It has been revealed, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system. So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy?
"Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do"
That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people’s data comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google itself got big and bad.
With the ongoing musical chairs at the COMEX (focused on JPMorgan's volatile holdings), the bank's precious metals team now sees a number of reasons to be long gold. Noting the market's shrugging off of Paulson's unwind ("delivering an exclamation mark to define the end of the fall in gold stocks"), JPMorgan (ironically) suggests the questionable price action in the paper markets in light of unprecedented physical demand combined with the seasonal positives (and physical supply restrictions) all points to "getting long the gold space," with gold and silver miners offering value. The question remains, given that none of these are 'new' facts, why the change of heart now (especially as JPM is also buying)?
It would seem the demand for physical gold and the apparent limit on paper-gold decompression (given recent musical chairs in COMEX and Gold ETF holdings rising) are hitting at an inopportune time for the confidence-inspiring central banks of the world... Seasonally (for 30 years), August has marked the cylical low.
Sales of silver coins by the U.S. Mint have set a record high in the first half of 2013 seeing the best start to a year ever.
Year to date Silver Eagle sales are at 30.3 million, a record pace that was supported by soaring July sales. Silver Eagle sales had a record year in 2011. That year, it took until September 21, 2011, to reach above 30 million in sales for the year.
Therefore, 2013 looks set to be a record year for Silver Eagle sales.
The next day, following a shut out by HSBC, JPM had no choice but to go to the second largest vault, that of Scotia Mocatta and get more than triple times that, or just over 20k ounces.
Today, the Comex gold crunch has gotten so confusing, nothing short of a color-coded schematic can do it justice.
Iran is a right old sorry state (of affairs). Plunged into recession, inflationary pressure that Abenomics wouldn’t mind having a bit of and Bernanke might just be getting if he carries on printing the greenbacks at the rate they are churning out of the Federal Reserve faster than a Ford-T in 1908.
As the markets elevate higher on the back of the global central bank interventions it is important to keep in context the historical tendencies of the markets over time. Here we are once again with markets, driven by inflows of liquidity from Central Banks, hitting all-time highs. Of course, the chorus of justifications have come to the forefront as to why "this time is different." The current level of overbought conditions, combined with extreme complacency, in the market leave unwitting investors in danger of a more severe correction than currently anticipated. There is virtually no “bullish” argument that will withstand real scrutiny. Yield analysis is flawed because of the artificial interest rate suppression. It is the same for equity risk premium analysis. However, because the optimistic analysis supports the underlying psychological greed - all real scrutiny that would reveal evidence to contrary is dismissed. However, it is "willful blindness" that eventually leads to a dislocation in the markets. In this regard let's review the three most common arguments used to support the current market exuberance.
Aside from light volume there’s no argument with the tape. It’s quite positive but much overbought. Earnings news is beginning to wane leaving less for bulls to respond to. Many previous reliable technical indicators are succumbing to all the money printing. Looking at those markets where QE is not taking place perhaps reveals the real market conditions.
For well over a year now, we have been writing about how this whole “buy to rent” investment strategy is one of the biggest disasters waiting to happen within the U.S. economy. We have repeatedly noted that these private equity clowns were crowding into these markets with reckless abandon and that this would ultimately crush their business model as there’s no way rents can rise enough to keep yields attractive in a country where most people are struggling to meet their daily expenses. Well it seems the day of reckoning may be at hand.
The stock market has now been up for ten straight days. Many on Wall Street are singing “Happy Days Are Here Again.” For them, that is probably the case. They finally have something to sell that will bring the rubes back into the markets. We are not in Kansas anymore. Fear is ebbing and greed is coming back. Those on the outside looking in are rounding up cash so that they don’t get left behind. The shills assist them with their pictures of economic recovery, new era crap and whatever other nonsense they can peddle successfully. So the cycle goes, as it has since the New York Stock Exchange came into existence. We are in another game of musical chairs where the music is playing joyfully. As in all such events, there are too few chairs to accommodate the participants when the music stops. And it always does!
Not like a market test was needed, but in a time when bad news is great for stocks, we fully expected today's Service ISM consensus beat to be great-er for the several hot potato passing algos still trading. Sure enough, the February non-manufacturing ISM just printed at 56.0, higher than the 55.0 expected, up from the 55.2 in February and the 8th beat of expectations in a row. That the service sector output rose despite consensus it wouldn't due to tax hikes, and higher gas prices, indicates just how "valid" and accurate it truly is, but with every data point now geared to only one goal - to get everyone to play musical chairs while the music plays, does any data actually even matter? After all, an improving economy would mean a tapering QE, but Bernanke has now made it clear no matter what the actual real or fake state of the economy is, he will never stop the liquid(ity) moprhine. Perhaps that is why the employment index actually dipped in February from 57.5 to 57.2 - supposedly this makes it "realistic."
The underlying question in Bill Gross' latest monthly letter, built around Jeremy Stein's (in)famous speech earlier this month, is the following: "How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values?" He then proceeds to provide a very politically correct answer, which is to be expected for the manager of the world's largest bond fund. Our answer is simpler: We know there is an irrational exuberance asset bubble, because the Fed is still in existence. Far simpler.
My colleague and erstwhile nemesis Gonzalo Lira posed the question above in a recent essay, and it is indeed a most puzzling one. Given that the world’s central banks — joined most recently by a shockingly reckless Switzerland — are waging all-out economic war by inflating their currencies, shouldn’t gold be soaring?
The present is a time when things are in great confusion. We are creating money from nothing and yet enjoying the fruits of their labors. The economies in Europe and in Japan and America are worsening and yet yields for their sovereign debt are barely off all-time lows. The stock markets of the world, following the 2008/2009 financial crisis, are back at new highs. All of this has taken place because the world’s central banks, acting in concert, have pumped enough small pieces of paper into the fire to keep it burning long into the night and so all of the markets on the planet have been stoked with fuel. When the fundamentals of the markets are out of line with their performance then history teaches us that at some point rational behavior will cause a correction. It was just five years ago when the world learned a rather harsh lesson. It was a lesson that cost Americans 36% of their wealth.