Americans might be quite surprised to know that even with all the U.S. Government sanctions and threats of war with Russia, America still imports a significant amount of petroleum from the former communist country. How much petroleum does the United States import from Russia? Actually, a lot more when we focus on net imports...
For the first time in 4 years, Appaloosa Management's David Tepper is not the highest-earning hedge fund manager in the world. Plunging from No.1 to tied-for-11th (with a mere $400 million earned last year) Tepper appears to have suddenly found investing difficult now that The Fed has stopped printing money (up just 2.2%). What is more ironic, perhaps, is that the other alleged beneficiary of Fed largesse (and recent hirer or blogger Ben Bernanke) - Citadel tops the list with Ken Griffin making $1.3 billion last year.
"What is different this time? Central banks are driving all investment decisions, and what this implies is that they are in this trade so deeply that there is no obvious or practical exit.... This is a dangerous situation. The focus must return to the REAL economy; we cannot trade our way out of past mistakes."
Appalled doesn’t cover it. Disgusted won’t do either. Angry doesn’t come close. Maybe we have yet to learn of a word that would express our feelings on the following topic. There’s a disease, an epidemic, that spreads through out the western world. We are all turning into accomplices to murder. And we still believe we are better than that. Just perhaps not all of us.
There is a much larger structural risk for markets and investors than HFT and the whole Flash Boys brouhaha, it’s just totally under the radar and hasn’t surfaced yet. Investors may not know better yet, but they will soon, one way or another. Tomorrow a handful of governments will influence aggregate political behaviors by triggering small communications that Big Data tells them will be voluntarily magnified by individual citizens, snowballing into outsized, long-lasting, and untraceable “popular” actions. Tomorrow a handful of hedge funds will influence aggregate market behaviors by triggering small trades that Big Data tells them will be voluntarily magnified by individual traders, snowballing into outsized, long-lasting, and untraceable “market” actions. Tomorrow Big Data will be primarily an instrument of social control, with a powerful and ubiquitous impact on all citizens and all investors.
Crude oil prices are once again following the path of least deja vu resistance this morning. Having spiked into NYMEX close on Friday (exactly as they did following the rig count data the previous week), WTI is back to a $48 handle this morning following news that Saudi Arabia has increased production to its higest level since 2013. Iraq (another OPEC nation) stirred the pot further by forecasting increased supplies in the next month. This comes as US production hits record highs and vital Oklahoma storage tanks will fill up even sooner than expected, driving the "JK" spread above $2.50 (April delivery drastically cheaper than May). As on analysts noted, as "Cushing continues to fill massively, we could see a '3' handle on WTI."
And so it begins... the intentional demonization of a growing segment of the U.S. population that rightly believes the government is run by a collective of thieving, corrupt, immoral sociopaths. Commingling dissent, violence and “right wing” ideology will be key in the ultimate division of government critics in these United States, and a successful attempt to scare people away from questioning a clearly degraded and parasitic status quo.
When a member of the New York Fed staff releases a paper on the topic of Anxiety, Overconfidence, and Excessive Risk Taking, and in which there is a section on "Self-Manipulation with Alcohol and Drugs", which explains that "pathological gambling is more common among people with alcohol use disorders," adds that "there is evidence that drugs are used strategically to induce performance changes, and particularly so for individuals with greater degrees of horizon-dependent risk aversion", observes that 'Anecdotal evidence on the “widespread use of [...] cocaine by professional traders” is consistent both with strategic self-manipulation and with our observations about cross-sectional overconfidence across environments", and finally recommends to all the risk-averse BTFDers and BTFATHers, that "the performance of anxiety-prone individuals should then improve with moderate levels of drug-induced overconfidence"one should probably listen and trade - since the Fed's only remaining wealth effect and "monetary transmission channel" is to BTFATH - while both drunk and high.
Are we on the verge of a major worldwide economic downturn? Well, if recent warnings from prominent bankers all over the world are to be believed, that may be precisely what we are facing in the months ahead.
"Enjoy the party, but dance near the door."
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The morphing of “terrorism” and “domestic dissent” into an all encompassing and convenient category known as “domestic terrorists” or “domestic extremists” has been a long time coming. It has always been our contention, and continues to be, that the oligarchs who have funneled all of the wealth to themselves since the 2008 banker bailouts know exactly what they are doing. They also know that it will eventually result in severe domestic unrest during the next cyclical downturn. As such, the agenda has been to utilize the entirety of the intelligence-industrial-military complex created by the “war on terror” against the domestic population once it recognizes how badly it has been looted.
The United States government and the American people cannot contend with reality, because they do not know what the reality is. In America’s make-believe world, neoconservative toadies such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, set the Group-Think tone, while knowledgeable experts are tuned out. In effect, America is both blind and deaf. It lives in delusions. Consequently, it will destroy itself and perhaps the world.
- ECB to decide on bond-buying plan to revive euro zone (Reuters)
- Draghi Is Pushing Boundaries of Euro Region with QE Program (BBG)
- Investors Wonder Whether ECB Will Do Enough (WSJ)
- Treasuries Drop With Bunds Before ECB; U.S. Futures Rise (BBG)
- European shares hit seven-year high (Reuters)
- At least eight civilians killed in shelling of Ukrainian trolleybus (Reuters), both sides blame each other
- OPEC Will Blink First in Battle With Shale Drillers, Poll Shows (BBG)
- China Injects $8 Billion Into Banking System (WSJ)
- New York says Barclays not cooperating in 'dark pool' probe (Reuters)
The Long/Short Strategy for the New Reality
1. Go long companies that cater to the 1%.
2. Short companies that cater to the middle class.
3. Go long companies that cater to the poor.