While the economy is showing some signs of impact from falling oil prices, a port strike in California, weak global demand for exports and an exceptionally cold winter; the markets are pushing all-time highs. There is much hype being placed on the ECB's plans for launching QE in March, however, much remains to be seen as to just how effective it will be in a negative interest rate/deflationary enviroment. But then again...there is always "hope."
While economic indicators make "very poor bedfellows" for managing portfolios, they do provide some indication as to the relative risk of owning assets that are ultimately tied to economic cycles. Despite commentary to the contrary as of late, economic cycles have not been repealed, and the current economy is likely running on borrowed time. It is important to notice, that despite the "hype" of the mainstream media about the economic recovery, activity never rose past previous peaks in this cycle.
The urgency to put your savings to work is understandable, but patience is a virtue. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to wait for the right opportunity to come along... The math is pretty simple.
The majority of the jobs "created" since the financial crisis have been lower wage paying jobs in retail, healthcare and other service sectors of the economy. Conversely, the jobs created within the energy space are some of the highest wage paying opportunities available in engineering, technology, accounting, legal, etc. In fact, each job created in energy related areas has had a "ripple effect" of creating 2.8 jobs elsewhere in the economy from piping to coatings, trucking and transportation, restaurants and retail. Simply put, lower oil and gasoline prices may have a bigger detraction on the economy that the "savings" provided to consumers.
If you have a strongly held economic theory, you can always concoct a story ex post to “explain” the data. Rather, what I’m saying is that on the very terms Krugman himself chose to show the virtues of government spending, I can make a much more compelling argument that cutting government spending won’t hurt private sector hiring, and if anything will stimulate it.
The five remaining equity bears on Earth are all saying the same thing: "We'll get 'em in 2015." To which I ask: why? What's going to change?
One of the great myths about investing that we’re told by the mainstream investment education is that we should “buy and hold” for the long term. Let's look at the numbers...
The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll—as all past empires have discovered.
This is the first installment in a series of HFT War Stories, submitted anonymously by high frequency and algorithmic traders highlighting the perils of their profession. Today we look at a $2 Billion near miss that never made the news. The public only hears about these types of SNAFUs if they blow up a firm. Hundreds more go unnoticed by anyone but the traders who lived through them.
When Calpers buys an international asset for its investors, is it intervening in the forex market on behalf of the US?
Roughly a month ago, we exposed CYNK Technology Corp. The CYNK bubble was, of course, the result of carefully planned deceit and clever promotion by a handful of people who stood to make a lot of money on the trade. But when you think about it, CYNK’s stock wasn’t really any dumber than owning US Treasuries. In the case of CYNK, it only took about a month for the bubble to inflate and burst. The Treasury bubble, on the other hand, was built on credibility earned over decades; but while previous generations earned the world’s trust, modern day politicians have blown through it. Now all they have left is their snake oil sales pitch. And a mountain of obligations that closed July 2014 at a record high $17.69 trillion.
Back in the summer of 2011 during the debt ceiling debacle, S&P did the unthinkable: it dared to speak the truth when it downgraded the US from its pristine AAA rating, setting off a stock market selloff and paradoxically sending bonds to record low yields. This resulted in a vindictive Tim Geithner promptly warning the Chairman of McGraw-Hill the US would retaliate (which it did), the termination of then CEO Devan Sharma (and his replacement with the all too friendly COO of Citibank), and most importantly, a still ongoing legal fight in which the DOJ sued S&P (and only S&P, not Moody's, not Fitch) allegedly for rating improprieties during the first housing bubble, but even 5 year olds knew it was just to teach S&P a lesson. Today we learn just what the cost is for anyone who dares to downgrade the US. The answer: $1,000,000,000. That is the amount that S&P has decided it will agree to pay in a settlement with the DOJ to put all this "truthiness" unpleasantness behind it.
Now that Eric Cantor is history, crushed by an unexpected Tea Party "David" (literally and metaphorically) as the US population finally begins to say no to an artifical "two-party" system which is quite united in only serving its Wall Street masters, it is time for that other republican, none other than the consummate folding lawn chair John Boehner, to scramble fearing for his own political career. And since the only way the GOP knows to challenge the implosion of the US republic is by making loud noises and providing hours of hollow theatrical entertainment, here comes Boehner with the biggest soap opera he could muster: moments ago the speaker announced he plans to sue Obama "on behalf of the House over his frequent use of executive actions that Republicans believe are beyond his authority."
While one may opine if today's 2 Year auction was weak or strong, one thing is indisputable: at a pricing high yield of 0.511% (even if 0.4 bps through the When Issued), this was the highest closing yield for 2 Year paper since May 2011 when it priced at 0.56% just before the US debt ceiling debacle and US downgrade firmly reset the bond market far lower. As for the other components of today's auction, the Bid To Cover came at 3.231, below the 3.519 from May, if just below the TTM average of 3.34. The internals were unimpressive, with Direct and Indirects splitting the post almost equally, getting just over 23% of the auction each, while Dealers were left holding 54.6% of the final allottment.
It's possible to describe Rep.Eric Cantor as a serial sell-out. But that would be giving an unprincipled politician driven by an unalloyed ambition to climb the greasy pole of Washington power too much credit. In truth, Cantor never campaigned for any recognizable principle; he merely maneuvered his way to the top of the House GOP hierarchy by following in the tawdry footsteps of modern GOP bagmen like Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt. Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.