- Clearly it's time to bomb Assad (on Qatar instructions): Islamic State executes dozens of Syrian army soldiers (Reuters)
- Ukraine Declares Russian Invasion as Sanctions Threat Raised (BBG)
- Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front (NYT)
- German Unemployment Rises as Risks to Economy Build (BBG)
- Ebola spreads to Nigeria oil hub Port Harcourt (BBC)
- FBI Probes Possible Hacking Incident at J.P. Morgan (WSJ)
- FBI, Secret Service investigate reports of cyber attacks on U.S. banks (Reuters)
- If you like your Venezuela, you can stay in Venezuela: Airlines Abandon Fliers Amid Currency Dispute (WSJ)
- Boomer Wealth Dented by Mortgages Poses U.S. Risk (BBG)
- People Aren't Buying Guns (BusinessWeek)
- Jackson Hole Theme: Labor Markets Can’t Take Higher Rates (BBG), or anything else for that matter
- Kidnappers free American missing in Syria since 2012 (Reuters)
- More unpatriots: Burger King in merger talks with Canada's Tim Hortons (Reuters)
- California Quake to Cost Insurers Up to $1 Billion, Eqecat Says (BBG)
- Congo declares Ebola outbreak in northern Equateur province (Reuters)
- Missouri Governor Defends Ferguson Prosecutor (BBG)
- Kuroda Douses Japan Stimulus Expectations (WSJ)
- London Jihadi Call Vies With Banks in Canary Wharf Shadow (BBG)
- Netanyahu Signals Expansion of Air Attacks in Gaza (WSJ)
- Libya's Islamist Militias Claim Control of Tripoli (WSJ)
When considering the catalysts for silver, let’s first ignore short-term factors such as net short/long positions, fluctuations in weekly ETF holdings, or the latest open interest. Data like these fluctuate regularly and rarely have long-term bearing on the price of silver. We're more interested in the big-picture forces that could impact silver over the next several years. The most significant force, of course, is governments’ abuse of “financial heroin” that will inevitably lead to a currency crisis in many countries around the world, pushing silver and gold to record levels; but here are seven more...
- Maliki digs in as U.S. pushes for new Iraq government (Reuters)
- Ukraine's forces say close to taking rebel-held Donetsk (Reuters)
- Anger Over Michael Brown Shooting Leads to Looting (WSJ)
- German Economy Backbone Bending From Lost Russia Sales (BBG)
- Kinder Morgan to Consolidate Empire (WSJ)
- Early Failure to Detect Gaza Tunnel Network Triggers Recriminations in Israel (WSJ)
- You’ll never guess how much BuzzFeed raised from Horowitz (FT)
- The dumb money is now chasing Chinese oligarchs: Norway’s Wealth Fund Buys $576 Million of Mayfair Area (BBG)
- Clinical trial to start soon on GSK Ebola vaccine (Reuters)
- No drone skeet shooting any time soon (WSJ)
While we are used to the daily flashing red headline from GM on recalls, today's was a lot more concerning:
- *GM RECEIVED SUBPOENA BY U.S. DOJ
- *GM SUBPOENA RELATED TO SUBPRIME AUTOMOBILE LOAN CONTRACTS
- *GM FINL: SUBPOENA ALSO FOR WARRANTIES ON UNDERWRITING CRITERIA
We have warned of the surge in subprime auto-loan lending (and lowering standards and rising delinquencies) but this move by the DoJ should be very concerning. Once investors began digging into the details of subprime mortgage deals in 2007, the drastic credit risks reality was exposed very quickly... we fear the same in auto loans.
I’m a beer lover, but that beer-induced smile on my face is about to dry up.
There are consequences to speaking publicly about the real state of the economy. After 8 years of service, Walmart CEO Bill Simon has been replaced by Greg Foran as President and CEO of the behemoth retailer. This comes just 2 week after Simon questioned the validity of the government's "rosy jobs numbers" on CNBC and several quarters of weak performance at the company (due to a weak economy). Walmart's press release explains that the new CEO has "a passion for fresh food" and is "one of the most talented retailers ever met." We are sure these are crucial factors to overcome the stagnating incomes of America for the largest retailer...
- Microsoft to announce biggest round of job cuts in 5 years (BBG)
- Palestinian rocket fire persists, Israel warns truce at risk (Reuters)
- China tells U.S. to stay out of South China Seas dispute (Reuters)
- Merkel Resists Sundering U.S. Ties Over Spying Affair (BBG)
- BES slide, tumbling German sentiment hit markets (Reuters)
- Top 1 Percent Is Even Richer Than Surveys Say, ECB Paper Finds (BBG)
- Puerto Rico Utility May Default on January Interest Payment (BBG)
- Can't Get a Job From an Algorithm, or So It Seems as Hot Resumes Go Nowhere Fast (BBG)
- Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing (SCMP)
The Phoenix housing market has a special place in the heart of housing bubble watchers: together with Las Vegas and various California MSAs, this is the place where the last housing bubble was born and subsequently died a gruesome death which nearly brought down the entire financial system. Which is why the monthly WP Carey report on the Greater Phoenix Housing Market is of peculiar interest for those who want to catch a leading glimpse into the overall state of the bubble US housing market. As hoped, this month's letter does not disappoint. What we find is that while equilibrium prices have been largely flat month over month, and are up 6% on an average square foot basis from a year ago, something very bad is happening with a key component of the pricing calculation: demand has fallen off a cliff.
- Secret Path Revealed for Chinese Billions Overseas (BBG)
- Traders Flood U.S. With $3.4 Trillion of Bond-Auction Demand (BBG)
- Just in time to cover bad earnings in a massive $3.8 billion "one-time charge": Citi says to pay $7 billion to settle securities investigation (Reuters)
- Troubled Epirito Santo family loosens grip on Portugal's BES (Reuters)
- BES puts in place new executives after central bank push (Reuters)
- Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing (SCMP)
- Portugal speeds up Banco Espírito Santo management changes (FT)
- Dark pool probe builds pressure on Barclays boss (Reuters)
- Russia Vows to Respond After Shelling From Ukraine (BBG)
- Ukraine forces end rebel airport blockade (Reuters)
- Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since '70s (WSJ)
All around Asia, PMIs are tumbling... except for China's government-sponsored Manufacturing PMI. This week saw Aussie Services PMI (linked significantly to China) tumbled to 2014 lows, Japan's PMI drop, and China's own Services PMI disappoint and fade to 2-month lows. So where is all this exuberance coming from in China's manufacturing industry (despite a 8-month in a row drop in employment)? We don't know; but the fact that China coal prices just hit a record low hardly supports the smog-choking industry of China being at 7-month highs... Hard data vs soft surveys? You decide.
How this entrepreneur is capitalizing on two exciting trends
It would appear that the exuberance over today's better-than-expected car sales data should be tempered significantly. Confirming our warnings, as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) explains, across the industry, auto lenders are pursuing growth by lengthening terms, increasing advance rates, and originating loans to borrowers with lower credit scores. With average loan-to-value rates above 100%, they have an ominous warning: "risk in auto-lending is beginning to emerge." We are sure this will be dismissed (just as the BIS' warning has been), but with surging charge-offs and increased repackaging (CLOs), and banks holding a lot of this debt, this 'bubble-financing' has all the ingredients for subprime 2.0 contagion.
- Facebook Researchers Manipulated News Feeds in 2012 Study (BBG)
- Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment Due (BBG)
- Hedge fund correlation risk alarms investors (FT)
- As China Flexes Muscle, Obama Frets Over Rival’s Weakness (BBG)
- As caliphate declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit (Reuters)
- Dubai Caps Worst Month Since 2008 as Real Estate Stocks Tumble (BBG)
- Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft (BBG)
- Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ) - so what was GSO?
- Pope says communists are closet Christians (Reuters)
- Thomson Reuters revising FX trading standards (Reuters)
It was about two months ago when in a shocking development in the otherwise sleepy tax-evasion haven of Lichtenstein, the CEO of local Bank Frick, was murdered in the underground garage of the bank by a disgruntled former client. As readers may recall, the tragic event happened at a time when there was a spike in banker suicides, prompting us to wonder if "with the first open bank CEO murder, one wonders if there will be a change in the pattern." Two months later it appears as if the vector of death is indeed changing when, as Reuters reported, overnight the head of the fourth largest bank in Albania, Credins, was murdered, shot at least five times, as he entered his office in the capital Tirana.