Glance in the rear-view mirror and say goodbye to the Era of Wishful Thinking. In this weird liminal time since the so-called Crash of 2008 leadership has depended on lies and subterfuges to prop up the illusion of resilience. The lies, frauds, and cons run between the axis of Wall Street and Washington had two fatal consequences with still-lagging effects: 1) They destroyed the capacity for markets to establish the real price of anything - rendering markets useless; 2) They disabled capital formation to the degree that we might not have the money to rebuild an economy to replace the “financialized” matrix of rackets that currently pretends to function. A lot of observers have been waiting for the moment when the fog of pretense lifts and exposes all the broken machinery within. We may be so close now that you can smell it.
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?
Under the imposition of StealthFlation, the Velocity of Money lies dormant while increasing Inflationary risks build below the surface.
It remains to be seen if frontrunning the general public on collusive, material, non-public information that a strategic would be about to announce a bid for Allergan is indeed "completely lawful", however we do have a question: now that the SEC is formally investigating Ackman for what may be a massive frontrunning scam, is it also looking at all the other hedge funds which reported brand new stakes (some of which also entirely in the form of calls) in Allergan in the second quarter?
Suppresses true money velocity concealing real inflation risk to the economy
Are the crafty casino courpiers finally cashing out their cronies' comped chips at the crooked capitlaism craps tables?
On July 7, Bart Chilton, a former commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, wrote an article about high-frequency trading for the New York Times's DealBook. He argued, in effect, that because high-frequency trading has become so central to the stock market, it must be serving some necessary purpose. This is false...
Despots, dictators, and power hungry presidents arise in an atmosphere of fear, scarce resources, hopelessness, and misery. As the power of the central government grows; the freedoms, liberties and rights of the people are diminished and ultimately relinquished.
Now that even that bedrock of the Keynesian voodoo religion, the Gross Domestic Product calculation, has become a ridiculous farce, with everyone in Europe suddenly adding the uncalculable "contribution" from drug dealers and hookers all in a mad dash to make debt/GDP ratios appear better than they are, it is truly time to unleash the clowns as none other than the country which has taken fabricating economic data to an artform, no not the US for those confused but China, is preparing to change the way its calculates its GDP, with the biggest contribution coming from, hold on to your hats, R&D. One wonders if "reverse engineering" of pirated products and services is covered in this "non-GAAP GDP" category. The end result? GDP for the country which cumulatively will be several percentage points higher once the entire fudging/recasting exercise is completed. Here are the details.
Ghandi was once asked, "What do you think about Western Civilization?" to which he famously replied "I think it's a good idea." He may as well have been talking about free market capitalism. Capital in the 21st Century has hit the world like a new teen idol sensation. Everybody is drinking the Kool-Aid and it's being held up as the most important book ever written on the subject of how runaway capitalism leads to wealth inequality. Paul Krugman of course, loves it. As does every head of state and political hack in the (formerly) free world. So let's do something different here and accept a core premise of Capital, and say that wealth inequality is increasing, and that it's a bad thing. Where the point is completely missed is in what causes it (ostensibly "free market capitalism") and what to do about it (increase government control, induce more inflation and raise taxes). The point of this essay is to assert that it is not unchecked capital or runaway free markets that cause increasing wealth inequality, but rather that the underlying monetary system itself is hard-coded by an inner temple of ruling elites in a way which creates that inequality.
Committees, investigations, concerns... but no actions. The SEC's Mary White spoke about market micro-structure this morning but mereley asked a lot of questions - as opposed to answered any. Two things she did mention of note: increased transpraceny for dark pools and internalizers; and forcing more high-frequency traders (and prop shops) to register as broker-dealers (and thus come under closer regulatory scrutiny). However, by the time any of this becomes 'law', we suspect the lobbyists will have created loopholes the size of Draghi's ego for HFTs to walk through. As WSJ reports, the SEC's enforcement division is investigating whether some high-speed traders are using order types - commands exchanges provide that determine how traders' buy and sell orders will be handled - in ways that can give them an advantage over less-savvy investors. We apologize for not seeing this 'investigation' as a positive but we've been here before with every other regulator... vested interests remain strong.
There comes a point in the destiny of a failing nation when official lying is no longer distinct from official stupidity. We’ve crossed that boundary in the USA. It pays to remember that societies get what they deserve, not what they expect.
The still-dominant consensus view that America’s economy is poised to single-handedly yank the world out of its lethargy is likely to be disappointed once again with the odds high that our economy will remain burdened by growth-inhibiting monetary policies. In addition, it will continue to be negatively impacted by various other impediments, including a populace that is increasingly under-employed, an unwieldy and inscrutable tax code, a Rube Goldberg-like healthcare system, an increasingly ossified infrastructure, and a regulatory apparatus that congests the lungs of our economy, small businesses... weaning the stock market off of casino capitalism promises to be anything but pain-free. But did any responsible adult really believe there would be no pay-back for all these years of the Fed’s force-fed gains? If you do, you probably also believe foie gras grows on trees.
The most common pushback from any China bull, industrial commodity bull, US equity market bull, or in fact any risk market in general "bull" is "won't the authorities just pull the trigger? Won't they just stimulate?" As UBS Commodities group notes, the debate is most advanced for China and for industrial commodities, where the weakness in the economy, and the sharp commodity price falls of recent weeks, has consensus looking for a stimulus driven bounce. UBS does not think so - the authorities in China and the US have become increasingly focused on structural issues - which, simply put, means they are less willing to act than before. It appears last night's mini (railway-focused) stimulus supports the expectations of no "bazooka".
"High-frequency traders are gaming the system, reaping billions in the process and undermining investor confidence in the fairness of the markets. It’s a growing cancer and needs to be addressed. If confidence erodes further, the fuel of our free-enterprise system, capital formation, is at risk. We can’t allow that to happen. For sure, we still believe investing in equities is a primary path to long-term wealth creation, and we believe in the long-term structural integrity of the markets to deliver that over time for individual investors, which is all the more reason to be vigilant in removing anything that creates unfair advantage or undermines investor confidence... High-frequency trading isn’t providing more efficient, liquid markets; it is a technological arms race designed to pick the pockets of legitimate market participants. That flies in the face of our markets’ founding principles.