New York State
In the aftermath of the Panama Papers revelations, US authorities including the IRS appear to have begun a crackdown on tax evaders (if staying away from Washington D.C. for the time being for obvious reason), and according to Bloomberg they just landed a juicy target in the face of Morris Zukerman, a former head of Morgan Stanley’s energy group who now runs a private investment firm, who was indicted in Manhattan on charges of evading more than $45 million of federal and New York state taxes.
A McKinsey study shows Obamacare insurers lost money in 2014 and the losses doubled in 2015. Amazingly, the study concludes there’s nothing to worry about because “30 percent of insurers nationwide were profitable.” Meanwhile, outright refusals to accept Obamacare mount. “Sorry, We Don’t Take Obamacare” is now a frequent response.
After last week's key event, the retail sales number, which the market discounted as being too unrealistic (and overly seasonally adjusted) after printing at a 13 month high and attempting to refute the reality observed by countless retailers, this week has a quiet start today with no data of note due out of Europe and just Empire manufacturing (which moments ago missed badly) and the NAHB housing market index of note in the US session this morning.
Ever since merchants changed out payment terminals last October in order to comply with new rules and accept chip cards, merchants are seeing expenses relating to debit transaction fees increasing, in some cases as much as 20%. The reason stems from transaction terminals being set up to steer transactions in such a way that will generate the most revenue for the data processing company...
We were not surprised, though certainly delighted, to see that after years of railing against Citadel's dominant position at the intersection of HFT trading and retail orderflow - recently Citadel was found to be the largest private US trading venue - this morning Reuters reports that Federal authorities are investigating the market-making arms of Citadel LLC and KCG Holdings looking into the possibility that the two giants of electronic trading are giving small investors a poor deal when executing stock transactions on their behalf. In other words, the DOJ is looking into whether Citadel is frontrunning its clients, something we have claimed for years.
As politicians and businesses trip over each other to see who can raise the minimum wage the fastest and to what extent, the typical "totally unforeseen" consequences of central planning are being felt.
"Vaxxed, the controversial documentary alleging a direct causal relationship between vaccines and exponential increases in autism amongst children is a deeply disturbing and hence critically important piece of work that will cause many sleepless nights for parents of infants everywhere..."
As the battle heats up between the presumptive nominees for President, the word-wars have begun. Following Hillary's "love Trump's hate" breaking-barriers speech last night, a seemingly calmer, friendlier Trump went after Hillary exclaiming that "the only thing she's got going is the woman's card...and the beautiful thing is that women don't like her." Trump added that he'll "do far more for women than Hillary Clinton will do," and that "if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote."
Futures are currently unchanged, but the E-mini was down as much as 12 points less than two hours earlier after the European open when this time it was up to the PBOC to intervene in global markets by pushing the Yuan higher (selling USDCNY via intermediary banks) sending global stocks sharply higher off session lows and leaving the S&P futures virtually unchanged. As Bloomberg reported, there has been increasing USD/CNY selling in afternoon session as Dollar Index edged lower. This is the PBOC entering the building and levitating stocks.
“They told me the key to the building had not arrived yet...I am sure there are many people who tried to vote and had to leave who will not be able to come back,”
- Crude's Losses Drag Ruble, Loonie Lower; Stocks Pare Their Drop (BBG)
- Grand Oil Bargain Is Victim of Saudi Arabia's Iran Fixation (BBG)
- Both Parties’ Presidential Front-Runners Increasingly Unpopular (WSJ)
- It's up to you, New York: state takes center stage in election campaign (Reuters)
- Rousseff Hangs by a Thread After Losing Impeachment Vote (BBG)
- China March home prices rise at fastest rate in two years, top cities boom (Reuters)
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know that New Yorkers go to the primary voting booths on April 19th. Unfortunately, only a small sliver of the population will actually be able to vote.