"At the end of that live-long day the American people are left in a matrix of lies so thick and sticky that all the de-greasing agents supposedly vested in freedom of the press will not avail to liberate them, and they are suspended like little morsels of winged prey to be sucked dry by the descending spiders of crony capital."
- Apple, China Mobile sign long-awaited deal to sell iPhones (Reuters)
- U.S. growth hopes help shares shrug off China money market jitters (Reuters)
- Rule Change on Health Insurance Rattles Industry (WSJ), Obamacare's signup deadline on Monday has its exceptions (Reuters)
- Tale of Two Polish Mines Shows Biggest EU Producer’s Woes (BBG)
- Probes See U.K. Market Manipulation Reports Rise 43% (BBG)
- Shoppers Grab Sweeter Deals in Last-Minute Holiday Dash (BBG)
- Banks Mostly Avoid Providing Bitcoin Services (WSJ)
- Secret Handshakes Greet Frat Brothers on Wall Street (BBG)
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. The 89-page tour-de-force is a must-read this holiday season for perspective on where we have been and where we are going. From Krugman to the abuse of civil liberties, from gold to muni bankruptices, and from Student debt bubble to Cyprus and beyond, Collum covers it all.
Having had a few days to reflect on the all-knowing Bernanke's words (and deeds), here are a few thoughts on what was said (and not said)...
"The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank... sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world." - Carroll Quigley, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
Wondering what a 'market' looks like up, close, and personal in the seconds before, during, and after this week's "most important FOMC meeting ever." From SPY's 50-second lead on the news release to VIX's gap, and from crossed markets to e-mini futures leading the premature charge, Nanex's charts are a smorgasbord of SEC-inspiration...
The unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve have decided that the time has come to slightly taper the amount of quantitative easing that it has been doing. When this news came out, it sent shockwaves through financial markets all over the planet. But the truth is that not that much has really changed. The Federal Reserve will still be recklessly creating gigantic mountains of new money out of thin air and massively intervening in the financial marketplace. It will just be slightly less than before. However, this very well could represent a very important psychological turning point for investors. It is a signal that "the party is starting to end" and that the great bull market of the past four years is drawing to a close. So what is all of this going to mean for average Americans? The following are 8 ways that "the taper" is going to affect you and your family...
From the United States to Europe and Asia: The world's central banks are flooding markets with liquidity and pushing deeper into unknown monetary policy territory. Jim Grant tells Germany's Finanz und Wirtschaft that he "fears that this journey will not end well." The sharply thinking Wall Street veteran doesn’t trust the theoretical models of the central banks and warns of irrational exuberance in the financial markets adding that "the stock market is increasingly full of stocks that are borne aloft by hope rather than demonstrated performance."
This past week the Federal Reserve began tapering their current large scale asset purchase (LSAP) program, more commonly referred to as Quantitative Easing (QE), by trimming $10 billion in bond purchases from the previous monthly totals. This week's "Things To Ponder" is a diverse set of views on the potential effect of the taper on the financial markets and the impact to investors. Regardless of your personal expectations as to the impact of the reduction of liquidity in the months ahead, it is always a good mental exercise to consider opposing viewpoints to balance your own views by eliminating confirmation bias. Here are 5 disparate views on the effect, and potential outcome, of the Federal Reserve's latest move.
A century ago, politicians failed to understand that the financial panics of the 19th century were caused by collusion between government and the banking sector. Today, however, we do know better. We know that the Federal Reserve continues to strengthen the collusion between banks and politicians. We know that the Fed’s inflationary monetary policy continues to reap profits for Wall Street while impoverishing Main Street. And we know that the current monetary regime is teetering on a precipice. One hundred years is long enough. End the Fed.
It seems that absolutely nobody was surprised to see the BEA mysteriously keep virtually every other GDP component unchanged but boost Personal Consumption Expenditures from 0.96% of GDP to 1.36%. The end result is that the GDP reported in the first revision number has been boosted once again to a simply ludicrous 4.1%, smashing expectations of a 3.6% print. Putting this "revision" in perspective, the final GDP is now 45% higher than the first GDP estimate of 2.84%, and there is a whopping 1.5% delta between the first and final revision, which in our record books is the biggest revision on record.
- China cash injection fails to calm lenders (AFP)
- European Union Stripped of AAA Credit Rating at S&P (BBG)
- Last-Minute Health-Site Enrollment Proves a Hard Sell (WSJ)
- Bernanke’s Recession-Fighting Weapon Developed by 1900s Banker (BBG)
- Asia Stocks Are Little Changed Amid China Funding Concern (BBG)
- Regulators' Guidance on Volcker Rule Gives Banks Little Relief on Debt Sales (WSJ)
- On one hand: Man Who Said No to Soros Builds BlueCrest Into Empire (BBG); on the other: Michael Platt's BlueCrest Capital Poised for Rough Close to 2013 (WSJ)
- BOJ Keeps Record Easing as Fed Taper Helps Weaken Yen (BBG)
- Bank of England becomes more cautious on economic predictions (FT)
- Gold Climbs From Lowest Close Since 2010 as Goldman Sees Losses (BBG)
• the risk of runs and asset fire sales in repurchase (repo) markets;
• excessive credit risk-taking and weaker underwriting standards;
• exposure to duration risk in the event of a sudden, unanticipated rise in interest rates;
• exposure to shocks from greater risk-taking when volatility is low;
• the risk of impaired trading liquidity;
• spillovers to and from emerging markets;
• operational risk from automated trading systems, including high-frequency trading; and
• unresolved risks associated with uncertainty about the U.S. fiscal outlook.
Do we need a banking sector dominated by politically untouchable "Too Big to Fail" (TBTF) banks? Thanks to fast-advancing technology, the answer is a resounding no. Not only do we not need a banking sector, we would be immensely better off were the banking sector to wither and vanish from the face of the Earth, along with its parasitic class of political enablers, toadies and Federal Reserve apparatchiks.... An automated banking utility has no need for parasitic bankers or politicos or indeed, a central bank. The only legitimate regulatory function of the state is to enforce transparency; beyond that, its actions are all subsidies of one sort or another of politically powerful constituencies at the expense of the real economy's productive people, communities and enterprises.
Dear Federal Reserve: happy 100th birthday! What better way to celebrate it than with a balance sheet that just crossed above $4 trillion, or $4.01 trillion to be precise, which represents 24% of the recently upward revised US GDP, for the first (but certainly not last) time in history. Fingers crossed that promptly after next year's Untaper, the Fed can boast a $5 trillion balance sheet this time next year, and so on, and so forth.