In light of the recent epidemic of shady civil asset forfeitures, what many people fail to realize, is that you aren’t obligated to have casual conversations with police when you have been pulled over. In fact, such conversations are often used solely to manufacture an excuse for further action against you.
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.
Moments ago the Census Bureau reported that 458K new homes were sold in October (with a 16.5 error confidence), which missed expectations of a 471K increase from last month's 467K print, but that's ok, because last month's number was also revised substantially lower from 467K to 453K, which in turn will allow the mainstream propaganda to tout that New Home Sales jump in October to match the highest print since October 2013. There is one problem: here is what the update chart of New Home Sales data looks like on a historical basis... and as revised. It sure puts that 458K "increase" in a slightly different light.
We find that, unsurprisingly, AAPL has regained its top spot as the global hedge fund hotel's most beloved stock. In fact, 4 of the 5 most widely held names are all tech names, with GOOG, MSFT and FB rounding out the top 4, and only Citigroup as the outlier in the top 5. Perhaps more notable is that the former hedge fund darlings AIG and GM, have been abandoned by the HF crowd, and were in 9th and 16th place, respectively.
The Mystery Of America's "Schrodinger" Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go ExtinctSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/24/2014 10:05 -0400
On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT's report: "Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class." In short, it says that America's manufacturing sector, and thus middle class, is being obliterated: "A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past. And then, paradoxically, at almost the same time, there's this from Bloomberg: "Lower-wage workers saw bigger pay gains over the past year than the highest earners, reversing the trend from earlier stages of the recovery." In short: the state of the US middle class is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
A year ago, when we reported that "Hedge Funds Underperform The S&P For The 5th Year In A Row", we thought there is no way this underperformance can continue: after all who in their right mind could possibly anticipate that a "risk-free" centrally-planned world could last for 6 years (well, maybe the USSR). Back then we explained this now chronic, "new abnormal", regime as follows: "hedge funds are "hedge" funds and appear to have done a great job managing performance over time... but in the new normal world in which we live, where downside risk is irrelevant (until it runs you over), all that matters is return (not risk-reward)." And yes, as the chart below shows we were wrong: because as of this moment the average hedge fund is not only underperforming the market for a record, 6th year in a row but as Goldman pointed out last night, the return of the entire hedge fund universe as of NOvember 19 is... negative 1%.
While the biggest news of the day will certainly be China's rate cut (and the Dutch secret gold repatriation but more on the shortly), here is a list of all the other central-banking/planning events which have moved markets overnight, because in the new normal it no longer is about any news or fundamentals, it is all about the destruction of the value of money and the matched increase in nominal asset values.
In previous commentaries, readers have seen scoffs of derision with respect to (arguably) the two, most-important propaganda myths of the 21st century: the New Normal, and the New World Order. The gist of that criticism is that we rarely see anything truly “new” in our lives, in conceptual terms.
The declaration (through propaganda and/or disinformation) that we have two all-encompassing, new paradigms which supposedly comprise our current reality is patently ludicrous, on its surface. Context changes. Principles are immutable.
After weeks of relentless flashing red headline barrage whose only purpose was to force snap algo buying of the USDJPY pair time after time after time, Japan is once again out of FX algo danging carrots after moments ago Abe confirmed what everyone had known already: he called a snap election to seek a mandate for his decision to delay by 18 months a further sales-tax increase that had been planned for next year; he also said he would dissolve the lower house of parliament on Nov. 21 in preparation for an election in December, without specifying a date. Cited by the WSJ, Abe said "To ensure the success of Abenomics, I’ve concluded that it shouldn’t be carried out next October and instead be postponed by 18 months,” the prime minister told a nationally televised news conference, stressing that the additional tax burden would risk putting the economy back into deflation. “I will seek the people’s judgment over our economic policy."
David Cameron warned last night that the global economy risked another crash and said in an article that 'red warning lights' were 'flashing on the dashboard of the global economy' and the eurozone was 'teetering on the brink' of another recession.
Throughout history, in most cases of economic collapse the societies in question believed they were financially invincible just before their disastrous fall. Rarely does anyone see the edge of the cliff or even the bottom of the abyss before it has swallowed a nation whole. This lack of foresight, however, is not entirely the fault of the public. It is, rather, a consequence caused by the manipulation of the fundamental information available to the public by governments and social gatekeepers.
Spot the banana republic:
- Nation #1 spends and issues tens of trillions in taxpayer funds and debt, crushing the growth potential of future generations, just to bail out a banking sector full to the brim with criminal "riggers" (as today's settlements once again prove), where bubble mania was so pervasive not a single bank would have survived absent a global central bank bailout, and where bank executives wouldn't bend over for anything less than a million.
- Nation #2 just sentenced two senior officials of a bank that collapsed under (a measly by New Normal standards) $1 billion in debt to 15 years in prison each for embezzlement and fraud.
Nation #1 is, of course, the US (or any other western nation). Nation #2 is Afghanistan.
As everyone knows in today's new normal world of investing, "good news is bad news" and indeed it seems a record "Singles' Day" sales record of around $9.3 billion (up 59% YoY) was enough of 'good news' trigger to spark the worst day in BABA since the IPO. Today's 4% drop of course is nothing compared to the 45%-plus gains off the Bullard lows, and we suspect the BoJ or GPIF will be back in action soon to BTFD. Profit-taking? Sell the news? Or perhaps it was Jack Ma's Elon-Musk-esque comments on how his high stock price is based on very high expectations and he is feeling the pressure.
- No Sign of Thaw in Obama’s Brief Encounters With Putin (BBG)
- Japan Lawmakers Prepare for Snap Elections as Abe Mulls Tax (BBG)
- Global stocks rise, Brent crude hits four-year low (Reuters)
- U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products (WSJ)
- ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Rule Would Raise Bar for Bank Capital (WSJ) ... and mean even bigger taxpayer bailouts
- Pot in New York: $100 Ticket. No Charges. No Record. No Nothing (BBG)
- Microsoft unveils first Lumia smartphone without Nokia name (Reuters)
- Davos-Man Ackermann Lured to Cyprus Bank by Billionaires (BBG)
- Alibaba, Apple Talks on Payments Tie-Up Focused on China (WSJ)
- Obama urges China to be partner in ensuring world order (Reuters)
- China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order (WSJ)
- Xi Dangles $1.25 Trillion as China Counters U.S. Refocus (BBG)
- China's Xi, Japan's Abe hold landmark meeting after awkward handshake (Reuters)
- Revenue Softness Worries Stock Investors (WSJ)
- How BOJ’s Kuroda Won the Vote for Stimulus Expansion (WSJ)
- Bonus Season Brings More Pain for Traders (WSJ)
- Russia’s Military Encounters Risk Clash in Europe (BBG)