On Wall Street, a vital skill is the ability to sell something that you know is completely worthless. Goldman Sachs did it when it sold ABACUS 2007-AC1 to investors while hedge fund manager John Paulson was betting against it. Paulson paid Goldman $15 million to peddle this junk, which was a collateralized debt obligation that would make money when millions of people lost their homes. The SEC charged Goldman with fraud, and they eventually settled for $550 million. If you're an enterprising Wall Streeter who wants to make a name for himself without breaking the rules, you can operate a tantalizing scheme that investors can't resist. It's called Shubik's Dollar Auction.
The phenomenon of homeowners objecting to new development is called NIMBYism, which stands for "Not In My Back Yard." The premise behind this is that homeowners don't want to risk any changes that could adversely affect their living space or the value of their property. However, it's easy to see another motive behind NIMBYism: greed. As an investor of a highly leveraged asset, the average homeowner has every reason to inflate the price of their home as much as they can. NIMBYism also contributes to inequality... and perpetuates the two-class society that we see today.
A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived. However, gold price activity since QE3 has been a warning, and a big one, not cause for victory celebrations.
Meet The Extreme Super Rich: A List Of The 80 People Who Own As Much As The World’s Poorest 3.6 BillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/28/2015 16:31 -0400
"Eighty people hold the same amount of wealth as the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people, according to an analysis just released from Oxfam. The report from the global anti-poverty organization finds that since 2009, the wealth of those 80 richest has doubled in nominal terms — while the wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population has fallen." There you have it. The reason the wealth of the richest has doubled since 2009, is because “it’s not a recession, it’s a robbery.” Central bank and government policy has done this, it is no accident.
While it was already leaked in the past week that oil service giant Halliburton would seek to purchase Baker Hughes, or, if the smaller oilservice company did not accept the proposed terms, make a hostile run at its board of directors, it was unclear how the Houston company would respond. As the Houston Chronicle summarized, BHI had "to make a tough choice: surrender control on a rival's terms or face months of sunken oil prices and cost pressures alone....Halliburton's demands come as crude prices have fallen dramatically and as the U.S. oil industry looks to an uncertain future. Much is unclear: how much oil producers will rein in equipment and service spending, whether oil prices will sink or swim, and how much Baker Hughes would be worth in six months after what would likely be a bruising battle for control of its board." Moments ago we got the answer and Baker Hughes shareholders decided they have had enough of the volatile oil price and are happy to cash out at this point, in a $34.6 billion deal that values BHI shares at $78.62/share.
Though, if history is anything to go by, it offers a potential for outsized returns
Now that the financial oligarchs have had their way with the U.S. property market, to the point that average citizens can’t even afford to own a home (Zillow recently showed that 1 in 3 homes are unaffordable), it appears they have turned their sights overseas. What better market for bailed-out bankers to feast on than Spain, with its 50%+ youth unemployment rate and a continued depressed real estate market.
Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.
Silver Up 10.3% YTD - Should Continue To Outperform Gold And Other Assets - Silver’s Unique Properties - Silver: Increasing Technological, Industrial and Medical Demand - Increasing Investment Demand - Silver Undervalued Versus Gold - Conclusion
- Bank of England sees 'no housing bubble' (Independent)
- ‘If the euro falls, Europe falls’ (FT)
- India's pro-business Modi storms to historic election win (Reuters)
- Global Growth Worries Climb (WSJ)
- Bitcoin Foundation hit by resignations over new director (Reuters)
- Blackstone Goes All In After the Flop (WSJ)
- SAC's Steinberg loses bid for insider trading acquittal (Reuters)
- Beats Satan: Republicans Paint Reid as Bogeyman in 2014 Senate Races (BBG)
- Tech Firms, Small Startups Object to Paying for Internet 'Fast Lanes' (WSJ) - but they just provide liquidity
- U.S. Warns Russia of Sanctions as Ukraine Troops Advance (BBG)
- Major U.S. hedge funds sold 'momentum' Internet names in first-quarter (Reuters)
Bad Government and Central Bank Policy Are the MAIN CAUSE of Runaway Inequality
The Fed Is Very Political … And Serves the Big Banks and the Powers-That-Be
Silver futures in Shanghai surged by 6% - the daily exchange limit. Silver headed for the longest run of gains since at least 1968 according to Bloomberg.
Spoos Rise To Within Inches Of All Time High As Overnight Bad News Is Respun As Great News By Levitation AlgosSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/17/2014 08:26 -0400
After tumbling as low as the 101.30 level overnight on atrocious GDP data, it was the same atrocious GDP data that slowly became the spin needed to push the USDJPY higher as the market became convinced that like everywhere else, bad news is great news and a relapse in the Japanese economy simply means more QE is coming from the BOJ despite the numerous articles here, and elsewhere, explaining why this very well may not be the case. Furthermore, as we noted last night, comments by the chairman of the GPIF panel Takatoshi Ito that the largest Japanese bond pension fund should cut its bond holdings to 40% were used as further "support" to weaken the Yen, and what was completely ignored was the rebuttal by the very head of the GPIF who told the FT that demands were unfair on an institution that has been functionally independent from government since 2006. The FSA “should be doing what they are supposed to be doing, without asking too much from us,” he said, adding that the calls for trillions of yen of bond sales from panel chairman Takatoshi Ito showed he "lacks understanding of the practical issues of this portfolio.” What he understands, however, is that in the failing Japanese mega ponzi scheme, every lie to prop up support in its fading stock market is now critical as all it would take for the second reign of Abe to end is another 10% drop in the Nikkei 225.
The global crisis that began in 2007/8 has unmasked many unsustainable economic dispositions. Unfortunately, the proper conclusions have still not been arrived at, as evidenced by the fact that the same old Keynesian recipes that have failed over and over again are being implemented on an even grander scale. One must not be misled by the claims of 'austerity' being imposed, as this has evidently little bearing on government spending as such, but is rather an attempt to squeeze more blood out of an already shriveled turnip, namely what remains of the private sector. Puerto Rico seems – at least so far – not any different in that respect.