While it is easy to blame western sanctions for the recent tribulations at the world's largest aluminum company, Oleg Deripaska's Rusal, the reality is that the industry specific issues plaguing aluminum makers, certainly including former Dow Jones Industrial Average member Alcoa, which involve a fair share of manipulation of physical inventories at assorted global warehouses are much more responsible than some theatrical rhetoric flaring up between the West and East in the past month. Regardless of the cause, as FT reports, Rusal just announced it is on the verge of insolvency after it warned of "material uncertainty" about its future, and that it has asked its creditors to delay repayment on a maturity from its $10 billion debt pile due next month.
Nowhere is the 'get-rich-quick', 'fundamentals-are-for-suckers', new normal 'idiot' market more apparent than in the "mistakes" investors have made in Twitter's IPO (TWTRQ), Google's NEST acquisition (NEST), and now Facebook's Oculus purchase (OCLS & OVZT). Peak stupidity?
If there is one thing that unites trade unionists, Keynesian Cargo Cultists, free-market fans and believers in American exceptionalism, it's a misty-eyed nostalgia for the Golden Era of the 1950s and 60s, when one wage-earner earned enough to buy all the goodies of a middle-class lifestyle because everything was cheap. Food was cheap, land was cheap, houses were cheap, college was cheap and most importantly, oil was cheap. The nostalgic punditry quite naturally think of this full-employment golden age of their youth as the default setting, i.e. the economy of the 1950s/60s was "normal." But it wasn't normal--it was a one-off anomaly, never to be repeated.
While the government's survey of consumer confidence saw new cycle highs - progressing the multiple expansion dream - the University of Michigan (private) survey has been falling for 3 months and is now at its lowest since November. Both current conditions (reality) and expectations (hope) missed expectations (overall index missed by the most in 5 months) but "hope" did rise modestly from 69.4 to 70.0. Must have been a 'winter stormy' week when UMich surveyed consumers...
Bank of America No Longer Even Bothers To Blame The "Weather" Or "Storms" For Weak Consumer SpendingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2014 09:35 -0400
Two weeks ago, when Bank of America found that its weekly retail spending data has continued coming in far weaker than expected compared to 2013, it did the laughable: it blamed not the weather in general, but one storm in particular, to wit: "once again adverse weather potentially impacted spending last week, as the storm “Titan” moved across the US over the weekend of March 1st and 2nd and was followed by yet another cold spell." Two weeks later, after shockingly BofA finds precisely the same weakness continuing into the end of a balmy March, it no longer even bothers looking for excuses. The sad reality: there are none.
Are you thinking of going to college? If so, please consider that decision very carefully. You probably have lots of people telling you that an "education" is the key to your future and that you will never be able to get a "good job" unless you go to college. And it is true that those that go to college do earn more on average than those that do not. However, there is also a downside.
Are any of the leaders at the heads of the Western world ‘statesmen’ in the true sense of the word? Do any of them, from Cameron, to Obama, via Merkel and Hollande have any idea what the definition of such an illustrious, historically-based politician means?
$20 billion yesterday for a "virtual" reality corporation... but it gets better, as Property Guru reports, Singapore-based game developer Planet Arkadia is offering investments in what is believed to be the world’s first million dollar virtual property. It offers the 'investor' a chance to participate (by spending real money) in the "vibrantly growing economy of Planet Arkadia" - which we note is entirely virtual. Top, much?
Bear markets are punishment for over-exuberance and greed, notes ConvergEx's Nick Colas, teaching investors to be more careful next time around. That’s a pretty popular narrative in capital markets, and with two tough bear markets over the past 15 years, Colas suggests you’d think that there’s no way investors would be guilty of blowing bubbles again. Right? Well, as Nick explains, if the evidence from actual crime and punishment is any guide, this moral narrative is actually quite wrong.
The central premise of the Keynesian Cargo Cult is that this mechanism of making it cheap and easy to borrow money will work a kind of magic that can only be manifested by dancing around a fire at night waving dead chickens and chanting "humba-humba." The Keynesian cargo Cult calls this magic "animal spirits." Unfortunately, waving dead chickens while dancing around a fire doesn't do anything in the real world, and neither does making it cheap and easy to borrow more money. You poor, dumb, deluded fools. You've destroyed our economy, our values and our ability to deal with reality. Your faith is as boundless and disconnected from the real world as your policies.
Let the fun begin.
After tumbling overnight to just around 101.80, the USDJPY managed to stage a remarkable levitating comeback, rising all the way to 102.3, which in turn succeeded in closing the Nikkei 225 at the highs, up 1% after tumbling in early trade. The Shanghai Composite was not quite as lucky and as fear continue to weigh about a collapse in China's credit pipeline, the SHCOMP was down more than 0.8% while the PBOC withdreww even more net liquidity via repos than it did last week, at CNY 98 billion vs CNY 48 billion. That said, this morning will be the fifth consecutive overnight levitation in futures, which likely will once more surge right into the US market open to intraday highs, at which point slowy at first, then rapidly, fade again as the pattern has seemingly been set into algo random access memory. Which in a market devoid of human traders is all that matters.
“Too Big To Fail” … Fails
Cronyism for the super wealthy starts at the very top with the Federal Reserve System, which consists of topdown economic central planners who manipulate the money supply and hence interest rates for the benefit of the financial oligarch class. It then trickles down through lobbyist money into the halls of Washington D.C., and ultimately filters down to local governments and then the average person on the street gaming welfare or disability. As such, we now live in a culture of corruption and theft that is pervasive throughout society. As a new report finds, "You can’t reform welfare programs for the poor until you’ve gotten Daddy Warbucks off the dole. Voters will insist on that - as well they should."
Lately, much has been made about Unemployment and Labor Participation Rates here domestically in the United States. With unemployment steadily ticking down from 10% at it peak to just 6.5% today, many point to the improving economy as a reason that the Unemployment Rate has been steadily improving. While it makes for good political theater, the reality is that we are suffering from an employment crisis in this country not seen in nearly 3 decades.