As the market anxiously await Janet Yellen's Humphrey-Hawkins testimony this morning, hanging on every word and intonation, ConvergEx's Nick Colas is reminded of Harry Truman’s famous request: “Give me a one-handed economist!” The U.S. central bank clearly feels challenged by the cross currents of the global economy even as it reiterates confidence in domestic growth prospects. In an effort to help clear things up, Colas brings some 21st century data to the Fed’s distinctly old-school toolset and looks at the historical popularity of 10 Google search terms with a decidedly economic twist. Bottom line: the Google data is clear. The Fed needs to wait a while longer before raising interest rates.
- Greece to submit loan request to euro zone, Germany resists (Reuters)
- Ukrainian forces start to quit besieged town (Reuters)
- Bank of Japan maintains policy, no surprises (FT)
- China Considering Mergers Among Its Big State Oil Companies (WSJ)
- Soros Shifts to Europe, Asia as Investors Cut U.S. Equities (BBG)
- Putin tells Kiev to let troops surrender as Ukraine ceasefire unravels (Reuters)
- Venezuela Squanders Its Oil Wealth (BBG)
- Swiss prosecutor raids HSBC office, opens criminal inquiry (Reuters)
The last time US weather was this bad, annualized US GDP crashed from 2.3% to -2.9%.
One of the bigger asset bubbles in recent US history has nothing to do with stock, bonds or commodities, We are talking about farmland. And yet, like all other bubbles - be they the result of retail euphoria or central bank rigging - this one too must come to a close, and as the WSJ reports, the first crack in the farmland bubble are appearing, after farmland values declined in parts of the Midwest for the first time in decades last year "reflecting a cooling in the market driven by two years of bumper crops and sharply lower grain prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday." the average price of farmland in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s district, which includes Illinois, Iowa and other big farm states, fell 3% in 2014, marking the first annual decline since 1986, which makes farmlands the only asset class that had not seen a down year in nearly three decades!
Houston, You Have A Huge Problem: One-Sixth Of US Office Space Under Construction Is In This Texas CitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/11/2015 09:59 -0500
Update: OBAMA ASKS CONGRESS TO AUTHORIZE WAR AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE: AP
Several years ago, Obama impressed a handful of crusty, old people in Norway who believed the recent Illinois senator's vision of a world without war, validated by his eagerness to end the war in Iraq and withdraw US troops to their native country. He got an award for it. Today, Obama will finally complete the circle started in August when, under the premise of "humanitarian intervention", allegedly meant to save a group refugees stranded on a mountain, Obama launched an airborne coalition effort to destroy the same group of radical jihadist extremists that the US was assisting when they were merely fighting the Assad regime in Syria. Because today is when Obama will officially request that those same troops that he so liberally pulled out in compliance with his Nobel Peace Prize, be put back in Iraq in order to declare war on, drumroll, a nation that doesn't technically even exist: the Islamic State.
- Greek defense minister says Greece has Plan B if EU rigid on deal (Reuters)
- Germany rejects Greek claim for World War Two reparations (Reuters)
- Greece to Seek $11.3 Billion in Financing to Avoid Funding Crunch (BBG)
- Lazard Sees $113 Billion Greek Debt Cut as ‘Reasonable’ (BBG)
- U.S. Navy Considers Setting Up Ship Base in Australia (BBG)
- Dalio’s Bridgewater Fund Said to Rise 8.3% in January (BBG)
- As U.S. Exits, China Takes On Afghanistan Role (WSJ)
- EU money funds cut exposure to bank debt (FT)
- China Inflation Drops to Five-Year Low in January (WSJ)
- Oil-Price Rebound Predicted (WSJ)
In 12 U.S. states, over half of 25-year-olds lived with their parents in 2012-13. The states: York are: New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Washington D.C.
This week's Economic Policy Institute's report, leverages the fashionable, French economist Piketty's statistics, in order to illustrate how well the "top 1%" are doing in each of the 50 states. The report is provokingly titled: "The Increasingly Unequal States of America". But the report creates distortions in the truth. An important matter affecting hundreds of millions should also include a straight acknowledgement of probability theory (involving large sample sizes). The most liberal people suggest that even thinking about this math is unnecessary. Perhaps any glorification of wrongs that need to be righted, justifies the means that it would take to get there. Over time this can conflate math ideas with one's ideological bias.
"Historic" Blizzard To Slam Northeast On Monday Night: Over A Foot Of Snow Expected In New York CitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/25/2015 14:14 -0500
"CHILLY AND BLUSTERY CONDITIONS EXPECTED THROUGH MONDAY. A MAJOR AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC WINTER STORM WILL AFFECT THE REGION MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY NIGHT...TRAVEL MAY BECOME IMPOSSIBLE AND LIFE THREATENING. DRIER WEATHER FOLLOWS WEDNESDAY INTO EARLY THURSDAY...BUT WILL HAVE TO WATCH FOR ANOTHER CHANCE OF SNOW BY THE END OF THE WORK WEEK." - National Weather Service
Just as people enjoy the presumption of innocence in a criminal trial, property owners never convicted or even charged with a crime should not be presumed guilty in civil asset forfeiture proceedings. The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 has proven inadequate for curbing abuses, as countless Americans across the nation, having done nothing wrong, continue to lose their homes, businesses, and, sometimes, their very lives to the aggressive, acquisitive policing that this law encourages. Civil asset forfeiture is a big challenge. While the Justice Department has recently stepped up to limit the scope of this problem, it is time for Congress to act.
UPDATE: Full SOTU Speech released - "THE SHADOW OF CRISIS HAS PASSED"
By now it is well known that The State of The Union tonight will be about President Obama's Robin-Hood Agenda. Furthermore, it is entirely clear that his proposals have no chance of becoming law. As WaPo's Marc Thiessen notes, Obama is not delusional, his move is completely and transparently political... And just as Eric Cantor suggests will merely serve to inflame the GOP. From taxes to cyber security and from community college to housing... in 50-65 minutes, all will be clear...
In what has been the most anticipated bankruptcy case in the past several years, hours ago Caesars Entertainment put its main operating unit under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Northern Illinois bankruptcy court (case 15-01153) even as a splinter group of dissident creditors including Appaloosa and Oaktree, holders of about $41 million of Caesars debt and which allege the company has siphoned off billions in value from creditors, put the company into involuntary bankruptcy in Delaware bankruptcy court on January 12. As a reminder, Caesars was one of the sterling LBOs of the last credit bubble, when in 2008 Apollo and TPG decided to take the company private. The problem, as is always the case: too much debt, especially when combined with a broken business model, as Caesars has lost money every year since 2009.
To question money-printing as the one-size-fits-all solution to every economic problem is to question the power structure of the status quo.
Meet Emerge Energy Services: the poster boy for the “irrational exuberance” that has become institutionalized throughout the length and breadth of the Wall Street casino. Today’s Wall Street Journal story coming just five months after last summers potboiler is therefore not simply an update on a speculation gone horribly wrong. It’s actually a template for the deluge to come.