Israel

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Frontrunning: May 3





  • U.S. Bulks Up to Combat Iran (WSJ)
  • Taking sides in Syria is hard choice for Israel (Reuters)
  • Gold Traders Most Bearish in Three Years After Drop (BBG)
  • It's a Hard Job Predicting Payrolls Number  (WSJ)
  • EU economies to breach deficit limits as economic picture darkens (FT)
  • IBM Says U.S. Justice Investigating Bribery Allegations (BBG)
  • At Texas fertilizer plant, a history of theft, tampering (Reuters)
  • SAC Sets Plan to Dock Pay in Cases of Wrongdoing (WSJ) - "in case of"?
  • EU to propose duties on Chinese solar panels (Reuters)
  • Billionaire Kaiser Exploiting Charity Loophole With Boats (BBG)
  • SEC Zeroing In on 'Prime' Funds (WSJ)
  • Apple Avoids $9.2 Billion in Taxes With Debt Deal (BBG)
  • China April official services PMI at 54.5 vs 55.6 in March (Reuters)
 
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Bank Of Israel To Double Down On Equities, Will Invest In European Stocks





Stanley Fischer, who cost his central bank a lot of money with his ill-timed bet to invest billions of the Bank of Israel's foreign  currency reserves on names such as Apple last year, has demonstrated that Einstein's definition of insanity is alive and well when it comes to central-planners, has just decided to double down on stocks. Alas, this is not a joke. Bloomberg reports that "The Bank of Israel plans to almost double equity holdings by the end of the year after falling bond yields prompted the central bank to invest in European shares for the first time. The bank will increase its stock holdings to as much as 6 percent of foreign-exchange reserves, or about $4.5 billion, from 3 percent at the end of 2012, according to Yossi Saadon, a Bank of Israel spokesman. Investments in shares rose to about 4.5 percent of assets in the first four months of 2013 as the institution made a “small allocation” to European equities in addition to its U.S. funds, he said." Well, if the BOI's investment in AAPL was the beginning of the end for that company, one can start shorting Europe - an academic Keynesian just called the top.

 
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Central Banks Join The Herd, Openly Buying Stocks In Record Amounts





When tin-foil-hat wearing digital dickweed blogs first suggested that Central Banks were actively buying stocks, the mainstream media scoffed at the idiocy and un-independence of such an idea. However, it is clear the central banks themselves are now not only actively buying stocks but are activley encouraging it and propagandizing their efforts to lever this last policy tool left in the toolbox. As Bloomberg reports, 23% of central bankers surveyed said the bank owns shares and plans to buy more. From the Bank of Japan to the Bank of Israel and with the SNB and the Czech National Bank now at over 10% allocation of reserves to stocks, is it any wonder there is an inexorable bid under the 'free' markets. Rick Santelli is rightly concerned that, "there is a danger that everyone is loaded in the same direction," asking what happens if all the Central Bank pump-priming does not work, given these equity valuations, "who gets caught holding the bag? What chairs are left when the music stops?"

 
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Frontrunning: April 25





  • UK economy shows 0.3% growth (FT)
  • Texas University Fund Sold $375 Million in Gold Bars (BBG)
  • Spain Jobless Rate Breaches 27% on Recession Woes (BBG)
  • Letta calls for easing of austerity policies (FT)
  • Italy Led by Letta Brings Berlusconi Back as Winner (BBG)
  • Fed Debate Moves From Tapering to Extending Bond Buying (BBG)
  • South Korea wants talks with North on shuttered industrial zone (Reuters)
  • Republicans advance bill to prepare for debt ceiling fight (Reuters)
  • Republicans claim White House failed to warn on severity of cuts (FT)
  • Xi meets former US heavyweights (China Daily)
  • Next BoE chief Carney says clear framework key to policy success (Reuters)
  • Chinese roll out red carpet for Hollande (FT)
 
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Charged With Using Weapon Of Mass Destruction, To Face Death Penalty





 
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Frontrunning: April 22





  • Turn to Religion Split Bomb Suspects' Home (WSJ)
  • The propaganda is back for the 4th year in a row: Spring Swoon Sequel No Reason for Economic Growth Scare in U.S. (BBG)
  • Bernanke Jackson Hole Absence Contrasts With Greenspan Adulation (BBG)
  • Large economies promise to boost growth (FT)
  • Tata Faces Crisis as $20 Billion Spent on Water (BBG)
  • U.S. Eyes Pushback On China Hacking (WSJ)
  • Fed's Bernanke sees no U.S. inflation risks: Nowotny (Reuters)
  • Austerity on Trial With U.S. Versus Europe Amid New Evidence (BBG)
  • Eurozone anti-austerity camp on the rise (FT)
  • Spain Aims to Soften Budget Cuts (WSJ)
  • Japan's Aso Calls Recovery 'Few Years' Away (WSJ)
  • BOJ Said to Consider Price Forecast Upgrade (WSJ)
 
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Gold Surges In Quiet Trading Session





With no macro data on the docket (the NAR's self promotional "existing home sales" advertising brochure is anything but data), the market will be chasing the usual carry currency pair suspects for hints how to trade. Alas, with even more ominous economics news out of Europe, and an apparently inability of Mrs Watanabe to breach 100 on the USDJPY (hitting 99.98 for the second time in two weeks before rolling over once more), we may be rangebound, or downward boung if CAT shocks everyone with just how bad the Chinese (and global) heavy construction (and thus growth) reality truly is. One asset, however, that has outperformed and is up by well over 2% is gold, trading at $1435 at last check, over $100 from the lows posted a week ago, and rising rapidly on no particular news as the sell off appears to be over and now the snapback comes and the realization that Goldman was happily buying everything its clients were selling all along.

 
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Obama To Sell $10 Billion In Weapons To Israel, Saudi Arabia And The UAE





Having been denied the ability to control guns by the democratically-controlled Senate last Wednesday in the biggest slap to the administration's face in a long time, Obama decided promptly to put as many guns as he possibly can in the hands of US soldiers and various non-Americans. First, it was the announcement that Obama would send more troops to Jordan to prepare for "stability operations" which is a euphemism for Syrian rebel support (much of it controlled by the otherwise dreaded Al Qaeda), and now we learn that Obama is set to announce the sale of $10 billion worth of weapons to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It appears that Obama, like a true expert of Sun Tzu, is well aware that the only way forward to a Nobel prize winning global peace, is under the barrel of a gun, or on the receiving end of a hot AGM-65 Maverick missile.

 
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Guest Post: Important Lessons In Domestic Terrorism





Benjamin Franklin was right. Ultra-committed separatist groups, extremists, and all-around bad guys can always find a soft target. Guard the airport and they’ll blow up the bus station. Guard the bus station and they’ll take out a public park. Constant security, paramilitarism, and steady erosion of freedom constitute an enormous price to pay for a false sense of safety against bad people.

 
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In The Past 48 Hours, AAPL Has Lost More In Market Cap Than All Of...





In the last 48 hours, everyone's beloved stock - AAPL - has lost around $35 billion in market capitalization. That is larger than the entire market capitalization of these large-cap companies...

 
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Guest Post: Is Tunisia the New Hot Spot for Energy Investors?





Until recently Tunisia was considered to be a minor league and relatively underexplored venue in Africa’s rapidly expanding oil & gas scene. [Yet another example of the slow re-colonization of the African continent - a topic we have been discussing for months now - most recently here] This situation has quickly changed with new bid rounds and forced relinquishments creating an opportunity for new companies to come in. Major American E & P companies like Shell have jumped at the opportunity to acquire ground that had been dominated for decades with little to no work conducted, mostly by European State oil & gas companies in this former French protectorate.  For the first time major spending has been committed to test Tunisian basins which are arguably equally prolific as those in neighbouring environments with more work performed, such as Libya. Should Tunisia now be on energy investors watch list?

 
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Israel Tank Fires Into Syrian Territory Even As It Launches First Air Strike Into Gaza Since November Truce





It has been a while since one had to track news of assorted real and false flag attacks involving Iran, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Gaza and various other middle-Eastern countries. That time is again here following news that an Israel tank fired into Syrian territory, supposedly in retaliation for a Syrian mortar hit in the Israeli-occupied Golan heights region (unclear if said mortar was launched by the domestic Al Qaeda-supported rebels, although we are confident the Assad army will surely get the blame as the story is further massaged). The Israel military was certainly busy today, with the Syrian retaliation just one of its military offensives today, the other being the first airstrike launched against Gaza by Israel since the bloody conflict in November which nearly resulted in an all out war, even if this particular offensive was not reported by its defense forces.

 
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Guest Post: Why Cyprus 2013 Is Worse Than The KreditAnstalt (1931) And Argentina 2001 Crises





The Cyprus 2013, like any other event, can be thought in political and economic terms. Politically, I can see two dimensions. The first dimension belongs to the geopolitical history of the region, with the addition of the recently discovered natural gas reserves - should Russia eventually obtain a bailout of Cyprus (as we write, this does not seem likely) against a pledge on the natural gas reserves or a naval base, a new balance of power will have been drafted in the region, with Israel as the biggest loser. The second political dimension relates exactly to Kreditanstalt and the imposition of direct political conditions upon which the 'bailout' is given. Economically, Cyprus 2013 is worse than the KreditAnstalt and Argentina 2001 crises because it has an element of confiscation and two broken promises that were absent in the latter. If you look at the case of Argentina 2001, you will realize that it was a pretty clean bet - earn 20% p.a. vs. the probability of losing 2/3rds of capital. If you thought that the probability of default of the Argentine government was beyond four years, you would play the bet with a chance of winning it. What are depositors of Euros faced with today? Anything but a clean bet! They don’t know what the expected loss on their capital will be, because it will be decided over a weekend by politicians who don’t even represent them. In light of all this, I can only conclude that anyone still having an unsecured deposit in a Euro zone bank should get his/her head examined!

 
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