and that he sees a "hideous opportunity set."

 
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Frontrunning: March 20





  • Possible debris off Australia a 'credible lead' for missing Malaysia jet (Reuters)
  • Maldives and Afghanistan: Theories Blossom for Airliner (BBG)
  • Ukraine Military Concedes on Crimea as Russia Takes Hold (BBG)
  • Asia Stocks Drop on Fed; H-Share Index Enters Bear Market (BBG)
  • Scientists say destructive solar blasts narrowly missed Earth in 2012 (Reuters)
  • GM’s Ignition Victims Need Help From Bankruptcy Judge (BBG)
  • U.S. Alleges Inside Traders Used Spycraft, Ate Evidence (WSJ)
  • God Meets Profit in Obama Contraceptive Rule Court Case (BBG)
 
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RIP - The Truman Show of Bubble Finance, 1987-2014





Seth Klarman recently remarked:

"All the Trumans – the economists, fund managers, traders, market pundits –know at some level that the environment in which they operate is not what it seems on the surface…. But the zeitgeist is so damn pleasant, the days so resplendent, the mood so euphoric, the returns so irresistible, that no one wants it to end."

Klarman is here referring to the waning days of this third and greatest financial bubble of this century. But David Stockman's take is that the crack-up boom now nearing its dénouement marks not merely the season finale of still another Fed-induced cycle of financial asset inflation, but, in fact, portends the demise of an entire era of bubble finance.

 
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Fourth Turning: The People Vs. Big Brother





“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.”

The core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to propel this Crisis: debt, civic decay, global disorder. Central bankers, politicians, and government bureaucrats have been able to fashion the illusion of recovery and return to normalcy, but their “solutions” are nothing more than smoke and mirrors exacerbating the next bloodier violent stage of this Fourth Turning. The emergencies will become increasingly dire, triggering unforeseen reactions and unintended consequences. The civic fabric of our society will be torn asunder.   

 
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Frontrunning: March 13





  • China premier warns on economic slowdown as data fans stimulus talk (Reuters)
  • Li says China defaults ‘unavoidable’ (FT)
  • Russia Said to Ready for Iran-Style Sanctions in Worst Case (BBG)
  • Rescue the tapes from the Bank of England’s dustbins  (FT)
  • Obama Warns Putin of Cost to Russia for Annexing Ukraine (BBG)
  • The TVIX is back: Credit Suisse VIX Note That Ran Amok in 2012 Back on Top (BBG)
  • U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack (WSJ)
  • U.S. Investigators Suspect Missing Airplane Flew On for Hours (WSJ)
  • Malaysia says no evidence missing plane flew hours after losing contact (Reuters)
  • Missed Alarms and 40 Million Stolen Credit Card Numbers: How Target Blew It (BBG)
  • Death Toll in NYC Building Blast Rises to Six; Search Continues (BBG)
 
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