Curious why algos suddenly are buying because other algos are buying because other algos are buying, pushing the S&P higher by 10 point in virtually no time? Simple. It appears at least one vacuum tube decided to scan the news archive, and fell upon the Politico story from 7 AM Eastern which said that the Republicans and Democrats had met in a secret meeting.
As we have discussed previously, the "partial government shutdown" that we are experiencing right now is pretty much a non-event - especially with the un-furloughing of The Pentagon. Yeah, some national parks are shut down and some federal workers will have their checks delayed, but it is not the end of the world. In fact, only about 17% of the federal government is actually shut down at the moment. This "shutdown" could continue for many more weeks and it would not affect the global economy too much. On the other hand, if the debt ceiling deadline (approximately October 17th) passes without an agreement that would be extremely dangerous. A U.S. debt default that lasts for more than a couple of days could potentially cause a financial crash that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic. If a debt default were to happen before the end of this year, that would bring a tremendous amount of future economic pain into the here and now, and the consequences would likely be far greater than any of us could possibly imagine.
"Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit" Anthony Coley, spokesman for the Treasury Department.
The BPC, whose initial analysis of the US default has become the staple "go-to" analysis for Treasury cash obligations and key events in the day surrounding and following the X-Date, has released a new update on when the US runs out of money. The latest: October 22 - November 1. Which means that if it so desires, the GOP can and probably will delay a debt ceiling bargain until the last possible moment which may well be, appropriately enough, Halloween. In the meantime, the US Treasury now has about $40 billion in total cash on hand and available extraordinary measures and declining fast.
We strongly suspect that both government debt growth and money supply inflation will continue unabated – any pause will immediately bring about the kind of short term economic pain these policies have explicitly sought to prevent and will therefore be quickly reversed. It is not unlike the situation the revolutionary assembly of France found itself in during the late 18th century: when it issued new money, industry seemed to revive. As soon as it stopped, industry slumped again. And so it was decided to issue ever more money, until the entire scheme blew up. There can be little doubt that modern-day governments are on the road to a similar date with destiny – and lately the speed at which they travel toward it has increased markedly.
“Diminishing Superpower” This was the headline streaking across the weekend edition of the Jakarta Globe, one of the largest newspapers in Indonesia. The photo beneath was of Barack Obama, his lips pursed and eyes steeled as if he was fighting back tears. Or perhaps staring off into the fiscal abyss. The subheadline read: “Obama’s APEC absence symbolic of US waning influence in Asia.” It’s so obvious to everyone else that the US is in terminal decline. As history has shown so many times before, this is exactly how the end begins.
Argues that despite the growth the of the state in response to the crisis, what characterizes the current investment climate is the weakness of the state. This asssessment is not limited to the US, where the federal government remains partially closed.
David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation, summarizes the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government - that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank...
What is flailing is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority have experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate material savings, rapidly approach old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut...
He calls this condition "Sundown in America".
Here's a new and very bizarre entry for the annals of "the dog ate it" excuses. According to Reuters, Montana man Wayne Klinkel, who last year pieced together the remnants of five $100 bills eaten by his one-eyed golden retriever, Sundance, is sporting a $500 check he says he received this week from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to replace the digested funds. Sundance sniffed the wad of bills out of a car cubby space while waiting for Klinkel and his wife to return from lunch, and the canine made the currency his lunch.
Just two weeks ago we explained how when there is only one driving factor for market performance and "too-many coat-tail clinging asset managers chasing too few real alpha opportunities" then problems can arise. Critically, we showed the correlation between the S&P 500 and hedge fund returns has never been higher and is approaching 1. So it is refreshing that the Treasury Department agrees in a recent report that this "herding into popular assets" by asset managers could pose a threat to the US financial system.
Don't Blame Free Market Capitalism ... We Haven't Had It for a While
Who's Who of Prominent Economists and Billionaire Investors Say that Runaway Inequality Harms the EconomySubmitted by George Washington on 09/27/2013 12:16 -0500
Free Market Libertarians and Progressives Agree that If All of the Poker Chips Are Concentrated In One Hand ... The Game Stops
- The new normal name of a broken market: glitches - NYSE, Nasdaq Consider Cooperating to Address Glitches (WSJ)
- Early Thursday Humor: Abe Tells Wall Street Japan’s Economy Is Exceptionally Good (BBG)
- Rising Rates Seen Squeezing Swaps Income at Biggest Banks (BBG)
- JPMorgan Mortgage Talks Said to Discuss $11 Billion Deal (BBG)
- Can't make this up: HFT firm "finds" Fed did not leak data early to benefit HFT firms (FT)
- Hertz Cuts Full-Year Forecast on Weak U.S. Airport Rentals (BBG)
- Greece does not need third bailout, seeks debt 'reprofiling' - deputy PM (Reuters) - right, it needs a fourth and fifth
- Hezbollah gambles all in Syria (Reuters)
- Twitter Adds J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley as Bankers on IPO (WSJ)
- Messi in Court Shows Tax Collectors Set to Pursue Star Athletes (BBG)
In a world in which all the matters is "scale", the ability to Martingale down on losing bets as close to infinity as possible (something which JPMorgan learned with the London Whale may not be the best strategy especially when one can't print money out of thin air), and being as close to the Fed's Heidelberg rotary printer as possible, it was expected that that "expert" of government backstops and bailouts, the Octogenarian of Omaha, Warren Buffett, would have only kind words for Ben Bernanke. But not even we predicted that Buffett would explicitly admit what we have only tongue-in-cheek joked about in the past, namely that the Fed is the world's greatest (and most profitable) hedge fund. Which is precisely what he did: "Billionaire investor Warren Buffett compared the U.S. Federal Reserve to a hedge fund because of the central bank’s ability to profit from bond purchases while accumulating a balance sheet of more than $3 trillion. "The Fed is the greatest hedge fund in history,” Buffett told students yesterday at Georgetown University in Washington. It’s generating “$80 billion or $90 billion a year probably” in revenue for the U.S. government, he said.
In light of this morning's Obama-Boehner volleys, we thought a reflection on the facts was useful. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook yesterday morning, and its government debt projections are dismal... But the CBO’s featured chart only tells a small part of the story. The baseline scenario happens to be bogus. Even as it shows our addiction to debt worsening, it doesn’t do justice to the severity of that addiction. (You may want to show the chart to your children. After all, they’ll be the ones who’ll have to deal with the debt we’re piling on today.)