For the past three years, the biggest argument supporters of Obamacare would trot out every single time when faced with opposition to the mandatory tax, would be that despite widespread predictions of soaring prices, US medical care service costs had remained low and even, on occasion, declined. All that changed moments ago when core US inflation finally spiked the most since 2013 driven by a 0.7% monthly surge in medical care service costs: the highest since 2007!
Here are the cliff notes of the Icahn letter:
- Uncle Carl and his two analysts remain convinced they know how to run AAPL better than its CEO and his thousands of employees.
- Uncle Carl and his two analysts have built up a massive stake in AAPL shares which however they can't get out of in this illiquid market without tipping the market they are selling - a tip which would promptly send the stock plunging - and as a result have come to the only buyer who is big enough to buy all of Icahn's shares without destabilizing the market: the company itself.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi may be one of the most powerful individuals in the global oil industry. But for all his power, is he the most ingenious? That question arises from the release of two reports on the current state of the oil industry that look at whether or not OPEC’s strategy of forcing US shale to cut back is succeeding.
Having rebounded along with practically every other risk-asset class in the world over the last month or so, Chinese Iron Ore futures are collapsing tonight. Despite the promise of Chinese LTROs expanding credit (just like they didn't in Europe), iron ore prices are down around 4% - the biggest drop in over 2 years - to as low as CNY419 (or around $62) as China Iron & Steel Association warns that overcapacity in the seaborne iron ore market will persist through to at least 2019 as the world’s largest suppliers expand production further.
The conventional view is that the Fed will never need to print-and-buy more than a few hundred billion dollars to stem the tide of selling. But the conventional view has a fatal flaw that Greenspan outlined in his Foreign Affairs article: when markets go bidless, "animal spirits" may be beyond calming. Once central bank buying fails to stem the tide, markets will truly panic. Can central banks double, triple and quadruple their balance sheets almost overnight to absorb the mass dumping of risk-on assets? Will there be no consequences, political and financial, to central banks becoming the greater fools who will buy even as asset values are crashing?
History has been so fascinated with oil and its price movements that it is indeed hard to imagine our future without oil. The world is still myopic when it comes to energy. Yes, it wants to embrace renewables but not at the cost of oil. Whatever happens to oil prices in the coming years, one thing is certain: that the age of oil isn’t ending anytime soon, at least not in the next 30 years.
As Barclays recently noted, there is a complete decoupling between futures and physical markets for crude oil and nowhere is that more evident than the high volume spike in crude that just happened after Saudi Arabia boosted crude production for a second month to the highest level in at least three decades, helping to raise OPEC output as U.S. growth showed signs of slowing.
Less than two years ago, the number of smartphone shipments in China soared by roughly 100% year over year, rising over 80 million for the first time. Fast forward to Q1 of 2015 when according to IDC, the Chinese smartphone market - the largest in the world since 2011 when it overtook the US - has not only reached maturity but is now also fully saturated and as a result smartphone shipments suffered their first Y/Y decline, dropping 4.3% on an annual basis. As IDC notes, "this is the first time in six years that the China smartphone market declined YoY as the market continues to mature." Worse, on a quarter over quarter basis, the market contracted 8% on the back of a large inventory buildup at the end of last year.
Whether it is more posturing ahead of OPEC's June meeting is unclear but the message from 'sources', according to The Wall Street Journal is "OPEC won’t agree to go lower," with regard global market share (which has fallen from more than 50-% to just 32% currently). The cartel's latest strategy report forecasts oil prices won't reach $100 - “$100 is not in any of the scenarios,” in the next decade (and could drop below $40) with its most optimistic scenario $76 in 2025 (which only Qatar and Kuwait can cover expenditures with). “If they want to sustain the organization, they have no choice,” but to reintroduce production quotas, adding any concession by stronger members would be temporary.
Apple is the Ty Cobb of corporate America. Like Cobb, Apple has set some impressive records. Nine years, a trillion dollars in sales, and almost no taxes paid. Apple risks having a legacy of tainted success and isolation.
Less than four months into his reign, Bloomberg reports that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is consolidating power with a major reshuffle of succession lines and government officials. "The new king has proved consistent in his determination to elevate members of his close family to key positions," noted one analyst. As the world’s top oil exporter plays a more prominent role in the region’s power struggles, it apears Salman wants family close. Oil policy is unlikely to change, notes Bloomberg's Julian Lee, as this brings younger men into top government positions, paving way for transfer of power to new generation of princes.
- Maryland Governor Calls in National Guard to Control Baltimore Riots (BBG)
- Fed Seen Delaying Liftoff to September to Push Down Unemployment (BBG)
- Nepal PM says toll could rise to 10,000 (Reuters)
- China Readies Fresh Easing to Tackle Specter of Debt (WSJ)
- ‘Damned Lies’ Threaten to Overshadow U.K. GDP in Election Fight (BBG)
- Uncertainty Over Impact of a Default by Greece (NYT)
- Why the Cost of Hedging European Banks Stocks Has Soared (BBG)
- Carinthia cash crunch gives Austria its own mini-Greece (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price war is with the investment banks and the stupid money they directed to fund the plays. It is also with the zero-interest rate economic conditions that made this possible. Saudi Arabia intends to keep oil prices low for as long as possible.
In the simplest of terms, Abenomics was a form of economic warfare. It marked a transition in global Central Banking policy from an era of coordination to an era in which it is each country/ Central Bank for itself.
Did WalMart Close A California Store To Punish Employees Who Protested Wages And Working Conditions?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/17/2015 20:10 -0400
Presenting the history of the Pico Rivera WalMart store which was closed as part of the company's mysterious, nationwide "plumbing" problem. Could the closure be related to the location's history of protests against low wages, poor working conditions, and retaliation? Read and decide for yourself...