The Best "Democracy" Money Can Buy: For Every Dollar Spent Influencing US Politics, Corporations Get $760 BackSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 17:37 -0500
Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 Billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. What they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 Trillion in federal business and support. Here is the visual representation of this stunning finding: for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government.
- Germans Tired of Greek Demands Want Country to Exit Euro (BBG)
- Weak euro powers European stocks to new highs (Reuters)
- Siemens Cheers Euro Slump as Emerson Eases Dollar’s Sting (BBG)
- A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! It’s Secret (NYT)
- If Economists Were Right, You Would Have a Raise by Now (BBG)
- iWatch: who’s going to pay $17K for a device that will be obsolete in two years? (Barrons)
- Ferguson Suspect Said to Claim He Wasn’t Firing at Police (BBG)
- Why Bankers Are Leaving Finance for No-Salary Tech Jobs (BBG)
Meet ForexChile, the largest purveyor of leveraged contracts for difference in Chile and the subject of a scathing Bloomberg report which outlines how unsuspecting retail investors end up 100X leveraged on derivatives they sometimes do not understand.
"Much of the money for buybacks and higher dividends is coming from the banks issuing preferred shares. To investors they look a lot like bonds that pay interest. But for regulators, preferred shares serve as a cushion against any future losses, in part because they never have to be repaid," Reuters notes, suggesting TBTFs are effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.
- Fed Likely to Remove ‘Patient’ Barrier for Rate Increase as Soon as June (Hilsenrath) - which year?
- Clinton says used personal email account for convenience (Reuters)
- Euro sinks to 12-year lows as yield gap grows (Reuters)
- Get Ready for Oil Deals: Shale Is Going on Sale (BBG)
- EIA raises 2015 US oil production forecast, cuts 2016 outlook (Reuters)
- How Falling Oil Prices Are Hindering Iraq’s Ability to Fight Islamic State (WSJ)
- China economic data weaker than expected, fuels policy easing bets (Reuters)
- ECB ‘Chasing Own Tail’ as Bond Rates Turn Negative, SocGen Says (BBG)
- Swiss makers quietly gear up with smartwatches of their own (Reuters)
Mario Draghi is forced to buy "small" amounts of EGBs on first day of QE, casting further doubt on the viability of PSPP. If the ECB is unable to meet its monthly asset purchase targets expect chaos, as the market has spent the last several months front running the program and would be absolutely horrified if DOMO has to be downsized.
"Secret" documents and power struggles aside, regulators are just as inept now as ever and bank stress tests are completely meaningless, as the Fed neither then, nor now, has any methodology for how to calculate capital in case of the same kind of counterparty failure chain as happened during Lehman, and when no amount of capital would have been sufficient to preserve the financial sector.
Just a day after Blackrock saw its biggest Bond ETF outflows in history ($525.8 million pulled on Monday), Actavis sold $21 billion of almost-junk 'BBB-' rated debt (at a minsicule yield of only 3.5%) in the 2nd largest bond issuance ever (2nd only to Verizon's massive $49 billion deal in 2013). The issue was oversubscribed 4.5x (around $90bn in the order book) as a ten-part offering varying from 18-month floaters to 30Y fixeds all went off below guidance. With Treasury liquidty disappearing fast, one wonders just how much rate-locking on this massive deal was responsible for a net short overhang on the Treasury complex the last few days...
"On October 15, the deepest and most liquid market in the world demonstrated a six standard deviation move in less than two hours, a move that happens once in 506,797,346 days and a recent report by BlackRock highlights how “the secondary trading environment for corporate bonds today is broken. These examples signal that the probability of an accident is high and the stage is set for an adverse event meeting with an outsized impact on markets and possibly economies."
- Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
- DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
- Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
- Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
- Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
- Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
- Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
- Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)
Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?
With historically low long-term interest rates, the opportunity cost of holding gold and silver are close to zero or even negative, in other words you would “lose” money if you buy bonds (the benchmark) instead of gold and silver. When people realize that their money is not “safe” with the banks they will start withdrawing cash from their accounts and buy physical gold and silver instead. Depending on circumstances this could possibly bring down the (fractional) banking system. Why keep money in an account that gives you a negative return? Swiss banks are already witnessing stronger than normal interest for physical gold.
For the 56th day of the last 58, The Baltic Dry Index dropped. At 509, this is now down over 65% from the dead cat bounce highs in November 2014 and - yet again - a new all-time record low for the cost of shipping freight. It is no surprise then that, as Lloydlist reports, bulker newbuilding orders slumped in January. When the Baltic Dry tumbled in 2012, the glut of ships then caused a 49% plunge in orders for shipbuilding - as JPMorgan said at the time, "you just have too many yards and too few orders," and given the artificial signals provided by credit-inflated commodities since, we can only imagine the overhang now.
Feel like trading FX has become next to impossible, with massive, gaping bid-ask spreads, strange "tractor beams", completely unexpected stop loss runs, and - of course - central banks behind every corner? Don't worry you are not alone. According to Bloomberg, that's precisely the case as "it hasn’t been this difficult to trade currencies since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. shook markets worldwide."As for the reason why, well: take a guess.
By now, there have been so many banker-related suicides that it has become a moot point of i) tracking them all or ii) trying to find a pattern. And yet, one name continues to stand out: JPMorgan. The bank which has been most prominent among the list of "suicided" bankers notched one more casualty over the weekend when "a JPMorgan Chase & Co. employee strangled and stabbed his wife to death before turning the knife on himself, according to police who are treating the couple’s death in Bergen County, New Jersey as a murder-suicide." But most eerie and disturbing is how comparable the Tabacchi double-death is to a comparable case from July of last year when as we reported not only did a JPM executive director shoot his wife multiple times before using the same weapon on himself (like now), but the tragedy also took place in New Jersey.