Wall Street Journal
Ben Bernanke’s skin is as thin, apparently, as is his comprehension of honest economics. The emphasis is on the “honest” part because he is a fount of the kind of Keynesian drivel that passes for economics in the financially deformed world that the Bernank did so much to bring about.
- Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
- EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
- China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
- McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
- German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
- Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
- EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
- Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)
Just two weeks ago we pointed out the fact that The Fed had seemingly ignored Congressional demands for details with regard the 2012 FOMC Statement leak. Now we know why they missed the deadline:
*YELLEN SAYS SHE MET WITH MEDLEY GLOBAL ANALYST IN JUNE 2012, SAYS SHE DIDN'T GIVE MEDLEY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
So she met with the analyst that leaked the statement... but didn't say anything? The Justice Department has opened a formal investigation into the FOMC leak (and we suspect sworn testimony coming).
It seems yet another hero of the recent cyclical bull market, resp. echo bubble, may be in danger of falling from grace. This has already happened to his predecessor Alan Greenspan, who has been gradually demoted from “Maestro” to “irresponsible bubble blower”. In this sense the somewhat less praise-laden verdicts that are lately emerging with respect to Ben Bernanke could be seen as an early warning sign.
"We can understand that Mr. Bernanke doesn’t like being tagged with any responsibility for poor economic results. He absolved himself for any mistakes before the financial crisis too. But sooner or later he and the Fed have to stop using the financial crisis as the all-purpose excuse for slow growth. Even President Obama has stopped blaming George W. Bush for everything. Maybe Mr. Bernanke should stop blaming everyone else too."
Apple fan-boys have proclaimed the Apple Watch a screaming success as Tim Cook explained he was "generally happy" with the launch. The big driver of the impression of awesomeness was how hard it was to get one... i.e. so much demand that supply copuld not keep up. However, as The Wall Street Journal reports, it was not demand, it was instead defects that forced the company to limit supply.
At a stunning pace of 608 words in just 4 minutes, The Wall Street Journal's Fed-Whisperer, Jon Hilsenrath, has proclaimed his "common knowledge" meme for today's FOMC statement. Confirming that officials "aren’t at this point alarmed about the first quarter slowdown," and in fact stating they are confident of spending picking up due to consumer sentiment (which just fell)... which leaves them signalling no shift in policy stance - i.e. rate hikes are coming whether the economy can handle it or not...
“Promoted by the intellectual glitterati of the central banks, our economic system has become addicted to all forms of debt, much of which has been unproductive." The seemingly universal agreement that the prerequisite for a healthy economy is the growth of debt at all costs highlights both a lack of discipline and an aversion to consider different ideas on the part of economic policy-makers.
When we first exposed in February how yet another bank - Bank of America - has been quietly preserving the post Glass-Steagall world in which cash depositing taxpayers are on the hook for a bank's stupidity, some shrugged it off and looked to stress test to solve all the problems. However, it appears - for once - the SEC is not willing to just ignore the bank's actions. Just as JPMorgan's CIO Office, aka the London Whale, took advantage of fungible, taxpayer-insured funding in the form of excess US deposits over loans, to corner the US credit market (in what was clearly a directional prop trade); so, as WSJ reports, The SEC is investigating whether BofA broke rules designed to safeguard client accounts, potentially putting retail-brokerage funds at risk in order to generate more profits using large complex trades.
The worldwide commodity glut is not a surprise to Austrian school economists - It is a wonderful example of the adverse consequences of monetary repression to drive the interest rate below the natural rate.
The cynicism among the informed classes has never been so deep. Even the pompom boys in the cheerleading clubs like CNBC and The Wall Street Journal express wonderment at the levitation of stock indexes and bond values. They chatter about a “correction” of 20 percent being a healthful tonic that would clear away some dross and quickly usher in a new episode of “growth” — or growthiness, which, like truthiness, became an acceptable approximation of the real thing. The truth, as opposed to truthiness, is they no longer believe their own bullshit about growthiness. Behind the financial jitters of the informed minority is the greater fear of social unrest.
Over the past year, special-operations forces have landed in 81 countries.
A U.S. drone strike in January targeting a suspected al Qaeda compound in Pakistan inadvertently killed an American and Italian being held hostage by the group, senior Obama administration officials said. As WSJ reports, the killing of American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto is the first known instance in which the U.S. has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike. We await President Obama's 'collateral damage' explanation.
In a stunning shun to Congressional lawmakers, WSJ reports that The Fed has failed to comply with a request that the bank-owned entity identify the individuals who leaked The FOMC Minutes to Medley Global Advisors a day before the official release in October 2012. Rep. Jeb Hensarling sent a letter to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on April 15 asking the Fed to name them by 5 p.m. EDT April 22. The deadline passed without any response by the Fed...
"To find the real source of the system's excessive fragility, the regulators will need to look much closer to home... The Federal Reserve remains the largest market manipulator ever, and the desperate yield-chasing, hair-trigger markets that it created were the primary cause of that crash and the inevitable ones yet to come."