For years, many had mocked both European and US stress tests as futile exercises in boosting investor and public confidence, which instead of being taken seriously repeatedly failed to highlight failing banks such as Dexia, Bankia and all the Greek banks, in the process rendering the exercise a total farce. The implication of course, is that regulators, thus central bankers, openly lied to the public over and over just to preserve what little confidence in the system has left. Now we know that this is precisely the policy intent: as Reuters reports citing a paper co-authored by a Bundesbank economist, "banking supervisors should withhold some information when they publish stress test results to prevent both bank runs and excessive risk taking by lenders."
In other words: lie.
This nation has become a land where character and integrity are secondary to profits for the few and self serving interests of the powerful. And as we are seeing already for the third time in this millennium’s infancy, stability and prosperity can be but short lived for even the highest paid CEO’s in such a world.
The latest set of Clinton e-mails released by the State Department reveals another 125 exchanges that contain classified information, establishing further (for anyone who still had doubts) that sensistive information was indeed transferred over Clinton's home e-mail server and leading to two rather obvious questions: 1) will Clinton be held accountable?, and 2) will her campaign be able to hold the 2016 Presidential bid together amid a rising tide of public mistrust?
Call it the rigor mortis of the robo-machines. About 430 days ago the S&P 500 crossed the 1973 mark for the first time - the same point where it settled today. In between there has been endless reflexive thrashing in the trading range highlighted below. As is evident, the stock averages have not “climbed” the proverbial wall of worry; they have jerked and twitched to a series of short-lived new highs, which have now been abandoned. Surely most thinking investors have left the casino by now. So what remains is chart driven trading programs, racing madly up, then down, then back up again - rinsing and repeating with ever more furious intensity.
- Charting the Market: New Month, Same China (BBG)
- China jitters send stocks tumbling (Reuters)
- Oil falls on weak China factory data (Reuters)
- Euro zone factory growth eases in August despite modest price rises (Reuters)
- Euro-Area Joblessness Falls to Lowest Level Since Early 2012 (BBG)
- Clinton friend advised on U.S. politics, foreign policy (Reuters)
- Korea exports slump as Asia's woes deepen (Reuters)
Attempts to explain exactly what happened last Monday when prices for a whole host of ETFs and mutual funds diverged markedly from fair value abound and while there's no way to know for sure exactly what went wrong, FactSet has drawn some tentative conclusions after conducting a bit of "voodoo, tea-leaf reading."
- China’s Central Bank Cuts Interest Rates (WSJ)
- Chinese Stocks Crash Again to Extend Biggest Plunge Since 1996 (BBG)
- China cuts rates, reserve ratio to aid economy as stocks sink (Reuters)
- Wall St. suffers worst day in four years, S&P confirms correction (Reuters)
- Europe's Stocks Head for Best Day Since 2011 (BBG)
- Market turmoil clouds Fed rate outlook (FT)
- For All Its Heft, China’s Economy Is a Black Box (WSJ)
There is no such thing as objective science when a researcher receives tens of thousands of dollars from the GM producers themselves, then goes on to promote their financiers’ products. Corporate collusion between government bureaucracies and educational institutions has become a serious issue in the U.S. that has corrupted objectivity in nearly every sector of American life.
The Telegraph’s John Ficenec has written an excellent piece warning of a possible market crash in the coming weeks. He identifies eight key “signs things could get a whole lot worse.”
Though transparency was a cause he championed when campaigning for the presidency, President Obama has largely avoided making certain defense costs known to the public. However, when it comes to military appropriations for government spy agencies, we know from Freedom of Information Act requests that the so-called “black budget” is an increasingly massive expenditure subsidized by American taxpayers.
"...Given that “transparency” has such positive connotations, it is hard to imagine a reversal of these measures. But the public interest would not be served if the internal deliberations of the US Federal Reserve or the Supreme Court were put on CSPAN, as some have demanded."
Google is adopting this structure in order to make clearer the difference between its main business and longer-term endeavors, as Page and Brin take on more strategic roles, while leaving operational management to trusted deputies.
The supposedly independent, apolitical Federal Reserve - facing serious pressures from Republicans over leaks and transparency - may have just accidentally admitted it will not be raising rates any time soon (if ever):
- *LOCKHART: ECONOMIC OUTLOOK TO INFLUENCE HOW U.S. VOTES IN 2016
One can only wonder how this will factor into The Fed's "make it up as we go along" strategy as credibility dwindles but survival trumps any populist backlash.
When China's tinderbox economy implodes, who will be left to bid up the world's surplus commodities and real estate?
After 30 years of torrid expansion, perhaps the single most consequential factor in China’s economy is how much of it is a “black box”: a system with visible inputs and outputs whose internal workings are opaque. China’s recorded history stretches back thousands of years, but in terms of applicable financial and economic parallels to the current economy, there is no precedent. China’s leadership is truly in uncharted waters. This in itself heightens the risk of miscalculation and basing policies on faulty premises.