This past Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the US stock market’s death when stocks saw their last high. Market bulls have spent a year looking like the walking dead. They’ve tried to push back up to that distant high that means new life several times, but each time the market falls into a pit again to where the market is once again lower than it was a year ago. These are the last gasps of a stock market (and economy) that is struggling to rise again, which it simply cannot do now that QE has been turned off and the oxygen tank of zero interest is being slowly turned down.
Shortly after the market close, the rating agency decided to pile some more pain on the misery that has befallen Germany's largest lender (who just today admitted it had rigged stocks in addition to seeing yet another MBS probe unveiled against it), when it downgraded the bank's credit ratings across the board as follows: Senior debt to Baa2, or just two notches above junk, Long term deposits to A3 and counterparty risk assessment to A3.
Another week of volatility, but with no real resolution to the burning question of “where do we go next?”
Financial and economic prospects for the Eurozone have many similarities to the 1972-75 period in the UK, which this writer remembers vividly. This time, the prospects facing the Eurozone potentially could be worse. The obvious difference is the far higher levels of debt, which will never allow the ECB to run interest rates up sufficiently to kill price inflation. More likely, positive rates of only one or two per cent would be enough to destabilise the Eurozone’s financial system. Let us hope that these dangers are exaggerated, and the final outcome will not be systemically destabilising, not just for Europe, but globally as well. A wise man, faced with the unknown, believes nothing, expects the worst, and takes precautions.
This could not have come at a more perfect time, with the Fed once again flip-flopping about raising rates. After appearing to wipe rate hikes off the table earlier this year, the Fed put them back on the table, perhaps as soon as June, according to the Fed minutes. A coterie of Fed heads was paraded in front of the media today and yesterday to make sure everyone got that point, pending further flip-flopping. Drowned out by this hullabaloo, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve released its delinquency and charge-off data for all commercial banks in the first quarter – very sobering data.
On Tuesday, the US Senate passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. 'Coincidentally', on the same day, the New York Times revealed a document published by the National Archives that appears to offer a glimpse into potentially damning information contained in the so-called ‘missing’ 28 pages concerning the attacks on September 11, 2001. Pushing back on the criticisms that the bill was only passed to specifically target Saudi Arabia (which it was of course), Schumer stated "Look, if the Saudis did not participate in this terrorism, they have nothing to fear about going to court."
What has professional investors so spooked? For the answer we look at the monthly survey question what FMS respondents believe is the biggest tail risk. Here, surprisingly, we find that after two months of everyone fretting about "quantitative failure", or the Fed losing control over markets more than anything, this is now only the third biggest concern and there is a new biggest "tail risk" - Brexit.
The classified 28-pages of the 9/11 report have made global headlines lately as a handful of lawmakers battle to release them to the public. Those pages are believed by activists and members of Congress — who have seen them — to expose the role of Saudi Arabia, including government officials, in the terrorist attacks. But according to a new report based on years of investigative journalism, it turns out there are far more than 28 classified pages on Saudi Arabia and 9/11 — there are 80,000 kept secret by the FBI.
First, It Was "Fu$k the Fundamentals", Now "It's Fu$k Contracts, Too" - Negative Rates Are Doing So Well in the EU!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/16/2016 10:16 -0400
Oh, this is going to get messy - and as it doe the sell side will likely try to trow a positive (as in buy our inventory) spin that may trap a Muppet or two. But hey, that's the business model, no?
There is a growing fear in financial and monetary circles that there is something deeply wrong with the global economy. Publicly, officials and practitioners alike have become confused by policy failures, and privately, occasionally even downright pessimistic, at a loss to see a statist solution. It is hardly exaggerating to say there is a growing feeling of impending doom. In short, growing evidence of price inflation and stagnant production can be expected to materially increase the risk of a global banking and currency meltdown. The best escape-route is ownership of anything other than purely financial assets and fiat currency deposits. No wonder the price of gold, which is the soundest of moneys, appears to have entered a new bull market.
The current rash of cautious ignorant optimism is so very reminiscent of the period right after Bear Stearns in 2008. Ben Bernanke as late as June 2008: "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so." Janet Yellen said, “the strong incoming data on spending eased my fears that we are in or are approaching a recession regime” before expressing confidence in rate hikes starting in December 2008! The mainstream takes the absence of further liquidation as if there will be no more liquidations when in fact the likelihood of more of them only rises the more they are artificially “contained.”
Six Saudi officials are believed to have actively supported al-Qaida members in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks on America, former 9/11 Commission member and investigator John Lehman has disclosed. He also implored the pubic to remember that 15 of the 19 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia. He is now calling for a new, thorough investigation into the extent of Saudi involvement.
Inventory glut, lousy consumer demand, the global economy…