- Just how many rats are there? Steven Cohen's Firm Loses Another Top Executive (WSJ)
- Iceland Sees a Potential Volcanic Eruption, and Airlines Cower (Bloomberg)
- Iraqi forces battle to drive jihadists from Saddam's home town (Reuters)
- Israel, Palestinians Agree to Extend Gaza Truce for 24 Hours (BBG)
- Pimco now buying junk (BusinessWeek)
- Pakistan arrests 147 in Punjab towns as protests in capital continue (Reuters)
- Ex-Rabobank Employee Pleads Guilty in Libor-Rigging Probe (BBG)
- Ebola Orphans Targeted by Aid Groups as Newest Victims (BBG)
- Two California youths accused of plotting high school shooting spree (Reuters)
- Only Rich Know Wage Gains With No Raises for U.S Workers (BBG)
- Fed Decision-Day Guide: QE Tapering to Inflation Debate (BBG)
- Obama says strains over Ukraine not leading to new Cold War with Russia (Reuters)
- Siemens to BP Prepare for Downward Russia Business Spiral (BBG)
- Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror (NYT)
- Argentina Banks Preparing Bid to Help Argentina Avoid Default (WSJ)
- Obama Weighs Fewer Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Living in U.S. (WSJ)
- India Warships Off Japan Show Rising Lure as China Counterweight (BBG)
- Hong Kong Popping Housing Bubbles London Can’t Handle (BBG)
- Carnage at U.N. school as Israel pounds Gaza refugee camp (Reuters)
The attached Barron’s article appeared in December 2007 as an outlook for the year ahead, and Wall Street strategists were waxing bullish. Notwithstanding the advanced state of disarray in the housing and mortgage markets, soaring global oil prices and a domestic economic expansion cycle that was faltering and getting long in the tooth, Wall Street strategists were still hitting the “buy” key. In fact, the Great Recession had already started but they didn’t have a clue: "Against this troubling backdrop, it’s no wonder investors are worried that the bull market might end in 2008. But Wall Street’s top equity strategists are quick to dismiss such fears."
It had to happen! The blame game on that horrendous airline incident has reached the expected loud monotone of pointing fault, lock, stock and barrel at Russia... and, more specifically, to that villain ex-KGB Slav, Vladimir Putin. The US media barrage of grotesque and obscene propaganda against America’s former foe and competitor has found a leader of this warring marching band in Barack Obama. If the UN is incapable to change or influence the hegemonic geopolitical behavior of the United States... where else can the world look to find resolution to conflicts such as we have in Gaza and Ukraine today? Enter the BRICS group of nations...
"As the cost of food continues to rise, the cost of not paying attention to what you are eating rises exponentially. Companies will continue to try to mask inflation by shrinking package sizes, and when that is no longer possible, increasingly inserting empty fillers (or worse) into their products."
Today, we can finally end any debate on the topic of just where the world's illegal money comes to roost. The answer: ultra-luxury real estate, primarily in New York, courtesy of a report in New York magazine that catches up with what we first said in the summer of 2012, and which is titled, appropriately enough: "Stash Pad."
Now, for the first time, we have empirical proof that hedge funds are indeed on the verge of extinction. In its hedge fund quarterly note (which it clearly ripped off from Goldman), Bank of America has concluded what we said in the beginning of the decade: "Hedge Funds are less attractive post the financial crisis with lower alpha and less diversification benefits." Or, in other words, hedge funds (for the most part: this excludes those extortionists also known as activists who successfully bully management teams into levering up in order to buyback record amounts of stock, in the process burying their companies and employers when the next downturn arrives) no longer provide a service commensurate to their astronomical fees.
It’s been obvious for quite some time that the so-called “war on terror” is nothing more than a fear-mongering induced power grab; a convenient excuse to strip the citizenry of its civil liberties and humanity. Many commentators, including myself, have predicted for years that the entire counter-terror juggernaut that has been constructed post-9/11 would be ultimately redirected upon the domestic population. Snowden’s heroic whistleblowing has already proven without a doubt that the government spy apparatus (along with tech company complicity) has been zeroed in on the domestic population for quite some time, but is the situation about to escalate? Are the feds so fearful of their own people, they are about to focus all their counter-terror energy on U.S. citizens? It appears so.
As Senator Ron Johnson so appropriately blasted, "I'm not sure sanctions had any effect whatsoever other than, you know, the Russians have mocked them," and so it is that the Treasury's (little heard of) "Terrorism and Financial Intelligence" division is preparing to unleash its most deadly weapons yet - an arsenal of financial weaponry aimed at hitting foreign adversaries with limited cost to allies. It appears clear that while the US dropped speech-bombs and sanction-mines, proclaiming the disastrous economic significance of these efforts, Russian stocks soared (vastly outperforming the US) and the Ruble strengthened... and so - as undersecretary David Cohen tells the WSJ, "What we've done over the past 10 years is to create a new method of projecting U.S. power..." e.g. sell non-US stocks (thus buy US stocks).
Barclays just can't catch a break these days: after creating the biggest "bad bank" 5 years into the laughably called "recovery", the latest batch of terrible earnings and the announcement of some 19,000 pink slips to be handed out shortly as the British bank has now lost all benefits from being presented the only valuable Lehman assets on a Blue light special platter 5 years ago, it now appears that the desperate and flailing bank also has placed monkeys in charge of trading because as Bloomberg reports it was also responsible for the freakout that hit a vast number of stocks at 3:49:00 pm on Tuesday and which we profiled in "Is There Anything Wrong With These Charts?" It appears the answer was "yes."
As another week passes by the markets have made no real movement in months. News flow, outside of Yellen's testimony, was also rather slow as first quarter's earnings season begins to come to a close. However, there were a few articles that we read this week that we thought you might find interesting as well... from the dangers of hidden leverage (in the re-burgeoning CDO markets) to the history if bubbles (and their lack of logic) and the demise of the US small business.
Fits the pattern of gratuitous bank enrichment perfectly. But this time, the beneficiaries of the Fed are foreign banks.
It seems Goldman Sachs is willing to do pretty much anything when it comes to maintaining SAC Capital (now Point72) Steve Cohen's liquidity. On the heels of last year's "stand by your man" moment in the midst of the insider-trading scandal, Goldman has kindly offered to provide Cohen another lifeline of liquidity - this time backed by his $1 billion art collection. As Bloomberg reports, Cohen pledged “certain items of fine art” under a security agreement which didn’t specify how much money was borrowed. As one art "investor" noted, this is not unusual, "hedge fund guys who manage their money wisely... look to put their art collections to work... If you can get liquidity out of your collection and pay only 250 basis points...it just makes sense." Sense, indeed!
- Putin Doesn't Rule Out Sending Troops (WSJ)
- Japan Cuts Economic View on Tax Rise (WSJ)
- No "harsh weather" in Chipotle restaurants where comp store sales rose 13.4% (PR)
- No sanctions for you: EU sanctions push on Russia falters amid big business lobbying (FT)
- Consumer Spending on Health Care Jumps as Obamacare Takes Hold (BBG)
- China Seen Cracking on Property Controls (BBG)
- Google, IBM results raise questions about other tech-sector companies (Reuters)
- California city evacuation lifted after military ordnance found (Reuters)
- For Obama, Standoff With Moscow Jumbles Plans at Home and Abroad (WSJ)
After tens of millions in legal fees, a river of negative press, and ripple effects to other local municipalities, we have U-turned and are back to where we started.